Zee Bloody Birth of Ballet: Small Truth, Large Pulp-Free Fiction

“Dear Diary, 
When I grow up, I never want to stop wearing tutus and shiny dresses, and walking on my tippy-toes. I also hate when Mommy MAKES me clean my plate, so when I grow up I will only eat candy and smoke cigarettes. And I will dance and dance and twirl and NEVER GO TO BED!”
  -- Young ballerina thoughts.
from The Simpsons' "Smoke On The Daughter"
I was innocently watching a line of perfectly-synchronized ballerinas, doing impossible-looking moves on those ungodly ballerina shoes, and once again I was amazed at the freaking freak of freaking nature that is ballet and ballerinas.  
from houstonballet.wordpress.com

Back when the Black Swan movie came out, I heard a horrifying piece (why did I not just type the word ‘interview’ ??) on NPR on the life of the modern ballerina, and the toll it takes on a human body….and soul. The stress, the diet of wet cotton balls, it makes them feel full without calories. Obviously a human person could not possibly consume more than 300 calories a day to fit in those outfits. The dedication and training involved in doing those moves over the course of a lifetime, is nothing short of torture.

Not to mention, once a dancer has “made it” to the point of being actually compensated for his/her art? The real hard work begins: The schedule, the practice, the playing hurt because gods forbid your UNDERSTUDY get to perform for you, and steal the one paycheck you finally get for all your sacrifices.
Beautiful ballerina feet. I AM SO SORRY FOR THIS
from theperformanceclub.com 
It got me thinking about who invented this cruel ironically beautiful dance? Who was the FIRST PERSON to say, “Hhmm, let’s make the world’s most impossible dance, combine it with the most uncomfortable clothing in the universe, set it to breath-taking music and make it a big, fancy thing.”

 You may have already known this, but King Louis XIV is credited with “enjoying” ballet SO MUCH that he started the first school of ballet in Paris 1661. 

King Louis XIV?? Huzzah! Given my vast knowledge of his history, namely watching the movie 'The Man in The Iron Mask,' I know that this man may have been a king’s king, but he was clearly not right in the head.

King Leo as The Man In The Iron Mask, GREAT movie btw
I immediately pictured lil Leo DiCaprio as King Louis yelling “Let zem eat cake, and dance le ballet!” 

That’s the kind of thing the rusty wheels in my wonderland dome turn out.

If you’ve seen The Man In The Iron Mask, you saw the side of old King Louis that I’m talkin’ bout, Willis. The man who left Paris starving while he pursued money and women.

Historic semi-RELEVANT TANGENT, possibly saving you a web search:

War monger part? True.

The twin brother looked in a dungeon thing? Pulp-Free Fiction.

I had a talk with my smartest best friend Google, who told me ole King Louis was a ballet dancer and he performed in this get up:
 from contemporary-dance.org
Right?! I mean, these duds would cheese ME off? Et vous? Oui ou non?

This would probably cause a normal person to want to make some changes, but an egomaniacal kingI pictured him plotting his revenge for this outrage! 

He would make ballet “The Next Big Thing,” and lots and lots of people would have to wear these outfits and learn that foot-and-soul-crushing dance. He would show them.

Zut alors! He would OPEN A SCHOOL (“Acad’emie Royale de la Danse”) to teach hundreds - non MEEELLIONS - of people to do this dance! They would have to devote their lives, and their very health to learning to do this.

I pictured the pompous king, talking to the French homme who helped him start this school, Pierre Beauchamps (great name, btw), and it went a little something like this:

from fanpop.com

King Louis XIV(in a horribly dramatic French accent): 

 “Let us be sure, when zey dance this dance, ze leettle ballerinas, zey will have to wear very tight, shiny tutus and show 90% of their bodies. 

Zey will not be able to drink zee wine and eat zee croissant if zey wish to dance! Mwu-ahahah!”(<-- French evil laugh)

Pierre Beauchamp
from answers.com

Pierre Beauchamp: 

“Very good, sire. 
How about zee shoes? 
Shiny, oui, bon, but let us also make them very, very uncomfortab-leh.”

from contemporarydashdance.org/ballet-history

King Louey: “Oui! Let them wear ‘orribly pointy shoes, and zey must dance ON ZEE TIP TOES. For HOURS!“

Beauchamp: “Sacre bleu! Sire, forgive me but that seems impossi-bleh.” (what? That's how they say that in France.)

