Lovie Lookalike

After Lovie showers, she often brushes her hair back and puts it up with a clip. There it will remain as she gets ready for her day before she eventually blow dries it.. The other day, I noticed something astonishing.

JCO: Oh my.

Lovie: What?

JCO: You look just like someone.

Lovie: Who?

JCO: That chick who played the man.

Note to readers. Don’t every tell your wife she looks like “that chick who played a man.” As you’ll see, I pulled it off, but I know what I’m doing. This is NOT a rookie maneuver.

Lovie: Rupaul?

JCO: No, honey. That’s a man who’s playing a chick.

Lovie: So who?

JCO: I can’t think of her name, but it’ll come to me. Here. Hold this. [hands Lovie a pink highlighter.]

Lovie: Why?

JCO: It’ll help me think. Just hold it. Like this. [positions highlighter as if it’s a cigar.] Perfect. Now look slightly to your right.

Lovie: Why?

JCO: Because, [gets out phone and snaps picture] I wanna show people this:

Lovie doing her best...

Victor Victoria impersonation.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. Remember, freedom isn’t free. Thanks to all the men and women who pay the price, sometimes even the ultimate one, so that you and I can do whatever it is we’re going to do this weekend, and countless others. God bless y’all. You’re the true heroes.

Fuzzy Math

I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that if you combine

Grace Jones


Kathie Lee Gifford

and then divide by two, you’ll get


Image: Wikipedia


Lovie’s got a new gig. In February of 2009 she started playing tennis pretty regularly with some of her friends, but it was more for fun than anything else. Four months ago, however, she upped the ante and joined a USTA team which requires her to play several times a week. Lovie’s a tennis star now.

Lovie? Is that you?

So I’ve given her a new nickname. Evonne Goolagong.

A couple of years ago, when she was still Lovie, we had a little spell where we played a handful of times over a three-week period. During those matches, two things were evident.

First, Lovie is an excellent athlete, whose fluid motion and graceful coordination translate well on the tennis court.

But second, she was no match for yours truly, lucky to win even one game in a combined two sets.

Recently we decided to play again, and I must say, I wondered how she’d fare as Evonne. After all, between the USTA matches, social games, and lessons, Lovie’s smacking the yellow ball up to four, sometimes five times a week. Word is she’s one of the best if not the best on her team, having lost only once in all the USTA matches she’s played.

Me? I’ve not picked up a racquet since the last time we faced each other. Oh. Did I mention I’ve not worked out regularly in months? Still, the lopsided nature of our previous contests had me convinced she’d pose no real threat to actually beat me. Right?


I beat her 6-2, 6-3, and it should have been 2 and 1. I was serving, up 5-1, 30-love, just two points away from the match when something happened. I suffered a meltdown on court number three. I dropped that game and the next one, after which she let out a celebratory scream, complete with fist pump. Such an outburst bothered me. Greatly. Fueled by anger, I waxed her the next game, and walked off the court with a less-than fulfilling 6-2, 6-3 victory. The sinking feeling in my gut combined with the confident smile plastered on her face for the next four hours made me wonder who the real winner was.

Lovie means business.

One thing was clear. Lovie’s way better than she used to be. It doesn’t matter how hard I serve, or where I place the ball. It’s coming back. Same thing with ground strokes. The woman gets everything. To win a point, I have to hit three shots that would have been winners against her in the past. Combine all that with the extra five (alright, twelve) pounds of JCO I’m hauling around these days? She’s a tough out to say the least.

About a week later, we played again. Lovie took the opening game. It was the first time she had ever held a lead on me. She won the next game, too. And the next. And the next. I was serving love-four before I even knew what hit me.

No worries, though. I’ve been in that spot a few years back. I was once down the exact same score to an ex girlfriend before storming back to victory. During a pivotal point, I charged the net before becoming the victim of a perfectly placed lob. Lucky to get it, I lobbed it back, and played the rest of the point the same way–hitting lobs, each effort even higher than the previous one. My last lob nearly brought rain and landed right on the line, bouncing so high, she literally couldn’t even get a racquet on it.

“You play dirty,” she said.

“What’s that?” I asked holding my racquet up to my ear? “Fifteen-thirty?”

Comforted by the recollection of that clutch effort, I stepped up and won the next three games in convincing fashion. Crisis averted, right?

