when I started this blog five years ago, I was a pet sitter and the name animal-crackers made sense. now I'm a stay-at-home-dad and freelance writer, but rather than confuse everyone by getting a different blog, it's just easier to keep posting things here.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Alien vs. Jesus

They need to make a first-person-shooter game starring Jesus. Not the "Blessed are the meek" Jesus. The NRA Jesus.

He's on a mission to rescue Charlton Heston from gay alien Islamists who throw croisants.

Actually, what I meant to write about today is an AP-AOL poll that showed 25 percent of Americans think Jesus will return to Earth in 2007. Does anyone think he would be caught dead in a hellhole like Earth? Oh yeah...

More to the point, if he hasn't showed up by now -- what are the odds that he'll show up within the next 366 days? (Leap year.)

The same poll showed 19 percent of Americans think scientists will discover evidence of extraterrestrial life. Seriously? Do microbes from Mars count -- or does it have to be something more X-Files?

So given 20 people -- five are expecting Christ and four are expecting aliens.

It's safe to say these aren't the same people, so roughly half of America expects the Messiah or Men In Black.

It's not for us to judge what kind of people believe 2007 will bring non-Earthly beings (be they heavenly or not).

Branch Davidians. Heaven's Gate. People's Temple of Jim Jones. David Hasslehoff.

They're just people, like you and I. But with guns and poison and beachwear.

We shall not judge.
posted by todd at 4:40 PM 0 comments

Thursday, December 28, 2006

stupid santa

The boys had a great Christmas -- many material possessions to be had. Details and pics should follow if I catch a breather from work.

In the meantime, we need a little help. One of Dylan's gifts was left behind -- unwrapped and still hidden. It wouldn't be a problem except that Josh considers toys a key barometer for love. We can't just give the toy to Dylan without explanation.

Any thoughts?
posted by todd at 6:04 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The people you meet in the therapist's waiting room

The title is misleading, but it sounds better than: The person I met today.

I took Josh to the play therapist -- his sixth visit and still no substantial progress report, but that's a different story. When we arrived, there was an older white guy in the waiting room, and we struck up a conversation.

The guy loved to talk -- about himself. Nice guy, but just a little off.

His name was Thomas Dixon and he was visiting from Oregon. His daughter-in-law was also a therapist there. He then tells me he was a native Texan, but lived most of his life in California. He worked for ITT Aerospace, which was instrumental in the Apollo missions.

Thomas said he had five devices still on the moon and one in the Smithsonian. If I'd had my wits about me I would've asked why he kept losing his devices in such remote locations.

Instead, fumbling to make conversation, I asked if he thought about writing about his life now that he's retired. That launched us into a conversation (monologue, really) about how he grew up near New Braunfels never knowing when his next meal might be.

His father was 32 and his mother 16 when they married. His father was a late-life baby and a twin who had been spoiled rotten and never wanted kids. He died in a car accident in 1929, a few months before the stock market crash. Thomas' mother was left with three children and little means to feed the family. This was years before the New Deal.

But Thomas did survive and went to technical school. He joined the Air Force during WWII and served stateside teaching others how to repair planes. After the war, he worked with Wernher von Braun, the head of the Nazi V2 rocket program. Apparently Hitler had to imprison von Braun twice because the scientist didn't want to make weapons. He wanted to fly to the moon.

Thomas told me about his travels to Europe and Israel -- "I only travel the clean countries," he said.

Mostly, he talked about himself but occasionally he asked about me. He wondered how a Pennsylvania boy found himself in Texas. I told him a short version of how I ended up in North Carolina, married Andrea and moved to Austin.

Thomas said he had never visited North Carolina, but that's where his father's family was from. You see, Thomas Dixon was named for his uncle, Thomas Dixon. If you're too lazy to follow the link, his uncle wrote The Birth of a Nation -- a 1915 movie about the Ku Klux Klan's creation and racial purity.

But his maternal ancestry is so much more interesting. His mother's grandfather was Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels who was recruited by Sam Houston to establish New Braunfels in Texas.

You see, Sammie was worried about all the Mexicans who lived in Texas and remained loyal to Mexico. Sammie wanted to "whiten" the newfound republic -- add a little racial Clorox. So he asked all sorts of good Aryan families to emigrate. Prince Carl was happy to oblige.

While Thomas is telling me about his very interesting life, I can't help but keep track of the math.

1) Worked with Nazi rocket scientist.
2) Nephew of seminal Klan movie author.
3) Great-grandson of German nobility.
4) Only travels to "clean" countries.

Hmmm, now I'm no rocket scientist but I think I can guess Mr. Dixon's politics. It bugs me that the conversation carried such a taint. But it was rather inescapable.

Still, very interesting encounter.

And that's who I met today, in the therapist's waiting room.
posted by todd at 3:28 PM 1 comments

Monday, December 18, 2006

People Say the Jerkiest Things

Last week a family we know was whisked away by Ty Pennington and the producers of Extreme Makeover Home Edition (Andrea's story).

