Friday, January 26, 2007

Millie Experiences Her 1825th Day as a Person. Party Ensues.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Millie the Four and Three Quarter Year Old. Henceforth (for the next few months anyway) to be known as Millie the Five Year Old, subsequently Millie the Five and a Half year old, etc, etc, (as Uncle Atemus and Big Mama are informed by Millie of the upgrade in chronological status) until the lofty and kindergarten-y age of Six is achieved.

Release the Pigeons!

Big party planned for Sunday at the local Krispy Kreme donut shop (I kid you not). Millie chose the locale personally. The guests get to see the donuts made up close and then decorate their own. And a cake made of a big pile of donuts is provided to be devoured by a herd of party hyped, sugar frenzied pre-schoolers. A good time will be had by all. Then they get to go home to their parents. HA!

Millie shares a birthday with such prominent personalities as...
Eddie Van Halen, Gene Siskel, Bob Uecker, Ellen DeGeneres, Paul Newman, and my personal favorite, science fiction writer Philip Jose Farmer.

Now if she just grows up to play like Eddie, have Ellen's sense of humor, and write like Phillip she'll be the man I always wanted to be.



Brazil was discovered on this day, as was the world's largest diamond (about 400 years after Brazil)

Mozart's opera Cosi Fan Tutte premiered in Vienna.

Michigan became the 26th U.S. state.

The first electric dental drill was patented.

The Apollo Theater opened in New York.

The first baby sitter's insurance policy was issued in St. Louis, Mo.

The guitar synthesizer was first demonstrated.

The Chicago Bears beat the New England Patriots, 46-10, in Super Bowl XX (Go Bears! I had a big party in my apartment for that Super Bowl)

Not one of these things has even remotely the historical significance to me as the birth of my silly Millie.


This is one of my favorite days of the year because it reminds me of how unbelievably blessed we are to have such a precious gift as our only child. She's approaching an age when she can more fully understand who she is and where she came from and I'm very interested and a little anxious about how she will deal with it and in what ways it will effect her sense of herself.

Millie is adopted. And the story of her adoption is one of the best stories I've ever heard or told; nothing less than a genuine, walk on the water miracle.

It's a long and detailed story and one that I will tell in full sometime in the future but I'm not prepared to do so right now. I can say, though, that we knew the birth mother and she lived ten minutes away from us. She was 27 yrs old so it wasn't a confused teen kind of thing; and she had been through this before.


We connected with her through friends of friends - word of mouth. No agencies until after we had met her. And the mother chose US! We had one meeting with her at her apartment and she literally said. "I like you guys. I want you to have my baby."


And that was IT! That's how it worked. We were there for the pregnancy, for the delivery and we took the baby home from the hospital. And the birth mother was the most awesome you could ever imagine; genuinely happy for us and happy that the baby was going to be raised by people who would love her so much.


Since Mama and myself were present at her birth, and held her from the moment of her first breath, her birthday is very special to us. It reminds us of how close we were to the possibility of forever being a couple, but never a whole family. And to remember again how grateful we are to God, for granting mercy on two lonely people desperate to have someone to love and care for, and for giving them the greatest gift in all creation. No parent ever loved a child of their own body more than we love our precious little girl.

Happy Birthday Millie.

All photos by Uncle Artemus, aka, daddy

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Test Proves Conclusively that Uncle Artemus is Not a Loser After All! Wife to be Notified Forthwith

Well it seems that old Uncle Artemus isn't as big a loser as it would appear...to...people, er... my wife, friends, general public.
Anyway...
Mimi has this wonderful fun little contest going called Dating Profile of the Day. It works like this...

She posts ten headlines or snippets from posted dating profiles, bad grammar, misspellings, idiotic comments, everything left intact. The goofier(is that a word?) the better. The challenge is to make a witty, snappy, or otherwise generally amusing comeback or response to the said snippet. Check the site for detailed instructions.

