Return of the Kern

“Don’t call it a comeback” – Sir El El Cool Jay

...and thou mother pronounced knock thyself outeth

I realize it’s been a good 3 weeks since I wrote my last post and the month before that was dominated by football talk. While I do have reasons for my literary absence (bought an iPhone) I have heard slight demand for my return. I have heard your cries and I have decided to answer them. I’m back.

In the last month I’ve experienced my first Christmas as a father, had a honeymoon cruise and observed my same level of complete randomness to rant about for the next couple months. Not to mention that I read an entire book for the first time since high school. It’s all coming up soon. Feel free to put away your blog rations that have kept you entertained over the last month and prepare for the feast of entertainment that I have planned. Thanks for sticking around.

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Oh, Fantasy Football, We Hardly Knew Ye

I’ve decided to write a short eulogy for the thing that brought me much joy these last couple months, my fantasy football team. The Green Bay Pac-Men led by cerebral assassin quarterback, Aaron Rodgers went into the playoffs this year as the 4th seed and were upended in an upset by Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady(aka dicks). The writing was on the wall for the Pac-Men when their 2nd in command Fred Jackson went out for the season with a dissolved calf(in fantasy football the injuries are crazier than in real life too). See you next year guys. Get well and have a happy holidays off and we’ll start this up again next season. You fought valiantly but in the end it just was not meant to be.

It's over....it's over.....it's over....no, no, no!!!

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First Santa Pictures Experience

It being the Christmas season we took our little girl to get her first Santa pictures taken. I had to work that morning so I was going to meet my wife, daughter and my mom at the mall. Once I got released from my “prison for pay” I rushed over to the mall to meet the crew. Turns out that a lot of people go shopping on weekends although I guess it was the first weekend after the first of the month so people had welfare paychecks to blow. Anyway, I was circling the parking lot when I stalked enough to find someone pulling out of the first space in the lot. Problem was I was going the wrong direction and my 1998 Honda Accord doesn’t have quite the cornering to pull into the spot so I pulled passed the spot and decided to back in. I did this very quickly in order to get out of everyone’s way and missed the spot by a few feet. I then had to wait for everyone else to pull past before I could try backing in the parking spot again. While waiting another car pulled in front of me blocking my path to move. I assumed that they were just lacking the cornering I was too but it turns out that they slowly squeezed into the spot that I was halfway in as I just stared them down hoping that either they would get the hint that I was claiming that spot in the name of Kern or at the very least burst into flames for crossing me but they either didn’t get the hint or the middle finger is a sign of respect in the country that they just swam away from.

After continuing my trek to find a spot to dump my car I finally found one after about another 15 minutes. At this point I was very late to meet my ladies and I checked my phone to see that my wife had texted me this message:

When you get up here don’t say anything to her about Santa.
 

OK, I’m intrigued. Ran inside and walked up the escalator(yep, super speed) to find my wife and daughter and then I looked past them to see that Santa didn’t have rosy cheeks like I’ve been told in holiday songs not because he wasn’t cold but rather because he was black. Yep, black Santa.

He looked like Herman Cain in a Santa suit which I guess isn’t THAT far-fetched since he’s not really presidential material anymore. I don’t have an issue with this as far as race goes but my concern is that this was our daughter’s first Santa pictures and now we would be forced to always find a black Santa every year to take pictures with to keep the illusion of one true Santa running around to every mall to have all the little girls and boys take pictures of them. To add to my problems they had sample pictures at the cash register with white Santa on it that I tried to use my wide frame to hide from my little girl. Honestly, she didn’t notice at all (or at least didn’t say anything) which is surprising since earlier in the week I was playing a basketball video game and she wanted me to pass the ball to the “chocolate boy”.

BOOM-SHAKA-HATECRIME!

She gets up on Santa’s lap and the wife and I try to move in close to hear what she tells Santa she wants for Christmas but we couldn’t hear her low whispers. Afterwards we asked her what she wanted to which she responded “Candy!”. Whew, that’s easy enough. 5 seconds passed and then she shouted “…and to ride a pony!”. Ummmmm, ok, that’s a little more difficult but more of what I expected. She’s been asking for everything that’s been on commercials for the last month but those answers make me believe that she’s completely normal because I think that’s what all little girls want.

