Friday, April 30, 2010

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Mom, today I learned that Granite School District is requiring school vending machines to be stocked with healthier choices.

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Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

And she's PROUD of it!

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Mom, today I learned they make shirts to match personalities...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The definition of insanity...

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Mom, today I learned that wiping an orange mustache off this face is an act of futility as long as there is more Koolaid in the house.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The nearer we get to Mother's Day and Father's Day, the more I think about my upbringing and realize that my parents didn't do such a bad job.  I learned to work hard and help others.  I learned to value an education and persevere in my studies.  I learned to be a good citizen of the world.

All of those things are important, but they pale in comparison to the most important lesson I learned at the feet of my parents: that Monty Python is the cure for all ills.

Got a flesh wound? Watch some Monty Python!

Misplaced your recipe for spam, spam, spam, eggs, and spam?  Watch some Monty Python!

Need to develop your silly walk?  Watch some Monty Python!

Been accused of witchcraft?  Watch some Monty Python and try to weigh more than a duck.

Mom...Dad...and Dad #2, thank you for the gift of dry, irreverent British humor.  Where would I be without it?  (Not in Camelot...tis a silly place.)

In honor of my parents, I pass along the gift of Monty Python to my readers.  Surprisingly, I hadn't seen this sketch prior to last night.  I believe it may beat out the pantomime horse fight to the death sketch as my all time favorite.

Enjoy!

Doesn't it always happen that way?

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Mom, today I learned that Richard's replacement Social Security card has arrived! I expect to find the lost one within minutes.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Photo by Fimb

My original title for this post read: "Outrageous News: Depressed People Eat More Chocolate, Scientists Slap Foreheads, Sarah Shouts, 'DUH!'"

I remember when the word "duh" was invented.  It was 1987.  I was attending Sullivan Village Elementary School in Lawton, Oklahom.  It blew in like a tornado across the prairie...the perfect word.  Suddenly, everyone in the country was saying it. 

The story of Duh is one of those things I love to tell my kids about the "old days."  It's similar to how I remember my family's first microwave or that we had a VCR remote that had wires...or that we had a VCR.  Yes, kids, I was around when they invented "duh," and it was a beautiful day.

"Duh" is such a silly word, a nonsensical syllable, really, and yet it encapsulates so much meaning.  There is no better way in the English language to say, "Hey doofus...everyone knows that."  I'm very proud to use this word today.

So, readers, someone in the scientific community has seen fit to tell the world that depressed people eat more chocolate.  Say it with me now: DUH!

The study in question was actually being done on cholesterol and the link between depression and chocolate consumption just kind of came out of the preliminary surveys.  I like to see it happening this way:

Poindexter: Aha! I have the results of the depression survey! I must get this to Alfred at once!

Pencilneck: Aha! The chocolate eating results are in! Alfred must see this at once!

SMASH!

Poindexter: You got chocolate in my depression survey!

Pencilneck: You got depression in my chocolate survey!

Unison: WE SHOULD PUBLISH!

There's much more to the story than that, but really...do you need to hear it?  The white coated smarties behind the study throw around some ideas about why chocolate has the effect it does (does it really matter?) and they go out on a really big limb when they suggest that chocolate might actually cause depression (now they're just talking crazy).

I suspect any further reporting of this story will only result in my writing things like, "Scientists have long suspected...blah blah blah french silk pie...DUH!" or "One hypothesis is that...yada yada yada Snickers...DUH!"  I prefer to just think about the chocolate...creamy, decadent, beautiful chocolate.

Next on the agenda for Poindexter and Pencilneck: "Kids hate going to the dentist!"  "Men watch more football than women!"  "Scientists actually spend grant money on Battlestar Galactica conventions and virtual reality girlfriends!"

(Author's note: My husband begs to differ: "I watch more women than football."  Thanks, Richard.  We're all very proud.")

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Mom, today I learned that dates with Michael are the best.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

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Mom, today I learned which dish one places under a cup of sun tea.

Friday, April 23, 2010

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Mom, today I learned that I have a new candidate for my favorite words list.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wearing my Psyche on my shoulder.

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Mom, today I learned why it's so hard to get work done in a home office.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Many loyal Mother Load readers know that, once upon a time, I had ambitions to become a traditional midwife. Having trained as a doula for years previously, I entered an apprenticeship with my own midwife in August of 2004. An untimely divorce in 2006 put an end to my plans. (Read what I've written of that story on my other blog, Sarah...Phenomenally, in the Divorce and Metamorphosis section.)

