Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Going Totally Underground...

After three sweltering days in my mother-in-law's barn, I have decided to take my fugitive show on the road. I have launched a new site where I will continue to hide from the idiots of the world who tried to scare me into submission.

While Parenting From the Up Side Down will continue to be a mushy blog of love and sentimentality - perhaps the occasional photo shopped picture of Amari travelling the world and exploring career opportunities - the faux reality enterprise I've embarked upon will continue at "Hollywood Underground" - the hottest new entertainment blog on the Net.

If you have time - check it out. You won't believe (hopefully) what you read.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blogger Incarcerated for Making Fun of America

My fellow Americans,

I am writing to you today from a secret location in my mother-in-law's barn. That's right, somebody actually married me. It is with a heavy heart that I share the horrific events that have transpired since last I blogged nearly ten days ago. In the interest of maintaining interest, I will try to be brief, sparing you of the traumatic details that will forever be etched upon the fabric of my being. Suffice it to say that I am now a fugitive of the American government and its people. If they find me, they will surely take me back to that place - that horrible, horrible place...

On September 16th of this year, as I lazily nibbled on an extra-thick shelled Klondike bar and checked the scores of my fantasy baseball playoff match-ups, I happened to notice that Google's top-searched story of the evening was America's Got Talent crowning their fifth season's winner - a dashing, young singer from Mississippi named Michael Grimm. I surfed around, did some reading about the finalists, finished my ice cream, drafted a shortstop to replace the injured Hanley Ramirez, and decided on a whim to write a comical piece claiming that Michael Grimm had made up his entire back story to pull at the heartstrings of American voters. 

Those were the last normal moments I remember. 

On the morning of September 17th, I logged onto my wife's laptop to check the stats of my blog and my replacement shortstop. Alex Gonzalez had gone three for four with a double and two RBIs, and my blog had gone for...Holy Shit! 2,200 hits? This must be mistake, I thought. Seven comments? No one comments on my blog. I've been writing about his granddaughter for over ten months and I don't think my dad even reads it. I hit refresh - 2,208. What the f--- is going on? 

I spent the rest of the day watching - no, marveling - at the number of page views and editorials my fabricated story receiving. While a very small percentage of readers found the humor in my writing, the cynicism with which it was intended, their comments were far outnumbered by the onslaught of cyber-hate-mail that ensued. People were angry, indignant, threatening both litigation and karmic retribution. For a fleeting moment I felt worried and guilty, but then I decided that anyone who believed that Grimm really sang "When a Man Loves a Woman Who's House Got Flooded By a Natural Disaster and Who Doesn't Have Any Insurance at All," is too stupid to know anything about defamation lawsuits. 

How wrong I turned out to be...

That evening, about 4,500 page views and 23 angry comments later, I felt compelled to write a follow-up story. I needed to clear the air and give Michael Grimm his good name back, but more importantly I needed a fall guy. Very little research later, I stumbled upon Michael Evancho, the talented opera-singing runner-up's father. Turns out, according to my complete lack of sources, Mr. Evancho was the one who had originally leaked the fake story about Michael Grimm to the press. And by press, I mean a stay-at-home daddy blogger from the boonies of northern California. And by story I mean one hundred percent fiction. 

Needless to say, more page views, more hate mail, and more litigious threats ensued. I couldn't believe what I was reading. Is there no room left for comedy in this world? And what exactly did these people think I was going to get sued for? Violating our protected freedom of SPEACH claimed one reader, and if she weren't equally protected by the freedom to misspell I could totally counter-sue. By sundown that day, I was comfortably convinced that these people, with names like daradoodle, feldwoja, and raaketa, didn't have a clue what they were talking about. 

That, dear readers, was the last thought that crossed my mind before my front door was kicked in. I barely had time to put my wife's laptop on stand by, turn off Sports Center, and fold up the blanket I like to use on cold, autumn nights, before I was drugged, handcuffed, and escorted to an unmarked car idling in my driveway. The last thing I saw as I drifted from consciousness were the letters R.O.N.S., but that's all I could make out.

The next few days were a blur. My first memory is being interrogated by two women named Pat and Lisa who wanted to know where the hell I got my information about Michael Grimm and why on earth I thought it was funny to satirize reality television and American culture. When I couldn't give them a satisfactory explanation, they sent me to an internment camp where they house people who dare insult the intelligence of the average American television viewers and Internet users.

