Who Won the Internet? – Roxanne Chalifoux

The NCAA Tournament is one of the greatest sporting events in America. When we think of the tournament, we think of thrilling buzzer beaters, unlikely heroes, and “One Shining Moment.”

But the sad truth is that for 67 teams that enter, the tournament is going to have an unhappy ending. For every team that jubilantly celebrates victory, there’s another team whose dreams of a championship have just died.

On Saturday night, Villanova Univeristy was one of the teams whose dreams died. The top seeded Wildcats were upset by North Carolina State.

I was personally happy about this. I am no fan of Villanova, so I usually root against them. Besides, unless you have a rooting interest (like picking them in your NCAA pool), it’s always fun to see one of the top seeds suffer an upset.

But not everyone was happy about the game’s outcome.

Roxanne Chalifoux is a piccolo player in Villanova’s band. Devastated by her team’s loss, she began to cry, yet still managed to play on with the rest of the band.

The television cameras were there to capture her misery:

Naturally, “Crying Piccolo Girl” quickly became an internet meme:

Chalifoux is taking full advantage of her fifteen minutes of fame. She’s already appeared on Jimmy Fallon and gotten to play alongside the Roots.

So don’t cry for “Piccolo Girl.” She’s going to be just fine.

Posted in Who won the internet? | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Cutter’s Mildly Informative Post about South Africa

Last week, our au pair visited her family in her native country of South Africa. We were slightly concerned that the house would completely fall apart without her, but we managed to survive. I did warn her that if she didn’t come back, I would fly over there and hunt her down.

The South African flag

The South African flag

In case I actually had to follow through with that threat, I decided to learn more about South Africa, since – like most Americans – I know very little about any country that isn’t the United States.

She did indeed return to us, but that doesn’t mean my newly gained knowledge has to go to waste. I figured I could help educate my readers because I’m guessing that most of you similarly know very little about South Africa.

Normally, last week would have been spent researching my NCAA tournament picks. But I won two pools last year, and that was almost entirely based on luck. In one of the pools, nobody had any of the Final Four teams correct. So I basically won because I did really well in the first two rounds.

I figured that I wasn’t due for that kind of luck again, so I wouldn’t spend much time worrying about it. Sure enough, I was pretty much wiped out of contention immediately as one of my national finalists lost in the very first game. (Thanks a lot, Iowa State!)

Freed from my NCAA research, I was able to do some exhaustive research on South Africa’s history and culture. (I looked it up on Wikipedia) I soon realized that I actually know more about the country than I do about 95% of the nations in the world.

This isn’t really saying much. For all you non-Americans out there, trust me when I say that Americans know absolutely nothing about foreign countries. The fact that I can actually locate Canada on a map puts me ahead of many of my peers.

I was able to locate South Africa on the map. (It was the one that had South Africa written across it!) But even if you’re dealing with an unlabeled map, the country’s name should give you a pretty good idea of where to start looking.

It's at the bottom of Africa. Go figure! (Image source

It’s at the bottom of Africa. Go figure! (Image source

Like many countries around the world, South Africa was once a British colony. (So they drive on the wrong side of the road.) After gaining independence from the British, the South African government celebrated their freedom by drastically reducing the rights of a large percentage of its population. And thus, the apartheid era began.

You know how race relations in America improved somewhat in the 1950’s and 60’s? In South Africa, things went in a slightly different direction.

Instead of being hailed as a hero, and eventually given his own holiday like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela was thrown in prison, and segregation policies were more strictly enforced.

(I’m aware that this is a drastic oversimplification, but I didn’t think anyone was really interested in a detailed history lesson.)

Speaking of Mandela, I’ve been tempted to show our au pair this skit from Chappelle’s Show and see what she thinks of it:

After giving it some consideration, I realize I probably shouldn’t show that to her.

While apartheid has ended and race relations have improved, that doesn’t mean that South Africa is a happy and cheery place these days. There’s a high crime rate and South Africa often ranks #1 in the number of rapes per person.

In other uplifting news, South Africa is the only African nation to successfully develop a nuclear weapon. This has caused some concern for the rest of the world because although they ended their nuclear program and dismantled their weapons, they’re still in possession of a large stash of nuclear material. The problem is, they don’t seem to be all that good about keeping it safe.

