Sunday, December 20, 2015

A College Football First!

     It’s college bowl season, and with 40 games to be played, there are some really bad bowls out there. This year’s menu of mediocrity features 12 teams with 6-6 records. It’s SO bad, there are even three teams with losing records playing in bowls! With the quality of bowl games sinking to a new low, CBS Sports' Tom Fornelli, who ranks the Bottom 25 teams throughout the season, suggested in a recent post we might as well put winless teams in a bowl game. “Hell, why not just create a bowl specifically for them?” he wondered. Ask and ye shall receive, Mr. Fornelli.
     The International Middle Child Union is proud to announce the first ever I.M.C.U. Middle Child Bowl: the college football game nobody wants to pay attention to. The two worst teams in the country vying for their moment in the lowlight. Two power(less)houses going head to head in an epic battle of winless wonders. The loser is awarded the ultimate prize for their lack of accomplishments -- the coveted Jan Brady Trophy! So who gets to play in this shit show?
     Choosing the best of the worst is no easy task. I started with Fornelli’s bottom 25, where he ranks the 0-12 University of Central Florida Knights 25th and the 0-12 Kansas Jayhawks 24th. But to assure the Middle Child Bowl showcases the very best of the worst, I did a little digging. After all, a winless team might not actually be as bad as their record indicates. I mean, they’re still really bad, but depending on the teams they play, they might be better than, say, a 1 or 2 win team. According to the CBS Sports rankings of all 128 teams in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), UCF brings up the rear at 128th, while Kansas wreaks slightly less at 124th. So perhaps there’s another team more deserving --or is that more less deserving?
     Let’s start the selection process by eliminating any team that breaks the Top 100 on either side of the ball. The 125th ranked UNC/Charlotte 49ers (2-10) boast the 88th best defense, while the 126th ranked Eastern Michigan Eagles (1-11) tout the 73rd
ranked offense -- far too lofty numbers for a game of this caliber, so they’re both out. The 127th ranked North Texas Mean Green (1-11) and their 112th ranked offense is slightly lower than Kansas’ 110th ranked unit, but the Mean Green’s defense is ranked 120th, compared to the Jayhawks at 128th, which is dead last. North Texas is also 10 spots higher than UCF’s 122nd ranked offense, and 5 spots lower than UCF’s 115th ranked defense -- not bad enough to make the cut. So that settles it. It’s the University of Central Florida Knights battling the Kansas Jayhawks for a shot at college football futility in the inaugural I.M.C.U. Middle Child Bowl. May the less worst team win.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Middle Child's Thanksgiving Survival Guide

     The Holiday Season is officially here! That means it’s prime time for the inevitable slights and oversights the Middle Child experiences whenever the family gets together. With that in mind, I am raising the Middle Child Syndrome Advisory to HIGH from now through New Year’s. I also offer the following suggestions to help make your Thanksgiving if not a happy one, at least bearable.

DO NOT OVERREACT... when your Mother says she made your favorite Thanksgiving recipe, and you find out it was really one of your siblings’ favorite recipes.
TRY NOT TO WHINE... when you are seated at the “Kids Table” table. Again.
JUST SMILE... when your Father keeps bragging to everyone about your brother’s big promotion and what a great job your sister has, then asks, “What exactly is it that you do?”
DON’T BE DISAPPOINTED... that all your siblings got bigger slices of pie. And more leftovers to take home.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH... when you find out your vintage comic book collection has been discarded, and your childhood room had been turned into an extra closet.
EAT LOTS OF TURKEY... let the tryptophan kick in, and if you’re lucky you’ll pass out. When you awake, hopefully Thanksgiving will be over.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween’s Greatest Middle Child.

