• Do You Take This Smartphone for Better or Worse?

    I tepidly approached the empty stool next to her. 'Excuse me,' I said, my gaze traveling from her eyes downward. 'Not interested pal,' she replied curtly. 'May I just touch it for a moment? Better yet, can I hold it?'

  • I'm Sweating It

    Nobody told me about the trap I was falling into. Not my friends, not my wife, certainly not the person who rang me up at the store. My hope here is I can provide for you what wasn't there for me

  • The TV Remote is Harvard's Answer to Birth Control

    'Where's the remote?' My wife appeared, clutching the precious device in her left hand. 'May I please have it?' 'If you're expecting me to sit or roll over like the dog, may I remind you that my knees are killing me,' I replied

  • It Should Have Been Super

    One regular ticket for the Super Bowl costs about $600. If someone offers you a ticket for $10, don't buy it if you want to see the game. In the stadium, the game is an afterthought. It's treated as though it was an intrusion on the mindless noise flowing endlessly from the stadium speakers

  • Flu Sufferers, Your Facebook Posts are Making Me Sick

    One recommendation for flu sufferers is to get plenty of rest. However, that hasn't stopped many of my Facebook friends from dragging themselves out of bed, firing up their computers

  • When Selecting Wine, Choose Your Words Carefully

    I subtly glanced at the patrons around me, trying to mimic them by sticking my nose far into the glass and inhaling deeply. I pinched the glass stem and swirled, nearly splashing red wine onto my white linen napkin. Eventually I sipped. 'Tastes, uh, great,' was my review

  • Ray Lewis, Your Seat at The Kids Table is Ready

    This year, the National Football League underwent more analysis than Lance Armstrong. By the time each ex-jock, former coach or retired referee told us what to expect in today's game, the contest was half over

  • Let's Name the Lottery Losers

    There's nothing more stimulating to the brain than getting mad. I'm easily angered and there are so many things in the world to get mad about that my brain is seldom at ease. Nothing so regularly angers me as much as stories about lottery winners

  • Snow Memories Warm the Heart

    The experts who know about this sort of thing have been predicting terrible consequences for the Earth and all of us on it unless we do something to stop the warming of our planet

  • Diplomacy: Lying Politely

    There are a hundred places in the world that need the help U.S. power and money can provide. But we have to ask, how much can we do and how much do we have the will to do? How effective would diplomacy be?

  • Where Are All The Young Nudes?

    The San Francisco TV reporter was young, perky and brunette. Her interview subject was her polar opposite: male, late 60s and balding, with skin that looked as if it had traveled south for the winter and wasn't coming back

  • It's Your Cellphone That Makes You Fat!

    Like millions of Americans, I begin each year vowing to lose a few pounds. As 2013 dawns, I plan to slightly modify my goal, focusing on a single part of my body. Specifically my thumbs

  • Things I Love to Hate

    I came across a column by Dick Burdette entitled, 'These are a few of my favorite things.' I don't want to steal his column or lose my image as a complainer so I'll go in the opposite direction

  • Warm Coats and Inaugural Memories

    It's that time again, so I've collected a few facts about presidential inaugurations. Maybe you can surprise your friends with them

  • Searching For Life, Any Life, in Rural New Mexico

    I have been driving for just over two hours and have yet to see another vehicle. Cellphone reception is nonexistent and I am silently praying that I chose the most dependable rental car on the lot

  • Lessons From a Reformed Cybershopper

    As the holiday gift-buying clock winds down and all you cybershoppers sit smugly at your computers, bragging to anybody who will listen how easy it was to shop online, allow me to taint your eggnog

  • Preparing for Doomsday One Candle at a Time

    'Let's have a family meeting!' 'I'm doing homework, Dad,' came the reply from my two daughters. 'NOW!' It was the last line that got them downstairs. 'Yeah, what?' my wife said. 'We are prepping for Doomsday,' I said

  • Horror Stories from a Black Friday Dad

    I groggily looked at the alarm clock, which registered 2:30 a.m. Time to get up and honor a commitment I apparently made to my 15-year-old-daughter less than six hours earlier: Drive her and her friends to Black Friday sales

  • The Joys of Email Hacking

    When my smartphone is also flashing an enormous number of texts and missed calls, I brace myself, as I have learned the hard way that this usually means someone I love is in trouble

  • Hard Choices in Store

    A trip to the supermarket is one of the pleasures of my Saturdays. It's satisfying to have worked all week to make enough money to be able to spend some of it on Saturday for things you see in a store

  • Attention Sports Parents! In Cyberspace, No One Can Hear You Scream

    Scenes like this are why it's time to harness my beloved streaming video technology. Venture capitalists listen up! I'm searching for backers for my new site, parentsgoaway.com. Here's how it works

  • There's No Joy in Junking Your Christmas Tree

    I don't know of any work I hate more than dismantling the Christmas tree. But I know my reluctance to untrim the tree is part sloth and part sentiment. It seems so sad that Christmas is over

  • Food for Holiday Thoughts

    We all look for that perfect day when we have enough to do but not too much. There's a fine line and we usually cross it. At this time of year, most of us have so much to do that there isn't time to sit back and enjoy our holiday

  • Make Christmas More Like Christmas

    While I'm thinking about it, this might be a good time to make some Christmas resolutions for future years. Here's my list

  • The Junk Building Boom

    I'm thinking how badly we need someone with absolute power in charge of controlling the buildings people erect. I'd not only want to control new construction; I'd also want the power to tear down some of the buildings already up

  • Vive La French Food

    I feel about the French the way we all feel about difficult members of our family: They are infuriating but we love them anyway. Following are some notes I made -- mostly about French food

  • Is It Music or Noise?

