Glee Sectionals: McKinley High vs. St. Mary's Preparatory School for Bad Life-Choices Involving Kevin Federline

“So here’s what you missed on Glee: Quinn thinks about quitting Glee Club after winning McKinley High’s “Parent of the Year” award. Rachel sings every Barbara Streisand song from the movie Yentl protest of the President’s policy on Israel. Artie accidentally joins the notorious El Salvadorian gang, 18th Street. Finn applies for membership in Mensa in order to upstage Brittany after she eats a stray cat. Puck vows to end child hunger. Kurt wears a vest that makes the color yellow look fabulous. Mercedes and Tina are doing …something. And Mr. Schuester tries to control his pre-Sectional jitters by buying muscle relaxers from Sue Sylvester, but she replaces them with Canadian Viagra. And that’s what you missed on Glee.”

* * *

Opening scene: On the day prior to sectionals competition, Finn, Artie, Mike and Tina are waiting for their fellow Glee Club members in the rehearsal room before class starts.

Artie: Hey, Finn. How’d your entrance test for Mensa go?

Finn: Pretty good. I think I spelled my name wrong, but after that it was cake …and a lot of weird shapes lined up in patterns. Way easier than Brittany eating that cat though. (Finn notices Artie’s face) Dude, what’s up with that tattoo?

Artie: I guess it means I’m a full member of 18th Street now.

Finn: Wasn’t 18th Street that boy band you were gonna join? Dude, they must be hardcore.

Artie: Yeah. I thought it was a boy band when I saw the ad in the paper, but turns out it was a violent El Salvadorian street gang. I thought they were gonna kill me, but one of their guys told me they’ve been gettin’ alotta flak for not having enough handicap members. It’s not too bad though. They use me to run over their victims after shooting them in the leg.

Finn (looking at Mercedes and Tina sitting behind him): What are you two doing?

Mercedes and Tina (simultaneously): …something.

Quinn walks in and starts inspecting all the electrical outlets.

Finn: Why are you doing that, Quinn?

Quinn: I’m making sure the room is baby-proofed. If McKinley High thinks of me as “Parent of the Year” then I better live up to their expectations. And that means you gleeksters better be prepared for kids or I’m out of here.

Artie: Where’s you baby at, Quinn?

Quinn: Probably with Mr. Schuester’s nut-job of an ex-wife. Quinn looks around: Speaking of nut jobs, where’s your girlfriend at, Finn?

Artie: Can’t you hear her in the hallway? Rachel’s turned political extremist in protest of Obama’s policies towards Israel. She’s vowed to keep singing Barbara Streisand's entire Yentl soundtrack unless the U.S. vetoes the Palestinian application for statehood.

Finn: Yeah. She’s already on the third iteration of “Where Is It Written.” I love Rachel, but right now I want to strap dynamite to my chest and run strait at her. She sounds like a cross between Dina Shore and the Sham Wow guy.

Kurt walks into class sporting a fabulous yellow vest.

Quinn: I wouldn’t normally compliment you, but that’s a fabulous yellow sweater vest, Kurt.

Kurt: Isn’t it? Ellen DeGeneres has an ebay site. Love it.

Mr. Schuester shuffles into the classroom, but doesn’t quite seem himself.

Finn: Mr. Schuester, are you okay? You’re walkin’ kinda funny.

Mr. Schuester: I’m fine Finn, I just took some of Coach Sylvester’s pills to relax a bit. …wait where’s the rest of the class?

Artie: Santana got suspended for killing the lunch lady’s cat. Brittany’s having her stomach pumped at the hospital. And Rachel’s using her voice to negotiate peace in the Middle East.

Mr. Schuester: That’s Rachel? I thought that was Dina Shore and the Sham Wow guy’s making a love-child together. Where’s Mike and Puck at?

At that moment in the hallway just outside the classroom, a football player throws a red slushy in Mike’s face causing his head to explode.

