Saturday, April 29, 2006

Guest Blogger: Chris Lundberg

A few months ago I got a funny joke submitted by "W" about men getting too much credit for grilling. Here was her submission...

A reminder After 6 long months of cold and winter, we are finally coming up to Summer and BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking as it's the only type of cooking a real man will do, probably because there is an element of danger involved. When a man volunteers to do the BBQ, the following chain of events are put into motion: Here's the routine...

(1) The woman buys the food.
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables and makes
(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along
with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces and takes it to the man who
is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand. Here comes the important part:
(5) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
(6) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning. He
thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he deals with the
situation. Important again:
(8) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins,
sauces, and brings them to the table.
(9) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes. AND
10) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
11) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed "her night off." And, upon
seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some

As you might imagine, this got some feedback from my male readers, including Chris Lundberg. I liked his response so much, I asked him to write an entire guest blog about it. Chris is program coordinator at the Mathematics & Science Center in Richmond, Virginia, a consortium which serves the school districts in the metropolitan Richmond area. He is a lifelong Virginia resident, and his writing includes such fun-filled areas as grant funding and mission statements, instructional materials, ghost-writing for a college president, storyboarding lessons and activities for interactive educational websites, professional journal articles, and even composing direct-mail solicitations for his alma mater, Randolph-Macon College.

Over the course of his years in education, he has been a teacher, university adjunct instructor, school administrator, program and instructional supervisor, and even a college fund-raiser. He has made numerous presentations at the local, state, and national level in the areas of science instruction, learning styles, and gifted education. His main affiliation is his wife of 20 years, the former Anne Hyde of Wheaton, Illinois. Among their references are their five children, Katie, Bridget, Nora, Sarah, and Stanley.

And yes, he does has a slightly different take on the subject of BBQ...

Where’s the Meat?
By Chris Lundberg

After enjoying the Monday Morning Joke Column (April 3) by “W” with the female’s take on barbecue cooking, I felt compelled to respond with the male point of view. What about the REST OF THE STORY of the events that occur during that time period (often lengthy) between putting the meat on the grill and taking the meat off of the grill?

Observe any normal meat-eating male, let’s say, presented with such appetizing offerings from soybean tofu to vegetarian lasagna. You can provide him a veritable smorgasbord of gourmet food, but omit the REAL main course and you will hear him exclaim, “Where’s the meat?” It is just such a person who can fully appreciate the gentle care, indeed, “hand-cultivation” involved in preparing the true perfect meal, whether it be steak, brat, chicken, or burger (or even horse).

So now that the spring season is upon us, let’s take a closer look to see that the barbecue is a complex series of activities revealing the highly advanced husbandry abilities of the suburban male. Here from the Commonwealth of Virginia, home of the barbecue and the State of hams, cotton, peanuts, bourbon, and Robert E. Lee, is a checklist for a whole host of specific BBQ behaviors; such as…

*Multitasking by engaging in witty conversation and entertaining guests while flipping and turning each individual piece of meat with equal aplomb….

*Embodying the true spirit of the BBQ by firing up the charcoal instead of a gas grill…

*The subtle art of regulating the proper cooking temperature by pouring beer onto the flames that get too high….

*More multitasking by laughing at lame jokes by guests and congenially acknowledging their political, social, and religious observations (the requisite host “head nod” of recognition vs. one of agreement – a particularly challenging task to pull off)…

*The sheer creativity of substituting gasoline for lighter fluid when in a pinch…

*Holding to the suburban man code of maintaining nonchalance while trying to ascertain if the meat is ready…

*Offering cigars to guests to enjoy and to add to the BBQ incense (indeed, a holy smoke) arising from the grill…

*The simple act itself of turning the meat (a true middle class art form)…

*Even more multitasking by holding “court” on a variety of topics ranging from the Cubs’ prospects this year to how to keep the squirrels from eating the tulip bulbs to the merits of the straight 6 vs. the V-6 cylinder engine…

*The selfless act of providing a gathering place for men at the altar of the grill of self-actualization…

*Going the extra mile and warming the buns on the outside edges of the grill…

And finally, above all, the character to resist experimenting at the grill and proudly announce, “Hey y’all… watch this….!”

Is it any wonder that it’s the MEAT that counts on any menu? And, why do you think the list of what’s on for supper is called a “MEN-u?” Meat is deep in the DNA of us hunter-gatherers and no amount of unique side-dishes nor elegantly appointed table settings can change that.