KL: “Well then, put zee wood in the toe part of the shoe, let them practice balancing on it for years. I need this, Mon Dieu!”

PB: “As you wish, my liege. That may damage the dancer's feet.”

KL: *steepling fingers in an evil Monty-Burns-fashion* “They shall never be able to walk normally! Assuming any of them survive past ze age of 25 on a diet of only tobacco leaves and milk of the poppy,” (or Yee Old Absynthe or whatever the fudge was the Oxycoton of the 1600’s) "Zis will ensure all the dancers who dance this dance will only be YOUNG!"

PB: “Excellent, sir. If I may? This is why you are KING.”

KL: "Of course eet is! Now bow to me and make it so, you pig dog!"

End scene. *That thing with the fingers*

That is how I picture it going down.

For the rest of you that love to dance, but also like to eat...and say walk...don't fret Boba Fett. The answer came to me in searching for information about the first school of dance.

I did not doctor this in anyway, this is a live screen shot:
from stason.org


That Movie I Made With Corey Haim in the 90’s

I haven’t told this story in awhile, it’s old and it’s about Corey Haim, RIP *crosses self dramatically* buuut The Precious Princess (I’ll link at the end, you want to read HER story 2nd because it will make mine look SUPER LAME by comparison,) she reminded me with her REAL celebrity moment.
from alicetiara.tumblr.com
Her story takes place in Chicago, like mine, she had a special moment (2 days) with Oprah. I won’t spoil her story, but it reminded me that my sister was on the Oprah show with her friend, Murph, and that reminded me of the movie my sisters & I made with Corey Haim in the 90’s.

from thedailyomnivore.net
We all have our “15 minutes of fame” stories, mine are super lame because I don’t really give a crap about most celebrities, so I never waited in a long line to meet anyone or sent fan mail or even a freaking TWEET to Shatner, or anything. 

When I do see a celebrity I don’t run up and tell them I’m a huge fan if I’m not. I will approach if I LIKE them, I’m far from shy. I DID approach Joan Cusak in a water park, but that was only because I didn't think it was REALLY Joan, I was on a kick where I would take pictures of people that LOOKED KIND OF LIKE celebrities, which started with a hilariously delicious Little Richard look alike donning a TIGHT Speedo. The dude had fantastic hair and looked like he was smuggling grapes in his swimsuit. After that, it kind of became a thing for awhile. 

My favorite REAL celebrity run-in was seeing Johnny "Red" Kerr singing karaoke in a bar in Forest Park. He was singing country, terribly and in fact when I told him I was a big fan of his, he asked me "Of what?" (Meaning as a basketball PLAYER or hilarious Bulls announcer) and I said, "Well, not your singing!" and we both cracked up. He was a good sport, and signed a matchbook for my son. He still has it SOMEWHERE in his disgusting room, but I don't feel the time it would take digging in his smelly teenager room would be a good ROI here. 

I also saw a Chicago Bulls sports caster in a bar, Steve “Kashie” Kashul, and I did beg him to play Pop-A-Shot against me.
 ^Kashie ^                from NBA.com
He wouldn’t do it though, and I see his point.
If he won? He beat some local non-professional girl, big deal.
If he lost to some girl? He would never hear the end of it.

We did have a few laughs about how awesome Charles Barkley was (and STILL is) and how dangerous Bill Cartwright’s elbows were. If you’re a hoops fan from Chicago, you know.

I once did literally BUMP INTO Bob Sagat in Los Angeles going out to dinner with my Godmother. 
^FILTHY!^ pic from sho.com
He was with his daughter so no, he didn’t drop any F bombs that he’s famous for in his standup.

Tangent fun fact: If you haven’t seen it and you HAVE seen Full House and/or America’s Funniest Videos? Do yourself a huge favor and google his standup, it’s hilariously filthy. 

Anyway, nicest guy in the world in real life, he was looking for a bandage for his daughter, and long after I bumped into him, he remembered me and asked me “How was your dinner, good?” AMAZING STORY, right?! I'm looking for a buyer for the movie rights.

There are more, but I already forgot because that is what a total snoozer the “stories” are.

This one time though? 
In Johnny Rockets in Chicago? 
My sisters and I made a movie with Corey Haim. And that lady, Murph, who went with my sister to be on Oprah, she was there too. 