    Nothing divides one generation from another so definitely as its popular music. Those who grew up listening to the Beatles are either not interested in, or actively dislike, the sound of rap, hip-hop or heavy metal

  • 'Here Comes Donald Boo Hoo' and Other Post-Election Reality Shows

    The votes have been (mostly) tabulated, a winner has been declared, the election is over and now it's time for all television networks to get back to doing what they do best: Developing new reality shows

  • White House Tweets That Never Were

    It makes sense that our most social media-savvy president would resort to strong-arming Congress via hashtags and @ signs. Don't you wonder how other presidents would have used Twitter had it been available throughout history?

  • Warning: Antiques are Addictive

    It seems like there are more antique dealers than plumbers, and the supply of dealers far exceeds the dwindling number of antiques left for them to sell

  • Real Men Don't Wrap Christmas Gifts

    I have accomplished all of the manly jobs that come with the blessed holiday celebrating the birth of our Lord. All that's left is the most difficult task for a man, any man: Wrapping gifts

  • Christmas: Fugeddaboutit!

    Some days, it seems as though I have so much to do I can't get anything done. It happens a lot around Christmas

  • Try Some of Andy's Christmas Tidbits

    Bells are ringing like mad and shoppers are flooding the stores, so I guess it's not too early anymore to talk about Christmas. Following are a few things you may not have known about Christmas, and several things you know but may like to be reminded of

  • A Homemade Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving is uniquely American holiday, but it could use a little focus. We ought to do things that would remind us of the virtues we admire in the Pilgrim Fathers, not to mention, of course, the Pilgrim Mothers

  • An 'F' is a very 'Nobel' grade

    My daughter burst through the front door, dropped her backpack, grabbed a handful of potato chips and flopped on the couch. A typical after-school entrance. I tepidly approached

  • When You Can't Catch a Break

    Here's what you don't want when you visit the ER for a sports injury. No, if you go to the ER, darn it, you want to hear about some broken bones, or at least some solid ligament damage

  • Silence is a Wonderful Sound

    There are all kinds of sounds in nature that are better than noise. Some sounds are good or bad depending on where you are and what you're doing when you hear them

  • Learning to Say Goodbye to Honey Boo Boo

    Tonight I'm going to make it easy on my eyes, allowing my brain to work harder. Instead, horrified, The LEARNING Channel delivers Southern culture courtesy of 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo'

  • Candy Distribution Tips for Halloween 2013

    I have a few questions for every kid who rang my doorbell this past Halloween: Do you have any idea how to trick or treat? Do you even know what you're supposed to do when I answer the bell?

  • Is The Battery Half Full or Half Empty?

    I open the hotel room door, gaze at my temporary home and immediately wonder where they are. Are there any behind the bed? Finally, I head to the bathroom. Yet wonderful at the same time

  • Beware the Revolving Candy Dish

    It is 8 inches high, 18 inches around, made of crystal and, in my house, as dangerous as a loaded gun

  • My Thoughts on My Thoughts on the Romney Video

    I have some thoughts about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's secretly recorded video. My thoughts are, I'll admit, eerily similar to some other people's thoughts

  • Coping with the Ravages of SNOT

    I dialed the number with my free hand. 'Hello?' 'Hello, boss. 'What's the problem this time, Schwem?' 'I have SNOT.' 'We have Kleenex in the office.' 'No, not snot'

  • One Husband's Plan to Cut Grocery Bills in Half

    Ladies, stop sending your husbands to the grocery store. The reason? Guys always come home with two of everything

  • Don't Order the Reindeer

    On my first night in Alaska I noticed my in-room dining menu offered 'reindeer sausage' for breakfast. Or so I thought until one sunny evening

  • Repair My Cellphone, Repair My Life

    I used to think the Department of Motor Vehicles was the best place to find a collection of individuals in catatonic states that cannot be broken. Then I visited a cellphone repair store

  • 'None of Your Business' Makes for Good Business

    I strode into my local dry cleaner and awaited Gary, the proprietor. After a minute or so, he emerged from behind a rack of neatly pressed suits, covered in plastic bags

  • Click Here to Dislike

    After recent articles in The New Yorker, The Week and posts in every twentysomething's blog about Facebook being too intrusive and totally outdated, I now have enough confidence to close down my page

  • A Fish-Out-of-Water Tale

    This is an important message for people who manage, sit on the board of, or in any other way play a prominent role in the operation of large-scale metropolitan aquariums

