Friday, December 26, 2008

It’s Pulled Pork Time In Georgia!

A Georgia resident recently shot an 1100-pound wild hog says the Associated Press. The man shot the animal when he spotted it in a neighbor’s yard, which makes you wonder how many dogs his neighbor has lost, if you catch my drift, which you probably didn't. However, jokes are never funny if you have to explain them, so we'll just move right along...

After shooting the hog, he took it to a weigh station to see just how big it was. This guy is just like me. Whenever I kill something, my first reaction is to drag it to the closest scale. Unfortunately, flies, mosquitoes and moths don’t weigh that much so the thrill is kind of lacking. Although it’s still not determined whether this hog is the biggest ever found in Georgia, it does weigh a few hundred pounds more than the famous ‘Hogzilla’ that was killed a few years ago. I guess that makes this pig Mothra-hog? Now if you are not familiar with the Godzilla Trilogy, that made no sense. Let's try it this way: if the previously known biggest pig was that one guy on 'The Odd Couple,' the new bigger pig is that other guy that the one guy lived with on 'The Odd Couple.' Kind of. Again, perhaps we should just move on...

The pig is now hanging from a tree in the man’s front yard, which is a good thing since houses always seem to look so bare after all the Christmas lights and decorations are taken down. The fact that it’s a dead obese animal and will probably start to have a horrible stench within the next few days is completely irrelevant of course. I can’t think of a better way to keep those pesky neighborhood kids off the lawn than a dead feral pig swaying from a tree.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Obligatory Christmas Post

Well, December 22nd has descended upon us, which means the Christmas season is in full swing. I guess that means I better devote a few paragraphs to the holiday season. Let me help you set the mood. While I am typing this, Johnny Mathis is crooning ‘The Christmas Song,’ I am drinking coffee with peppermint mocha creamer, I have been stoking the fire, printing copies like a mad man of this year’s Christmas CD for our friends and family, have the twins beside me begging me not to pile them into the new minivan (yeah, I sold out, but it’s so convenient, so mind your own business) and lost my job. And I’m doing all of that while wearing my Santa Suit complete with wig, beard and old man glasses. I’m just kidding. Seriously, that suit needs to be handled with care at all times. I took it off before having breakfast this morning.

Yep, that special holiday feeling is here! Have you wished a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings to everyone you meet yet? If you haven’t the time is quickly running out. Have you already had to replace 2 strings of lights on the tree and had the highest, most unreachable light on your roof line go out yet? Did you buy that most specialist gift for your mom, only to have your dad whisk you upstairs during a recent visit to show you that he bought your mom the most specialist gift, which just happens to be the very same most specialist gift you got her – and he got it much cheaper! And most importantly, did you get your children, the sunshine of your life, that amazing gift your wife wouldn't let you get so you bought it 'for the children' that you just can't wait to see them open on Christmas morning? I mean really, what 6 year old twins with poor hand/eye coordination wouldn't just LOVE getting 'Guitar Hero' from Santa? Right?

To say I love this time of season would be about as obvious a statement as saying the scent of bacon can actually attract mean to a tea party. The lights, the great music, people having to be nice to me being nice to me out of their own good will, raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things. Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes, silver white winters that melt into springs, These also are a few of my favorite things – though I think way too many were listed there to qualify as being 'a few.' Gheesh, sorry about that. I just started and had to keep going (that's what she said). The holidays will do that to you, man!

Name any other time of the year when Andy Williams or Robert Goulet get as much airplay as Justin Timberlake or Beyonce. For that matter, name any other time of year where we watch 15 different versions of stop motion puppetry about a reindeer who has a highly cancerous bulbous extension on his nose that makes him a social outcast in a place where you'd think goodwill, peace, harmony, love and tolerance would be preached all year round.