We were bar hopping on Rush Street, a Chicago street famous for tons of bars, (see "St. Elmo's Fire," among other movies) I vaguely remember a dude with a clipboard and a headset asking us “Hey, you girls want to be in a movie?” I know. We've all seen that episode of Law & Order.

I’m sure we were leary at first. Well, I imagine my middle sister, Moe, was ALL OVER this idea. She is our Aryia, all girl balls, no fear. I have no doubt my oldest sister, Binky, was very worried. She’s the oldest and that’s what she does. She was voted “Most Likely To Have Stomach Ulcers” in her yearbook, or something like that. 

I’m sure Murph and I didn’t give a crap either way. When you go out with my sisters, you’re going to have stories to tell, and sometimes super embarrassing pictures in kitty-cat eyeglass frames that have NO actual GLASS in them, one way or another.

Semi-Tangent Backstory Note:
My sisters are really good looking, and get kind of crazy when we go out. They are known to dance on top of bars, wear costumes and accessories, and have made out with known pirates and convicted serial killers. (Okay, I may be dramatically abusing the word ‘serial,’ does TWO murders make you a serial killer? Not sure what the rules are.) Anyway, they always get approached when I go out with them.

from celebitchy.com
That might sound like a good thing, but for me? It always was and is kind of a nightmare. Mayhap because I’m the Khloe of the group, but even when I was younger and pretty good looking, it was still annoying. 

I hate being bugged by obnoxious guys, or almost any guy, at a bar. (Girls? Have never been a problem, as soon as you say you're not interested they go away, or just rap with you about how uncomfortable high heels are and shit like that.) But Guys? GO AWAY! I’ll buy my own drinks, thanks. If I want to talk to you? You’ll know. 

My gene pool is chock full o’ awesome women with big chests and bigger mouths, and the kind of guys that approach those kinds of women in bars? Are NOT the kind of guys I want to talk to ever, so I would always wear T-shirts and sneakers and be ready to K some A if I needed to.

Ugh. Even my tangents go off on tangents.

Anyway, back to the story: The guy with the clipboard and headset was looking for extras for a movie that shoots scenes in a bar. At some point between people talking about it, the lanyards and clipboards, and HBO swag, it seemed REALLY DAMN ELABORATE for a hoax of 4 women so we checked it out.

We went in, had to sign some paperwork, and were to be paid ONE DOLLAR when the movie came out. That was apparently the going rate (legal minimum to avoid lawsuits) for being an extra in HBO movie in the 90s. Our entire knowledge of the movie was the title: “Shooter On The Side” in which Corey Haim is a bartender, hence the shooting of scenes in a bar.

In the bar, there were MORE cameras and clipboard-carrying dudes directing people all over the place. People were buzzing about this and that and somehow we found out that Corey Haim was not only in this MOVIE, but the man was IN THE BUILDING. Cool!

The little brother from “Lost Boys” hell yeah! I don’t know if my sisters even knew who he was at that time, they are 9 and 10 years older than I am, so on their radar would be more of your Shawn Cassidys and the like. But the Coreys? SIGN ME UP!

This was Corey in the 90's, he still looked good. It was post-child star and before the hot mess "Celebrity Rehab" type stuff.

from missvintagepopculture.blogspot.com

from starcasm.net
After paperwork, we were sent up to the dance floor, where we had to dance to the SAME SONG for over an hour to quote “Get shots from all angles,” ugh, can't they see we are NATURALS at being in a bar?? We were directed, over and over, through a BULLHORN to quote “Dance sexier!” 

I don’t know if YOU could take that kind of direction through a bullhorn and take it seriously, but yeah, we didn’t do so well. After awhile, we stopped guffawing and just danced, so this part would be over and/or we could at least get a NEW SONG.

It might seem like fun to make a movie in a bar, but after awhile of the same song? It gets a little old. We had drinks, but once we were on the dance floor and our drinks were gone, it didn’t seem like a good move to LEAVE and try and get another drink, so we just danced as “sexy” as white girls from the suburbs could muster.

I’m sure my middle sister was a BIG HIT, this is her jam. I imagine short films of her style of dancing, where she would run her hands up and down her legs and make weird inappropriate faces, were probably made into mini-films and distributed all over the world to fans of midget porn. Oh, did I mention my middle sister is about 5 feet tall WITH hooker heels on?

