Technical Difficulties (AGAIN!)

I'm sorry to report that my web provider has let me down again! My web server that feeds the podcast is quivering in a puddle of goo somewhere in Minnesota. Apologies, everyone.


The Podfather Part II

It happened again! Only this time I was better prepared. Instead of nearly crashing my car, I only fell out of my chair in the "studio".

Yeah, what once was a guestroom, then a game room, for a time a den, then an office is now, "the studio". Sounds so funny to read this aloud. I think to myself, "geez, I just did this on a whim, and the guy that started the whole thing has taken notice".

I'm of course referring to Adam Curry's Daily Source Code podcast. He mentioned the 'wipes podcast twice last week, and the stats went crazy. Today on his show, he played my promo that I threw together in the aftermath of the heavy demand in an absolute panic, and the download traffic was so high that my server is in a pile of smoking ruin in some high-rise in Minnesota.

Tech-Tip: Don't buy shared web hosting if you can afford not to.

Tech Tip #2: If your life depends on MySQL, get single-premium whole-life (insurance).


Episode 102 for Sunday, 28 August 2005

News: Dad's get postpartum depression, Moms and newborns not rooming together, Video games good for kids and family, Illinois gov. sued over safe videogame law
Quiz: Dads - are you a role model for your kids?
Featured Site: www.newsforparents.org
Podsafe Music: Adrina Thorpe, Syd, Suzanne Smith (from music.podshow.com and garageband.com)
Money Talk: Why 14-yr-olds are an economic powerhouse

You'll find a direct link to the show here...but please subscribe at iTunes, PodsafeMusicNetwork.com, Odeo.com or GarageBand.com. Thanks!


New Podcast is coming...

My apologies - recent technical issues, like the zotob.E computer virus and communications problems with this week's guest have delayed production of episode 102. Yeah, I'd be ticked off, too. But y'know, its free, so relax and I'll get one out to you as soon as I can get in contact with my guest, and get the PC I use for recording immunized. Stay Tuned...

UPDATE: Guess I'd better hurry...got another tip-o-the-hat from the Daily Source Code podcast!


The Podfather

Its been one busy day. First, my son goes off to his first day of school. Then I'm nearly killed trying to drive to work (I'll post some photos as soon as I calm down) And to top it off, I get home, plug in the iPod, start up iTunes, put on the headphones for some relaxing podcast listening...and what do I hear...

Adam Curry, the de-facto inventor of podcasting and host of 'Daily Source Code' mentions 101 Uses For Baby Wipes on his show!

(This is the part where you applaud and I say "I'm not worthy!" and collapse from total shock.)

Many thanks for the call-out, Mr. Curry (may I call you 'Adam', or just 'Podfather'?)

I've posted a promo for the podcast at podsafemusicnetwork.com. I don't dare post one here; everyone will think its a new show!


Evan's First Day of School

Yesterday was the meet-n-greet with the teacher...today is the real deal. Evan starts a journey that we've all taken; the path to intellectual independence. Yeah, I know, its just kindergarten. But it loooks a whole lot different than my recollections of school as a 5-year-old. It seems much less structured, yet more cluttered, noisy, and chaotic than I remember it.

My memories of kindergarten life are full of images of the cute girl I had a crush on two seats over. I still remember her name. I remember the "boy side" and the "girl side" of the classroom. The boy side had cars and trucks carefully placed on little kid-sized shelves; the girl side had mockup kitchens and dolls piled neatly in baskets.

That boy-side, girl-side thing won't fly in today's political climate, now will it?

I remember neat, tidy rows of desks, kids sitting 2-to-a-desk, a large chalkboard and bicycles and balls strewn across the playground. This new classroom had only 2 desks, chairs arranged in a large circle, and no chalkboard to be seen. Strange.

The teacher seemed very uncomfortable talking to the parents, but she could certainly handle the kids! "But why the unease with the adults?", I thought to myself. She is married, has kids of her own, maybe even grandkids...I didn't pry.

Still, it seemed odd. Then I found out she's not used to having that many adults in HER classroom. Then it made sense. This was the first year they had the 'greet the teacher' event at this school. I still thought about the discomfort, though. Hers, and mine, now. It was clear now that I, too, was uncomfortable in the classroom, but why? Because of the teacher's anxiety?