     “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” has been airing every year around Halloween since 1966. But while Charlie Brown gets top billing, the real star of the show isn’t pumpkin-headed Charlie. It’s his blanket toting buddy, Linus Van Pelt
     Linus first mentioned the Great Pumpkin in 1959, which inspired the 1966 animated television special. No one else believes in the mythical gourd, except for Linus. Every year (for almost 60 years) , he sits in a pumpkin patch on Halloween waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive, which never happens.  Linus is defeated, but determined, vowing  to wait for him again the following Halloween. What else would you expect from a Middle Child? That’s right, Linus is a Middle Child!
Rerun VanPelt (Licensed under
Fair Use via Wikipedia.)
     Everyone knows Linus' older sister, Lucy.  But baby bro Rerun was first mentioned on May 23, 1972: Lucy throws Linus out of the house and then finds out another little brother had just been born. Lucy declares "A new baby brother? But I just got rid of the old one!" She comments that having a second younger brother is like watching reruns on television, and Linus suggests naming him just that.
     Rerun actually appears in the strip for the first time almost a year later, on March 26, 1973 -- an identical but smaller version of Linus. In later years, Linus attempts to make Rerun a Great Pumpkin believer, taking his wary and embarrassed little brother door-to-door to spread the word. But even Rerun could not be converted. So this Halloween, let’s pay tribute to Halloween’s most famous forgotten Middle Child and share some Great Pumpkin love. Don’t do it for me. Do it for Linus!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Christopher, Christopher, Christopher!

     Let’s close the schools. Let’s have parades for him and name cities and streets all across the country after him. Let’s even reduce all sofa and loveseat living room sets by 30%! Columbus Day is all about Christopher. But what about his younger, and Smack Dab Middle brother, Bartolome? 
     Bart was a mapmaker in Lisbon, who together with Chris came up with the plan to reach the Orient by a Western route, which, by the way, they never accomplished. But even that didn’t stop the elder Columbus from becoming famous -- for getting lost! 
     While Chris stayed stateside drumming up support for their plan, Bart went to England seeking assistance from Henry VII. He was taken by pirates en route and arrived in England in bad shape, so it didn’t go well when he presented himself at the Kings Court. So he headed over to France to hit up Charles VII, but also came up empty. Meanwhile, Chris convinced Ferdinand and Isabella to fork over some cash. When Bart got the news, he headed back to Spain -- but big bro had already left without him! Nice. 
     Bart did finally get to Hispaniola in 1494 to meet his brother, where he remained for six years serving as governor. He also founded the city of Santo Domingo, and accompanied his brother on his fourth and final journey. But still, it’s always, “Chris did this,” or “Chris did that!” Not that Christopher wasn’t willing to share any of the spotlight. When things fell apart in Hispaniola, they were imprisoned together. So at least Bart got to share jail time with his brother. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Middle Child's Day Special Election Update!


You can analyze the polls to determine who might have the edge to become the next Presidential nominee of their party, but you’d be looking in the wrong place. Over half of all U.S. Presidents were Middle Children. If you want to know who has what it takes to be President, start with birth order! According to a joint study conducted by the Middle Child Party and International Middle Child Union, of the top ten 2016 Republican candidates, 40% (4) are Middle Children, 40% are the oldest, and 20% (2) are the youngest. Throw in the second tier candidates, and those numbers shift slightly: 37% (6) are Middle Children, 37% are the oldest, and 26% (4) are the youngest. (We couldn’t verify Jim Gilmore’s birth order status, but I’m pretty sure that’s not an issue.)
Most people think that first-borns are the natural born leaders, but experts say that since most Middle Children feel their older and younger siblings get special treatment, Mid Kids learn early on how to negotiate for what they want. As a result, we tend to be agreeable, diplomatic, compromising, handle disappointment well, and have realistic expectations. Those sound like Presidential qualities to me.
Here’s a list of all the contenders and their birth order, with special commentary on the top Middle Child candidates:


Candidate: Donald Trump Birth Order: Middle Child
This is what happens when a Middle Child gets too much attention. As if the hair didn’t scream, “Look at me” enough, now he’s literally screaming at anyone and everyone he wants. He’s like a Middle Child on steroids!

Candidate: Jeb Bush Birth Order: Middle Child
His older brother was a Governor, so he becomes a Governor. Then his older brother was President, just like their father, so now he wants to be President, too. Classic Middle Child behavior, always trying to live up to the expectations set by your older brother. NOTE TO JEB: It usually doesn’t end well.