I guess it sounds like I am coming off a little cynical about Christmastime, especially to those that really know me, by which I mean those who have been around me and have seen me weep when I find just that perfect piece of cheddar on the cheese plate at a social function. The truth is that I love this time of year – freakishly so and am trying to downplay it for this post. My joy of Christmas is about as freaky and strong as the teacher in Alaska or wherever who fell in love with her student, went to jail and then ran away and married him. Wait, I get the sense that isn't giving you quite the impression that I wanted it to.

Let me just say that I love Christmas and bask in it from Thanksgiving on - lights, music, merriment and all. I guess I was predisposed to liking the holiday in a stalker type way because of my birth date, which just happens to be Wednesday, Christmas Eve. Though don't worry if you didn't write it down; I'm sure I'll remind you again, Speaking of my birthday, why just this week I've watched 5 different versions of Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' I've seen so many versions in fact that I now find myself unable to sleep at night for fear of being visited by spirits, which is far worse than being unable to sleep each night for fear that the twins will want to get in bed with us and talk the entire night about mundane things like the color of our dog Mabel's belly or how they remember that time (like 2 days ago) when they ate that really good corn dog at Disneyland. On second thought, I welcome the spirits. Ok, I realize that entire last paragraph really had nothing to do with my birthday, but it sure seemed like a good segue. You know, that part about me telling you that my birthday is this week...

So in conclusion (though I have no idea what I am concluding here because I never really did state anything – but I did get in one 'that's what she said' and one reference to cheese – so I guess this post was successful), enjoy these last few days of the wonderful holiday season. Remember the reason we are celebrating and have the merriest of Christmases with those that you hold dear or those that you like but have no desire to hold whatsoever. Also, thank you for being my friend and continuing to support my writing, even though most of it has been accomplished while under a haze of prescription meds that I am pretty sure have already begun embalming me from the inside out.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

An Ode To The Brick Of Sugary Christmasy Goodness

Perhaps it’s because my friend’s wife made me her personal fruitcake recipe recently or the terror induced giddiness that can only come from being one week away from Christmas and realizing I have only played 34% of my Christmas music collection, but I find myself unable to resist writing about the fruitcake.

I know what you are thinking- ‘that $#$#%#^%$ hasn’t written anything new all December and he chooses to make his first post about fruitcake? The Hitler of all Christmastime goodies?’ I guess the answer to that is yes, but don’t you think your use of the words ‘Hitler’ and ‘Christmas’ in the same sentence is akin to calling Engelbert Humperdink untalented? Let me help you out there. The answer is yes; yes it is akin to that. Very akin to that in fact. By the way, that’s a-kin, not Aiken as in Clay. No Clay here. Ever.

While the fruitcake has been maligned like Sarah Palin next to Katie Couric, I happen to like it and enjoy its candied taste. Yes, it’s a redheaded step child to other Christmastime offerings like candy canes, apple cider, eggnog, gingerbread men people, sugar cookies and ham basted in bacon salt and topped with drizzled honey and bacon fat, but it deserves its time in the sun, partly because its petrified outer shell is impervious to the sun’s rays, but that really defeats the argument I am trying to make here.

About now I should admit that I have never written an ‘ode’ before and am having trouble telling the difference between that and a ‘discourse,’ but will carry on. Not only is a fruitcake tasty, it is colorful. As humans, we are genetically predisposed to be attracted to brightly colored things, much in the same way that female birds and other lady members of the animal kingdom are attracted to brightly colored males of their species – for mating purposes, not for eating. Sorry, I should have pointed that out a little sooner. At the same time, we are also genetically predisposed to be wary of some brightly colored foods because many brightly colored berries and other fruit like offerings of native plants are actually poisonous. As you can see, we are essentially hardwired as humans to find the fruitcake as a pleasant sight, but are leery of actually consuming it because it can pose a risk to our health.

Also, I made that entire paragraph up, but admit it, my use of the word ‘predisposed’ made it seem very believable and gave me the sort of credibility that I am not normally known for. I was worried about using the word twice, but I think it helped my case – just like when I slip in the fact that I read Time Magazine for the articles. By the way, have I mentioned recently that I just renewed my subscription to Time? I did because I read it.