Soon enough someone saw I was CLEARLY out of place on a dance floor, especially where people were supposed to “dance sexier” so some clipboarder grabbed my T-shirt-wearing ass and directed me to a DIFFERENT scene. I couldn’t even be offended, I didn’t belong in this scenario. 

He sent me to a different area where they were filming “bar footage” and I don't think I have never been happier that I dress like a schlub because when I got to the “bar scene” GUESS WHO WAS THE BARTENDER? Yep, Corey Haim. In all his Corey Glory. 

And then, THIS actually HAPPENED in a moment that was captured on film and I’m sure it made the cut into the final film:

Corey as bartender: POINTS TO ME as in ‘Want a drink?’
Me as patron: LIFTS MY BEER to him as in “I’m good.”
Corey: SMILES AT ME, WINKS AT ME, and gives me the index, aka SHOOTER-finger-with-thumb-up sign, as in “Cool.”  


That happened, and it was filmed. By HBO. My 15 minutes. (Seconds.)

That was it. I want to say we topped off the night partying with Corey, and went to his yacht on Lake Michigan with Corey Feldman and Michael Jackson, and the boat turned into a rocket and shot up into space....or anything else, because that would be the only way this story would have a cool ending.

The movie was never released on HBO, and that’s it other than our good-bye move. We were leaving, and the crowd suddenly cleared and sitting down not 10 feet from us was COREY HAIM. Binky said “Let’s throw him a big Dating Game kiss” so one of us yelled “Hey, Corey” and we all turned around dramatically threw him a big, cheesy stage kiss. He smiled really big, so I’m sure he never forgot it his whole life.

That’s pretty much the end of the story. The End. So great, right?!
from zazzle.com
Binky doesn’t want me to tell you about the part where a few weeks later, I mailed her a corny ass hand-written THANK YOU card and signed it “Corey Haim.” I wrote something super dorky like ‘It was such a pleasure working with you, and I hope we can work together again soon’ and drew a wink or something inappropriate like that. I thought this was hilarious, and that she would find it hilarious.

The part she doesn’t want me to tell you is how she showed ALL OF HER NEIGHBORS this card, and was super excited to have a hand-written note from THEE Corey Haim. It's not that bad of a story. I mean, how would you know how embarrassing that is for her? How would you possibly know that she should have recognized MY handwriting from my having written her letters every day for about a YEAR when she got divorced? How would you know that?

It is now 2013, we are STILL waiting for the dollar, and to hear about the movie actually coming out anywhere. That story and this blog are the only things that exist to prove this happened. I should make us T-shirts that say “I made an HBO movie with Corey Haim and I had to make my OWN lousy T-shirt.”

If you know anything about the movie, please let me know. It IS credited in Corey Haim’s movies, see below. I included a link to this page at the bottom.

See the movie highlighted in red? Yeah, I was in that movie.

Corey Haim’s Filmography
The Edison Twins (1982) (TV)
Firstborn (1984)
Secret Admirer (1985)
Silver Bullet (1985)
A Time to Live (1985) (TV)
Murphy’s Romance (1985)
Lucas (1986)
Roomies (1987) (TV)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Watchers (1988)
License to Drive (1988)
Dream a Little Dream (1989)
The Dream Machine (1990)
Fast Getaway (1991)
Prayer of the Rollerboys (1991)
Oh, What a Night (1992)
The Double 0 Kid (1992)
Blown Away (1992)
Double Switch (1993) (VG)
Anything for Love (1993)
Fast Getaway II (1994)
National Lampoon’s Last Resort (1994)
Dream a Little Dream 2 (1995)
Life 101 (1995)
Snowboard Academy (1996)
Shooter on the Side (1996)
Fever Lake (1996) (V)
Demolition High (1996)
Busted (1996)
Never Too Late (1997)
Demolition University (1997) (V)
Merlin (1998) (TV)
Without Malice (2000) (TV)
The Back Lot Murders (2002)
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003)
Universal Groove (2007)
Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008)
Crank: High Voltage (2009)
Shark City (2009)
Terminal Hotel (2009)
American Sunset (2009)
Trade In (2009)
The Girl (2010)
The Pick Up (2010)

Here is the ONE movie review we can find on the movie. 
Soo SOMEONE saw it! In Pakistan in 2002 apparently.

Really not a family movie ... but better to watch with your girlfriend ... alone.

