Last weekend we took Sam and Mac to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). You're probably thinking, "There's nothing a 2-year-old loves more than some good ol' science and industry.... and you'd be right you sarcastic shit... except that MOSI just happened to be hosting a traveling exhibit on Sesame Street. Hah!
The exhibit was all about "The Body," with interactive displays featuring the Sesame Street characters. From what I saw, most of the interaction involved small children running from exhibit to exhibit, punching, stabbing and slapping anything that was within their stubby little arms reach in what can only be described as the world's largest game of whack-a-mole.
There was a little obstacle course for the kids to navigate, although no one did. It was more like a demolition derby of 3-year-old's than a science exhibit. Of course, despite the signs that said, "No Shoes," many parents decided to let their bigfoot-like toddlers stomp around the course like Godzilla with three shots of tequila and a poor sense of direction, endangering all the other children who were cursed with parents who are concerned for the health and welfare of children everywhere, in particular, the ones in the same room. I hate those Godzilla parents, I really do.
Sam seemed to enjoy the day and threw a fit when we had to leave. I'm sure she was upset over having to go home but I like to think she was really mad because she discovered how much the little outing cost her parents. You see, at MOSI, you can't just buy a ticket to one thing. Noooo, that would be too fair. Instead, you have to get a ticket to the whole place, including an IMAX movie. So, it costs us about $60 to spend two hours jumping around the sesame street obstacle course, which is almost identical to the play area at the mall two miles from our house.
There was one funny thing, though. Right when you walk into the exhibit, they had a little mock up of a few houses that looked like Sesame Street. In front of one of the house's was Oscar's trash can. It was sealed shut but they had mounted a speaker inside and it made it seem like there was activity inside the can, including the sound of an elephant. Sam thought that was the coolest thing in the world. The whole time we were there she kept running back to the can and pointing, shouting, "Look! Oscar and an elephant!" She wouldn't get closer than three feet from the thing, probably as a safety precaution should the elephant suddenly emerge, but she was perfectly happy standing and pointing all day.
Last weekend, Bobbi and I were sitting around, having a few cocktails and talking about sex. We try to keep an open dialogue running about our sex life because we have a really good one and we don't want to take it for granted. We feel it's important to discuss it frequently to make sure everything is okay. Also, I really like to talk about sex.
We were about two cocktails into the discussion when Bobbi said,"You know what I would really like? I would like it if you would take your xxxx and put in on my xxxx while xxxx my xxxx at the same time. Then xxxx"
"Really?" I asked.
"Yea, that will make me xxxx every time."
My next question was a logical one: "We've been married for five years, why haven't you told me this before!"
I have discovered over the years that women, for some reason, don't think it's important to tell you what they enjoy. We're just supposed to figure out on our own. It baffles me because, if we don't figure it out, it's the woman who suffers! Five years she waited to tell me about a little simple trick that will guarantee a happy ending everytime. That's the sort of information I'm likely to impart on the first date: "So, I grew up in Lousiana and I like it when a girl sticks a coffee mug up my ass. Did you see the latest X-men movie?"
Note: Don't even try to decipher the "xxxx" code. What she said wasn't even close to that sentence. I'm trying to respect my wife's dignity, even if she does like it when I xxxx her xxxx.
How pathetic am I? So pathetic that I ocasionaly google my own name to see if anyone out there in internet land has written about me. Like, maybe there's some person out there who actually remembers me from the radio and wrote a post about it on their blog. Someone like this.
(Give me break, I'm playing poker online... I got nothing better to do!)
Bobbi will be coming home in about an hour to pick up Mac, who is scheduled to have her picture taken today. Sam should go down for a nap before Bobbi returns with Mac which means I will get maybe 30 minutes completely to myself. I'm really looking forward to this mini-vacation and intend to make the best possible use of my time alone.
I'm going to take a shit.
Taking a shit is the sort of thing you really take for granted until you have kids. Suddenly, what used to be a daily respite from the cares of the world has become a race against time before the kids wake up. Or worse... a shared experience where you must play patty-cake with your daughter while squeezing one out. It's a regular Mardi-Gras, let me tell you.
Now, I look forward to an unhurried, uninterrupted shit the way I used to look forward to sex (unlike sex, I still take a shit once a day).
This is my life.