                                    CandidateScott Walker Birth OrderOldest
                                    CandidateMike Huckabee Birth OrderYoungest
                                    CandidateDr. Ben Carson Birth OrderYoungest
                                    CandidateTed Cruz Birth OrderOldest

Candidate: Marco Rubio Birth Order: Middle Child
On the surface, Rubio appears to be a completely well adjusted Middle Child. But that’s the kind you really have to watch out for, because there is no such thing as a well adjusted Middle Child!

Candidate: Rand Paul Birth Order: Middle Child
Also went into the same line of work as his father. He once filibustered for almost 13 hours straight, and another time for almost 10 hours! Think he likes being the center of attention much?

                                    Candidate: Chris Christie Birth Order: Oldest
                                    Candidate: John Kasich Birth Order: Oldest

                                    Candidate: Rick Perry Birth Order: Youngest
                                    Candidate: Rick Santorum Birth Order: Middle Child
                                    Candidate: Carly Fiorina Birth Order: Middle Child
                                    Candidate: Bobby Jindal Birth Order: Oldest
                                    Candidate: Lindsey Graham Birth Order: Oldest
                                    Candidate: George Pataki Birth Order: Youngest
                                    Candidate: Jim Gilmore Birth Order: N/A, but probably doesn’t matter!

                                    Candidate: Hillary Clinton Birth Order: Oldest

                                    Candidate: Bernie Sanders Birth Order: Youngest

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

7 Great Ways to Celebrate Middle Child's Day!

Middle Child's Day is tomorrow, and the Smack Dab Blog is where you'll find complete coverage of all the day's events. It's a pretty easy job, since nothing is happening, but what else is new? Here are 7 great ways to make this the most memorable Middle Child's Day yet -- which really isn't saying much since no one ever remembers Middle Child's Day!!

1. Send a Middle Child's Day Greeting Card: 
It's the least you can do to let your favorite Middle Children know that you're thinking of them on their special day. Really -- it's the very least you can do.

2. Buy a gift from the Smack Dab Shop:
Order today and there's NO WAY it will arrive in time for Middle Child's Day, but they'll be so happy you actually remembered, they won't even care!  (All profits are donated to UNICEF.) CLICK HERE TO SHOP

3. Update your Social Media Profile: Honor the day by changing your social media profile pic to a famous Middle Child! Check out the Smack Dab Middle Child Icon Gallery and choose from more than 50 real-life and make-believe Mid Kids, including the new Caitlyn Jenner icon! CLICK HERE TO CHOOSE

4. Take a Middle Child to celebrate at an MiLB game: For the second year, the International Middle Child Union has reached out to Minor League and Independent League professional baseball teams to stage "Middle Child Appreciation Nights" at stadiums all across the country. Here's a list of teams participating this year. At least they said they were!
AUG 11: Greeneville Astros, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, San Jose Giants AUG 12: Augusta Green Jackets, Batavia Muckdogs, Beloit Snappers, Bowie Baysox, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Charlotte Stone Crabs, Elizabethton Twins, Joplin Blasters, Jupiter Hammerheads, Lakeland Flying Tigers, Lakewood Blueclaws, Laredo Lemurs, Lincoln Saltdogs, Mobile Bay Bears, New Britain Rock Cats, Round Rock Express, St. Lucie Mets, Sussex County Miners, Syracuse Chiefs, Wilmington Blue Rocks AUG 13: Camden Riversharks, Fort Meyers Miracle, AUG 16: Sioux Falls Canaries AUG 18: Grand Prairie Airhogs, South Bend Cubs AUG 19: Burlington Bees, Fresno Grizzlies, Rockland Boulders AUG 26: Auburn Doubledays

5. Download your very own International Middle Child Union Membership Card: What better time to become a card carrying Middle Child? Of course, membership is FREE. Having to pay would be like rubbing salt in the wound.

