- Greeting followed by small-talk niceties and awkward overlapping dialog that comes with being unused to speaking on the phone in a while.
- “How was your day?”
- “What are you having for dinner?” (Presuming the talk is occurring after work but before mealtime.)
- “How was your week?”
- “What did you do last weekend/last holiday?”
- “How is work?”
- “How is your family/spouse/romantic partner?”
- “How is your house/apartment?” (If house/apartment is new or of note for some reason.)
- Talk about any immediate weddings or babies either between the conversationalists or close friends.
- Transition into gossip about other people, possibly cloaked as concern for their welfare.
- Brief reminiscence about something that happened 10+ years ago.
- Flow-interrupting call-drop due to bad reception/smartphone face-hangup.
- “How is your pet/child?”
- Light discussion of weight/diet/exercise/hairstyle/clothes.
- “What are you doing this weekend?”
- Excitement expressed for the next face-to-face meeting.
- Banal reason for ending call like eating dinner or spending quality time with spouse.
- Impulsive “I love you,” or, to keep it more casual, “Love you!”
I feel like I know Cleatus the Football Robot so much better now after reading these wonderful stories below (I also contributed my own, humbly.) I had a difficult time choosing a favorite: I liked the hope of Sarah's tale, the ominousness of Todd's, and most especially the theory of Kyle's (I too have wondered what's up with all the pointing.) But I think I'm going to have to give the coveted Car Talk mug to Cullen, for truly telling a tale in a few carefully-chosen words. As they say in creative writing class, he showed without telling. Haunting stuff, all of it. If you missed your chance to send in your own Cleatus fan fiction, feel free to leave your own contributions in the comments. Great job, everyone. You are all uninjured first-string quarterbacks in my book.
From Sarah Davidson:
Solutions to Messy Bird Behaviors
When Parrots Bite!
How to Deal with Summer Screaming
Bird Turned on You?
Fix Your Relationship
Parrot Driving Your Spouse Crazy?
The Real Story Behind Bird Keeper’s Lung
Is Your Bird Out of Control?
Cockatiel Acting Funny?
Who Need a Time-Out: You or Your Bird?
Hyper Active Parrot? Cranky Parrot?
My Parrot Bit Me, Now What?
The Unexpected Bite
Avoid the Big Bad Bite
Your Parrot Does Not Hate You...We Explain Why
Real quick, before we get to today's content, I wanted to point you in the direction of my 'Dexter' recap for the LA Times and this piece I wrote for the AV Club on how much I enjoy the '30 Rock' Christmas episodes. And don't forget to submit your Cleatus the FOX football robot fan fiction: I will be running all the submissions on Wednesday.
I’m trying out an occasional feature here on on the site wherein I share interesting, or unique stories and theories courtesy of the dads in the world. You know how dads have tales and ideas that can only be described as Dad-like? Well, I figured it's time to honor the dads and their dad-like minds on a regular, official basis with a feature called Dad Talks. Today I’m kicking things off with a discussion with my own dad. We met up to chat about the merits of his three favorite types of animals: dog, horses and elephants.
First, he sent me an email spelling out what’s so great about each of them.
Michael Perry is an old friend of Zulkey.com. The author of Truck: A Love Story and Population:485 – Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time, the humorist has a new CD/download of his stories called The Clodhopper Monologues Live. Take a listen to two excerpts! Enjoy Perry, who I declare was agra-cool before that was a thing (and before I just made up that word.) You can find out much more about him here.
"Fooled by Phonics":
"Gonna Hafta Puller":
PS I have been delighted and astounded by the Cleatus Fan Fiction that's been rolling in.
Typically, WGN’s chief meteorologist Tom Skilling addresses reader questions with his famous cheery aplomb, but thanks to our newly-acquired mind-reading powers, we learn what he’s really thinking as he takes on weather-related queries.*
Dear Tom: What is Honolulu's annual precipitation? --Jimmy in Downers Grove
Hi Jimmy. I’m going to level with you: I’m not having a great day (I always get like this when the dewpoint really gets low) and I'm not really in the mood to take on questions like this that have nothing to do with Chicago. So, honestly, I don’t know. Three inches? Thirty inches? Something like that. Next question.
Dear Tom: I remember a snowfall on March 31-April 1, 1975. Can you fill me in on the details? --Marie in Glenview
For several seasons now I’ve been intrigued by Cleatus, the FOX football robot. If you watch football, I probably don’t need to explain who he is, but I will for those who don’t. When the NFL on FOX gets introduced or kicks out to a commercial, an animated robot pops up on the side of the screen, typically exhibiting some football-player-ish behavior. He’d jump up and down to get pumped up or would stride in place, pointing to the audience in a “Yeah, what’s up, we’re all awesome!” manner. Sometimes he’d play the electric guitar (although, suspiciously, there was no strap and it wasn’t plugged in.)
Originally I found Cleatus annoying. What does a robot have to do with football? And if he’s a robot, why does he need to get loosened up or showboat to the crowd? Sometimes he even nurses a hangover, on New Years Day. That doesn’t seem like robot-ish behavior.