An Interview and the FBI

  • I did an interview with Michelle Moran for her podcast, People I Almost Know.
    • If the thought of my voice doesn't scare you, the humongous picture of my crazy eyes will.
      • You're welcome.
  • Yesterday, my buddy and I saw the craziest thing near our office.
    • About half a dozen FBI agents in tactical gear were lined up outside a building. They threw open the door and hollered "GET DOWN! GET DOWN!" A moment later they emerged with two men in handcuffs. Two unmarked cars sped up and they threw the two men into the back.

What's the craziest thing you've scene lately?

News and Updates

Fighting broke out today in the Gaza Strip

- Adobe Acrobat is ready to install an update -

Stay tuned to find out what a Kardashian wore to some awards ceremony

- Adobe Flash Player is ready to install an update -

Team coverage of your 5 day forecast begins now

- Adobe Updater is ready to install an update -

Crime is up in populated areas; stay tuned to find if your neighborhood will be burned to the ground next

- Java has downloaded an update and is begging for you to install it -

Your officials are corrupt and there's nothing you can do about it; investigative report at 10:00

- Seriously, Java would really like you to install the latest version; the one it installed 12 minutes ago is obsolete -

Natural disasters! Are they natural? Our experts say yes, also no.

Everything's new and updated, but not much really changes, does it?

That'll Leave a Mark

My favorite teacher in high school was Mrs. Montoya. She taught the business course for upperclassmen.

She was firm but fair. She was kind yet challenging.

She gave me grace when I didn't deserve it because she saw something in me I didn't yet know was there.

She opened doors for me to opportunities of a lifetime. She helped me land a position at Intel. I was a 17-year-old with a job at a Fortune 100 company. That still boggles my mind.

She took a slacker who was king of doing the bare minimum and convinced me to join the Business Professionals of America and go to the local and state competitions. I took 5th place in the state for web design.

She worked as hard on our projects as we did. I remember groups of us arranging project papers on her coffee table while she fed her family in the kitchen, tossing helpful advice to us as needed.

She cared more than she needed to. She did more than any reasonable person would ask.

And she loved it.

My mom is a teacher, at least for today. She's retiring, and today is her last day.

She's left her mark on countless of kids over the decades. Kids with promise; kids with problems.

I'm proud to know she is someone's Mrs. Montoya.

A lot of someones.

Congratulations, Mom.

Who's left a mark on you?

Changeup, Chapter 12

"It's all set, Joe."

"Thanks, Mike. I'm glad you're handling this. I wouldn't know who to trust otherwise."

"Known you since you came up to my knee, Joe. I'm glad to help you through this anyway I can. The trust is set up in your name, just like your dad directed in his will."

"What about Mom?"

"He left her his retirement accounts. The house is paid for and she'll receive monthly payments. She's fine."

"I still feel like I'm stealing from her."

Mike laughed.

"Don't, Joe. Your dad wanted it this way."

"But Mom said he thought the stock certificates were worthless."

"He did, at first. Then when he saw me about his retirement accounts, he mentioned them. Said his dad had held on to them as a lesson for him. Never trusted banks or investments after the crash. He lost everything, you know."

"I've heard the stories."

"I told your dad they were worth quite a bit. He said he wanted to leave them to you. Didn't even want to know the amount. Just wanted to know you'd be fine."

"This is crazy. I'll be more than fine!"

Mike laughed again.

"I know, Joe. Have fun."

Using Your Toddler For Fun and Profit

Our waitress wasn't her usual happy self.

That's the sun. And a tractor. He was adamant.

She didn't smile as she seated us, not even at Evan as he pointed at each bulbous light in the empty dining room and squealed, "HI, BALLOON!"

"She's sad, Evan. You'd better flirt with her so she's happy enough to bring us the good food and not the heat lamp leftovers."

"Train choo-choo fishy Uncle Bob drive?"

"Exactly, Son."

When she came around to take our order, Evan snagged one of her many dangling bracelets.

"Pretty?", he asked as he stared up at her.

"Aw, thank you!"

Evan pointed to the order pad she held in her other hand. "Please paper pen drawing?"

"You want to draw on my order pad with my pen?"

"Thank you, okay!"

"Oh, well...I guess since you thought I was offering..."

We got the desired smiles from our waitress.

And the good food.

What have you used your (or someone else's) toddler for?

Interview With the Honest Toddler

Today I have the honor of sharing with you a rare interview with the Honest Toddler. If you're not familiar with the Honest Toddler, then I forgive you for not following my advice, but only if you immediately go fix your errant ways.

Here. We. Go!

My son Evan doesn't like juice (even the red kind). Should I take him to the doctor?
First try Hawaiian Punch. It's basically melted Jolly Ranchers.