On a lighter note, South Africa was the setting for the movie District 9, and that movie was pretty cool. Maybe I just thought it was a nice change of pace for the invading aliens to actually be stupid rather than highly intelligent.

That’s about the extent of my South African knowledge. Anyone out there have any factoids about the country that we might find interesting?

I’ll leave you with a song from one of South Africa’s most famous bands: Kongos. (Yes, Mrs. Cutter, Kongos is from South Africa.) Here is their hit song “Come With Me Now.”

Posted in Randomness | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

So…Can They Tell Time Now?

It’s been well established that Daylight Saving Time is nothing but a plot to make parents’ lives more difficult. However, we were hopeful that this year, it might actually work in our favor.

The problem most people have with “springing forward” is that they have to get up an hour earlier than they’re accustomed to. Parents of infants don’t really have that problem since they usually wake up not based on the time of day, but rather the needs of their children.

As of last week, the twins had been consistently been waking up around 6 AM. That was about an hour earlier than we would prefer, but we hoped that with the clock change, they would start to wake up around 7.

They don't even have a clock in their room! (Image source)

They don’t even have a clock in their room! (Image source)

Imagine our surprise on Sunday morning when we heard the sounds of their cries and saw that the clock on the cable box read 6:15. At first, we were unsure what was going on. Had the cable box’s clock not automatically updated?

No, the clock was correct, it was the babies who were wrong. Despite absolutely no change in their routine, they had decided to arbitrarily wake up an hour earlier.

Since they weren’t too upset, I left them in their crib for a while, but they never fully went back to sleep. Eventually they ended up eating right around their normal 7:30 feeding time – which should have been an hour early according to their internal clocks!

Throughout the day, they continued to confuse us. We assumed that it might be a struggle to feed them since we’d be giving them their bottles earlier than they were accustomed to. Wrong. Instead, they consistently cried to be fed before their scheduled feeding times.

At the end of the night, they were so upset and inconsolable that we had no choice but to feed them and put them to bed early. And sure enough, they were back up at 6 AM this morning.

Can anyone explain what is happening? Did someone tell them about the clock change? Are they smart enough to have figured it out on their own? Or do they just hate the thought of their parents getting any extra sleep?

At least I can say that the time shift hasn’t affected me nearly as much as most people. After all, when you’re already exhausted and sleep deprived, what’s another hour?

I just hope that they can transition just as easily in the Fall when we have to switch the clocks backwards. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be quite that lucky.

Posted in Twins | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Ten Greatest Songs of All-Time: #6 – I Will Always Love You

Thanks to the recent discovery of a super-secret formula for ranking songs, I’ve been able to compile a definitive list of the ten greatest songs of all time.

Because I’m such a nice person, I’ve decided to share the list with you all. And because I’m kind of weird, I’m sharing them in non-sequential order.

The songs so far:

#10: Push – Matchbox 20

#9: Rock Me Amadeus – Falco

#8: Beer for My Horses – Toby Keith and Willie Nelson

#7: Cry Me a River – Justin Timberlake

#5: Revolution – The Beatles

#4: I Want You Back – Jackson 5

#3: Can I Kick It? – A Tribe Called Quest

#2: Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins

#6 – I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Why the ranking is justified

She became a bit of a mess at the end of her life, but back in the 80’s and early 90’s, Whitney Houston was as big as they came in the music industry. For all you youngsters out there, she was essentially the Beyoncé of her time, complete with a pop star husband.

But Whitney wasn’t content just being on top of the movie world. She also tried her hand at acting, and perhaps her most famous role was when she teamed up with Kevin Costner in the 1992 movie The Bodyguard. (This was back when Costner was considered one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.)

Most people probably wouldn’t remember the movie it if not for the song that Houston produced for the soundtrack. She took Dolly Parton’s 1974 hit and re-worked it as an R&B power ballad. The result ended up winning two Grammy Awards.

It’s worth noting that according to the formula, this is the greatest song ever sung by a female artist. (I suppose that’s a bit of a spoiler for the #1 song. My apologies to anyone hoping that Blondie’s “Rapture” was going to capture that spot.)