To be honest, I have no idea why people don't like fruitcake. Just like dipping apple slices in Ranch dressing, if more people tried it, they would realize how much they like it. Because it is the butt of jokes, most people ASSUME (and I don't mean 'assume' in the heroic 'I am venturing a guess based on way too little information' sense) that it isn't good and therefore choose to pass it up and make fun of it like they ridiculed the kid on the playground who used to dress like David Letterman and write his own Top 10 lists for his unappreciative classmates. If only they had bothered to listen to my that undisclosed person's Top 10 lists! Those fools!

Well, I guess I have run out of things to say, or to 'ode' about. In retrospect, I really didn't offer up any good reasons to actually go out and get a fruitcake but I am hoping that my enthusiasm for it and bravery in admitting that I do enjoy them will make you want to try just one slice. Let me be your fruitcake ambassador as it were. Wait, I'm not sure how that title will be interpreted...

To quote Obama - look, here's the the thing. Fruitcake has nuts (that's what she said), it has fruit, it has sugar, some even contain alcohol AND it's a lot more fun way to promote tooth decay than something like gum or coffee. See, you just can't argue with that. In fact, I am eating one while typing this. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I chipped a tooth...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

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.

Monday, December 01, 2008

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 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 and fish-stockinged leg lamps giving us the glow of illuminated electrix sex in our windows. 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. There probably has also not been a child named Adolf for even longer, but that has nothing to do with deer that have red light bulbs screwed into their noses. It's just that the two names rhyme and my mind tends to wander when I write. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with the TV 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. Also, it was really bad and very annoying and Lucy and Ethel insist on watching it far too often. The phrase "gratuitously often" comes to mind.

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. (I'm sure there is something extremely inappropriate I could say after just using the phrase 'milking Rudolph," but I am going to resist the temptation. That would be udderly disgusting. Dangit! I couldn't resist.) 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, but slips on a skateboard while on the way and breaks his leg, resulting in the need to put him out of his misery. 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 cred though (you know, that's the first time I've ever used that phrase. I feel empowered by it. Maybe using it just helped my street cred. Ohhh, I'm liking this...) . They are making Rudolph themed everything these days. I actually saw a Rudolph version of Monopoly the other day. As Burl Ives would say, it seems that Rudolph is worth a whole lot of ‘silver and gold,’ no matter what he’s asked to do. 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…

Friday, November 28, 2008

If Only I Had Seen This Yesterday...

...Or perhaps several days or weeks ago because of the lengthy prep time I am assuming accompanies what I am about to share with you. While perusing around online this morning, I came across a mention of a new take on turducken, which is odd considering that turducken itself is a new take on something. This creation was called turgooduccochiqua. Now here is where I need to you to follow closely, because things are going to get confusing fast. A turgooduccochiqua is: a quail stuffed inside a cornish game hen that is inside of a duck, which resides in a chicken that is nesting inside of turkey. But hang on there because we aren't finished yet. All of those fowl ingredients (Get it? Fowl as in foul?) are then stuffed inside of a goose, which really brings that phrase from "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" that says "the goose is getting fat" to mind. Though in this case the goose is getting morbidly obese, but that's no fun to think about when eating. Oh yes, as if that wasn't enough meaty goodness for you, apparently the whole frankenbird is lined with bacon between all of the layers.





Ok, that was me allowing you to catch your breath and truly savor the ramifications of such a delicious food concoction. It might just be the greatest newly devised food of this new century and quite possibly the best offered since the Campbell's Soup Test Kitchen gave us the green bean casserole with those Durkee Fried Onions on top or even spam or maybe even bacon salt.

One thing is clear however, we need to encourage Americans to keep experimenting in such bold culinary fashion. After all folks, America is a country founded by explorers and pioneers and that spirit needs to be nurtured. In the kitchen. 

To say that I enjoy food is about as much of an understatement as saying that Copacabana is a good song (it's one of the greatest songs ever with its drama and anguish and suspense all set to a disco beat - to help you with the understatement comparison). All of this cramming of other meats into dead turkeys makes my mind wander dreamily to other food cramming and stuffing possibilities.

