Friday, March 15, 2019

A Toast to Famous Irish Middle Children

Profiles in Middledom: St. Patrick’s Day Edition

     In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I was going to compile a list of the world’s most famous Irish Middle Children. To keep the list to a manageable size, I figured I would only include Middle Children who were actually born in Ireland. And speaking of manageable size -- I thought finding famous Irish-born Middle Children would be pretty easy, what with all the talk over the years about “large Irish families.” But it turns out, that’s not the case so much anymore. According to the Irish Independent, “Just 40 or 50 years ago, families with seven or more children were a normal part of daily life.” In 1971, around 15,000 families had six or more children -- by 2015 there were just 3,000. While the fertility rate in Ireland was 4 in 1963, today it’s under 2. The world rate is around 2.5. But I digress. The list, right -- the list.
Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness: he made
a name for himself, one pint at a time.
     While St. Patrick himself was not a Middle Child, I still was on my way to compiling a list of some pretty impressive names: poet/playwright Oscar Wilde; explorer Ernest Shackleton; singer Shuhada' Davitt (formerly Sinead O’Connor); “Dracula” author Bram Stoker; actor Liam Neeson. But then I came across an Irish Middle Child so fitting for my St. Patrick’s Day tribute, suddenly it seemed like no others mattered. (What Middle Child hasn’t felt like that before?) A name as synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day as shamrocks and, depending on where you live, green bagels: Guinness. Yeah, that Guinness. Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, Baronet of Ashford, to be specific. Grandson of the founder of the company responsible for brewing Ireland’s most famous drink. In 1855, he assumed control of the brewery, developed a booming export business, and is credited with making the stout brand famous worldwide. So much so, he was reported to be the richest man in Ireland in his day. And the rest is Middle Child history.
     Fortune magazine says, “Walk into your local liquor store and you could be forgiven for thinking St. Patrick’s Day was created by Guinness. It’s the day for Ireland’s favorite beer to shine -- and 13 million pints of the stout will be consumed in those 24 hours.” Of course, what good would a Middle Child success story be without a dose of MidKid whining, moaning, and self-loathing. So here goes.
     While Guinness is always on various lists of “Best Irish Beers to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With,” it’s not the most popular beer in the U.S. on St. Patrick’s Day. According to the YouGovBrandIndex, that honor goes to... Corona. ¡Ay caramba! Sadly, Guinness is no longer even the best selling brew in Ireland. Holland-born Heineken owns that title. Oh well, at least the bottle is green.

To find out more about overlooked Middle Child brews, read our Middle Child Beer Guide.

If you want a real Middle Child Beer for St. Patrick’s Day, readHere's to the Middle Child!

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Difference Between Being “A” Middle Child and “The” Middle Child