Maybe she was uncomfortable because she was sitting in a chair that was clearly too small for her, as were all of us parents. We were crammed into the kid's chairs! Next time, can we please use the auditorium?


Use #16: Sunburn (ouch!)

We spent too much time in the pool at the gym yesterday. And since I'm a natural redhead, I have absolutely no genetic code in me to allow for a suntan. I'm basically a walking, breathing skin cancer laboratory. I can edit my own HTML, XML, RSS and PHP, but not my own DNA. Is there an 'Idiots Guide' available for that topic yet?

My son, however, much to my surprise, did not inherit this genetic trait and can absorb far more rads than dear old dad. He gets a nice even brown tone, while in the same sun for the same period of time, I look like a warning label.

We forgot sunscreen, naturally, and the indoor pool was closed for remodeling, so I spent half an hour in the full sun, scorched my body from the shoulders up, and now I'm paying the price; pain and discomfort for my carelessness. Its my own fault. And it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with global warming!

But, since this site is about uses for those baby wipes left over from days-o-diapers, here's a tip: the wipes really do soothe the burn quite a bit. Just don't use them too often, since over-use can dry out your skin when it really needs the oils to heal. I used wipes in combination with this magic blue aloe-zylocain-goo for sunburn when I got home. Today, most of the pain is gone and the red is more like a pale pink. Tomorrow I'll be pasty-white again, ready for another megadose of radiation.


Web Host Problems

Please excuse the interruption in our regularly scheduled programming. It appears that my web host, VizaWeb.com, is having technical issues, which is blacking out delivery of my podcast. Looks like I'm in good company, though, as the most popular podcast, 'This Week In Tech', is also blacked out (at least their website is). VizaWeb's own website can't be found, either. As soon as I can get a hold of somebody, and get this fixed, I'll let you know. Pass the monkey wrench...

UPDATE: Web site appears to be up again (for now)...stay tuned...


S'mores, Anybody?

Gotta love camping! And improvisation while at the campsite. Nobody had Hershey bars, so Grandma Anne improvised and used cake frosting. Why she had that in her RV and not a candy bar I will never know.

This was Evan's first camping trip without Mommy and Daddy around. He had a good time, judging by this photo, and by the grime we had to remove from him after only 2 days roughing it. Baby wipes to the rescue again! You getting the idea? After the potty training is over, don't throw 'em away! There are 101 uses! Trust me!


It's iTunes, Baby!!!

Unbeleivable! The podcast has been picked up by Apple's iTunes podcast directory! There's already THREE whole subscribers! Hey - I don't set unreasonable goals - 3 is good...it just got picked up today and was in the top 100 podcasts for an hour or so...not bad for a rank amateur!

I actually just subscribed to my own show in iTunes! That makes 4 subscribers! Wow - that's 25% growth in less than 2 hours! Take that to the bank!

(sorry, I just figured I was talking to myself all this time...)

Geez, now that I have an audience, I guess I'd better get to work on the next episode...stay tuned...and "stay subscribed".


Showtime! Episode 101 Is Here!

At long last, now that my web server is alive and actively talking to the world, I can officially announce the first 'podcast' of "101 Uses For Baby Wipes".

Click this link for the .MP3 file of the very first show!

- U.S. House gets tough on Rockstar for "hot coffee"
- Ill. Governor signs first-ever law to ban sale of violent video games to kids
- Stats of the week

- 'Slap Rockstar Silly'
- Helpful hints on keeping kids safe from e-mail predators
- Fun on the internet for everybody: Toontown!
- A handy tool for 'controlling' what kids watch on TV: The 'Weemote'
- The big guy with no neck redux
- from Garageband.com, "Ikea" by Jonathon Coulton
- from Garageband.com, "Nothing to talk about" by Anders Bau
- from podsafemusicnetwork.com, "Future Hope" by the Rich Hall Experience

Thanks to Radio Jeff at radiodaddy.com for the cool intro voice-over, and to "Cagey House" at podsafemusicnetwork.com for the intro music.