Could you just imagine the Scallshrobster? You're right. You probably can't because I haven't told you what it is. It's shrimp stuffed inside scallops that yes, are stuffed into lobster. Then there's the Cheese Hamfurter. This one is pretty self-explanatory. It's a hot dog stuffed inside a hamburger. You'd think this one would be a no brainer during America's Christmas - The 4th of July. Well actually, I guess December 25th is America's Christmas, but just saying "America's Birthday" seemed so bland and trivial.

Oh, how about the Keyconut Pie? A layer of coconut cream pie on top of a layer of Key Lime pie. This one might be an acquired taste, but then so is the music of The Ray Conniff orchestra and chorus and I've learned to love it. I am sure there is something involving bacon that could be thought up, but then bacon tastes good on pretty much everything. Cheese, another addiction of mine, would also be a good universal food pairing candidate. Wait a minute that could give us Chacon Bombs. Little cubes of cheese wrapped inside little strips of bacon and rolled together - hence the bomb label. Well, that and the fact that bombs can kill you, though perhaps just a little quicker than downing several chucks of cheese and bacon at the same time.

I would love to continue this fantasy stroll down the lane of crazy food hybridization, but 1. I don't think I used hybridization correctly just now, and 2. I am getting very, very hungry. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve

It's here. It's here. I'm not sure if that's actually what they call today or not, but it SHOULD be called that. I am going to write my local member of congress and suggest that he pushes legislation (or litigation - I'm not that particular) to make it so. After all, I'm sure it will be a welcome respite from all the bailout stuff. 

Speaking of bailout (and segues too), the president pardoned 2 turkeys at the White House earlier today in the annual event that has taken place since at least Harry Truman. Gerald Ford even pardoned a turkey. It's name was Nixon. Seriously folks, these are the jokes...The pardoned turkeys will get to live out the rest of their lives at the turkey farm
praying to God that their tags marking them as special, untouchable turkeys never come off strutting around knowing that they have been spared, though I bet it will make it hard for them to forge meaningful long lasting relationships. "I swear Tom, every time I get close to another Jenny, she disappears..."

While I can't believe it's already here, I love this day. There's just something about knowing the work week is prematurely over, tomorrow is nothing but food and 45 of my closest relatives (at least 60% of who I can now call by their correct name) and then Christmas decorating. Oh and the annual turkey marathon of leftovers. Then there's the airing of "It's A Wonderful Life." I'm pretty sure that every time "It's A Wonderful Life" airs that an NBC accountant gets his commission.

I read recently about the original Thanksgiving and it has really changed my approach to the holiday. I've got one word for you: LOBSTER. Yes, lobster may have been served along with other shellfish at the first Thanksgiving dinner. Since it's too late this year, next year I am proposing that my family reenacts that first Thanksgiving, complete with lobster for everyone. Although, there was no pumpkin pie at that meal, so maybe I'd better go with a hybrid new and old celebration next year. Then again, do lobster and pumpkin pie really go well together? It's bad enough that everyone gets tired after the big meal. Do we really need them getting sick instead?

Well, happy Thanksgiving to all of you. May your bellies be full and your fortunes be fuller. Wow, that was lame. Ignore that...

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Post With All The Stuffing

Since the last time I wrote a post Joe The Plumber was still relevant, I figured I’d offer up a holiday fare of actual newly written thoughts for this holiday week. I had planned on spending today writing a series of status updates on Facebook that were all related, but then realized that’s basically called Twitter and around the third or fourth update someone would catch on and point out that my idea wasn’t really that unique. Since I am not hardwired to handle that type of criticism (or mathematics, for that matter), I will spend my time writing this instead.

When I discovered the fact that you can write notes as long as you want on Facebook last night, I thought my blogging days might be over. In fact, I actually wrote a post there last night and did not share it here with you. The guilt from that is also what inspired me to finally write a new post, but since that sounds less than sincere, I’m wanted to keep it from you. Though obviously I didn’t because I am here writing all about it. I’d probably be a very bad gossiper, assuming of course that someone actually entrusted me with a piece of gossip. It reminds me of what Michael Scott once said: “I like inside jokes. Maybe someday I’ll get to be a part of one.”

