Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Resolutions – This Year, They’re Gonna Stick!

Well, that time is upon us again. No not preseason NASCAR testing, although I can tell you where I will be January 31st and February 1st… And not endless shrimp at Red Lobster or that time of year where I wake up and realize I have been wasting my life at my current job or that time of year where I begin working on new methods of freezing eggnog so that I can enjoy it mid-summer. I mean 2008. Well OK, 2008 is not here AGAIN, but it’s here. What I mean is the New Year. Well, this New Year, not the last New Year. That one is almost over and we should not dwell on the past, unless you have some rare memory disease or really like the movie Ground Hog Day. Or if you are a historian. Yes, a historian would be a perfectly acceptable reason to dwell on the past.

To get to the point I was starting to explain several sentences ago, just let me say that the New Year is here and we all know we are going to make resolutions. They say that you should commit them to paper or share them with friends so that you feel a greater urge to keep to them. With that in mind, I am presenting to you, the kind and benevolent blog reader, my 2008 New Years Resolutions…

10. No more Robert Goulet songs during family Karaoke parties. This was a hard resolution to commit to, but as I found myself sitting alone putting my heart and soul into performing singing selections from the Robert Goulet Christmas catalog on Christmas Day, I knew what must be done.

9. To figure out (without anyone in the office realizing what I am up to) what everyone spends all day working on. I’m kinda getting the feeling that not everyone else is done with their duties by 9:45 every morning.

8. To show up on time each day for work. And by ‘on time,’ I mean within 35 minutes. I should also admit that by ‘each day,’ I mean 2-3 days a week, give or take a day. Or two.

7. I will find a way to beat Lucy and Ethel (who I would like to remind you are only 5 years old) at Wii Bowling. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful feeling to see them excited about winning. Just not at my expense, OK?

6. I will find a way to beat Lucy and Ethel (who I would like to remind you are only 5 years old) at Wii Tennis. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful feeling to see them excited about winning. Just not at my expense, OK? On second thought, anyone want to buy a brand new Wii off of me?

5. Eat more fried cheese. Come on now, I think we ALL know we need to commit time and effort to this one.

4. To be more hip in 2008. May I reference numbers 10, 9 and 8 as evidence of my efforts, or as evidence that my hip factor index is on the lower end of the scale.

3. To stop working the phrase ‘on my blog…’ into all of my conversations.

2. To be called into our company’s HR office for a GOOD reason this year.

And my number 1 resolution for 2008 is…

1. To keep you, the blog reader, entertained each and every day of the new year.

OK, that one was a cop out designed solely to bring you back to read more. It was cheap and unnecessary and I apologize. Please, allow me to do #1 over, ok?

Alright, my revised #1 resolution for 2008 is…

1. To get back to visiting all of your blogs on a much more frequent basis.

OK, you got me. I did it again. Sorry. Last time, I swear. My new and improved #1 resolution for 2008 is…

1. Find ways to incorporate bacon into at least two meals every day. And help promote world peace while at the same time reducing global warming and finding new energy sources and fuel alternatives, as well as getting at least one program onto the Discovery Channel or Food Network. Oh, and more sunny afternoons spent on the hammock I got two years ago but have not taken out of the box yet. I’m so dedicated to this one that I even wrote a new song about it to the tune of ‘U Can’t Touch This.’ Yep, it’s called ‘Hammock Time.’

It’s going to be a busy year, but I am brimming with excitement at the potential of the ‘new’ me if I can succeed with what I am sure you will agree are very bold resolutions. After all, there’s only like what, 150 days in year? I think I can do that.


Friday, December 28, 2007

At Home Sick Again Repost: Yep, Your Job Can Kill You

After reading an AFP story out of Australia, I can officially say that studies have proven that your job can kill you. A professor for the Medical Research Institute in Wellington observed that 1/3 of patients sent to the hospital for deep vein blood clots were office workers. It is believed that sitting at a desk for an extended period can lead to the formation of these clots that can eventually kill you (and to weight gain which can kill you too, but we’ll leave that for later).

I don’t want you to be frightened by these results, I’d rather you look upon this as an opportunity for change and improvement in your working conditions, as I have chosen to do. If we now have medical proof that your job can be harmful to your health, even if it is just one small study, don’t we owe it to ourselves to make things better? After all, everyone knows what we did to Big Tobacco and we knew that was killing us for years. Of course, each of us was not getting paid for smoking as we are for working so I realize there could be a little push back. Let me ask you this though, if you could choose how you wanted to die, would a blood clot caused by sitting at your office computer really be that high up there? Probably not as high as being killed by drowning when the huge aquarium window you are standing in front of shatters pouring thousands of gallons of seawater and sea life on you instantly. At least then, your surviving family could enjoy the lifetime Sea World passes given to them so they won’t sue.

I thought about taking my new work demands immediately to my coworkers and then my boss, but they were all busy doing real work today while I was plotting my strategy to avoid death from clotting. Heck, some of them did not get up from their desks for almost an hour, which is surely inviting ‘Desk Death.’ The only exception to that was Mr. Socially Oblivious who wouldn’t leave me alone. To give myself some breathing space I finally yelled, “leave me alone man, can’t you see that I’m trying to save your life?” This only agitated him and drew the curiosity of the rest of our staff. When I attempted to warn them that their work could kill them, I received only blank or dirty stares. Telling them that they would be sorry really didn’t help my cause either. Those fools!