The Golden Rule of birth order:
If you’re not the first or the last,
you’re in the middle!
     Not every Middle Child necessarily knows they’re a Middle Child. I’ve written about this before, urging Sarah Jessica Parker to embrace her Middle Child status, but I’m pretty sure the message isn’t getting through. Case in point: I was speaking to a radio host who told me there were no Middle Children in his family. I asked how many siblings he had and was told he was the second of four. When I informed him that meant there are actually two Middle Children in his family and that he was one of them, it was like I turned his world upside down! So if MidKids themselves aren’t even aware of their status, why would I think non-Middles would know any better?
     If my sister-in-law is any indication, they do not. The oldest of four girls, she didn’t realize her very own sister (my wife) was one of two Middle Children. “There can only be one Middle Child per family,” she informed me. And then there’s the former co-worker and father of five (and Middle Child himself) who was telling me a story about his own Middle Child.” When I told him he actually had three, he said, “I never thought of it that way.” Aaargh. It’s an epidemic, I tell you!! But changing someone’s understanding of what it takes to be a Middle Child is no easy task.
     If I asked you, “Who was the Middle Child on The Brady Bunch?”  your answer would likely be Jan. Of course, you’d be right. And wrong. Sure, she’s “a” Middle Child, but not “the” Middle Child. She’s the Middle Brady sister and probably the world’s most iconic MidKid, but what about Peter, the Middle Brady boy? He’s no less a Middle Child, and it doesn’t end there. There were six siblings in the blended Brady brood, so after Carol and Mike got hitched, Marcia and Bobby became Middles along with Peter and Jan. In fact, Greg and Cindy were the only ones who weren't ever Middle Children.
     And what about “Malcolm in the Middle?” Yes, he was “a” Middle Child, but far from being “the” Middle Child. Malcolm was actually one of three brothers in the middle. It was just him and Reese until the end of season four when baby Jamie came along, then Dewey became one too. I guess “Malcolm, Reese, & Dewey in the Middle” wasn’t as catchy a title. So Malcolm got top billing, and Reese and Dewey were relegated to the trash heap of TV Middle Children. Talk about Middle Child Syndrome.
     When you’re “the” Middle Child, you’re on your own. It’s two against one. You’re outnumbered, on an island unto yourself. I have long argued it is the truest form of Middle Child, and also the worst. On the other hand, when you’re “a” Middle Child, at least you have company. That’s probably a good thing, because misery does love company. With four siblings, it’s a level playing field. Two on two. A house divided. And when there are five or more siblings (gasp), the Middles are the majority. Multiple siblings get to be “a” Middle Child, but no one sibling is “the” Middle Child -- except when there’s an odd number of siblings. Then one lucky sib gets to be the Middle Middle Child -- the birth order equivalent of a double whammy.
Don’t pay for some fancy
Middle Child testing kit:
Take our FREE test!
     I created a Middle Child hierarchical classification diagram in a previous post, but so many other factors impact how much of a Middle Child you end up being. I’m sure the number of Middle Children in your family has something to do with it. I would think the more Middle Children there are in a family, the less likely you might be to feel like a Middle Child. But that’s just scratching the surface. For instance, there has to be a difference between someone who becomes a Middle Child when they are eight years old versus someone who is two years old. Sure, you got all those extra years of being the beloved baby, but maybe that actually makes it worse when all that adoration is stripped away from you? Maybe it’s better to have the attention band-aid ripped off before you have the chance to get used to all the love.
     And what about blended families? Two birth orders get melded into one, and like the Brady’s, everything changes. I even spoke with someone who was the first born daughter then became a Middle Child when her parents adopted an even older daughter.
     Of course, if you don’t even know you’re a Middle Child, none of this will even matter, which brings us right back to square A. So to determine if you’re “the” Middle Child (or even “a” Middle Child), take this simple test:

1. Are you the oldest sibling in your family? If you answered YES, congratulations. You dodged a birth order bullet. You are DEFINITELY not a Middle Child. Go bask in parental praise and plaudits.

If you answered NO, proceed to question 2.

2. Are you the youngest sibling in your family? If you answered YES, you hit the jackpot. You’re the beloved baby! Have fun doing all the things your older siblings weren’t allowed to do.

If you answered NO, too bad. You’re a sandwiched sibling -- like it or not.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

This Day in Middle Child History: March 7

      On this day in 1970, former Yugoslavian (now Slovenian) ski jumper and Middle Child Vinko Bogataj crashed, rolled, splayed, and tumbled his way into sports history. The footage of his infamous mis-jump at the 1970 World Ski Flying Championships in Oberstdorf, West Germany, aired every week for decades on the opening of “ABC’s Wide World of Sports.” No matter how many times you see it, it's still hard to keep from cringing.


     While “the thrill of victory” was accompanied by various clips over the years, “the agony of defeat” was a constant -- Bogataj remained a steadfast symbol of colossal calamity and disastrous disappointment. He suffered a mild concussion and broken ankle after the crash, not to mention a seriously bruised ego. And to add insult to injury -- pun absolutely intended -- Bogataj was totally unaware of his newfound infamy for more than a decade following his crash.
"I am the greatest... Yugoslavian
ski jumper ever featured on the
opening of Wide World of Sports."
     According to ESPN,  he had no idea he was a sports celebrity and was completely surprised when he was asked to attend the “Wide World of Sports” 20th anniversary celebration in 1981. So just imagine what he was thinking when “he received the loudest ovation of any athlete introduced at the gala, and attendees such as Muhammad Ali asked him for his autograph.”
     Bogataj did return to competition the year after his crash, but sadly his career was all downhill.

How could I let this special day pass without paying a twisted tribute?
That’s right, I could not.




Saturday, March 2, 2019

Give Us Our # Back!

Rapper J. Cole Makes #middlechild Trend on Twitter

     I was so psyched when I saw #middlechild popping up everywhere on Twitter recently. “All my hard work is paying off,” I thought. “Finally, we’re getting some attention.” So you can imagine how disappointed I was to learn that all the fuss wasn’t really about MidKids at all, but about the release of rapper J. Cole’s latest track titled “Middle Child.” Disappointed, but hardly surprised.
     According to Genius.com, “Cole envisions himself in the center of the old and new generations of hip-hop, therefore making him the ‘Middle Child’ of rap.” The lyrics couldn’t be any clearer:

“I'm dead in the middle of two generations
I'm little bro and big bro all at once.”