New Addition: Odeo feed:

My Odeo Channel (odeo/3d4addba0ea7e1ae)


The Camera Loves Him

While in attendance at a graduation party, the photographer became enamoured with Evan. She took several pictures, but this one stood out in her mind as "the one". She was kind enough to forward this to us, and asked that we share. And so I have. Thanks, 'Chelle. Thanks very much.

Please visit her website;


and watch her slideshow, "recording love". I did, and it nearly made me cry. Its beautiful. Thanks, 'Chelle for sharing your 'special session', and this great photo.


The In-Laws Are In Town

...so my posts are few and far between while we entertain and have a real life, rather than living in the blogosphere. Evan went to the beach with gramma and grampa today. He did the quality-time thing with them. A fishing trip is planned for Monday.

An important note: Baby wipes are excellent for getting sand unstuck between your toes after a trip to the tidepools...especially if your sneakers slip into the tidepool and turn otherwise loose grains of sand to clumps of gritty toe-jam. Hope you weren't eating when you read that...

In other news: I've secured a web hosting service - now the agonizing part: waiting for the domain name to work! It takes 24 hours or so before it 'propagates' through the internet, so hopefully it'll work tomorrow, so I can put up my first PODCAST! {yay} I've consumed most of the readme stuff and help files, FAQs, eManuals, etc. and I think I know what I'm doing (not)...my brain is fried, I'll admit it...but it IS fascinating.


Is It A Ghost?

If you live in suburbia, like where I grew up, in the greater L.A. Metroplex, you probably don't see a pregnant deer lying in repose in your backyard every day.

I remember growing up in a small town in Orange county, just 100 feet from the L.A. county line, which gave us bragging rights; we were NOT in L.A! We actually had an Amusement park, called "Japanese Village", where they had a petting zoo, called the 'Deer Park', so that all the kids that had grown up and never seen a deer could go and 'hang out' with 'em.

Most of my friends could care less about the deer, and always made a bee-line straight for the arcade. The arcade had Pachinko machines, which are gambling devices in Japan, but kids could play them here.

Personally, I liked the deer park. I liked the peace of it. The grounds were ornate, as you might imagine being a Japanese deer park. There were pagodas, and ponds full of koi, and zen sand gardens - the real ones, not those little desk toys you buy at the bed / bath / housewares big-box store. They had food dispensers, so you could feed the deer if you wanted, er, if they wanted.

Turns out, all the times I went there, the deer were on the opposite end of their vast, ormately decorated, well manicured fields, far away from the viewing areas, and not interested in eating. They looked terrified most of the time, as I recall. I never did get to feed one...I bought lots of deer food from the dispensers...but never did get one to eat from my hand.

And it was that memory of deer that formed my assumptions about their behavior.

Then I moved out of the greater L.A. Metroplex, where I had clearly spent too much time, to a place that has more of a rural atmosphere. A better way to say it might be that because the area hasn't been so overdeveloped, kids actually know what a deer is, they see one in their back yard every once in awhile. In my case, we rarely don't have a deer back there.

My gardener hates them. He says they tear up the grass, pee on it and kill it, they'll eat everything green and growing with few exceptions, and sometimes torment the neighborhood dogs and cats. I can't quarrel with any of that. Seen it. My grapevines are a special treat. And you can see my lawn's dismal shape in the photo.

Fact is, up here, away from Suburbia and parks with pagodas and ponds full of koi, deer are a pest. So are gophers, squirrels, skunks, opossums, foxes, coyotes, bats, and wild pigs. I've moved to Wild Kingdom. I've seen every one of these critters close-up...in the skunk's case too close-up...from the comfort of my own home. My neighbors don't think of these animals as being part of the atmosphere that makes this area of the world so serene and beautiful; they're just nuisances tearing up their professionally-manicured landscaping. Or eating the dog.

Opossums are strange. They're called 'speed bumps' due to their proclivity to wander onto the street and freeze, fall over sideways and 'play dead' just as your car rushes toward them. I wonder; Is that 'playing possum' or 'playing chicken'? No, wait - its playing dead. Too bad for the opossum.

