Her Two Front Teeth

Neither of my daughters look all that much like me. However, I have evidence that the eldest shares at least some of my genes.

Last year, the dentist was concerned that her front baby teeth had yet to fall out. The ensuing X-rays showed that her permanent teeth were unable to push out the baby teeth because they were being blocked by extra growths – or toothlets – in her gums. My wife thought this was the strangest thing she’d ever heard, until I told her, “Oh yeah, I had those too!” Of all the traits she could have inherited from me, I didn’t suspect extra teeth would be one of them.

On December 30th, 1987 (Yes, I remember the exact date), I had surgery to remove the toothlets. That was when I first learned that I don’t deal well with anesthesia, as I threw up in the recovery room while my mother read me a story from MAD Magazine. Oddly enough, that was the last time I threw up until July 1996 when I again succumbed to anesthesia after having my wisdom teeth removed.

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In case you were curious, this was the issue of MAD she was reading to me. Image source

Last December, the Cutlet underwent a similar procedure, and had her baby teeth as well as the toothlets removed. Fortunately, she did not inherit my extreme nausea from anesthesia. She was pretty much fine by the next day.

We assumed it would only be a matter of time until her permanent teeth took their place in her mouth. But it’s been over a year, and the teeth are just now starting to come in. I’ve grown so used to her having a large gap at the front of her smile, I don’t think I’ll recognize her with teeth.

Because it was such a special procedure, the Tooth Fairy gave the Cutlet an extra-special reward that night. (I think we gave her a whopping $10!) You’d think that would have made her happy, but instead, she broke into tears the next morning because she didn’t actually want the Fairy to take away her teeth.

She’s had no issues with the Fairy taking her teeth before or since, but for some reason, she really wanted to hold onto those particular teeth. We figured this would pass in time, but when the Tooth Fairy came a couple of months ago, the Cutlet wrote her a letter asking for the teeth back, and she’s mentioned it a few times since then.

I’ve tried to explain that after the Tooth Fairy takes the teeth back to heaven (that’s what she does with them, right?), we’re not sure if she can get them back. We’ve also repeatedly asked her exactly why she wants the teeth back, and what she would do with them, and she has never really given us a solid answer. With all the other random crap we have cluttering up our house, we really don’t need a couple of random teeth lying around.

I think I’m going to have one of my co-workers write her a letter from the Tooth Fairy explaining that it’s very difficult to get teeth back once they’re taken away. Hopefully, she’ll be okay with this. If not, I suppose she could always just add them to her list to Santa. If she’s happy with just a couple of teeth waiting for her under the Christmas tree, that’s going to be much cheaper for us!

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Zack and Miri Make a Bar Mitzvah

I attended my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah on Saturday. It was an especially long service, but my nephew did a great job with his readings. He might have been slightly overshadowed by the excellent prayer reading done by his handsome and charismatic uncle, but hopefully I didn’t take the attention away from him too much.

If you’ve never had the privilege of attending a Bar Mitzvah, they typically take place during the synagogue’s regular Saturday morning services. But many of the key readings and other parts are handled by family and friends of the Bar Mitzvah rather than the regular members of the congregation. As I was preparing to do my reading, naturally I was reminded of the 2008 movie “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” (Yes, that’s what I was thinking about during the service.)

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What else would you think about during a Bar Mitzvah? (Image source)

Many of you may have forgotten the movie. It was directed by Kevin Smith, best known for his small-budget films Clerks and Mallrats. Up until that point, Smith’s movies took place in a shared universe that had a common tie in the form of slacker duo Jay and Silent Bob. For this film, Smith left his shared universe and took a different approach: He made a Judd Apatow movie.

Back in 2008, Judd Apatow was a hot director in Hollywood. His “raunchy but full of heart” comedies like “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” were big hits, so Smith apparently decided to copy his style. He took two frequent Apatow collaborators in Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen and put them in a raunchy situation (Two platonic friends decide to make a porno in order to pay bills).  On the surface, it seemed like any of Apatow’s movies, but there was a disjointed feeling at times when some of Smith’s style was more noticeable. We also got some of Smith’s usual crew like Jason Mewes and Jason Anderson in key roles.

Ultimately, the movie was just kind of okay. Perhaps the thing I remember most about it was that they advertised during World Series commercials that year, but shortened the name to “Zack and Miri” in the commercials. Apparently somebody thought that advertising a movie with “Make a Porno” in the title didn’t exactly go well with baseball’s wholesome image.