     Tell me about it. It doesn’t get any more Middle Child than that. But once again, we’ve been reduced to a mere metaphor! And just to rub more salt in the wound, Cole only has an older brother and no younger siblings. Ugh. I mean, if you’re going to hijack our hashtag, couldn’t you at least be a real Middle Child?
     I don’t know, maybe it’s a good thing. The track is Cole’s biggest hit yet. It dropped on January 23, and by the week of February 9, it had already reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and #2 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. And the highly anticipated music video just dropped on Feb. 25, sparking a whole new #middlechild surge.



     So maybe I should be thanking Cole -- make him an honorary Middle Child or something. I mean, borrowed Middle Child buzz is better than no Middle Child buzz at all, right? But on the other hand-- can’t we even have our own hashtag!? We have to share that, too? #sounfair.
     Since J. Cole took our tag, I figured it was fair to rip off his rap for my “Middle Child” parody.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

New Zealand Deals With Middle Child Issues

I.M.C.U. backs #getNZonthemap campaign.

Mapmaker, mapmaker, make me a map...
with New Zealand on it!
     Recently, I learned of a global crisis crying for attention. Well, actually more like just a globe crisis.
     As reported by multiple media outlets, including a recent episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” it seems New Zealand is frequently left off of world maps. Granted, most people probably already have no idea where New Zealand is, but this only makes matters worse. (Actually, maybe that explains why people have no idea where it is.)
     Exactly how big of a problem is it? There’s a subgroup on Reddit called “MapsWithoutNZ” and a “World Maps Without New Zealand” Tumblr where you can find New Zealand-less maps from Ikea, the World Health Organization, and from other places all over the map. Oooh, sorry New Zealand. That was probably insensitive. Even New Zealand’s own government website left New Zealand off the map! I mean, really. The problem is so serious, the Prime Minister of New Zealand launched the #getNZonthemap campaign to help get her country back where it belongs.
Something’s missing, alright!: Even 
New Zealand’s website left New
Zealand off the map, for godsakes!!
     As the founder of the International Middle Child Union I knew it was time to act, so I have an important message for the people of New Zealand: we feel your pain! After all, Middle Children know all too well what it feels like to be left out. Forgotten. Wiped off the map, so to speak. So how can we stand by and watch an entire country get the Middle Child treatment? That’s right, we cannot!
     That’s why today, the I.M.C.U. is announcing its full support for New Zealand’s efforts to regain its rightful place in the world. Or at least on the maps of the world. We’ll be reaching out to millions of Middles and spreading the word on social media to “Stop Treating New Zealand Like A Middle Child!” (Not that it means much. I mean, I can’t even get Middle Children to recognize Middle Child’s Day. But it’s the thought that counts, right?)
      I am calling on Middle Children all around the world to stand with New Zealand as they struggle with this cartographic catastrophe and seek the recognition they deserve. It's a horrible injustice for a nation with more sheep than people to be treated like the black sheep in this way. Ironic, sure, and maybe even a little bit funny -- but a horrible injustice nonetheless.
     In closing, I’d like to echo the words of the late, great Middle Child John F. Kennedy -- and I’m paraphrasing here: “All Middle Children, wherever they may live are citizens of New Zealand, and, therefore, as a Middle Child, I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Kiwi! -- I am a Kiwi!”

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Greatest Middle Child Movies NEVER Made: 2019

I have my un-acceptance speech ready. And the Oscar doesn't go to...




CLICK HERE  to see “The Greatest Middle Child Movies NEVER Made: 2014”
CLICK HERE to see “The Greatest Middle Child Movies NEVER Made: 2018”

Friday, February 22, 2019

15 Memorable Middle Child Movie Moments: Part 2

Academy Awards Special Feature!