Author: Race-Bennon from Pakistan
10 March 2002
Well I saw this movie and really enjoyed the way it goes, and especially the sexy big breasted waitress, I kept on wondering if she shows herself up and then BAM !!! She starts the real hardcore and the way it goes WOW !!! Reallll cool, well overall I will rate it at almost 6.5 out of 10 and a must see once.


My Dad: Why I'm Weird

I thought about writing a piece on my Dad, this is the first Father’s Day since he died November, 2012. Long story short, he was in a horrible car accident and never recovered. Don’t worry, this is not a long, sad tear-jerker. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

I definitely don't have much time for writing. I just wanted to quickly write something about the tumultuous relationships fathers and daughters can have, not just for my own sense of peace but to tell people how I got over our differences and was happy with how it all played out. On Father’s Day, and Mother’s Day and any of these holidays, social media can be REALLY ANNOYING if you don’t have that picture-perfect Dad everyone is bragging about.

Not getting along with my dad as a young adult really stressed me out. I felt like he started it. Among other things, he said mean things. He compared me to my sisters, making me feel like less of a person because I am not just like them, and I just wanted to scream. Those kinds of comments really pissed me and my brother off, to no end. How could we be like them? We didn’t get the parents or the life they had. How is that our fault?

We got along famously when I was younger, not as well as I got older. It’s easy to be a good parent to young kids, they’re adorable and they don’t have their own sense of the world, or their own beliefs yet. They believe what you tell them, they hate what you hate, when you tell them to go to their room, they have to go.

When kids get to that teen stage, get their own ideas and even test the waters and push you to the limits of your patience? That is the true measure of a good parent. How patient are you with the people you love, despite your own human faults? How much do you support your children’s beliefs that are very different than yours? This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of parenting. I really understand this now that MY son is 17, he is going his own way, and pushing his limits as far as he can.

Putting all the typical teenage stuff aside, my son has different beliefs than I have. I will learn from my dad, I will try to be OKAY with the differences. I refuse to make him feel like less of a person if he does not believe everything that I believe.

It’s easy to love someone and be supportive of someone who has all the same ideas you do. It’s harder to say “I think you are crazy for being a ______________* but I love you anyway.” 
(*insert your different life choices here:  vegetarian, Democrat, atheist, gay, Sox fan vs. Cub fan ….. you get the idea) 

My dad was a lot of things, most of them very different than I am now, and as I grew into a teen and an adult, we would have debates/arguments about a LOT of things. Most of the times we had to just either agreeing to disagree, or I would just shake my head and remind myself he was raised decades before I was, in a different, less progressive part of the country, by a very mean man from the stories I hear.

My dad was an old-fashioned Roman Catholic, staunch Republican, he was raised to believe certain truths, they were pounded into his head. My mother is a much more modern-thinking, bleeding heart liberal democrat. Yeah, opposites attract. Their constant arguing was legend….wait for it….dary. Legendary. I don’t have the intestinal fortitude to go into it right now, the fallout from their famous fights, but it’s the reason why I HATE arguing. The point I’m trying to make is their differences gave me TWO good looks at a lot of things in the world.

I can accept differences in people, some things I really do NOT understand and never will, (like racism or pure hate of any kind without knowing people personally for example,) but because of the way I grew up, I try not to bash people or judge them for what they believe. I cannot support anyone who spreads hate, but I can say to myself,

‘There is a REASON this person feels this way.
Can I learn anything from this person’s very different point of view?
Can I offer a different view to them possibly?”

Our beliefs are put there by our parents, our teachers, our life experiences. We all have DIFFERENT experiences, some good and some bad. We should all learn from each other and talk about WHY we feel the way we do. Maybe we have good reasons, maybe we don’t. Maybe no one ever made us explain why we feel this way, and once we say it out loud we realize how ridiculous it is to hate someone just because they are different than we are.

That is one thing I’m grateful for with my father. We were different people, but we learned eventually to get along, family comes first, no matter how different you are.

The most important thing my father taught me is this:
You don’t have to always agree with someone, to LOVE them.

This is everything. 

Sometimes this is hard to do. Once you get this down, relationships become a lot easier. Everyone is different, has different opinions, beliefs, things they hold dear, and that is okay. Embrace your differences, discuss them calmly, explain and LISTEN to their explanations, and if all you can do is agree to disagree? That is okay, too. Love is all you need.