The frightening reality is that these camps exist all over the country, with new ones being built all the time. It was there that I met others like myself - countless "retired" writers from The Onion, Vance Degeneres and Lewis Black from "The Daily Show," and Billy Mays who isn't dead at all, and who still clings to the hope that he will one day be pardoned when the camp's warden realizes he actually believes in Mighty Putty.

Days inside the camp were spent being reprogrammed with shock treatments, group therapy and repetitive workshops on things like literal humor. "What are you up to?" the counselors would ask us, and if we didn't say something like, "About two hundred pounds," or "Five foot seven," we were forced to watch episodes of "Mama's Family" and "My Two Dads" until we obliged. Sarcasm was greeted with caning while anything less than a truthful joke was punishable by up to a week in a padded cell wall-papered with Family Circus sketches. By week's end, I looked as defeated as the rest of them.

With every ounce of determination we could muster, we managed to craft a Billy Mays inspired escape plan. First we used the infamous Dual Saw to cut through the metal bars to our cells. Once we were in the common area we converted an AM radio into a cell phone with the Jupiter Jack and called for a taxi. Rather than navigate the labyrinth and swim across the moat to freedom, we used the Awesome Auger to chop right through the hedges before soaking up the entire moat with a dozen or so Zorbeez. Finally, once were were safely on the other side, we whipped out the Grater Plater to make some awesome quesadillas before bidding farewell and going our separate ways.

Two days later I managed to secure this secret location where I am writing to you from now. This will be the second to last time I write to you from this URL. I now know what those letters on the unmarked car stood for and I vow never to be captured again by the Middle-American Organization of Radicals Opposed to Naughty Sarcasm (M.O.R.O.N.S).

In the next couple of days I will be creating a new, safer blog location from which to communicate. I will forever continue the good fight of comedy in all forms and the American way. I will continue, dear readers, to create without fear of retribution, to lie without concern for litigation, and to point fingers without giving a shit about the three pointing back at me. My motto is, "If it ain't made up, it ain't worth writing."

God bless America and god bless you all. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Evancho's Father Comes Clean About Blog of Hate

Just hours after his surprising and emotional win on America's Got Talent's season 5 finale, Michael Grimm got a taste of the bitter side of rock stardom as the Internet was flooded with claims that he'd made up his entire back story to pull at the heartstrings of American voters. Word on the cyber street was that Grimm accepted his million dollar check and his Vegas contract and announced to the world that he was a fraud.

Not since the hanging chads of 2000 held Bush, Gore, and our great nation hostage with political uncertainty, had the results of an American vote become so controversial.

In the subsequent hours, thousands (yes thousands) of people followed a mysterious link to a parenting blog of all places where they read the disappointing news they worried might be true. By seven o'clock this morning, Yahoo and Google news had swooped up the link, sending thousands more outraged Grimm fans to stand up with their keyboards and defend their new-found hero with the vehemence that can only come from the deep, heart-felt connection elicited by watching a total stranger perform cover songs on national TV. Profanities were "uttered," lawsuits were threatened, and all the while not a single reader offered to make even a small donation to "Baby DJs of America."

Now, less than a day later, the source of the "Michael Grimm is a Big Fat Talented Liar" rumor has come forward to make a public apology. At ten o'clock this evening, Michael Evancho, father to AGT's runner-up and talented opera singer, Jackie, made an anonymous call and confessed. "I was just so frustrated with the American voters," he began, "My daughter, Jackie, was clearly the most talented act in the show, and I think America blew it."

Mr. Evancho went on to read a letter he'd prepared with his sentiments about America's Got Talent, Michael Grimm, and the American people. "It's been a long day," Evancho sighed, "When I leaked the story about Michael last night I was bitter and angry. I wasn't thinking clearly. I wanted to hurt Michael's feelings. I wanted to hurt them badly. Now that I've had a day to reflect and sift through the angry comments I elicited, I realize it's time to come clean." He flipped his paper over and continued reading.

"After seeing all the angry responses written to the totally innocent stay-at-home dad whom I'd leaked the story to, I knew I had to take responsibility and set the story straight. That being said, I feel as though I must apologize, from the bottom of my the rest of the world for having to put up with 350 million of the stupidest people on the planet. How America is a super-power at all is beyond me. I'm starting to think that reality shows are the equivalent of Aldus Huxley's Soma, blatantly keeping our citizens intoxicated with apathy through the use of the emotional pornography that is reality television."

"I've learned a lot through this experience," Evancho continued.

