Sunday, February 1, 2015

Roll Out the Pork Barrel

Dear Friends,

Look, we've talked about this before, but if you're determined to have a baby in the 2010s, there are only two acceptable methods for choosing a name.

1. Your child may one day stumble upon an enchanted time shaft and wake up in 19th century England. Studies show that if he is named after one of the contemporary professions, it will be easier for him to find meaningful work. With that eventuality in mind, you should name him Cooper, Thatcher, Hunter, Mason, Tanner, or Wayne (which is short for Waynewright.)

2. Most traditional names evoke a specific gender, but what if your child is born with ambiguous genitalia? Or what if it's completely unambiguous, but you're too embarrassed to look? No probs! Keep its pants on, paint the nursery yellow, and give it a name that celebrates its androgyny.
  • Consonant or consonant sound
  • A or AY
  • L or D
  • EN

Examples include Jaden, Jaylen, Dalen, Bayden, Calen, Graylen, Braden, Bralen, Galen, Hayden, or Baleen.

Now that you know what to type on the birth certificate, it's time to select a pet name for your child.  This month's Hard Taco song, "Big Guy," is about finding the perfect moniker for your cutie wittle babykins.

The London House Rules
Not to toot my own kazoo but (TooOOT! TooOOT!) Lauren and I are better parents than you will ever be. Our kids have survived in this horrible world for an aggregate of 15 person-years, and neither of them tortures worms or screams "I hate you!" at the mirror while dying their eyebrows.

The secret to raising prosperous, natural-browed children is to be very strict about a limited number of rules. Too many rules will drive children away, only to be found five years later in the Sudanese Sacred Army of Brainwashed Child Machine Gun Holders. If they have too few rules, they will grow up and become King Joffrey.

We maintain a happy medium with the London House Rules. We printed this eloquent list of tenets in an austere font and taped it to the kitchen wall at the children's eye level.

1. Be kind. Always.
2. No screen time until you've finished your homework.
3. No chanting (i.e. "Ice cream! Ice cream! Ice cream!") because that's f**ing annoying.

Strictly speaking, there are 11 other London House Rules, but we don't even attempt to enforce the other eight. They are just Styrofoam peanuts to cushion the Big Three. That may seem like a low ratio of wheat to chaff, but it's better than the 10 Commandments. How many of those do we actually enforce? Two... no killing and no stealing. What about no coveting your neighbor's crap? Styrofoam peanuts.

There's actually a cute story there. When Moses first presented the two tablets, he talked them up as "all killer, no filler," but nobody bought it. A bunch of the Commandments were last minute riders, an ingenious tactic to pass controversial provisions by the Hebrews. This was a political masterstroke on God's part. He predicted that nobody would ratify "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" unless it was tied to the popular clause prohibiting murder.

And since he was all-knowing and all-powerful, God was well aware that the line item veto wouldn't be invented for nearly 4000 years.

Biblical scholars have deduced that some of the Hebrews were kvetchy about having to bend to special interests. The High Priest, Aaron, publicly blasted The Almighty for enacting pork-barrel legislation, leading newspapers to run the headline: High Priest Denounces Pork.

So that's how that happened, probably.

With warmest regards,