   And just when you thought it couldn’t be possible to top “15 Memorable Middle Child Movie Moments: Part 1.” Here's the rest of the best. If you know of any that should be included on the list, comment below or e-mail to: midkidmusings@gmail.com

            DAWN WEINER
played by Heather Matarazzo in “Welcome to the Dollhouse” (1995)
Older brother: Mark/Younger sister: Missy
     E! News says, “No other character better portrays #middlechildproblems quite like Heather Matarazzo's in the '90s classic, Welcome to the Doll House.” Her older brother is smarter and her younger brother is prettier. Mom always takes Missy’s side in disputes with Dawn, and Dad always takes her mother’s side in arguments with Dawn. Nobody is ever on her side! The quintessential Middle Child moment occurs when Dawn won’t tear down her playhouse so her parents can have a 20th Anniversary party in the backyard. Mom has Mark and Missy take it down -- and gives them Dawn’s share of cake!!

DASHIELL 'DASH' PARR
voiced by Spencer Fox in “The Incredibles” (2004)
Older sister: Violet/Younger brother: Jack-Jack
     What Middle Child doesn’t want to feel special? So you’d think having a super power would satisfy Dash. But living in a world where “Supers” aren’t accepted, his mom encourages him to hide his powers and be like everyone else. “But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special,” Dash tells his mom. “Everyone’s special, Dash,” she replies. “Which is another way of saying no one is,” Dash mutters. That is one serious case of Super Middle Child Syndrome.

                      IVY WESTON
played by Julianne Nicholson in “August: Osage County” (2013)
Older sister: Barbara/Younger sister: Karen
     Ivy has felt trapped her whole life. She’s single and the only one of her sisters who never left home, so she bears the brunt of caring for her parents. The only person she can relate to is her cousin Charles. And boy, can she relate. She’s been having a secret affair with her cousin and wants to marry him. But Ivy’s Mom has an even bigger secret: Ivy’s father had a long ago affair with Ivy’s Aunt, Charles’ mom. So Charles is really her brother. Oy. On the plus side, it finally gets Ivy to leave home. Some Middle Children can’t catch a break.

              HOLLY
         played by Dianne Wiest in “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986)
        Older sister: Hannah/Younger sister: Lee
     Just by looking at the poster, you know which sister is Holly. Yeah, not the one in the middle, but the one off to the side looking detached from the other two. Hannah is a successful actress. Meanwhile, Holly’s acting career is in the dumps, so she’s super jealous of Hannah. Sounds about right. Yet she has formed an unhealthy dependency on her big sis, borrowing money from her and dating Hannah’s hypochondriac ex-husband. To make matters worse, much of the movie occurs over three successive Thanksgiving dinners. And everyone knows the Middle Child Syndrome Advisory alert is at the highest level possible when there are large family gatherings.
(AWARD ANNOTATION: Wiest won Best Supporting Actress for her Middle Child portrayal.)

     So far, the list has been limited to characters who were the only movie Middle Child in the family, but these co-star/co-middlers are certainly worth mentioning.

 JOSEPHINE “JO” & ELIZABETH “BETH” MARCH in “Little Women”
Oldest sister: Margaret “Meg”/Youngest sister: Amy
     The March sisters sure know how to get around. Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel has made it to the big screen five times! Strong willed Jo is the main character, exhibiting many of the same characteristics as Alcott, many say. Beth steps in to keep the peace when the sisters argue. Their Middle Sister bond is so strong, when Beth gets scarlet fever, Jo never leaves her side. Here’s the breakdown of actresses who’ve played the Middle March’s.

KATHERINE HEPBURN as Jo/JEAN PARKER as Beth in “Little Women” (1933)
Winner: Best Adapted Screenplay; Nominated: Best Picture.
JUNE ALLYSON as Jo/MARGARET O’BRIEN as Beth in “Little Women” (1949)
Winner: Best Art Direction; Nominated: Best Cinematography.
     O’Brien was presented with an Academy Juvenile Award (who knew this was even a thing?) for “Outstanding Child Actress of 1944.”  This happened before even filming “Little Women,” but she was a little woman at the time, if that counts for something.
(READ ABOUT how O'Brien's Oscar was stolen and found over 50 years later.)

 WINONA RYDER as Jo/CLAIRE DANES as Beth in “Little Women” (1994)
Nominated: Best Actress (Winona Ryder); Best Costume Design; Best Original Score.
SARAH DAVENPORT as Jo/ALLIE JENNINGS as Beth in “Little Women” (2018)
     This present-day update disappointed at the box office and with critics. EW.com wouldn’t even consider it in their ranking of Little Women adaptations.

SAOIRSE RONAN as Jo/ELIZA SCANLEN as Beth in “Little Women” (2019)
     The march of the March’s continues! Scheduled for Christmas 2019 release.