So there; I’ve just compared my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah with a Kevin Smith movie about making a porno. I can officially check that one off my “to do” list.

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Starting Plans for the Super Bowl Party Now…

I was going to write a longer post today, but the extreme business of the day is going to keep that from happening. There wasn’t much time to sit down and write, as I started off the day taking the Cutlass to ballet in the morning (The girls were dressed like Rudolph complete with red stickers on their noses!), followed by the extended family coming over for Chanukkah brunch. Once they left, I took the kids to the library, and then I returned home to bag up some leaves and then watch the Eagles game.

As for the game, that was not super fun. The Eagles should have recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff, but the refs inexplicably said the Eagles didn’t have the ball even though it was blindingly obvious that they did. Carson Wentz went on to play horribly in the first half, but that was partially my fault since I was watching the game downstairs.

As soon as I moved to the basement, the Eagles started to look like a competent football team again. (I swear I’m not superstitious or anything!) The newfound competence allowed the game to go to overtime, but it wasn’t enough to have them win the game. The Cowboys ultimately won the game when a pass hit an Eagles defender, and it deflected into the arms of a receiver who ran in for the game winning score.

With that, the Dallas Cowboys (gag) have essentially wrapped up the NFC East, and the Eagles’ faint playoff hopes rest on them somehow earning a wild card bid. Ah well, guess you can’t win the Super Bowl every year. And besides, Mrs. Cutter is happy because if the Eagles aren’t playing, we can host a Super Bowl party.

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Get ready for our Super Bowl party. It’s gonna be a banger! (Image source)

Hopefully, tomorrow will be less hectic and I can post what I originally intended for today. Stay tuned for that one, as I will compare my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah to a Kevin Smith movie about making a pornographic film.

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Barenaked Ladies: Get in Line

Remember the late ’90s? Remember the TV show King of the Hill? Remember when the show put out a soundtrack album that included songs featured on and inspired by the show? (Honestly, before discovering it today, I had absolutely no recollection of this.)

And since it was the late ’90s, it only made sense that one of the bands featured on the soundtrack album would be those lovable Canadian hipsters The Barenaked Ladies!

Let’s see what kind of hilarity this combination of late ’90’s icons brought about:

0:01 – We start out by seeing what the BNL would look like if they were animated by Mike Judge. They’re talking to Dale Gribble, one of the stars of King of the Hill. He’s talking to them about alien abductions, and how to best survive the experience. This is consistent with Dale’s character on the show, as he was always talking about conspiracy theories and the like.

0:16 – BNL is no longer animated. They are still in the animated world, but they appear to be three-dimensional humans. This transition is never explained.

0:27 – Dale is standing with Hank Hill, unaware that the Barenaked Ladies are playing right underneath his feet. I’m not sure why the BNL felt the need to play underground. Seems like a decent amount of work to set up considering nobody would see them.

0:37 – Now some members of BNL are sneaking around behind false scenery, seemingly in an attempt to mess with Dale. Apparently, they heard his alien abduction talk and thought it would be fun to mess with him a little.

0:45 – Dale is getting increasingly freaked out, and rightfully so because people are actually sneaking around behind him.

1:07 – One of the band members swipes Dale’s cigarettes which leads me to wonder: Can real life people smoke animated cigarettes?

1:16 – Apparently he never intended to smoke the cigarettes, he merely put a trick cigarette in the pack which blows up in Dale’s face. The explosion has the same effect as it does on most cartoons: It messes up his hair and turns his face black.

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1:33 – A pill is dropped into Dale’s beer. It causes him to glow green and become translucent. What the hell did he put in the beer?

1:54 – The band releases fire ants onto Dale’s lawn, which causes him to spray a healthy amount of pesticide.

2:02 – Looks like the ant gambit backfired, as the band breathes in a healthy dose of pesticide. They don’t seem fazed by it, so maybe animated gas has no effect on humans?

2:13 – The BNL are now spying on Dale in the shower. Since he is unaware, this isn’t going to freak him out, so I’m not sure the point. Maybe they’re just voyeurs?

2:20 – Singer Steven Page starts taking his shirt off for some reason. I think I forgot that Page tends to do something really creepy in all of the band’s videos.

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2:55 – Singer/guitarist Ed Robertson appears to kiss Page. Like most things in this video, there’s no explanation why.