I came across this contest randomly and loved it at first site (so to speak) and this appeared to be the perfect opportunity to cut loose with some primo smartassiness. I just couldn't resist. And whattaya know, Mimi awarded me with points enough to take Second Place; my first time out, no less! I'm proud as punch and would like to thank Judge Mimi and all the flat headed little people I stepped on to achieve these lofty heights of recognition.

Again, click here for contest specs and ALL the responses to the last postings of profile snippets. (which, incidentally was round 11) I include below a copy of the snippets and my OWN responses because I'm a self centered old bastard and really only care about hearing my own voice inside my head.

UNCLE ARTEMUS SECOND PLACE ANSWERS!!! Some of them anyway.

1. I would like to find a woman that makes me fell like a man.
What can I say, I'm a pushover.

2. I don't Know what I want and I don't know who it is sooo . why say too much cause what I don't like might be OK if I like you and what I do like might be wrong anyway . So who cares what will keep us together and make honesty worth having, might be OK.
We now return to our regularly scheduled schizophrenia.

3. God Didn't Intend For Us To Be Along!
But God Did Intend For Us To Have Away!

4. I am a hard worker and very honest a one women man.
Also I am smarter and mothers is love as me, sometimes.

5. Plus ca change, plus c'est le meme chose
Wait... just give me a second to check my Gibberish to English Handbook.

6. Love to drive, Like to Cuttle too!
I can Cuttle and Drive all night long, baby!

7. Looking for someone that can show there real self without realizing it.
Also someone who has good cents without using it.

8. I have traveled alot around the US had afew realasionships but still looking for the write one. A ladie whos faithfull caring with a good sence of hummer as I have.
I really like good faithful hummer. If you owne a first grad Spelling Primer is also a plus benefite.

9. I am a licensed plumber by habit but I would rather be sailing.
I got into the habit of plumbing back in high school, hanging out with the cool kids in the empty lot next to the Industrial Arts Building, sweating copper pipe fittings and practicing garbage disposal installation. If only I had sailed instead, but no, I had to plumb. (I think mimi liked that one, it was my personal favorite of the buch)

10. Someone who realizes that the grass is always half full when you are pouring into it and only half empty when you are drinking it.
Ahh yes. And the glass is always greener when you're smashing the bottle over an idiots head. (Uncle: Mims says Stop The Violence)


So there you have it. I hope I've amused you as much as I amuse myself, which is really what this is all about anyway, isn't it? I just hope I haven't peaked my first time out. I've gotta win this thing or my life will have no meaning...again.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

When Rednecks Earn Art Degrees

I got me no teeth, I eat out of the same bowl as my dog, my meth lab needs a new bathtub, and my mullet needs a trim, but check out how the spacial relationships between these rectangular forms applied to my mobile home create a pleasing visual balance that works well with the chosen color palette and in such perfect conjunction with the rusty swing-set, pile of laundromat washing machines and the '74 Trans-Am parked in the front yard.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A New Appreciation for Cranial Geometry Blooms in the Artemus Household

Watching the football playoffs and Joe Buck reminded me of a comment that huge baseball fan Millie the Four and a Half Year Old made during the World Series last year.

She stepped up close to the TV....

Millie: Who is that?

Me: That's Joe Buck, the announcer.

Millie: (Staring intently) I like his face.

Me: Oh yeah?

Millie: Yeah, it's like a rectangle shape, not round like ours. I like rectangles.

Me and Big Mama: Laughing our deeply proud and standard round shaped heads off .

Pre-K has been money well spent after all.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Random Refrigerator Magnet of the Week

This is a new weekly segment called, you guessed it, The Random (or maybe not so random) Refrigerator Magnet of the Week. They are all borowed from a site called stickergiant.com so if you like them you can get them there.

Since this the innaugural launch of this feature I'm going to post two to start. One is for Dirk over at Eddie, Are You Kidding? and the other one is just because I like it.