So anywho, my favorite week of the year is finally upon us. While it’s true that the sole fact that this week has only 3 working days would be more than enough to qualify it as my favorite week of the year, there are actually more reasons than just that. Take for instance the weird holiday crossover effect so prevalent during this one week. We are looking forward to and preparing for Thanksgiving, but at the same time preparing and actually beginning to enjoy the fruits of the Christmas season (I mean that figuratively of course because I can’t think of a real Christmas fruit, except for fruit cake, which I love, but that is a combination of many fruits and therefore does not qualify. Plus most people don’t enjoy the holiday brick as much as I do and tend to ridicule me for it).

The dual holiday thing this week is almost like that feeling you get during the time change in the fall and spring when you move your clocks before you go to bed and get to hang out in that limbo hour between what the real time is and what the time when you wake up will be. Or perhaps it’s nothing like that because the time change does not involve eggnog or me dressing as Santa while I run through the house trying to get everyone in the mood to decorate. I guess I could make it more like that by wearing a big clock around my neck while I move the clocks forward or back, but then I’d look ridiculously like Flavor Flav. By the way, please do not ask me how someone who listens to Sinatra and Ella knew his name. Sometimes cultural osmosis can be downright cruel…

It’s also the one week a year when I can liberally reference the WKRP Turkey Drop episode and when every single morning DJ in Northern America feels the need to do the same thing. Sadly, there are not very many times of the year when you can say “as God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly” and actually have it be relevant. Fortunately the limited time each year where you can say that is offset by the fact that you can say “they are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement” year round. It is during this week each year that I also like to play Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” and then go around flapping my arms while saying “I’m dressed like a turkey. This is just humiliating” ala Paul Simon’s turkey costumed appearance on a very early episode of SNL. These moments are fleeting and rare, but have become tradition for me and holidays are nothing if not tradition.

I’ve often thought about writing down everything I do and say some Thanksgiving so that I can repeat it each year after, thereby creating instant traditions that Lucy and Ethel are sure to remember. While it might eventually seem like the film “Groundhog Day” to them, eventually they will find themselves unable to resist doing those things or reminiscing about those things when they are older because of the sheer repetitiveness of it all and will appreciate the painstaking lengths I went to in order to leave them with traditions. You know, things like accidentally cutting myself while carving the turkey or spilling cranberry sauce down the front of my pants or the insistence that everyone do the turkey dance before sitting down to our Thanksgiving meal. (Mental note: work on that dance thing. It’s a pretty good idea)

All that’s left now is for me have my annual night before Thanksgiving (which I am planning on writing my congressman to have renamed “Thanksgiving Eve”) viewing of “It’s A Wonderful Life (because how can one not be thankful after watching that heartwarming story – though my family hates when I watch it because then anytime anything rings, I have to say the thing about the angel and its wings. And yell “Clarence.” It’s fun, you should try it). Then I get to take my seat (yes, it’s at the kids table. Why do you ask?) the following afternoon and wait for my turkey leg. That sizeable down payment I made to my Grandfather when I was 10, thus ensuring that I would get a turkey leg every year he carves the turkey, has really been worth the scrimping and saving and budgeting it has forced me to do as a grown up.

Enjoy this special week and happy Thanksgiving!! Now, let the stuffed stupor begin!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oooh Yay, It's Sort Of A Holiday

While the title says it's a holiday, please remember this was written last January. While I'm sure somewhere in the world today is a holiday, it is not the meaningless holiday I am honoring below. Putting this up today was easier than writing something new, with all the decorating and Christmas CD making an eggnog consumptioning going on around my homestead this weekend.