2:58 – Dale’s fence falls down, and someone dressed as Fidel Castro is hidden behind it, spying on Dale.

3:01 – Now one of the band members is dressed as an alien and shoots Dale with a ray gun. Their harassment has become really aggressive.

3:32 – Robertson puts on a Hank Hill mask and walks up beside Dale. He doesn’t seem to notice.

3:48 – It ends somewhat benignly with a simple bunny ears.

The video showed the band messing with Dale, but there’s no explanation for their actions. Sure, he’s a bit paranoid and neurotic, and it’s probably fun to mess with him, but there seems to be genuine animosity considering the lengths they go to. Maybe if he was hostile to them when they were talking at the beginning, it would have made sense.

Perhaps we need to take a closer look at the character of Dale Gribble. When this show aired – keep in mind that the majority of the show’s run was during the George W. Bush era – he was portrayed as a bit offbeat, but ultimately a dedicated family man (who was completely unaware that his wife was having a long-term affair and his son wasn’t actually his). He is the type of working class American that many media outlets love to portray as the true protagonist of the country.

I can say with 99% certainty that if Dale was a real person, he would have voted for Donald Trump, and it is just as likely he would still support him today. Dale would likely be the first to decry any news story he didn’t agree with as fake news. And if you accused him of racism? He’d just say that President Obama was the one who really caused the racial divide in the country.

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These days, this hat would probably say “Make America Great Again.”

Would we still find Dale quite so amusing these days?  I don’t think I would.

Perhaps BNL was prescient enough to see what was coming, and their abuse of Dale was a pre-emptive strike. Or maybe they just wanted to make a fun video with a cartoon character. Who can really tell?

 

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Drop Everything, the New Avengers Trailer is Here!

The internet was abuzz this morning over the eagerly awaited release of the trailer for the next Avengers movie.

Remember when release of the actual movie was a bigger deal than the release of a trailer? These days, it seems like the trailer release is the main event, and because they seemingly reveal 75% of the plot, the actual movie is anticlimactic. Ultimately, I’m okay with this, because I’m a sucker for trailers.

So what did we learn about the next, greatest chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Iron Man is sad and probably going to die

Tony Stark is lost in space, and probably going to die soon. He may ultimately die in this movie, but I have a feeling it won’t happen with him just drifting along by himself. Although wouldn’t that be something if they just killed off arguably the MCU’s main character in such an anticlimactic fashion?

Captain America is sad and desperate.

This is not unusual, as he has spent 90% of his time in these movies being either sad, desperate, or both. He’s also probably going to die, which is a shame because his solo movies have generally been the best ones.

Black Widow talks a lot

Maybe she actually gets her own solo movie next?

Hawkeye is back

After not appearing in Infinity War, Hawkeye is actually in this one, but based on his clothes, he will be appearing under the guise of Ronin. Fanboys are acting super excited about this, but don’t let them fool you. Clint Barton took the Ronin identity in the comics for a while, and for most of that time, everyone just wanted him to go back to being Hawkeye.

Fanboys are just excited because they recognize what’s going on and get to feel like they’re smarter than everyone else.

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It’s Ronin. Yay, I guess? (Image source)

Paul Rudd is also in this one

Paul Rudd will be reprising his role as Scott Lang aka Ant Man, although as we all know, he’s simply playing the same character Paul Rudd always plays.

I never actually saw Ant Man and the Wasp – Mrs. Cutter lamely chose to do something else for our date night over the summer – but I have the DVD sitting at home, so hopefully I’ll get to see it soon.

We shouldn’t read too much into anything we saw

The first trailers are almost always deceptive. Things are meant to seem VERY IMPORTANT, and then turn out to be minor plot elements or taken out of context.

Anyway, I guess I know what I’ll be doing in late April. Mrs. Cutter’s birthday is around the same time, so maybe I’ll take her to see it, to help her get over the disappointment over not seeing Ant man and the Wasp.

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Eight Crazy Nights

It’s Chanukkah time! As is my wont, I will celebrate the holiday by posting eight random things!

ONE

I’m still waiting for another good Chanukkah song. We’ve got “I had a little dreidel” and Adam Sandler’s song, and that’s it. I’ve been asking Alexa to play a Chanukah songs, and the best it’s come up with is The Leevee’s “How Do You Spell Chanukkahh?”

TWO

On the other hand, I recently came across the Jewish band 8th Day, and they have some catchy songs:

It feels like these guys should be able to come up with a good Chanukkah song that will enthrall the nation. They need to get on this.