Now that you know THE REAL STORY of what goes on during the BBQ, you can easily see that this event is indeed a “night off” for the wife. In fact, it’s almost like going out to dinner. She does not have to concern herself with any comments whatsoever about the quality of her cooking. Furthermore, the amount of real time she will spend on the meal is virtually zip. It is a given that the other guests will pitch in with not only the preparation of the “other stuff” to be consumed, but also the clean-up. This leaves her the luxury to “invest” the majority of her time in leisurely, pleasant conversation with the other spouses while you do the lion’s share of work.

I rest my case. Cooking is all about the MEAT, so let’s light the fires and give our spouses a night off this weekend!

Now, what are we having for dessert?

If you ever go to Richmond for BBQ--go here: (personally recommended by Chris)

If you missed any of the previous guest bloggers, click here:

Thursday, April 27, 2006

From the Archives: Loop Photo Album (1986-1993)

I have a ton of pictures from this era, so I'll do another post at a later date. For the majority of my Loop years, I was the producer of the Steve Dahl & Garry Meier Show, but I also hosted my own weekend show on the Loop-FM, and I was the co-host of a show called "Ebony & Ivory" on the Loop-AM. Here are a few pictures and mementos from that era...

The Steve & Garry Logo--Late '80s

On stage with Steve at a sold out Chicago Theatre concert--1989. Yes, show biz is very glamorous.

Some of my Loop favorites: (From Left) John "Swany" Swanson, Jim Wiser, Anne-Marie Kennedy, and Dina Sanchez. Swany and Wiser worked for Brandmeier at the time. Swany is now producer of Eric & Kathy's show at WTMX and Wiser is producer of Spike O'Dell's show on WGN. (Swany also later co-authored "The Radio Producer's Handbook" with me). Anne-Marie and Dina were part of the best promotion department of all time. Anne Marie is now working in a similar position in Boston and Dina does charity work and is raising twin girls.

This is an invitation to the party at Garry Meier's restaurant from the late 80's, "Sabrina". A few very memorable Loop Christmas parties took place there, and so did one of my first dates with my future wife Bridget.

This is Ebony & Ivory. Stan Lawrence (now the co-host of Stan & Terry middays on WCKG) and some white guy who now runs a blog. Our show was on the air on AM 1000 in 1991-1992. In the background behind us is former Loop salesman Bob Kruchten.

On Stage at the Chicago Theatre with Garry Meier (as Cliff). I was one of the Cliff Dancers, and we did a dance number choreographed by future Tony Award winning stage director Robert Falls (I'm not kidding). The Cliff dancers are:(clockwise starting from kneeling left) Mike Bramel, Me, The Bald Handbook co-author Dave Stern (obscured behind Cliff), cabin boy Jim, Shemp, and Mike Davis (back to audience).

Bridget Kaempfer (when she was still Bridget Hyde), Me, Engineer Mike Rugen, and Wendy Snyder. Mike passed away last month--and we all miss him very much. Wendy is now part of the Steve Dahl Show on WCKG.

If you missed any previous "From The Archives" click here:

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Suburban Man: A Dad's Guide to Comedy for Boys

By Rick Kaempfer

Comedy is really my only parenting tool. Over my ten years as a father, I’ve used it to great effect to diffuse tense situations, to foster strong relationships, and to teach my boys one of the most necessary life skills. If you’re laughing, life is going to be just fine.

Unfortunately, a Daddy comedian needs to be adaptable. Different comedy works for different ages. Jokes that absolutely kill with three year olds are often despised by ten year olds. I still haven’t figured out how to deliver a belly laugh to the youngster while avoiding the simultaneous heckles of the eight or ten year old, but I will never, ever, give up trying.

Comedy for Ages 0-2

Honestly, this age group isn’t exactly my forte. My wife is the baby entertainer. Bridget can make any baby laugh, anytime, anyplace. She has a rubber face, an unlimited supply of funny noises, and a complete inability to be embarrassed by her actions. I’ve seen her making a screaming infant smile in mid cry.

My only trick for this age group is the napkin blown into the air bit. Simply unfold the napkin, placing it on your nose so that it covers your entire face, and then count down...three, two, one, BLOW! A forcefully applied blow sends the napkin sailing nearly all the way to the ceiling. Huge laughs are guaranteed and you can’t repeat it too often. It gets the same belly laugh on the four hundredth try as it does on the first.