CHARLES, PERCY, GEORGE, FRED & RONALD WEASLEY
Oldest brother: William/Youngest sister: Ginevra Ginny

     So many Weasley’s, so little time. Let’s start with Ron. He’s Harry’s best friend, and clearly the most widely known Weasley. He’s appeared in all eight film adaptations, logging just over 3½ hours of screen time. Moving on to the lesser Weasley’s, troublemaking twins George and Fred also appear in all eight films. They may be identical, but not when it comes to screen time: George gets just slightly over 20 minutes, while Fred gets slightly under. Percy is the measly Weasley, only speaking in three films with a little over three minutes on screen. And then comes Charlie, the forgotten Weasley. He’s only seen, and his only scene, is in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” when there’s a glimpse of him in a Weasley family photo album. He’s not even credited. Ouch.

FREDO & MICHAEL CORLEONE played by John Cazale & Al Pacino
in “The Godfather” (1973)/“The Godfather: Part II” (1975)
Oldest brother: Sonny/Younger sister: Connie

     While Fredo was the middle Corleone son (see this previous “Profiles in Middledom” post), younger brother Michael was a Mid Kid tooEven though he “never wanted this” for his baby boy, when Don Corleone retires he still chooses Michael to lead the family. That's how little confidence he had in the feeble Fredo.
(AWARD ANNOTATION: Pacino received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for “The Godfather,” and a Best Actor nomination for “The Godfather II.”)


     In total, the actors actresses on this list have been nominated by the Academy 26 times for Best Actor/Actress or Best Supporting Actor/Actress, and have won nine times. Just four of those nominations were for movies on this list however, and of those only one walked away with an Oscar: Dianne Wiest. The rest were runners-up, which somehow seems fitting.

COMING SUNDAY: More “Greatest Middle Child Movies NEVER Made.”

Monday, February 18, 2019

15 Memorable Middle Child Movie Moments: Part 1

    Academy Awards Special Feature!

     Hollywood’s big night is almost here! What better time to pay tribute to the greatest Middle Child movies of all time? Oh right, there are none. Okay... what better time to pay tribute to films where a Middle Child is the protagonist, or at least plays a pivotal part? Yeah, that could work.

SAMANTHA “SAM” BAKER
played by Molly Ringwald in “Sixteen Candles” (1984)
Older sister: Ginny/Younger brother: Mike
     The premise of John Hughes’ teen angst classic is so Middle Child-ish, it has to top the list. It’s Sam’s 16th birthday, but her family is so consumed with her older sister’s wedding the next day, everyone has completely forgotten her birthday! It doesn’t get any more Middle Child than that.


                                              DONNIE DARKO
played by Jake Gyllenhaal in “Donnie Darko” (2001)
Older sister: Elizabeth/Younger sister: Samantha
     It’s not often a Middle Child gets top billing, so this film makes the list. After a near death experience, Donnie sees visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who convinces him to commit crimes. When a plane his younger sister is on explodes, one of the jet engines falls into Donnie’s bedroom, crushing him to death. Talk about your troubled Middle Child.
(SIBLING SIDENOTE: Jake’s older sister Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Donnie’s older sister.)


                                          SODAPOP CURTIS
played by Rob Lowe in “The Outsiders” (1983)
Older brother: Darrel/Younger brother: Ponyboy
     Like many Middle Children, Sodapop is the peacemaker. According to Shmoop.com, “He takes his role as middle brother seriously, and is constantly the in-between for Pony and Darry, acting as a buffer against their constant clashes.” That doesn’t mean he enjoys being a sibling mediator. “I can't stand to hear y'all fight,” he says. “Sometimes I have to get out or… it's like a middleman in a tug o' war and I'm being split in half…” You’re preaching to the choir, Soda.

                                  MAXINE JOSEPH
             played by Vivica A. Fox in “Soul Food” (1997)
Older sister: Teri/Younger sister: Robin “Bird”
     Maxine doesn’t have such a great relationship with her older sister. Oh, maybe that’s because she stole her sister’s boyfriend and married him. Okay, so maybe Middle Children aren’t always the peacemaker in the family.


EDITH GRU
voiced by Dana Gaier in “Despicable Me” (2010)
Older sister: Margo/Younger sister: Agnes
     According to the Despicable Me Wiki page, “Edith is currently the least explored of the three sisters, which is understandable considering she's the Middle Child, the likes of which are stereotypically neglected by their parents.” That is truly despicable.