Personal reflection on the song

Long-time readers of the blog will remember when I capitalized on Houston’s death to become the star of Mrs. Cutter’s company holiday party.

Aside from that, I don’t really have much opinion about Whitney. She was a great singer, but her music isn’t exactly my cup of tea. And it’s not like I was especially pumped to watch The Bodyguard either.

I do remember one time in elementary school when our gym teacher recited “Greatest Love of All” over the intercom system. I don’t recall why exactly she did that, and looking back, it was kind of weird. I think it had something to do with the children being the future or something.

What do you think? Does “I Will Always Love You” deserve its lofty ranking? Or did my formula (and keep in mind, it’s infallable!) miss the mark on this one?

Posted in Pop Culture | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Super Bowl XLIX Preview – with Special Guest Star Idina Menzel!

Now that the controversy over the Patriots’ balls is starting to die down, we can finally look ahead to Sunday’s big game. Unfortunately, most people have realized that they aren’t particularly fond of either team playing in the game.

First off, both teams have had too much recent success. The Seahawks just won last year! Haven’t they met their quota for a while? And I think we’re all pretty sick of seeing teams from Boston succeed.

Not to mention that both teams have sometimes been accused of not exactly handling their business completely legally.

DID SOMEBODY SAY SUPER BOWL?

What the heck?

I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU COULD POSSIBLY TALK ABOUT THE SUPER BOWL WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT WHO IS SINGING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM!

Oh, no! Not again!

ALL HAIL QUEEN ELSA – THE GREATEST ANTHEM SINGER THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN!!!

Sigh…it looks like I’m once again being paid a visit by Idina Menzel.

Idina Menzel: Hello, Cutter! Queen Elsa has returned to your humble blog.

Cutter: It’s so lovely to see you, Idina.

IM: *Ahem*

Cutter: (Shakes head)……It’s lovely to see you, Queen Elsa.

IM: Of course it is. How many other blogs have had the honor of having the queen of Arendelle stop by?

Cutter: I’m guessing several hundred?

IM: And each one of them is truly blessed!

Cutter: So…why are you here?

IM: Why to discuss the Super Bowl, of course! Isn’t that what everyone is talking about these days?

Cutter: Yes, I was discussing the Super Bo-

IM: But I’m sure that what everyone is REALLY looking forward to is the national anthem!

Cutter: Admittedly, my daughter is kind of excited about it. Then again, she’s even more excited about Katy Perry singing at halftime.

My daughter is super pumped about Katy Perry's halftime show. (Image source)

My daughter is super pumped about Katy Perry’s halftime show. (Image source)

IM: Katy Perry? A fine enough singer I suppose, but is she royalty? I think not. Besides, her “half time” show shall surely be overshadowed by my marvelous performance. Why it wouldn’t surprise me if the game itself is overshadowed by me.

Cutter: Uh, sure. So while you’re here, do you have any thoughts on the game itself.

IM: Yes. Since I was invited to perform at your country’s most important event, I decided to learn a little more about this game.

At first, I was not a fan of the Patriots, for their…what do you Americans call him..quarterback –

Cutter: You’re American! Stop acting like you don’t know what a god damn quarterback is!

IM: Oh, silly Cutter. In Arendelle, we didn’t have such silly games. As I was saying, that Tom Brady reminds me just a bit too much of Price Hans of the Seven Isles.

Cutter: Bridget Moynahan probably feels the same way.

IM: But then I saw that the Patriots are coached by my old friend Grand Pabbie. I’m sure that Grand Pabbie will be able to lead his team to victory…much like he once helped me control my ice powers.

Cutter: Um, that’s actually Bill Belichick.

Add a hoodie, and you've got a dead ringer for Bill Belichick (Image source)

Add a hoodie, and you’ve got a dead ringer for Bill Belichick (Image source)

IM: You don’t say. Well in that case, perhaps I shall choose the Seagulls to emerge victorious.

Cutter: It’s the Seahawks! You know damn well that it’s the Seahawks! Are you pretending to be foreign or mentally handicapped?

IM: I’m not pretending to be anything.

Cutter: Sadly, I think you’re right.

IM: Perhaps to make Sunday’s game more interesting, I will make it snow! Wouldn’t it be fun if the players got to run around in snow?

Cutter: Um, the game is being played in Arizona…and indoors.

