Alas, poor Halloween! I knew him, Horatio

It all started with an idea.

Hey, maybe we shouldn’t eat as much junk food.

What a great idea!

What do we eat?

I hear broccoli is pretty awesome.

Rock on! Broccoli rules!

Then the idea, as they say, “got legs”:

Look at all these fat bastards. I bet they eat too much junk food.

Yeah, look at ’em.

Good thing we eat our broccoli.

Damn right.

Then the next thing you know, the idea gets elected to the school board.

This leads to this wonderful bit of policy:


Before you know it, this ends up on my refrigerator:

The chocolate chip eyes are going to be replaced with raisins, by the way, because HELL YEAH RAISINS. I applaud the room mom for making the best of a bad situation. I would sooner dangle my itty bitty man bits into a cage full of hungry Pomeranians than volunteer to plan a candy-less Halloween party.


This leads to the conversation every parent dreads:

Daddy, why is the public school system so dumb?

*heavy sigh* Well son, because the school system is made up of adults, WHO– as you frequently remind me– are stupid. They sit around in a room and someone says, “Hey I have an idea…” This is the result.

But it’s so lame!

Let this be a lesson to you: the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

The thing is

I’m not really into Halloween. Or Christmas. Or birthdays. Really, not much on holidays.

I love me some oatmeal, though.

I am a well-known fun-sucker and a freaking General in the Food Police Department. I have thrown out an uneaten tub of ice cream rather than deal with the whining for dessert. If anyone should be lining up to kiss the Blessed Ring of Wisdom for banning candy from a HALLOWEEN PARTY it should be me.

But I can’t.

Even Cookie Monster, FREAKING COOKIE MONSTER, says cookies are a “sometimes food”.

Look at that fat puppet bastard.

Yeah, what a slob.

I bet he’s going to get Diabetes with all of those cookies he eats.

Serves him right, I– oh be right back, this broccoli is moving right through me.

At least he gets “sometimes”, though.

It’s time

Just cancel the celebration of Halloween.

Please, just put it out of it’s misery.

It’s one of those things like the old timey bicycles, or a flip phone, that has become a relic of a quaint bygone era. A simpler time when children made their own costumes out of dad’s varsity jacket and mom’s old hippy clothes.

Nothing terrified people of a certain generation more than hippies.

I’m keeping my kids out of school on Halloween.

Well, actually we’re going to go to the parade and watch.

With a giant bag of M&Ms each.

Because nothing terrifies people of a certain generation more than candy.

Happy Halloween.

The Back to School Night Drinking Game

If there’s one thing you develop an appreciation for as a parent of four children, it’s the ritual of the Back to School night.

By “develop an appreciation for” I mean “loathe with an intensity reserved for people who take up two parking spaces.”

In the Nostrikethat household, we have two versions of the Back to School Night: the Mommy version and the Daddy version.

In the Mommy Version, the Mommy:

  • Sits in the cafeteria with all of the other parents
  • Watches all of the PowerPoint slides
  • Takes copious notes
  • Goes to the classroom
  • Admires the handiwork of the all the students, not just ours
  • Makes note of the entire seating arrangement of the class for future conversation with the child
  • Leaves a loving, supportive note on the child’s desk
  • Stays for the grade level presentation
  • Takes additional notes
  • Mingles with other parents in the classroom afterwards

The Daddy Version looks a little different:

  • Stand in the back of the room thinking rude thoughts about everyone who dressed up
  • Roll eyes at PowerPoint slides
  • Leave early to go to the classroom
  • Scrawl “DADDY WUZ HERE” on a sticky note borrowed from the teacher’s desk and leave it on a student’s desk
  • Hope you got the right desk
  • Sneak out the side door avoiding eye contact with other parents

This year we split it down the middle and I ended up at the Back To School Night for 5th grade. Daddy skills activate!

Won’t Somebody Think Of The Children?

I was excited to learn that my school system was deploying an intricate sticker system to protect our children from homicidal maniacs.