... walk up to your father and tell him you have a secret. Then, lean over ever so gently and whisper, "I love you" in his ear.
Bobbi was standing in the bathroom this morning, getting ready for work, when she caught me looking at her in the mirror while I brushed my teeth. She was wearing a thin, white shirt with spaghetti straps and her nipples were hard. She had pulled down her pants so that she could tuck the shirt in, pushing them just as far as the top of her ass so that her thong was visible.
"What are you looking at?" She asked.
President Bush vetoed the bill yesterday that would have allowed new lines of stem cells to be used for research. This is another debate that makes no sense.
Here's what I don't understand:
If you are against using leftover, fertilized embryos for stem cell research because you think that they are the beginnings of life and should be protected.... I can understand that. What I don't get is why the same people who are against the stem cell use aren't also against in vitro fertilization to begin with. Why is it okay to produce all these human beings (as you believe) in a dish, implant them one-by-one into your womb until one becomes viable, and then kill the rest? How is it better to kill these tiny babies-in-the-making than to use them to help science? If you think that the scientists who want to use these discarded cells for the benefit of mankind are immoral, then surely the couples who produce these lives only to kill them when they don't need them anymore are evil incarnate.
This whole debate is very similar to my earlier post about people who are pro-life unless the mother has been raped.... because every life is precious, unless your father is a criminal, in which case you should be killed.
If you want to take a moral stand on an issue, I respect that completely, but take a stand! If stem cell research is bad than the people who produce these cast-off cells are even worse. If abortion is wrong than all abortion is wrong, even when the mother has been raped or even when her life is in danger (after all, I don't think people would feel I did the right thing if I killed my own daughter because my life might be in danger..).
A moral position should cover all cases, or it's not a moral position at all.
Online poker: The crack cocaine of poker.
I'm a good poker player. Sit me down in a live game (limit) and I'll hold my own against just about anyone. I can't remember the last time I went to Las Vegas and didn't win. I win it at the poker table, Bobbi spends it at the mall. Everybody's happy?
Why can't I beat online poker?
Over time, online poker always beats me. Even if I "rock up," it gets the best of me eventually. The only thing I can figure is that I'm a better reader of players than I give myself credit for. The last time I was in New Orleans, I realized that despite the fact that I don't think I'm paying attention (and have no short-term memory for tells) I was, in fact, reading everyone at the table. After a few minutes, I could tell you who the bad players were, the good, the bluffers, the rocks, etc. I think the problem is that I can't put a face to the players online.
Back when I was playing full-time in Dallas, I used to say, "How can people play poker year after year and never have a winning year and never figure out that they suck at this game!? I'm beginning to think that when it comes to online poker, I may be one of those people.
Last night I got an email from Flickr that said I had been added to someones "friends' list. Naturally, I immediately went to the guys Flickr page to see who he is because, well, I have no friends. It was mostly family pictures and no good pictures of the guy who took them but I commented to Bobbi, "I don't know who this guy is but his son looks just like my old next-door-neighbor, Darren.
Turns out it is Darren. He sent me an email and said his mom had bumped into Scott's mom (another old friend from Monroe) and she had passed along my web address.
It's funny because just last week I mentioned Darren to Bobbi (has anyone ever mentioned me to their spouse?) I always think of Darren in July because of the fireworks stands that sprout up on every vacant lot in Florida (Question: Where do the fireworks people go the rest of the year?). Darren is living proof of the old warning from parents about everything being great until someone loses an eye. He lost most of the vision in one eye when he was a teenager after he was hit by a bottle-rocket. Now that I think about it, Darren's birthday is in July too.
Things I remember about Darren:
He was short but fast. Impossible to catch in football.
His sister, Jill, was cute and had no eyelashes due to some sort of disease when she was young. I never would have noticed but her mom pointed it out one day.
He put mayonnaise on his grill-cheese sandwich. Major faux-pas.
Once, when he was spending the night, he started sliding across the kitchen floor in his socks while saying, "cheddar cheese" in a funny voice. We thought this was hilarious.
His dad had the best boat in the neighborhood (a big deal to boys in Louisiana).
His Dad worked for Ford and once said that the "LTD" in his "Ford LTD" stood for "long-term donkey." We thought that was hilarious, too.
He had a motorcycle and we used to ride in the woods behind our houses.