  • An Appreciative Husband's Gratitude

    Wives do a thousand little things for their husbands that they don't get credit for. Right here, I want to give credit where credit is due

  • Thou Shalt not Overlike on Facebook

    Be nice to people, I say. It's okay to have lots of friends, I add. If you want others to like you, you need to like them, I conclude. Facebook, however, disagrees

  • The Puck Stops Here: How to Convert Your Wife to Golf

    I have a message for NHL owners and players currently locked in a tussle that threatens to wipe out the entire season: Take all the time you need. The longer the strike, the more time I have to convert my wife to golf

  • The New Elvis

    The most watched clip in the history of YouTube is not the anti-Muslim film that set off rioting around the world last month. Rather, it's a music video that has now been viewed nearly 500 million times

  • The Fine Print of Parenting

    It has been well-publicized that having children will greatly increase your ability to love and empathize, as well as to feel unbridled joy

  • Life Isn't Fair When the Ball Goes Foul

    The ball towered off White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez's bat. As it began its descent, the occupant of lower box 123, row 11, seat 6 had only one thought: 'That's headed right at me'

  • Politicians Have It Hard

    It's good fun to criticize our politicians and we all do a lot of that. It's hard not to, but I often feel sorry for them

  • Is It Too Late to Reconsider Chicago's Olympic Bid?

    Now that the Olympic flame has been extinguished and the Royal Family has gone back to doing whatever it is the Royal Family does, Chicagoans such as myself can only ask, 'What if?'

  • Home is Always The Best Place to Be

    When I go into someone else's house, I'm always pleased that the owners don't know what I'm thinking. I come in the door, say hello and right away I start making changes

  • The Glories of Maturity

    Except that you have more years ahead of you, youth isn't necessarily a better time of life than any other. School was harder than work ever has been

  • The White House? No Thank You

    All the politicians and newspeople are already yakking endlessly about who will win the next presidential election. They never give us a break

  • Everything is Coming Up 'Awesome'

    There's so much competition for our attention that everyone is using up all our good superlatives to get it

  • The Sad, Pathetic Personality of a Computer Hacker

    My 79-year-old father looked at me through tears of frustration, staring at his PC. In just 24 hours, he had been shunned by dozens of people who, up until now, he thought were his friends

  • Presidential Debates Reveal More About the Candidates and Less

    Candidates are as trapped with who they are as the rest of us. They have only their own personalities, their own intelligence or lack of it, their own virtues and their own defects

  • Forget the Birthday Greetings

    As we accumulate friends over the years and relatives proliferate, there become more special occasions in our lives than we can handle -- or even remember

  • Sort Well-Aged from Old

    Some things -- and people -- age well. Some things -- and people -- just get old

  • Time on My Mind

    More as a matter of habit than plan, we divide our days, weeks and years into parts that don't make sense. It has always seemed wrong to me that we sleep for seven or eight hours out of every 24, but apparently the body needs it

  • Police Report

    When the music and the news on radio begin to get repetitive and I want some friendly noise in my workshop, I turn on a shortwave scanner that picks up police, fire and aircraft frequencies

  • We're Doing Too Much Kissing

    Joy Cartier from Honolulu has written me a good, sensible letter suggesting I write something about kissing. Joy seems to feel that kissing has gotten out of hand

  • Parents: Have Your Kids Had the Photo Talk?

    Recent news events have made it necessary for me to have yet another Big Talk with my daughters. Not the Sex Talk and the Stranger Danger Talk -- But the Photo Talk

  • The Only Word You Need to Remember is 'Apple'

    I recently purchased an iPad and, like most users, now spend every waking moment perusing the online App Store, randomly purchasing applications

  • Here's Some Information You Don't Need

    The central problem with the Information Age is ... information. Or, to put it another way ...

  • For All School Needs, Visit the Third House on the Left

    The first of many knocks occurred last week. I opened the door to see a neighborhood boy wearing a high school football jersey

  • The Hershey's Diet: Love, Support and 20 Extra Pounds

    I have always fervently supported my children in their extracurricular endeavors. My only rule is that my personal health and safety not be in danger

  • How I Almost Lost Two Pounds

    Are you tired of being overweight? Does it make you mad at yourself because you're unable to control the amount of food you eat? If that's true, this is for you

  • Goodbye, Old Pal

    It's too sad to talk about, but I'm going to talk to you about it. If I'd had a gun, the humane thing to do would have been to shoot it. I didn't have a gun, so I turned it over to a stranger

  • To My Child, I Bequeath The Blade

    "True, she's nearly 16, but she still seems so young to take on this much responsibility. She had better not be texting while the apparatus is in motion

  • Please Let Lindsay Lohan Sleep

    Leave it to Lindsay Lohan to give naps a bad reputation

  • My Neighbor The Stranger

    We don't really have one anymore. The days of going next door to borrow a cup of sugar are gone

  • Nothing Comes

    Things don't come, we all know that

  • The Caesar Salad will be $10,000

    If you dine out regularly in large metropolitan areas, odds are excellent you will eventually encounter a famous person sitting nearby

  • The Do-It-Yourself Guide To Not Attempting It At All

    All dads need to be keenly aware of a very ominous phrase: Do It Yourself or 'DIY' if you are texting

  • I Can Dine Alone But I Still Need a Hug

    Recently I became aware of a new website getting an inordinate amount of buzz from the media, the cyber community and women who travel on business

  • Put Up Your #Dukes and Tweet Like a Man!