We never agreed on everything, we never “sat down and talked it out” but I wanted my son to know his grandfather (even though he told us he would never watch my son because he was *gasp* hyper! Hhmm, sound familiar most hyper man in the world?) At family parties, or whenever my dad came in town, I took my son to see him. We didn't spend our time arguing, yes there were indeed TONS of very sarcastic comments you'll be shocked to hear. 

For the most part, we talked, laughed, joked, hugged, kissed, DRANK, we played poker wherein you did NOT bet out of turn, and 
you did NOT EVER check the bet and then raise the bet (I will not tell you the old timey slur he used for this move,) and 
you PLAYED what you CALLED, not what you HAD.  
Important life lessons from my father. 

We talked about family matters, and we LOVED each other, and I am glad we did.

I would never want to think how badly I would feel if my son didn’t know him, or he had passed away and we never got past the bad times. He said some mean things to me in my life, as a teen and young adult, some of them really cut. I never made him apologize, I just forgot about them.

For one thing, I was never going to be the person he wanted me to be. Once you give up trying to make someone else proud and really start making steps to make yourself proud? It’s a giant weight lifted. Other people will come around, or they won’t, it is YOUR own opinion that matters.

If you lay awake at night thinking (as I used to) ‘I could have handled that better’ or ‘I could have tried harder’ then the next morning? Start taking steps to be better. Some things took me a long time to be better about, but I felt better knowing I was on the right path.

It took me years to realize, you can’t please everyone, so why beat yourself up? If someone else can’t recognize the good in you, just make sure you see it yourself. That is all that matters at the end of the day. I just told myself if he can’t see the good, it’s HIS oversight. He’s a human and he’s flawed like all of us. I have made plenty of mistakes, everyone does. I won’t make his mistakes, I will learn from them.

I know he felt more guilt about things than he would ever let on about, he had to live with that. Remember that if you are at odds with a parent, or anyone I guess. Maybe they said some things they shouldn’t have said, maybe they DID some things they shouldn’t have done. Things YOU would NEVER DO. They are still human. They are flesh and bone, and flawed as we all are. 

Just try to let the negative go. In some cases this may not be possible, but if you can, you may feel a lot better.

We have all made mistakes, some worse than others, but you can’t know what it’s like to be someone else, walk in their shoes, live through everything they have lived through. The good, the bad, the pain, the “I cannot stand this for ONE MORE SECOND” type experiences.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Think about what YOU want to accomplish in life, and put yourself on a path to get there. Even if it takes years, follow your own bliss. Your happiness will shine through, people will start to see that.

My son will never know all the negative parts of my relationship with my father. I told him a few things when he asked, but basically he just remembers a funny old fart with a million corny jokes. 

That is another thing my father passed down, in case you’re wondering where I got it, a million corny jokes and the uncontrollable urge to say them. Whatever else my obnoxious father was, he was funny. 

He made people smile and laugh wherever he went. People wanted to be around him, even if they didn't agree with his life views, they wanted to be entertained by him. He was not the kind of man you would imagine having a lot of confidence, he wasn't tall or college educated. He always had a blue collar, back-breaking physical job, and because he worked in printing, he didn't even have all of his fingers. No matter the job, he always gave every job 100%. He told me to work every job like my family owned the company. This is how he operated. He never stood still. 

Example: When a press broke down, instead of standing around until it was fixed, he would sweep the floor, or clean the kitchen, anything productive. People did appreciate that work ethic in him, and in me at every job I have ever had.

I went to work with him for a whole week and it gave me another view of him. It also made me stay in school, it was over 100 degrees in that place and they worked their fingers to the bone for over 8 hours a day, for not a lot of money! Their days were made better by laughing with or at him. When he was a volunteer firefighter, everyone wanted him at THEIR station. He was funny and he would bring snacks. Everyone seemed to love him. 

His crazy sense of humor has definitely been passed down. It’s contagious, I tell you. I made fun of him for his lines like:
“Oh you’re foot fell asleep? Now it’ll be up all night.”

The next thing you know, you find yourself saying it to someone. Then that person makes fun of you, and you hear THEM saying it. It’s like personality herpes. I passed it on to my son, my husband, and it looks like my girls will have it too. Hopefully that will be a good thing. Corny jokes have gotten me through a lot of stress. 