Wrong. Lovie took the next two games, and won the first set 6-3. Thanks to a time constraint, the second set was a truncated one. I lost, 3-2. Lovie had done it not once, but twice. I left the court none too pleased.

Two hours later, I dialed her cell.

“That was bullshit. I want more.”

“Relax, honey. It’s just a game.”

“Don’t tell me to relax. Get your candy-ass to the court.”

“Honey, let it go.”

“What’s wrong, Evonne? Scared?”


“What, then? Big engagement down unda? Got some shrimp to put on the barbie, do ya, mate?”

“If I play again, will you shut up?”

“See you in ten minutes, Lady Goolagong.”

Simply put, I never had a chance. My game was a wreck, and Lovie continued to play lights out. 6-3, 6-3.

As I walked off the court, I couldn’t help but wonder how I had  actually lost. Was it her serve? Because they are hard to return. After all, her meager offerings come at me so slow I’m literally forced to stand on the service line just to be close enough to get it before it bounces a second time. It’s reminiscent of a ball gently lobbed by a four year old girl. With her left hand.

Have you ever tried to hit such a serve? While mad? I landed out of bounds more times than Ben Roethlisberger at a Florida bar during spring break.

I know what you’re thinking. All y’all love Lovie, and you’re on her side. You can’t believe what a jerk I’m being. Well I got news for you. I’m far from the sore loser this post paints me to be. I realize full well that I lost to a better player.

Forget that I had more unforced errors than Britney Spears multiplied by Lindsay Lohan. Squared.

Forget that I hit more balls out than a juiced up Barry Bonds.

She won. Fair and square.

Even if, on that particular day, I couldn’t have held my serve with the jaws of life. The outcome had way more to do with what she did than what I did.

Even if I did hit the net more times than gang of drunken trapeze artists.

I’ll get her next time. In fact, I predict a spanking.

It’s just that I’m not sure who’ll be the one administering it just yet.

The Elena Kagan Equation

I have a question. If you add Brendan Fraser plus Mayim Bialik (that girl who played Blossom–don’t pretend like you never watched) and then divided by two, what would your answer be?

I’m no math whiz, but I’m pretty it’s Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. (Whoa.)

Brendan Fraser



divided by two equals

Elena Kagan

I know. You think I’m an idiot. Doesn’t exactly take a Supreme Court justice to rule on that one, does it?

Guilty as charged, my friends.

Married to Max

Is it me, or was Lovie channeling a subtle Max Headroom vibe this morning?


max headroom

Or maybe it’s just that Max has always given off a Lovie vibe?

Tough to say. Anyone’s guess, really.

The Language of Lovie

lovely lovie

As most of you know, I have a new book out, Tales from the Trips. Virtually every reader I’ve heard from seems to agree on one thing.

Lovie steals the show.

So what is it about Lovie that’s so captivating, you may wonder? Simple. It’s how well she deals with all of my nonsense. An exchange we had just two days ago is a perfect example.

“You’re a jerk,” she said, half kidding and half not. (Why I was being called a jerk is anyone’s guess, but I can assure you it was probably warranted.)

“A jerk?” I asked.

“Yep. A jerk. If people want to find you on the internet, they just type in www.jerk.”

“Which domain? Dot com? Dot edu? Dot org, maybe?” I asked.

“Dot dick, honey. Dot dick.”

No wonder my readers love her, so. Today, I thought it’d be fun to post five of my favorite Lovie–JCO exchanges from the book. Since I’m too lazy to type, I’ll be cutting and pasting, which means our gal Lovie will be going by her real name, Caroline.

* * *

5.) With Caroline in the hospital on bed rest, the task of getting Pookie ready for school each day was left to yours truly. I called my wife in a panic the night before the first of those mornings for some pointers. Here’s how it went down:

“What am I gonna do tomorrow?” I asked her.

“You’re going to get her ready for school.”

“Obviously, but what do I do?”

“Well, for starters, you have to make her take her reflux medicine and fix her breakfast.”

“I can handle the medicine, but what should I fix her for breakfast? She won’t eat cereal, will she?”

“No. You’ll have to make her something. Go to the refrigerator.”


“Yeah, you know, that door in our kitchen that you open when you want to have a snack?”