Enjoy and happy Sunday, unless you are reading this later in the week because then wishing you a happy Sunday on a day when you are most likely working away in the office would just be cruel. Although, if you are reading this at work then I guess you really aren't working and then it serves you right. Yeah, I'm kidding. We all know work is the best place to get your blogging done. I mean not for me personally, for everybody else...

It’s that time for another useless holiday. You know, one of these days I am just going to sit down, invent my own holiday and use this blog to tirelessly promote it. In fact, maybe one day I’ll take your suggestions on such a day. Right now I’m leaning heavily on ‘Glorify All Things Fried Day.’ But that’s another topic for another day. I want to also have a ‘Put It Off Until Tomorrow Day,’ but it always seems to get postponed. Get it? Seriously, these are the jokes people…

Back to today, however. Today is Write To Congress Day. It might not really seem like that fun of a holiday, but that’s where a little imagination comes in. You kinda have to read between the lines and realize that the holiday doesn’t say WHAT we have to write to Congress about today. Are you with me yet? Not that we need to turn this into a letter to Santa or anything, but we can write to Congress about whatever we want, at least that’s how I interpret it.

So then, what should one write to Congress about? Taxes? The economy? The price of gas? The fat content of bacon? Why Rachael Ray has like 15 TV shows and Bob Newhart no longer has any? And what ever happened to the variety show as a television staple?

I have a theory. I imagine that Congress gets a little tired of reading the same old complaints about what is wrong with our country and all the requests to have someone’s uncle twice removed pardoned for stealing their neighbor’s canary in a case of mistaken identity because they thought it was their missing Cockatoo named Lulu. They probably get a lot of requests for internships, speaking engagements and the occasional envelope containing money. Not that they mind the money so much. Bribing political officials is legal, right?

I am choosing to shake it up a little and give Congress something more interesting to read this year. It’ll be a nice break from the monotony of legislating our country and taking vacations. And running for reelection. And christening golf courses. Maybe I’ll write a bunch of different letters. My first letter will be about urging lawmakers to limit Food Network stars to having only one show. Unless you are Alton Brown or are attractive and named Giada or have the names Paula or Deen in your name and you like to cook using butter. You know what, maybe I’m better off writing a letter about something else.

Perhaps Congress would like to know what I think they should do about the lack of exciting games shows on television. But I’m not one of those people that just go around complaining all the time; I also offer solutions. I will suggest to Congress that they pass a law making game shows more exciting by developing well-known and well-loved board games to television. First, they can adapt the board game ‘Operation’ into the TV game show format. Each episode someone will be opened up to have some useless organ the like the gall bladder, appendix or liver removed. If the surgeon contestant accidentally hits the patient’s skin while removing the useless organ, the surgeon gets shocked into unconsciousness. Oh, and docked 50 points. I think this one has real potential. And just wait for my follow up game show: Barrel Of Real Monkeys. This show will be taped outside. And let’s face it; Congress is the only branch of the government that will be able to assist me in bringing the real life version of Battleship to the small screen in a fun, entertaining and suspenseful game show using real artillery.

Yes I know that Congress doesn’t really decide what is on television, but they might want to read game show pitches for a change. There is also a stop sign I want removed from just around the corner because it slows me down when I am in a hurry to get to work. I don’t know that Congress would be the one to deal with the fact that my neighbor’s girlfriend always parks her car in front of my house, but I’m going to give it a try. And who doesn’t think that we could use more paid national holidays every year? I’ll just never understand why we don’t have April Fool’s Day or August 17th off.

These are just a few of the letters I am going to try to get written today. Just to make sure that my letters get special attention, I am having Lucy and Ethel decorate each envelope. I was going to cut out colorful letters from magazines to spell out the words on the envelope and letter, but then someone pointed out that it would look like a ransom note and that sending a ransom note to Congress could get me in a lot of trouble. And I mean the type of trouble that happens when you try to shoot our nation’s highest elected official or you have made the Thanksgiving turkey too dry. Serious, serious trouble. I am also going to put the phrase ‘you deserve a raise’ at the bottom of each letter. This should guarantee that I get preferential treatment.

