Our Lady of Fatima... Pray for us.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament... Hear us.
Our Lady of the Rosary... Strengthen us.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Funny Guy Friday… Friday night lights...

    Every year, the Friday after Thanksgiving is the day that I begin to put up my outdoor Christmas lights.
    This year was no different.
    Each year, my wife and kids tell me that they don't care how I do the lights. Do whatever you want, they sayOf course, when I tell them what I am going to do, they tell me why my idea is a bad one. Sort of like when you ask someone where they want to go and eat and they say they don't care. Then they proceed to shoot down every restaurant idea that you suggest.
    This year, I decided to change things up a bit, and I put Noah in charge of our outdoor illumination. Whatever he wanted, we would do. 
    Noah wanted color, and he wanted lots of color.
    No problem. Over the years, I have accumulated a smorgasbord of lights. I have white strands, red strands, and green strands.
    I even have purple strands.
    That was the year everyone thought we were big Ravens fans. My wife got tired of explaining to our heathen neighbors that the purple had to do with the Advent season and not the football season. Although, now that the Redskins have RG3, burgundy and gold would be sweet for next year!
    As I got the lights out of the attic to test them, Cheryl put on the old Christmas family favorite, Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Two minutes into the show, Cheryl was asleep and Grace and Matthew had their noses in the iPads. This left just Noah and me, and this was pretty much how it went all weekend.
    It used to be that Matthew was always by my side, Noah was always with Cheryl, and Grace was in her bedroom skyping her cousin.
    I used to say that if Cheryl and I ever got a divorce, Matthew would live with me, Noah would live with Cheryl, and Grace would go to a friend's house. Not so much anymore. In the immortal words of Sally Field: Noah likes me, he really really likes me. After the divorce, I suppose that we will have to flip a coin for Noah.
    As I tested the lights, I quickly learned that many of them were not working. I know there is a simple explanation, but I just don't get the electrical design that allows one bad light to burn out an entire strand... or better yet, when half the strand works and the other half is out.
    Frustrated, I decided to get rid of all my old lights and buy all new lights. In the morning, Noah and I were headed to Home Depot. Noah was excited because this meant we were going to buy new colored lights. Cheryl was nervous because it meant that I was going to buy new colored lights. Cheryl knows that I love Christmas lights.
    I assured her that I would be frugal and that I would not waste any money on unnecessary Christmas decorations. I reassured her that Noah would be with me the whole time.
    Cheryl was not impressed with my choice of chaperones. She reminded me that I was a responsible adult and emphasized that under no circumstance could we have a blow up Santa Claus in our front yard. I never intended to buy a blow up Santa Claus… a blow up Snoopy Christmas Dog House maybe, but not a Santa Claus.
    Noah and I headed out on our mission bright and early. Of course, we had to get breakfast first. Then we had to buy him some new basketball shoes. Eventually, we made it to the Home Depot.
    Ooooh, the lights!!! Ooooh, the pretty lights!!!
    We took a quick inventory. There were many options and we only had one shot at this. If we got home and had made a mistake, Cheryl would go back with us and make us return everything and start all over again… with her at our side.
    I could tell that Noah was nervous, but I assured him that I out-rank Mom. He was not convinced. I reminded him that if it ever came down to a fist fight, I would win. He felt better about that.
    The shopping spree was on. We carefully chose several boxes of multi-colored mini LED lights for the bushes, medium sized LED lights for the trees, and large LED lights for the gutters. We also got more multi-colored and white mini lights for our Christmas tree. Lots of lights.
   You know, the nice thing about when we had pre-school kids was that they couldn't count. Noah is getting older and not only can he count, he can add. He was nervously staring at the cart full of lights, and he had a worried look on his face. Dad, we are spending over $200 on lights. 
   Like the Grinch, I thought up a lie and I thought it up quick. Don't worry Noah, as I patted his head. Mommy gave us a $300 budget, so we are not even close to spending all of our money. 
   Then we turned to leave... and that's when we saw it.
   The whole store went dark, and a light shined on this six and a half foot three-wreath structure that would look perfect right by our front door. It had lights! It was beautiful! I loved it. Noah loved it. Cheryl will love it.....I think.
   But, dad, it is $100. This will put us over our budget thing. 