IM: Those are but minor obstacles for my ice powers!

Cutter: Still, it’s not a good idea for you to….Wait, why am I actually worried about this?

This is what we can expect Idina to be wearing on Sunday.Image source

This is what we can expect Idina to be wearing on Sunday.Image source

IM: Don’t worry. I wouldn’t want to ruin an event that is of such importance to your people.

Cutter: Jesus, lady. You’re going to come out wearing an Elsa dress, aren’t you?

IM: What a silly question! What else would Elsa wear besides her signature dress?

Cutter: You know, I’m starting to think that this link is full of crap.

Anyway, I gotta go. Before I end this, do you have a prediction for the game?

IM: The Seagulls-

Cutter: Seahawks!

IM: – shall win the game 23-20!

Cutter: So if any of you were holding off on making bets because you wanted to hear what an insane woman thought, you can feel free to call your bookie now!

Before we go, do you have anything else you’d like to add, Elsa?

IM: Let it go! Let it go! Can’t hold it back-

Cutter: NO! STOP! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP SINGING THAT!

Sigh…Enjoy the game, people!

Posted in Pop Culture, Sports | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Who Won the Internet? – The New England Patriots and “Deflategate”

It’s time for me to once again take a look around the World Wide Web and determine which person or people “won” the internet this week.

By nature, the teams that win the NFL’s conference championship games are going to receive a lot of publicity. In case you haven’t noticed, this whole “Super Bowl” thing typically receives a lot of hype, and the media often thoroughly covers the teams that will be playing in the game.

Maybe one day this game will get the hype it deserves. ("Super Bowl logo" by Source. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Super Bowl">Fair use via Wikipedia.)

Maybe one day this game will get the hype it deserves. (“Super Bowl logo” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.)

However, this year’s representative from the AFC is receiving even more attention than usual. Why is that? Because of some deflated balls.

Apparently, the New England Patriots were using under-inflated balls on offense during their game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Like most people, my first thought was, “Huh huh…he said balls.” And like most people, my second thought was, “Um, does that actually help a team?”

Apparently it does. Or not? It seems that most people aren’t sure. But the NFL requires teams to keep their balls inflated to a certain pressure, and the Patriots didn’t do that.

Was it an accident? Was it a nefarious decision made by Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in order to give their team an advantage? We may never know, but rest assured that the media won’t stop talking about it until we find out. (Or until a week or so after the Super Bowl when most people will stop caring.)

Is the ball in this picture properly inflated? Someone needs to investigate! ("New England Patriots logo old" by Source. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Pat Patriot">Fair use via Wikipedia.)

Is the ball in this picture properly inflated? Someone needs to investigate! (“New England Patriots logo old” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.)

“Deflategate” has become the big news story this week. Which leads to an important question: Why do we always add the word “Gate” to the end of a word to indicate a scandal? Watergate was the name of a hotel, not a scandal about water!

Anyway, we now have a lot of news stories where people pretend that the word “balls” isn’t hilarious. (And naturally, countless more stories where people point out just how funny it is that people keep using the word “balls.”)

Whether you think that the Patriots are horrible cheaters or you feel that this is being way overblown (pun very intended), I’m sure you’ll enjoy this supercut of Tom Brady talking about balls:

Posted in Sports, Who won the internet? | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sunday Funday

Everyone knows that Sunday is a day for leisure. Sundays should be spent recovering from all your weekend fun, or perhaps watching some sort of sporting contest on the television.

Sigh….wouldn’t that be nice?

In the past, I’ve mentioned how parenthood hasn’t made it easy for me to watch Eagles games. This past weekend, I learned that Sunday can be quite difficult even when my favorite team isn’t playing.

The difficulties began on Saturday night when Mrs. Cutter and I attended the 50th birthday party of one of our friends. (By the way, it’s extremely frightening that we actually have a 50-year-old friend.)

I was determined to attend the event because the birthday boy’s wife decided that the party should include a roast. I was asked to be one of the roasters because apparently making fun of people is something that I’m skilled at.

Most of the other roasters were relatively tame. On the other hand, I went full “Comedy Central” style, attacking the other roasters and the guest of honor with jokes that attempted to straddle the line between funny and inappropriate.