Another piece of proof that the most mundane plan can become a story to tell for years when it comes to having a toddler. I just hopes this doesn’t cause issues for when I try to dress as Santa for the first time to add to the holiday mystery. I’m sure we’ll have a good laugh about this in about 15 years but until then I hope someone makes a website tracking black Santas so we can find one.

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Kern on the Gridiron: Week 13, Detroit, WHAT!?!? Edition

There have been several teams throughout sports that have been known as dirty teams. The Pistons of the late 80’s, Raiders of the 70’s, the Knicks of the 90’s and basically any team that Bill Romanowski played on. The newest member to this exclusive fight club has to be the Detroit Lions. The Lions have the most personal fouls in the NFL with 26 and had 3 of those in their last game versus the Saints in roughly 5 minutes. The Lions looked like they had reversed their franchise fortune by starting the season 5-0 with the memory of a 0-16 season only 3 years in their rear-view.

I miss these days

It looked like a special year for the Lions but they have gone 2-5 since and they seem to be overly frustrated by the slide.

As everyone has already seen several hundred times, on Thanksgiving the Lions best defensive player and last years defensive Rookie of the Year Ndamukong Suh (yes, I had to google how to spell his name) shoved Packers guard Evan Deitrich-Smith’s head into the turf before standing over him and stomping his arm. Suh, who had already had quite the reputation as a dirty player, has since been suspended for 2 games.

Now he has to find other things to stomp over the next 2 weeks

To add to his already long list of on-field offenses, he has some off-field drama playing out as he ran his car into a tree on Saturday. It was originally thought that there were none injured but 2 passengers have come forward and…well…here’s the best part:

One of the women in the vehicle is quoted in the police report as saying she told Suh she needed medical attention. She said Suh refused her request and told her she was fine. She then walked down the street and had her husband pick her up and take her to a hospital.
The Detroit Lions defensive tackle was calm and polite during the phone call to emergency services. When asked by the 911 operator if he needed an ambulance, Suh said: “No, I don’t think so. I think everybody’s fine.”
 

Honestly, I think it’s probably more a work of fiction than truth because he’s a high-profile person but it certainly doesn’t help his reputation to have his name synonymous with refusing to help injured women.

Anyway, back to the Lions. In a matter of about 5 minutes they had a personal foul for throwing a punch that seemed to cost them a touchdown, another personal foul for throwing the ball at an opponent and a final personal foul for shoving a referee. Because it’s not just one player that seems to be the problem you have to assume that the mindset it coming from the coaching. Since their head coach, Jim Schwartz looks like he could be related to former-reality-show bad boy and current WWE wrestler, The Miz, I’m surprised that they aren’t taking chairs and garbage cans to their opponents.

Tell me that they don't look like they could be brothers and I'll call you a "sucka fool jabroni"

In fact, earlier in the season, Miz Schwartz chased down opposing coach Jim Harbaugh after a game after he felt slighted by Harbaugh to, I assume, challenge him to a cage match. I appreciate teams that play with intensity but they probably need to lay off the road-rage steroid concoctions that they are serving before the games because it’s costing them points and games.

Random Week 13 thoughts:

-Tebow strikes again! That guy is ridiculous! The Broncos have now won 5 games in a row  after starting the year 1-4 under Kyle Orton. Speaking of Kyle Orton, after his services were no longer needed in Denver he was released and signed on with the Chiefs. If you blinked you missed his Chiefs debut where he took one snap from center and then one more snap of his finger as he dislocated it on a pass attempt. Game over.

– Keeping with the line of teams changing fortune, the Miami Dolphins have completely turned their season around and possibly saved their head coach, Tony Sparano’s job. The Dolphins started the season 0-7 and looked like they might not win a game all season. Since then they’ve won 4 out of 5 with that loss being a 1-point loss to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Can’t wait to see them beat up on the Eagles next week.

– Seemless transition, the Eagles are AWFUL! They were embarrassed by the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football and actually made the Seahawks look like a good NFL team. They have more problems than losing though as it seemed like players, WR Desean Jackson in particular, were giving up on plays and looked like they would rather be elsewhere. Chances are that this offseason Jackson might get his wish granted as he probably won’t be welcomed back.

