Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Parents Beware

This is what happens if you don't let your child watch television.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Who Says California Is a High-Cost State?

You may have read this story about the Salinas couple who tried to sell their 6-month-old baby in a Walmart parking lot for $25.

From the Chronicle:
Salinas police spokesman, Officer Lalo Villegas, said Thursday that Patrick Fousek, 38, and Samantha Tomasini, 20, were arrested early Wednesday, hours after Fousek allegedly approached two women outside Walmart and asked if they'd like to purchase his child.

The women initially thought Fousek was joking, but when he became persistent, they became suspicious and reported it to police, Villegas said.

The story reminded me of a similar incident in Pensacola, Fla., a few years ago.

From the Associated Press in December 2007:
A couple was charged Friday with trying to sell their 2-month-old baby for $30 in a store parking lot, authorities said.

Robert G. Ellingson, 23, approached two people in the PetSmart parking lot and offered them a beer. When they refused, he offered to sell his child, Escambia County Sheriff's officials said.

"At first they thought it was a joke," sheriff's spokesman Glenn Austin told the Pensacola News Journal. "But then the mother yelled to the group that they were trying to sell the baby. And one of them called us."

Two thoughts: (1.) Apparently your baby fetches a better price outside a PetSmart than a Walmart. (2.) Babies are selling for $30 in Pensacola, but $25 here? If only our real-estate costs were comparable.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tagging Toddlers

If you wonder why we have a graffiti problem in this neighborhood, they start them young.

(Elliot and his best friend Sophia — photo courtesy of Sophia's mom, Misty.)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day: a Recap

Well, I didn't get an iPad, but no complaints from me this Father's Day. I got to sleep in, and then we had a delicious brunch at Triptych.

It's unfortunate that Elliot didn't sense the gravitas of the occasion.

Also, it appears that Triptych acquired their high chair from a Depression-era pediatric hospital. Elliot had lots of fun squeaking around in it.

I enjoyed my bloody mary.

In the afternoon, we had ice cream at Yerba Buena Gardens and Elliot splashed in the Martin Luther King fountain.

Oddly enough, Elliot received his own gift for Father's Day: a xylophone.

I'm not sure how this is in keeping with the spirit of the day, since it will likely cause Daddy a great deal of irritation every morning. But he does seem to enjoy it.

Even if Elliot didn't really understand the holiday, the highlight was probably a quiet moment at the park.

He sat down on a rock and patted a space for me next to him. Then he gave me some stale Cheddar Bunnies from his private stash.

Thanks, son.

Happy Father's Day from BuboBlog

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bath-Time Warfare

I know I complained about the Munchkin fishing reel the other day, but I am grateful of one thing: It isn't a squirt toy.

Elliot now spends most of his bath time trying to fill his squirt toys with water so that he can soak Daddy.

The sad part is, I'm the one who showed him how to fill them with water. I feel like the CIA giving weapons and training to the Taliban in the 1980s.

When I grab a squirt toy and return fire, Elliot shrieks and flails around as if he's being tortured. Then he pauses for a moment and says, "More." (Well, more like, "Muh.")

The real danger is Elliot has begun to realize he has his own nozzle factory-installed.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Finally, Sudoku Is Badass!

An inmate in the U.K. tried to use codes hidden in Sudokus to break himself out of prison.

According to Britain's Daily Mail:
A murderer's plot to escape from jail using a helicopter has been foiled by prison guards and the police.

Brian Lawrence then hoped to use the Isle of Wight Festival as cover once free from Parkhurst prison on the island, the Ministry of Justice said.

The 67-year-old, who was convicted of killing a friend of his ex-lover's and hiring a hitman to kill two other people, communicated with his accomplices using lemon juice as invisible ink and codes hidden in sudoku puzzles.

In the letters he drew maps and gave encrypted instructions for his plan to bring a helicopter into a part of the prison grounds not protected by nets.

Obviously I don't condone his crimes. But as a lover of Sudokus, Wordokus, crosswords, Jumbles, Cryptoquips and KenKens, it's nice to see puzzles in a non-dorky context.

I've already suggested that Jason Statham play this guy in the movie — though I guess someone older might be more appropriate (Michael Caine?).

I can imagine the scene where the warden realizes he's been duped. His tiny Sudoku pencil will roll off the desk and fall to the floor in slow motion. Can we get John Woo on this?

BuboBlog Reviews 'The A-Team'

It seems we are awash in '80s nostalgia. We went to the movies the other night and had a choice of "The Karate Kid" or "The A-Team." (We chose "The A-Team" — who on God's Green Earth thought it was appropriate to make the "The Karate Kid" two hours and 20 minutes?).

Anyway, they showed a trailer for "The Expendables" — a movie that seems to include nearly every schlocky icon from my high school years: Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis...along with more recent stars Jet Li and Jason Statham. (Jean-Claude Van Damme, call your agent.)