6. View and share the Middle Child Anthem video: featuring over 100 famous Middle Children!

7. Make this the LAST TIME we celebrate Middle Child's Day on August 12!: Sign the petition to move Middle Child's Day to a day that makes more sense: July 2, the MIDDLE of the year! Maybe then, people will remember?


Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Tony Awards: the Forgotten Middle Child of Awards Shows.

     The 69th annual Tony Awards are Sunday night!!!!  I know, I know... does anybody really care?  I certainly don’t, and based on TV viewership, apparently I’m not alone.
     When I sat down to write this post, I knew the Tony’s wouldn’t be the most popular awards show. But I figured they’d have to be up there. I mean, they've been around for almost 70 years. I knew the Oscars would top the list. It’s like the Super Bowl of awards shows. And I wasn’t surprised that the Grammy's, Golden Globes and Emmy’s are each more popular. I figured the Tony’s might round out the top 5, though. But they’re not even in the Top 10! There’s a host of other awards shows people pay more attention to -- some I’ve never even heard of and others I’ve never seen. Here's a list from 2014, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Even the People’s Choice Awards -- an awards show with no surprises because the winners are notified in advance -- eats Tony’s lunch.
Did You See Last Year's Opening!?:
Me neither.
     Look, it’s not exactly like these are glory days for any awards show.  The 2015 Academy Awards dropped 18% from the year before, hitting a 6 year low of 36.6 million viewers. ( CLICK HERE to review my exclusive Middle Child coverage.) The Grammy’s also hit a 6 year low of 25.3 million. The Golden Globes were down 11% to 19.6 million. But even though major awards shows are tanking left and right, they’re all still kicking little Tony’s ass!!  Poor Tony draws barely over 7 million viewers. Low woman on the awards show totem poll, for sure. So that’s why Tony has earned it's Middle Child status: nobody really cares about it, but it just won’t go away.
SCHEDULE CHANGE: And speaking of awards shows nobody cares about... this year’s annual “Middie Awards,” honoring the best in attention-seeking, Middle Child-like behavior, will be announced on August 12 -- Middle Child’s Day! Check your local listings to find out when they will not be aired in your area.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Shut up, Middle Child! (or "Pardon the Interruption.")

     When my wife flashed “that look” at me from across the table, I knew I was in trouble. We were out to dinner with friends, and I figured I must have said something I shouldn't have said. I do that a lot. (Luckily, she wasn't sitting next to me, or it would've been a painful, yet stealth, kick in the shin.) When we got back home, I learned what had earned her glaring gaze. “You kept interrupting Steve,” she informed me. “You do that all the time!” “You mean to Steve?” I asked. “No,” she said. “To everyone.” It was like a punch to the gut. Could this be true? Could I be a serial interrupter, and not know it?? Before you answer, let me finish...
     Later in the week, I was going over final details on a project I was working on, when I received the following e-mail:

     I mean, I must talk really, really fast, because she wasn't just asking me to speak slowly -- she was practically begging me! Not one please, not two pleases, but three pleases!?! She might as well have thrown in a “for the love of God,” for good measure. Oh, and make sure to pause so someone else can get a word in edgewise, you fast talking, interrupter!!
     It was an ego bruising week, until I realized that none of this was my fault. Of course I talk fast. It only makes sense that I interrupt. I’m a Middle Child! We spend our formative years doing whatever we can to get your attention, and once we get it, who knows how long we’ll be able to hold it? We know it won’t be long until we’re cast aside, so talking fast is a matter of survival! And since we’re pretty used to never getting the attention we seek, we also can’t afford to sit around and wait until there’s a break in the conversation, or until you’re actually finished speaking. We have to seize the moment, even if it’s right in the middle of your moment. So no longer will I apologize for talking fast and interrupting. I will own it, for this is my birthright! My name is Bruce, and I am a conversation crashing motor-mouth. Hey, a Middle Child’s gotta do what a Middle Child’s gotta do.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Here's to the "Middle Child": a St. Patrick's Day toast.