“Oh. I thought that was the pantry,” I said.

“Do you want my help or not?” asked Caroline.

“I need your help.”

“Then shut up and open up the fridge.”

* * *

4. ) Caroline’s, um, constructive criticism of Briggs, the dog I owned long before she and I were ever an item:

“Honey,” Caroline began another call to me, “your dumbass dog has struck again.”

“Oh no,” I exclaimed. Even I was getting sick of his shenanigans. “What was it this time? A toy? A shirt?”

“No. He’s on to much messier and disgusting things now. He dug into the garbage and chewed up a full bag of…”

No. No. Please no. Not a bag of…

“DIRTY DIAPERS! A whole day’s worth. Not only that, he must have eaten some because he’s thrown up on the floor. And I’ve got news for you. IT DOESN’T SMELL LIKE THROW UP! IT SMELLS LIKE SOMETHING ELSE!”

“Well, honey,” I answered, “you always said he had shit for brains. I suppose it was only a matter of time before he started having shit for lunch.”

* * *

3.) Don’t mess with Caroline when it comes to organizing for a trip:

“Honey,” I complained, “there’s no room for my bag.”

“Here,” she said, handing me three plastic grocery sacks.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Your luggage,” she replied. “Unpack your bag and put only the stuff you need in these. We’ll find a place for them.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

Wrong. My allotted luggage was squeezed under the front seat.

* * *

2.) Caroline is quite possibly the world’s worst driver. But that doesn’t stop her from fighting back:

“Caroline!” I screamed as she narrowly missed rear-ending a car that was slowing down to turn right. “See that blinking light down there on the right side of that man’s car? It’s called a turn signal. Do you know what it indicates? It indicates that he’s about to turn right, which means he’ll have to slow down. That indicates that you should probably slow down, too.”

“Honey,” she said.


“Do you know what this indicates?” she asked while slowly extending her middle finger.

* * *

the road trips usually end here.

#1) Quite possibly my favorite exchange of all-time, another road-trip gem:

“We need to stop for lunch between eleven-thirty and twelve,” said Caroline.

The effective traveling rule of putting off all stops for as long as possible made the answer an obvious one. “Great,” I said. “We’ll stop at twelve.”

“But everyone in America will be eating then,” complained Caroline.

“Well,” I said, “I guess we’ll be eating with them. We’ll call it America’s Lunch.”

“You’re America’s Jackass,” she answered.

We stopped at eleven-thirty.

* * *

So there you have it. Five of my favorite Lovie–JCO exchanges from Tales from the Trips–but, remember, those are only five. There are many, many more. If you’d like to read them, please buy the book. You can get it on Amazon or you can also buy direct from the publisher. Those copies will be autographed.

But come to think of it, maybe I should just have my wife sign them.

After all, Lovie steals the show.

Tiger and Kate Plus Eight

(To the rhyme of eeny, meeny, miny, mo.)

What you hear just isn’t so:
Catch a tiger by its toe?
You see, that method’s bound to fail.
You catch a Tiger chasing tail.

My mother said to pick the very best one and HE is not it.

[Read more…]

Dear Ben Roethlisberger

Dear Ben Roethlisberger,

Phew. You dodged another bullet, brother. Good thing you’re a football player, because if baseball were your sport, you’d have struck out by now.

Strike one? Mere months after you won the first of your two Super Bowl rings, you had a serious motorcycle accident, only a year removed from fellow NFL-er Kellen Winslow Jr’s career-threatening motorcycle accident.

In the wake of Winslow’s mishap, Coach Bill Cowher lectured you about motorcycle safety, desperately hoping you’d not be the next NFL guy to find yourself in the same situation. But that’s exactly what happened. And you weren’t wearing a helmet. Which would have come in handy when your head shattered the windshield of a car. Which necessitated a seven-hour surgery. You were lucky it wasn’t worse.

Strike two? Your 2009 run in with a young lady in Lake Tahoe who accused you of sexual assault. Though details would ultimately emerge which called the accuser’s motives into question, and though you never faced any criminal charges stemming from the incident, you still found yourself in a bad position–one which could have easily been avoided if you had made better decisions.

Strike three occurred on March 5, 2010. After a long night of partying in Milledgeville, GA (really, Ben? Milledgeville?), you were accused of sexual assault yet again, this time by a twenty-year old women whom you followed into the dingy bathroom of a local bar. The dingy women’s bathroom of a local bar.