Not the face of a happy camper....or any other camper

– 12 games into the season and 2 teams have already wrapped up division titles. Sunday both the 49ers and Packers claimed division championship with wins and both teams are looking for a couple more wins to wrap up bye weeks in round 1 of the playoffs.

– Worst game of the week: Chiefs/Bears. Anyone who endured watching the Hanie/Palko bowl should receive a medal.

– While watching the Packers improve to 12-0, I couldn’t help but notice Justin Tuck’s facemask. I guess he feels like he should protect his pearly grill so he can do more Subway commercials. I don’t know why he feels that way though because you could drive a city bus through the gap in Michael Strahan’s mouth.

Hannibal Lecter has nothing on this mask

– Packers stock went on sale today and I’m happy to say that I am a part owner of the greatest franchise in professional sports. I am now the 3rd generation of Packers owners in my family which makes us better than you. Just admit it.

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Tales From a High School Dance Chaperone

This last weekend I had the opportunity to chaperone a high school dance with my wife. I jumped at the chance to observe the youth of the nation in action. I didn’t go to a lot of dances in high school as a kid but not because I didn’t have a date or anything. In fact, through years of revising my memories I now remember myself as quite the ladies man so I assume that the reason I didn’t go to many dances is because I didn’t want to show favoritism to any of the 20 women fighting over me at the time. Yeah, that’s it. Anyway, I love having the opportunity to people watch and there is not a more interesting place to people watch than an awkward high school dance.

The wife and I got put on ticket duty so we saw everyone coming in the door from the 30 degree night outside. The theme for the dance was the “Time Machine Tolo” and dress was supposed to be different decades. We saw our fair share of 90’s Too Legit To Quit dress and some 70’s disco. Some people stayed a little too long with Professor Peabody and Sherman in the Way Back Machine and showed up with toga’s and Flintstones outfits.

The first 45 minutes of the dance went just as I remembered dances. Good ol’ awkwardness where people chatted along the walls while no one danced. Ah, I remember those days like they haunted my dreams every now and again. Then the dance floor got some action with what I can only assume to be a hip-hop version of a line dance. From then on though the dance became an orgy of grinding and dry humping. INSANE! I’ve been an adolescent youth and I’m not too far removed from the land of hormones and bad lunch so I’m not going to insist that they be 10 feet away at all times to “make room for Jesus” but about 100 kids all squeezed into a self-imposed 5 ft square area and started grinding. All I could think of was “I’m pretty sure this is how Super Aids came to be”. I assume now that all casting for porn takes place at high school dances since these kids were putting their all into it like there were scouts in the crowd. It was interesting to say the least but since no one else seemed to care and my daughter wasn’t out there I figure “no harm, no foul” but chances are that MTV will have a few more participants for their next season of “16 and Pregnant”.

My favorite part of the night by far though was when the dance ended. Rather than end things with a slow jam and end it on a soft note they continued to rock out with their….well…their gummi parts out. The dance ended at 11 pm so instead of informing the DJ to wind it down, the second that the clock hit 11 they flipped on the gym lights. It was awesome to see these kids quickly scatter from their conga line o’ grind like a police raid just hit.

These cops just wanted to get freaky too

All in all, it was a fun night but it really made me worry about what kind of escalation of freak my daughter is going to endure. I’m really rethinking this “locking her in the basement until she’s 23 because she’s going to be beautiful” thing.

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I’ll Tell You The Truth, Kids Lie

Of all the character flaws that people have, lying is by far the most frustrating. At a very young age we all decide that our fiction is way better than the truth. But at what point to people start lying? I think I’ve pinpointed the exact moment through parenting. Kids start lying when they spill their first glass of juice after they have a good grasp on the english language. In other words, at the first moment possible.

Luckily though children only lie about really dumb things. Like things that wouldn’t matter if they lied or not. Of course there’s the “my invisible friend wrote on the walls” or “I don’t know how I got these cookie crumbs on me but I didn’t eat the last cookie”. It doesn’t take Columbo to solve these mysteries but if only thats where we stopped.

FOOLPROOF!