What I'm trying to get at here is that I know a thing or two about birth.  Childbirth is probably my absolute favorite topic...of all time...in the world.  The only thing I like more than talking birth is blogging.  Today, I get to do BOTH!

There are a myriad of Stupid Products foisted upon unsuspecting pregnant women each year.  It's like manufacturers, inventors, and marketers see a swollen belly and think, "Ooooooh! She's pregnant, anxiety ridden, and absentminded! What can we make her buy?"  Don't believe me?  Check out my reviews of the Placenta Teddy Bear, the BabyPlus Prenatal Education System , and the Pretty Pushers Dressed Up Delivery Gift Set.

People, when it comes to stupid, those products don't hold a candle to today's Stupid Product.  Yes, I know one of them is made from a tanned human placenta.  Trust me.  This one's worse.

Here's the video.  Ladies, you might as well cross your legs now.



See, being of the traditional midwife variety, I'm not a big fan of cervical exams during labor.  They're invasive, embarrassing, uncomfortable, and generally pointless.  And the moms don't like them, either.

I know doctors are fond of knowing the state of the cervix during labor, but all this tends to do is make doctors more impatient and moms more anxious.  I'm very fond of an adage I've heard thrown around in the traditional birthing community: "If God meant for the cervix to be checked, he'd have put it in an easier to reach place." 

So, knowing how I feel about the regular form of cervical dilation monitoring, you can imagine what I feel about today's product.  Let me enlighten you anyway.

AAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!

That is my primal, warrior cry on behalf of women everywhere.  Here is the more polite version:

Dear Delusional Sadist,

I have watched your youtube video and would like to say that while you may think this patented product will be good for laboring women, we women respectfully disagree.

I don't know if you're aware, but having a baby isn't the most comfortable experience.  Actually, it kind of hurts...a lot.  Do you know what would hurt more?  Having a mechanical device clipped and hanging from our insides during the entire process.  Had anyone come near me with one of these during any of my labors, I would surely be blogging from behind bars today because I would have used it to beat that person to death.

You say your product helps women be more actively involved in the process of childbirth.  This is like saying that wearing a watch makes a woman more actively involved in the process of time passing, but only if the watch is dangling from inside her arm and making it impossible for her to move.  (Please don't start inventing again.  That wasn't a suggestion.)

Mr. Sadist, your product is useless and ridiculous, and I assure you that I will work for the rest of my life to guarantee that no woman is ever made to use it.  Your Cervical Dilation Monitor/Enhanced Interrogation Device has no place in childbirth and has no business being anywhere near a woman's cervix. 

If you really think you've produced a quality product that women everywhere should be using, I respectfully ask that you produce a Constipation Progress Monitor of the same variety and proceed to use it immediately.

Here's to being actively involved in THAT process.

Yours respectfully,

Sarah Clark   

It used to have one...

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Mom, today I learned why there are guards on the backs of blow dryers.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today's edition of You've Gotta See This is more of a You've Gotta Hear This.  "Title of the Song" spoofs formulaic boy band songs, not by creating a silly song from the formula, but by singing the actual formula.  Richard introduced this to me years ago, and I'm extremely excited to share it with you today.

I tried to find the music video for this song but had no luck, so I'm posting a youtube video with the music and lyrics, the better for you to understand the words and laugh.  The song is on the long side, but it's well worth the time.  My favorite part, the part which made me nearly stop breathing from laughter the first time I heard it, is fairly close to the end.  10 entries into the Unframed Art Bag Giveaway for the first Mother Load reader to figure out what part that is.

Happy listening!



(Author Update: Congratulations to Mother Load reader, Jennica L., of Las Vegas for being the first to answer correctly!)

Snickers Dark is my happy place.

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Mom, today I learned that sometimes it takes something dark to brighten your day.  (Inner self: Sometimes? What's this sometimes business, Sarah?!)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ah, how well I remember the days of post-divorce online dating.  Ah, how I wish I could forget them.  Unfortunately for a lonely British meerkat named Lilly, the trials and travails of online dating are not a memory but a current way of life.  "Single Gray Meerkat seeks freespirited and handsome male meerkat for sunning, sleeping, and Hakuna Matata singalongs." 