Unlike the last time, this claim seemed to have teeth. Just like last time, you exercised incredibly poor judgment.

A Latin proverb tells us that a smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.

You do neither.

Which makes you a fool.

But good fortune does not discriminate against the dim-witted. On April 12  the alleged victim announced she no longer wished to pursue criminal charges, thanks to the circus of media attention she wished to avoid.

You’re a very lucky and impossibly dumb man, Ben. Yet just when I thought you couldn’t do anything to lower my estimation of your IQ, you show up at a press conference to read a one-minute apology looking like this:

image courtesy of CNN

Listen, Ben, I’m no PR expert, but it seems to me that the last thing a guy accused of sexual assault for the second time would want to do is show up at press conference looking exactly like Jesse James. You know who I’m talking about, don’t you? He’s the motorcycle guy (hey, you two should ride together sometime) who left his (pregnant) porn-star girlfriend when Sandra Bullock came calling only to cheat on the Hollywood A-lister with a woman whose tattoos make Allen Iverson’s look like they came from a box of Cracker Jacks.

If I had just been accused of forcing myself on a twenty-year old girl in the women’s bathroom of a seedy bar after a six-hour bender in Milledgeville, GA mere months after my last brush with sexual assault? I probably would’ve lost the greasy mullet and dialed up an Opie Taylor look.

And what’s with your disco shirt, Ben? I mean, seriously, is it the same one you wore clubbing in M-town that night? What? Is your “Long Live Ted Bundy” tee dirty or something? At least you didn’t wear this one:

image courtesy of scrapetv.com. or a frat house. not sure which.

Consider a suit next time. Or at least a button down.

Sorry for writing you out of the blue, but I wanted to reach out and offer you my two cents because you’re clearly floundering, big fella. Feel free to take my advice, or blow it off, whichever suits you.

OH. And just one more thing. If you ever do find yourself publicly apologizing for being involved in similar matters, would you mind reading your statement in front of someone else’s locker?

Because when trying to eradicate the imagery of sexual assault, it’s probably best to distance yourself from the word “Colon,” even if it is nothing more than a teammate’s last name printed neatly on a sign above his locker. Given the circumstances, it’s just too visceral.

But look on the bright side. At least his number isn’t 69.

The Driving Force

This blog is proud to take part in Fatherhood Friday, a little something created by the great people over at dad-blogs. To learn more about this wonderful community, click here.

We all know that I love Lovie. And how could I not? There’s just something about her. Anyone who knows Lovie would agree that she possesses an indescribable sweetness, channeled by a heart that is both pure and true. Seldom does a bad thought ever cross her mind. She’s a positive force who is filled with such earnest and good intentions that people can actually sense it. Animals, too. Birds stop chirping and squirrels take a break from their nuts just to catch a glimpse of my beautiful wife whenever she happens upon them.

Knoxville, we have a problem.

But such inter-species tranquility does not mean that my wife is without flaw. One of them? She’s among the worst drivers in the history of organized driving. Honestly? It’s astonishing. And the fact that she drives a big-ass Denali loaded with the tumultuous trio and an eight-year-old doesn’t exactly help. For not only is she driving a vehicle that rivals a Sherman Tank in bulk, but she’s also doing so while handing out passies to toddlers, helping Pookie with her homework, and rocking the occasional call on her cell–all over the deafening din emitted by that red, furry anti-Christ, Elmo, along with his gang of equally annoying and off-key-singing buddies.

If only Lovie’s enormous vehicle had an outer body constructed of nerf, and the driver/passenger seats were enclosed by a NASCAR-designed roll cage, maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t worry each and every time she hits the road. But I do worry, and so should you. So allow me to impart the following advice to those who share our local roads.

If you see Lovie barreling down the street, you must remember two things. First, it’s usually parking lots which trip her up, so you’re probably okay. But second, remain calm, and, as if Lovie were a firetruck, slow down and pull over as far as you can to the right until Lovie has lumbered on by. Then and only then should you continue along your merry way.