Though it’s early in my plan, I want to share with you all certain tips and strategies we can try to help avoid getting a ‘Work Clot.’ I believe that each workday one member of the office should be assigned to the ‘The Whistle.’ It is ‘The Whistler’s’ duty to blow their whistle every 15 minutes. When everyone hears the sound (preferably a duck call but that can be decided my majority rule of the office), they have to get up, go outside and run or walk quickly around the building three times. See what I’m doing here? The mandatory ‘Clot Break’ can also be used as exercise thereby keeping us all a little more fit. While I am no doctor, I suppose there is also the chance that running will throw any existing clots all throughout your body, but as I said, I am not a doctor and therefore will choose to ignore that potentially harmful side effect of what I believe to be a great plan. This plan will work hand in hand with not sitting at our desks too long snacking on junk food (or whatever our coworker keeps baking and bringing into the office) and drinking sugary beverages while those nasty clots are forming. Since we will be up and moving quite often through the workday, we can change the ‘Clot Breaks’ up a bit. We can have short limbo contests, long distance jumping contests, sack races, leapfrog or maybe even completely inappropriate-get ready to call HR-Twister sessions. I know it sounds like recess, but it’s helping us stay alive people, and it’s fun as well. You can thank me later.

Next, rising desks should be installed like they have in call centers and dispatch facilities. The desks allow you to lift them up so that you can work while standing or sitting. I had explored using a combination of raising desks, laptops and either Lay-Z-Boy recliners or reclining beach chairs, but sadly, most cubicles are not big enough to accommodate this life saving measure. That’s OK though because having the option of standing and taking ‘Clot Breaks’ every 15 minutes should provide a decent enough start to combating the blood clots.

So there you have it. Yes, we finally have scientific proof that our jobs can kill us, but we have also found a solution. It has been pointed out to me that office productivity will decline sharply, but continued living is worth it. I’m sure the workday will be extended to 11 or so hours, but I’ll find a way out of that eventually. Whoa, I gotta go blow the duck call again. I think we’ll play Dodge Ball for this ‘Clot Break.’ Hopefully I won’t be picked last again…

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Off For The Holidays

Twas a few days before Christmas and all through the blog, no good idea was stirring, the blog's owner in a fog.

Visions of birthday presents and deep fryers danced in his head. Someday they'll say all the deep fried goodness is why he is dead.

When what to his keyboard wandering fingers appeared, but an idea, to post a picture of the fat guy with the beard. He plagiarized a Christmas tale, and then left for a last minute sale.

And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight. Holy crap, man. I thought you were open 'til midnight.

This is my last post before Christmas. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and I'll see you next week with my ode to the incandescent light bulb and my New Year's predictions.

(and thanks for all of your blog visits)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Is Not Only Getting Too Commercial, It’s Getting Too Violent

That’s one of my favorite quotes from a Charlie Brown Christmas. Of course it was uttered by Linus facing an assault from his sister, but it applies nonetheless. I read 3 different news stories this morning that make me think the holidays are getting out of hand.

Will Feeling Up The Big Guy Guarantee You A Spot On The Nice List?
According to the AP, a 33 year-old lady in Connecticut is sure hoping so. She was accused of groping her local mall’s Santa. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume she was tugging at more than Santa’s beard. I am also trying really hard to avoid describing Santa’s manitalia as ‘Jingle Bells,’ although you can just imagine how rosy his cheeks were when they were rung. Oops. Hey Santa, is that a candy cane in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

You have to wonder if this was part of a dare or if the lady was overcome with the spirit of the holiday season. She’s 33 and the mall Santa is 65, so I guess if you’re looking for an older sugar daddy you can’t do much better than Santa. Even if he does turn around and dress as the Easter Bunny in April. I just feel bad for all the other kids who didn’t get to sit with Santa that day because of what the groper did, now that Santa’s lap is a crime scene and all. The Santa who was groped was reportedly very upset with his female harasser. Apparently he kept calling her a ‘Ho’ over and over again…

I Guess He Should Have Taken His Sleigh
Remind me to avoid going to Rio De Janeiro any time soon. Reuters reported that a helicopter carrying Santa was shot at in Rio as he flew over slums that are the home to drug traffickers. The helicopter actually had to return to its base because of bullet holes. It was discovered later that the drug traffickers shot at the helicopter because they thought it was a police chopper. Well, that’s ok then.

I mean heaven forbid we shoot at Santa, but if it’s the fuzz, then it’s acceptable. I doubt that dressing up as Santa pays very well, but hopefully in Rio it earns you hazard pay. So, if you are keeping score, dressing up as Santa at Christmastime puts you at risk of being sexually assaulted and becoming a murder victim. I think Britney Spears has better odds being elected to the United States Senate than a Santa does of making it through Christmas intact. I blame the yuletide cheer. Admit it, EVERYBODY hates being around someone who seems TOO happy. Come on, you know you feel the same way. Lost here is the fact that the Santa being choppered over Rio was going to be passing out little plastic bags of white magic ‘candy cane dust.’ Ok, I made that up.

Why No Virginia, Reindeer Can’t Fly
I don’t mean to dash the hopes of kids from 1 to 92, but kids no longer need to wait up to see if reindeer know how to fly. The AP ran a story today detailing this in no uncertain terms. It seems a deer went through the picture window of a Maryland home. It damaged curtains and the couch before being subdued by the homeowner. While there were no specific details of how the homeowner was able to ‘subdue’ the frightened deer who crash landed through the window of the home, we do know that venison has coincidentally been added to the family’s Christmas dinner.

