Thursday, August 30, 2007


I knew that my mojo had been missing for a while; a guy's mack doesn't just disappear without him realizing it. But as a husband, I assumed that I still possessed a Mack and had purposefully hid it because I didn't need it at the moment - like a sheriff who no longer wears his badge because the town is safe. But my mack is gone - and I know where it is.

My son has stolen it.

My first clue came one bright Saturday afternoon as my family and I pulled our car into our driveway and I noticed one of our neighbors, an attractive woman, working in her yard. I only saw her out of the corner of my eye. I did this on purpose.

All married men instinctively know that attractive female neighbors are like eclipses - it's never healthy to look directly at them. Also, it's not healthy to talk directly to them either. I mean attractive neighbors, not eclipses. You can talk directly to eclipses if you want.

All married men also instinctively know that you shouldn't grunt with appreciation when you see your attractive neighbor working in her yard, so it surprised me when I heard myself let out an exclamation:


I looked quickly at my wife, expecting to see a disapproving look on her face. And that look was there, but she wasn't looking at me. She was looking at my four year-old son, Julian.

I hadn't slipped at all. I hadn't made the inappropriate grunt of earthy approval. Julian had developed his own Mini Mack.

My wife turned to me. "Is he supposed be doing that this early?"

"Uh, no?"

Married men know that this is the correct answer.

Cut to another sunny afternoon two weeks later. My children and I rode in the car again, this time without my wife. A Harley-Davidson motorcycle passed us on the driver's side of the car. The guy driving it was not your typical middle manager playing biker on the weekends; he's tanned, muscled and covered with tattoos. On the back of the motorcycle, a beautiful blond woman held onto his waist. I noticed that she was beautiful out of the corner of my eye, because it's also dangerous to stare at eclipses with muscled, tattoo-covered boyfriends.

Here's the thing, though. She was staring at me. And she was smiling.

This confused me. I felt certain that my mack was hidden. But it occurred to me that sometimes really, really strong macks have a way of being noticed. Still, I'm a happily married guy, so I appreciated this information but I wasn't going to lock eyes with this woman.

But every time our car came along side the motorcycle, the woman looked directly at me and smiled. She even waved and I wondered how long it would take her boyfriend to notice what she was doing.

Both of our vehicles came to a stop light. The blond continued to look over her shoulder and smile. And just then, her boyfriend turned around and looked at his girlfriend and then toward our car.

He smiled.

"I've got an action figure!" Julian said from the seat directly behind me.

Sure enough, Julian was kneeling in his seat. He held a Bionicles action figure out of the window. He had the woman's full attention. She looked right past me.

The action figure was the toughest to take. Women don't smile at action figures. I've got action figures, but I have to hide them in the closet, dammit! Julian didn't though. Julian had made it part of his mack.

That's when I knew. I wasn't the sheriff. The town was safe, but that was because my son had taken my badge.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Here at Grim Richard Laboratories, we strive to maximize your productivity, simplify your life, save time and give you something to read on your laptop in the bathroom. Accordingly, we'd like to introduce our new feature, LifeCracker.

LifeCracker brings you a wealth of helpful tips, tricks and shortcuts that you can use to completely dominate people who don't understand e-mail and "to do" lists as well as you do. LifeCracker lets you focus your obsessive compulsive tendencies like a laser and literally kill the filthy procrastinators who never understood your need to organize your underwear by brand and thread count.

Plus, we do it with lists. Let's get started with our tips:

Pre-Lather for Your Next Shave (and Other Shaving Hacks)

Everyone loves shaving cream. Used properly, it makes your shaving nearly pain-free and reduces the occurrence of unsightly blemishes and ingrown hairs. If only you didn't have to apply it every morning in order for it to be effective! Think of the time that could be saved every morning if you didn't have to reach for the shaving can before you began shaving. Instead, try these shaving hacks:

1. Pre-Lather for Your Next Shave

You've just finished shaving. You've still got the can in your hand. Why not just lather up for tomorrow morning? Ignore the stares at the office. You've just save 50% of your reaching-for- the-shaving-cream-can time!

2. Grow a Beard

Believe it or not, growing a beard is the easiest way to avoid shaving completely. Ladies, go a la francais. You'll find that you're saving money on dating, too!

Embrace the LAGTD System

Do you find yourself procrastinating at work and home, constantly disappointing your co-workers and family because you're so behind on your various projects? Think about using our new organization system, Lying About Getting Things Done, or LAGTD.

It's simple to use. The next time your wife asks if you've taken out the garbage, just lie and say you did. The next time your boss asks if you finished formatting the annual report, just nod and lie through your teeth. Then e-mail him or her whatever you've got.

The last step of the LAGTD system is important. Always finish your lie by giving the other person a thumbs up. It reassuring.

Follow the LAGTD system and you'll free up nearly 75% of your day to do whatever you want.

Make Lists Instead of Actually Writing Your Blog

Take it from us, writing a personal blog can be time consuming. Sure, it's easy to get ideas, but the hard part is coming up with that pesky beginning, middle and end stuff. That's why we make lists whenever we run out of ideas. We find that making lists radically cuts down the actual amounts of content that we need to produce. An even better strategy? Making lists of other people's lists.

Friday, August 17, 2007


One of my nieces left for her first day of college today. Normally, this would only be a bittersweet moment for her parents, but I'm taking it pretty hard, too. I'll explain why.

First, I've known my niece since she came wailing into this world. Her entrance to college forces me to confront the fact that she's like eighteen years-old. That, in turn, makes me confront the fact that I'm...let's see...add the nine...carry the one...oh, yeah - really fricking old. I think it's really selfish of her to put this education thing ahead of my personal comfort, but that's kids for you nowadays.