    Hardly a day goes by when I'm not reading about a 'Twitter feud' between people who really should have better things to do with their time and their cellphones

  • Just a Few Observations, and They're on the House

    No matter what you call it, it's dull work. I've been home a lot lately and inevitably have been pressed into some housework. The following things are true about housework

  • 'How Are You Paying For This?'

    How many professional people do you know, in any field, who compliment the work done by anyone else?

  • Warning: This Program is Rated NSFCPP

    I have come to the conclusion that all programming, be it movies, TV shows or even content coming from our home video cameras, needs a new rating classification. I call it NSFCPP: Not Suitable for Certain Public Places

  • Are Band-Aids Starter Tattoos for Kids?

    Does a brightly colored adhesive bandage on a child's once clean and bare arm/leg/left eyebrow make an identity statement the same way a tattoo does?

  • Pigeon Paradise

    Oak Park, the town -- or, excuse me, village -- that I proudly call home, is known for a few things. For starters, there's architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who set up shop in Oak Park for years

  • Are You My Daughter? Prove It!

    As a parent, I know that by nature children are inquisitive. Now, with the presidential election heating up, I fear I will be helpless when trying to respond to their curiosities about politics

  • I Don't Want The Music to Stop

    I HAD a birthday yesterday. There was nothing even vaguely celebratory about any part of the day. I hated it from beginning to end. The only thing worse would have been not having another birthday

  • An Actor's Tips for Jobhunting

    Perhaps my fellow underemployed Americans would appreciate a professional actor's (read: continual interviewee's) tips on keeping your confidence intact when hustling for work

  • I Didn't Do It, But I'll Resign Anyway

    Maybe we're being unreasonable when we expect our congressmen to be honest. We're asking too much. What do we expect of ordinary mortals, anyway, perfection?

  • Your Kid's Next Birthday Party -- Done Wrong!

    Many kids do celebrate their birthdays around this time. If you have one of those lucky kids and are looking for a new way to celebrate his/her birthday, here are some ideas!

  • Your Baby Can Now Get The Celebrity Treatment!

    Babies born to noncelebrity parents get the shaft. Paparazzi yawn, Twitter doesn't crash and the only people on the Internet who will share the news are members of our immediate families

  • Burying Barbie and Other Depressing Parental Duties

    I am a firm believer in the 'Death Comes in Threes' adage, not only for celebrities but also for children's toys. It happened again recently

  • Sinatra Had the Quality of Genius

    Twenty-five years ago, I flew to Palm Springs with Walter Cronkite and Don Hewitt, the producer, to write an hour special about Frank Sinatra on the occasion of his 50th birthday. I got thinking about the experience on his 75th

  • Against Whistling

    Whistlers are a little crazy. They're nice and I like them, but they're slightly batty. They don't have both oars in the water. They live in a world of their own

  • The Urge to Eat

    No number of articles detailing the kind or amount of food I should eat to lose weight will ever convince me that I'm not a person who's just naturally overweight

  • It Only Happens in the Movies

    A lot of things happen in the movies that never happen to me

  • It's Only The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, But

    There are many reasons NOT to care about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or the induction ceremony. But, thanks to a friend ...

  • 'Veep' Entertains, But Doesn't Hold Mirror to Reality of Office

    The irrelevance and incompetence of the American vice president is enjoying a rerun. In the new HBO comedy series, Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Selina Meyer, the well-meaning airhead of a fictional administration

  • Knowledge Times Weight Equals Diploma

    I am seriously considering steering my 15-year-old daughter toward a career in orthopedics

  • The Wife: A True Musical Oddity

    I heard the lyrics as I prepared steaks on the grill one warm Saturday evening. The band's name was Ween. We had the best time at your party. The wife and I thank you very much

  • Proud to Be Dumb

    Considering how highly we prize an education, it's strange that we take so much satisfaction in our ignorance. We're always proudly proclaiming that we know nothing about something

  • That's What You Think

    There's something annoying about public opinion polls. The other thing that makes public opinion polls unreliable is the suggestion on the part of the organization taking the poll that we are all predictable

  • A Few of Life's Little Ironies

  • Failure to Launch

  • Why You Have a Crush on Jeremy Lin

  • Correction: Jennifer Aniston is Not Pregnant

  • The War of the Sandwiches

    Perhaps I live in a fantasy world. But I like to imagine that Jimmy John's, Halsted Street Deli, Potbelly, my mom and others who have provided me with sandwiches over the years all love one another.