Do 15-year-olds care about these guys? Did they ever have to watch a bad VHS dub of "Commando" 17 times because they didn't have cable? I wonder what the appeal is for the younger set.

I guess you could say the same about the "A-Team" movie. The good news is, it actually wasn't bad. Maybe I'm just an optimist, but I think our standards as a culture are getting higher. The "A-Team" film, despite being inherently derivative, was better written, better plotted and better acted than pretty much any episode of the original series.

In this version, the crew shares the same names and personalities as the original team, but they're Army Ranger veterans from the Iraq War. The prologue shows how they met during a covert operation in Mexico. It was a bit disturbing that the movie treated Mexico as a hostile nation — especially because the opening sequence was supposed to take place eight years ago, before the recent intensification of the drug wars. Have a little more respect for a NAFTA member, folks.

Liam Neeson was great as Hannibal, even if he wasn't allowed to say "Release the Kraken." It occured to me halfway through the movie that every one of Neeson's lines could have been recited by Jane Lynch without seeming out of place at all.

Naturally, the team gets caught up in an evil conspiracy and framed for a crime they didn't commit. That forces them to break out of jail to clear their names. There's also a weird subplot in which B.A. Barcus (originally played by Mr. T) becomes a pacifist and has to learn to kill again. Yes, that's his character arc. But maybe this is yet another homage to the 1980s, because the exact same thing happens in 1988's "Die Hard" to Reginald VelJohnson (the guy who played the dad in "Family Matters").

The trick with making these movies is learning to wrap things up before you've spent all of your audience's goodwill. "The A-Team" manages to do it, barely. It's hard to imagine the new "Karate Kid" pulled that off.

BuboBlog rating: 3 asterisks (out of 4).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Poorly Fact-Checked

Dear research department of Munchkin Inc. toy company:

It seems highly unlikely that a worm could be used as bait to catch a starfish.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Denim Diapers

Has anyone tried these faux-jeans diapers from Huggies?

Since it's often hard to get Elliot to wear pants, these might be a socially acceptable alternative.

But it seems like this could be just the beginning. What about faux Daisy-Duke-shorts? Maybe a faux Henry the Eighth codpiece?

Or is that starting to get creepy?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Great Views of 'Prostitution Mountain': Part Two

I walk past this restaurant at 7th and Market every day on the way from the subway. So far, I've resisted the urge to poke fun at the name.

But now that we know it's located in the foothills of Prostitute Mountain, I wonder if the Ho King is missing out on a marketing opportunity. After all, I've seen quite a few "ho kings" (also known as "pimps") near that intersection.

How about replacing that drab awning with something like this?

As always, I offer my consulting services free of charge.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bubo Lives!

Despite Bubo getting short shrift in the new "Clash of the Titans" movie, more Bubo merchandise is now available (thanks for the tip, BuboBlog Southern California correspondent Kasey).

This shirt is pretty styling.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Are We Too Sophisticated for Soccer?

Every four years Americans are made to feel like provincial rubes for not caring about the world's most popular sport, soccer.

I myself have suffered from these insinuations, just because I have no interest in the World Cup. I made some remark about how I thought it had already started a week ago, and a soccer enthusiast rolled his eyes.

I find this odd. Since when is anyone made to feel like a barbarian for not liking something that's incredibly popular? San Francisco hipsters refuse to like a band that gets played on the radio. And yet they're supposed to be enthusiastic about something that has TWO BILLION fans?

Let's put this in perspective:
The most popular beer in the world is Budweiser.
The most popular restaurant is McDonald's.
The most popular musical artist is Michael Jackson.
The most popular first name is Muhammad.
The most popular book (other than the Bible) is "Quotations from Chairman Mao."
The most popular view on wife-beating: that it's totally okay.

I don't have anything against these things being popular (well, except the wife-beating), but would anyone EVER be made to feel like a halfwit just because he didn't embrace them. Popularity is no sign of quality, people.

Soccer is widely loved for three reasons:
1. It's cheap. All you really need to play is a ball. (You don't have to get helmets, shoulder pads, bats, rackets or a skating rink.)
2. It's easy to grasp. The rules are simple enough for anyone to learn quickly, whether they're a team of 8-year-olds or the illiterate masses.
3. There's not a lot of starting and stopping.

None of those things is true of America's two most popular sports: baseball and football. I've been watching football for most of my life, and I still don't really get what most of the players are doing out there (I hope I never have to explain "backfield motion" to anyone).

Baseball and football both rely heavily on strategy and playmaking. The coach is orchestrating everything, using reams of statistics to make decisions. That's less the case with soccer, which is more about players making quick decisions on the fly.

Are baseball and football "better" than soccer? I'm not going to pass judgment (though arguably a sport where a large percentage of games result in a tie is poorly devised). What I'm saying is baseball and football are thinking men's games. They're more cerebral.

