Raising Hobos

My children, loitering on a street somewhere.
My children, panhandling on a street somewhere.
Speaking as a father, I have come to the sad realization that all children have the innate social decorum, personal hygiene skills, and civility of your everyday, bus-depot variety hobo.

How did I come to this conclusion? I cannot pinpoint it exactly, but my children have left a variety of clues as to their true hobo nature. Perhaps it was finding a collection of used Kleenexes discarded throughout our living room. Maybe it was the dirty socks or underwear strewn about our hallway. It could have been the umpteenth time I entered the bathroom and encountered a fresh “deuce” residing in an unflushed toilet.

Whatever it was, I now view our nice suburban home as a veritable tent city. Once I began to take notice of my surroundings, I found the signs of hobo “culture” were everywhere. For instance, around the dinner table each night, I am more apt to hear burping and flatulence than polite conversation.

Furthermore, like hobos, my children relish in their unhealthy diet and lifestyle. My daughter would happily eat a bag of gummy worms smothered in maple syrup for breakfast and wash it down with a root beer float.

Like hobos, my children have horrible hygiene. If left to their own devices, their teeth would go unbrushed and their hair uncombed henceforth. Forget showers too. I have honestly witnessed lengthy debates between my wife and daughter over whether a morning shower is necessary after one has an “accident” the night before.

Like hobos, my children sleep in a tangled rat’s nest of blanks, pillows, assorted personal belongings, dirty clothes and half-eaten food. In addition, like hobos, this “bedding” has the unmistakable odor of stale “pee pee.”

Like hobos, in settling even the smallest dispute, my children generally escalate it to a crazy screaming match in a public place.

Like hobos, the decision-making of children overly favors instant gratification and has an astonishing degree of short-term bias for someone that will live for another 90+ years.

Like hobos, my children constantly beg for money and rarely disclose how the money will ultimately be spent. Knowing their unhealthy lifestyle and bias for short-term gratification, I know my donations will not be going towards their retirement fund. However, there are rare instances that I do feel generous and hand over a dollar to a panhandling child or hobo. I’ve noticed, almost without fail, that within mere minutes of handing over the dollar that I’ll be approached by the exact same child or hobo, unabashedly requesting spare change once more. I then am put in the uncomfortable position of having to exclaim amongst a throng of bystanders, “What! Don’t your remember?, We just had this conversation 10 minutes ago! I gave you a dollar for “bus fare” or the candy machine, remember? Where did that money go?!”

I never really expect a response, as hobos often don’t provide the truth or a direct answer, anyway. Also, hobos complain a lot, make excuses, and are disrespectful. Hobos routinely fail to say “please” and “thank you” or generally show gratitude, even when you are bestowing generosity upon them. Does this sound like any children you know?

As I’ve outlined above, hobos have few redeeming qualities. My job as a parent, fundamentally, is to prevent my children from fulfilling their inborn hobo destiny. Now that I have begun to anticipate their lowlife tendencies, I have developed a counterstrategy.

I call my method “Hobo Chores.” The system is both simplistic and ingenious. Whenever I observe a hobo-esque act of anti-social behavior, I immediately and loudly assign a “hobo chore” to the offending child in witness of the entire family and other onlookers.

Now, there’s nothing inherently different from a “hobo chore” versus the type of routine chores our kids perform each day… except for the stigma of being associated with hobos. In other words, hobo branding has been the key to the program’s success. It should also be noted, that this is the first time in history that “hobo branding” has ever been successful in association with anything.

Look, it’s not easy being a parent. For those of you struggling with childrearing, feel free employ my methods. And someday, when your children are fully grown, and they are not aggressively panhandling in a touristy part of town or defecating on a sidewalk somewhere, you’ll know who to thank.

Remembering the Shiny Disc Wars

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I confess I never used AOL. But there is no denying it was huge. It was a key gateway for a lot of people to access the Internet in the early days of its existence. Talk about a major A-OL.