1. I've learned that the Internet is a dangerous place for the moronic and undiscerning and yet a playground for anyone with half a brain.

2. I've learned that, although America has some talent, what it really has is an abundance of semi-retarded followers looking for a shepherd, regardless of whether he leads with a song, a dance, or a Texas accent as thick as its owner.

3. I've learned that people who complain about wasting time reading nonsense on the Internet are the same people who waste even more time writing inexplicably long comments about just how disappointed they are in themselves for wasting time.

4. I've learned that only 3 out of 18 people (that's less than 20%) have a sense of humor at all, while another 20% claim they have a sense of humor, but either just aren't willing to laugh at funny things or have been spending too much time reading their own mind-numbingly boring blogs.

5. And finally, I've learned that America is a litigious society through and through, and when people run out of  adjectives or support for their opinions, they immediately threaten lawsuits. For example, "Instead I found it sad, shameful, misinformed, hateful, and something worthy of suing you for." A comment pulled from yesterday's blog.

So that's my apology, America," Michael Evancho concluded, "I'm sorry I leaked the story, I'm sorrier you believed it, and I'm sorriest of all that it may contribute to the rise of Michael Grimm's fame in any way."

In other AGT news, Prince Poppycock was seen ducking out of a nightclub with the other Michael Grimm - Republican Congressional candidate - and you are not going to believe what happened next. Well, unless you're the average American - then you'll probably believe every word...

Note to Readers: This blogger has now been arrested and is in custody:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

America's Got a Big Fat Talented Liar

As shocking as Michael Grimm's season finale win on America's Got Talent were the tearful confessions he shared moments after the million dollar check was in his hand. The fifth season of the hit reality show culminated tonight in a showdown between Grimm and fellow finalists, Jackie Evancho - the mega-talented child opera singer, Prince Poppycock - the unfortunately named drag queen/Moulin Rouge throwback, and the always flashy dance troop - Fighting Gravity. Although many contend that runner-up Evancho was robbed, by the end of the two hour program this viewer learned four things with absolutely certainty:

1. I still don't like opera.
2. Dance troops are really cool.
3. I'm not convinced dressing up like a "Dangerous Liasons" character constitutes talent.
4. And what America's got is way more advertising than than anything else.

What I didn't learn during the show, and what I only know because my sister's boyfriend's aunt's cousin's little brother is a production assistant for The Biggest Loser (which uses AGT's Studio 36 during the day), is that less than a half an hour after he accepted his Vegas contract and his million dollar check, Michael Grimm confessed that he was not the man America thought he was at all.

In his first few appearances on AGT, Grimm spoke tearfully about his grandparents who raised him, encouraged him musically, and took him around to bars in Mississippi to show off his talents. On numerous occasions he said that his goal in winning America's Got Talent was to repay his debt to his grandparents for their love and guidance, and to repay their debt which they incurred in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's devastation of their Louisiana home. Every time he shared these intimate details, the collective sigh of America's voting audience was palpable.

Once the seed of sympathy was planted, it grew disproportionately to Grimm's talent carrying him all the way to the finale. Along the way, Grimm used his back story to his advantage, playing songs that helped the judges and the audience remember why he was there. Early on he covered the song "Katrina was Her Name," by American blues guitarist, Bryan Lee. A few weeks later, he finger-plucked the old Scorpion's ballad, "Rock You Like a Hurricane." Tonight Grimm concluded with a modified but soulful rendition of "When a Man Loves a Woman Whose House Got Flooded By a Natural Disaster and Who Doesn't Have Any Insurance At All."

Less than an hours after AGT finished filming, Grimm broke down in tears. While judges, cast, and crew assumed the emotions had merely caught up with him.

"I did it," Grimm said between tears, "I fucking did it. I can't believe everyone bought it, but they did."

"Bought what, luv?" a confused Sharron Osbourne asked.

"Me!" the bohemian, Silverlake native explained, "You bought me. I made it all up. Everything. I wasn't raised by my grandparents. They live in The Valley for Chrissakes. As if I'd ever live there. Gross."

"What about Hurrican Katrina? The devastation?" Piers Morgan interjected.

"Please," Grimm said, "Who wouldn't vote a white Katrina survivor? I did my research, Piers."

"So all of it was a lie?" Mandel asked.

"Well, not all of it," Grimm confessed wiping away the last of his tears, "I did bang a girl named Katrina once. And I do love The Scorpions. But that's it. You gotta love this country," Grimm concluded, saluting the AGT crew with his million dollar check as he grabbed his coat and his Las Vegas contract and walked out the door.