That makes it all the more ironic that Americans would get hassled for not liking soccer. It's like you're on the bus reading Thomas Pynchon and someone says to you, "You moron, why aren't you reading 'The Da Vinci Code'?"

Final thought: In England — a soccer-crazed country if there ever was one — the most popular movie at the box office right now is "StreetDance 3D."

Are you really going to let them make you feel bad?

What's Happening Here?

No 3-D in the entire theater?

What are we, animals?

Friday, June 11, 2010

BuboBlog Too Hot for the Internet?

Some of you tried to visit the blog this morning and were greeted with a message saying it was taken down for violating Google's terms of use.

I would like to say this happened because I finally pushed things TOO FAR with controversial content, or perhaps one of my attempted Internet memes took off and crashed the server.

Sadly, it was because someone hacked into my Gmail account and used it to send spam. The account shares the same password as my Blogger account, so the blog had to be shut down while I changed it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Great Views of 'Prostitution Mountain'

A few people have sent me links to Doug McCune's 3-D maps of San Francisco crime.

The idea is to show incidents of crime topographically. It gives a great at-a-glance view of where certain crimes are most prevalent.

The ridge shown here, mostly located in the Tenderloin and the Mission, has become known as "Prostitution Mountain."

Even if we don't quite live on Prostitution Mountain, our place would certainly have a fantastic view of it.

My question: Can we do a map of toddler sit/lie violations? I think our street could be the epicenter.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Elliot in 'Say What?'

Elliot is a man of few words. In fact, here are all of them in 60 seconds.

Some of his enunciation may be a little dicey, but I only used words in the video that he knows the meaning of and can use in context.

UPDATE: Hmm...I made the video widescreen for the first time. But it's hard to view in the embedded version. Maybe better to click through to the YouTube page.

SECOND UPDATE: I changed my blog's template, which should allow the movie to be shown without the edge being cut off. Plus it looks pretty snazzy now, no?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Customized iPad Ad

Remember the defaced iPad bus-stop ad that I pointed out earlier?

Well, today I saw a more sophisticated approach. A porn site printed a sticker and pasted it into the ad so that it looks like part of the original graphic. (I used photo-editing software to block out the details of the porn site in the picture below.)

The bus stop was a block from where Apple is holding its big developer conference this week. I guess the irony is that Apple bars pornographic apps from the iPhone and iPad. So maybe this is as close as they'll get.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Well, That's Just Terrible Advice

We were reading a touch-and-feel book to Elliot when we got to this page about wolves.

"Forget about your fears. He's just a big and hairy dog, with furry, pointed ears."

I'd say having kids scared of wolves is probably a good thing (given there were more than 20 fatal wolf attacks over the past decade).

What's next, "Grizzly Bears are just like teddy bears, only bigger. Go stroke his tongue"?

I hope they don't sell this book in Canada.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Attack of the Clones

In Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go," which is set in an alternate-reality England, a group of boarding-school youths discover they were cloned to provide organ transplants. The clones are kept separate from the people they were copied from, and though they're allowed to experience life and love, they eventually have to accept that they only exist to be replacement parts for people they'll never meet.

I feel like a strange version of this is unfolding in Elliot's toy chest.

It all started when Elliot became very attached to two things: his duck-headed security blanket ("Yaya") and his Antelope doll. He can't go to sleep without them and frequently carries them around the house. He's had both since he was born.

It became apparent early on that even though Elliot cherished Yaya and Antelope, his constant mawing of them would destroy them in short order. Elliot spends most of the night with Yaya jammed in his mouth and the amount of saliva he produces is shockingly large based on his body size.

So Kelly went out and found two additional Yayas and another Antelope.

I understand the practicality of it, but something about this seems viscerally wrong. I had a cherished security blanket when I was Elliot's age (my "Dodo"), and I was very sad when it was gone. But no one went out and secretly procured exact duplicates.

To prevent Elliot from being confused by the clones, I tried to make sure he never saw more than one Yaya or Antelope at the same time. But since we're constantly having to wash at least one of them, it's hard to keep track of where they are. Then I became concerned he would see them in different rooms and assume that teleportation was possible.

In any event, Elliot discovered the duplicates and is now starting to insist that he sleep with more than one at a time. If he suddenly needs all three Yayas, does this mean we need to buy six or nine to ensure that he never has to suffer when they "die"? What kind of horrible arms race have we gotten into?

Future parents, please learn from our mistakes.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

'Happy Birthday, Slick'

Our friend Bill made a very topical birthday cake for our friend Lynn. It was inspired by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (The base was cheesecake, coated in blue food coloring. The oil was blueberry sauce.)

The black vial contained J├Ągermeister, which was about as hard to get anyone to drink as the oil slick in the gulf.

Elliot sympathized with the marine creatures — the cake prompted him to make his lip-smacking "fish noise" for several minutes. Perhaps our children will be better environmental stewards than we were.