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According to The New York Times, shouting is the new spanking.

But what ever happened to the old spanking? And how could anything be as effective as a cold, hard slap across the butt?

Still… if psychologists are to be believed, the problem with spanking is that it teaches kids that hitting is an acceptable way to solve a problem.

(Among other things.)

On the other hand, at least it teaches ‘em something – ‘cause as any non-spanking parent knows, you can only yell so much before your kids just tune you out. And then what? Waterboarding?


How often do you yell at your kids?

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Lots of couples spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on counseling when what they really need to do to improve their marriage is argue.

Not in person, but by text.

Arguing by text has a number of benefits. For example, in face-to-face arguments, tensions usually escalate because each person reacts (and over-reacts) to what the other is saying. But since SMS shorthand is so obscure and confusing — URAPITA? UG2BK? SHID? — how can you be outraged by something you can’t understand?

The 140-character limit helps, too, because it means you have to reduce your anger/frustration to its root cause before you can text it. Since most arguments end when the roots are exposed, however, starting this way means there isn’t really anywhere for the argument to go — You say you’re upset because you don’t feel like you’re in control of the relationship. Your spouse agrees you’re not. End of story.

As for those argument that proceed anyway, it’s important to remember that at some point, “principle,” ” being “right” and even just the need “to be shown a little respect” can’t overcome tired thumbs.

Which isn’t to say texting is flawless.

But keep in mind that if you scream something cruel and inappropriate at your spouse in the heat of the moment, you can’t ever take it back. But if you text it, you can say it was just a typo:

HUSBAND: No, I wouldn’t ever call you that. What I meant was you’re being a stitch, because I thought your whole argument was a joke.
WIFE: Oh yeah? Well then I guess I meant you’re a sucker.



Would you knowingly send a sick child to school?

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WIFE: Do these pants make me look fat?
HUSBAND: A little.
WIFE: What?!?!?
HUSBAND: I mean… No.
WIFE: Then why did you say “Yes?”
HUSBAND: I didn’t say “yes,” I said “a little.”
WIFE: No, you said “Oh my God! You look like a cow. Your butt is bigger than your aunt’s.”
HUSBAND: I did not.
WIFE: But that’s what you meant.
HUSBAND: I think I know what I meant and it wasn’t anything like that.
WIFE: Then what did you mean?
WIFE: You’re trying to think of a way out of this, aren’t you?
WIFE: I can see it in your eyes.
HUSBAND: I am not trying to… THE CUT!
WIFE: What?
HUSBAND: It’s not your butt, it’s the cut. The cut of those pants is… is… is… unflattering.
WIFE: Really?
HUSBAND: I swear.
WIFE: See… that’s what I thought, too. And then the sales associate started hovering and she said they looked great, so I felt pressured and I got them but I never wear them because I think they make me look fat.
HUSBAND: Because the cut is so bad.
WIFE: It really is, isn’t it?
HUSBAND: I bet that sales associate just wanted her commission.
WIFE: No kidding. That’s why I like to shop online – I can try everything on and then just return what doesn’t fit.
HUSBAND: Makes perfect sense to me.
WIFE: Let me change into something else and then we’ll go.
WIFE: What?
HUSBAND: I didn’t say anything.
WIFE: You sighed.
HUSBAND: I don’t think so.
WIFE: You let out a big, huge sigh.
WIFE: Like you dodged a bullet or something.
WIFE: You’re not lying about the pants, are you?
WIFE: Then why did you sigh?
HUSBAND: Oh that! That was just a burp. I think I have a little indigestion.
WIFE: You should probably take some Prilosec.
HUSBAND: Why don’t I do that while you change into something more flattering.
WIFE: Just give me 10 minutes.


Don’t let the credit crisis, the housing slump, gas prices, global warming, the cost of groceries, layoffs or the generally sad state of world affairs stop you from enjoying quality time with your kids.

Instead, let these troubles inspire you with the following games:

Mortgage, Mortgage, Who’s Got The Mortgage?

Kids sit in a circle with their fists closed, pretending to hold a button, which in this case represents a mortgage. As you go around the circle, everybody says “Mortgage, mortgage, who’s got the mortgage?” and then whoever’s turn it is says “Billy has the mortgage.” Billy must then open his fist to show everybody if he has the button/mortgage or not. The joke, of course, is that he doesn’t. In fact, nobody does, because credit is still so tight nobody can get one.

Stock Market Limbo

How low can it go? There’s one way to find out: put on “The Limbo Song” and see if you can make it under without collapsing.

Time Travelers

Take an imaginary trip to the future without leaving home. Just unplug the air conditioner, shut off the water main, and set the thermostat as high as it will go. The first person to pass out from heat stroke loses, the last one standing gets a half-glass of dirty water and a chance to play “An Inconvenient Truth: The Home Edition.”

The Crumbling Infrastructure Game

Just like “London Bridge is Falling Down,” only substitute something local.

U.N. Election Monitor

Help ensure the spread of democracy with this variation on “Kick The Can.” Select one U.N. Election Monitor, then divide everyone else up into two groups: voters and henchmen. While you turn your back and pretend every- thing is going really, really well, “voters” try to run up and kick the can before “henchmen” stop them.

Magic 81/4 – Ball

Buy? Sell? Forget your broker’s “opinion” and just ask the Magic 81/4 – Ball. It couldn’t be any worse.


Pretend you’re Congress and you’re trying to do something to re-ignite the economy, only you get so bogged down in partisanship you just stand around calling each other names.

The Coupon Game

What kid doesn’t like to cut things out? Here, you put yours to work helping you find enough coupons to make up the difference between what you make and what you spend. (While technically not a game, it would probably be helpful. Plus, you can give your kids bonus points if they find any coupons that are good for discounted liquor or anti-depressants.)

Chinese Toy Russian Roulette

Toxic? Non-toxic? Line up the toys and use a home lead-test to find out.


According to a recent research study, one in five adults who responded to a survey admitted to using Ritalin or Adderall to boost their brain power.

When asked where they got the drugs, most just mumbled and said “I can’t remember,” but speculation is they simply raided their kids’ medicine cabinet. And while this clearly breaches the bonds of trust between parent and child, when you consider how often kids raid their parents’ liquor cabinet, it seems only fair.