Finn: Oh my GAWD! They killed Mikey! You bastards!

Mr. Schuester: What about Puck? How are we supposed to win at Sectionals tomorrow against St. Mary’s Preparatory School for Bad Life-Choices Involving Kevin Federline without Puck?

Puck (steps over Mike’s headless body and strolls into class): I told you last week Mr. Schu, I’m helping ConAgra and Feeding America to end child hunger.

Mr. Schuester: Yeah, Puck, I know you said that, but we thought that was your way of saying you were stealing other kids' lunch money. We didn't think you were serious.

Puck: Oh, I’m very serious, Mr. Schu. Did you know that 21 million children depend on free or reduced price school meals? And now poverty is more rampant in the suburbs than it is in the city or rural areas?

Finn: It’s true. That’s what happened to that blond kid with the octo-lips from last year.

Artie: Really? I thought the writers got rid of him.

Finn: Well, kinda. The writers did want to get rid of him so they just made him poor.

Puck: You see, Mr. Schu? Hungry kids are even here at McKinley too. But schools can help out by going to the Schools Fight Hunger website and signing up to have a UPC label or food drive using specific ConAgra products listed on their website.

Mr. Schuester: Wow, Puck. I’m impressed. With that kinda spirit, I know we can win tomorrow at Sectionals. Oh, and look, the school band has suddenly materialized from thin air, so that means we can practice now.

* * *

At Sectionals, the show choir from St. Mary’s Preparatory School for Bad Life-Choices Involving Kevin Federline performs first, and blows away the judges…

Then there's a dramatic silence and the McKinley High’s Glee Club takes the stage…

Mr. Schuester fidgets with his hair and keeps his legs crossed. Coach Sylvester glares at Will Schuester and his Glee Club as they get sing and dance their hearts out. At the end of the performance, the judges exchange glances and compare notes.

Then Puck steps out onto the front of the stage and takes the microphone. “Listen up everyone; don’t forget that Child Hunger Ends Here!

The crowd goes wild. But who will the judges select to go on to Regionals? Find out in a few weeks...

Disclosure: As part of the Child Hunger Ends Here Campaign, ConAgra compensated me for this post, but it in no way affected my opinion on feeding hungry children or the cast of Glee.


Let's Play: Recess Is More Than Play

I love my kids, but I’m glad they’re back in school. Sure, we had fun at the pool, the nearby museums, and at antique stores (they’ve got a thing for that show American Pickers), yet there were also many moments when they drove me insane. It didn’t help that the Texas sun blazed down at such unsafe levels, it forced everyone to remain mostly inside. Between my five kids, plus four more from the neighborhood, the collective pent-up energy resulting from being indoors manifested itself through activities such as what appeared to be some version of Hide-and-Seek infused with the rowdier elements of Australian-rules rugby. The ensuing destruction was predictable. And often annoying. Ask my wife how ecstatic she was discovering that the hiding place of choice for the little scrum munchkins was in our closet…under her wedding dress. Yeah, returning to the ol’ school routine has been... continue


Adventures In Going Gluten-Free

I never suspected that 39 would be the age when I had to consider that I may actually be mortal.

Not that I'm a Greek god, but at six-foot one, 190 pounds (give or take), my body's always been naturally fit -- until recently anyway. Over the course of the past 10 months, I've experienced recurring back problems, suffered from chronic fatigue and been diagnosed with astigmatism. I feel this is fundamentally unfair, especially considering that at 39, Brad Pitt hadn't even married Jennifer Aniston, let alone thought about playing daddy to six children with Angelina Jolie. And yet, here he is nearly a decade -- a decade -- older than I am and still flaunting sit-up-free abs that could be mistaken for rumble strips, while mine are starting to resemble something closer to a single, large speed bump!