And speaking of reindeer (and really bad segues), I was at Disneyland the other day and saw what the Happiest Place on Earth was insisting were reindeer and they looked more like small moose (or mooses or perhaps meese?) with antlers. To be honest, I’m surprised they could even jump through a window, let alone fly. But then the Mary Poppins I posed with looked more like Marie Osmond than Julie Andrews. And the smell sure left a lot to be desired. I mean the smell of the reindeer, Mary Poppins wouldn’t let me get close enough to sniff her.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Random Tuesday

It’s time again to uncork the pressure release valve on my mind and let all the miscellaneous, trivial and useless things that have occurred to me over the last few weeks (but that I can’t say to the people around me) out so that I do not explode. I’ve seen the Zapruder film and let me tell you, exploding heads are NOT pleasant.

* I really hope that I get to meet Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams from LaVerne and Shirley one day so that I don’t waste this line I’ve been working on. First I’ll say ‘well, we live and Laverne, I guess’ (instead of live and learn) and then when they say something in response, I’ll react by saying ‘Shirley, you can’t be serious.’ I’m also working on one when and if I ever meet Jim Neighbors, but inserting the word ‘Shazaam’ into a sentence is harder than I had previously imagined.

* The world would be a much better place if we all could just learn to get along. And leave me the heck alone when I am at my desk eating instant grits at 8:30 in the morning. The nerve of some people!

* No matter how obvious it is, never, ever tell a female coworker who has lost a lot of weight that you can really see the results of her weight loss when you are standing behind her. It may seem like a nice and thoughtful compliment, but I can assure you that it won’t be taken that way. Oh well, ‘hind’ sight is 20/20 I guess.

* Using GPS touch screen navigation systems (Christmas came early for me) work great…provided you enter the correct address. Too bad my employer doesn’t reimburse the miles I rack up drive in error while lost.

* Never invite your 5 year-old who can’t sleep because she vomited in bed to sleep with you. Apparently, the odds are quite high that she will vomit again…as soon as you fall asleep and are helpless to prevent it.

* How is it that adding a second dog to your backyard somehow increases the amount of ‘doggy bombs’ 5 times over? The math just doesn’t add up, but the bottoms of my shoes prove otherwise.

* When wearing a snowman neck tie, why is it that all the women compliment it and all the men in the office snicker? I’m choosing to assume it’s jealousy.

* I bought Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade cookbook based on her Semi-Homemade Food Network show. I found it to be neither semi-quick nor semi-easy. Unfortunately, I can only get a semi-refund of what I paid for it. Now I’m semi-pissed.

* Does egg-nog count as a dairy product?

* Never tell your boss that you’re just killing time ‘til 5 comes around.

* Just because you have always craved the idea that Coke and egg-nog would go good together doesn’t mean that it actually does. It’s also a very difficult taste to get out of your mouth.

* Since when did wearing a ‘Grinch Who Stole Christmas T-shirt’ become uncool?

* It turns out you can decorate the office on a budget with decorations only purchased at the 99 cent store. And yes, it will look like crap.

* My birthday is next Monday. No, there is nothing random about that, I just wanted to make sure you knew.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday Repost: Santa Faces Possible Indictment Over Mutant Deer Discovery

A Wisconsin man discovered a deer with seven legs recently after he struck it with his truck. Perhaps even weirder is the fact that the animal had both male and female ‘parts’ (to be politically correct). The Associated Press reports that the extra legs were each a few inches long and were attached to its ‘regular’ legs.

The growing concern is that there may be something screwy going on up at the North Pole. Although no other reports of the existence of ‘genetically unique’ deer have been reported, there have been rumors. PETA officials have scheduled an ‘exploratory mission’ to the North Pole to investigate the treatment of the local deer population.

‘Obviously there’s something funny happening when deer can fly and some are born with red noses, so you have to make a connection between that and this mutant deer turning up,’ said a PETA official. ‘I don’t know what you do to get reindeer to fly, but it’s obviously harmful,’ he added.

The North Pole has remained quiet and secretive about their deer breeding practices and all reindeer flights have been cancelled until investigations have been completed. The Pole has always maintained that safety of their animals is the highest priority. Other than an ugly sleigh collision in 1973 that purportedly took the lives of three deer and a myth about a banjo-playing snowman who talks, no other reports of North Pole animal injuries or oddities have ever been reported.

“The whole Santa operation is very image based and the big guy would cringe if anything happened to tarnish that finely honed image,” said a diminutive North Pole spokesperson with pointy ears. “Believe me, when companies like Coca-Cola and large department stores give us free publicity, we don’t want to have any freaky transsexual deer running around to spoil an image we’ve been perpetuating for over 100 years,’ the spokesperson added.

If anything at the North Pole is found to be the cause of the mutant deer, Kris Kringle could face stiff fines and possible prison time for the ‘cruel and unethical treatment of fictional flying animals that don’t normally fly.’ Some observers worry about the global debate that will follow over who has jurisdiction over the North Pole as it has often been thought of as international territory. Canada, Russia, the United States, Denmark, Greenland, the ACME Ice Manufacturing Company and the estate of the late Liberace have tried at one time or another to claim territorial rights to the North Pole. The most likely outcome would find Santa imprisoned at Gitmo or Abu Grahib.

This will likely be a tense Christmas for the Clauses and little children the world over as they wait to see what will happen. Those close to Santa have reported that he’s in a very foul mood and mumbles constantly saying, ‘all because of one deer, one #^%#$#%$$ deer!’ Like one Santa believer said, ‘if they use nuclear energy to power submarines, there’s no telling what they use to get reindeer to fly.’