  • In Praise of the Common Cold

    I come in praise of the common cold. I've been fighting one the past week and a half, and, honestly, it's been nothing but a pleasure. Every symptom has arrived right on schedule, been on top of its game, stayed its allotted time and then respectfully made way for the next stage

  • Thank You For Purchasing Your Ticket(s)

    Dear Mark: Thank you for purchasing your ticket(s) to 'Resident Evil: Afterlife' for Monday, Sept. 20, 2010. Your confirmation number is 542HJLD7. You can pick up the ticket(s) at the theater box office

  • Readers Must Wash Hands Before Turning the Page

    Hand washing is in the news because of a groundbreaking hand-washing study that has made previous hand-washing research obsolete and changed the field of Hand-Washing Studies as we know it

  • Magic, or Love at First Sight

    I don't believe in most magic, and by magic, I include fate, miracles, astrology, time travel and several major metropolitan light-rock stations. But I do believe in love at first sight.

  • Money for Nothing

    My 5-year-old son is developing an interest in money, and -- at the risk of being labeled a socialist by Glenn Beck -- I'm not finding it very enjoyable

  • Greg Schwem

  • Keeping Golf Legal: Notes from a Recliner Referee

    Doesn't my better half realize that televised golf has become interactive? That it's up to middle-age husbands like myself to keep the game's integrity intact by exposing possible criminal activity among the links' elite?

  • Don't Drink The Water, Become The Water

    Over the years, I have had several bit parts in commercials. In actor's terms that means, 'blink and you will miss me'

  • Time to Fill Out Your Presidential Bracket

    My favorites choked, my dark horses stumbled and I watched helplessly as my NCAA bracket literally folded itself into a paper airplane and flew into my office garbage can before the Sweet 16 was even solidified

  • Age is Nothing More Than an Intricate Equation

    The child sat in the grocery cart, happily eating breakfast cereal as his mother transferred items onto the belt. 'How old is he?' 'Twenty-two months.' 'Nice.' 'But he's not two. 'Sure. Whatever'

  • An Ad Campaign With No End in Sight

    My cursor hovers over the 'cancel' button. But my brain won't send the downward movement to the fingers. The brain is overly cautious because I am considering canceling my monthly payment to Google

  • Birthday Wishes for the Hard of Hearing

    I have recently been made aware of how loud certain sounds can be, right down to the exact decibel

  • I Owe My Sanity to Google

    Whenever I fly, I always scan the passengers boarding the plane and wonder if there is an air marshal in my midst

  • The Unsolved Case of the Missing Lids

    The other day a famous Jerry Seinfeld comedy bit popped into my head as I was cleaning my kitchen

  • Thou Shalt Play Nice When Playing Words with Friends

    I have recently begun playing Words With Friends, the online letter game that is addictive, infuriating and biblical, all at the same time

  • How to Annoy Your Parents in Any Language

    We are driving. We are hoping to experience zip lining for the first time. My wife has the steering wheel in a death grip while I desperately try to read the directions from our hotel concierge

  • The Robot is in the Driveway

    My hometown of Chicago is extremely quiet and boring in February with the exception of two events

  • A Password for the Ages and the Aging

    I am staring at my computer screen reading and re-reading the four words that confound me the most whenever I surf the Internet: 'Please enter your password'

  • A Super Dilemma Only the President Can Solve

    I hope this letter reaches you before Super Bowl Sunday; if not, simply stick it in the official White House shredder alongside all those memos and suggestions from John Boehner

  • Running The Country From the Three-Point Arc

    Like most of the country, I spent the past week reading Jodi Kantor's revealing portrayal of our nation's first couple. By 'reading,' I mean I skimmed, searching for any sentence that contained 'Kardashian' or some form thereof

  • The Perfect Snowball Only Costs 10 Bucks

    Sometimes I wonder how I reached nearly the half-century mark of life, particularly when my kids seem just inches from serious bodily injury or worse on a daily basis

  • Rise of the Middle-Aged Protester

    Tis the season to look back on the previous 12 months, identify regrets and vow to try something completely different in the coming year. For me, that means protesting

  • Feeling Like a King at 30,000 Feet

    The gentleman seated next to me took a sip of his drink and sighed. I quickly agreed. We could have been discussing love, fame, money or maybe even a decent golf swing.

  • Nothing Says 'I'm Too Lazy' Like a Gift Card

    The fact remains that I am simply too lazy to Christmas shop via the normal methods. Instead, I have created another day in which to start and finish my holiday buying

  • Customer Support Never Tasted So Good

    Every journalist charged with writing a weekly column yearns for two things

  • The Sexiest Man Alive is Out There Somewhere

    The People magazine lay on the kitchen island along with a stack of bills and Christmas catalogues. I glanced quickly at the cover before pushing it into my wife's pile. Well, it's official. Bradley Cooper is the 2011 Sexiest Man Alive

  • It's Time to Delete the Pause Button

    As a man living in a house with three women, I have a small request for television manufacturers, cable companies, set top box makers and whomever else is responsible for temporarily suspending the present with the click of a button: STOP IT!