 A Tearful Grimm Tells All

Now America's got some serious thinking to do now...

Should the prize money go to one of the other finalists? Or should it be donated to a virtuous cause for future talents such as "Baby DJs of America?"

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Justin Bieber's New Reality Show

What's up Bieber fans. If you're like me, you always have the fever for the flavor of a Bieber, and you are not going to believe the news that's about to break. That's right - there's a bright, shiny secret rising on young Justin's horizon and it's about light up the whole entertainment industry. You heard it here first - A Parenting From the Up Side Down exclusive - Justin Bieber is about to star in his very own reality show!! I'm so excited I could feather my hair.

It doesn't seem that long ago that Bieber was just an up and coming, YouTube driven pop sensation fortunate enough to present an award at the 2009 VMAs. Since then he has released his debut album My World which peaked on the billboard charts at number five, followed by the release of his sophomore album My World 2.0 the following spring.

With his unexpected, overnight rise to super-stardom, Bieber has had the opportunity to work with everyone from Ludicris and Sean Kingston to Jaden Smith and Kanye West. Everything Bieber touches these days turns to gold. He has met the president, topped Lady Ga Ga on the YouTube charts, and is about to appear on an episode of CSI as bad boy, Jason McCann. Hell, he even got Mark Wahlberg to come out of rap-tirement to perform on his second album. That's some serious star power. C'mon, c'mon. Feel it, feel it.

Needless to say, Bieber's success has not gone unnoticed by Hollywood producers, which is why - just a few short hours ago - Justin Bieber signed a three season contract to star in his own teen version of "The Bachelor." Although details of the shooting location, release date, and cable network have not yet been disclosed, auditions for the first season are rumored to begin as soon as next week. The show's title is still up for debate, and they want your fan input as part of the auditions. Titles currently on the table include, "The Beibchelor," "Leave it Bieber," or "Flavor of Bieb." 

Much like "The Bachelor," Bieber's show will feature him and thirty-two potential suitors all living together at his single, working mother Pattie's house. Bieber will screen the eligible bachelorettes according to singing skills,  published YouTube resume, depth of Christian faith, and knowledge of Canadian cultural norms. Bieber's father, Jeremy, will act as his trusty wing man.  At the end of each episode, Bieber will narrow down the field, presenting bottles of his brand name hair products to those he wants to stay asking, "To Bieb or Not to Bieb?"

So here's the exciting part. It's time to pop the cork on your fandom and im-Bieb to you hearts content. You know I will. If you're reading this now and you want to be a bachelorette on Bieber's show, you can audition. Anyone can. Here are the requirements:

1. Complete a video of three minutes or less that includes:
a) you singing part of your favorite Bieber song
b) which show title you would choose - you can makeup your own, too
c) what makes you a good candidate for the show
d) the capital of Canada 
e) proof that you own both My World and its 2.0 sequel 

2. Please submit your video audition to YouTube under the title "I'm perfect for the JoB"

Please check for a response to your entry on this site - and shop around while you're waiting. Don't let this opportunity pass you by. Justin is looking for someone with a creative edge, so mix it up. All ages are welcome, so don't think this doesn't apply to you.

Justin Bieber with the Season 1 host, Amari B Fishman. 

Good luck everyone. Bieb there or Bieb square.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Marilyn Manson No Makeup, No Problem

In the latest, hottest, sexiest Internet story of the afternoon, American rock star and artist Marilyn Manson has finally decided to take action in his life-long battle with makeup abuse. Manson (born as Brian Hugh Warner), known more for his thick foundation and dark eye liner than his musical talent, has long been viewed as an outrageous and controversial figure in the rock and roll world. From his clothing to his lyrics to his stage name - a hybrid of Charles Manson and Marilyn Monroe - Manson has been criticized as being a bad influence on children.

For years, Manson was able to deflect these criticisms as part of the rock and roll lifestyle - knowing in his heart of hearts and his bank account of bank accounts that there is no such thing as bad press. Nonetheless, there always seemed to be a darkness about him, a lingering impression that not all was right in the world of the artist formerly known as Brian. This week, the truth finally came out. Manson finally let the world see him for who he really is - a frightened little boy from Canton, Ohio with a longterm addiction to cosmetics.