So enjoy the holiday and write a letter to Congress. You elected them and they work for you. Want to talk about how dreamy your boyfriend is? Want to get a license to hunt skunks? Feel like Congress should receive a notarized copy of your grocery list? Go ahead; it’s Write Your Congress Day. Have fun!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Want To Become A Legend? Paint A Dome!

This was originally written 2 years ago, but I spruced it up a little. It wasn't that good to begin with, so I guess all I really did was put lipstick on a pig. Sadly, I may have blurred the lines of reality and imagination in it, but even sadder still, I can't tell. You be the judge (you were supposed to say that in a low mysterious voice, by the way)...

In November of 1512, Michelangelo’s artwork on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome was unveiled to the public. Other than “ouch, it hurts thy neck to look straight up at thine painting,” the thing most overheard that day was “woweth, how’deth he doeth thateth and is thee not wearing any pants in thy painting where thee toucheth God?”

There are many facts about the frescoes (I had one at Starbucks this morning actually, but they put too much cinnamon in it again) that adorn the Chapel’s ceiling which most people probably aren’t aware of. The real facts concerning the creation of the paintings have been kept from us for almost 500 years.

My research is a little sketchy, but I wanted to share the history I’ve uncovered with you all. What most folks don’t know is that Michelangelo (who preferred to go by Mikey, which is much easier to type than Michelangelo) wasn’t as much invited by the Vatican to paint the ceiling as he was told to paint the ceiling. I've had similar experiences at work. It turns out that Mikey had been chasing this hot chick around Rome named Mona. Mona (or Ms. Lisa if you're nasty. I know, that was a stretch) snubbed Mikey and chose to court this cat named Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo got to paint her (well do a painting of her, not physically paint her, like they did to that girl in Goldfinger, because as we learned there, painting the entire body will kill you), which broke Mikey’s heart. To deal with his grief, Mikey took to tagging all public walls in and around Rome. Instead of facing inquisition, (nobody expects the Spanish inquisition, perhaps that's because this took place in Rome) Mikey accepted several hundred hours of community service by putting his artistic prowess to good use. His community service was being forced to look upwards for several years while painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. A few years earlier, all of the white puffy and powdery 70's era (as in 1470s, of course) acoustic ceiling had been removed from the Chapel and it looked pretty bad, so the timing couldn’t have been better.

By painting the ceiling, not only did Mikey avoid jail time, he was also able to prove to his true unrequited love Mona that he too was a great artist. As Michelangelo was quoted as saying late in his life, “comeuppance is sweeter to thee than true love lost, especially when it is accomplished with thine own brush,” which I guess is much better than "taketh that, beeotch!"

Anyone who has ever bought paint at Home Depot on the weekend with thoughts of repainting the family room quickly can attest to what a phenomenal achievement Mikey’s painting of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling really was. Heck, I can’t even paint around a light switch or door jam. Well I can, I just can't paint around it without accidentally painting everything near it that I should have taped off to begin with. Of course later in his life, Michelangelo was plagued by debilitating shoulder and neck pain and hundreds of people visiting the Sistine Chapel have been injured by walking into pews or other churchly objects while walking through the Chapel while looking straight up.

Sadly, there is talk of a major change to the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. A Chapel official was quoted as saying, “You know, change is a good thing and since our patrons have been viewing the same thing for almost 500 years, we figure it’s time for something different to adorn our beloved ceiling. The fame of the Sistine Chapel has made it one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations but we are still seeing a decline in the amount of financial offerings to our church. Therefore we are taking advantage of the most popular ceiling ever, which is prime advertising space by the way, and replacing Michelangelo’s work with a large stadium-type TV screen and LCD text ribbon, similar to the one in New York's Times Square,” he added.