Sometimes my son will beg for something - and then throw it on the ground when I give it to him. What am I doing wrong?
You made him wait too long. Cut your response time in half and you'll begin to see positive results. 

Why is Evan afraid of our neighbor's 6" tall mutt, but not other things, like traffic?
Most toddlers are terrified of small dogs; they resemble frantic, hairy, coordinated infants. Traffic on the other hand is like a real-time video game. 

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What's your favorite bedtime stall tactic?
Repeat hugs/kiss requests. Who can say no. LOL

What's your favorite book?
The longest one on hand. 

Evan turns two in August. What should we get him for his birthday?
A Ziplock bag of powdered sugar and a dirt bike.

What else should we get Evan for his birthday?

Don't Lick the Minivan by Leanne Shirtliffe, Who Is the Author of the Book Titled "Don't Lick the Minivan"

Leanne Shirtliffe is hilarious, and not just because she's Canadian.

She's a teacher, mother of twins and a newly published author.

Her book is called "Don't Lick the Minivan - and Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say to My Kids".

I was only two chapters in when I started making a mental list of people I knew who should read it. Leanne is so funny that even when she's talking about pregnancy stuff, she can keep me turning the pages.

I made my wife read a chapter. This is not unusual. I have to make my wife read anything I recommend to her. I push so much stuff on her she grows numb to my suggestions and tunes me out, but this time I got her to read a bit. She was laughing out loud in 30 seconds flat. That's huge - she's a tough critic.

The hard cover and audio versions are out now, and the Kindle version will be out the 22nd. Do yourselves a favor and pick this one up right away. I really enjoyed it.

Things I've Given Evan That His Momma May or May Not Know About

  • Salsa
    • This one was a winner.
      • He likes it everywhere. Doesn't matter how spicy. He'll make a face and dig back in. He holds his chip proudly and says "DIPIT!"
  • Coffee
    • This was a REAL winner. I only gave him a couple sips, but that kid will keep Starbucks in business for years to come.
      • No real reaction to this. Figured I'd be chasing him around like crazy.
  • Beer
    • Just kidding. But I did rinse a bottle once and let him pretend it was a boat during bath time.
      • No, YOU'RE a bad parent.
  • Grapefruit Juice
    • This was NOT a winner, but he was very polite about it. He scrunched up his face and shook his head, but didn't spit it out.
      • He immediately handed his cup to me and said, "For daddy?"

What have you done that someone else would disapprove of so you didn't tell them but you can tell me because we'll both think it's funny and the Internet's a secret anyway?

Interview With Bunmi Laditan, Author of The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting

Remember that book I raved about last week, The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting?

Today I have a real treat for you. Bunmi Laditan is the comedic genius behind The Honest Toddler. She has graciously agreed to play along for an interview.

And stay tuned - The Honest Toddler stops by in person on Friday for a rare Q & A...


Is your name pronounced "Bunmi" or "Bunmi"? I'm never sure...
Hee hee :) It sounds like "Boo-mee"

What prompted you to start tweeting as the Honest Toddler?
The realities and ridiculous struggles that come out of everyday life with my then 2-year old. She was at her peak defiance and I was, frankly, emotionally exhausted by the battle of the wills over socks, pants, and the proper way to cut toast. 

When did you realize the idea was a hit?
Two or three weeks into tweeting when I saw the response from parents. I couldn't believe how many people were consistently following. It made me feel normal to know that others were in similar situations with their little...blessings. 

When did you decide to extend the idea into a book?
I received an email from a literary agent about 5-6 months into tweeting and jumped at the chance. Being a published author has been a dream of mine for a very long time. Words can't describe how I felt reading the words, "We think this could be a book." 

Why did you keep your identity a secret for so long?
I felt like interjecting myself would take away from the fun. It wasn't about it, it was about the character and the fun. I feel like there's enough "Hey look what I'm doing!" in the world and just wanted to keep this pure if that makes any sense. 

I'm a dad of one, and I can't even find time to find my car keys (Note to self: Check refrigerator.). As a mom of two, where do you find time to write?
That's always the struggle for writers, especially when it isn't your full-time gig. I once lamented to a mentor of mine Chellie Campbell about parenting making it impossible to write and she told me what Toni Morrison said when posed with the same question. She said she wrote in "the edges of the day." At the time Morrison was a single mom living near the poverty line so I knew I was out of excuses. I write when I find the time. Tweeting only takes literally a minute. A mental commitment has to be made on some level. I often feel as if the struggle to find "time to write" is just a veil covering a greater fear of not being able to write or not knowing what to write. Inspiration is fleeting and inconsistent. At some point we all have to just sit down and put pen to paper...or fingers to keyboard. 

What's your next project?
My 7 year-old's birthday party!

How has your family supported you in your writing?
They provide material. Ha! People always say "write what you know" and what I know is family life so I tend to stay in that area. 

