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Li-Lo -- courtesy of wikipedia

By now, I’m sure y’all have heard about Lindsay Lohan’s recent setback. Scant weeks removed from a two-week stint in the poky, the troubled starlet suddenly finds herself dangerously close to being locked up yet again after violating her probation by testing positive for cocaine and amphetamines.

(Psst. Lindsay. When you’re on probation, you’re subject to random drug tests and most of ’em screen for stuff like blow.)

She’ll learn her fate on Friday when Judge Eldon Fox will decide whether or not to incarcerate Lohan until her probation violation hearing, which could mean up to thirty days behind bars.

And I for one, have had it. Does she deserve jail time?

um, word? samantha ronson -- courtesy of wikipedia

NO QUESTION. But more for cinematic atrocities such as Herbie: Fully Loaded than for being pathologically vapid. More for publicly flaunting her sexually ambiguous relationship with super-troll Samantha Ronson than for being tragically mis-wired. (By the way, is it just me, or does Samantha look like the illegitimate love child of Julie Andrews and Screech from Saved by the Bell? Hmm. I feel a Fuzzy Math post coming on.)

Besides, as we’ve already seen, jail sentences aren’t effective in rehabilitating Li-Lo. But I think I know something that would be.

A work release program. And I’ve got just the employer. Lovie and me. That’s right. It’s a match made in heaven. Check it out.

We’ve recently parted ways with Miss B, the woman who used to provide full time assistance with the terrible trio. Lovie and I figured that with Monstor, Biggs, and Peanut at preschool two days a week, we’d be good to go. But the road’s been a lot tougher than we had thought, and quite frankly, we could really use the help.

And what better way for someone as lost as Lindsay to get back in touch with the things that matter most than by spending quality time with three adorable toddlers?

Just think of all the fun they could have together. The triplets are learning all the different shapes. Think they wouldn’t love using Lindsay’s ankle monitor to trace circles? I bet she knows how to take it off. If not, they could still draw on it. Just like a cast! A cast for criminals! So neat. And if that got old, they could always play “connect the dots” with Li-Lo’s face freckles. (Hear that, Lindsay? No makeup, girl! Yikes!!)

You know what else the triplets love? NUMBERS! That’s right, they’re starting to count. And I bet ol’ Lindsay could teach them all kinds of numbers by simply reviewing the results of her various breathalyzer tests. Lotta integers contained in those bad boys.

But it’s not just numbers the triplets adore. They really like their letters, too. And they’re starting to learn their ABCs. I bet the field-sobriety-test veteran could lend a helping hand. When it comes to saying ’em backwards, that is!

I know what you’re thinking. So far this sounds like a great deal for the triplets. But what about Lindsay? Don’t worry. I’ve got that covered. In Monster, Biggs, and Peanut, she’ll find friends for life. After all, she’s got tons in common with them. For example, the triplets love to jump. And Lohan loves to (bar) hop. Perfect!

Also, the triplets are fascinated with straws, whether they are part of a fancy sippy cup, or the kind that come with a juice box. I hear Lindsay likes straws, too. Word on the street is she always keeps one in her purse. (The preceding paragraph was inspired by Weasel Momma’s comment.)

And, as Lindsay proved the last time she was in court, she cries whenever she gets in trouble. So do the triplets! I mean seriously, what are the odds? The triplets are only two, and she’s a grown woman!

And it doesn’t matter whether the camera’s rolling or not. Lindsay’s all about the drama, which is funny, because our little guys are pretty dramatic, too. Lot’s of screaming, fussing, crying, and even some biting. And from what I gather, that’s eerily similar to the stuff that goes down during one of Lindsay’s average nights on the town.

And, I suppose, if I’m being completely honest, there is one more thing that they have in common. Both Lindsay and the triplets have dads who ain’t right. But I digress.

Because the focus here shouldn’t be on Li-Lo’s dad, or me for that matter. But rather on her, and more specifically her well being. And I put all kidding aside when I say that spending thirty days with our triplets would do wonders for her. Because I can assure you that if she knew such a fate awaited her the next time she stepped out of line?

There’d be no next time. Because the triplets are tough y’all. Lovie left me all alone with them tonight and they pretty much kicked my ass.

And I’m a trained professional.

Last week, I posted a poem called Tomorrow which I wrote a long, long time ago. I was surprised how many hits it drew. Which, in turn, led me to a sudden realization. My pain is y’all’s gain.

Thanks for that.

Rubber-necking jerks.

Anyway, since Tomorrow seemed to be of interest, I thought I’d share another one with you. I called it “Tomorrow” as well because it was nothing more than an expansion of the first “Tomorrow.” It’s quite lengthy, so instead of subjecting you to all of it, I only posted the first third.