Humor is my defense mechanism, my “break the ice” tactic when I feel socially awakward, my soul’s duct tape, my personality herpes. Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes inappropriate. Okay, fine, a LOT of the time it is inappropriate. It’s just who I am. We got it from my dad. My whole family is funny and weird. There are so many funny family stories, I hope I remember them all. I hope I can write them all well enough to share.

This was my dad. This is why I’m weird.

I'm seeing a LOT of booze bottles on this table. Just sayin.

I had to make an update, and when I re-read I realized how awkward my un-funny posts make me feel. 

I posted this on my ComfyTown Facebook page on Father's Day. 

It has nothing to do with this post, or anything, it's just a Father's Day funny. I think my old man would have found it funny.


Ketchup Toes

It’s not as gross as it may sound. Ketchup Toes: Add this to the list of kid games we would be better off if we had never invented.

You should know first off that we’re Toe Biters. (Babies ONLY.) 
And yes, my husband always says "Two damage" based on this card from the Harry Potter Trading Card game (we did not make the HP card game up) I have talked about it before.
from trollandtoad.com
Baby toes = adorable. Adult toes = barf. (That is why you won’t see a picture of even my kids cute feet posted here, because the internet can be a disgusting place, especially anytime feet are mentioned. If you’re not a weirdo or a perv, do NOT accidentally google anything with feet.)

Anyhoo, back to the kid games and WTF is Ketchup Toes. We always tease my toddler, Lola, that she’s delicious, mostly just to her say yell: 

“NO! I NOT 'licious!” 

and then we pretend we’re going to gobble her up because it makes her laugh. And because we’re weird. The other night at dinner, she was cranky waking up from nap, so my husband Count Comfula thought it would be funny if he put ketchup on Lola’s toes before nibbling them. You had to be there. It was funny alright. Hilari-ASS. Lola laughed and laughed, and LOVED it so much she has not stopped shoving her feet at us and saying “Put ketchup on em!” I can’t wait for her to do that in front of strangers at the grocery or a restaurant.

It was funny for a long time, but now we find ourselves trying to explain about joking, which 3 year olds can't really wrap their giant heads around.

As we've done so many times, we reminded ourselves we should THINK before we do this crap. That got me thinking about the weirdo games we have invented over the years.

Here is a look at some of our favorites that I can remember:

Rocket Launcher. 
This was my son’s favorite, as well as every niece and nephew I would watch at my house. This started out with what everyone does with babies and toddlers, flying them like Superman. 
DOING IT WRONG from dailypicksandflicks.com
Then as the kids got older, and heavier, it morphed into me balancing the kids on my shins, and mostly PUSHING them, but also kind of lifting them, to "launch" them forward. I would lean further and further back….until…..*foop* LAUNCH! Oh, did I not mention you need to secure a soft landing spot first? Whoops, sorry kid. It’s only a flesh wound. 

We usually did this onto the couch when they were little, and onto a mountain of couch cushions and pillows when they were a little older, and then onto my bed when they were preteens. (My bed was 2 mattresses on the floor, otherwise I would not have been able to hoist kids up there.) Once the kids hit the teen years, yeeeeaaahhh the game got pretty awkward.

Now when I play with Lola, (she's 3) we play a modified version because she is too scared to be really launched yet. I just Superman fly her and gently toss her on the couch. She calls this “Fly Like a Frog.” When she first started talking, those words sounded HILARIOUS so we encouraged her to say them over and over. Now it’s just weird because it doesn't sound funny, and she doesn’t look like a frog, and my teenager says “Frogs don’t fly” but like all ComfyTown nicknames, it just stuck.

Box Ball. 
This is a modified version of volleyball Tinny & I made up using a cardboard box, with random rally-point scoring. It's super fun, you pretty much just take a box and start a volley, usually on your knees but eventually we played standing up too.

You might think any old box would do, but you would be dead wrong. If you used too heavy of a box, or too light of a box and then thought it would be a good idea to cover that box in Duct Tape, you would have red, raw wrists and hands. This a really bad idea, unless you’re going to modify the game by adding boxing gloves. If you do this, PLEASE take video and email to comfytown@gmail.com Thank you.

We discovered after SEVERAL prototypes that the perfect Box Ball is as close to a square as you can get. For us, it was a case for soda or beer, specifically the thicker boxes for 30+ cans.
from fresh.amazon.com

24-can case boxes will do in a pinch, but they are more of a rectangle and they fly off in strange directions. 