   No, I think it is on sale, for only $89. We are good! Let's get it in the cart. Now remember, we don't have to tell Mom about the cost of things. The important thing is that we bought all these things and we stayed under our budget. 
   We had spent the entire morning bonding, not like father to son, but like man to man. I was confident that what happened at Home Depot would stay at Home Depot. As we pulled up in our driveway, I reminded Noah of our unspoken deal (to be honest, I may have spoken it a time or two) as he headed in the house. I stopped to grab the bags of lights. I entered the kitchen and was confronted by Cheryl as Noah dashed past me.
    You spent $300 on lights?
   What, what are you talking about? No... Of course not... No, no we did not… We got a big light up wreath thingy too… It lit up… I think you will like it… I got it for you! Noah, can I talk to you?
    Unbelievable. He caved in less than three seconds. After all we did together, he caved at the first sight of his mother. Worse, she did not like our wreath thing. We had to take it back.
    So Noah and I headed back to the Home Depot. After we made the return, we did go back to the Christmas section and found some three foot tall nutcrackers for only $40 each.
    Hey, Noah do you know what 89 minus 80 is? 
    If we buy two of these, we will save $9. What do you think? ...By the way, Mom will not understand the whole math thing, so let's just keep that to ourselves, okay!
    The nutcrackers look awesome guarding our front door.
    Great job, Noah.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Funny Guy Friday... Thanksgiving with the family...

    It is Thanksgiving night and I am lying in bed contemplating the wonderful times we have had over the past few days and the times that lie ahead of us this coming weekend. 
    My sister, Michel and her family are in from Texas and Cheryl's sisters Sue and Ann are in from Washington and New Jersey. In my humble opinion, Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year. There are no gifts to buy, very little decorating, NFL games on TV, and four days to catch up with family. Sure, you have to cook but you have to eat no matter what day it is, so why not go big one day of the year. 
    I love my family. I love Cheryl's family. I love spending time with all of them. Family is what it is all about. What could possibly make the weekend better? 
     I know... I have a great idea... they could all go home! 
     That's right. Go home. Every last one of you. I haven't slept and I am exhausted. 
     My brother in law and my two nieces just arrived in town yesterday and I only got to visit with them for a short time. I have one request of them... get back on the plane and go back to Houston. I love you, but I will catch up with you some other time. I'm tired.  
     Let me explain. Our house is like a flop house. I have no idea who is coming or who is going. There have been different people at our house for four straight days and if people aren't spending the night, they are here anyway. 
     Sue was the first to arrive on Saturday. We met her at Cheryl's mom's house that evening. A very nice visit that eased us into the holiday week. When we got home... near midnight... Cheryl advised that her entire family was coming over to our house the next day for a chili dinner.  But we just saw them. She will be here all week. We have a lot to do!  
    Cheryl's response was typical:  Nah, we'll be fine. I always pull the house together. 
    This is true, but I reminded my dear wife that she had to pick up my sister Michel at the airport on Monday, she had to take my mother to the doctor, and she had to homeschool (oh yes, you read that right, class is in through Wednesday. I run a tight academic ship). Oh, and by the way, we are hosting my family.....fifty of my family... on Thursday for Thanksgiving dinner, so we have to get the house ready. Time is of the essence.
     I know, she assured me, I got it!  We will be fine.
     Sunday arrived and so did Cheryl's two sisters, their kids, her brother and her mom and dad. I had spent the day with Cheryl and our kids getting our basement squared away before they all arrived. We had a lovely visit and some delicious chili. They spent the evening with us and left at about 9 p.m.  I was pretty tired and was relaxing while watching the Ravens game. Cheryl noticed I was relaxing when she thought it was appropriate to "remind" me that I still needed to paint the inside of our new closet because the workers were coming to put the doors on Monday morning.
     You never told me that. I am ready for bed.
     I did tell you that.
     No way, I would remember that. If we have so much to do, perhaps the family could have come another time. Grace... did mom tell me I had to paint the closet before Monday?
     Yes, she did.
     Gracie, you are a big fat liar!
     I am not exactly sure why Grace would conspire against me like this, but she did. She must have done something wrong and her mother was holding it over her head. I have had this theory for a long time now, but I have no hard proof... just a lot of anecdotal evidence such as this.
     Now you may have noticed that I asked Grace and not Noah or Matthew. You see, they were gone. They left for a sleepover at Grammy's with their cousins. It appears that the rats were running off of my tight academic ship. I was informed that school was officially closed for Thanksgiving break.