It’s obviously directed at someone — in spite of the fact I knew all too well that I was the only person responsible for the troubling spot in which I found myself.

It’s so weird for me to read these words and remember that spot given how entirely different my life is now. But I’m also glad to be reminded. It’s nice to have perspective.

Tomorrow

Never alone, but always lonely.
Hanging out, but you don’t know me.
Getting rich, or so they told me.
A better life is what they owe me.

On the road. It’s what I do.
With nothing but my solitude.
Except, perhaps, my attitude.
That tells me I’m still mad at you.

You haven’t called in twenty days.
I got my cell on, just in case.
All this angst is just a waste.
It’s not you, but love I chase.

So I drink a shot to me by.
To make me laugh instead of cry.
Because it takes the pain away.
I don’t wanna change today.

-jco-

The guys at DadLabs are funny folks, except they kept asking me if I wanted to see their “Bunsen Bruners,” and, frankly, I’m not into that kinda stuff. Especially with a camera rolling and all.

But I did take them up on their offer to interview me along with fellow “dad authors” Ron Mattocks (Sugar Milk) and Danny Evans (Rage Against the Meshugenah). Ron and Danny are both incredible writers not to mention super-funny and extremely cool. Make sure you visit their sites and learn more about their books. And don’t be afraid to visit my book’s site. You can buy Tales from the Trips direct for only $9.00 — price good for a limited time — as well as on Amazon.

Now, here’s that interview.



I’m trying something new on my blog — a segment called JCO or JC NO. I’ve got four of them planned. The premise is simple. Each Thursday, I’ll tell a JCO story. Then y’all decide if it’s fact (JCO) or fiction (JC NO). To see if you were right, come visit me the following Thursday. Before offering up that week’s JCO or JC NO, I’ll confirm or deny the veracity (solid word, no?) of the prior week’s story.

SO, without further ado, the first ever JCO or JC NO:

We’ve all done it. Call screening, that is. Not a big deal, right? Which is why I never thought in a million years that such an act would land me in the scalding hot water it did. Long before Lovie, Pookie, and the trips came on the scene, a call screening mishap actually threatened my very job. And in February of 2000, I was ordered to catch a flight to LaGuardia and a car service up to Connecticut to meet my boss in his office to discuss the matter.

“Is it true?” he asked as he fiddled with his gold cufflinks from behind his mahogany desk.

Shit. Why did I have to get all cute? Why didn’t I just program in his name?!

It was the Thursday before the Super Bowl, and I was cocktailing at a midtown Atlanta hot spot when my phone rang. Though not programmed, the number was a familiar one.

Answer or ignore? Answer or ignore? Answer.

Bad call dot com.

It was one of my biggest clients, a guy who generated over five million dollars of investor deposits in the variable annuity and mutual fund products I was wholesaling at the time. Not exactly someone I could blow off.

Sadly, the guy was an INTOLERABLE clown. And he’d seemingly taken to me on a personal level such that he was constantly inviting me over to his house to “hang.” These hang sessions bordered on cruel and unusual punishment, so much so that during each one, I had to constantly remind myself of the money I earned thanks to this guy just to make it through them. It eventually dawned on me that I was essentially engaged in a watered-down, non-physical form of prostitution.

I can't due to, um, an appointment to get my hair cut.

And this whore had finally had enough.

So I started politely declining his invitations, coming up with on-the-spot bullshit excuses which precluded me from spending time with him. But each excuse was becoming less and less believable. So that night, after telling him I couldn’t eat dinner with his wife and him the following Monday due to an “appointment to get my hair cut,” I vowed to never again get caught off guard by one of his calls. I pulled up my caller ID and programmed his number such that the following name would pop up each time he rang:

“Do NOT answer.”

Harsh, right? Maybe. But it’s not like I was blackballing the guy. I still visited his office, supported his marketing efforts, and took him out to eat frequently. You see, it wasn’t so much that I minded spending time with him. It’s that I minded spending MY time with him.

So a coupla weeks later, we’re eating lunch at the Blue Ridge Grill, a swank establishment where pin-stripes eat at the tables in plain view of the Stilettos who loiter at the bar. My client had left his phone in my car.

“Can I borrow yours?” he asked.

“Sure,” I answered, thinking nothing of it as I handed him my cell. He dialed his wife, but there was no answer.

“Hmm. She must be taking a shower or something. I’ll call her back in a few minutes.”