His Mom always had "The PTL Club" on TV. Eventually, Darren and Jill quit public school and went to a Baptist school where their Mom taught.
His Grandfather used to visit quite a bit. Once, he got bored and raked the leaves in the front yard with a broom (worked, too). Another time, after Darren got a buzz-cut to play football, his grandfather said it was great because now, every time he washed his hands, he could wash his hair.
Once, while riding with Darren's Dad to Swifty Stop to get a Slurpee, we saw a kid named Deke in his car. Darren said, "What happened to the door?" and I replied, "I don't know, but it's fucked up." .... It was the first time I ever said the f-word in front of an adult. Darren's Dad was too polite to say anything about it..
Anyway, it was great to get an email from him because usually it's me that tracks down the old friends. For some reason, people don't seem to have a burning desire to find out whatever happened to me.
Bobbi started working out today. She now will be getting up at 5a.m. a few days a week to meet with a personal trainer. A lot of guys worry about their wives spending time with a hunky guy but I don't. I know my wife and there's no way she's having sex both in the morning when she hasn't had a shower (Hey, if he can get her to cross both those taboo's.... more power to him. I've been working on em' for five years.) Bobbi say's that if she see's results with this guy than I can sign-up too. The only way I'm getting up at 5a.m. is if somone is dieing or having a baby.
Some cars in the neighborhood were broken into last night. Well, they weren't broken into technically.... all of the cars were unlocked. It wasn't so much a break-in as a reach-in. We didn't lose anything because I lock my car door whenever I get out, even if it's just for a minute. I'm paranoid that way.
BMW has a new concept car that parks itself.
For my birthday this year, Bobbi took me away for the weekend to Discovery Cove in Orlando. If you've never heard of Discovery Cove, it's a park where you get to swim with dolphins. It's very expensive because they only allow 1000 people a day inside the park each day and everything you need is included. They have a huge winding river to float down, big ponds full of fish and manta rays you can snorkel in, food, drinks, towels, showers, everything you need (and the food is good stuff like Oreo's and Budweiser at the snack bars and salmon, chicken, etc. for lunch). I can honestly day that it was worth the money as a once-in-a-lifetime day. I was really worried that I would be disappointed but it didn't turn out that way.
Shortly after arriving we were walking by the dolphin lagoon and there was a guy being pulled by a dolphin. I turned to Bobbi and said, "I'd gladly pay $100 just to be able to do that." We had heard that we wouldn't get a dolphin ride and I assumed that what we saw was a person who had paid for the even more expensive "trainer-for-a-day" package. We were wrong.
Our dolphin's name was Scarlett and she is a former performer at Sea World. Our trainer was very cool and answered any questions we had. After having my picture taken I asked, "We saw a guy getting pulled earlier, is that part of the "trainer-for-a-day" package?"
"No," He said, "You'll get to do that."
It wasn't until that point that I finally stopped thinking about how much the whole thing cost.
After the pictures he had us swim out to the middle of the lagoon and Scarlett brought us back. It really is a great feeling after watching dolphins your whole life to actually get down in the water with them. Besides the ride, you get to touch then and make them do tricks and jumps right in front of you. As a matter of fact, you can hang out in a beach chair on the sand right in front of the lagoon all day and watch the dolphins doing flips and such.
After the dolphin encounter we had lunch and then went to the aviary. The most beautiful birds you've ever seen land on your arm and eat from your hand. Then we took a relaxing float around the park and finally sacked out with some drinks in a big hammock in the shade. One of the great things about the park is that the landscaping is so great that you really feel cut off from the outside world. It's really beautiful.
I got a call from my accountant the other day. (I say, "accountant," like he's spending all his time crunching numbers and figuring out how to save us money and expand our vast empire when in fact he's just a friend who does our taxes. Sorta like calling the guy who cuts my grass my "gardener.")
Anyway, he called to remind us that we need a will and also to suggest a couple of other things that he thinks we should be doing. I didn't agree with him on the other things and since my friends run away from me screaming whenever I start talking about money, I'm going to tell the you instead.
First, he wants us to sign up for the Florida College Pre-pay Plan. The way the plan works: you pay a set fee now ($12,000) and your child is guaranteed 4 years tuition at a Florida state college or community college. You can also pay monthly, about $88 a month for 18 years. If, for any reason your child doesn't go to a Florida State school, you get the principal back ($12,000).