     I don’t want to perpetuate stereotypes, but I can’t help but think of beer when I think of St. Patrick’s Day. You might recall that last St. Patty’s Day, I posted a review of the world’s most famous, and totally fictitious, Middle Child brews. (See “St. Patrick’s Day Special: A Middle Child Beer Guide.”) I had a lot of fun making up the names and labels, but this year I didn't have to. I found an honest-to-goodness, real life Middle Child beer. It’s from Bog Iron Brewing in Norton, MA, and it’s called, what else -- “Middle Child.” It’s a Double IPA that gets a Beer Advocate rating of 90! According to BA, “you should expect something robust, malty, alcoholic and with a hop profile that might rip your tongue out.” That sounds pleasant.
     In any case, as the founder and leader of the International Middle Child Union, I reached out to the folks at Bog Iron. I figured, who wouldn't want the endorsement of a powerful international union. Have you heard from them? Me neither. Do these guys not realize what the support of the I.M.C.U. could do for their business!?! Or maybe they do. Whatever. I’m not one to hold a grudge. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m a Middle Child -- of course I’m one to hold a grudge. But I’m not going to in this instance. In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I raise a glass of “Middle Child,” and wish you all a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Return of "The MidKid Road Trip"

It looks SO much closer
on a map!
     You might remember that two months ago I posted and Tweeted about my two day drive from New Jersey to Florida with my in-laws. (See "The MidKid Road Trip" Day 1 Day 2) Back then, I said I was going to Tweet the return journey home. I really was going to. But shortly into the return trip, I knew it would be totally pointless. It didn't take long before I realized my in-laws were basically saying the very same things they said on the trip down! Tweeting the trip north would be a total repeat of the trip south, right down to the constant “losing” of eye glasses and “misplacing” of medication, cell phones and personal items -- without ever leaving the car. It was a virtual carbon copy.
     I did a little statistical breakdown of my in-laws conversation traits on the trip home: 76% of the things they say contradict something they previously said; 84% are something they just said less than an hour ago; and a whopping 99.4% of the things my father-in-law says are somehow related to food. I’ll spare you all the gory details, but here are a few observations from the trip:
     - My father in-law’s geographical shortcomings somehow got even shorter over the last two months. He has now given up completely on acknowledging any difference between North and South Carolina, lumping them instead into one state -- “Carolina.” I suppose he could be making a historical reference to the period from 1663 to 1710 when they really were one colony, but I don’t think so. He has also apparently granted statehood to Washington, D.C.
     - Is it all old people, or just my in-laws who can’t resist the urge to read every road sign they see aloud!?! “Rest Area ahead.” “Best prices on Fireworks!” “Richmond - 82 miles.” When it’s a sign about food, it’s like my father-in-law hit the jackpot! Just when I think they've run out of stories to re-tell and I might get to enjoy a rare moment of silence, there’s another damn road sign! Note to the aged: road signs are not meant to be conversation starters. If you ever want to know how many signs there are between Florida and New Jersey, just ask my in-laws. They have recited them all.
    - Watching my in-laws trying to get into and out of their seat belts is like watching Harry Houdini being locked in heavy chains and trying to escape. Actually, that’s not fair to Houdini. He was also strapped in a straight jacket and underwater and still could extricate himself quicker! By the time my in-laws had seat belted themselves in after breakfast, it was time for lunch.
Suggested title for a movie about a
meteorologist: CLUELESS! 
     - Do you know any group of professionals who does their job worse than weathermen -- except maybe congress? I checked the forecast for the Eastern seaboard up until the morning we left to make sure conditions would be clear. There wasn't a hint of bad weather to be found. CUT TO... with the exception of the first 15 minutes of our trip, over the course of two days we experienced every form of precipitation know to man! It started with rain. Then blinding, torrential downpours of biblical proportions. (Thankfully, we were spared locusts and frogs.) Sleet. Snow. Hail. Graupel. (Look it up.) We drove through it all. So our trip went into extra innings the first day, with a bonus two hours of bumper to bumper traffic in South Carolina. Then, to top it off, there was a 35 mph speed limit on the NJ Turnpike the second day. (I know this because my in-laws repeatedly read me the speed limit signs.) It was the perfect little cherry atop my F*CK ME sundae.
        Finally, if you are ever considering offering to drive your in-laws to and from Florida, I have a word of advice: don't.