You always take time to respond to tweets and such. Why?
While I rarely @reply, I like to favorite and DM because I really want people to know how much I appreciate them. I wouldn't have a book without all of my awesome followers. The responses to the tweets keep me in stitches. 

What do you attribute your sense of humor to?
I'm not sure. I love great writing. Growing up, we didn't have much money so while my friend were watching Nick at Night at Clarissa Explains it All, I was watching MASH, Perry Mason, and Dick black and white on a very small television with a wire hanger on the back. The dialogue on these shows, it was like watching people dance with words. I still remember just being in awe, especially with MASH and how these characters delivered incredibly well-written, intelligent jokes.  

Where did you pick up your love of writing?
It was born out of a love of reading. Once my parents introduced me to the public library- FREE BOOKS- I was lost to a world of fantasy. Babysitter's Club Books, Judy Blume, R.L Stine. My dad is a Shakespeare freak so I was also familiar with Othello and Macbeth early on. 

What other things do you dream of doing?
I dream of owning some kind of publishing company wherein I can help launch unknown authors. Not necessarily a traditional publishing house but some kind of media platform that allows me to help writers craft and bring attention to their books. 

What's your favorite part of your own book?
I particularly love the "Car" and "Tips for Effective Communication With Your Toddler" sections.

Changeup, Chapter 11

Joe stared vacantly at the pitcher's mound.

He had no idea what the score was. Wasn't even paying attention to who was in the field and who was batting.

He'd come to the game out of habit, mostly. The ballpark always took his mind off things, but not today.

He hadn't even realized he'd brought the glove, but there it was on his hand. Still smelled of the oil Dad rubbed into it twice a year. Floppy with age, but sustained with care.

It was the most valuable item in his dusty box of treasures.

The crack of the bat didn't snap him out of his brooding, but the excited jabbers of those around him did. He looked up to see a foul ball hurtling at him. He only had time to stand up halfway before he instinctively snatched it out of the sky.

A few folks clapped, as they always did, but Joe didn't notice. Didn't even smile as he fell back into his seat.

"Nice catch!"

Renee plopped into the seat next to him.

"Howdy, stranger."

It was only a little, but now Joe smiled.

"Gotcha something", he said. He held the ball up to Renee.

"Aw, you shouldn't have." She grabbed the ball, gently brushing his hand with hers, then tossed it in the air and caught it. "I'll bet you have a hundred of these."

"Actually, I've never caught one before. Been to more games than I can count at more parks than I remember, and this is the first one."

"And yet you gave it up so easily?"

He grinned, a little wider this time.

"I could use the company, and I was afraid you wouldn't stay otherwise. Had to bribe you."

"An excellent bribe, Joe. A hot dog just might seal the deal."


They laughed as they ate, ketchup smearing on chins and innings passing far too quickly.

Joe told her about his dad. Learning to throw. Mustering the courage to catch. Learning strategy as they drank a Slurpee and watched the Saturday afternoon game on TV once the weeds were pulled and the grass cut.

Renee recounted similar stories. Daddy-daughter dates at this very ballpark. She remembered asking her daddy why the batter struck out when he'd managed to foul off a pitch and learning that's how bunts worked with two strikes.

Joe recalled watching Kirk Gibson limp around the bases in the 88 World Series, pumping his fist after his game-winning home run. "You just saw history, Son", Dad had said.

Once, Renee had impressed a group of old men with her baseball knowledge. She was only 6, but was yelling louder than they were after a particularly bad squeeze play. The batter had tipped the bunt straight up, easily letting the catcher make a double play and dashing her team's hope of a tying run.

"BAT up, BALL down on a bunt!" she'd screamed.

The old guys loved it so much she'd spent the rest of the game chatting with them and hollering at the umps.

Joe and Renee hardly looked up until the 7th inning stretch. They sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at the top of their lungs.

As they sat back down, foolish grins on their faces, Renee picked up the glove.

"Was this your dad's?"

Joe nodded. His grin was gone.

Renee instantly realized.

"I'm so sorry, Joe. How long has he been gone?"

"Two weeks."

She said nothing. Just put her arm around his shoulder while he stared into left field.


Instant Chocolate Toddler Trailers

  • I opened up a Carnation Instant Breakfast packet this morning. I noticed on the back it had a recipe for a chocolate banana smoothie.
    • If I had time to make a smoothie, I wouldn't be having an instant breakfast.
  • The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting releases today. If you're still here reading this and not on Amazon downloading that, we might not have much in common.
    • Holy McFoot this book is funny! Interview with the author coming soon.
  • The Ender's Game trailer releases today. So I guess I'll have to sit at my computer hitting Refresh every 12 seconds until it's uploaded.
    • I don't understand why I have to wait until November for the movie, but I guess it's not that big a deal since I've been waiting 20 years already.

What are you excited about?