     Anyway, I am not one to stand in the way of a household project, so I got my brush and my roller and grabbed a gallon of paint from the basement and headed into the new closet. Two hours later, after, admittedly, the worst paint job in the world, I called it a day. What the heck, it is a closet for goodness sake and I have to go to work in the morning. 
    You are going to do a second coat, aren't you? And you are going to paint the ceiling, aren't you?  The job foreman was a real taskmaster. 
    It's a closet. No, I am not. Don't ask me again, I am not doing it.
    I finished the second coat and the ceiling at 2 a.m.  
    While at work on Monday, Cheryl called me on her way to the airport to inform me that the work
crew had not yet arrived and she asked that I investigate. When I spoke to our handyman, I was advised 
that the store ordered the wrong size doors. I think they will be coming some time next week to finish the job, but I am not sure because I dozed off in the middle of the conversation. It may have had  something to do with the late night painting that I did so they could HANG THE DOORS!
     On the way home from work, Cheryl called to tell me that both my sister Michel and her sister Sue 
were both staying for pizza. This was unprecedented... we were combining families for visits... while the clock keeps ticking. Great, but we still need to get the house ready for Thursday.  
     No problem. We will be fine. 
     Cheryl says that a lot to me.
     She had a plan to send each of our kids out for sleepovers with various cousins and we would be home alone. I liked this idea. This was an encouraging turn of events. I have not been home alone with my beautiful wife with no kids in more than sixteen years. This was a VERY encouraging turn of events. Think about this, we had no kids to interrupt us while we... ahem... cleaned the house and rearranged the furniture. 
     I wish I could throw some quotation marks around cleaned the house and rearranged the furniture, but we actually did clean the house and rearrange the furniture. That's right boys and girls, we were up until 2 a.m. cleaning and rearranging, with no quotation marks. It was great... exhausting, but great. 
     I got up for work on Wednesday, bleary eyed. I did take a half day so I could get home and help with the final preparations before the crowd descended on our home. These preparations were interrupted by both of Cheryl's sisters who dropped by at various times with various kids. Some, I think were mine, but I was not sure who belonged where at this point. We were invited to go out to dinner and despite my concerns, we took the kids out to Red Robin at the mall. 
    Relax, we will be fine. It will all get done. Guess who! 
    We had another great time, but I am not going to lie, it was a set back. Another late night. I got to bed after 1:30 a.m. and had to get up early to buy the donuts for the annual family Turkey Bowl football game. 
    My team lost, and we lost, in large part, to my exhaustion. You cannot hoot with the owls at 
night and soar with the eagles in the morning.  
    Now it is 1 a.m, and I am typing this Funny Guy Friday after hosting the Thanksgiving feast. Guess what... we were fine. We got it all done. And dinner was a success. 
    Cheryl has got to learn to relax.
    I am so thankful for so many things, but our families are at the top of the list. In reality, I would not change a single thing about this week except maybe spending even more time with everybody. Don't believe me? Cheryl's family, all twenty five of them, are coming over for leftovers tomorrow, er, uh, today.
    I hope you all had a chance to spend some time with your loved ones and had a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.
    But for now... I gotta get some sleep. I'm exhausted. Good night.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Funny Guy Friday… Our new one-stop-shop… and then some...

    I have discovered the Holy Grail of stores. I don't know how I missed it these past twenty years. I had heard people talk of this shopping utopia before, but I never thought much of it until this past week.
    Sam's Club.
    Cheryl and I had talked about joining in the past but we always blew it off. Then, with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching, we decided that it might be a good idea to check it out. From the moment that I walked through the door and was greeted by the ninety-year-old Sam's gal, I was hooked. She had me at hello!
    Granny advised me that I had to get in the customer service line and join the club. I eagerly got behind a couple with two young children. The younger daughter was about four years old and was quite a handful. Dad gave her a swift swipe across the bottom as I looked on, refusing to pass judgment. Apparently, I must have had a shocked look on my face because mom felt the need to tell me that her daughter is, in fact, a handful. She explained that nothing seemed to work, and her behavior was getting worse.
     I explained that I understood and that all kids are different.