Thursday, January 18, 2007

Reality Check Completed and Found Wanting. Thank You Very Much for your Kind Patience.

Well it's been a really busy week in the Artemus household and I haven't had time to get on the computer much. We were going to travel to central Missouri but ice storms kept us at home. So we did what any housebound family with art degrees and obsessions with home decorating would do; we painted the living room. We managed to do it in just two days of actual painting but we have had swatches and color tests stuck to the wall for the better part of a year now. We may be slow but at least we're thorough.

After much agonizing at the altar of Benjamin Moore we went with this orangy/spicy colored glaze. We're very happy with the way it turned out. Maybe not everyone's cup of herb tea but it's a damn site better than the Victorian Funeral Parlor/ Old People's Play Room thing we had going before. I hated that look from the day we did it.



We also got a contract on the albatross of an old building we have in the city that I've been rehabbing for seven years now. That, I assure you, is glorious news. Thank God Almighty, we're free at last! (pending buyer's loan approval)

I have grown to despise that place with every fiber of my being. Years ago I lost count of weekends and vacations spent with my head in some hole over there. In light of my current employment situation, the proceeds of the sale will be donated to the Uncle Artemus Feed My Family and Build a Garage Fund. We close at the end of March. Here's some before and after I went insane.


Ebay has a special deal of .20 cent listing fees today only so I must gather more crap around the house and unload it on the unsuspecting, overpriced shipping paying public. Gotta make a living you know.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Check, Check, 1,2....This is a Reality Check

For reasons beyond my control I am compelled to interact with reality for the next couple of days. Later. UA

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sparkle the Worm and the Bubbadog Acquisition

Well, after my little cathartic rant of yesterday I would like to move on to lighter things and share the heartwarming story of Sparkle the Worm and the Bubbadog Acquisition.

It goes kind of like this...

Big Mama: "I don't like animals in the house. I didn't grow up with animals, I don't have experience with animals, they loose hair off their bodies and smell bad and urinate in inconvenient places."

Uncle Artemus: "I like animals. I grew up with them, hair doesn't bother me, they can be bathed and released into the yard for urination purposes."

Millie while playing in the sandbox: "Look Daddy, I have a pet."

UA: "Really sweetie? What?"

Millie: "It's a worm, see?" (holding it out in the palm of her hand) "He's all sparkly, I'm naming him Sparkle. He's my pet." She hugs the worm close.

UA: "Uh, I have to talk to mommy."

UA to BM: "We have got to get that kid some kind of pet. She's just adopted a worm she found in the sandbox and named him Sparkle. That is just too pathetic to even contemplate. The kid's never going to have a brother or sister, she needs a cat or a dog."

BM: "How about a fish? A lot of people love fish."

UA: "Fish are mind numbingly boring pets unless you have chemical assistance and listen to Pink Floyd while you watch them. She's four years old,
she needs a mammal of some kind."

BM: "You didn't take care of the last dog we had, blah, blah, blah..." Old argument.

UA: "We never let her into the house or gave her a chance to be part of the family, blah, blah, blah..." Old counter argument.

Flash forward about six months; Sparkle the Worm has long since passed on to the big sandbox in the sky. Big Mama gets an e-mail from an acquaintance with a picture of a cute blonde cockapoo named Bubba in need of adoption. BM shows the picture to UA.

BM: "What do you think?"

UA: "He's cute, I like his looks. What are his specs?"

BM: "He's older, he's house trained, he's fixed, he's a rescue, he's under twenty pounds, he's half poodle."

UA: "Cool. He should be mellow, he won't urinate inconveniently, he won't reproduce, he'll appreciate a place to live, he won't eat much and he won't leave hair in the dinner plates."
"Sounds like the only dog on the planet that could ever live successfully in this house, we should meet him. You're really okay with this?"

BM: "Yes, believe it or not, I really think I am. Millie needs a pet and Sparkle is dead."