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Looking Back At My 2007 Predictions

Early this year, I made a few predictions for the New Year 2007. I figured it's time to look back at them now knowing how this year went. Yeah, you could say I was just a little off...

Personal Predictions
I predict that I will come home from a rough day at work one day to see everyone I know and can tolerate waiting for me in the living room. I will open the front door and realize that I’ve walked into an intervention. At that point, everyone will begin to detail (often using graphs and charts) how I need to stop blogging because of all the time it takes me away from doing other things and that my writing has become an embarrassment to people who can somehow be linked to me. I will obey them for a few days and then return to blogging. I also predict that my twins Lucy and Ethel will continue to act 50 and ask me about some of life’s most philosophical questions like why is the sun yellow. When I give them the best answer I can (i.e. quoting verbatim from Wikipedia) they will still tell me that I am wrong. However, I won’t get mad because they are so darn cute.

Entertainment Predictions
I predict that there will be more of the same poor excuses for entertainment in 2007 as there always have been, with a few notable exceptions. Since the game show revival has about run its course, I predict that network executives will bring the Gene Rayburn show Match Game back to TV. It will be called ‘Match Game 07’ and will be hosted by either Tom Bergeron or Richard Hamilton. Panelists will include Charles Nelson Reilly (I think he’s still alive), Fred Willard, Adam West, Oliver North, Tammy Faye, Englebert Humperdink, William Shatner and Morgan Fairchild. It will truly be an awesome collection of this nation’s finest talent. To add the extreme element that has pervaded today’s game shows, one important change will be implemented. When a panelist gives a wrong answer, the contestant can shoot them. Sadly, it will be cancelled in the middle of its second week.

Inspired by the success of The Beatles Cirque du Soleil show, Elvis Presley Enterprises will launch an all Elvis version. Unfortunately, it will feature music and interpretations of his great classic 60s movies like “Girl Happy,” “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “The Trouble With Girls” and of course, “Kissin’ Cousins.” There will also be an accompanying CD of his movies’ most popular tunes like “Return To Sender” and “The Ft. Lauderdale Chamber Of Commerce” that were remixed and blended for the show. The show will be called ‘Elvis: How To Waste The Prime Of Your Career Du Soleil.” Sadly, it too will be cancelled in the middle of its second week.

Lastly, I am predicting that Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan will record a duet titled “Come Here Baby, I’m Drunk.” Despite its embarrassing lyrics, it will remain on the charts for weeks, buoyed by its suggestive and racy video that features a cameo by Wayne Newton.

Cultural Predictions
PEZ will finally release its “Kings Of The Late Night Talk Show” series AND it will include Chevy Chase and Pat Sajaak. I am also predicting that the big word of 2006, ‘truthiness,’ will be replaced by ‘erroneous.’ It will catch on quickly and be used in the following ways:
“Dude, this pizza tastes erroneous.”
“She looks so hot in that t-shirt, she’s just erroneous.”
“Hey man, who erroneated on my homework?”

Top News Predictions
2007 will be the hottest year on record (actually, this one is true). Contributing factors will be global warming and the ramping up of the 2008 presidential election. I am also predicting that another 34 individuals will announce their candidacy for president. Some of the notables will be Bob Dole, Al Franken, Chris Matthews, Pink, Rosie O’Donnell, Donald Trump (just to tick off Rosie), Ben Stein, and the guy who provides the voice of Stewie from FOX’s “The Family Guy.” Another huge story in 2007 will be the selection of Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. It will be ‘Everyone Who Wasn’t Named When We Selected You As Our 2006 Person of the Year.’

Congressional lawmakers will contribute to a big 2007 news event. This time it will have nothing to do with sex or money but will still involve complete ineptitude. Under pressure from the lobbyists of large retail chains like Target, a bill will be drafted to make the Christmas holiday begin July 5th and end on Memorial Day weekend. The bill will actually be passed and made into law when both houses of congress hastily approve it (and a bill making Alfred E. Newman the face of the new one dollar bill) before leaving for their recess.

So there you have it, my predictions for 2007. It should be a heck of a year. Although, if any of these come true (or don’t come true, for that matter) please don’t blame me. I’d rather keep repeating 2004! Happy New Year…

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I was tagged by Meleah (as opposed to stealing her last post idea) to blog about 8 things. So here we go, so here we go, so here we go, so here we go, so here we go, so here we go, so here we go, so here we go. Yep, that was 8 times, provided I counted correctly…

8 Things I’m Passionate About:
1. My twins
2. Blogging
3. Humor writing
5. Watching my LA Clippers lose
6. Great TV
7. Music – just listening. I can’t sing or play a lick. Holy heck, did I just use the word lick when I was describing something a dog does?
8. Exercise

8 Things I Say Often
1. OK, quit hanging on Daddy now.
2. I’m going to be late getting into the office this morning
3. Oops
4. What would Michael Scott do in this situation?
5. That’s What She Said
6. Go ahead and call HR on me. It wouldn’t be the first time.
7. Wait! That came out all wrong. What I meant to say was…
8. Cool

8 Books I’ve Read Recently:
1. A Ronald Reagan Biography
2. A Christmas Carol
3. Truman
4. Green Eggs and Ham – no it wasn’t for the twins. Why do you ask?
5. The Secret Life of Lobsters
6. A Dave Barry book from 1994
7. Apollo 11
8. A collection of Charlie Brown comics