    What I was really thinking was that my kids are way better than yours and the corporal punishment that your husband just laid on your four-year-old has no effect on me because I am getting ready to join the coolest store in the world. Beat her with a whip as far as I am concerned. Oh, by the way, I think you can buy a case of whips in aisle nine.   
     When I got to the front of the line, another nice old lady was there to assist me.
     I want to join.  I want to join right now. What do I need to do?
     Do you own a business?
     Why, yes, yes I do. Does that help me?
     Yes. You can get a business membership. That comes with two cards.
     Two cards? Who gets the other one?
     Anybody you want. 
     Can it be my girlfriend? Would you tell my wife if I were to give the second card to my girlfriend?
    This stopped the nice old lady in her tracks, and I realized that she did not think that I was joking. I was joking… I swear… I was joking… Really, I was just joking. I would never lie to my new friends at Sam's Club.
    Anyway, I got my picture taken and I looked quite dashing, if I do say so myself. I assured the nice woman that I would send my wife over to the counter as soon as I found her so she too could have her photo taken for her new Sam's card. Cheryl and our daughter Gracie had left me about fifteen minutes earlier to start shopping. When I found them, they had already filled a shopping cart full of stuff, none of which was food for Thanksgiving or gifts for Christmas.
    Cheryl made her way over to the photo counter to have her picture taken for her very own Sam's Club membership card. I must say that if she really did look like the girl in her photo, I would consider the whole girlfriend option. Not the best photo in the world, if you catch my drift. She kind of had a stretchy head. Fortunately, it is about the size of nail... the kind of nail that you hammer... not the kind on your finger. Funny how a store that does everything so big takes pictures that are so small. No matter... I love this place.
    To be fair, if you have never shopped at Sam's Club, you would not know that it does not take much to fill a cart.  Everything is sold in bulk so if you buy three things, there is a good chance the cart will be full.  They, in fact, bought way more than three things, and when I expressed surprise at the speed at which they shopped, Cheryl explained that the store was getting ready to close so we had to move.
    After spending three hundred dollars, we decided that that was good start, but we would need to come back for more the next day, which was Veteran's Day. I am kind of embarrassed to say that this kind of had me excited.
    I played golf with some friends on Veteran's Day and I played terribly. There was a simple excuse: my mind was preoccupied with Sam's Club. We were going to go and buy our Thanksgiving dinner goods once I got home. By the way, the guys I played golf with did not share my enthusiasm about Sam's Club.    
    Day two brought more great savings. Our purchases included, but were not limited to, a case of aluminum foil, a case of saran wrap, three cases of plates, a case of cutlery, two cases of napkins, a case of paper towels, two cases of cranberry jelly, two cases of stuffing mix, sixteen butter sticks, a case of corn, and a case of green beans. Two carts full of stuff and goodbye to another four hundred dollars. It was awesome!
    So this coming Thursday, we will have more than fifty friends and family members coming over for Thanksgiving dinner. I am thankful for so much that the Lord has provided. I have often said that I married the nicest woman that God has ever put on this earth. He has blessed us with three great kids that make us proud every day. He provides me the opportunity to go to work every day and make a living and to support my family. We have great friends and a beautiful home.
   What more could we want? What more do we need?
   How about a store where you can buy food, clothes, cleaning supplies, toys, cameras, TVs, computers, stereos, exercise equipment, camping equipment and tires (I wonder if you have to buy six tires even thought you only use four at a time)?
   My life is complete. I love Sam's Club!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Funny Guy Friday... Unjust election results...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     Every week, for the past two and a half years, I have faithfully sat at our computer and composed a weekly essay about the funny things that occur in our household. I have been able to find humor in the middle of a hurricane... when I shot my son in the rear... in spite of a friend's cancer... and despite injuries to my kids and me. Heck, I even managed to find humor in the weeks that my father was passing away (here, here, here, and here).
     This past week, however, was humorless for me, and my Cal Ripken-like streak nearly came to an end. Nothing funny happened this past week. In fact, a lot of depressing things happened.
     As you may have guessed, I am a bit frosty about this past week's election results. There is no way that the right person won, and the voters clearly got it wrong. Way wrong!
     There had to be some sort of voter fraud. I would like to think that the press would vow to review every vote until they uncovered the plot. They won't, of course, because they are happy with the results. Heaven help us if the roles were reversed.