Manson's troubles began in junior high school when he attended his mother's Episcopalian church even though his father was Catholic. His mother, trying to protect him from the shame of not recognizing the authority of the pope, would dress Manson in ridiculous Sunday dresses and thick, heavy makeup. Manson hated church, but secretly loved the costumes and the makeup. Years later, while attending Boward Community College, Manson pursued a degree in journalism and pulled out his mom's old dresses and makeup while doing undercover investigative reporting. At first it was just part of the job, a social activity, but pretty soon he was wearing makeup alone. By the time he graduated, he'd earned a minor in music and an avenue with which to conceal his growing addiction.

For the next twenty years, Manson was able to live a functional life as a cosmeholic, hiding his addiction to makeup behind an on-stage persona that eventually crept into his off-stage life. Eventually, there was no longer a separation between Marilyn and Brian. In fact, there was no Brian. Manson knew it was time to take action - it was time to take the makeup off.

Although many recommended treatment, Manson decided that, with the help of his girlfriend and recovering cosmeholic, he could kick this disease on his own. The results have been miraculous.

 Before accepting his problem and seeking help

Just a few short weeks after...

After thirty days of makeup free existence, Manson admits, "I can't believe I've been hiding behind a mask for so long. When it comes down to it, I'm awfully cute." 


I wrote this way too late and need to get some rest. My apologies to anyone who actually reads this blog for baby content. Hollywood is just way more interesting some days.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Davezillion Competitor Goes Public

Davezillion aka is a local New York City startup, sort of like Craigslist. Davezillion is a free community on the Internet that helps connect people to assist each other with household projects like painting, landscaping, or simple installations. Everyone has had that moment where they just needed a little help but did not know where to get it. Davezillion, the first and only online community dedicated to linking people to get stuff done, solves that problem. According to the web site their mission is “to help people accomplish these important tasks so we can live more comfortably and enjoy our free time, while building a sense of community and partnership among users." As for the company's mantra, “the best way to get someone to help you with one of your projects is to help someone with their own." In these economic times, a company like this is invaluable. 
On the same day Davezillion is finally getting the public attention and recognition they deserve, a similar, community-based startup in California has decided to go public. Potrillion is an increasingly popular online resource for stoners around the world who are also struggling through our recent recession. Most stoners have had many moments when they've needed a little help - a pipe, a bong, some papers, maybe even a little "nug," - and they either don't know where to get it or are entirely unmotivated to look. Potrillion offers these customers free and easy access to a large web-based community of similarly unmotivated people who are compelled by apathy to share their resources. 
In an exclusive interview with their company's CEO, investigative reporter Amari B Fishman learned that Potrillion's mission is similar to Davezillion in that they want "to help people enjoy their free time and build a partnership amongst users." The site is brilliantly and very colorfully designed, and people can submit "ads" according to their have's and have not's - be it weed, paraphernalia, or just really good snacks. As for Potrillion's company mantra, they claim "the best way to ensure having a delicious sandwich in the future is to make somebody a delicious sandwich today." 
Potrillion's announcement to go public was no coincidence. Although they offer completely different resources to their customers, many argue that Potrillion is Davezillion's biggest competitor. "Not only do they encourage drug use," said an anonymous Davezillion employee, "they also discourage household projects. Or any projects for that matter. They're the worst possible thing that could happen to Davezillion. They're the worst thing that could happen to this planet." 
When asked by Amari B to respond to these incendiary remarks, co-founders of Potrillion responded in unison, "We should have a dope-a-thon and raise money for people like that."
Amari B with Potrillion Co-Founders Cheech and Chong
When she's not off investigating the latest Internet craze, Amari B is home with us, trying her very best to go from crawling and standing to actually walking. Her latest attempts have had her standing, as though frozen in time for just a moment, before gravity pulls her butt to the ground with an un-triumphant thud. She doesn't cry anymore - probably because Carrie and I burst into cheers and applause, which distracts Amari into thinking it's clapping time again. With a happy albeit puzzled look on her face she gives herself a brief round applause and returns to climbing up on whatever or whomever is nearby.

Speaking of applause, my new favorite thing Amari does is breaking into spontaneous applause whenever something exciting happens during the Giants game. She can be across the room with her back to the TV, but when there's enough action to get the crowd going, Amari - much like Pavlov's dog - will join in their celebration. My next goal is to teach her the difference between home and road games, so she can stop cheering on the opposition. Who knows - if I play my cards right "Booo Dodgers" will be her first words.