So we met him. And Bubba became the newest member of our family and loves and is much beloved by a little girl. Sparkle, however, will be sorely missed.

Innovations in Adolescent Assholery

I met some nice people in blogoland yesterday, one of whom is a young man who had some things to say about cyber bullying that got me thinking about what a different world we live in than the one I experienced as a young teenager in the seventies. Different not in good ways like ipods and Hybrid Toyotas have made things different, but in the new and inventive ways that young people find to be mean spirited and cruel to each other.

Of course teenagers and pre-teens throughout all generations have possessed that very special gift for heinous emotional destructiveness toward their fellow kind. But there's an extra special degree of heartless shittiness displayed by younger generations that I seem to remember as being more tempered when I was a youngster, even one on the receiving end of an atomic wedgie.

Internet technology alone has elevated adolescent cruelty to new and exciting heights, which is only just and fitting and certainly in itself nothing new. The Inquisition employed state of the art technological innovations in the middle ages for the creative application of pain. Now, in addition to the traditional avenues of assholery like school halls, bathrooms, playgrounds, locker rooms and, for that extra-added dose of humiliation, right before the eyes of a particular infatuation de-jour, teenage bullies can now casually seek to publicly destroy the lives of their targets with a laptop paid for by mom and dad. And as a bonus, it's easier on the heartless little fuckers' tender conscience when they can't hear the lonely weeping over the distance of cyberspace.

Is bullying really that much worse than it was when I was a kid? Unfortunately I honestly believe that it is. Why, then? Is it because younger generations have been more indulged? Ignored? Feel more entitled? Spend too many hours in front of a tv either being spoon fed psychotic crap or playing endless hours of worthless Grand Theft fucking Auto with clueless parents saying, "it's only a game." Have they been deliberately taught not to care about other people because all that matters is what you can get for yourself, how you look, what you wear, what you have? Is this the natural evolution of the entitled, me, me attitudes cultivated by the boomer generation and passed on down the line? I suspect all of the above has something to do with it. I should probably check with Oprah on this.

When I think of this stuff I get angry and frustrated because I know it exists and there's really nothing I can do about it aside from trying be a responsible parent and not raise a child who thinks it's okay to casually hurt people. My daughter is just turning five years old and it scares the hell out of me to think of the kind of evil crap she'll have to face by the time she's in high school.

End of rant.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What's For Dinner, Revisited

I liked that rice stuff so much the other day that I made it again tonight. In doing so I discovered that I have made a huge omission to the recipe that I posted here.

There should be a can of Cream of Mushroom soup and about 1/2 cup of milk added to the mixture to hold the whole thing together. It's still tasty without it but it's pretty dry.

So if anyone out there has started cooking, STOP. Go to the store and get some mushroom soup and milk and dump it in before you bake this stuff. You'll be glad you did.

I will be updating the recipe forthwith. Thank you for your understanding. No hate mail from angry spouses, please.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Keep the Salami Away From My Computer!

File this one under, "Things I never dreamed I'd say in a million years." However I just found myself barking this merry refrain at Millie the Four and Three Quarter year old as she motioned to paste a slice of hard salami she had been chewing on to the screen of my very expensive Mac laptop.

She can't get enough of the stuff; Slim Jims, beef jerky, all the tasty beef snacks that daddy loves (and neither of us get very often). That's my girl! Just keep the greazy stuff off my computer kiddo.

Monday, January 8, 2007

What's For Dinner?

As you may or may not know one of my favorite things to do is to eat. Since Big Mama has a tendency to shun ingredient assembly as a matter of principal I do most of the cooking in our humble abode, and most times I enjoy it. I like to do some experimenting, sometimes with success, sometimes without, but always with at least interesting results. My favorite thing to do is to get about ten different recipes for the same thing from someplace like Allrecipes.com, and combine the parts that I think will work well together. It's a fairly Frankenstein-y approach to culinary art but my monsters rarely maul anyone.