THREE

This song was on Step it Up: A Jewish version of Dance Dance Revolution. And now you know such a thing exists.

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FOUR

I learned this game existed when I went to Chanukkah Wonderland, an event put on by a local synagogue. It was pretty cool. They had crafts, someone cooking latkes, legos, and an appearance by Mosheh the Magician. It entertained the kids for a couple of hours, and we got some decorations to put on the table for our family’s Chanukkah brunch. And all it cost me was some money at the gift shop, and a donation to charity.

FIVE

Speaking of Mosheh the Magician, we’ve seen him before, but he usually goes by the name of Captain Silly. He didn’t really change his routine much – He was still dressed up as a pirate, and sometimes forgot that he was performing under a different pseudonym.

But the kids didn’t seem to mind. All of the kids in attendance were SUPER into Captain Silly Mosheh’s act. Plus, they get to take home goody bags containing fake money, rings, and lollipops. My children even tried to recreate some of the tricks at home to mixed results.

SIX

We had seen Captain Silly at an children’s camp event last summer. And after his performance, we were waiting in line for snow cones, and the guy completely cut in front of us. In his defense, I don’t think he realized there was a long line of people. Or maybe he was just really getting into his role as a lawless pirate or something. Whatever. If he can keep my kids entertained for an hour or so, I’ll forgive a little line cutting.

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Mosheh the Magician aka Captain Silly

SEVEN

My kids have been learning about Chanukkah this week at their preschool. They’ve learned the rules of dreidel, and now want they want to play. Unfortunately, the Cutlass isn’t quite capable of giving the dreidel a full spin, and it just kind of falls down. Perhaps this weekend when their cousins are over, they can all play for a chance to win their grandfather’s money. (Thankfully, my father is generally a good sport when I suggest this.)

EIGHT

As far as presents go, I think I’m done with all my shopping. I tried to get it done early this year, and while I assuredly spent more than I hoped I would, I think I got some good deals. Ultimately, that’s more important than getting them what they really want, right?

Happy Chanukkah!

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Holiday Clips: Santa and Jesus Sing!

In order to help get everyone into the holiday spirit, throughout the month I’ll provide some pop culture clips that deal with Christmas, Chanukkah, or the holiday season in general.

Today’s clip comes to us from the good people at South Park and was featured on the Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics episode. (You know, back before Mr. Hankey became problematic.)

If you can’t view the embed, please follow this link.

Obviously, it’s awesome when Santa starts singing Rio. But really, the only Santa song he could come up with was “Up on the House Top?” He didn’t go with “Here Comes Santa Claus” or “Santa Baby?” You’d think he’d come prepared with more material.

Perhaps my favorite part of the clip is the polite applause that the crowd gives every time they go into a new song or the tempo picks up.

Finally, because I’m feeling especially generous today, here’s the Duran Duran video for Rio:

 

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Monday Night Football: The Champs are Still Alive

The Eagles played the Redskins on Monday Night Football last night. A loss would have essentially ended the Eagles’ season, so I’m very happy to report that they did not lose. It was not a pretty game by any means, but the Eagles emerged with a 28-13 win. And the dreams of back-to-back championships stay alive for another week.

The game probably shouldn’t have even been as close as it was. When Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy suffered an injury – and he was only in because former starter Alex Smith only has one working leg these days – it left them with former Eagle Mark Sanchez behind center.

Sanchez was the backup quarterback for the Eagles for two seasons, and to be fair, he was never a total disaster. He’d have some moments when he’d be throwing the ball well, the offense would be moving and you’d really start to believe it might work. And just when you were fully on board the Sanchez bandwagon, he’d throw an awful interception that made you remember why he had never been more successful.

Unsurprisingly, the Sanchez-led offense of the Redskins was not able to produce many points. Ancient running back Adrian Peterson somehow ripped off a 90 yard touchdown run, but that was about it for the Redskins’ offense.

Meanwhile, the Eagles looked better on offense than they have for most of the season, but a few costly mistakes kept them from pulling away. Quarterback Carson Wentz played decently well, but has still yet to recapture his MVP form from 2017, and threw a notably awful interception by the goal line.

I’m not in a position to complain about wins. Maybe last year I could complain when the wins weren’t spectacular enough, but for a team in the Eagles’ position, every win is a pretty win.

