My 1980s McDonald's Family

In 1984, my grade school class and others of the same age throughout the area were given the task of creating a drawing depicting the importance of agriculture in our society. The drawings would be displayed and judged at the local McDonald's and winners would be presented with awards on a special night at the fast-food paradise.

I won second place for my barnyard cartoon featuring a cow I completely copied out of one of those how-to-draw books. I'm a little surprised that I can't find the original drawing but I'm sure it's still around somewhere.

Anyway, my prize was a McDonald's pen that looked exactly like this one I found on eBay, only mine was brown.

More importantly, this snapshot of me accepting my ballpoint award represents the only image I have of the four cornerstone pieces of vintage McDonaldland decor I recall from my local restaurant.

In each of the four corners of my local McDonald's were the members of what my brother and I always pretended were a family -- one corner was the mom gathering flowers (seen in the snapshot), one corner had a dad, another corner had a boy in a tree, and the final corner was girl. My brother would always get under my skin by telling me that he was the boy in the tree and I was the girl.


Many years ago, the McDonald's in my town was remodeled and these corner images were removed. Being the materialistic and nostalgic collector that I am, it might be surprising that I don't want the actual wall prints of all four (although that would be amazing). I just want to see them again -- my dad, my mom gathering flowers, my brother in the tree, and me (the girl).

Anyone have any leads?

A Second-Grade Activist

I don't often write about my family on here, but my pride spilled over this week.

My second-grade daughter was given an assignment to present a "living biography" to her classmates which was to include a first-person oral presentation while dressed in character as the individual she chose. While she had every opportunity to complete this assignment as any one of countless "traditional" heroes, my daughter chose Malala Yousafzai -- a Nobel Prize winning activist for human rights and female education she learned about thanks to her mom.

As I watched my daughter's presentation to her class this morning, I felt pride in every sense of the word. As one who certainly appreciates those who fight for what they believe in -- one who spent the better part of his high school years in Smalltown, USA catching flak for his Malcolm X t-shirts -- I'm proud of my daughter for going against the grain by teaching her classmates about someone outside the typical list of "people who have made a difference." Equally, I'm proud to be married to a woman who is teaching our children about heroes like Malala Yousafzai.

While this two-minute biography may seem like just another second grade assignment to you, it made this dad proud beyond anything I could ever express in a blog post.

Nerd Lunch 226: NWA

This week's Nerd Lunch Podcast -- Episode 226 -- features a conversation I was glad to be a part of.

Listen in as Pax hosts this episode featuring Eclectik from the UnderScoopFire Podcast and myself as we talk about the "world's most dangerous group" -- NWA.