Some people thought it was hilarious. Others may not speak to me for a while. I’m actually quite okay with that, because the following day sapped my will to ever go out on a weekend night again.

Non-parents don’t understand the problem with going out at night. It isn’t that we can’t stay up and hang with everyone. The problem is that we don’t have the following day to recover from it.

Before I had kids, I could go out on a weekend night and spend the next day lounging around the house. That’s not quite as easy with children. Children seem to have this innate sense of when their parents had fun without them, and then try their best to gain some revenge.

There were indications of the impending trouble as soon as we got home.

We’ve been attempting to transition the twins from sleeping in their individual rock-and-play cradles to a full-sized crib. Thus far, the transition is not going smoothly.

Given the additional freedom of movement that the crib provides, they are able to squirm free from their swaddles. Unfortunately, they have no idea what to do with this hard-fought-for freedom and soon begin to cry.

Cribs provide freedom. Horrible, horrible freedom. (Image source)

Cribs provide freedom. Horrible, horrible freedom. (Image source)

We returned home a little before 11 PM (We’re real night owls, right?), and when we checked on them, they had already half-escaped. It seemed likely that the first crying session was imminent.

Since they were half-awake anyway, we decided to feed them in hopes that they would then sleep until morning.

We were wrong. VERY WRONG.

Despite being fed, they continued to squirm, break free, and then cry out. We tried to soothe them with either a pacifier or an attempt at re-swaddling, but nothing quieted them for long.

At around 4:30, they were clearly awake and wanted to be fed. We realized if we wanted to salvage any sleep, we would have to feed them again and put them in their rock-and-plays. Despite being returned to their more confining environment, they still woke up a couple more times.

Like I said, they REALLY wanted to make sure we never went out without them again.

I’d like to say that the day got easier after that.

Later that morning, Mrs. Cutter took the Cutlet to her ballet class, leaving me to watch the twins.

For some reason, I thought that if I put them down for a nap, they might give me some time to myself. Once again, I was incorrect in my assessment of their desire to sleep peacefully.

Stairs: The greatest workout tool known to man. (Image source)

Stairs: The greatest workout tool known to man. (Image source)

I tried to get in a brief workout in our basement, but every few minutes, I was interrupted by the sound of crying. Apparently Cujo didn’t have any intention of settling down for a nap.

I suppose that going up and down the stairs so many times qualifies as a workout, right?

I had (sort of) gotten in a workout, and the Cutlet had attended her class. That’s a pretty good agenda for a Sunday, and we should have been good just calling it a day after that, right?

Not when Target is having a sale on diapers and formula. Given our diaper and formula needs, when they go on sale at Target, we pretty much have to drop everything and stock up:

Big shout out to Hyperbole and a Half for this meme.

Big shout out to Hyperbole and a Half for this meme.

Fortunately, the twins were actually calm and slept through most of our trip. That peace would not last, as Cujo resumed his inconsolable ways shortly after returning home.

WARNING: The following section will discuss a major bowel movement by one of my children. If you don’t like poop stories, you’d probably be better off reading this post from last month. It doesn’t involve poop at all.

This fussiness was not a welcome development since I would once again be left alone with the twins that evening. Mrs. Cutter and the Cutlet had tickets to see a live performance of The Little Mermaid, so it was up to me to calm the boy down.

Eventually, I was able to get him settled down (Actually, I really didn’t do anything. He pretty much got tired from crying so much and passed out.) just in time for the Cutlass to wake up crying.

It was much easier to determine the source of her angst. It was close to feeding time and she was hungry. I gave her a bottle and settled her down, only to have Cujo reawaken and demand a bottle of his own. (Yay, twins!)

He was still upset after eating, but thankfully he calmed down a bit once I put him in his swing in front of the television. I felt slightly bad about letting TV serve as a babysitter, but I had things to do, and I wanted to watch the football game. (DON’T JUDGE!) Meanwhile, his much calmer sister sat in the kitchen and watched me as I prepared dinner.

I later realized that I was doing a splendid job of reinforcing gender stereotypes when I brought the girl into the kitchen to “help” with dinner while I let the boy sit and watch football.

Once dinner was prepared and on the table, I moved the Cutlass’ chair next to the table. All I had to do was grab Cujo so that we could all sit down together for a nice “family” meal.