Poor Lilly.  She's a lone meerkat living in a theme park in Leicestershire, England, and wookin panub in all the wrong places.  I guess there was a male meerkat all lined up for an arranged marriage with Lilly, but it didn't work out.  No doubt, Lilly was being a little less than genuine with the camera angles in her profile picture...either that or the male meerkat turned out to be a 53 year old, human serial killer.

Lilly's owners have tried finding her a date the old fashioned way...calling zoos...but no one has a meerkat to spare. They now say they're at the "desperate" stage.  This is never good.  You get desperate and then you're sending flirts, hugs, and pokes to every meerkat who happens to view your page.

Lilly's owners are afraid if they don't find her some hot, meerkat love soon, she'll go crazy with loneliness.  You're feeling that, aren't you, ladies?  So not a good place for a female meerkat to be.  Crazy with loneliness=codependent love with the first meerkat who looks your way. 

If you know a nice, unattached, college educated meerkat companion for Lilly, enter your information on Lilly's web page: Meerkat Match.com.  If you don't know a meerkat and just want to drive her owners crazy with random and meaningless page loads, that's fun too.

Keep your self respect, Lilly.

How you know it's spring in Salt lake

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Mom, today I learned that this duck does not appreciate being called Daffy.  Bit of a prima donna, this duck.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

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Mom, today I learned Cate is dreaming of a career in cosmotology.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lucky for me...

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Mom, today I learned that if I had a great American bathroom, I would need to buy this book.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Well, that's a relief!

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Mom, today I learned that I don't worry this person in the least.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Raise of hands: How many of you have never heard of a contrabass clarinet before?  Wow!  Almost all of you.  Ask me if I'm surprised... 

Yes, I see you in the corner, band and orchestra geeks who found this blog through my husband.  You've all heard of this obscure instrument.  Good job.  I'm very proud.  Handerpants for all of you!

For those of you (read: the majority) who are still shaking your heads and saying, "Contra-whaaaa?" (and mourning because I'm not offering you underpants for your hands) I give you the Leblanc Bb Resonite Contrabass Clarinet.

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It's a terrible shot, I know, but it's not easy getting a clarinet that tall in one frame.  For reference, I'd say one of my husband's normal sized clarinets is about a quarter to a third the length of this instrument.  You might notice the case on the couch behind the contrabass.  While I've never actually tested this theory, I believe this case is taller than I am.  (And I'm appropriately jealous of it.  That's why I make it live under our bed.)

So, why is this my Awesome Product for this week?  Because we want to sell it, that's why!  Is it blatantly self serving of me to post it on my blog?  Absolutely!  Do I feel any shame about that?  Not at all.  Why?  Because this clarinet is AWESOME, and you need it!  And believe me...I know awesome.

You probably have some questions about this product.  Let me answer the ones I most anticipate right here.

Q. Why would I need a clarinet this tall?
A. Because you don't have a bassoon.  Duh.

Q. What if I do have a bassoon?  Do I still need a contrabass clarinet?
A. Everyone needs a contrabass clarinet.  It's the law.  (Unless you're a successful humor blogger, that is.)

Q. But I don't play the clarinet.  Why would I need an instrument I can't play?
A.  I don't know how to build a computer, but I'm typing on one right now...

Q. Okay, I see your logic. I can see you're much smarter than I am.  What can I do with this instrument I can't play?
A. The possibilities are limitless.  You can scare cats (we have footage.)  You can use it to beat up burglars and prowlers.  For the contract killers in my readership, the case will comfortably hold the remains of two human adults.  You can blast your teenager awake early Saturday morning and then laugh heartily.  For those of you who are musically inclined, you can strut in front of your geeky music friends and say, "I own a contrabass clarinet."  (Never underestimate the power of musical bragging rights.)

Q. How much?
A. We're asking $2500 for payment in full at the time of purchase, or $3000 if you want to make payments.  It was just over $4000 new and is still in excellent condition, so this is a pretty good deal.

Q. Wow! Musical instruments cost that much?
A. Holy, ohmygosh, I KNOW!

Q. Can anyone make payments?
A. Yes, as long as you live in Northern Utah.  Outside the area, we'd have to have the full amount up front.  It's just too hard to steal your children as forced collateral if you live far away.

Q. I'll never buy this, but I know someone who might want to.  What's in it for me if I tell someone about Richard's contrabass clarinet and you make the sale?
A. If you refer a buyer for the clarinet and the sale goes through, you can have your pick of any Awesome or Stupid product I've profiled on this blog, up to a value of $100.  That's good for one War on Debt Home Study Course,  FIVE Perfect Brownie Pans, or  approximately EIGHT pairs of Handerpants! Or mix and match!