8 Things I want To Do Before I Die:
1. Get something published (although I guess make funeral arrangements should be first on this list)
2. Get a job I enjoy
3. Move to a tropical locale and lounge on a hammock in my sandals Kenny Chesney style for the rest of my life
4. Get that damn gopher in the back yard
5. Go to a culinary school
6. Move out of So Cal
7. Attend baseball games at Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium
8. See the August night race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

8 artists I can listen to over and over again:
1. Sinatra
2. Dean Martin
3. The Beach Boys
4. The Beatles
5. George Strait
6. Alan Jackson
7. Hank Williams – Jr. and Sr.
8. Dare I say Barry Manilow?
Basically any oldies or country will keep me happy

8 things that attract me to my friends:
1. Humor
2. Fun to be around
3. They’ve got my back like I’ve got theirs
4. Thoughtfulness
5. Fondess for food
6. They put up with meWow, I could only come up with
I guess I am always open to having friends.

8 things I learned in the last year:
1. Don’t blog at work
2. When jogging in the morning, turn back home when the first rain drops start to fall.
3. Lucy and Ethel will gleefully repeat ANYTHING I say.
4. Don’t flip steaks over with my bare hand.
5. Did I mention not blogging at work?
6. Never try to shoot down a wasp’s nest with a hose.
7. Don’t mess with Female Coworker.
8. Blogsville is full of really, really great people!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Christmas Story Meme

I saw this on my blogging twin Meleah’s site yesterday and decided to steal it for today. Please do not confuse this with the meme she posted and tagged me with today that I am posting tomorrow. I hope you aren’t confused. At any rate, I felt a Christmas themed list was entirely appropriate for this time of year as opposed to, well, let’s say July.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
I am a horrible wrapper and friends and family have come to expect lopsided, crumbled up and over-taped packages from me. The people at Scotch Tape have actually suggested I buy stock in their company. The key is beginning with way too much paper. I believe it really shows folks my humility and how much I care that I am willing to give them a gift even though it is poorly wrapped. It’s the thought that counts this time of year, right?

2. Real tree or artificial?
Artificial. Though I had the real deal growing up and miss it.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Right around Thanksgiving, if not slightly before. Hence why I now have the artificial tree mentioned in question #2 above.

4. When do you take the tree down?
New Year’s Day.

5. Do you like eggnog?

I crave it to the point that my body aches when I have not had any to drink for too long. I believe this qualifies as an illness. I am working on perfecting a freezing technique that will allow me to drink it year round without getting really sick. Tip: do not drink old and expired dairy products.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
That’s a toughie. Perhaps it was the bocce ball set I received my sophomore year of high school. I fell in love with the game and it helped permanently cement me as 75 year-old man. I’d play today but the cold weather makes my back ache. OK, I’m kidding about that last part, but I still have that bocce ball set (and 3 others) somewhere. We used to hold tournaments in high school and college. Remember, no one ever said I was cool or popular.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Does it count if it’s the Peanuts characters?

8. Hardest person to buy for?
The person I pulled out of the hat for this year’s work’s secret Santa thing. Seriously, what do you get for that person on your list who has everything? Answer, a gift certificate to Chuck E. Cheese. Who doesn’t like eating pizza in the shadow of a 7-foot mouse with lots of screaming kids? MMMMMMM, delicious.

9. Easiest person to buy for?
My dog Mabel. A big rawhide bone and she’s like a kid on Christmas morn. Or something like that. The twins are pretty easy too. It’s a Karaoke machine this year. And, it docks to the Ipod so there is no carrying around 35 different CDs to cater to everyone’s musical tastes. You’d think that last sentence would be on the box, wouldn’t you?

10. Worst Christmas gift ever received?
Well, socks are never fun. At least my Aunt never made me a pink bunny outfit!

11. Mail or E-mail Christmas card?
Both. I also do a Christmas CD in lieu of a card sometimes, which is pretty dumb of me because it takes about 534 times as long to do a Christmas CD complete with labels as it does to do a dang card.

12. Favorite Christmas movie?
While I do enjoy It’s A Wonderful Life and Rudolph, It has to be A Christmas Story. Is it wrong that my 5 year-old twins can randomly and often quote a bevy of lines from the movie? Is it also wrong that I have the 20-inch replica of the lamp for the movie on display and lit in our TV room? I’m hoping the answers to both those questions is no.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Sometime in December. Basically whatever day I wake up and say to myself ‘Oh Fudge (get the Christmas Story reference there?), I need to start Christmas shopping’ as a wave of terror sweeps over me.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Not that I am aware of. But then again, I recently accidentally put a piece of paper down on top of a candle and didn’t realize it had started a small fire in the kitchen until Ethel calmly pointed it out to me. Upon further review, yeah, I have probably received one.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
My Mom’s cranberry muffins. I can’t recall a Christmas morn without them.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Alternate between clear and colored. Not in the same year though, that would be too difficult.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
Nat King Cole’s version of The Christmas Song (ya know, the chestnut one). Although serious consideration must be given to Alvin and The Chipmuncks (all he wanted was a hula hoop) and Jungle, Jangle, Jingle from the Rudolph movie. Who can resist toe tapping to those two? Seriously, there is just something about Nat’s song though. It perfectly sums up the holiday and I am immediately transported to Christmas Eve no matter when or what time of year I hear it. Not that I’ve ever listened to it in the summer or anything.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Stay home. Always stay home. Never leave the house. You want to be with me on Christmas, you get to come to me.