I reached down to lift him up from his swing, and I suddenly realized why he had settled down. He had needed to poop. And now, he didn’t need to poop anymore.

There’s scientific research that shows that the human brain is actually better equipped to deal with a major tragedy rather than minor ones. That’s why people tend to handle their house exploding with an odd sense of calm, while getting a $10 ticket can send them into a fit of rage.

I’ve found that if a little bit of poop seeps out from a diaper and gets on my hands or clothes, I’ll get very annoyed and frustrated. But when my son looks like he’s been dipped in a jar of mustard, I’m able to calmly assess and handle the situation.

I’ll give Cujo a lot of credit as he was unnaturally calm throughout the entire cleaning process. He probably just felt relieved to have all of that out of his body.

After I had cleaned him, there wasn’t enough soap in the world to wash my hands. I think I had the water turned up so hot that I burned off a few layers of skin.

Once we were both clean, I was able to bring Cujo downstairs, place him next to his sister and finally eat my dinner. (Your guess is as good as mine as to how I still had any appetite at this point.)

That evening, after the twins were successfully put to sleep and our washing machine was busy churning away, Mrs. Cutter returned home. Upon seeing the twins’ bath tub out, she asked me, “Oh did you give them a bath? That was ambitious.”

I just kind of stared at her for a few seconds. Ambitious wasn’t exactly the word I would use.

Posted in Twins | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Ten Greatest Songs Of All-Time: #10 – Push

Thanks to the recent discovery of a super-secret formula for ranking songs, I’ve been able to compile a definitive list of the ten greatest songs of all time.

Because I’m such a nice person, I’ve decided to share the list with you all. And because I’m kind of weird, I’m sharing them in non-sequential order.

The songs so far:

#9: Rock Me Amadeus – Falco

#8: Beer for My Horses – Toby Keith and Willie Nelson

#7: Cry Me a River – Justin Timberlake

#5: Revolution – The Beatles

#4: I Want You Back – Jackson 5

#3: Can I Kick It? – A Tribe Called Quest

#2: Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins

#10: Push – Matchbox 20

Why the ranking is justified

In the early 90’s, the airwaves were overrun by a genre of music sometimes referred to as “genero rock.” The alternative bands from the early part of the decade had slowly become mainstream, and the entire “rock” genre morphed into an odd blob of similar sounding songs.

The movie Ted summed up it perfectly in the following clip: (Warning: There is some slightly NSFW language)

Out of that blob came Matchbox 20 and their lead singer Rob Thomas. Somehow, M20 (Is M20 an actual nickname for the band? If not, it totally should be!) sort of distinguished itself. It seems that Rob Thomas’ voice is so generic that it is actually kind of distinct in its genericness.

Does that make sense?

No, I didn’t think so either. But the formula says that this is the tenth greatest song of all-time, so I guess it must be.

Personal reflection on the song

For some reason, one day Sweaty and I were hanging out and began to start singing this song repeatedly. (And by “some reason,” obviously we were kinda inebriated.)

We soon discovered that songs by the following artists can be sung using the same mock-Rob Thomas voice:

  • Hootie and the Blowfish (As seen in the above clip)
  • Pearl Jam (Remember when everyone thought Darius Rucker sounded exactly like Eddie Vedder?)
  • Stone Temple Pilots (Come to think of it, everyone once thought Scott Weiland sounded exactly like Eddie Vedder too!)
  • Bruce Springsteen (Nobody is suggesting that The Boss sounds like Eddie Vedder, but the voice works for his songs too.)

By the way, I thought the movie Ted was hilarious. Unfortunately, it caused a huge fight between Mrs. Cutter and me. She thought that Mark Wahlberg’s character was a jerk, and I defended him, saying that he was right to blow her off in order to meet Flash Gordon.

I told her that if I was in a similar situation and had a chance to meet Terry Mulholland (my favorite Phillies pitcher ever), I would go. And thus, one of our dumbest fights ensued.

Lesson learned: Be careful when watching Seth McFarlane movies with your spouse.

What do you think? Does “Push” deserve its lofty ranking? Or did my formula (and keep in mind, it’s infallable!) miss the mark on this one?