  • I Desperately Need to Talk Turkey

    Now that the Halloween decorations are back in storage and my Kit Kat hangover has subsided, I can turn my attention to a fantasy that has been swirling in my brain and won't go away. I want to man the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line

  • My Children Will Become Actuaries

    I crept up behind my daughter as she sat at the kitchen table, slumped over her MacBook. 'What are you doing?' 'Facebooking.' I had no idea 'Facebook' could be used as a verb

  • More Towels, Sir? We Already Knew That

    The headline caught my eye as I sat in my Orlando hotel room, futilely struggling to open the complimentary coffee packet: 'HOTEL STAFF 'READS' GUESTS' NEEDS'

  • My Daughter's Brain: A Work in Progress

    As the orthodontist put braces on my 14-year-old daughter, I sat in the waiting room, casually flipping through National Geographic. Halfway through October's cover story, I realized I could never let her see this issue

  • Little League Rules for Big League Debates

    After watching the 2,407th Republican presidential candidate debate, this one LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS, I feel it's time to incorporate youth softball rules into the contests. Something needs to be done

  • A Good Putting Stroke is All in the Wallet

    As a Chicago resident and die-hard Cubs fan, I'm used to living through springs that begin with so much promise, only to turn into summers full of zero improvement and wasted opportunities, followed by September cries of 'wait till next year.' My golf game plays out in identical fashion

  • It Takes Very Little Effort to Be a Man

    Apparently, testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, drops when men become dads. Even more alarming? The study suggests levels plummet further when guys take active roles in child rearing. In short: The more involved a man is with his kids, the less 'manly energy' he has

  • Congress Needs a Three-Martini Lunch

    As Congress continues to bumble its way through existence, I feel it's finally time to step in and offer a solution that will solve our nation's ills. The Three Martini Lunch

  • Mark Zuckerberg Needs Some Kids

    The last time I Googled Mark Zuckerberg, he was a 27-year-old billionaire who invented Facebook

  • Thankfully, Nevin Shapiro Never had Children

    There is football on my TV, the greens of my backyard leaves are slowly giving way to fiery reds and my kids have resumed both school and youth sports programs. As long as Nevin Shapiro stays in jail, it's going to be a great fall

  • The Best-Kept Secrets are Left in Bars

    I'm currently writing a one-man show. I haven't finished it, but I know it's going to be awesome. Critics will rave, theaters will sell out and tickets will go for three times face value on StubHub. How do I know all of this? Because I'm going to leave the unfinished script in a bar. Hey, if it worked for Apple, it should work for me

  • OMG! The Pope is Tweeting!

    Pope Benedict XVI recently sent his first tweet. Before this monumental event, the leader of the Catholic Church had been interacting with his followers via speeches, written by hand and sometimes composed entirely in Latin

  • Your Good Health ... for 50 Percent Off!

    Certain things in life should be kept separate. Cheese fries and cholesterol screenings. Fourth-graders and 'Bachelor Pad' episodes. Coupons and medical procedures

  • Back to $chool

    This week, millions of Americans stood helplessly by as significant portions of their net worth were wiped out. And no, I'm not talking about the stock market. I'm talking about something far more horrifying: The moment they saw their child's back-to-school supply list

  • Michael Showalter

  • How Hot Was It?

    After experiencing a scorching atmosphere for the past week that I could have in no uncertain terms baked cookies in, I can honestly say that today's forecast of 'highs in the upper 80s' actually had me considering dressing in layers

  • I Have Good News ... and Bad News

    I feel the good news / bad news axiom really holds true. Like, one year ago my wife and I moved out of our tiny little apartment and for a great price bought a beautiful and spacious town house. That's the good news. The bad news is that to purchase said beautiful town house, we had to move to a neighborhood that is, how can I put this, really crappy

  • Sometimes, You Just Can't Be Cool

    There are certain things you can't look cool doing, so don't even try. For instance: You can't look cool while pretending to be a cat. Let me explain

  • Mark Bazer

  • Nothing Like An Upbeat Circumcision Headline

    Sometimes all it takes to get the day started right is an upbeat headline about circumcision

  • My Super Dilemma

    Will you read one more story about the Super Bowl? I promise not to break down the performance of the Patriots' secondary or anything like that

  • A Vacation Day -- and More -- Stolen

    We got broken into. The worst part? It happened on my day off. I had a couple of vacation days to use up at the end of 2011, because, with two little kids, we never go anywhere

  • Diane Farr

  • Feeling the Seasonal Spirit

    There is nothing like starting the holiday season with a little mace to the face

  • Could the Kardashian Divorce be the Answer to the Recession?

    The Kardashian-Humphries wedding is reported to have netted $17.9 million. Nor does that purse include the millions of dollars in gifts given to America's sweetheart/sex-tape graduate on her big dress-up day

  • Anxiety in the Palm of my Hand

    If someone were to ask me what I value most in life, my first answer would be my children. Although sometimes the truer answer is 'alone time away from my children.' I'd quickly want to also include my husband, many friends I can't live without and a varied career to that list

  • The Etiquette of Blogging

    There is nothing more exciting than creating a pretty new blog as a forum for discussion about something you've worked hard on and seeing strangers leave comments for you. It feels flattering that people you don't know have taken the time to read your thoughts and now want to have a dialogue about it. Right up until you read these comments

  • The Luck of a 20.5-Carat Engagement Ring

    Any triumph that I might have felt that for Kim Kardashian was squandered when Kardashian became engaged and the circus over her 'score' began. That would be for the 20.5-carat engagement ring given to her

  • Because You Are a Blabbermouth!