After some play, you may have to use scotch or Duct Tape to hold any pieces that come loose, or any sharp edges, but again too much Duct Tape and it’s painful to hit.

Tinny loved this game so hard, he wanted us to get a mat for the garage floor so we could play on our knees, and cover the walls so we could turn our garage into a Boxball Stadium, and have Boxball tournaments year-round. You might think we could just play in the basement, but once you tape up a box and start volleying it around, you really can’t have anything valuable, or breakable, pretty much ANYWHERE in the room.

This was fine at my tiny, crappy almost studio apartment, but in our current 2nd Official ComfyTown House? It wasn’t going to fly. So to speak. Not with all of my super awesome creepy African masks on the walls. Someone would get REAL HURT.

Back to other weird games, some of which I wish I never invented.
from attackofthefanboy.com

Ow, Duck! 
This game was super fun and hilarious the first time I played with Lola in the tub. 
We tossed rubber duckies at each other in the tub and she said “Ow, duck!’ and CRACKED UP each time. We laughed so much, the Count heard us upstairs and was tickled by how much fun it sounded like we were having.
The next time? Was less fun, as she started to really whip the ducks at me harder and harder, and by the time she figured out how to get the big Mama Duck off of the tub faucet and whip that thing? The “game” became more of a stoning, with rubber, duck-shaped stones.
from moden.us.com
She was obsessed, EVERY BATH became a Shit Storm of ducks. She likes to do the same things over and over, so when getting her into the tub, I tried hiding the ducks, but she would ask and ask for them. I changed the game into Yuck, Duck.

Yuck, Duck! 
Instead of throwing the ducks, I encouraged her to fill them with water and squirt the water at each other. She of course yells "Yuck, duck!" Hey, at least it’s just water comin at ya, Bro. Except now when I think we’re going to just take a quick bath and I won’t have to wet (and then have to dry) my hair? WRONG.
3 Little Speckled Ducks
This is just singing that song with 3 of the ducks, when you get to the “…jumped into the pool…” part we change the word to “tub” and drop one in the tub. She HATED this at first, Lola is a creature of habit and doesn’t like change. Sometimes with persistence you can get her to be flexible, so I continue to try. Plus, once she started with this game, it got her mind off of playing Ow, Duck! Phew. My duck-shaped bruises are all pretty much healed.

Watch Out For That Tree
This is what Lola SCREAMS non-stop now from the stroller during our walks. Again, it started one day when she was crabby while we were walking, my husband started singing “George of the Jungle” and when he got to “…watch out for that TREE” he would run toward a tree and swerve or stop at the last minute. She and the baby are HUGE FANS of this. As all games, it was hysterical at first, but now we have to pull EVERY trick out of our sleeves to distract her from screaming about trees louder and louder and panicking everyone within a 4-block radius.

Nose Shirt
This was one of those things you probably had to be there for. When anyone passes gas, or if any sound anything like that is heard, my husband will put his shirt up over his nose, which Lola finds hilarious and yells out "Nose shirt!" 
The game is either:
A.) For Lola, and now the Baby as well, to pull his Nose Shirt DOWN, and he yells things like, "NO!" or "Ah, it's too stinky" or something like that. Kids love to hear adults talk about things that are stinky. (Seriously, tell a little kid he/she has stinky feet or is generally stinky, they usually find it hilarious; 


B.) Whenever Lola hears a noise like gas being passed, or when we are changing the baby's diaper, she will say "I need a Nose Shirt!" and pull her shirt up, trying to get us to pull her shirt down. Good times. 

I know I’m forgetting others, but I started this over a week ago and my memory shows no signs of improving any time soon. There are lots of silly things we’ve made up, so many I can’t even remember them all, and a lot of them never got official NAMES, like when I was little and my brother & I took turns literally pushing each other down the stairs IN SLEEPING BAGS for whatever reason. Yes, we went into the bags head-first, so the lack of oxygen probably explains a few things about me.

There are tons of silly things like rhyming,
“Would you like goatmeal or boatmeal?”
“I want coatmeal!” and whatnot.

And your typical,
“the first one to the door gets to pick the cartoon” or
“the first one to name 5 states picks the bedtime books” etc., they change as the kids get older.

Not to be confused with my brothers’ torture “games” like:
“Name ten beers and then I’ll stop punching you.” I don’t think my babies can name five beers yet. We always buy the same two.

What? Doesn’t everyone make these up?!