Today is the four year death-a-versary of my mom passing away. I don't celebrate days like today, nor would I have even thought about it had it not been for a phone call from my sister. Bekka was more connected with my mother towards the end of her life, and she's also more connected emotionally. It's not that I'm totally unfeeling, it's just that I'm uninterested in revisiting the painful parts of my life. Some therapist, eh? I guess it's true that those who can't - teach. Do I miss my mom? Sure I do. Do I wish Amari could have met her, could have had another grandmother, could have seen where so much of who I am came from? Absolutely. Do I want to think about the loss of all those possibilities every September 5th? Not really.

That's just me. I think about my mom all the time. I have pictures strewn about the house. I see her in myself and I like to imagine that there will be genetically transmitted personality traits that will one day emerge in Amari. When my sister and I talk about it, we meet in the middle. Sometimes I just listen as she gets emotional, quoting my mom's sarcasm in saying that she'd better feel sorry for herself because nobody else is going to. That was a go to line for my mom along with "Well, honey bun, life isn't fair."  Other times, like today  when I realized the fifth had only just begun, we can joke about it. "Oh good," I said, "I still have fifteen hours to feel sorry for myself. You know I never like to let an opportunity for sadness pass me by."

We all process things differently...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Penn State Football: Joe Paterno Introduces Successor

No one was surprised when Joe Paterno announced this week that 2010 would be his last year as head football coach for the Penn State University. In fact, until a few years ago, after successive bowl games named after a steakhouse (Outback) and a car rental agency (Alamo), many faithful Nittany Lion fans secretly hoped he would. Now, in the twilight of his career, Paterno has rebuilt the once dominant college football program into a legitimate national championship contender.

In his 60th year on the Penn State coaching staff, JoePa has won more bowl games than any other coach, including two national championships in 1982 and 1986. Legend has it he also quarterbacked the Nittany Lions in their back-to-back title seasons of 1911 and 1912, but there is no hard evidence of this claim as the camera was not yet invented. Needless to say these are going to be giant shoes for any coach to fill, and there has been plenty of speculation as to who will take the reins in 2011, including names like Butch Davis, Lane Kiffin (I know!), and JoePa's very own son, Jay.

Today, however, Paterno surprised fans and critics alike by hand picking a coach completely new to the world of college football. "Ladies and gentlemen," Paterno began at an impromptu press conference, "I know some of you will be surprised by my choice, but I encourage you to keep and open mind and trust that I have my reasons. That being said, I would like to introduce to you the next coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions..."

The crowd of reporters was bursting with anticipation, waiting for the future of college football to step from behind the curtain. Instead, a security guard with small, nippled bottle in his hand stepped to the podium and whispered into Paterno's ear.

"I hope you all have a few minutes," Paterno apologized, "Apparently it's nap time." After forty-five minutes of whispers, unanswered questions, and a cat nap by the 83 year-old coach himself, the security guard returned to let Paterno know the new coach was ready. "Let's try this again," Paterno said, "Ladies and gentlemen - please give a warm, Penn State welcome to your future coach...Amari Becker Fishman."

The silent press room sat stunned - probably by undeniable cuteness - with everyone waiting for someone else to speak first. Paterno jumped in, as he always has, and cut straight to the point. "Listen," he said, "I don't want to hear anyone to rush to judgment. I don't want to read articles about things like inexperience, no proven track record, or the complete inability to talk. You know what - people said those same things about me when I walked onto Penn State's campus back in 1949. These are the facts - Amari B is my hand-picked successor for the very simple fact that she can connect with today's youth, today's recruiting classes, and most importantly, this year's freshman quarterback, Robert Bolden. They've already met once and Bolden says they're one hundred percent on the same page. I don't think anything else matters."

The security guard stepped up to the podium again, whispered in JoePa's ear, picked Amari up to smell her diaper, and then hurried her off stage. The press conference was over, leaving a room full of reporters wondering what they'd be asking Amari B Fishman this time next year.

Amari B will get her first in-game experience on the sidelines next week against the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide.


That's it. Thanks to my wife, I found the bridge between my new and old blog content. Thank you, Carrie. Now I can imagine all the possibilities of who, what, where, and when Amari may be when she grows up.

More later. Trust me. This is going to be fun.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Morton Hears a Ho

And it's probably coming from Lindsey Lohan's mouth, sent C.O.D. to Jeniffer Aniston.

So, you ask, are the rumors true? Has the the Pink Taco King upgraded from the former child fashion model come pop singer/Hollywood celeb/high profile drug addict for an older, ambery-jasmine smelling model with much better acting skills? The rumor mills are turning as fast as Lohan's revolving door at the Betty Ford clinic, but nobody seems to know the truth.