This, combined with the “Buzz to Enter” system deployed last year, ensures my children are going to be as safe at school as they would be in a 5 floor walkup apartment.

Homicidal maniacs would then be confined with rainbow loom bracelets until the authorities arrived
Homicidal maniacs would then be confined with rainbow loom bracelets until the authorities arrived

I was also excited to learn that as part of a “Suck the Fun Out Of Life” initiative our school district will be serving broccoli and hummus at all Halloween and Valentine Day parties.

On one hand, I am happy that we are inching closer to reversing the notion that Ketchup is, in any sense, a vegetable. On the other hand, without pagan orgies both holidays have lost a little bit of their lustre and were being held together only by candy and the entire operating budget of Hallmark. I fear broccoli in the treat bag will be a fatal blow.

Recess shall remain a maximum of 30 minutes and occur immediately after lunch so the little fatties can hork up their Pepperoni Lunchables(tm).

As I stood in the back of the room the Principal (he’s my pal) discussed how math was going to “deeper” this year in the new curriculum. My neighbor was standing next to me. Because I am actually 13, I wondered out loud of it was going to be “harder” as well as “deeper”, and if they would be going “faster” too.

Uhhh huh huh huh huh... you said "math" ... heheheh
Uhhh huh huh huh huh… you said “in” … heheheh

My neighbor turned bright red and karate-chopped me with her copy of 50 Shades of Gray.

The Lady from the PTA started talking, which I took as my cue to fake an important phone call and leave the Land of Tiny Lunch Tables.

I narrowed down my daughter’s classroom to one of four possible candidates. Fortunately, I guessed right because I found the desk that smelled like chlorine with a little bit of “Bath and Body Works Lavender Apple Makes My Nose Itch.”

Whipping out my trusty Sharpie, I proceeded to draw on her desk “I ❤ Evan” (who sits next to her) and pray fervently that Evan gets to school first.

On my way out the student teacher, who looks about 2 years older than my daughter, has finally worked up the nerve to talk to me.

“Hi! I’m Ms. Waytooyoung!”

“Oh, that’s nice.”

“Is your child in this class?”

“Excuse me, I have to take this call.”

I hit the side door just as the main herd lets out of Broccoli Central.



The Official “Back To School Night” Drinking Game!


  1. When someone mentions how important you, the Parent, are, take a drink.
  2. When there is a technical difficulty during the presentation, take a drink.
  3. When an educator makes a joke about how they’re not good with computers or “that email”, chug.
  4. One drink each for a slide containing any of the following words: empower, vision, nurturing, community, values
  5. When the PTA’s fundraiser involves candles, chug.
  6. Whenever applause awkwardly half starts, dies a little, and then starts again, drink.
  7. If there is a typo on any slide, chug.

To play: print out this blog post and give it to your friends. Or hit “reload” 5 times, your choice.

Skinny Lazy Nerds

If there’s one thing, ONE THING, that makes me foam at the mouth, it’s when people insist that “X” makes you fat, when “X” is anything other than “consume more calories than you expend”.

This is the other thing. via

Video games make us fat.

TV makes us fat.

Working on a computer all day makes us fat.

These days the F-word seems to apply to anyone who doesn’t have a thigh gap.

F-word them.

Skinny Lazy Nerds

Being lazy does not make you fat. The world is full of skinny, lazy people. I am one of them. I was 80 pounds soaking wet through most of high school.

I was also a band nerd with helmet hair.

High school was not kind.

Obesity seems to be the only disease where it’s still socially acceptable to blame the ill.

We know what *this guy* did too much of when he was a teenager, amiright?

We are only beginning to understand the real complexity of the triggers for this disease. Why are there some people who only have to look at ice cream to gain weight? Once you are obese, it’s very, very hard to lose weight– it seems like you are literally fighting a constant battle against your body’s survival mechanisms.

So why are we getting worse?