More importantly, Grim Richard's Irregulars outsources much of its work to a labor force consisting almost entirely of my nieces. I call this NieceSourcing. My nieces work much more cheaply than, say, Chinese toothpaste makers, and this cost savings is passed on to you, the reader, in the form of free weekly updates - and sometimes - free weakly-written weekly updates. Since I only have five nieces, losing one eliminates like, uh, 43% of the Grim Richard workforce.

Or whatever. I outsource my math, too.

My nieces also comprise over 132% of the Grim Richard Institute of Science, a sub entity of Grim Richard's Irregulars that's been working on a top secret research project. Our amazingly secret goal? We've discovered the most disturbing word in the English language.

Nope. It's not that one. It's "moist".

Many researchers have pegged "moist" as disgusting prior to our study, but our rigorous testing confirms that it takes the coveted "Most Disgusting" designation. Admittedly, most of this testing involved me standing around crowded places on hot days and yelling, "It's so hot! Omigod, I'm moist!".

Then our researchers record the number of disgusted looks in my general area.

Anyway, my oldest niece is going to college. She insists on growing up, even though I've laboriously explained the disadvantages of doing so. It's a bittersweet moment and I try not think about it too much.

It makes my eyes, uh, moist.

Digg my article

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Kid Lo-Jack and Halo Head

After writing last weeks treatise on super powers I'd really, really want at a comic convention, it occurred to me that super powers would be also be useful in my everyday, mundane life as a husband and father. For instance:

Rapid Argument Losing

One of the biggest bummers about being a husband involves the slow pace of argument loss. It's a foregone conclusion that you will lose almost every argument with your wife, yet still arguments can take days or weeks to wind themselves down to their conclusion. This power allows husbands to wind time forward directly to their loss using a big, showy blast of energy from their hands. The blast of energy isn't necessary, but it does allow us to feel cool while we're losing. And, really, that's all that a husband wants.

Kid Lo-Jack

I'd like the ability to know where my kids are at all times. Add the ability to freeze them at that position and you've got Kid Lo-Jack, maybe one of the most useful super powers ever. I'd definitely trade both super breath and super leap for this one. But I wouldn't trade heat vision. No husband would ever give up the ability to shoot laser beams from his eyes.

Flaw-Hiding Ability

While many nerds might fantasize about shape-changing or other morphing powers, I'd just like the ability to hide my physical flaws from my kids until they're old enough to realize that they shouldn't mention them to me. I'm not considered a fragile person, but one "Dad, you're breath stinks" followed closely by a "Dad, why does your belly shake?" can ruin an entire day.

A Duplicate of Me Who Likes to Talk About My Wife's Day at Work

I never talk to my wife about my day at work, no matter how bad that day was. My wife, though, enjoys spending an hour elaborating on her work day, complete with details concerning who yelled at whom, why various people don't know what they're talking about and what she would do if she had control over the business. Sometimes, when my cantankerosity claws its way to the surface, I suggest that she stop whining and apply for a management job. A clone would never make this mistake.

Halo in My Head

I would even give up laser beams from my eyes for this one. Playing Halo on my X Box 360 is addictive. It's only flaw? People can catch me playing it when I'm supposed to be doing something more important. But what if I could play it mentally, without anyone knowing? Do you know how good I'd be at Halo deathmatch if I could play it at work and appear to be thinking or working? With enough practice, I might even be able to beat trash-talking 11 year-olds.

Some Unspecified, Important and Benevolent Power

Early in the writing of this column, I planned to devote at least one paragraph to imagining a power that wasn't entirely selfish but, honestly, something good came on television.

Ah, television. It's like my kryptonite.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Paul McCartney and Fizzy Nipples

So, I'm back from the San Diego ComicCon where I saw many amazing things. For instance, did you know that it's possible to fit well over 225 pounds of nerd into a Spider-man costume that's only rated to hold about 150 pounds of nerd?

I swear it's true.

I also had the opportunity to stand in my very first mile-long line. It stretched down the front of the mammoth convention center, around the side, down the back of convention center and eventually wended into a highway underpass. So, basically it was like a Starbuck's line only no one tried to sell me Paul McCartney's new album - which was cool, because a man can only take so much.

In any case, mile-long lines give you plenty of time to think. Since I was at a comic convention, I spent most of the time speculating about the kind of super powers I'd like to have. My list turned out to be very convention-specific.

For instance:

  • The Power to Dispense Fountain Beverages from My Fingers

Hey, it was hot standing in line. The power originally involved dispensing fountain soda from my breasts, but how could I hide my fizzy lactation while in my secret identity? Plus, two nipples limits me to two flavors.You gotta think ahead, people.

  • The Power to Fly On Time

Getting to and from San Diego involved multiple delayed flights, one canceled flight and one night sleeping on the floor of the San Diego airport. While most geeks dream of flying through the air like Superman, I just want to fly through the air at the time scheduled on my ticket.

  • The Power to Ask Really Original Questions

The convention had movie, book and comic writers participating in panels that usually concluded with a question and answer session. As if codified into natural law, the fans asked every single writer the same question:

"Your ideas are so original. Where do you get them from?"

Apparently not the same place fans get their questions from.

At the time, though, I couldn't think of anything interesting to ask the writers either. But if I had a question super power? I'd march up to the podium, smile and confidently ask a really original question.

"Have you ever thought of having a hero who lactates fountain soda out of his breasts?"

Then I'd wait a moment and let the question just hang there in the awkward silence of the auditorium. Then the famous writer would confirm my awesome powers by asking me his own question.

"Oh, my god," he would say. "That's the sickest thing I've ever heard of."

"Where do you even get an idea like that?"