     I know for sure that at least one voter has admitted that he was promised certain "benefits" if he voted for the eventual winner. Another Republican voter advised that she could not work the electronic machines... and nobody would help her. Finally, I know as a matter of fact, that a relatively large number of voters cast their ballot after the polls had closed. None of them voted for the right candidate, so, of course, their votes still counted. If I know about these incidents of voter fraud, there have to be others.
     Why have rules if they are only going to be ignored? It is just wrong, and the citizens deserve better.
     Of course, I am talking about Captain America winning last week's Great Pumpkin Carving Contest.
     What did you think I was referring to? The Presidential election? I mean, I think we got that wrong too, but who cares about that?
     The way I see that election, we voted for what we already have... broken promises, continued gridlock, increased debt, high unemployment, a confusing foreign policy, and an ever-expanding government that promotes policies that reduce our personal rights and religious freedoms. I have seen this movie before; there is nothing new here. Just the same old, same old!
     The really bad news involved the family Pumpkin Carving contest.
     Captain America won first place. There was a tie for second between the Pandering Palumbo Pumpkin and the Cougar. The bronze went to a tie between the Terps Pumpkin and the Vomiting Hungover Pumpkin.
     I will admit that I cast my vote for the Captain America pumpkin, but that was only because I was prohibited from voting for my own creations.
    I don't understand the results. I ran a great campaign, and my pumpkins drew huge crowds at every appearance. My opponents, on the other hand, drew crickets. I ran internal polls and I won every one. My ads were positive, while my opponents resorted to name calling and personal attacks. They had no chance to win on the merits of their pumpkins, so they made the election about small things. They rallied their fanatical base, but how could such a negative campaign be appealing to the masses?
     I was left to second-guess some of my decisions.
     Perhaps I made a tactical error by carving both Frankenstein and his Bride. It may have been the Ross Perot-third party effect where one of my pumpkins took votes away from my other pumpkin. But I was sure that I was going to pull down a gold AND A SILVER. I did not even crack the top three. This was unthinkable.
     Perhaps I should have gone negative and attacked Captain America's continued lies. You know... that whopper he told time and time again about the rise of the Red Skull being related to a You Tube video. It turns out that more people knew about Frankenstein's treatment of his dog than knew about this Skull issue. By the way, Frankie and his wife both transported the dog on top of his vehicle AND ate the dog!
     Perhaps I should have been less successful in my previous private-sector pumpkin carving business. I think that the voters were jealous of my achievements. Who would have thought that success would be a negative?
     Oh well, I have come up with a way to get through this difficult time. I have decided to turn it all off. No news, no facebook, no radio talk shows, and no political discussions. I am done with it all. I have made the decision to avoid anything that may annoy me. Whatever happens... happens. My conscience is clear!
     I guess time will tell if I will be able to implement this strategy for the next four years... er... uh... I mean... until next Halloween.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Funny Guy Friday… The Contest is Back...

    Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So… I married a funny guy...
    We just got back from this evening's All Saints Day Mass. You know about All Saints Day… it is the  Catholic answer to Halloween. All good Catholics dress up as their favorite Saint and they approach the priest and say Sin or Saint and the priest blesses them, gives them some candy and sends them on their way.
    Not really, we just go to Mass and the priest talks about the saints.
    This evening, the priest spoke about the common traits that the saints share. He spoke of their faithfulness and their kind treatment of others. He mentioned that the saints did not have super powers, they were not star athletes or popular singers. He commented that it was doubtful that any person in this congregation would be a professional baseball player (dashing poor Matthew's dreams) or a professional singer (crushing poor Gracie's hopes). I would note that the priest did not mention that all artists struggle, so Noah is still hopeful that he will have a career. Then the priest mentioned that nobody in his congregation was going to win a big contest any time soon.
    At this point I looked at my kids and my kids looked at me and we all said the same thing, That's not true, I am going to win the family pumpkin carving contest! The priest went too far this time.
    Ah, the family pumpkin carving contest. I wrote about this family tradition last year. Admittedly, the contest fizzled several years ago when my nieces and nephews got older and moved on. Rallying college kids to carve pumpkins and bob for apples is not as easy as you might think. They claimed they had "other stuff" to do, but I think they were just tired of losing. Whatever the reason, we went years without the competition… until a week ago.