My most recent ailment has been the addition of an intolerance to gluten. This should've come as no surprise given that the hereditary nature of this autoimmune disease means a sizable portion of my mother's side of the family already deals with this minor inconvenience. Aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, young and old, are affected by the gluten gene or some form of it. And even though it's shown up at varied stages of our lives, like a coven of vampires who can trace their origins back to a single point of origin, we all agree that our vampire creator is Grandma. Of course, no one blames her -- these things can't be controlled -- and furthermore, after two colonoscopies, I can attest to the fact that Grandma... continue reading


You Just Got "Rich Rolled"

You just got "Rich Rolled" ...Richard Marx that is.


World’s Top Dad Blogger "Dead" at Age 31

-by Jerry Thompson

News of Kane's Death spread quickly via social networks
HOPE, Florida—The country’s leading dad blogger, Charles F. Kane, creator of the site, Citizen Dad, died yesterday at his trailer home twenty-five northwest of Miami, Florida. The official cause of death is unknown pending autopsy results. Those close to Kane, including his second wife Susan Alexander Kane, claim his sudden passing may have been due to extreme exhaustion.

In a statement to authorities, Mrs. Kane said she found her husband’s body slumped over his desk in the living room of the double-wide Kane often referred to in his writing as Xanadu and may have been abusing 5-Hour Energy drinks.

Raising Kane

Kane, a green sheets media mogul 
Kane, the newspaper mogul whose area green sheets dominated the Florida county region where he lived, started the site, Citizen Dad in 2008 to share his experiences as a father, and thus joined a growing number of men on the Internet following in the path laid by the already popular mommy blogger demographic. Citizen Dad and other blogging fathers began gaining notoriety in early 2010 after industry experts dubbed it “Year of the Daddy Blogger.”

Stories by Kane of his exploits centered around his two children, Charles Jr. and Samantha, resonated with readers as did his thick luscious head of hair, propelling him to the upper ranks of the dad blogging community. As a result, Kane soon became a regular speaker at parent blogging conferences around the country where he talked on a variety of related issues.

Speaking at another conference
Kane’s writing popularity continued to take hold as he accepted invitations to be a featured contributor at a number of nationally known parenting sites that included among others. E!’s Family Hype, BoysToMen (BoTM), GoodPops, and Success continued to come Kane’s way in the form of corporate sponsors looking to partner with the Citizen Dad creator. Yet, despite such notoriety, Kane remained unaffected.

“I think this is a great opportunity to present ourselves as the real picture of fatherhood,” Kane said in an interview with Obscure Parent Magazine. “The key to this is good content—not seeing how many product pitches you can get,” he added in a subtle reference to recently being named brand ambassador for AquaNet hair products.

“The guy just seemed to be everywhere back then,” said one time friend, Dell Harper after learning of Kane’s death. Harper, who also blogs at Hairy Father & the Prisoner of Diaper Rash, went on by saying, “It really is sad. I thought the guy was one of those bloggers who didn’t have to chase the ‘golden carrot’ anymore like the rest of us do.” Harper then inquired as to whether there was an opening for the AquaNet brand ambassadorship and how he could get hooked up with Kane’s many PR contacts.

Rank Sentiment Among the Ranks

Kane on top of his game
By all appearances Kane looked as if he had attained “golden carrot” status, achieving unprecedented success that garnered him spots on every known top daddy blogger list published since 2010, but such successes didn’t come without controversy.

“Those lists are such crap,” argued fellow dad blogger, Luke Mattel of Cool Hand Puke. “They’re so arbitrary—there’s no solid stats backing anything up, and the rest of these so called rankings are based on getting people to vote for you. It’s nothing but link bait.” These assertions dulled the luster of such accolades. Still, many long-term dad bloggers agreed, including Kane, who referred to it as “measuring dicks.”

The subjective issue behind rankings changed, however, in the spring of 2011 when Forbes Canada released its list of "Top 25 Daddy Bloggers" based on blogging income, on which Kane took the top spot with annual earnings of an unheard of $773.11. The honor lead many to refer to Kane as “the number one daddy blogger in the world.” Others though, particularly fellow dads, were less than congratulatory. One person wrote in the comments section of the Forbes article that, “all this did was just make Citizen Dad a bigger dick.”