Friday, February 20, 2015

87th Academy Awards Preview: Are Middle Children Better Actors?

     At first glance, it would appear this won't be a very good year for Middle Children at the Academy Awards. I’m no math whiz, but I did a little statistical breakdown, and the numbers are dismal. Each of the four acting categories has five nominees, which means there are a total of 20 acting nominees. First the bad news: only four out of 20 nominees are Middle Children. That’s just 20%! In the “Best Actor” category, Eddie Redmayne is the only Middle Child nominee -- a mere 1/5 of the category. It’s the same story in the “Best Supporting Actress” category -- Patricia Arquette is the sole Middle Child representative. The “Best Supporting Actor” category offers the best chances for a Middle Child to walk away with an Oscar: 40% of the nominees are Mid Kids - Robert Duvall and J.K. Simmons. (Sadly, only one can win.) And I can safely say that there is no chance a Middle Child will win “Best Actress, as none of the nominees are MidKids. Not great numbers, right? By comparison, last year there were seven Middle Child acting nominees. But while numbers don’t lie, they don’t always tell the truth, either.
I want to make a Golden
Globes joke SO badly!

     While only four MidKids are nominated, here's the good news: I say 75% of Middle Children nominees will win! Let me state that even more impressively: Middle Children will win all of the categories they are nominated in. 100%. That’s right, a Middle Child sweep. Eddie Redmayne in “Theory of Everything”, Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood” and J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash.” (Sorry, Mr. Duvall, but as a Middle Child, you should be used to not being the favorite.) And the chances that any of these MidKids will thank their older or younger siblings during their acceptance speeches? 0%!!
Enjoy the show...

Find out everything you never needed to know about all the Middle Child nominees!
Follow @MidKidMusings on Sunday Night for the SmackDabLIVE! Academy Awards Tweetcast.

Use this handy chart to impress friends and family with your
worthless knowledge of Academy Award nominee birth order!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Can You Feel the Love, Middle Child?

     Yeah, me neither. So, once again, I've created Valentine's Day cards with extra special sentiments just for Middle Children. Because the only thing worse than feeling left out, left alone and left behind, is feeling that way on Valentine's Day! (CLICK HERE to see cards from previous years.)
     This year's cards might not make you feel any better, but at least you’ll know you weren't forgotten! Hey, it's a start.
Click on images to see them larger, then download and e-mail, or just forward the link to this post. And if you want to totally blow a Middle Child's mind on Valentine's Day, buy them a gift from the Smack Dab Shop!

     Oh, did I forget to wish you a Happy Valentine's Day!? How typical.

Friday, January 30, 2015

SmackDab Sports Super Bowl XLIX Pick

     This year’s Super Bowl pick is a real no-brainer for me, for a couple of reasons. First off, the Seahawks are stacked with Middle Children at key positions. Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch -- all MidKids. Tom Brady, on the other hand, is the poster child for everything that is not Middle Child-ish. He’s the baby of the family and the only boy. No wonder he’s used to getting his way. Gronk’s a baby too. And no, I am not going to make a “the Patriots are a bunch of babies” joke. Not gonna do it.
     My second reason for picking the Seahawks is that as a lifelong, suffering Miami Dolphins fan, I can't root for the Patriots. Can't do it. It's simply not allowed. Except when they play the Jets, of course. So I’m pretty much contractually obligated to root for the Seahawks -- even though I’m not a huge Pete Carroll fan either. I still have not forgiven him for his past transgressions against the Dolphins.(CLICK HERE and HERE to see what I'm talking about.) So in a perfect world, I guess I’d like the Seahawks to win but somehow for Pete Carroll to lose. Short of that, I’m sticking with my pick. Go Seahawks!!

NOTE: Last year I picked against Seattle, and we all know how that worked out. Even though I’m picking the Seahawks to win this year, as a Middle Child I fully expect NOT to get what I want, so you can be pretty sure the Pats will win.