    Amtrak stopped one of its trains recently to allow police to remove and arrest a 'loud cellphone talker' -- charging the woman with disorderly conduct. This particular cellular-sloth had been on her handheld nonstop during a 16-hour journey in the 'Quiet Car'

  • Mark Bazer

  • Scenarios in Which Stacy Keibler Would be Paid For a Special Appearance

    Thanks to her George Clooney connection, Keibler's fee for special appearances has more than tripled -- to $25,000

  • How to Save the U.S. Postal Service

    The U.S. Postal Service recently announced that it had lost $5.1 billion this past year. But all is not lost. Here are some suggestions for how the U.S. Postal Service can get out of the red

  • An Error-Filled Errand in Brooklyn

    Along with writing this column, I host a talk show at a small club in Chicago every month. Think Conan O'Brien crossed with Charlie Rose and then divide the audience by a gazillion. Last week, I took the show to New York City. Brooklyn, specifically

  • The Massage is the Message

    Let's start with you lying on your stomach, you can put your gently perspiring face in that little circle where someone else just had his gently perspiring face, and, yep, that's perfect. You are soooo tight

  • This Really Takes the Cake ... Away

    Yesterday, the email came, out of the blue, into my inbox. The principal of my son's elementary school -- incidentally, one of the most caring and conscientious principals I've ever met (and I am not just saying that because my son has five more years there) -- had some news. NO MORE FOOD AT IN-SCHOOL BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

  • The Perfect Blend

    Is there a household appliance more useful, more pleasurable, more giving than the blender? Yes, the vacuum cleaner deserves our admiration and our gratitude

  • No Bees, if You Please

    In blatant disregard for their future electability, Oak Park's village board members, writes Jim Jaworski in the Chicago Tribune, 'tentatively moved to repeal the existing ban on beekeeping.' We can at least take comfort that the board 'tentatively moved.' That's smart when it comes to bees

  • It's Time to Play the Feud

    Aunt Pearl turns 95 this week with her animated, often wacky spirit intact, though tempered by mordant references to her sooner-than-later death. Aunt Pearl's at her best when these light and dark sides converge. Sometimes I want to call her up just to hear her delightful cackle

  • In Defense of Dentists

    I'm feeling lightheaded and numb, but this column is urgent, so here goes: Stop thinking such evil thoughts about dentistry!

  • Say Hello to Fred and Anne

    Here's what happens every time a celebrity has a baby. The birth is announced, but details are lacking. Name? Gender? Father? We don't yet know, but joy floods our hearts.

  • Jen Lancaster

  • That's Some Bad Hat, Harry

    In light of everything terrifying happening in the world -- suicide bombers, Solyndra, drum circles, debates, etc. -- suddenly the idea of voluntarily viewing an old-school horror movie doesn't seem so daunting

  • Target Shoppers of the World Unite

    I'm convinced there are two kinds of people in this world -- Target shoppers and Walmart shoppers. That's not to say that Target shoppers never hit up Walmart, nor are Walmart shoppers immune to Target's charms. But everyone trends one way or another

  • Saving the Planet -- or Not

    Recently, I've become more conscientious about going green. Because I'm not having kids -- ergo I'll never pollute a landfill with a mountain of disposable diapers -- I kind of thought I was exempt from worrying about the environment.

  • What, Me Worry?

    We're all feeling stressed about current events, yes? I mean, you're panicking and trying to figure out how much you might get for your fillings, too, right? Personally, I'm kicking myself for investing in the market and not buying a full set of Lil Wayne-style dental bling

  • That's the Night the Lights When Out (in Lake County)

    My husband, Fletch, believes we should be prepared for any eventuality. Maybe it's his military training or perhaps he watches too much it's-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it Discovery Channel programming. But for whatever reason, he's concerned an apocalypse will occur in our lifetime and when it happens, he assures me we'll be ready

  • The Real Role Models of Orange County

    'Why are you watching that garbage again?' My husband, Fletch, says this every time I tune into anything with 'Real' and 'Housewives' in the title. As three iterations are currently airing -- Orange County, New York, and New Jersey -- he asks this question a lot.

  • Apple Store Like a Land Far, Far Away

    They say there are nine planets in the solar system. But that is not true. There is a 10th. The Apple Store. On this planet, no one has a job or anyplace to go. They simply drift all day in an endless swirl of new products, most of them white

  • GOP Reality Primary Could Be a Win-Win

    In the name of fiscal responsibility and recognition of our changing times, here's a serious thought: Let's transform the 2012 Republican presidential primary into a reality TV show. While that might sound flippant, it's really a pragmatic suggestion

  • Jen Lancaster

  • Some People Just Know How to Fly and Some Don't

    Remember when air travel was glamorous? Once upon a time, men took trans-Atlantic flights clad in suits and fedoras and ladies didn't step onto the tarmac without seamed stockings and white gloves. And the stewardesses?