Until now.

Parenting From the Upside Down reporter, Fay Key McUppins, got the exclusive story right from the horse's mouth. And by horse, I mean Harry Morton. Have you seen that guy's jaw? Yikes. How does he get any action? According to McUppins, Morton has not denied or confirmed the rumor that he is dating the former Mrs. Pitt, but during the interview they were interrupted by a UPS delivery of a large box of DVDs including the anniversary set of "Friends," "Along Came Polly," and twelve other Aniston movies including - and if this doesn't say secret public romance - "Bruce Almighty."

When questioned about the delivery, Morton deflected saying, "I think I'm most like Chandler. Who are you like?" McUppins persisted, noticing the Bristle dartboard across the room with Brangelina's faces on it and the unique smell of citrus, rose, and wild violets coming from Harry's desk? When asked about the odor Morton leaned back in his chair and smiled, "Yeah...isn't it great? I've been wearing it for a week now and it just makes me feel like I can laugh at life, you know. Lola vie, the French say," but would not disclose the name of the scent.

When McUppins finally caught up with Aniston, she was equally cryptic, saying, "I know I played Rachel for ten years, but in real life I think I'm more like Phoebe." When asked if the rumors about her and Morton were true, she admitted she was a fan of his restaurant, siting his special sauce as the reason she goes back for more all the time. "I have met him," she added, "And it turns out we both love pink tacos - a lot." Aniston smiled mischievously, then exited the room in a cloud of citrus-amber-rose.

Meanwhile, at a traffic light somewhere between the county jail and the local rehab, McUppins caught up with Lohan to get her thoughts. Rolling down her window, Lohan slurred, "I called her last week, and was like, 'Do you wanna hang out?' And her sister hung up on me, so I was like keep your friends close but your enemies closer, you know?" and then sped away through the still red light in a cloud of nicotine, alcohol, and failure.

And that was the last Fay Key McUppins saw of any of them.


So now that we've had a glimpse of what the world learned, let's talk about what Amari and I learned today.

What has Amari Learned?

My poor, little munchkin is under the weather. It's been a bad run of sleepless nights this week, ranging from tooth pain to indigestion to the wonderful world of stuffy noses and blocked tear ducts. I was up writing last night until one, spamming my spoof story to other blogs, and then Amari had me up three hours later. With full-time stay-at-homery just around the corner and a day off today, I knew I'd better get used to this duty.

When we got downstairs Amari immediately began pulling herself up onto the living room table, lowering herself down, rinsing and repeating. What demanded weeks of caution and hard work was now effortless for her. She found new, taller items, reaching for drawer handles in the kitchen, cupboards in the laundry room. The days of leaving her unattended are clearly behind me. At one point, our more feral cat, Odie, was sitting peacefully on an end table unaware of Amari's new skill set. She spotted him across the room, crawled rapidly beneath his visual radar, and then popped her head up to a paralyzed kitty who had no idea what to do.

Another thing Amari is learning is the meaning of the word "No." Or at least the tone of the word "No!" When she goes for cords or plugs or anything on the list of "Oh Shit I Guess We're Not Really Child Proofed" I'll give her a firm but loving, "Amari - NO." If she's reaching for something, she stops, turns to me, then crawls somewhere else. If she already has something in her hand, she stops, turns to me, and hands whatever it is directly to me as though that were her intention all along. "I was just tasting the vacuum cord for you," I imagine she'd say. It's pretty freakin' cute. I abuse the power sometimes because it's awesome or because I really want the remote.

Lastly, Amari has now learned to "click" her tongue thanks to the efforts of her cousin, Siobhan, her Granny C, and probably her aunt Olga many months ago. She picked it up so quickly from Siobhan this week, that I started to wonder if it's an evolutionarily developed skill that comes from the Earth's early languages in Africa. Who knows? And it doesn't matter at all. I'm just constantly impressed with the learning process as it unfolds before my eyes on a daily basis. Although she's not saying anything yet, I know she understands words and patterns, which makes talking to her in the morning much more interesting. She's recently a big fan of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider."

What Have I Learned?