Five minutes later, he borrowed my phone again, only instead of dialing the number, he simply pressed “send” to pull up the “numbers dialed” scroll. And at the very top was the last number dialed — the call he had just made. And, according to my phone, that number belonged to a person named

Do NOT answer.

Pretty awkward ride back to his office, even for a seasoned bullshit artist of my sophistication. And a pretty awkward conversation with my boss, too. The result? I kept my job, but I lost my client. Even so, I went on to have a great year, shattering all my goals in spite of losing one of my biggest producers. Oddly, the business I lost from that guy was more than made up for by all the other business I picked up in the office. In fact, I became a bit of a cult hero to all the other brokers there.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one who thought my former client was a INTOLERABLE clown.

And there you have it. JCO, or JC NO? Lemme know what you think, if you’re so inclined.

Also, do you have a call screening calamity? Because I’d love to hear it.

tomorrow

Out of nowhere y’all.

Straight off the pages of a journal I kept during darker times. Way before Lovie and the trips. I remember the guy who wrote it. I loved him even if I did feel sorry for him. Because he was lost. But at least he knew it. I think that’s why I loved him so.

Do y’all know what this is about? I do.

tomorrow

it is what it is, and it was what it was.
but it was never just because.
everything is built on trust
when you forsake your honor for your lust.
turns ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
for pretty is as pretty does.

-jco-

This past weekend, Lovie and I went down to Atlanta to be part of the M3Summit — the first ever conference dedicated solely to blogging men. Throughout the weekend, I gained incredible insight from many experts in the ways of social media and or fatherhood. But the most important meeting I would attend happened far, far away from the downtown Sheraton. In fact, it went down in a different city altogether. The most important meeting I would attend this past weekend was held in Stone Mountain, GA.

There were no powerpoint presentations, but there was a powerful presence. No conference room with with rows and rows of tables in front of countless chairs, but instead a small kitchen equipped with a wooden table which sat just four. No keynote speaker carrying on in a booming voice. Just a brave woman speaking in a soft but clear one that didn’t need the help of a microphone to reach my ears.

Much less my heart.

As many of you might recall, my sister Holliday has been battling cancer. And her fight took a dire turn for the worse just before the fourth of July weekend when, after her second round of a hellishly aggressive chemo, she fell into an unresponsive state for nine days. Toward the end of those nine days, virtually all hope was lost.

I penned five excrutiatingly painful posts which were laced with unspeakable sorrow to convey the experience from my perspective during that time. I just read them moments before I began writing this post, and oddly, though sad, I also found them beautiful.

Just like I find her.

Much has happened since she came back to us, yet I stopped chronicling Holliday’s story with Tidy Little Boxes. Today, I come to you with an update.

Since last I wrote, Holliday has checked out of MD Anderson much to the dismay of her oncologist. I can’t speak for how everyone else sees the situation, but as for me? I believe that this (pathologically egotistical) doctor mistook his limits for my sister’s. And while she did, indeed, have some limits with regard to fighting her disease, he had none.

After all, this particular cancer is of such an aggressive variety that he was in a no-lose situation. Kill the cancer, and he’d land on the cover of a medical journal, thank you very much. Lose the patient? Hardly his fault. The odds were stacked against him all along.

So onward he pushed, in spite of the fact that Holliday had voiced concern about the toll the medicine was taking on her. The end result was that horrifying nine-day stretch which saw my brave sister seemingly hovering between worlds before her remarkable resolve led her back to this one, albeit with a body that had been compromised along the way.

You see, what Holliday’s doctor had forgotten was that the cancer he and his ego were hell bent on slaying was growing inside of a real, live human being.

The very one who opened the door for Lovie and me this past Saturday. The very one who led us (slowly and with the help of her walker) down the hallway and into her kitchen. The very one who held court at the head of our four-top table for as long as her energy would permit — the twenty best and most meaningful minutes of my weekend.

The very one who, as of yesterday, has officially resumed her fight. This time at Emory Hospital. This time with a less aggressive form of chemo. This time with two things in mind — fighting for her life, yet optimizing it as well.

I’m happy to say that Holliday made it through the first infusion yesterday much better than she had the ones prior. She’s back in the ring and has successfully finished round number one.

Still, my sister is far from well. She’s far from strong. But my sister is also far from giving up.

And if you knew her, that would come as no surprise. Because she’s great. And the great ones never give up. Ever.

M3Summit Recap

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the M3Summit down in Atlanta. Here’s a quick recap.

First off, I was honored (if not a bit out of my league) to be on a panel alonside Danny Evans and Ron Mattocks. The subject of our talk was going from blog to book. Ever the contrarian, I spoke from the other perspective — that of writing a book, then leveraging it to quickly establish an online presence.