Quick background: the O'Donnells have six kids -- five of whom have some form of autism. Patrick works two jobs while Jeanette stays home. The eight of them squeezed into a 2,500 square-foot house they were soon to lose because of outrageous mortgage payments.

So EMHE swept in, sent the O'Dons to Colorado for their first vacation ever, razed their house and built a new one. A very, very cool house. Oh, and their old mortgage was paid.

Yeah, we're jealous. Or maybe envious is a better word. However, we couldn't be happier for the O'Dons. We've known them for two years now -- took their kids trick-or-treating with Josh, spent Thanksgiving with them, had them over for Josh's birthday bash. We've watched many of their ups and downs over the past two years. So yeah, we're ecstatic that they were chosen by EMHE to get a new house.

Unfortunately, these kinds of stories seem to draw out the worst in some people. Andrea's been getting emails from people who are angry that the O'Dons had so many kids and lived in an effed up house. Some parents of other autistic kids are pissed off because Jeanette says some things they don't like -- usually involving autism and mercury, kind of complicated.

And of course, there are those who are upset that EMHE built a 5,000-plus square-foot McMansion in that neighborhood. "They'll never be able to sell it," was one person's comment.

What the fuck is wrong with these people? How can people get so angry over people they don't know receiving a gift from people they don't know?

Here try this out: Call a random number in the phone book and ask what they got for Christmas. And then yell at them! Vent that anger!

Or maybe it's just because the O'Dons will be on TV. Perhaps these angry people hate their own lives so much they can't stand to see someone else happy. So cliche.

Stupid people suck. Next time you hear a stupid person open their mouth -- yell at them! Vent that anger!

At least then, it'll be toward someone who deserves it.
posted by todd at 1:48 PM 3 comments

Friday, December 15, 2006

paying attention

Cartoon Network played the 1973 version of Charlotte's Web this morning. Josh watched most of it while playing.

Near the end of the movie, Wilber the Pig, Charlotte the Spider and Templeton the Rat are at the county fair. Wilber tells Templeton: "Charlotte is going to die! We need to get her egg sack back to the farm!"

And Josh turns to me and asks: "Who's Charlotte?"
posted by todd at 10:56 AM 0 comments

Thursday, December 07, 2006

more Powderpuff

Here's another plug for Andrea's online crochet cafe. She has purses and hats and a few scarves. Today's the big employee fair at the Statesman, so a lot of these goodies will be gone by 1:30 pm.

posted by todd at 9:49 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

the silence of the shepherd

posted by todd at 12:25 PM 0 comments

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Give the gift of Powderpuff

Christmas, the time of year when we should stop for a moment and asks ourselves: What would Mary do?

And now we have a clear and definitive answer: Mary would surf the Internet in search of a hat for her newborn. And what better place to shop online than Powderpuff.

Mary would say pshaw to these overblown concerns about commercialism. She was poor. She knew the value of a dollar, and myrrh.

And if she had a dozen or more of those dollars she would buy herself a new purse at Powderpuff. It's true.

And Joseph? If he had a few dollars, he surely would have bought his honey-bun a scarf.

At Powderpuff.

Powderpuff. It's more than just a store. It's Andrea's store.
posted by todd at 8:27 AM 0 comments

Friday, December 01, 2006

DeVito vs. Gibson

Tangential to my previous post -- did everyone hear about Danny DeVito's appearance on The View?

First, let's be clear I've never seen The View. Don't have a problem with the show, it's just not my cup o' tea.

Apparently Danny was inebriated. He had gone out the night before to party with his buddy George Clooney. So much partying, he was still drunk when he appeared on the show. He made a few crass remarks here and there, but from what I read he sounds like a hoot.

And he made it through the entire show without calling anyone "sugar tits" or "Jew cop". However, he did refer to one American president as "num nuts."

But overall, he's a fun drunk! Everyone likes a fun drunk.

And no one likes a mean drunk. Got that Mel? No one likes a mean drunk.
posted by todd at 11:04 AM 0 comments

movies for Josh

After a nine-month hiatus, we've returned to the world of Netflix. It's nice to see some new movies again -- and Josh loves receiving DVDs in the mail. We even set him up with his own queue.

Now for those unfamiliar with Netflix it has a system that recommends movies. We rate DVDs we've seen and it spits out a list of movies we might like.

Josh's top-20 rated DVDs include Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Chicken Run, Dora the Explorer, Monsters Inc., Toy Story, Herbie: Fully Loaded, etc.

Based on this input, most of Netflix's recommendations seem appropriate -- Backyardigans, The Shaggy Dog, Go Diego Go, VeggieTales.

However, a few make me wonder, what the fuck? Movies like National Treasure, Lord of the Rings, Bleak House, Eddie Izzard Dress to Kill, Shaun of the Living Dead and -- perhaps the most inappropriate movie for a 4-year-old -- The Passion of Christ.

"Hey, son! How would you like to see a 2-hour snuff film made by an alcoholic, anti-Semitic zealot?"

Maybe next week we'll see The Birth of a Nation.
posted by todd at 9:51 AM 0 comments