Kane hams it up with the moms at VictoryVag '11
But if dads thought Kane a dick, an even larger contingent of mommy bloggers viewed him as something less. “The only thing Kane should be ranked as is a first-rate asshole,” said Kristy Samsung, who many consider to be the mother of all mommy bloggers. Samsung’s stream-of-conscious rants on her site, Broke-Back Mommy have earned her international attention while serving as her measuring stick of entitlement along the way. “Did the Pope hand-pick him to be thee brand ambassador for the Catholic Church? Is the Dahli Lama paying for ad space on his site? Did Jesus ask Kane to guest post for Him like He did me? Hell no!”

Kim Pepperidge of Parent Normal Activity echoed a similar negative sentiment. “I met him once at VictoryVag ’11. I could tell he was a douche just by the hair—Carrot Top and Donald Trump’s love child would’ve had a better coiff than Kane’s douche-do.” Pepperidge rolled her eyes, “Couple months later he DM’d me on Twitter wanting some advice. I totally forgot I’d only ‘mercy-followed’ him because he reminded me of a sad, 40 year-old virgin. UN-follow!”

Not every dad was pleased
Despite these examples of underlying animosity within the community, VictoryVag ’11 marked the pinnacle of Kane’s blogging career. In the months that followed, however, rumors surfaced of Citizen Dad’s waning popularity.

“Yeah, early on, he was really driving traffic our way,” stated BoTM content editor Kent Razor. “Great writer, but around here to keep afloat we need sponsors and advertising, and to get that we need page-views. Kane just wasn’t bringing it anymore.”

Privately, Kane confided that he felt editors seemed lukewarm towards him. “I told him that I thought he was getting stretched too thin,” said Kane’s friend TJ Dearbourne. “I suggested maybe it was time to step back, or even focus on something else completely.” Stepping back is something Dearbourne understands. As a former dad blogger, Dearbourne walked away from his own site, I Skull-F#@ked Mary Poppins, to focus on a novel that won him a Pulitzer-Prize and has since been adapted for film. Dearbourne finished by mentioning, “[Kane] agreed with what I had to say, but he couldn’t let [blogging] go. I think his ego was just wouldn’t let him.”

Kane’s Comment Controversy

Indeed Kane did continue to blog, but signs of his cynicism started to show through in an interview with “I think that the dad blog community has grown to a point where a stratification is starting to take place.” Kane elaborated by breaking it down into two broad categories. “There’s traffic bloggers, and content bloggers. Traffic bloggers are popular with big sites like drivel because they can capitalize on the blogger’s huge following. Content bloggers, on the other hand are the ones brands are gravitating to because, even though that blogger may not have a big audience, it’s a loyal audience that the blogger has influence with.” Kane admitted that this was a generalization to a certain degree but added that, “There’s a lot of glory in being a traffic blogger because of the wide exposure, but aside from a few rare exceptions, traffic bloggers overall aren’t compensated as well as content bloggers because these big name sites have much tighter budgets than do large corporations.”

Kane signs a deal to save puppies
It was Kane’s final remark in the interview, though, that sparked a minor controversy when he said, “The thing about traffic bloggers is that you can be a shit writer, and everybody knows it, but if you can keep bringing in tons of readers, you’ll always have a gig …well, unless they find out you’re a pedophile driving around in an ice cream truck, and even then I’m not so sure. My point is, you just can’t quantify the quality of writing with numbers.”

Despite a firestorm of comments in response to his claim, Kane remained unapologetic, and a week later Kane was invited to partner with Pfizer,, and Alec Baldwin to promote Project Save the Puppies. Kane told friends and family he was really proud to be a part of this project even though his readership seemed to be in decline. “He liked the idea of a blog being able to bringing about social good,” Mrs. Kane said of her husband’s involvement. “Plus, he’s a big Alec Baldwin fan.”