I was surprised by how bad the Monday Night Football broadcast was. This used to be the NFL’s premier game of the week, but it has since been eclipsed by the Sunday Night game. These days, I generally only watch MNF if the Eagles are playing.

Color commentary for MNF is provided by former NFL player Mark Witten. Witten retired last season, and I’m not sure why ESPN was in such a hurry to get this guy such a prominent job. He probably would have been well served doing a few years of C and D-level game broadcasts before moving into prime time. He spent the whole time either talking about his former playing career or acting disinterested by the events on the field.

To wrap things up, since I talked about Mark Sanchez, it would be wrong of me to not mention his most famous play ever. Ladies and gentlemen: The Butt Fumble!

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Drip, Drop

There are better ways to start off a weekend than by stepping into a puddle in front of your kitchen sink. When my foot landed in wetness on Saturday morning, my hope was that some water had merely spilled off the edge of the counter. Upon opening the cabinet under the sink, I quickly realized that was not the case.

The cabinet was soaked, and I began to fear the worst. I rushed down to the basement, and saw that water was now dripping through a light fixture onto the floor. Thankfully, only a small amount of water had collected thus far, but I realized I’d need to act quickly to make sure it didn’t get worse.

I was able to stop the immediate problem by turning off the water supply under the sink, but I soon surmised that I would not be able to fix the greater problem at hand. We would have to call a plumber, and on a Saturday morning, a plumber was unlikely to come cheap.

Fortunately, Mrs. Cutter recently befriended a woman who owned a plumbing company. She gave her friend a call, and within an hour, a plumber arrived at our house to remedy the problem.

The plumber determined that our faucet was leaking, and based on the corrosion, it had been doing so for some time. We found this annoying because the faucet was relatively new (maybe three years old), and wasn’t particularly cheap. Regardless, since we preferred our under-sink area and basement remain dry going forward, Mrs. Cutter had to rush out to Lowe’s and purchase a new Delta faucet.

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With ShieldSpray technology! (Image source)

A second trip to Lowe’s later that day resulted in the purchase of a wet vac. I had no idea how much a wet vac cost, but my imagined cost was much higher than $40, so when I saw a reasonable-looking model on sale for $39.50, I pounced. I’m not sure how effective it was in getting the water out of the bulkhead, but with three children around, I’m sure there will be further liquid-based incidents in the future.

This had already turned out to be an expensive day, but thanks to Mrs. Cutter’s friend charging us a very reasonable rate, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. Not only did the company not extort us, the technician was friendly and performed good, quick work. Therefore, if any of you are in the Montgomery County, MD area and need a plumber, I highly recommend Clarksburg Plumbing.

On the other hand, if you’d like to avoid any unexpected water leaks on the weekend, I can understand taking that approach too.

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Goodbye, Mr. Bush

In 1988, I would sometimes wear a Bush/Quayle button on my shirt. I’d like to claim that I was especially up on my politics in the fifth grade, but the truth was, I barely knew anything about Bush aside from the fact that he was the vice president and a Republican. At that point in time, Republicans were the “cool” political party thanks to the magnetic personality of president Ronald Reagan and the stylings of Alex P. Keaton.

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Thanks to Alex P. Keaton, it was cool to be a Republican in the ’80s. (Image source)

Four years later, things had changed a bit. In my ninth grade social studies class, we were asked which candidate we preferred. Most of my classmates preferred the “hipper” Democratic candidate Bill Clinton, but I was still a Bush backer.

As far as I could see, Bush had successfully guided the country through victory in the Gulf War. In addition, I greatly enjoyed Dana Carvey’s portrayal of the president on Saturday Night Live. (It’s kind of scary how much my political views were shaped by pop culture. I’d like to say a lot has changed, but I’m not entirely sure.)

I knew that the country was going through a recession, but I was too young and insulated to really understand what that meant. To me, Bush had done enough to deserve re-election. Apparently the majority of the country disagreed.

As you may have noticed, my personal politics have shifted since then (I even voted for Clinton in 1996!) But in hindsight, I still think Bush Senior’s tenure in the White House went decently well. In the past two days, I’ve seen many people on my side of the political spectrum bash Bush for some of the negative aspects of his reign, but I try to keep in mind that we’ve yet to have a perfect president. Every man to sit in that office has had some black marks against him. We could – and definitely have – done a lot worse than Bush.

Besides, how many presidents have given as moments as awesome as this?

So farewell, President Bush. I only hope that when we elect a new president in 2020, he can at least be as not horrible as you.

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