Q. What if I buy the clarinet?  Will I get to pick a product too?  (I've really got my eye on the P-Mate.)
A. First, ew. Second, absolutely.  If you;re already a Mother Load reader and you buy the contrabass clarinet, you can choose a product (or two...or three) up to a value of $100.

Q. How do I get in touch with you about this truly Awesome Product?
A Email me at my business email address: pieskyprofessionalwriting@gmail.com!

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Mom, today I learned that no wits are required in the University of Utah version of Survivor.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stupid Product: Baby Pirulin Pipi

Ever since someone created the first baby doll who could open and close her eyes depending on her position, toy makers have been pumping out ever more lifelike dolls in the quest to create the first genuine cyborg. I have my suspicions regarding mass marketing, widespread parenticide, and world domination, but I don't think they'll actually manage it all until I'm very old, so I tend not to worry.

Also, people keep making dolls like this, and I realize I have much more present things to worry about.



Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!  His eyes! His eyes!  My eyes! My eyes!

I had to do a little research on this doll, lest it turn out to be a well produced spoof. Alas, Baby Pirulin Pipi is as real as its anatomically correct design. This is an actual product that actual parents have purchased for their actual children. (This gives me an actual headache.  No lie!)

Maybe I'm being a silly, prudish American when I say that I think this doll takes things a little too far. I'm okay with that. I'm not against dolls that need diaper changes.  I bought Evelyn a doll for Christmas that drinks a bottle and urinates. I just really appreciate the fact that she'll never be kicked out of school for drawing a picture of it. 

Extensive searching hasn't produced any Baby Pirulin Pipi dolls for sale online, so I guess this product has been discontinued. Sorry to all you parents who were ready to rush out and buy one. Not to worry, though. Mothers all over the world are producing new models as we speak. They're called baby boys, and they don't require batteries to urinate on their parents.  Even more amazing, these same mothers will actually pay YOU to change diapers while they go out by themselves!  Who needs a doll?

I can't end this review without pointing out the one bit of awesomeness this product possesses. The doll has not been circumcised. I commend the makers for not putting this baby boy through the unnecessary pain and risk of cosmetic surgery. It's still a Stupid Product in my eyes, but at least it's an intact one.

(Thanks to Renee P. of Wichita Falls, TX, for the Stupid Product idea!  Thanks to my mother for teaching me to avoid broad humor and off color puns in my writing.  How she managed to teach me that with a name like Willie is anyone's guess.)

You might say he was catatonic...

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Mom, today I learned the birds have returned.  I also learned Quill can hold this position for hours at a time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

There are things in life that will brighten my mood no matter what kind of day I'm having. Yesterday, that was my math teacher using an old Star Trek clip to introduce the concept of exponential modeling. (10 entries into the giveaway for the first reader who can guess the classic episode that deals with this. Emily, you're excluded. Sorry, but you were there. I know you weren't actually paying attention, but still...)

Anyway, it was such a boost to see my favorite Starfleet personnel in one of my least favorite environments that I was determined today's video would be Star Trek related. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found THIS!



Patrick Stewart, I will love you 'til the day I die. (Let's not tell my mom. She thinks she's your "only." Don't worry about Richard. He's always known he can never be my top priority as long as Star Trek is in the running.)

Dang it...

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Mom, today I learned that candy that costs money isn't free.  WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yes, princesses do eat junk food.




Mom, today I learned that eating chips and dip is best done with your tiara firmly in place.







Does anyone remember that episode of Friends in which the characters imagined what life would have been like had Monica married Joey instead of Chandler?  It's a favorite of mine.  Joey has ballooned up to what must be 300+ pounds, and Monica presents him with a table full of multiple plates of food.

"I made your favorite!" she declares with a smile.

"Mmmm...fried stuff with cheese!" he responds before looking lovingly at one such entree and giving it his trademark, "How YOU doin?"

Readers, somehow, KFC got ahold of this episode and decided to build a meal out of it.  The new Double Down sandwich is KFC's first bunless sandwich, but instead of doing what other restaurants have done, replacing bread with lettuce or a low carb wrap, KFC decided fried chicken would work just as well.  And why not?  Just the other day, I was slathering butter on the chicken breasts I'd thrown in the toaster for breakfast... 