When asked to comment on Kane’s death, Baldwin had this to say of his fellow humanitarian, “Kane? —with a C or a K?” After being prompted for several minutes, Baldwin expressed his praise for Kane. “Ah, Kane, right, the puppy thing. A doofus—marvelous hair though.”

Life Behind the Blog

Kane,  Charles Jr, & Susan Kane-happier times
As a content blogger, Kane continued to appear successful, but the pressure to maintain Citizen Dad’s relevance within the parenting niche started to take its toll both on Kane and his home life. “At first it was all really exciting for us,” Mrs. Kane revealed in a phone interview following the announcement of her husband’s death. “After a while, though, there didn’t seem to be any joy in it for him anymore. I told him I’d support him if this was the kind of writing he wanted to keep doing, but I thought he could do better elsewhere.”

Troubles in Xanadu?
When asked about her husband’s financial success, Mrs. Kane agreed that, “Sure, there’s money in it, but we’re talking blogging money here which doesn’t exactly pay the bills.” Kane’s wife then used a recent example to illustrate her point. “Remember that free beagle we got as part of the Project Puppy deal—yeah, it died. We couldn’t afford to feed it. And to top it off, Charles wrote a post about the pathetic funereal the kids did for it in the back yard. Next day, all he could talk about at dinner was how many page views it had gotten him!”

Mrs. Kane also shared how Kane’s blogging affected the family in other ways too. “Charlie and Sam, started walking on egg shells around Charles to avoid his moodiness. I even heard Sam tell her brother that they shouldn’t go into the living room when Charles was writing because it would. ‘just make daddy mad.’ And then there was ‘the scorecard,’” Mrs. Kane said in disgust. “I found it in the back of his desk. Apparently Charles had been keeping score of how many page views each of the kids would get when he wrote about them. That was when I told him he was done, and now, I guess he really is.” Mrs. Kane and her children are left with only a closet full of unfinished novels, and a lifetime supply of AquaNet hair products.

Kane looking tired in his last interview
Kane never mentioned “the scorecard” or his wife’s reaction in his final interview published last week on the site, Social Media Nobody. His commentary, though, hinted that the end was near. “People forget that parent blogging exists within a bubble. Others inside the bubble might think you’re no longer chasing the ‘golden carrot’ because you’re making a little money, or getting ranked on a bunch of lists, or writing for tons of sites, but the thing is, all that so-called success is only relative to inside the bubble. There’s a few exceptions, but outside of this little blogging bubble, no one’s really the big deal they think they are.” But Kane was quick to add, “That’s not meant to discredit those bloggers who have attained success—I’ll be the first to say that 99% of them have truthfully earned it. What I’m talking about is busting your hump to get to this place, and realizing it doesn’t mean a thing. And worse, you can totally lose sight of why you were even blogging to begin with.”

Kane concluded the interview with an analogy, “The parent blogging niche is a lot like being a contestant on that show, The Biggest Loser. Shedding weight equates to writing posts, and both have an entertainment element. Both also have a competitive factor, except one’s measured in pounds, the other in page views. And both exist within a self-contained environment, where your fellow losers are cheering for your latest weight-loss/praising your last blog post. The true measure of success, though, is what these people do after the season’s over. They were awesome when surrounded by others who were all doing the same thing, but without that, they’re back to shoving Twinkies down their gullet. So by comparison, were they really successful? Nope. So what good was all that effort for?”

Cryptic Last Word

Apparently, the weight of being meaningless outside parent blogging fat camp was more than Kane could bear, and eventually it killed him as he composed his next week’s post. What’s interesting to note is that, according to police reports, during Kane’s passing he had been holding the framed picture of his children displayed on his desk. Authorities found the cracked frame on the floor near Kane’s body. Still unexplained, however, is the lone cryptic word Kane had typed on his computer screen, Rosebud.