In analyzing my last two blogs, I've learned absolutely nothing about where this imaginary money I'm making is coming from. What I do know is that writing about reality shows like Dancing with the Stars brought in record-breaking earnings on Wednesday (almost $14) while making fun of alleged child-killers brought in record-breaking traffic, less but still respectable earnings ($10), and one incendiary comment. There's no such thing as bad press, right? The moral of the story - I still know jack about monetizing blogs and making money on the Internet, but I'm kind of excited that I'm able to do it anyway. Does this make me a professional writer? I guess it just goes to show you...

I actually don't know what it goes to show you.

Stay tuned...

West Memphis Three, Johnny Depp Ask for Appeal And New Nickname

Seventeen years after their brutal crime rocked West Memphis, Arkansas with the gruesome discovery of the mutilated bodies of three eight year old boys, the West Memphis Three is back in the public spotlight. Two days ago, Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder threw a benefit concert in Arkansas to bring awareness to these three young men incarcerated for murder since the early nineties. Hosting the benefit, Depp pleaded with the almost three thousand attendants to write to their governor and ask that The West Memphis Three either be pardoned or granted a new nickname.

Depp has had an interest in this case since the story broke in '93 while he was filming "Benny and Joon," where he played Sam the Buster Keaton-like eccentric. Depp was climbing his way up the Hollywood ladder and was looking for darker, more challenging roles - characters he soon found in "Dead Man," "Donnie Brasco," and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape." The young, handsome actor was always on the look-out for that cutting edge, ripped straight from the headlines story that would rocket him to super-stardom. When he read about The West Memphis Three, the possibility that they might be innocent and the fact that they were all approximately his age - it was the perfect story. Except for their stupid nickname and the fact that they were still in prison.

Since the arrest of the West Memphis Three, Depp has been devoted to the cause of these "alleged" murderers (whose DNA was found splashed around the crime scene along with that of the victims), doing everything he can to encourage the courts - both legal and that of public opinion - to set the record straight, free The West Memphis Three, and grant them a new moniker.

"It's a real injustice, a travesty" Depp said, "These men are individual people, you know, but for the past seventeen years they've been clumped together in the public eye with this ridiculous name. It's like a school uniform. How are we supposed to grant them amnesty if we can't even tell them apart?"

"Uh-uh-huh," Vedder sang, chiming in and adding, "Their nickname isn't even original. I mean, there's already an East Memphis Two - those girls that stabbed each other outside a nightclub - and a South Memphis Six, which is a pretty solid jazz band that's been around for years."

"I just think people would pay more attention to the lack of evidence," Depp interjected taking the opportunity to plug the movie titles he'd come up with two decades ago, "if they were called something like "The Innocents" or "The Framed" or "The Black Guy From the Diner Did It."

Although there is no retrial currently set for The West Memphis Three, Depp and Vedder will be taking the proceeds of the musical benefit and investing it in West Memphis Three t-shirts, which will have individual pictures of the killers with the words, "Which one am I?" written beneath them. "I can't make people change," Depp said in his best Captain Sparrow accent, "but I can make them think."


As for Amari, after pulling herself up onto her feet with the help of the dining room table, she is now doing it at will - anywhere and everywhere. It reminds me of getting up on water skis - after I broke through the barrier of getting on top of the water, it became easy. This evening, while I was feeding her dinner, she paused between bites to pull herself up to standing, grab something off the table, drop it on the floor, and then ever-so-carefully lowering herself back down to her butt for another bite. Only once or twice did she flop hard to the floor, but the fear was gone - no tears - and she just hopped back up or crawled away to a new location.

Although she still isn't saying anything coherent, and I can't get her to say her Baa's and Daa's, she is getting much louder and is developing control over her pitch. She can go really high when she's imitating me imitating opera, and she can let out a deep, guttural "Raahh" anytime we least expect it. Like yesterday while we were waiting at the clinic for my niece to get a medical check-up for soccer. The girl has some pipes. I love it.

As for my future as a stay-at-home dad, I'm excited and anxious. Financially, it's a little scary, but when I find out that my last article about Dancing With the Stars brought in a record-breaking (for me) $14, I'm optimistic. As long as Amari starts working when she's ten and goes to a community college we'll be fine. As far as a more practical plan, I distributed flyers for the SAT prep course I will be providing for the high school students on the Mendocino Coast.

I continue to receive an incredible amount of support for leaving my job to be a full-time job. If I'd known I'd get this kind of response, I would have made up a child year's ago when I just wanted to quit jobs or suck at them. It might have saved me getting fired.

Tomorrow - a full day with Amari and fellow stay-homers J-Cal and Nicki G. I'm sure we'll do something worth writing about...

Amari's Dad