Category: Jason Offutt

Recipe writers need to learn English

Jason Offutt

I cook. A short sentence, I know, but important for clarification. When people talk with me about cooking they tend to say things like, “the oven’s the door on the bottom” and “I’ll give your wife the recipe.” Both are silly because, 1) six year olds know what the bottom thingy’s called, and 2) my…

What’s in a beer? Just ask Grover Cleveland

By Jason Offutt For long-time readers of this column, you already know I like beer. For people who’ve just started reading this column today and may have passed over that first sentence, I like beer. Beer has existed since roughly 10,000 B.C.E (approximately 12,016 years ago, give or take a few hundred years for miscalculations…

The day I stood in two hemispheres and cheated the Brits

Jason Offutt

Author’s note: I spent part of a summer teaching in England in 2013 and I’m still cleaning out my notebooks. Here’s one of my last days across the pond. It was a bit embarrassing that I had to look for something to do during my last few days in London. I mean, what had I…

Rules for husbands to live (comfortably) by

Jason Offutt

My wife and I recently celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. Well, celebrated is the wrong word. The date was on our calendar, I just forgot to look. I sat there watching sports on TV as the day whizzed by. Or it may have been something thrown at my head. I’m not sure. Forgetting our anniversary…

All great arguments start with breakfast cereals

Jason Offutt

There are bad things in this world. Politicians, sales tax, the IRS and, as I grow older, gravity. Then there are things that aren’t just bad, they’re wrong. Wrong on every level. One of those Wrong things invaded my house. The Toddler woke earlier than everyone else in the house because toddlers apparently have nothing…

Twitter is making me famous, or not. I’ll go with not

Jason Offutt

By Jason Offutt I’ve been on Twitter since 2012. I didn’t say I’ve “used” Twitter because, frankly, over the past four years I haven’t determined its use. If you’re not familiar with Twitter, it’s a social network a former student of mine described as “Facebook on crack.” If you’re not familiar with Facebook, it’s a…

Family vacation: Finally, we’re going home

Jason Offutt

Author’s note: This is the last piece in a short series about summer trips. There comes a point in every family vacation when you hit a wall, the feeling that you can’t drive another mile or hear “how much further?” one more time before going mad and strapping the family to the roof of the…

‘Wrath of Khan’ and Mount Rushmore: the best ever

Jason Offutt

By Jason Offutt Author’s note: This is the fourth (and next to last) in a short series about summer trips. The Offutt Family Vacation made its way through South Dakota, taking in one view over and over. Who knew there was so much prairie grass in the world? We were on our way to one…

South Dakota: You can get anything at Wall Drug

Jason Offutt

By Jason Offutt Author’s note: This is the third in a short series about summer trips. The problem with family vacations, apart from the complete destruction of a car’s interior, is the drive. The problem with a trip through South Dakota (state motto, “At least we’re not North Dakota”) is that everything my wife and…

It’s not a family vacation unless someone throws up

Jason Offutt

By Jason OffuttAuthor’s note: This is the second piece in a short series about summer trips. The Toddler puked 28 minutes into our family vacation. We hadn’t even made it out of the county. Standing outside the minivan as my wife cleaned child-processed Cheerios off the car seat, I watched the Toddler scoot along a…

How to pick a vacation destination – ask your wife

Jason Offutt

By Jason OffuttAuthor’s note: This is the first piece of a short series about summer trips. Deciding to go on a family vacation wasn’t the hard part. Neither was deciding on our destination. My wife and I agreed on where we needed to take the kids – someplace awesome. It was the details that got in…

There’s a right way to parent, then there’s Mom’s way

Jason Offutt

By Jason OffuttThe sentence took me by surprise. It could be because it was spoken in some place calm and reserved like a grocery store instead of the explosion of human nature that is Wal-Mart, or it could be because the sentence was from another era. Pushing my cart down the cereal aisle, 15 words…

In defense of sensible punctuation

Jason Offutt

By Jason OffuttNews headlines rarely offend me. I’ve gotten over that. If an article attacks my political, social or ethical viewpoint, meh, big deal. Everyone has the right to an opinion. But I do have a hot button and the Washington Post pushed it with: “Stop. Using. Periods. Period.” Hu-wha? Stop using the period? The…

Older means grumpier. Deal with it

Jason Offutt

By Jason OffuttAfter years of flirting with grumpiness, I’ve finally come to the conclusion it’s a nice fit for me, which is a good thing considering a significant chunk of the American population needs someone to grump at it. I just turned 51. I think I’ve earned that right. First up, people are outraged that…

Being afraid of clowns and gravity is normal, right?

Jason Offutt

By Jason OffuttI have an irrational fear of nearly everything. Forgetting the oven is on? Duh. Leaving a door unlocked when I’m going to be away from the house for more than 10 minutes? Yep. Clowns. Ugh. Don’t get me started on clowns. I can’t fix coffee before a road trip because an electric appliance…

College reunion rule: Pretend I’m not old

Jason Offutt

By Jason OffuttDriving to my college reunion, I realized many things. MapQuest is magical. It can turn a four and a half-hour drive into a six-hour drive at the click of the return key. I planned my departure around arriving at lunchtime. Damn you MapQuest. Seeing a Confederate battle flag in the window of a…

The day I officially realized I was home

Jason Offutt

By Jason OffuttI grew up in a town so small the only time we saw a stranger was when somebody got lost. We could recognize people by their car (pickup, usually) and knew who would invariably stop in the middle of the street to gab. They were like those talkers who block an entire aisle…

The Boy: ‘Girls are weird.’ He’s on to something

Jason Offutt

By Jason OffuttThe Boy sat in the living room playing an unnecessarily violent Xbox game when he made a revelation (For those of you without children, seemingly every Xbox game is unnecessarily violent). “Mom’s weird,” he said. Really? That’s where he’s going with the woman who gave birth to him, has helped raise him these…

Never doubt a guy’s ability to use tools

Jason Offutt

By Jason Offutt The Boy had a problem with his bicycle – the brakes didn’t work. Not the front brakes, the back brakes and at 11 he understood what that meant. “If I put on just the front brakes, I might flip over on my face.” The Boy has a firm grasp of physics and the…

Any idea involving bacon is a good one

Jason Offutt

By Jason OffuttI’m not sure how the idea came to me. Probably like most great ideas I was either in the shower, on the toilet, or about three beers in. It doesn’t matter. I had a great idea and, better yet, I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget. “Bacon Pop-Tarts,” I scribbled in my…