Posted in Pop Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Belated Look Back at my Year in Blogging

So I accomplished my goal: I continued my now four-year-old tradition of publishing a new post every day in the month of December.

As you may have noticed (Or not – Absences aren’t necessarily easily noticed), once the calendar flipped to January, that posting streak ended. In the three previous years I held my 31 Days of Blogging event, I continued to post at least a couple of days into the new year.

But finding the time and motivation to post something every day of the month was much more difficult this year. (Funny how having two extra children will do that to you!) So on the afternoon of January 1st, faced with no real obligation to write a post (not that I’m ever REALLY obligated to write anything), I just kind of hit the “F*** it” button.

I couldn't find the motivation to post anything for a few days. (Image source)

I couldn’t find the motivation to post anything for a few days. (Image source)

I realized that if I didn’t want to let my blogging momentum completely fade away, I couldn’t wait too long to post something. So here I am with a look back at how things went for The Cutter Rambles in 2014!

Is January 5th too far into the new year to take a look back at 2014? I realize that year-end retrospectives are generally done in December, and most people are now looking ahead to 2015. But in a way, my approach is better because I get to include stuff from the final days of the year!

Full disclosure: I’m just rationalizing. Nothing especially exciting happened last week.

Belated as it may be, here’s a month-by-month look at how 2014 went for The Cutter Rambles:

January

I started out the year with a lot of momentum. I continued the 31 Days of Blogging for 11 days into the new year, thanks in part to some amazing guest posts.

Later in the month, I became really ambitious. I planned to assemble an alliance of like-minded bloggers and together, we would soar to great heights. It all sounded so good in theory.

At this point, it looked like it was going to be a huge year at The Cutter Rambles.

February

Cheerios was the brunt of my ire in February.

Cheerios was the brunt of my ire in February.

As January turned into February, I was faced with a dilemma: What happens when you can’t write about the most pressing subject on your mind?

I learned that Mrs. Cutter was pregnant, but it was too early to announce the news to the world. Still, I was able to come up with a fairly good “mock outrage” post.

But the highlight of the month was probably the debut of the Blogging Alliance of the Damned. For a little while, it seemed like my group would be a huge success.

March

My mind was all over the place this month as I dealt with the reality that I would soon have two extra mouths to feed. And what little writing motivation I had was being sapped by my duties as an editor of a Philadelphia Phillies blog. (Unfortunately, time constraints would force me to step down from that position at the end of the summer.)

My best posts this month dealt with eliminating winter weather and wondering just who exactly was following my blog.

April

I started a new job in April, and wanting to make a good impression, I didn’t think it was smart to spend too much time blogging on the job.

May

Image source: Wikipedia

Image source: Wikipedia

This month brought about some sad news regarding one of my fellow bloggers; news that seemed to essentially kill off the Blogging Alliance of the Damned.

I also began to analyze the movie Major League from a blogger’s perspective, although I think I enjoy writing those posts more than people enjoy reading them.

June

I was finally able to write about my changing family situation. In perhaps my favorite post of the year, I discuss how life doesn’t always go according to plan.

July

It was somewhat out of character for me, and six months later, I’m not sure I still agree with the Supreme Court’s decision.

August

With the countdown to the twins’ birth rapidly approaching, I only managed to write one post this month. However, it was a pretty good one, as I defended the ALS ice bucket challenge from all the haters.

September

In my last post before my life changed, I shared a life lesson learned from The Simpsons.

October

I dealt with the realities of raising twins, and how babies can make you look at old movies from a brand new perspective.

November

Wanting to save my best ideas for December, I didn’t post anything of note this month. Unless, you’re a big fan of Too Many Cooks.

December

It wasn’t easy, but I managed to write something every day. Not every post was good, but there were at least a couple that turned out pretty well.

So that was 2014. Not my greatest year in terms of quantity, but there certainly was some quality sprinkled throughout. Now if only I could get that quality to appear with more quantity.

I’d like to promise big things for 2015, but I’m not sure I can deliver. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I tend to be a bit of a neglectful father when it comes to this site. Sometimes I act really dedicated…other times, I’m nowhere to be found.

But who knows? The Phillies blog is a thing of the past. Given that their season is over, my weekly commitment to preview Eagles games is also gone.