Comedy for Ages 2-4

Now we’re in my wheelhouse. I’ve had at least one son in this age bracket for the past eight years, and this is where my collection of cartoon and puppet voices comes into play. When Johnny was three, he and I went almost a whole year without speaking to each other Dad-to-son. Grover drove him to pre-school, Kermit put him down for a nap, Eeyore talked to him when he was sad, and Ernie sang to him in the bath. (Johnny even did a movie review on the radio as Grover when he was 3...a classic for the ages.)

This is the age where the pratfall (someone else's pain) becomes the king of boy comedy. When I show them how much I love them, I do it with my hands--increasing the love more and more until I smash my hand into the wall. Huge laughs.

Comedy for Ages 4-7

This is the age for subtlety and nuance. If you can’t or won’t employ the use of bodily functions, pick up your ball and go home. There’s no place for you here. If you have a problem with the words “butt”, “poop”, “fart”, “burp”, or “booger”, more power to you, but you will never, ever get a laugh out of a 4-7 year old boy.

Although, I must say, pratfalls still work.

Boys this age absolutely love the Three Stooges. I had to stop letting Tommy watch the Stooges because he laughed so hard during their routines that he began to hyperventilate. I wonder if the Stooges have ever killed a 4-7 year old boy. I wouldn’t be surprised.

(Father’s note: I noticed that I started performing much better for this age group when their mother wasn’t around. I’m not sure why.)

Comedy for Ages 7-10

Ah, the age of word play. Knock Knock jokes. Orange you glad I didn’t say banana? Whoo boy. That’s a good one. These jokes have not changed in fifty years.

Tommy and Johnny were also obsessed with words that have double meanings. Tommy’s favorite planet became Uranus. Johnny told me to close the refrigerator because it wasn’t polite to watch the salad dressing. They don’t know what Prince Albert in a Can is, but rest assured they would have loved that joke if they did.

As for parody songs, they are still a huge hit with this age bracket. Kids still sing that version of Jingle Bells with “Batmobile lost his wheel and the Joker got away.” As for me, I constantly found myself changing the words of songs. They were amazed at my nearly Wayne Brady-esque ability to rhyme on demand to fit the situation—although I must say this might be the one skill that now annoys my oldest son Tommy the most.

Which brings me to the comedy of the next age group...

Comedy for Ages 10+

You’re not funny, Dad.

That’s a tough nut to crack, but I’m working on it. When he told me the other day that my jokes were twice as old as I am, I spent the next two days telling him Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge jokes to prove a point.

”I don’t get it, Dad,” he would say.

”Exactly!” I said. “Those jokes are twice as old as me. See? My jokes are no more than one and a half times older than me.”

“You’re not funny, Dad.”

That’s when I walked into the wall.

Huge laugh.

I’ve still got it.

If you've missed any previous Suburban Man columns, click here:

Sunday, April 23, 2006

4 Sure-Fire Ways to Hose Down Your Man

By Rick Kaempfer

Next time you go to the supermarket, look at the covers of women’s magazines. Every one of them....and this is no exaggeration...every single one of them, has an article with some sort of variation of this headline: “How to drive your man crazy in bed.” If you can’t find at least one women’s magazine with a headline like “10 Secrets to Satisfying Your Man,” or “6 Tips That Will Make Him Squirm with Pleasure,” or “His 5 Secret Erogenous Zones,” you aren’t looking very hard.

Every time I see these headlines, a question immediately pops into my brain. The target audience for these magazines is predominantly women 18-34 years old, right? That means their men are presumably the same age, right? Then my question is this: Is there really a big problem getting 18-34 year old men interested in bedroom activities? I’m guessing that none of the readers of these magazines have experienced this a single time. Never. Not once.

Why? Because 18-34 year old men need only one thing to get excited in bed: a willing woman. Once he gets that, his odds of being satisfied are nearly 100%. None of the bells and whistles are necessary. Trust me on this.

In fact, introducing bells and whistles (or God forbid ten of them) could bring disastrous results. Remember, in the desire department, even the hungriest young woman is no match for the most lackluster man. The time needed to rev up an 18-34 year old man is approximately one second, give or take one second. Among the things that could do it?

What are these magazines doing? The equivalent magazine piece for men would be titled “How to Get Your Women to Buy More Shoes.” It’s simply not necessary. What younger women really need is a way to hose down their hormonal stallions. That’s the real advice these magazines should be offering.

Of course, the common misconception is that women don’t need any help in this department. They’re born with the ability to discourage, right? Nonsense. They only think they have this ability. They’ve taken it for granted for too long. The eye-rolling, the old excuses, and the old techniques no longer work. Men these days are way too savvy.