The "sandwich" is basically chicken, bacon, cheese, and mayonaise.  At a purported 540 calories (the news story estimates it's actually over 1200, the same as six donuts), I fail to see the benefit of leaving off the bread.  My brain can say, "It's low carb! That means it's good for me," but my heart is going to disagree...if it has enough life left in it after eating this. 

But wait!  You can add fried potatoes and soda and make it a "meal!"  Whew! That's much better.

I love KFC.  I love chicken.  I'd even say I have an unhealthy love for chicken. Think of Brittany Murphy in "Girl, Interrupted," only not quite as crazy.  (Almost...but not quite.)  This sandwich gets no love from me.

Next on the KFC menu: a bunless prime rib sandwich filled with pork rinds, nacho cheese, and lard.

Just like Grandma used to make!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

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Mom, today I learned that kids who have absolutely no idea what this game references are still happy to play it.  And?  I feel really, really old.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Or the floor! Don't write on the floor!

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Mom, today I learned that it's a sad, sad day in America when restaurant patrons need a sign like this.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

But am I crunchy like Vlasic?

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Mom, today I learned that I've been soaked in a jar full of vinegar and dill.  Good to know.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stupid Product: The Easy Toothbrush

Sometimes, I happen upon a product that makes me wonder if the people who made it really think we Americans are brainless morons who will buy anything they see peddled on TV. Then I remember that thousands of people have bought Snuggies, and then commercials like this suddenly make sense.



I feel the need to poll my readers.  Have any of you ever hurt yourself while brushing your teeth?  Is there even ONE Mother Load reader who has experienced a toothbrush related injury?  Hello?  Anyone?  Anyone?

I keep watching this video over and over in the hopes that I can figure out what this poor girl is doing that would make her dental care so inexplicably dangerous and painful.  The only thing I can imagine is that she has a rogue toothbrush on her hands, undoubtedly possessed by the angry ghost of her former dentist, and it didn't like the dirty look she gave it at the beginning of the ad.

Am I the only one who looks at this thing and thinks, "Um, buddy...that's not round?"  At best, it's an oval shaped toothbrush for a round mouth, but if I had to bet my life on it, I'd say that sucker is diamond shaped.  And maybe I'm splitting hairs here, but if the shape is so important, shouldn't it be a tooth shaped toothbrush for tooth shaped teeth?  I mean, I don't send my kids to the bathroom to brush their mouths...

And I think it's worth saying that I don't see anything remarkably easy about this product. I mean, the girl puts the toothbrush in her mouth and brushes her teeth the same way every person with a normal toothbrush brushes his or her teeth.  It's not really a tough job.

I don't know...maybe you're the kind of person who finds dental care a death defying feat that fills you with dread two times a day.  Maybe you're tired of taking your life in your hands and straining against all odds in your fight against plaque.  Maybe the Easy Toothbrush is just the toothbrush for you.  If it is, feel free to buy it and send me pictures.

I've never met anyone with a diamond shaped mouth.

No, thank YOU, Hannah Montana!

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Mom, today I learned that all I need to do to get this expression from Richard is to start discussing Miley Cyrus. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My friend, Amy, posted this on Facebook today, and I knew immediately that it had to go up on the blog. As someone who knows without a doubt that my life was saved because I was wearing a seat belt while my small car rolled and crashed across a lonely embankment in South Texas 15 years ago, I've always been willing to further the cause.

Wear your seat belt. For them.

Helloooooooo, Dagwood!

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Mom, today I learned that someone thinks I should love a sandwich that is physically impossible to eat.  I also learned that I kind of do...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Like many of the Outrageous News stories that I profile here on The Mother Load, I learned about this story while listening to NPR. It was my good friend, Steve Inskeep, who broke the news that a new edition of Scrabble allows for proper nouns to be played on the board.  The news caused millions of angry Scrabble fans to overturn tables and gnash their teeth in protest, and then demand a triple word score for their use of "gnash."

Anyone who's ever played Scrabble knows that proper nouns are strictly verboten.  It has been so since Scrabble was invented, approximately two million years ago.  The first cave man, Gurg, tried to get away with spelling the name of his mate, Blarg.  His opponent, Rorr, beat him over the head with a club, and the anti-proper noun verbiage has been a part of the Scrabble canon ever since.

The news story exhorts die hard Scrabble fans to take heart.  The rules of Scrabble are not really changing, because this new game is not called Scrabble, but Scrabber Trickster.  You see?  It's not even the same name, you silly Scrabble nuts!