If there’s one thing we can trust humanity to do, it’s figure out how to make a buck from the suffering of others.


Zach and Miri Make a Smoothie

The American diet industry goes back to at least the 1950s when the first weight loss drink appeared on the market. Prior to that point, food science had not matured to the point where we were able to manipulate our food at the chemical level (beyond burning the meatloaf), so weight loss fads focused on concealing rubber garments.

Something something society women something dissolving flesh wait what? via
Something something society women reducing flesh wait what? via

My favorite obesity conspiracy theory is that used to be cheap corn creates high fructose corn syrup, which gets added to everything and makes us fat. It turns out that this may not be the entire problem.

It’s not just corn that’s cheap: wheat and soy are both commodity crops that are frequently over-produced and/or receive subsidies. Removing those subsidies won’t have a substantial effect because the prices will still stay low, because economics.

In other words, it’s not the farmers who stand to gain from over production, but the processed food industry. As long as the wheat in our Wheat Thins is stupid cheap to for Nabisco to buy, there is plenty of budget left for clever marketing!


We’re damned from the moment we open our eyes, because we interact so heavily with media during the course of the day that our brains are saturated with the tantalizing deliciousness of Cool Ranch Doritos from birth to age 99. By the time we set foot in the grocery store, we’re already well-programmed to self-destruct.

Kale is the new black

The experts will tell you “Oh just shop the outside of the store.” These experts have never gone grocery shopping a DAY IN THEIR LIVES.

I think the stores are getting wise to this strategy because I haven’t been into a grocery store yet where the bakery was in the middle bit.

Regardless, as soon as I walk in, my cart is making a beeline through the asparagus and to the cakes.


Also, juice boxes are not near the organic kale, and you can bet which one the kids will give me grief over when they find it in their lunch boxes.

In fact, kids are probably the real leading cause of obesity in this country.

More times than I can count I have eaten leftover chicken nuggets because the child was done and I can’t waste good Chik-fil-a.


It’s only recently, as a direct result of a few of my children somehow surviving long enough despite my constant efforts to screw them up, that I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I can say from personal experience it gets better.

Slowly, ever so slowly, they start to appreciate real food.

In our house Mrs. Nostrikethat and I agree that the best thing we can do for our kids to help make them successful is to make sure they’ve got a good mix of fat, fiber, carbs, and veggies on their plates so they can wander off in the middle of dinner to go play.

As I have written before, feeding kids (and especially toddlers) is an exercise in the absurd. They never like what you make, and it seems like you just get the kitchen cleaned up when they’ve digested the tiny amount of food they just ate and are back for more. I’m no internet expert here, either.

The kid wants peanut butter and jelly for dinner again? Fine.

The 6 year old is having food sensory issues again today? Fine, eat Cheerios.

I’m even using JIF, because I’m a choosy mom. Dad. Whatever.


Taking a stand (while sitting)

Let’s review the forces in play. In this corner, we have:

  • The multi-billion dollar processed food industry and their advertising
  • The grocery stores where I buy my food to live
  • My own body which, as I type this, is salivating over the prospect of potato chips


  • Two weak-willed adults trying to make the best food shopping choices for their kids while acknowledging it’s nearly impossible to feed a three year old broccoli without committing horrific violence on someone
  • Kale

My response?


Parents, give it your best shot.

Take your kids to the playground when you can.

Try to put something green on the plate when you can.

Maybe ease up on the soda and drink a little more water yourself.

There are countless ways we can be bad at being parents, and no expert is going to tell you to just muddle through because that doesn’t sell a lot of books.

Worst case scenario, your kid grows up and writes stories with funny pictures in them on the Internet.

If I have to be outraged by something, I’m outraged by the fact that in the United States today there are more than 16 million children living in poverty.

I am outraged that there are 50,000 kids in our nation’s capital that may not eat on snow days.

How much iPad someone else’s kid plays? Not so much. Those stakes aren’t very high.

Mmmm… steak.