Kane and his famous hair will be laid to rest sometime next week. The event will be live-Tweeted using the hash tag #DeadDaddyKane. He was 31.

* * *

DISCLAIMER: All characters, details, and events in this post--even those based on real people--are entirely fictional. All celebrities, and celebrity bloggers are impersonated ...poorly. Despite the appearance of autobiographical elements, it is in no way intended to be such. It is rather a collections of thoughts, discussions, and opinions from a variety other bloggers and sources to include those voices heard by the author in his Rice Krispies.



I did not write this post; my wife Ashley did at the five year anniversary for 9/11. That would've been a year before we had met. When we finally did in 2007, Ashley gave the URL to her blog, and I spent an entire weekend pouring over her every entry, which is when I came across this post. Up until that point, we had only talked on the phone (I was still in the process of moving from Arkansas back to Houston), but after reading this (and many other posts), I knew she was someone beautiful and special.

I have never written a post dealing with the cataclysmic events of that September morning. That's because I have nothing to say. For as horrible as this moment in our history was, my life remained essentially unchanged, and thus, pretending as if it did simply for the sake of publishing something on a blog (which I think too many people are doing right now) would feel contrived and self-serving. There are many, many others out there with real stories, and unique perspectives on how this tragedy affected them in meaningful ways. Such was the case with my wife, still in disbelief over her discovery from the previous day.

*   *   *

Everyone else's world changed the day after, but mine changed forever that Monday. I was working at Dynegy on the 13th floor. During my lunch break, I went to a drugstore in the tunnels running beneath downtown Houston. I made my purchase, took my loot to the bathroom, then spent the rest of the day stopping to look at the results every 5 minutes. That wasn't a line; that was the hallucination of a line. That was masochistic little me imagining a line. It was an artifact on my retina, a ghost of the other line, a mix up, a malfunction. It was not a line.

I stopped on the way home for another test. I went to my mom's house and ran upstairs to the bathroom. I repeated the test. Yeah, that was a line. I placed the test on the sink, pulled my hair back from my face with two shaky hands, and looked at myself in the mirror. I wasn't Ashley anymore, I was a mom. I went downstairs, sat on my mom's lap and cried.

The next day, I returned to work as usual. A little more distracted, a little more confused, but otherwise treating it like any other day. I still had a diet Coke for breakfast. I still checked my email immediately when I got to work. I still doodled during our morning meeting knowing that the swirls and loops were better recorders of my thoughts than words at that point. Someone interrupted the meeting to inform us that terrorists had blown up the White House. Clearly incorrect, but it motivated everyone out of the meeting. I called Mom, who was watching everything happen in New York City as it unfolded live on her TV screen.

Within about 10 minutes, all of downtown was being evacuated. I refused to take the elevator down, opting for the 13 flights of stairs instead. By the time my shaky legs had carried me outside, the panic was palpable. Everyone was talking, but no one had the same story. I didn't know where to go, I was still panicked about being pregnant, much less everything else. I stood at my usual bus stop, but the driver said they were still only doing inbound routes. Metro hadn't been notified of the impending exodus, so I was stuck. All I could see above me giant targets; headquarters for every major oil company towered hundreds of feet in the air. The rumors swirling about talked of a major US metropolis hit every hour. And there I stood, responsible for more than just myself for a change.

I bummed a cigarette from a girl walking by. We had been in the same new hire orientation a month previous and never saw each other again -- but at this moment we became best friends. She told me about her friend she had just visited in Manhattan who worked in one of the towers. She couldn't reach her friend. I took a couple of drags of the cigarette, confessed I was pregnant for the first time aloud, and then threw the butt into a nearby gutter. A lawyer who recognized us from the building offered us a ride back to the bus station if we didn't mind cramming in the backseat with two other people. We didn't mind and were soon observing the plane-free, blue skies while traveling 105 miles an hour in a Mercedes sedan.