My wife is a first-year high school teacher and I’ve been both entertained and enraged by her stories of teens lying. She recently had a parent email her 10 times demanding that her son was in class when she marked him absent because “he said he was there and told me that he was telling the truth and I believe my son”. Yeah, let your teenage son know that you trust him implicitly over any authority figure. That’ll turn out well. My parents barely believed a word I said as a teen but for good reason…..I WAS A TEENAGER! And I was a good one but I still lied.

This makes me think that the “i’m telling the truth, i promise” tactic is the greatest lying tactic in history. Think about listening to George Washington and his “I cannot tell a lie”. No crap you can’t tell a lie. You were caught with a downed cherry tree holding a freaking axe. Busted! So he lets that follow him all the way to the White House(actually I don’t think there was a “White House” at that time but you get what I’m saying). Also, Abraham Lincoln rocked the Honest Abe persona letting people believe “Of course I’m telling the truth….they call me freaking HONEST Abe for God sakes”.

I'd call him out on it but he's just way too awesome

The next step in lying is the realization that from ages 13-14 lying is funny. From those ages, and ONLY in those ages, it’s hilarious for all this exchange to occur:

A: Something outrageous to Party B (I.E. “I saw your girlfriend making out with Mr. English Teacher”)
B: “Really?”
A: “Yeah, Really” while giving a sarcastic smile
B: “Are you serious?”
A: “Yeah, I’m being totally serious” (giggle giggle)
B: “OK, I can’t tell if you’re lying or not. Are you telling me the truth?”
Repeat steps 3-5 at least 7 more times
A: “Nah, I’m kidding”
B: “You’re a dick!”

For the record, if anyone you know does this outside of the amnesty of age 14 they deserve a spot in the 5th level of Hell forever floating down the River Styx. You have a right to tell them that too if you witness this taking place.

Like this only with 82% more hellfire and suffering

At some point though lying becomes less about getting in less trouble and more about being more interesting. Everyone does their own version of the “I caught a fish T-H-I-S big” trying to make their lives more interesting that others. Everyone except for me that is. This is a thing of blunt truth. Oh, did I mention that they call me Honest Josh. Much more catchy than Honest Abe.

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To Santa or Not To Santa

With this being my first holiday season being a parent I’m in the middle of a true Christmas conundrum. She seems to be completely aware of what is coming up for the first time ever and I completely base that on her pleas during every commercial of “I want that for Christmas!”. I want her to believe in Santa because I did (I still do for some reason too) and it was a lot of fun to wake up and see the cookies and milk eaten and whatnot. As a parent though I don’t understand the draw of Santa. The idea of it is for the parent to have to spend extra money on presents and get none of the credit but rather give credit to a homeless looking man in a red robe.

In fairness, sometimes they ARE just homeless people in pajamas

Being a step-parent, it has always been my goal to let her know how great I am so that I’m appreciated later in life as “Dad” and hopefully don’t get the “You’re not my REAL dad” treatment. So you see my dilemma.

To make things even more difficult, the wife and I are going on a honeymoon cruise for Christmas and are hoping to put off Christmas until we get back. There’s no place for children on the honeymoon because she’s just too young to tell her to just run around the deck for a half hour and apparently “adult fun” on the deck while your child is abandoned in the cabin is “frowned upon”. It just occurred to me the other day that this means that she must be kept away from calendars during that time and we have to start any advent calendars purposefully late. I’m concerned about the fallout if she realizes that Christmas passes without us. My parents went on a cruise once for Christmas and I was pissed….and I was 24 at the time!

The other issue is how do I explain this to her in terms of Santa?

“Um….Santa found us and left these presents for you with us for safe keeping.”
 
“Uh….we sent a notice to Santa to let him know that we’ll be late. He appreciated it because he was very busy on Christmas Eve.”
 
“Dur…Santa got lost in the Caribbean and daddy bravely saved him. He got you this as a reward.”
 
“Er….WHO TOLD YOU IT WAS JANUARY?!?! THEY LIED!”

She currently lacks a real understanding of time and date as she describes anything that happens in the past, no matter how long ago it occurred, as “yesterday”. I think we’ll be okay but I’m concerned that if she catches on that I’ll be making this up to her for the rest of her life. Santa, help us!

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