ELLIOTT TAYLOR
played by Henry Thomas in “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)
Older brother: Michael/Younger sister: Gertie
     A lonely ten year old longing for friendship forms a psychic connection with a big eyed, long necked, Reese’s Pieces loving alien. Of course the kid’s a Middle Child! While not the title character, maybe Elliot can lay claim to top billing since his initials are also E.T? Can’t blame a MidKid for trying.

TRISTAN LUDLOW
played by Brad Pitt in “Legends of the Fall” (1994)
Older brother: Alfred/Younger brother Samuel
     Three brothers live in remote Montana -- isn't that redundant? -- with their father in the early 20th century, but there’s an outrageous twist: the Middle Child is actually his father’s favorite son! Unheard of!! This movie must be pure fiction. Brad Pitt wins a Middie Award for “Best Looking Movie Middle Child Ever.” He also wins a Middie for “Best Middle Child Line in a Non-Middle Child Movie” for this classic scene as Tyler Durden in “Fight Club.”
(SIBLING SIDENOTE: Henry Thomas appears in his second movie on the list,
this time as Pitt’s little brother Samuel.)

RYAN BINGHAM
played by George Clooney in “Up in the Air” (2009)
Older sister: Kara/Younger sister: Julie
     Mega-frequent flier Ryan Bingham spends most of his life travelling for business. His goal is to become the seventh and youngest person to earn ten million AAdvantage miles. In a true act of Middle Child selflessness, Ryan transfers 1,000,000 miles to his sister and brother-in-law so they can fly around the world for their honeymoon. Clooney was also Middie nominated for “Best Looking Movie Middle Child Ever,” losing to real-life pal Pitt.
(AWARD ANNOTATION: Clooney was a Best Supporting Actor nominee 
for his Middle Child portrayal.)

COMING FRIDAY: 15 Memorable Middle Child Movie Moments: Part 2

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Share The Love?

The 2019 Middle Child Valentine's Day Cards are here!

This Valentine's Day, make love not war! Celebrate the day with the world's most (in)famous Middle Child lovebirds. And CLICK HERE to see the entire collection of Middle Child Valentine's Day cards.

(CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE, SAVE & SEND)
























CLICK HERE to see the trailer for "Middle Child Love Story."

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Monumental Middle Child Mistreatment

     Experts say that Middle Children learn at a young age how to mediate as we often find ourselves literally in the middle of sibling turf wars. So it should come as no surprise that the President who presided over the biggest family feud this country has ever seen was a Middle Child. Abraham Lincoln was the second of three children -- the purest form of Middle Child there is. Lincoln had an older sister, Sarah, and a younger brother, Thomas.
     Also not surprising for a Middle Child, his birthday is largely forgotten! Just a handful of states still remember Lincoln’s birthday! (It’s today, February 12.) Only Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and New York acknowledge it as a legal holiday. New Jersey used to, but in 2008 they pulled the plug on Lincoln's birthday as a public holiday. Worse yet -- the state he was born in doesn't even officially acknowledge the day. Shame on you, Kentucky!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Greatest Middle Child Love of All

     As Valentine’s Day approaches, it seems only fitting that we pay tribute to one of the greatest Middle Child love stories of all time. The bromance between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un is about as unlikely as a pussy-grabbing, xenophobic, self-tanning NYC real-estate developer getting elected President of the United States. But there you go.
     How these one-time fierce foes fell hair over heels and into each other’s nuclear arms is a mystery of modern day diplomacy. I’ll bet these two war hawks turned love birds can hardly wait until they meet at their next “summit” (nudge nudge, wink wink). And certainly nobody wants to see what happens if they ever have lover’s quarrel.
     So how could someone not make a major motion picture about this long distance love-fest?
     Oh wait, maybe someone already has...

COMING NEXT WEEK:
New Trump/Kim Mid Kid Valentine’s Day cards.




Wednesday, January 30, 2019

No Comment!


   It’s often said that as Middle Children, we feel like we have to try a little harder to be heard. That’s why I’ve always encouraged readers of this blog to comment and share their thoughts. In fact, a number of my most recent posts were the result of feedback from readers, including this one. But it appears the good folks at Blogger.com, and the little company you may have heard of that owns them named Google, are part of a widespread conspiracy to silence us!
     A few weeks ago, I received a disturbing e-mail from a reader named Melissa B:

“Hi! You have no idea how much I love, and need, your blog. I have been trying and
trying to post a comment. It will not post!!! I have tried everything. If worse comes
to worst, could I email you my comment and you put it in?”