Rookie Mistakes

One common mistake women make is thinking a standard excuse will slow him down. A hastily delivered “I have a headache” isn’t even a speed bump. Men take that as a given. Any man worth his salt carries Tylenol with him wherever he goes. The other most common technique, excessive yawning combined with constant reminders of how tired you are, can actually work against you. Where do you go when it’s time to sleep? That’s right, and his mind is already there.

So what can you do? Many young women think they can dampen the desire of their man by making themselves as unattractive as possible. They don’t wear makeup, put on a ratty sweatshirt and sweatpants, and avoid a shower for a few days. That should scare him off, right?

Wrong. That won’t even slow him down. Once a man has sampled the goods, no amount of smudging can erase his crystal clear memories. Plus, he can always turn off the lights or close his eyes and retrieve those memories. If you’ve been using some of the techniques described in those magazines, you really have no chance of getting those memories out of his head. You’re going to have to take drastic steps.

Granted, hosing him down without scaring him off is a high-wire act, but if you keep the following four phrases in your purse, and use them only for emergency hose-downs, I guarantee success.

1. Look, honey, I got this picture of your mother framed.

This is a verbal and visual kick to the groin. You have effectively ended any and all overtures for the night...immediately. Gone. Done. He’s going to the refrigerator right now.

If you can’t or won’t get a picture of his mother, it may be good enough to simply talk about his mother just as his engine starts revving. Try one of these alternative phrases...
“I wonder what your mother is up to tonight.”
“Your mother must have been a beautiful woman when she was younger, don’t you think?”
“Do you think your parents are know... active?”

All will kill his desire instantly. Sigmund Freud didn’t have the slightest idea what he was talking about.

2. Make some popcorn honey, there’s a Merchant Ivory Film Festival on Lifetime tonight.

Don’t freelance on this one. One misplaced word and it might not work. Don’t substitute another movie. Don’t substitute the number of movies. Don’t substitute the channel (unless it’s Oxygen). This is very important.

Every guy is programmed to sit through at least one “chick flick,” so simply urging him to watch one movie (like “Beaches” or “Steel Magnolias”) won’t do it. It’s worth a roll of the dice for any man. He knows he’ll get bonus points for sitting through it. But no bonus points are worth sitting through more than one. And Merchant Ivory movies? Oh boy, does he hate those. The characters are too buttoned-up, too uptight, and too British. No man has any interest in Victorian England—it’s our all-time least favorite historical era. Plus, those movies average about sixteen hours in length. If you say there will be more than one, he can do the math in his head. If you throw in the Lifetime network, his head will explode because he knows this is a gal’s network, which means tons of commercials, and this will make these already endless movies even longer. There isn’t a straight man alive that won’t run for the hills.

3. Have you ever noticed how good looking gay guys are?

Even insecure guys won’t get jealous if you think gay guys are good looking. In fact, he’ll probably say it himself every time a better looking guy is around. However, the one time he will definitely NEVER say it is when his engines are getting revved up.

If you say it at precisely the right time, he will do just about anything to get away from you as quickly as possible. Otherwise he’ll have to explain why his engine is revved up at the same time you’re talking about gay guys. That’s a conversation that will kill his desire instantaneously. Just thinking about explaining it, will help turn off his engine.

But what if it doesn’t? Does that mean he’s gay? No. It just means you’ve waited too long to say it. He’s going to need a glass of verbal cold water thrown in his face and pronto. Keep in mind that I don’t recommend using this last one unless you want him to stay away for several days. Keep it under glass and break the glass only in case of emergency.

4. Oh Boy. I better get some cranberry juice right away.

We know what that means. It means no matter what we say or do, nothings going to be happening for several days...if we’re lucky. As soon as the word cranberry comes out of your mouth, he’ll be turning on the ball game.

If you are dealing with a na├»ve or inexperienced man who doesn’t know the code meaning of “cranberry juice”, I recommend this alternative: “Have you ever had a really painful canker sore?”

If you’re a young mother, a simple “Next time you’re at the store can you pick up another tube of Preparation H?” or an “Oooh. I can feel my milk coming in,” will suffice.

You’re free.

Now please, for your own sanity and rest, stop reading those women’s magazines. Don’t go looking for any secret erogenous zones or secret ways to satisfy him or secret ways to make him squirm in bed. He’s like the Terminator. It already takes a lot of effort to get rid of him.

And he’ll be back.