I usually have a Tivo'ed episode of Good Eats playing on the little kitchen tube while I assemble some epicurean delight just in case I want to brine a turkey at the last minute or have an urgent need to understand the molecular structure of BBQ sauce. That is, I have on the tube either Alton Brown or my other hero, Norm Abram, depending on whether or not a table saw is required for a particular dish I'm making.

I have collected and perfected a few core dishes as part of my personal edible aggregate, all of which have been tested and approved by objective and picky as hell eaters.

I thought it might be nice to share a few of these recipes. The one I'm starting with here is one I made for the first time last night, mostly by just throwing together random stuff that I could find in the house
. It turned out remarkably yummy. Millie nearly ate it all gone and Big Mama said it was the first successful casserole dish I've ever made. (She started out fifteen years ago being forced to endure what I called Bachelor Slop - cheap boxed mac&cheese mixed with anything at all I could find, so she has a uniquely qualified opinion)

So this is what we had for dinner...


Tasty Chicken & Rice Casserole
click here to download recipe

2 Large boneless chicken breasts, boil until just cooked through with a pinch of kosher salt and approx1/2 tsp poultry seasoning. Drain and cool. Shred.
(For convienience, cook large quantities ahead of time and separate into 1lb portions – freeze)
1 1/2c. quick cooking brown rice (or long cooking if you like to wait)
2c. chicken broth or (stock strained and frozen after boiling all that chicken previously)
1/2 ea. green pepper, red pepper, onion diced
2 med carrots diced
1 stalk celery diced
3/4c. peas (frozen is fine)
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tblsp olive oil
1 1/2c. shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese is in the house)
1c. Parmesan cheese
approx 2 tsp McCormick Garlic & Herb seasoning
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 wad of fresh chopped parsley (if you happen to have some)
or
1 tsp dried parsley
1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
approx 1/2c milk

Cook rice in chicken stock and a pinch of kosher salt according to proportions or instructions on bag or box. While that’s going…

In a big skillet or chicken fryer sauté in olive oil w/ approx 1tsp of Garlic & Herb seasoning & a good pinch of kosher salt –
Peppers, onion, carrot, celery, & garlic. Feel free to leave out what veggies you don’t like and add in ones you do. Cook until carrots and celery are somewhat soft. Add in frozen peas.
Add in cooked chicken and poultry seasoning. Stir and heat through.

Rice should be done by now.

Preheat oven to 350

Add rice to veg and chicken mixture. Add another tsp or so of Garlic & Herb seasoning, parsley, mushroom soup/milk and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Mix thoroughly. Try to keep it from spilling all over the stove.

Once mixed, spoon into 9x11 casserole dish. Spread evenly. Sprinkle approx 1cup (or as much as you like) shredded cheese on top. Sprinkle 1cup (or again, as much as you like) Parmesan cheese on top of that.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so.

It was suggested that some crunchiness may help this recipe. If you like, add Durkee onions to the mixture and sprinkle some on top before baking.

Or do this Rachael Ray trick…
Mix 2 cups of stuffing bread crumbs (she recommends Pepperidge Farms) with 4 tblsp of meted butter and the cheese. Spread all that on top before baking.

Serves anywhere from one guy to a family of six. (I ate half of this myself) Yum.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Introductions and Hidey Ho's!

Hello and welcome to blog entry number two. Since I'm new to the blogosphere I figured the polite thing to do with this second entry would be to introduce everyone to the family and tell you a little about us. However I'm completely paranoid as the result of prolonged exposure to My Little Ponies cartoons and of course having that steel plate in my head, so I'm reluctant to reveal the secret identities of myself and those close to me who foolishly believe I know what the hell I'm doing. You just never know when the Interninja Web Assassins will finally track you down. But in the interest international diplomacy I've decided to chance it and share a few photos and personal info.