In theory, being free from obligations provides me with the freedom to do whatever I want with my free time (What little of it there is).  In reality, it probably removes whatever motivation I felt to write on a regular basis.

Which way will the year go? I guess we’ll all find out in the months ahead.

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The 2014 Cutter Awards

We’ve reached the last day of 2014. This seems like a good time to look back at the year that was and hand out my annual awards.

Per custom, I’ll kick things off with a musical number.

Apparently, Justin Timberlake was so excited about having his song named the seventh greatest of all-time, that he agreed to perform for my readers. And best of all, he didn’t come alone!

Here are Justin and Jay-Z performing Holy Grail!

The first award to be handed out is the Chris Callan Rookie of the Year Award, which goes to my new favorite person of the year.

My previous job wasn’t a great one. I wasn’t really doing the type of work I wanted to be doing, and the lack of vacation time was a huge detriment.

But at least the job allowed me to meet this year’s Callan Award winner. He was hired in the second half of 2013. Theoretically, he was hired as a front end designer, but given the lack of distinction between IT positions at the company, we both ended up working on a lot of the same stuff.

We soon began to commiserate over the state of the company and how we weren’t always pleased with the way some of our co-workers handled things. We soon came to the conclusion that we were just about the only sane people working there.

When I decided to leave the company in April, I knew that he was going to be pissed at me. Fortunately we’ve been able to stay in contact and still meet up for lunch once a month.

Since we were both big fans of the show Transformers: Prime, his pseudonym shall be based on his favorite character from that show.

A big congratulations to…Smokescreen!

Next up is the Movie of the Year Award.

After the twins were born, I didn’t have a lot of time to make it out to the movies. Our outing to see The Hobbit this week was the first time I ventured into a theater since August. So if there was a high quality movie released between September and October, chances are that I didn’t see it. (But I’ve heard good things about Interstellar!)

Fortunately, my top movie of the year came out in April. I had high expectations for this film since it was part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and almost all (looking at you, Iron Man 3!) of the movies in the series have been good.

But Captain America: The Winter Solider was probably the best of all the MCU movies. It had political intrigue! Explosions! Guys in fancy flying suits! Robert Redford!

Plus, there were lots and lots of somersaults. Just about every scene in the movie featured a character doing a somersault or a flip of some sort. Just watch this clip!

For the second straight year, I shall present a Blogger of the Year award. I want to honor one of my fellow bloggers who has constantly been churning out quality and entertaining material on his site.

10297392This year’s award goes to one of the hardest working men in the blogging game. If he isn’t drawing a hilarious cartoon, then he’s discussing a classic commercial from the days of yore.

Earlier this year, he shared with us his quest to be a contestant on the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” While his attempt to become rich went unfulfilled, the journey was indeed fascinating to follow.

Therefore, my Blogger of the Year is the man known as Evil Squirrel!

If you’re not already following his blog, I suggest you head over there immediately and check it out.

Next up is my Song of the Year.

Admittedly, I have strange musical tastes, and I’m not exactly on the cutting edge when it comes to the latest music. I could look at the Billboard Top 100 chart and not recognize more than a handful of songs listed.

The song I have chosen as my favorite isn’t one that most people would have guessed, since it doesn’t match my usual musical preferences. But for whatever reason, I really like it.

The winner is Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson:

The final award is the coveted Person of the Year award.

Usually, I give this award to one of my friends. But for the most part, I stopped seeing most of them in the second half of the year. So they all get disqualified.

Instead, I’ll give the award to a person with whom I’ve gone through quite a bit this year.

We received some pretty major (and partially unexpected) news in January, and since then, our lives have changed dramatically. There’s been extreme morning sickness and quite a few pounds added on. (And that was just me!)

The last few months have been extremely tiring, and at times, it felt like I wasn’t going to make it with my sanity intact. But thankfully, I had a wonderful partner accompanying me on the journey, and there’s nobody I’d rather have gone through it all with.

So congratulations to the 2014 Person of the Year: Mrs. Cutter!

I’ll close things out with one final musical number. In honor of her victory, I chose one of Mrs. Cutter’s favorite songs of 2014. Here is Fall Out Boy performing Centuries!

Happy new year and may your 2015 be wonderful!

 

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