    I was at a restaurant when I received a text from my nephew Daniel. Attached was a photo of a pumpkin with a spider carved out. The text read, I think this would have taken the annual pumpkin carving contest. 
    I thought it was nice effort… if he were back in the fourth grade. Certainly, this was no first place pumpkin. I had to set the record straight. I had to defend my pumpkin's honor. Please. My pumpkin would have kicked this pumpkin's a**. We were now off to the races as I was drawn into a text war. I was focused and I was not giving an inch. It was old school v. new school, and in the course of our texting I issued a challenge.
    It is on. My house. October 30th. Bring your best.
    Heaven help us if my family ever becomes competitive.
    I sent the word out to the rest of the family. The Pumpkin Carving Contest was back on and everyone was invited to my house for dessert and pumpkins. Unfortunately, on October 30th I came home to a growling, loud, wet, obnoxious mess. No, no, no, I am not talking about our laundry room or our kitchen. I came home to the beginnings of hurricane Sandy. It appeared that the only thing that could beat me was Mother Nature.  I could not accept the fact that the contest was going to get rained out. I needed to think. I needed to regroup. I needed a plan B.
    I knew… facebook. I would bring this contest into the 21st century. I would have everyone post their entries on facebook and then each family member could get in on the voting. This stroke of genius would allow additional entries from throughout the entire country. Pumpkins would be flying in from as far away as Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, Texas and Florida. This baby was going nation wide. I… was a genius.
    Now the pressure was on to carve a prize winning pumpkin. We purchased pumpkins for each of us and one extra in the event of a pumpkin carving disaster. I was leaving nothing to chance. Noah went with the Grinch. Grace went with Captain America. Matthew went with a hung-over throwing up pumpkin, and I carved a Frankenstein and a Bride of Frankenstein (which looked very eerily like my lovely wife).    
   These pumpkins were awesome… but so too were the other entries. There was the PALUMBO smiley face pumpkin (someone who knows their audience), the Houston Cougar, the Michigan State Spartan (two contestants that do not know their audience but love their alma maters), and a University of Maryland entry. A pumpkin face within a pumpkin face, a Romney/Ryan pumpkin (sure to appeal to all but the 47%), and a series of old fashioned, old school jack'o lanterns.
    In years' past, I had been known to stuff the ballot box to ensure victory over my semi-worthy opponents. I was not proud of this fact but my shame had been quickly forgotten when they raised my pumpkin-gooey hand in victory.
    Now that all votes are posted on facebook, I have nothing up my sleeve. It is as if the United Nations is watching over me. I hate the UN. I hate transparency!
    Now, I suppose that I will have to rely on the voters to do the right thing. The problem is that the voters are all family members that don't particularly care for some of my clever commentary. You see, there are occasions when I can be brutally honest......and I must admit that I enjoy the brutality more than I enjoy the honesty part.
    Based on the current voting, I may be forced to change some of the rules. Here are some of my thoughts:
       1. Moms cannot vote for their own children's pumpkin. My mommy does not have a facebook. Heck, she can't even turn on her computer. It is not fair to me.
       2. Grandmothers cannot vote for their own grandkids. Grandmothers are old and they don't know what they are doing. My grandmother is dead. It is not fair to me.
       3. You cannot vote for a college-themed pumpkin unless you graduated from an accredited law school. This is very fair to me.    
       4. No voting for pumpkins that have anything to do with any other holiday except Halloween. If you don't know what holiday it is, you shouldn't even be allowed to enter the contest.
       5. You cannot vote for gross, vomiting pumpkins. They are gross and they are vomiting.
       6. No super heroes unless they are non-discriminatory super heroes. Captain America is not appropriate for our Italian heritage. Not fair to my Italian brothers and sisters.  
       7. No voting for political pumpkins. Save your votes for Romney for November 6th.
       8. No voting for pumpkins that have geometrically correct eyes, noses or mouths.
       9. Pandering pumpkins are automatically disqualified. Besides, too many women have been fooled by an irresistible Palumbo smile.  
      10. I have arachnophobia, so Spiders need not apply.
      11. No redundancy votes. A face within a face is just boring to me. I mean it is just boring to me.
    There, I think that just about does it.
    I am happy to report that, based on the new voting guidelines, Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein are in a dead heat for the top prize. I will rest easy knowing that my record win streak is intact.

    Happy Halloween to all, and to all a good night.

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