The biggest reason it was so huge? They had this crazy idea to manufacture CDs by the millions (loaded with their installation software) and mail them to everyone in the US! Did you know there is a group of people who collect these discs now?

I just did some checking and found some mind-blowing stats showing just how big AOL was in its prime.

AOL mailed 660 million disks during this promotional deluge. Keep in mind the population of the US was around 260 million at the time. That is almost 3 discs per person, not just per household!

Now stay with me here, this is where it gets fun. I am saying that way before Netflix, AOL was shipping discs to every city, every street, and every person in the US. No wonder Netflix knew it could be done! They watched AOL do it for years.

At the height of its DVD service, Netflix had almost 20 million customers and 40-50 million discs in its catalog. AOL did it bigger. They had 26 million US customers and hundreds of millions of discs in circulation.

Don’t forget we also had the BMG Music and Columbia House mail-order music clubs around that time. You could get 12 music CDs for the price of one! So did AOL ship more discs than BMG and Columbia House too?

Digging around, it seems the music clubs (BMG and Columbia House) are estimated to have shipped over a billion CDs in their heyday. (Interestingly, I also read that they didn’t properly license the music they were selling until 2006. Ripping off the musician, no real shocker there.) So all told, they rivaled or perhaps surpassed AOL’s reach in terms of discs delivered.

With this info, it seems my old hunch about the post office is clear. In the late 90s, the mail carrier’s job was little more than transporting shiny discs from place to place.

Computer Shopping in the ’90s

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Phrases overheard when computer shopping in the 1990s:

  • Get the cool beige one!
  • Make sure it can boot into MS-DOS.
  • Floppy or hard?
  • Bring friends. One to carry the monitor. Another to carry the CPU. Third to carry the cables to connect the two.
  • Comes with the entire catalogue of recorded music aka has CD burner and Napster installed.
  • Free mousepad.

Taco Tuesday

Taco Tuesday

I’m sure most of you zillionaires out there have taco Tuesday on your menu. It’s one of my favorite dishes. I only like Old El Paso seasoning. The kit comes with either soft or hard shells and a taco sauce to accompany the meat. My only beef is you can’t buy the seasoning separate in my grocery store nearby. You have to purchase the entire box to enjoy the delicious MSG soaked seasoning. You can settle for Ortega but I find the flavor is a little off. By no means is it bad but I just prefer Old El Paso. However their soft tortillas are mediocre next to Mission brand’s tortillas.  Sometimes I splurge and I buy the Old El Paso kit and mission tortillas on the side. The best combo is an Old El Paso taco kit, Mission brand soft tortillas, fresh chopped lettuce, grated cheddar cheese and wait for it…sour cream by Breakstone. Now that’s my kind of a’meat and potatoes’ taco night.

Prop Comic Gag or Russian Hacker Video


Remember prop comics like Carrot Top or Gallagher? I have no idea why they get such a bad rap. Sure, if you think of them as comedians with a bunch of zany ideas, maybe I see your point. But if you reverse it… They are inventors with a sense of humor! Now you understand why I think they are underrated!

Seeing Carrot Top’s act is like watching Seinfeld pitch 30 products in a row on Shark Tank. The prop comic’s job is to show you a series of practical items in rapid-fire succession that make you say “Why didn’t I think of that?”

And all these life hack bloggers and YouTubers owe their entire genre to the prop comics. The prop comics were the first ones who recognized we could modify off-the-shelf products to better suit our needs and purposes. DIY would be SOL without PROPS.

To prove this lineage, will you play my little game?

Prop Comic Gag or Crazy Russian Hacker Video

    1. Russian Toothpaste
    2. Slippers You Can’t Stub Your Toe In
    3. Shoes You Never Will Outgrow
    4. Fastest Potato Peeler
    5. Back-saving Toilet Seat

Answer Key: 1. CRH 2. PCG 3. PCG 4. CRH 5. PCG