19. Can you name Santa’s reindeer?
I think I can. There were what, about 20 of them, right? I’ll see how many I can remember. There’s Buster, Dopey, Sleazy, Stan, Hillary, Huey, Duey, Blister and over course, Rue McClanahan.

20. Do you have an angel on top of the tree or a star?
It used to be an angel. But I couldn’t find it this year. So this year I got nuthin’.

21. Open presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Ah ha, here’s where it pays it off being me. Since my birthday is Christmas Eve (it’s on Monday this year, for those keeping score at home), I get to open gifts on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Although as kids, our parents would let my brother and I open our 1 gift to each other on Christmas Eve.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
When it ends. And the fact that TBS only shows A Christmas Story for 24 consecutive hours. What, they couldn’t do 36 or 48?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I Bet It Will Be A Very Animated Testimony

I love reading AP stories. Where else could I have read about the fact that an Italian court ordered Mickey Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck and Tweety to testify in a case about counterfeiting. The story says that a clerical error listed them as witnesses in the counterfeiting case in which their likenesses were counterfeited. But who really cares about the boring lawyer-y details, it gave me something to write about today.

I have to admit that Tweety, Mickey and his friends aren’t the first animated characters I would expect to need to be in court. Have you ever watched Tom and Jerry? Those two are downright homicidal maniacs and I can’t believe they have not yet been brought up on manslaughter charges. I also figured I would have seen Fred Flintstone long before now. His working conditions are appalling. I mean just to be able to check into work, he has to climb down the back of a dinosaur. I don’t know what it’s like where you come from, but that is most certainly NOT a safe workplace practice. Plus, with all that stone and dust around, it has to be bad on the lungs. And he can’t even wear pants or shoes to protect himself. It just smacks of a class action suit against Mr. Slate. Maybe Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law (who I just learned about while doing research for this post...seriously, you think I make all this stuff up?) would want to take the case.

I’m equally surprised that the Justice League hasn’t had to testify in their own defense after being accused of discrimination in their hiring practices. Think about it for a second. Can you think of ONE person employed in the Halls of Justice who isn’t a superhero or who does not possess some extraordinary super skill? Perhaps the closest would be Aquaman, who as best as I can remember was just a good swimmer. But he wore that orange and green outfit so he was seen as an equal. The Justice League has no normal, mild-mannered secretary, no receptionist whose only superpower is disarming salesmen with her feminine mystique, no janitor, no payroll clerk, no accountant. Just Batman’s Robin. But again, he was ‘grandfathered’ in because he was Bruce Wayne’s ward. If I was a cartoon character looking for a quick buck, I would apply for a job with the Justice League and then sue for discrimination after they wouldn’t hire me. Come on, I have a metal valve in my heart that ticks like a clock. Surely that’s more impressive than anything the ‘boy wonder’ can do. Stupid Robin and his holy ‘quick, let’s use our utility belts, which serve as a crutch because we have no real powers like The Wonder Twins do…’

Sorry, Robin really gets to me sometimes. I’ll try to keep it in check. And what about Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer? He isn’t allowed to play ANY reindeer games. Not even hopscotch or elf tossing. Just try getting away with that in any United States School District. Man, lawyers would be all over that so quickly. And it’s all because his nose glows. Yes Virginia, this is another classic case of discrimination. When Rudolph is done with North Pole, Inc., he won’t need to go around hauling sleighs for a long, long time.

And while I don’t like to engage in rumors and gossip, I hear that Chip and Dale are suing Alvin, Simon and Theodore for stealing their chipmunk voices. Although keep in mind that Chip and Dale have a litigious fetish and once tried to sue me from telling dirty jokes while impersonating their voices as I was hopped up on helium and Mountain Dew. We settled out of court. Way out of court. It’s similar to ‘off-Broadway.’

I’m also pretty sure that the entire town of Springfield could bring a case against either Bart or Homer (take your pick). And who isn’t surprised that Ned Flanders hasn’t sued anyone for being unfriendly to left handed people. Remember how is left-handed store failed so miserably? If Ned was smart though, he’d open a Chick-Fil-A franchise and Rod and Todd’s financial futures would be secured. Barney could sue Moe’s Tavern for contributing to his drunkenness, which is the equivalent of the old lady suing McDonalds after spilling hot coffee on herself.

There are many more examples that I am too lazy to cannot think of (although I am sure you will help me), but the most egregious cartoon case would involve Popeye. No, not because of the physical violence brought about by his steroid spinach doping consumption, but because of Wimpy. Has Wimpy EVER, even just once, paid for a single hamburger? J. Wellington Wimpy goes around making a verbal agreement to gladly pay Tuesday for a hamburger today and has yet to honor it. That’s a lot of Tuesdays. Now granted I cannot remember who exactly he owes this burger money to, but someone out there has about 70 years of back hamburger payments that they are entitled to. And I haven’t even factored in the interest yet.

And didn’t The Jackson 5 have a cartoon for a little while? Yeah, we should all get to sue over that one.

***Sorry everybody for not responding to the comments you took the time to leave for the last post. Blogger 'forgot' to email me when most of your comments were left and I just noticed that I had some. So thank you and sorry. I'm telling the truth this time, I swear!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

At Home Sick Today Repost: The Exploitation Of Rudolph, It’s Animagical!