According to news reports, Scrabble Trickster is being made so it can appeal to a younger, hipper, dumber demographic, so I guess that means it's for good cause.  I reminds me of the day my high school principal decided to lower the standards of the honor roll to make our school look smarter, but I guess dumb people need games too.

Scrabble Trickster is only being sold in the UK, so Americans who've been changing the proper noun rule anyway for as long as they've played the game will not be able to buy a copy of the new game in order to legitimize their cheating.  Perhaps, when the hubbub dies down, we Yanks will have our chance to snap up our boxes of Scrabble Cheater...I mean Trickster. 

Look for even more rule-breaking versions of Scrabble in the coming months, including Scrabble Oops, in which players can trade tiles, Scrabble Scholar, which allows dictionary use, and Scabble Humfurginar, in which players can make up words based on the sounds their intestines make during long games.

At the daycare center at the U.

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Mom, today I learned that the University of Utah admits students who can't read.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

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Mom, today I learned that I'm more than willing to provide you free advertising if your slogan makes me laugh on a tough day.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Published January 19, 2002
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

(Author's note: Since I'm now working for an actual, bona fide, real life home office, I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane to see how the same prospect affected me 8 years ago.)

With the birth of my fourth child drawing near, I have home and hearth forever on my mind.  As I plunge headfirst into infant care once again, I find myself at odds with my situation.  With a professional license firmly in hand and my feet barely wet in what could prove to be a lucrative and rewarding career, I find myself feeling ever more nervous about the coming battle between bringing up baby and bringing home the bacon.

Truth be told, if we didn't need my extra income to pay the bills, I would give up working in a second to stay at home and focus on being a champion wife and mother.  However, since my husband has not been offered the six figure income he so richly deserves, I am forced to make do.  But don't cry for me, St. George!  I think I may have found the solution in a growing trend.  I'm talking about the "Home Office."

After an extensive search of at least one magazine, I have learned what the experts say I need to succeed.

- Create a seperate office space.  Ok, we may have a problem here.  I love my home, but it's not exactly overflowing with unused space.  My work-at-night spouse has given me a firm no to moving the waterbed into the family room, so I guess my bedroom is out of the question.  And cramming all the kids into one room isn't exactly what I had in mindm either.  I guess I can always look into toilet telecommuting.

- Dress the part.  From what I read, the fantasy of working in your pajamas should be just that: a fantasy.  A professional should dress professionally at the corporate office as well as at the home office.  Ok by me, as long as it's understood that at Sarah Wilson, Inc., the corporate dress code requires nursing tops, baggy pants, and no less than one spit up stain per article of clothing.

- Purchase the right equipment. I think they're talking about a fax machine, copier, scanner, etc. I can see where those might come in handy.  But as long as there's a professional print shop around the corner, I think I'll spend my capital on equipment that will really matter in my home office: a vibrating bouncy seat, and infant swing, and every Blues Clues video ever produced.

- Write off EVERYTHING. Now we're talking.  I had already planned on deducting my cell phone, mileage, and licensing expenses from my gross income this year, but apparently, a home office is a veritable gold mine when it comes to tax advantages.  The mortgage, electricity, even the chores you pay your kids to do are all potential possibilities.  Hmm...I'll definitely have to consider giving my husband a raise for all those wonderful back massages.  Either that, or I'll have to offer him a great dental plan.

Though a home office isn't quite the paradise I might have previously thought it to be, I'm still excited at the prospect of making some extra money while watching my children grow up.  For a busy but guilt obsessed mom, it may be just what the doctor ordered.  And if after a few months, I find that marketing my business, chasing after clients, and wrestling with the demands of four children under six turn out to be more than I bargained for, I can take comfort in one very important fact.

I can always write off my therapy expenses. 

Everyone's a winner!

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Mom, today I learned that I can buy a trophy for only $25!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Awesome Product: You Tell Me

This is a first in the history of the Awesome Products feature of The Mother Load.  I have found an Awesome Product, but I don't know its name!  Sensible people might say that I should take some time to research this product before I plaster it all over my blog.  Sensible people probably wouldn't spend a half an hour playing with this toy, either, so there you go.

Here's what the mystery product looks like.



Yes, I played with this for 30 minutes, and they were 30 minutes of pure, unadulterated awesomeness.