Personally for me, I like the fact that the animals feel comfortable enough with humans to just hang out in the neighborhood. I'm a bit of an environmentalist at heart, I suppose. I like commuting with nature, but not commuting over it, as I did a little over a week ago (see my 'morning after' blog entry). I'll do my part, to my neighbors' dismay, motivated possibly by guilt, to see that these critters have a safe place to spend a Sunday morning.

I've built a bat house, but of course the bats prefer to hang upside-down over the front door and guano on everything. I've researched, read lots of plant guides, and found plants that the deer don't like, but won't kill them if they're eaten. You know, people that wrote plant guides probably visited the deer park for information like I did, because they have no clue of what a deer eats and doesn't. None of my 'deer-safe' plants remain.

Do you think this deer in my back yard knows about my past? My incident with the deer on the freeway? I'd offer my condolences, but somehow I don't think she's interested. My grapevines are much too enticing.

The Japanese Village and deer park went broke many years ago, while I was still in high school. Its beautiful grounds were sold off piecemeal to developers, its office equipment and such were auctioned off, and I think it was leveled for a factory of some sort. I often wondered what happened to all the deer that lived at the deer park. Surely they weren't auctioned. Maybe they were relocated around here somewhere.

I know what happened to the pachinko machines...I'll have to get mine out of the attic one of these days...


It Didn't Look That Big in the Store!

Its not that the bed is too big...its that the house is too small.

Our home was built in the 1970's, a time of avocado colored appliances, orange shag carpet, and smoked-glass globe-shaped light fixtures...and really small rooms.

The shag is gone, the appliances left with the first owner, and I got rid of the light fixtures myself years ago. The rooms are still small. Sadly, I can't fix that with a screwdriver.

Evan's room is actually a good size bedroom for a 5-year-old. He just has way too much stuff in it! His new bed was fraught with problems from the day we ordered it, problems that were an omen ignored by an un-enlightened and over-exuberant mom and dad that ordered the bed for a birthday present.


In reality, we didn't have to have the bed. We wanted the bed, sure enough. But our emotional drive to buy the bed clouded our judgement on the following issues;

1) Does it actually fit in Evan's room? (I told my wife that it wouldn't, she didn't believe me)
2) What will come out of the room to make space? (so far, nothing.)
3) How do we get it home? (we had a pickup truck, but it was destroyed by a deer)
4) How do you make the bed? (you use a stepladder, and it takes a team of experts)
5) What if he has "an accident" in the middle of the night? (no back-up plan as of yet)

Evan now has a cute bed, "big-boy size" instead of a toddler bed, but no place to play in his room. We were supposed to have it in his room nearly 2 weeks ago, to mark his 5th birthday, but there were some roadblocks thrown our way.

First off, the store only had one in white with pink trim. I'm sad to say that my son would have been fine with that, because pink is a color he's comfortable with. I'm not, so I nixed the pink bed on purely sexist grounds.

Secondly, it would be two weeks before the store could get another one. I thought that was OK, that would give us time to prepare Evan's room for the bed. Yeah, right. As if that was gonna happen!

Third, when the store called us two weeks later so we could pick up the bed, we no longer had our pickup truck to retrieve our treasure. Its in the body shop, being repaired after a close encounter with a deer. So we had to borrow a truck, but from who? I asked a co-worker, his was hundreds of miles away. I asked 2 others with similar situations. I was offered a truck to borrow, but when I got there, I was told that the windshield was busted, the air conditioning was dead (on a 110-degree summer day) and that there was no gas in it.

Beggars can't be shoosers. I accepted the offer and drove the near-dead Chevy pickup to the gas station, then the furniture store. Upon arrival at the loading dock (also non-air-conditioned) I stood for an hour, dripping with sweat in the heat of late afternoon, waiting for the shipping clerk to find all 5 boxes to he bed. But, as luck would have it, my frantic search for a truck, my 10 pounds of fluids lost to perspiration, and my patience on the dock were all in vain. The shipment was incomplete, and the parts they did have were the wrong color...PINK!

I bit the inside of my cheek until it bled, just to avoid losing my temper and saying some words my son should not learn until he's at least 18. We had been patient. We paid in advance. We had been screwed over again by a fate. I was turning red, and the girl behind the cash register could see it. Maybe it was too much sun, or the heat, or maybe I was looking around for some duct tape to wrap my head to keep it from exploding.