So anyway, this is a picture of me, Uncle Artemus. I'm the one on the end with the pretty legs and oh so stylish tube socks.





This next one is a picture of my wife, Big Mama. She's really sweet. I have to say that or she will beat me up. She rides a motorcycle.





This is Millie, our daughter. She turns five years old this month. She doesn't really wear glasses, I just drew those on as a clever disguise. That other thing's a giant catfish, but he's technically not part of the family.





This is our dog, Bubba the Cockapoo. He barks a lot at the bookcase which kind of freaks me out at 2:00 in the morning. Other times he seems reasonably intelligent, except maybe for the incessant grunting, chasing of concrete trucks and licking the place where his balls used to be.





We live in an old house in a small town outside of a big town somewhere in the midwest.
See map for details. Sometimes I forget where I live exactly, what with the flashbacks to the time spent in the asylum and all, but I know there's this big river nearby and some cornfields and a giant sculpure shaped like the form created by suspending a chain from two horizontal points. He who has ears, let him hear.





I'm a commercial photographer by trade. Liberated of late from the daily grind of making enough money to pay the bills. Lucky me. I keep waiting for that kicked in the ass by a golden horseshoe feeling but so far it has eluded me. Fortunately I have some good people channeling work my way as they can, so at least Bubba's not wanting for kibble just yet. Also, being a photographer means I have about two hundred thousand pictures of Millie so you will probably be seeing more of her, (and probably without the disguise) And having an intermittent work schedule gives me plenty of time to pursue the truly rewarding things in life, like cleaning the basement and writing this blog.

Big Mama is a talented freelance graphic designer who works out of our home office, but work is kind of thin for her these days as well. To make a little extra scratch we recently tried our hand at e-bay, selling some of the left over internal organs we had lying around. By the time I researched the going price of spleens and pituitary glands, wrote the descriptions of said organs in a reasonably concise and readable manner, (
have you ever read some of those ebay product descriptions? A million monkeys writing for a million years write millions of e-bay product descriptions long before they complete a Shakespeare play) watched the bidding obsessively, tried desperately to figure out PayPal and shipping expenses, and boxed up the troublesome shit and hauled it to the post office I figure I made about .13 cents an hour for my trouble. Where are the Chinese kids when you really need them?

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

My First Ever Blog Entry or...How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Just Write It Down

This is the first time I have ever made a blog entry in any capacity for any reason and if you're actually reading this I have no doubt you're already thinking , "Great, how did I get to be the turd kickin' lucky one to read this numbnuts first blog entry?"

I figure the beginning of a brand new year is a good time to embark on a brand new way to make a fool of myself. Since I've perfected a few others it only follows that I'll be quite a success at making a fool of myself in this newfound capacity. Just so you know, it's my friend Trish's fault, she made me do this.

Since I haven't the slightest clue as to what I'm doing I will ask my reader (yeah you, the one) to please bear with me as I try to figure out all this website crap. I just got me one of these internet thingies and I don't want to push some button that will make me start hallucinating or attract them flying monkeys to my front yard. Who knows what this thing can do? Hello? Mr. President? Does this run on nookuler?

I expect to have more than a few rants in the upcoming days, weeks, months. Maybe an interesting story or two, some musings on being a father to a four and three quarter year old, some movie and book reviews, some links to some of my favorite sites and general rambling about anything that suits me.

Here's a few things I hope to be addressing in upcoming entries:

Insurance Companies; Leeches on the Testicles of Humanity

Aliens are Just Pretend

Sparkle the Worm

How to Break Free From a Harmful Religious Cult in Five Years or Less

The Ronco Blogomatic (for those slow news days)

The River Bottom Bar Hopping, Limo Bus Birthday Bash of 2006

Slutz er... Bratz Dolls

I'm looking forward to this, I haven't made a fool of myself since Sunday night, I'm overdue.
It's late. I need to go to bed now. I have a job...no, really I do. No shit.