Each of us took different routes to get in print. Danny went the conventional way via a publishing house. Ron and I both self published, but Ron did a print on demand whereas I ordered a set number. (Which, incidentally, I need to finish selling. Get yours for only $9 — limited time only!)

Our three distinctly different personalities meshed well together. The Q&A session afterward went over the allotted time, but we certainly didn’t mind sticking around. Everyone had great questions, and it was awesome to get to interact with so many cool people.

Of course, there were a ton of great presentations. Like the one delivered by Jason Falls who spoke about brands and blogs. Though I personally am not into maneuvering this blog with profit in mind (except when it comes to my book — buy it, damn it.), Jason is a flat-out expert on the topic and provided lots of useful information for those who are hoping to court corporations.

CC Chapman encouraged his audience to consider themselves “content providers” as opposed to bloggers, and as such, develop a method to the madness of getting that content out.

Kevin Metzger broke down “Dads by the Numbers” with the help of his impressive survey. If you’re a dad, and you’ve not taken it, I strongly encourage you to do so. Kevin’s an exceptionally good man, and the numbers he’s gathering tell a compelling story.

The presentation I enjoyed most? It was delivered by the talented group over at DadLabs. Y’all, these guys are funny, super smart, totally dialed in, and extremely successful at what they’re doing. If you’re not on to them, you need to check them out. Lovie and I nearly wet ourselves watching this gem which showcases Daddy Brad hooking himself to a breast pump. Go visit their site, TODAY.

Sadly, I couldn’t see everyone as there were typically three sessions during any given time slot. Had he not been presenting at the exact same time Danny, Ron, and I were, I would have definitely checked out Caleb Gardner. He works in the Windy City with Edelman Digital and represents countless well known brands. He discussed his ideas pertaining to the organization of dads such that brands will pay us the attention we deserve.

I heard that Roland Warren of the Fatherhood Initiative was simply incredible. His organization seeks “to improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers.” He spoke at length on the topic and even showed clips from his appearance on Oprah which clearly displayed the overwhelming effect he had on the media queen. His impact on the folks who saw him present was just as strong. Though I missed him, I can’t wait to learn more about him.

Another person I wish I had seen was Angus Nelson. This dude is in touch. He spoke about the importance of being vulnerable. He’s also written an incredible book that Lovie can’t put down called Love’s Compass, which is kinda eerie because the last chapter in my book is called Fate’s Compass. What’s even eerier is that I strongly considered calling it Love’s Compass. Angus is an excellent guy. Really enjoyed meeting him.

Other great men I want to mention:

Chris Singer runs a wonderful site over at BookDads, not to mention his own personal blog where he chronicles (among other things) life with his adorable daughter, Tessa. As an added bonus, rumor has it he spooned my fleece. (Long story.) Of all the fantastic folks Lovie and I met in Atlanta, this guy is at the top of the list.

Jason Avant leads the smart, irreverent, and thought provoking crew over at, DadCentric. Meeting Jason in person did not disappoint. He’s been at this a long time and is one of the pioneers. Here’s a post of his I read the day before I left for Atlanta. I think it’s a good example of the edgy, yet universally applicable stuff he and all his guys constantly put out.

I finally got to meet PJ Mullen who is the voice behind one of the first blogs I ever read. It’s weird. You read these guys and follow them on twitter and develop an online rapport, then you meet them and they’re exactly what you thought they’d be like. PJ’s one of the great ones, y’all.

This dude? DadOfDivas? He SLAYS me. I’d known the guy for like four minutes before, at his insistence, I found myself standing back to back with him, Lovie carefully sizing us up. Well, way to go, big guy. You win. By like half an inch. Happy, shithead? Keep your eyes peeled for the therapy bill I’m gonna mail you. Not to mention the receipts for all the self help books. Love DadOfDivas. Good guy for sure.

Craig Heimbuch, Jeff Pugh et al represented ManOfTheHouse quite well. They were one of the main sponsors and it was awesome to mix it up a little bit with them. Note to self: if ever at a restaurant with them, NEVER follow Jeff’s order. But do be sure to check out their site. It’s excellent.

And lastly, I wanna give a quick shoutout to two guys I somehow hadn’t run into before this weekend. DaddyScratches and TheMuskrat. They’re both classic. Really enjoyed getting to know them and fired up to now be following them.

So there you have it. I don’t normally run posts which are more or less link-ups to a bunch of other sites. But I also don’t normally spend three entire days with such interesting and talented people.

That you all for making my weekend such an unforgettable one. I had a blast at M3Summit. I’d do it again in a second. Only I’d have to wait for a while. You know. Detox and all.