The girl picked up on my "negative vibrations" and called the store owner. He said that there had been a mixup, and part of the bed was sent to another store. To the owner's credit, he offered to deliver the bed without charge, and apologized for the mixup.

"Fine", I thought. I tried to look at the positive. At least now we have A DAY to get the room ready for the new bed, and I could return this junky pickup truck that much quicker. We worked without rest for the remainder of the day, preparing the bedroom. And sure enough, when promised, the delivery arrived. My wife made sure ther were 5 boxes and no pink.

My wife finished in the bedroom by taking apart Evan's old bed and, in a mild panic, wound up giving it to a neighbor, who apparently could make good use of a toddler bed in the shape of a fire truck...or perhaps she is skilled in all things eBay. Either way, the fire truck bed was gone. One less headache, one less thing to worry about. It was out of the way.

When I returned home from work, I anxiously opened all 5 boxes, to be sure all the parts were here. I was mentally prepared to build this bed and see my son gleefully slide from the top bunk to the floor, squealing with childish joy all the way down. I looked for the instructions. Box 1... box 2... box 3... box 4... box 5... no instructions. Come to think of it, no bag of screws, nuts and bolts, either.

My mental preparedness left me. I bit the inside of my cheek again.

We called the store, but the phone just rang and rang.

"What store in this day and age doesn't have some kind of answering machine?", I thought.

So to sum up, we have 5 boxes of un-assembled bed scattered about the house, a big blank spot where my son's old bed once stood, and no place for him to sleep tomight, because we can't build the bed without the missing bag of screws, nuts and bolts. The instructions would be a nice touch.

This would all be funny if it wasn't just so typical. The word "pathetic" comes to mind, but I choose not to think of my life in that context...yet. We called the store this morning, and after about an hour they had located the bag of screws and the instructions. The bed was done about two hours later. It would've been one hour later, but the instructions appeared to have been translated (badly) from Chinese into English, and apparently the manufacturer has never heard of this marvel of technology called a typewriter. The paper was handwritten, and probably photocopied over and over, such that I was viewing the 79th generation of the original.

And once again, baby wipes to the rescue! We wiped the whole bed down to get sawdust and splinters off the bed for Evan's safety. We also cleaned the slide to reduce friction for Evan's inaugural ride. Then came the reward: The gleeful laughter of a child having fun.

The end result is cute, but massive...and well worth all the hassle. My cheek will heal.


Sushi in Smallville

Ten years ago, or even five, I would not have thought that a pleasant evening in this town I live in would consist of a workout at the gym, followed up by sushi downtown.

GYM? SUSHI? We don't HAVE a downtown!

A new hotel, like the legendary phoenix, has emerged from the ashes that was our biggest downtown eyesore. But unlike its historical roots, this new bird has risen with a sushi bar inside.

Our town was founded by a real certified nut case. Over a century ago, he envisioned dividing up a large tract of land, which he obtained from spanish land holders, into parcels, and selling them to the masses for cheap...with a catch. The catch was, you had to work for him first. Then you could bid on your parcel. I told you -- nut case.

A tent city sprouted, mostly immigrants fresh off the boat from Ireland lived there. The Early 1900s saw the most rapid growth of the city, and after the nut case-turned-founder had his mansion built, on the backs of the immigrants, he lost interest in the city he had so brilliantly designed and focused on trying to stay out of jail for land fraud, embezzlement, grand larceny and other charges. He was not successful and died a poor man in prison.

Our founder was a nut case, but he was a genius when it came to architecture and city planning. Back when he was devising plans for streets, city hall, municipal water, this part of the country was still the Wild West. He had already planned one city using his "master planned community" concept. Our town, the place I call home now, would be the nut case's second attempt at civic perfection through "master planning".

As I read the history of our little town, I realize that our founder was either the most civic-minded idealist, bent on creating Utopia, or a diabolical criminal enslaving thousands with the promise of cheap land. I can't decide which. But he was also a businessman, a publisher, who had the largest printing press on the west coast, until a guy named Hearst -- William Randolph Hearst -- used his daddy's millions to build one bigger. Hearst decided he wanted a mansion, too, just like the nut case founder. Hearst's mansion is just a short drive away. The one-upmanship lives on, as Hearst's home is referred to as "Hearst Castle".

