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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bridge on the River Teen

I knew it was coming, but it still took me by surprise when war broke out. It being 1996 instead of 1966, I thought I could avoid the bloodshed and misery that my parents and I went through, but I was fooling myself: what is old is new, and what is new is old.

The war between the United Federation of Father and The National Liberation Front of Daughter (NLFD) started with a treaty dispute. The treaty was: curfew was 9pm on school nights and 11pm on Friday and Saturday. Since I had crafted and negotiated the treaty myself, I thought conflict could be avoided.

Of course, I blame the NLFD for starting the war, but their leader, my daughter, claimed that the wording of the treaty was unclear, ambiguous, and unfair.

When the NLFD broke the treaty, words were exchanged: sometimes directly, and sometimes indirectly through my ambassador, my wife. I often responded to treaty violations with sanctions such as an earlier curfew, border closings, and travel restrictions. Since the leader of the NLFD valued her social life, sometimes a blockade was used to bring the NLFD into line.

There were many battles during the Teen War: The Car Clash, The Trip to Florida with Underage Friends Skirmish, and the final battle: the Most Expensive College I can Find Conflict.

Hostilities were greatly reduced when the leader of the NLFD left on a mission to obtain a higher education. In fact during this four year mission, the leader of the NLFD called upon my ambassador, my wife, and me for aid or assistance time and time again. Sometimes we helped with food because of some apparent famine. Other times, we acted like the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and provided funds that we knew would never be repaid. And for some reason, the NLFD didn't seem to have the technology to do laundry.
Eventually, hostilities ceased between our two countries. In fact, the United Federation of Father and The National Liberation Front of Daughter are allies now, and the NLFD was recently awarded favored nation status.

The truce came after certain milestones and understandings were reached. The Federation of Father gave advice only when the Liberation Front of Daughter asked for it. We were no longer propping up the NLFD financially. And the NFLD became truly independent in every sense of the word.

The Teen War lasted about three years. It was a time of sacrifice, hardship, and danger. At the beginning of hostilities, I was afraid the war would end badly, but we were lucky.
For those of you in the middle of a teen war, I have several suggestions. No matter what, be diplomatic and don't escalate the war. Tough love, not extreme punishment or retaliation, must be the basis of your foreign policy. It's helpful to have an effective ambassador (spouse). And remember, even the Hundred Years' War ended eventually.

(If you're a parent, you might enjoy some of the other titles I came up with for this article: A Father's War, Where Parents Dare, Teen! Teen! Teen!, All Quiet on the Teen Front, and The Longest Day).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Economic News You Can Use

Below is a collection of news stories which I hope will be helpful to you during these hard economic times.

Starting tomorrow, traffic lights in Los Angeles will be turned off every other hour and will be completely off from 7pm to 7am. City officials are hoping that this new policy will help cut the city's electricity bill by 20 percent. In the same announcement, it was revealed that street lights will be turned off at sunset.

Burger King has announced that starting next Tuesday they will only give you either the top or the bottom of the bun, not both, when you order a burger. Burger King hopes to create and publish a bun schedule within thirty days so that their customers won't be unpleasantly surprised.

In July, the city of Milwaukee will be raising sales tax by 30 percent on all items except cheese, beer, bratwurst, and football tickets. Alderman Ima Cheezhead stated, "We're not crazy, you know."

On June18, the city of Chicago will be doubling the cost of parking ticket fines. And parking tickets must be paid within 30 minutes or the fine is tripled. Payment will only be accepted in person and must be paid in sixth century Samurai tokens.

In related news, due to a budget cut, the Department of Motor Vehicles is closing all Illinois DMV offices except the one in Cairo, Illinois.

Starting at 2pm today, Countrybank will be charging you rent for keeping your money in their bank. Countrybank also said in a press release that in order to avoid creating a hardship for their customers, it will offer low interest loans which can be used to pay your bank account rent.

Financially troubled cable company Convic Communications will be raising prices in August by 50 percent and limiting the number of channels you can receive to three. The three channels will be The Classical Music Channel, The TV Guide Channel, and QVC.

Due to budget cuts, NASA's primary mission in 2010 will be to explore Las Vegas. Astronauts will spend five days and four nights at Whiskey Pete's Hotel and Casino. Keeping with tradition, the astronauts are expected to gather samples and conduct experiments. A secondary goal for this mission will be to recruit more astronauts. Requirements and qualifications for becoming an astronaut will be reduced. NASA plans on using communication satellites and the Hubble telescope to locate the best buffet prices. If the Las Vegas mission is successful, NASA plans on exploring Bangkok, Thailand, in 2011.

In an effort to reduce production costs, the TV show Survivor is changing next season's filming location from Tahiti to Detroit. Survivor: Detroit will begin filming in December. Upon arriving in Detroit, the first thing the contestants will do is record a goodbye video just in case their family and friends never see them again. It was also announced that host Jeff Probst will be replaced by Heidi and Spencer Pratt.

Some fine dining restaurants in New York City are offering three-ounce Dixie cups of wine for those who can't afford glasses of wine or bottles.

In an effort to reduce costs, airlines will replace federal sky marshals with former mall cops. Copilots will be replaced by a special Wii program and a 12-year-old. And if an airplane exit door, window, or windshield breaks, it will be replaced by some duct tape and a sheet of plastic.