'Twas Two Weeks Before Christmas

'Twas two weeks before Christmas, when all through the land
Everyone was so angry, and taking a stand.
People online were spouting their ire,
And innocent victims were hit with crossfire.

We were bundled up warm in holiday sweaters,
With Christmastime movies, there is nothing better.
Call me eccentric, call me unwise,
But it just isn't Christmas 'til Hans Gruber dies.

When my phone alert sounded, so loud and so strong,
I opened it up to see what was wrong.
Notifications and updates galore,
My phone burned so hot, I dropped it and swore.

My screen was aglow with new messages of
Facebook and Twitter, and they weren't filled with love.
I've always loved Christmas, you can't dampen my cheer,
But the Internet smiled and said "Hold my beer."

With an angry complaint from a bitter aggressor,
He looked like he'd die from soaring blood pressure.
"There's way too much Christmas," he said with a shout.
"I'm being smothered, day in and da…

Why Can't Ohio and Florida Find Love?

Google does something cool whenever you perform a search. As you start to type in the search bar, Google will use its Autocomplete function to predict what you're typing and suggest a related topic.

For example, if I'm in Louisville, and I type "Molly," Google will suggest "Molly Malone's," the name of my favorite Irish restaurant in Louisville.

It will also suggest Molly Ringwald, my favorite 1980s redhead actress, and Molly Bloom, my favorite female poker player to be arrested for her involvement in a $100 million poker ring.

I have oddly specific categories of things I like.

A lot of these Autocomplete suggestions are based on other searches people have done. That is, the more people search for a topic, the more likely that topic will show up in Autocomplete.

As I was writing this, I typed "I punched" and was given several suggestions like "I punched a wall," "I punched myself in the head," "I punched a Nazi," a…

Helicopter Parents Save Students From Zombie Apocalypse

There's a philosophical thought experiment called The Trolley Problem. You're on a speeding trolley bearing down on five people working on the tracks, unaware of your approach, and they will certainly be killed. However, there's a junction and a stretch of tracks where only one person is working. In front of you is a lever that, if you pull it, will make the trolley switch tracks and save the five people, but kill the single person. What do you do?

The Trolley Problem was first proposed 50 years ago, and variations of it have been making the rounds lately, appearing in a few TV shows, video games, and even the NPR show, Radiolab. There are several variations on it, including a recent high school assignment called the Zombie Apocalypse, which caused a bit of a controversy in west central Minnesota.

Imagine it's 2024, and the AMC Network's wildest fantasies have been realized: We're in the early days of the zombie apocalypse. You've got to escape, but the onl…

The 12 Days of Christmas Don't Cost That Much

It's the middle of November, which means everyone is talking about Christmas. It's mostly people whining about how everyone else is already talking about Christmas, but with good reason. As soon as it hit 9:00 on Halloween night, the Christmas marketing season began.

It's also when the PNC Financial Service Group trots out their annual Christmas Price Index, as they have for the last 33 years. This is the report where they calculate the cost to buy everything from "The 12 Days of Christmas," or as I call it, "99 Bottles of Eggnog on the Wall."

In 2017, PNC says it will cost $34,558.65 to buy everything in the song. That's a .6 percent over last year because of a spike in gold and pear tree costs.

I think the index is overinflated because as one of the largest banks in the country, PNC doesn't understand true entrepreneurship. I've worked in small businesses for 22 of the last 24 years, including nearly nine years as a small business owner, a…

My Kids Won't Lie For Me

I've made a terrible mistake with my kids. None of them will lie for me.

Don't get me wrong. I'm pleased that they value honesty so highly. But I can't get them to lie on my behalf even a little bit.

When I was a kid, I didn't like lying, but I did it out of a sense of self-preservation.

"Yes, I was at Mike's all day. No, we didn't go to the mall. No, we didn't get Mike's mom to buy us tickets to Caddy Shack. I'm only 13, and that would be wrong."

Then I would get found out and get grounded for lying. So I only ever did it when it really counted. Like denying that it was me who stuck 15 or so For Sale signs in front of my high school for a senior prank. (I still got caught, and was grounded for an entire month.)

As I grew older, I learned to value honesty and to tell the truth even when it hurts. I hold other people to that same standard. If you can't be honest with me, and be a person of integrity, I'll have nothing at all to …

Facebook in the Middle Ages

Mildred posted: "Leprosy effects 1 in 10 people, and is the leading cause of death in this country, more than scurvy, dysentery, and political assassination combined. If you know someone with leprosy, copy and share this post with your friends."

Raymond: "Well, actually, the Black Death has killed more people than leprosy.

Lyman: "#AllDiseasesMatter! ;-)"

Heloise: "My mom had leprosy when I was a little girl and I was never allowed to sit too close to her when one of her fingers had fallen off. All I can remember of her is her shape when she had to wear a burlap sheet to cover her disfigurements."

Judson: Leprosy is a sign that the Lord is displeased with the sufferer. These people should be rounded up and put on an island.

Mildred: We live on an island already, ass!

Laila: We could end leprosy if our kingdom would just adopt a standard healthcare system, where each physician charged the same number of eggs, chickens, or goats for different maladies.…

Misery and Disappointment: Adventures in Almond Milk

You know what I could go for? A milkshake.

I was sitting with my friend, Karl the Curmudgeon, a friend and fellow writer who is known for being argumentative and grumpy. We usually met for drinks at First Editions, our favorite literary-themed bar, but we were in the mood for lunch that day, and decided we needed some cheeseburgers.

We were at Disco Burgers, one of the best burger joints in the city. We had each polished off a Frankenstein Burger — a two-thirds pound burger with bacon, a fried egg, and a giant onion ring — and were just sitting, letting our food settle. We had been looking longingly at the ice cream counter, and a milkshake sounded pretty good right now.

"I'd better not," said Karl. "Alexis says I should cut out dairy." He looked so sad when he said this. Alexis was his 26-year-old daughter and the family's organic vegan anti-chemical evangelist. She had been living at Karl's house because her Gender Studies degree from a small liberal …