Our founder's mansion burned to the ground, almost as soon as it was finished, due to a fire of suspicious origin. All that remain are some tall palm trees, not native to the area, that our founder had planted to mark the grand driveway to his Utopian estate. you can visit the palm trees. Just go to the shopping center in the center of town. Our founder's home has been replaced with a drugstore, a video rental place, a bank, and a grocery store. Sad.

Besides City hall and the civic center, our founder was also instrumental in the design of the downtown business area, which, like many downtown areas, had been blighted for some time now. At the corner stood a modest, but for its day luxurious, hotel, "The Carlton". Being halfway between the megalopolises of Los Angeles and San Francisco, The Carlton was a place for the well-to-do to take a break while en route between Hollywood and the Golden Gate. It was also the biggest building in town.

But, like most things old, The Carlton fell on hard times. Fires, decay, old age, urban blight all took a toll on the building and the surrounding area. But unlike many cities far larger, our little burg has developed a very active, and I'm glad to say now a very effective, historical society with an eye toward preservation. The Carlton, which sat as a rundown shell of a building for the first 12 years I lived in this town, is now a luxury hotel once again, complete with valet parking.

Our town isn't big enough for a Wal-Mart. We have 8 exits off the freeway. We have one high school for the entire town. "Valet Parking?" I remember thinking when the signs went up. There's a Jack-in-the-box burger joint right across the street. The nearby buildings that flank the hotel are still as rundown as The Carlton was. the Carlton stands alone amidst the rubble -- or ashes -- of my little town's history.

"Are people really going to stay here, eat here, spend money here?" I remember asking members of the community about this grand plan and grand hotel. This town is hicksville, and we have this hotel here. I keep looking for Rod Serling, standing on the corner smoking a cigarette and taking us on a journey not of sight and sound but of mind. This place just doesn't belong here, and I just can't quite wrap my brain around the concept of a luxury hotel in my tiny town.

Don't get me wrong. I think the Carlton is a fabulous place. Its a bit pricey for me. I'd never book a room there. But then, of course, my house is less than a mile away...the town is that small. I think the city council entertained bids to have the whole town carpeted -- its that small.

But you know, on a warm summer evening, fresh from the torture implements at the "club" -- a euphemism for the place I pay mothly dues to inflict agony upon my body -- The Carlton is a very nice place to go and settle my weary self into the plush dining room, scoot the chairs across the hardwood floors reminiscent of days gone by, sip herbal iced tea, order up a couple plates of California Rolls, and think about old Twilight Zone episodes.

I just never would've thought I'd be doing this in my town.


Use #15: The Big Guy With No Neck

Despite my better judgement, or maybe because I have this terrible guilt that I can't keep up with my son because I'm dreadfully out of shape, I joined...a gym -- er -- health club and fitness center.

Bear in mind, I'm 44 and my son is 5, and I doubt that anyone short of Lance Armstrong can keep up with a 5-year old, except perhaps a 6-year old.

His energy is boundless, mine clearly has limits. Now, the dastardly plan formed in my energy-starved brain is to exercise to try and increase my limits without killing me in the process. The plan has flaws.

Enter the Nautilus Machine. These things are cleverly disguised as "fitness equipment". I believe that they are evil incarnate, or at the very least articles from the Marquis De Saud museum and theme park in Antwerp.

Anyway, the "trainer" showed me around the "exercise room", clipboard in hand, noting each and every machine I should use, in what order to use them, and at what "settings" I should operate the torture implement. One of the machines looked surprisingly like one of those medieval racks used to brutally extract confessions during the Spanish Inquisition. It was euphemistically called the "lateral leg lift".

I marvelled at the awesome, sinister achievement of this place. So bright, cheerful and clean, yet each machine had symbols on the side, showing a silhouette of the human body, and just which areas of the body would soon experience excruciating pain. Ironically, those areas were marked in RED. Coincidence? They must've simply forgotten to cover up the evidence of the true nature of these devices of dread.