But if you’re in a parking lot, God help you. For like a drunk cat with no whiskers, little Lovie, in her colossal car, has no dependable spacial-sensing mechanism–her mere judgment, woefully inadequate. As such, she is not afraid to feel her way through a tight spot with a bump here or a nudge there. While not exactly life-threatening, Lovie’s parking lot shenanigans are the stuff of legend, most of said shenanigans exacting a toll just below our deductible, ultimately rendering our insurance impotent and our wallets a few-hundred dollars lighter.

But she is getting better. In fact, it’s been quite a while since her last parking-lot escapade. Until the other day, that is, when she came home with a little token of appreciation she had received from a fellow motorist.

“Can you believe this woman?” Lovie asked indignantly while showing me the note.

Um, what rhymes with “guess?”

I’m in a tough spot, here. Common sense (along with past empirical evidence) strongly suggests that Lovie parked poorly. But chivalry demands that I defend her honor.

SO, Ms. Note Writer–in the unlikely event you are reading this modest effort, please know that I am none too pleased with the sarcastic and ugly message that you left Lovie. Number one, who has the time to write such nasty remarks in the middle of a busy day? Next time you’re out, may I suggest you swing by Walmart and pick up a life? OH, and you might wanna fill that prescription for the anti-passive-aggressive meds your head doctor has undoubtedly provided you.

And number two, what we’ve got here in Lovie is really nothing more than a garden-variety shitty driver. Was she a little close to you? I’m quite certain she was. Was it difficult to get your kids in? Undoubtedly. But is that any reason to lose your marbles? Might I suggest, instead, that next time you be more prepared? A giant tub of Vaseline and an extra-large shoe horn would have made your child-loading riddle much easier to solve.


The Man Who Still Loves Lovie.

PS–perhaps you’ll take solace in knowing that your communiqué has made our Wall of Shame alongside another embarassing piece of documentation.

Wall of Shame: JCO 1, Lovie 1

There. That should do it.

I Love Lovie

me and my lovely girlfriend, Lovie, 2005.

Many of you may be surprised to learn that Lovie and I have known each other since the Carter administration. We went to school together from 1980 until 1987 when Lovie, a year ahead of me, graduated and went off to college. For the better part of those seven years, I had a crush on her. But I also considered her to be out of my league, so during our school days, I remained nothing more than a distant and respectful admirer.

Me and Lovie on her 40th

In 1988, it was my turn to graduate. I went to college at Vanderbilt, then, after earning my degree, I moved to Seattle to begin a ten-year career in the world of finance. Aside from a wedding we both attended in Telluride, Lovie and I would not spend any significant time together for nearly seventeen years. When our paths finally crossed again, Lovie was a single mom going through the final stages of a divorce, and I was a single moron, carrying on a dysfunctional relationship with someone ten years my junior.

I fell for Lovie almost immediately. Two years later, we were married.

With Valentine’s Day mere hours away, I’m giving Lovie a special shout-out by posting a poem I wrote for her, a poem that I read to her on March 3, 2006–a poem that served as my proposal to her.

Thank God she said yes. Why? Because I love Lovie. And here’s what I read to her on that cold night nearly four years ago to prove it…

*  *  *

this life of mine has taken turns and proved to have its spots
where things got tough and beat me up and left me with some thoughts.
like could i ever hope to find a more fulfilling place?
upon my quest, i prayed for strength, but all i lacked was faith.

but not the faith i have in God–His grace provides me that.
but faith that love like yours exists was something that i lacked.
eventually i told myself to thank my lucky stars
though deep inside, my soul believed no love would fill my heart.

and then you finally crossed my path as pretty as the days
of saddle oxfords, pleaded skirts, and all your high-school ways.
at first i held my guard up high to keep my heart on track.
because you seemed too good to me to ever love me back.

but now it’s finally safe to say my skeptic thoughts were wrong.
your love has come into my heart to sing the sweetest song.
because i thought i’d never find a girl as pure as you,
it’s time for you to hear the things i promise God i’ll do.

i promise God to hold you dear and keep you safe and sound,
to love both you and pookie, too, like nothing else around.
to put you two where you belong, the center of my life.
to make you live inside my heart as daughter and as wife.

to signify this vow i’ll make, i ask you now to have
this special, priceless, brilliant ring  your mom got from your dad.
i’ll love you true, and promise you the pain is all behind.
so marry me, my baby, please, my lovie, caroline.


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