Here's why it's a shitty deal:
Invest your money in the stock market for 18 years and you will get at least an 8% return per year. So, when they give you back your $12,000 because little Johnny is dumb as a stump, they get to keep the $36,000 in interest you would have earned outside the plan. They also keep that money if your child goes to school out of state or goes to a private school.... goes to a vocational school... gets a scholarship and doesn't need the tuition... you get the point. It's a great deal as long as your kid definitely goes to college and goes to a Florida State school. Otherwise, they get 18 years of interest off of your money.
Instead, I have a 529 plan. This is an education account that grows tax-free and is tax-free when you take the money out as long as you use it for education. You can use the money for any school in any state and some abroad. You can use it for vocational school or technical school. You can use it for school supplies like a computer or even a car. You can use it for anyone in your family at any time and it's transferable (if your kids don't use it it can sit and collect interest for their kids.) Sure, I'll put more in this plan than I would have to put in the Florida plan but the 509 account can be used anywhere by anyone at anytime. If you have the Florida plan and your child skips college you get $12,000 back. The same amount invested in a 529 will be worth $48,000 (at least) and can be passed down to future generations. Theoretically, the account could put generations through college. The average annual return for my plan over the last 3 years is 15%.
Again, it will cost me more money than the Florida plan but if my child wants to do anything other than attend a Florida state school, I'll be in a position to help. If my children don't go to college or vocational school at all they will never have to save a penny for their children's education.
Second, he wants us to get Universal Life Insurance.
Now, Universal insurance is a good deal if you want life insurance for the rest of your life. You pay one premium and it never changes. Plus, you can over-fund the policy by putting more money in than is needed and that money grows tax-free and is tax-free when you take it out. Sounds like a great deal but it's really not.
You see, you don't need life insurance for the rest of your life. You only need it for about 30 years. Just long enough for your children to be grown and out on their own. Sure, it's nice to get a shit-pot of money when your parents kick-off but is it worth them paying all their life so that you can get a bundle when you're 40? No.
So, you buy term insurance at half the cost and you invest the difference. That's the crucial part.
Let me spell it out for you:
Let's say you have $250 a month to put toward over-funding your Universal Life Insurance Plan. What you are really doing is buying an insurance policy and letting the company invest the rest. So, the policy (we'll say it's a million dollars) cost $100 a month and the other $150 gets invested. At the end of the year you've invested $1800. let's say you get a 10% return on your money, that's $180 (tax-free!). So, you have a million dollar life insurance policy and $1980 in savings. Not bad.
But wait! Let's say, instead, that you buy a 30-year term policy. Because the policy will expire before you are likely to die, it's much cheaper. Bobbi has a million dollar policy and it's less than $50 a month. When it expires, our children will be 30 years old. So, start with $250, spend $50 on the policy and invest the other $200 every month. At the end of the year you have $2400 invested, plus your 10% return of $240. You have to pay taxes on the $240 so let's assume you're rich and have to pay 35%.... that's $84. So you make $2400 + $240 - $84 = $2556.
$1980 vs. $2556. The only benefit to the $1980 is that you still have life insurance when your kids are in their 30's. Even after taxes you will make $30,000 more over the 30 years of the term!
Whenever someone tries to sell you Universal insurance or an annuity or anything of that sort remember this: They will take your money, invest it and keep some of the profit. Why not invest it yourself in mutual funds and keep it all?
Keep in mind that my figures aren't exact but you can be sure of these things:
1. The insurance portion of your Universal plan costs more than a term plan.
2. The tax savings of the Universal plan will never exceed the extra profit you make by investing the money you save with a term plan.
3. Any decent mutual fund can beat the return on a Universal plan.
4. There's a reason that people are always trying to sell you Universal insurance, they make a lot of money off it.
That concludes our lesson for today.
Bobbi went to the Bahama's last weekend for her birthday, leaving me at home with the kids, hoping that she wouldn't meet up with "Desmond" while walking alone on the beach. (Eddie Murphy - Raw)
I was much relieved upon her return when I came across this picture of Bobbi catching some sun on the beach. You know your wife doesn't want to be approched by any men when she takes her big shoulder bag with the pictures of the children on the outside.