Next, enter the big guy with no neck and the ability to put the little metal pin in the lowest position (the highest setting) and lift the whole stack of lead weights that deliver "resistance" to the exercise -- er -- torture. I observed as he proceeded to lift the equivalent of my first car over his head, 40 to 50 times, seemingly without conscious effort, though leaving a persistent impression in the seat.

I had been told that after each exercise / torture, that I was to reach to the wall for the spray bottle of green stuff and the cleaning cloth hanging with it on the hook. I was to spray and wipe, everywhere that I touched, or a part of my exterior touched, so that the machine would be nice and clean and germ-free for the next victim -- er, member -- to use.

Apparently, the rule did not apply to the big guy with no neck. Or, at least, none of the rule makers who told him had survived to remind him of the rules today. And I was not about to bring up the subject.

However, this guy with no neck left behind quite a trail, a bit like a snail on a rainy morning, but with more odor. And as I reached for the bottle of green stuff and the cleaning cloth, I discovered that the rule makers were truly dead as I had feared, because the bottle was empty and the cleaning cloth was as dry as the guy with no neck was pungent.

Solution: A gym bag complete with the magic wipes, of course. Baby wipes won't bring back the rule makers from the dead, and they probably won't help in my overall fitness regimen, but they'll protect me from germs left behind by the big guy with no neck. They'll probably make nice applicators of pain rub during my recuperation, too.

Use #14: Digging Pavement Out Of Kneecaps

Ouch! Is there more to say?

Monday was "Kids Day At The Fair". That's right. We live in a small town, near a big rock, and we still have small-town county fairs in the summer. Where else can you have pig sweat, corn dogs, funnel cakes, tractor pulls and Raven Simone on-stage all in one place?

If you're a parent, you should know who the hell Raven Simone is. She's Disney property and a kid on a kid's show on Disney Channel (check your local listings for time and channel).

And if you're a parent, you should know by now that you should be equipped for ANY emergency at any time and in any place...even at the fairgrounds...especially when your kid takes a spill serious enough to bring the paramedics running at ramming speed.

My son tripped, and skinned up his knees just a bit on the uneven asphalt hastily laid down just days before our beloved county fair opened. The fiargrounds are often ripped apart before the event, and afterwards for other uses, so uneven pavement is old news...except for a 5-year-old who is looking everywhere but at his feet.

There's just TOO MUCH to see, too many sights and sounds -- and smells -- at the fair to be looking at the ground. It was inevitable, and frankly, anticipated. My wife and I knew as soon as he saw the giant stuffed animals at the midway, and the car ride pictured here, he'd be too involved in the moment to be mindful of which foot went first.

At 5 years old, that's still an area of mental focus.

The paramedics came within seconds of being summoned by the fair security staff, who witnessed the impact. The security staff were obviously bored and desperately wanting of something important to do that required the use of those cool 2-way radios (with earpieces) that they'd been issued. They got T-shirts, too.

The paramedics were in amazing physical shape. Between the two of them they were carrying a tackle-box complete with defibrilator and portable pharmacy, a back board, and an oxygen tank, all the while sprinting across the fairgrounds during our usual 102-degree summer heatwave. I would have given them a standing ovation, or at least held up score cards reminiscent of Olympic events past, "10.0", but the timing didn't feel exactly right. My boy was hurt after all.

Besides, once the barely-huffing paramedics surmised what had happened, they were a tad miffed at the security staff with the T-shirts and the cool radios, who had clearly over-reached their authority. They cracked open their tackle box and set to work, cleaning up the skinned knee that dad had already tended with -- you guessed it. When one of the 'medics reached into the tackle box and pulled out gauze tape and scissors, I realized that the paramedics, too, were bored and in need of something fullfilling to do. My kid's skinned-up knee would have to do on this hot, sweaty, smelly summer day.

My son was smiling from ear-to-ear with all the attention and the VIP treatment he got just for doing something he does routinely around the house. He got a hug and a fake tatoo from one of the paramedics -- an attractive woman who looked like she could bench press the cotton candy stand. She carried the backboard and oxygen bottle.

The gauze tape and scissors, unused, went back in the tackle box.