It’s that time of year when those famous Rankin-Bass cartoons and stop-motion puppet (Animagic) specials like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (which I think is on tonight) and Frosty can be seen on TV as frequently as wreaths on long-haul truckers’ rigs. I think the only person that comes close to having produced more Christmas fare than Rankin-Bass was Johnny Mathis, who I’m pretty sure just released his 100th Christmas CD, or something close to it. The ABC Family Channel usually airs most of the Rankin-Bass productions all December long and my girls watched a few of them last night. Among them was ‘Rudolph’s Shiny New Year’ and ‘The Christmas without a Santa Claus.’ It got me thinking that at a certain point, the Animagic Christmas treatment may have been stretched a little too thin.

Obviously, ‘Rudolph’ is as much a part of the holidays as Bing Crosby. It has to be good television for it to have been broadcast over network TV for the last 42 years. Although I seriously doubt that there has been an American child named Rudolph since the first airing of the special in 1964. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with that classic. It’s the other Rudolph shows that prove maybe there can be too much of a good thing. Apparently, Rudolph has to find Baby New Year after he runs away in ‘Rudolph’s Shiny New Year.’ It seems the little baby ran away because he was embarrassed by his big ears. Of course, Rudolph could sympathize (as could I, unfortunately) because he has that nose and all, but really, is that worth an hour children’s program?

Then there’s the very confusing ‘Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July,’ which just leaves me speechless. I’m still not sure what it was about but it featured Frosty for the first time as a stop-motion puppet. Should this be aired in the summer or in December? Combining the two seems to make as much sense as having Hank Williams, Jr. do a slow and reverent version of ‘Away in a Manger.’ Although if Hank did cover a version of it, please let me know so I can add it to my collection. At least Rudy was left alone for a while until ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys’ came along. That was done digitally though so I won’t consider it for the sake of this post.

There were however, several holidays that Rankin-Bass apparently chose to have Rudolph not celebrate. Maybe they figured having a reindeer and snowman enjoy the 4th of July together was the bottom of the barrel. Think of all we missed if they had decided to continue milking Rudolph. There could have been ‘Rudolph’s Thanksgiving’ where he has to coax Tom the Turkey back to the turkey farm so he can be euthanized and ‘processed’ for Thanksgiving dinner. What about ‘Rudolph’s Haunted Halloween’ where he befriends a ghost who is afraid of dark haunted houses but has to haunt someone before he gets his official ghost status? Yep, they cook up a scheme with Yukon Cornelius to pretend to be scared by the timid ghost. It sounds a lot like Casper, but Casper is friendly and this ghost is timid. Trust me, if just for litigation purposes only, there is a difference in the two.

Rudolph would shine (if you’ll pardon the phrasing) in ‘Rudolph and the Leprechaun.’ In that one Rudolph searches for the pot of gold that Louis the Leprechaun lost in a cock-fighting bet. ‘Rudolph’s Meaty Memorial Day’ would follow the reindeer as he rounds up enough meat for Santa’s big ‘Start of Summer BBQ.’ Unfortunately, Santa feels like grilling venison this year. The hour long finale to the Rudolph dynasty would be ‘Rudolph’s Long Lazy Labor Day,’ where he sleeps all weekend before escorting the kiddy elves to their first day of school. Oh the mayhem that could ensue in that one. Wow!

As you can see, while he may have been exploited after the success of his original holiday special, it could have continued and been much worse. The lackluster Rudolph sequels seem to have done little to tarnish the little misfit’s street credibility though. They are making Rudolph themed everything these days. I actually saw a Rudolph version of Monopoly the other day. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go open another roll of Rudolph toilet paper for the twins.

**The Wonderful World of Nothing Worthwhile’s useless observation for the day: Have you noticed in the original ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ that all of the hands on the puppets are dirty? Especially Santa’s. I don’t know why this is, but you can only watch something so many times until you start looking at things other than the plot…

Monday, December 03, 2007

Random Monday

Here we are on another Monday, but at least this one is in December. Today is the last day to submit screenplays and all that for Academy Award consideration, so I need to get busy and write one so that I can submit it. I’m thinking I may have waited a little too long this year to get my butt in gear and write my film masterpiece. What sounds better, the time traveler who time travels in a Porta-Potty or the story of two college room mates who reunite 25 years after college only to realize that one stole the other’s identity and has been pretending he was his former roommate? I also have some rough ideas for ‘Rachael Ray: The Movie,’ but I’d prefer to nail down whether it will take place in Food Network times or her talk show times. I would also like to have Dolly Parton play Paula Deen and Peter Brady to play Bobby Flay. Giada can play herself though.

Since I need to hurry and get my script done and then find an agent and then find an agent who likes me, I’ll just post random musings today. I know it's cheating, but I'm choosing to look the other way. If I get any lazier, I should rename my blog ‘The Wonderful World of Bullets.’ Since these are random, they will appear in no particular order, except the last one. It’ll appear last. Unless I think of something after I write the last one, or in that case, the next to last one…

* My first doctor told me that my heart valve is leaking again, I have a restriction of blood flow and my left ventricle doesn’t get enough blood. I thought that’s why I had surgery 2 years ago. Today, my second doctor said that the results were difficult to be sure of and that was abnormal but he thinks everything will be ok and then ordered another test. Apparently, this is why doctors ‘practice’ medicine rather than ‘perfect’ it.

* You CAN cut yourself with an electric razor. It’s surprisingly easy.

* It’s a cruel, cruel thing that our office is right next to a gym, but we have no windows through which to look.

* Don’t use the phrase ‘keep on keepin’ on’ at work. Coworkers will begin accusing you of watching the Brady Bunch. Instead, try ‘stay the course.’ It’s more professional and lends itself to cool politician-like hand gestures.