Surreal doesn't quite capture it. I found my car at the bus station and kept the same pace all the way to Mom's. We prayed aloud for all the souls lost. I prayed silently for the soul newly formed within me. I rented movies so that I wouldn't watch the news. I tried to reach Chris to tell him I loved him. I thought the words would come more freely from him in light of the circumstances. They didn't.

My emotions felt like an impossible to do list: happy, sad, shocked, elated, worried, grateful, guilty, hopeful, doubtful, brave. So I did what I always do. I crossed them all off as complete, went with that last one as the most useful, and kept going. If all those people could overcome, then I could too. I didn't lose anyone that month, instead I gained someone. And that was all I needed to remember in order to keep my perspective.


Ice Box Art: The Ratio of Hotness to Craziness and The Life-Cycle of Dating

What Kid Artwork Hangs from Clark Kent's Icebox?
So my wife walks into the office the other day and holds up these two sheets of paper. I squint a bit, and lean forward in my chair. What the... All I can make out is the color of the markers that were used, but even so, I knew these had to be something from the mind of Allie. Her sister Avery is the artistic one who draws various family members, over-zealous flowers, and HAZMAT kits; Allie's more prone to graphs and charts which is exactly what her mother was smirking about at the moment.

"Oh no. What'd she come up with this time?" I asked.

That was the cue for my wife to burst out laughing. "Well," she finally said, lifting one sheet higher than the other, "This one's supposed to be a graph that shows the ratio of Crazy to Hotness in women."

I closed my eyes, unsure if I wanted to know the explanation behind this one. My curiosity as per usual in such situation got the best of me. "And this came from ...?" I trailed off mid question for my wife to fill in the details.

"How I Met Your Mother," my wife said. Apparently, while my wife was watching an episode of the TV show, How I Met Your Mother, Allie had curled up next to her and was following along. I'm not going to go into a long, drawn-out run down on the show, but one of the characters, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), plays a lovable, but cocky metro, womanizer who often shares his whacked-out theories on the fairer sex--in this particular case,the correlation between a woman's physical attractiveness and their mental stability during a relationship. Or to put it in simpler terms, the hotter a woman is, the more crazy she is too. (I know people, but it's only a TV show.)

The Ratio of Crazy to Hotness - Thanks, Barney

Hearing this, Allie was able to visualize the concept and commenced to putting this theory down on paper (hence the "How I Met Your Mother" heading). As a testament to her blossoming intellect, Allie also included a couple circles (1 & 2) to indicate examples. Who she had in mind for these two points was never mentioned, but if you asked me #1 would be the lady who does Houston's weather on morning TV, and #2 would be--oh boy, so many to pick from--I'm gonna say Megan Fox.

But the theoretical graphics didn't stop here as Allie went on to outline Relationships via The Life-Cycle of Dating--a concept completely of her own mental processing faculties. For both my wife and me, the sequence was a little muddled (even Allie got a little confused when asked later), but we made our best guess at it.

Relationships: The Life-Cycle of Dating

The first thing to point out is that the whole concept of dating basically centers around Marriage and begins with (1) a Cute Guy. (It's been two days and I'm still rolling my eyes over item number one.) From Cute Guy the next milestone is to (2) Date--not bad, except it moves disturbingly quick to (3) Marriage. By the same token, I am quite happy to see there are no direct lines from Dating to 4 (Kiss), 5 (Make Out), or 6 (Kids). I plan to vigorously reinforce these connections with the girls until they can no longer be claimed as dependents on a tax form.

It's sad, though, that Allie has (7) Divorce listed as part of the cycle, but that is a reality in our family, and not something we shy away from when talking with the kids. There's a lot of discussion around here about the consequences for decisions we make in life, to include relationships which is where number 8, Effects comes from, which means, despite everything, at least the message is getting through to her.

What still puzzles me, though, is the connection between Cute Guy and Divorce. I have a few theories of my own which I plan to test out on the her future dates who I am less than thrilled about.

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