  • Any Coupons Today?

    Anyone else completely enamored with the show 'Extreme Couponing'? Not since 'Deadliest Catch's' maiden voyage have I been this obsessed with a television program. Premiering around the time of my first book tour, I was so taken with All Things Crab that instead of discussing my work, I couldn't stop yapping about the unforgiving Bering Sea and Capt. Phil and how the Opies might be running

  • #WINNING? I Think Not

    I'm overwhelmed. Much as I appreciate the 24/7 access to information from cable television, the Internet and satellite radio (plus special alerts sent directly to my phone, in case I somehow avoided all the real-time updates from the other sources), I find myself faced with news overload

  • Losing the Battle of the Sexes

    I married a man who isn't afraid to wash a dish, scrub a toilet or have his unibrow waxed into submission by a licensed professional. That's not because my husband is so in touch with his feminine side. So, when the time came to paint the old dresser I've been storing in a damp basement for the past decade, I decided to do it myself

  • Please Don't Feed the Twins

    My daughters are twins. They are 2 years old and cute and smart and everything else every mother thinks about their little ones, but that's not why they get so much attention. Strangers want to talk to them simply because they are twins

  • The (Second) American Revolution

    There's a growing problem in this country and I can't turn the other way anymore. I'll remain in denial no longer. Why? Because I'm tired of being encroached upon, I'm angry about being undermined and I'm sick of being mocked

  • United We Don't Stand

    As a nation, we're divided in almost every respect. Our citizens never hesitate to take sides against one another, whether it's Democrats versus Republicans, Coke drinkers opposed to Pepsi enthusiasts or Yankee loyalists against Red Sox aficionados

  • The Old Dog Whisperer

    Despite my best efforts, I've managed to grow up. Matter of fact, I'm so grown up that I'm experiencing the existential angst of having done so. Fortunately, the solution to my midlife crisis is soft, sweet, and cuddly with a pink belly, so my husband and I are adopting . . . a pit bull puppy

  • Kicking the Bucket List

    I knew I'd catapulted across the line into adulthood the day my husband, Fletch, and I found ourselves at our dining room table debating the benefits of term versus whole life insurance. There we were, not only having voluntarily invited the insurance agent, but sitting in a room where -- by design -- it's impossible to eat dinner

  • The Anti-Social Network

    'The Social Network,' better known as 'That Facebook Movie,' opened at No. 1, boasting $23 million in ticket sales. The film introduces hoodie-clad founder Mark Zuckerberg and chronicles Facebook's inception, its resulting multiple lawsuits and its current corporate valuation of $25 billion

  • We're Going to Need a Bigger Press Conference

    Last week Chicago gangs held a press conference to express their displeasure at being targeted by law local enforcement.

  • Get Off My Lawn

    'You know what I blame this on the breakdown of? Society.' Spoken by barkeep Moe Szyslak in the 'Miracle on Evergreen Terrace' episode of 'The Simpsons,' these words have never felt more true than today

  • Home, Sweet, Wet Home

    A very nice bank has agreed to loan us a couple of bucks. In return, we'll exchange said funds for a small plot of land containing at least four walls, some kind of finished flooring, segments of transparent glass through which we might see said yard, and a roof, preferably watertight. How hard can it be to find a home with these features, right?

  • Diane Farr

  • Living Out the Good News of the Census

    As a mother of mixed-race children, I was thrilled with the recently released findings of the U.S. Census: That since the choice to check more than one race became an option 10 years ago, the growth of the biracial population is now up more than 50 percent in many parts of the country. This news felt really inclusive to me. But not so much when I left my house

  • The Year of the Shoe

    I live in the city of Los Angeles, which is abuzz at the moment with shocking and dramatic breaking news. The news about pilot season, that is.

  • Get That Nut Away From My Child!

    I know this makes me sound like a negligent parent, but as soon as she was done coughing, then gagging, then vomiting, she would happily race back to the other kids and play. Finally, on the umpteenth vomit of the day, I remembered the story of an adult who got a nut stuck 'in his lung.'

  • Giving up the Parental Gear This Holiday Season

    My favorite Christmas gift as a soon-to-be-mom was a Hooter Hider -- a piece of fabric with a strap attached to hang it over your neck. This clever garment leaves both hands free so a mother can adjust a baby, drink water and maintain her privacy while simultaneously breastfeeding

  • Why I Hate Myself for Going to Starbucks

    There is a voice in my head that tells me every day not to pay three dollars for a cup of tea. It's not even coffee! And perhaps not even real tea. Which made me realize that I'm not just overpaying for not-so-great tea: I'm waiting in line to do it. How did this happen to me?

  • Where Have all the Good Girls Gone?

    Elin Nordegren finally said her piece publicly, after holding her tongue for three-quarters of a year. If someone had made a cuckoldess of me at least 10 times in less than half that many years of marriage, I fear I would not have behaved with such grace.

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