     Then, before I even had a chance to respond, I received this desperate follow-up:

“I can't post my comments. Anywhere. At all.
I have found my people, I need to be heard!!!”

     Just what in the name of Jan Brady is going on here!? I immediately dispatched the entire Smack Dab IT department to investigate this issue, and what they we I discovered was baffling. It turns out if you want to comment, you have to click where it says NO COMMENTS. What the what!? Click NO COMMENTS to comment? Doesn’t that seem counterintuitive? Shouldn’t it say something like, oh, I dunno -- maybe, COMMENT?? Clearly, some first or last born HTML coder feeling threatened by the mere thought of a Middle Child speaking out came up with that brainstorm!


     In any case, mystery solved. Another satisfied customer. Melissa was kind enough to call me “the renaissance man of Mid Kids,” but also offered this piece of advice. “Be careful!” she warned. “If you get too successful, you might come off more like... a first born.”
     Don’t fret, Melissa. That’s not something that will ever happen.

Thank you Melissa for telling me about this scene from Modern Family (Season 2/Ep. 23),
when Claire and Phil are about to miss Alex’s High School graduation speech.
It’s now the newest addition to “Middle Child Masterpiece Theater.



See the entire “Middle Child Masterpiece Theater” collection at the SmackDab Channel on YouTube.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Shut Downs & Shut Ups: Middle Child Talking Points

     As the Founding Father of the Middle Child Party, I spend a lot of time tracking the antics of our Middle Child-in-Chief. And as the partial government shutdown enters its second month, I’ve been spending even more time lately thinking about the sad state of affairs in our nation’s capitol. It seems our elected officials talk over each other and through each other, but nobody is really talking to each other. As a result, the state of our union is in a state of perpetual stalemate. But regardless of party affiliation, there’s one thing we all can agree on: politicians love to talk. And Middle Child politicians are some of the best in the biz.
     Nothing illustrates my point better than the political Talk-a-Thon known as the filibuster (a.k.a. every Middle Child’s dream come true). The chance to be center stage, talking for hours on end without interruption. I get all giddy just thinking about it. And while there’s no scientific proof that Middle Children talk more than other people, there is this: some of the longest filibusters in U.S. history were staged by Middle Children. Of course, there’s a very good reason we might love to hear ourselves talk so much. Nobody else wants to listen! I have to admit, when it comes to talking, these Middle Children make me look like a lightweight:
Double Talk: Rand Paul delivered TWO
of the longest filibusters in U.S. history.
     Sen. Rand Paul (KY) has the distinction of staging two of the longest filibusters in U.S. Senate history. On May 20, 2015, the self-professed patriot started talking for 10 hours/31 minutes attempting to block... the Patriot Act. On March 6, 2013, he droned on for 12 hours/52 minutes protesting -- wait for it -- drones!
     The aptly named Sen. Huey Long (LA) spoke for 15 hours/30 minutes from June 12-13, 1935, attempting to stop passage of a bill he later voted for.
     Sen. William Proxmire (WI) spoke for 16 hours/12 minutes from Sept. 28-29, 1981, attempting to prevent national debt from exceeding a mere $1 trillion at the time. He clearly failed. Currently at almost $22 trillion, imagine how much longer he’d have to speak today.
Middle Child Strom Thurmond:
a world class windbag.

     Sen. Wayne Morse (OR) spent 22 hours/26 minutes on April 24-25, 1953, trying to submarine legislation letting Texas control submerged lands in the Gulf of Mexico.
     Sen. Strom Thurmond (SC) staged the longest filibuster in U.S. history - 24 hours/18 minutes - wasting everyone’s time on August 28-29, 1957, trying to stop passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. When it comes to filibusters, that makes him the undisputed King of the (Capitol) Hill.

The shutdown's over, but the melody lingers on:
watch “Music for a Government Shutdown

UPDATE ON LAST POST (“Let’s Kick and Make Up”): I was unable to contact “Kim the Kicker” before posting, but did hear from her shortly after. Not surprisingly, she claims to have no memory of “Kick-gate.” “Wow, absolutely no recollection of that at all! Will an apology work now?" she offers. Oh really, Kim?? I’m pretty sure the damage is already done! Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure that’s not even an actual apology. It’s more like an offer of an apology! Whatever. I am SO over it.