* I am a firm believer that ANYTHING can be deep fried. If you don’t believe me, open up your fridge or pantry, close your eyes and deep fry the first thing you touch. Then be sure to thank me. Unless you grab a bottle of seasoning salt.

* According to my coworkers, December 3rd is too early to wear a Christmas tie. Now that I have been singled out, I feel naked. I wonder if this is how the first person who ever put on a Halloween costume felt.

* I am not near my Ipod right now and I miss it. I have christened it ‘Benny’ (thanks

* The best way to overcome writer’s block is to just keep writing until you break through. Then, be sure to trash the 37 aborted blog posts, drafts and ideas you used to break through. I say this because there is just no way that a blog post titled ‘Other things you can do with toilet paper’ is going to end up well.

* To lighten up the mood at work, just start randomly dancing outside of your coworkers’ cubicles. I guarantee it will lighten up your mood. It probably won’t do much for your coworkers though.

* You know you haven’t gotten enough sleep when your alarm goes off and you attempt to answer the phone…the same way you answer your office one.

* If I ever open a restaurant, it will be called ‘Fry Baby’s.’ The house special will be Friday Night’s ‘You Bring It, We Fry It.’ You will however have to sign a liability waiver first.

* Even though he was a Wal-Mart Santa, he could have worn black boots instead of tennis shoes. It also would have been nice if he was at least in his 30’s, but I’ll let that go. After all, what can you say when Lucy and Ethel declare, ‘But he doesn’t look like one of Santa’s helpers.’ Telling them that ‘most elves have a very youthful appearance’ didn’t really help.

* Wow, Sammy Davis Jr. was a talented cat. Imagine how talented he would have been if he’d had two eyes.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

‘I’ Can’t Believe How Cool ‘I’t ‘I’s!!!!

Warning: after rereading this, I have decided it may well be the dullest post ever, but since some of you may have trouble falling asleep tonight, I will post it anyway. Good luck…

I FINALLY got an Ipod (hence all the quoted letter “I’s” that I thought I was cleverly using in the title above, but that now make it seem like I be or is or am illiterate) . Holy, holy crap it’s amazing!!!!!! Although I have to admit that I feel like I am trying to learn how to use a CD player after using a turn-table, or a reel-to-reel or an 8-track. I thought I was a techno-savvy man about keyboard, until I tried to use the Ipod last night…well, using the Ipod was easy, but getting music onto it was the equivalent of me trying to climb Mt. Everest with 4 bags of ball-bearings strapped to my back while wearing shorts and sandals. With a head cold. And frostbite in delicate places.

It’s a sad moment when you realize that maybe your speed is more 2005 MP3 player than Ipod user. Seriously, I sat in front of Itunes until the break of dawn trying to get my imported CDs into the play list I created. My head aches just describing the story while using words like import and play lists. And I haven’t even started talking about ‘docking’ yet. Fortunately, around 6am I discovered that my imported music was sitting in my library all along. Then after some alternating praying and cussing, I figured out how to drag it into the play list I made. Or at least I thought I did. Since I didn’t bother giving the songs titles, I didn’t see them in the playlist and then eventually noticed that I had loaded them into the playlist…4 different times!!!!

As I sat patting myself on the back after (finally) loading 400 of my favorite tunes onto the little devil, I realized I had barely used a gig of space and still had more room on it than on my PC’s hard drive. For some reason, this intimidated me, so I broke out the Barry Manilow. I just loaded in his hits and now I can brag of having 403 songs on my Ipod. I’m kidding, I’m kidding. It’s now 407. I guess I should target such musical stalwarts as The Captain and Tennille, The Carpenters and Carly Simon next.

In case you are wondering, the first 400 songs were all Christmas and I am embarrassed to say that it’s not even half of my collection. See, this is why I secretly begin listening to Christmas music in July. It’s so that I can get all of my Christmas music listened to by the time December 25th rolls around. It’s the same reason that I need to start listening to my Jimmy Buffett and Beach Boys on December 26th, so that by July 4th I can say I have listened to all of my ‘summertime music.’ As much as I like it, I just wish that Kenny Chesney would stop recording ‘beach/tropical music’ because it’s really stretching my ability to get it all listened to. Then there is the dilemma caused by the fact that both Buffett and Chesney recorded tropical sounding Christmas albums. Last year I tried listening to those around St. Patrick’s Day, but it really just caused more confusion than anything else.

Of course I had to buy the accessories like the in-car FM radio transmitter so that I can listen to it in the car, the case, the attachment cord for my home stereo unit and all that type of stuff because I’m gullible and money is completely incapable of staying in my pocket for more than 20 minutes. If you don’t believe me, ask the cash register workers at the Target across the street from my office. Or the grocery store behind my office, or the Mexican food joint in our work’s parking lot. OK, I think I’ve established my case on this point. Next on my list is the docking speaker unit for my desk at work like the one that my co-worker partner in crime has and was nice enough to let me use. Although if you are taking score, I’m still wanting the deep fryer for Christmas in the same way that Ralphie Parker wanted the Red Ryder BB Gun. While you may not be able to do anything about shooting your eyes out, there is always angioplasty for clogged arteries. God Bless science and medicine!!

I would like to write more, but I found another Christmas CD on the passenger’s side floorboard of my truck, so I really feel I should get it onto my Ipod as soon as possible. I’m hoping to be up to 3 gigs used by the end of the week. By the way, what the heck does ‘sync’ mean?????????