If you have a baby in the house, may someday choose to have a baby, have friends who have babies and sometimes visit, have grandchildren or nieces or nephews who are babies, were once a baby yourself, or know of the existence of babies in the universe, you will enjoy this product.

See, the little balls travel up the little plastic conveyor on the left side and then race down the front, Plinko style, where they're shuffled to the bottom of the conveyor. And then? IT HAPPENS AGAIN!

I wish I could describe the fun involved in watching the way this toy works. It combines the mechanical genius of a perpetual motion machine with the crazy fun of "The Price is Right." Balls, conveyor belt, Plinko! Lather, rinse, and repeat.

Maybe you think I'm crazy for getting all caught up over a toy meant for babies. All I can say is that you weren't there, and if you had been, you would have tried to steal the toy from me, so I'm glad you weren't.

Because my ignorance of the product name keeps me from buying this Awesome Product for my future grandkids (riiiiiiight...), I am offering a reward. The first person who can provide a verifiable link to a page containing this product for sale will receive 25 entries into the current Mother Load giveaway

Time starts...NOW!

(Update: We have a WINNER! Paul Tolman found the mystery toy on this Ebay listing. No idea if, "Playskool crib toy" is the actual name...probably not.  It came out in 1998.  Congratulations, Paul, for winning 25 entries into the giveaway!  Don't say I never gave you anything except some grief during high school.)

We've been punked!

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Mom, today I learned that Google has gotten into the April Fool's spirit.  Gutsy move, Google.  Could have caused people "Topeka" different search provider...  (And the lame pun award goes to MEEEEEEEEE!)

Okay, readers. It's time for the second ever Mother Load giveaway!  My new goal is to get to 1000 Facebook fans and to raise $1000 for Race for the Cure!  I have other, smaller goals in mind, but these two are the most important to me.  The deadline for this giveaway is May 8, 2010, the day I run the race.  That's only 5 weeks!  Can we do it? I think we can!

The item you can win this time is the Leah Clutch from Unframed Art Bags, a lovely, hand painted bag valued at $120!  (Gift givers...I like the Champagne and Roses clutch...just saying.)  Whether or not we reach the goals (but really, let's reach them, ok?), one Mother Load reader will win the clutch on May 8. You can keep it for yourself or give it as a gift to someone special in your life.

Because I have multiple goals related to this giveaway, there will be multiple ways for you to be entered into the drawing! Each entry ups your chances of winning.

1. Be a facebook fan yourself = 1 entry.  It doesn't matter how long you've been a fan.  Your fandom automatically gets you into the running for the clutch.

2. Invite new facebook fans = 1 entry for every new fan YOU invited.  If you brought fans to the fan page during the last giveaway, they STILL COUNT for this giveaway.  New fans count too!  Just make sure to let me know when your friends add themselves to the page, so you get credit.  The best way to get fans to the page is the invite EVERYONE on your friends list to become a fan of The Mother Load.  Susan Keller, the winner of the last Mother Load giveaway did it, and she's now the proud owner of a Perfect Brownie Pan!

3. Become a follower on The Mother Load blog = 1 entry. (Again, if you're already follower, you will automatically earn that entry.)

4. Become a follower on Sarah...Phenomenally = 1 entry. (Easy peasy.  Why not, right?)

5. Follow me on Twitter = 1 entry.

6. Make a donation to my Race for the Cure run = 10 entries.  This is what my Couch to 5K project is all about.  I don't want to just run the race. I want to show up with a fat check for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  Click the donate button on the right and help me meet my $1000 goal.  Make sure to add a note with your name and that your donation is for Race for the Cure.  (Anonymous donations are very welcome! I just need your name if you want the entries.)

7. Make a donation to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX = 10 entries.  Susan, one of the makers of Unframed Art Bags, is a brain cancer survivor and M.D. Anderson patient.  You can follow the link right to the donation page or click my donate button and specify an amount you'd like to go to this charity.

8. Sign up to run Race for the Cure in your area = 10 entries.  Whether you're not a runner at all or you're a seasoned vet, you can do it!

Whew!

Since my original plan was to run a mile if I made my 1000 fan goal, and I've long since done that with my Couch to 5K program, I need to come up with something crazy I'll do if we make the goal.  Want me to try again for the blue hair?  Want to see me eat an entire bowl of canteloup (Blugh, blugh, blugh).  Tell me what you'd like to see happen. :)

Okay, I'm excited and motivated.  We have 541 fans to find in just over 5 weeks.  Let's do it!