The new screen will be called Sistine-Vision and church officials hope it will raise millions per year in ad revenue. Major international corporations like Coca-Cola, Nike and McDonalds are already considering purchasing ad space. Paint chips of Michelangelo’s work will be saved and auctioned off on E-Bay and by Sotheby’s to fund Sistine-Vision’s construction. Plans are to have construction completed by 2009. Just think that 500 years from now we’ll be celebrating the anniversary of the unveiling of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling all over again. It's like the circle of life, just without Elton John singing about it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The "I Just Saw A James Bond Movie And It Reminded Me Of This Repost" Repost: Hello CIA, I’m Responding To Your Ad

Ok, I just saw the new James Bond movie and it got me all excited (that's what she said) and reminded me of this 2 year old post. Perhaps what I remember most about it is that it took longer to make the little graphic there than it did to write this...and it shows, but I'm ok with that because I like to settle. It keeps expectations down, like 'Dow Jones plunging' down. So, as I go back to punch this up so it's not so 2006, please keep in mind that I am doing so at 2:30AM and long ago surrendered my faculites and better judgement...

I joked last week (OK, 2 years ago for those scoring at home) about wanting to do a story based on a radio commercial I heard about the fact that the CIA is hiring, but I was too afraid of Big Brother. They're like HR only with weapons and wiretapping, though unlike my HR, they probably let you surf the web. Although I'm sure it's in the name of National Security, which really isn't a good name. I prefer something more traditional like Dale or possibly Ella, if it's a girl. 

Well, after reading this AP story about the CIA on Yahoo, I’m ready to. The story is about how the CIA is looking for new employees, which I guess they call recruits or perhaps newhires or maybe if you're really lucky, agents. The story says that they have shown ads during baseball games, taken out ad space in various magazines and airport billboards as well as during movie trailers. If they're smart, they would take out ads next to the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World ads, which I wrote about just a few posts below - but don't go there yet. I'd like you to finish this one first. It even says the CIA has hired an ad agency. I bet the ad company’s creative folks are having a blast pitching ideas to CIA employees. I can hear it now, “ok guys, if you don’t think this tagline is good, you’re not going to shoot or torture me, right? Guys, smile, that was just a joke, really.” No, it's not a slick pitch like they make on "Mad Men" but it's how I used to pitch clients and I even landed one of them once, so there.

Now I’m glad to know that I wasn’t the only one noticing how weird it is that our government’s intelligence agency is publicly seeking employees. Apparently one of the things the CIA wants to do is wipe away the notion that all CIA work is like the very fictional world of James Bond. I’m sure my stereotypical driveling in the next few paragraphs is the exact type of thinking they want to discourage, but I just can’t help it. And with that, cue the moving gun barrel and the image of a well dressed man walking across it preparing to shoot you. Why yes, you can pretend it's me if you'd like...

What a relief though to know that if the CIA were to hire me I wouldn’t have to go out and buy enough tuxedos for every day of the week. It would be a little sad in a way to be hired by the CIA and have all of those myths associated with covert work demystified so quickly. I could see myself sitting in my new cubicle saying to no one in particular, “so this is it, really? Can my ballpoint pen kill anybody? When do I get to meet Q? Did I miss the lady with the caviar cart or does she come by after lunch?” At that point I’m sure I’d be executed fired.

Although I know nothing about the workings of our country’s intelligence agency (in fact just using the word intelligence usually trips me up), I would imagine that working in a cubicle there beats working in a cubicle for anyone else. My guess is that the two most interesting departments would be HR and the requisitioning department. My mind can only imagine what items would be requisitioned at the CIA. Of course, in reality it’s probably the same type of stuff at any company like pencils, pens, computers, paper, copier toner and explosive tie clips. Wouldn’t it be great to hear a line like, “did you get that order of magnetic, homing device, self destructing wrist watches filled yet,” just once while at work.

HR might be the easiest department since every personnel file would be marked ‘classified.’ Imagine having to review someone’s file to determine whether administrative leave is necessary after he or she destroyed an entire riverfront Bistro in pursuit of a wanted dangerous international smuggler. More than likely, the day-to-day monotony of a CIA HR person would be filled with healthcare enrollment options, retirement packages and sexual harassment claims filed by older cold war relic spies who keep hitting on their new, young secretaries by calling them Ms. Moneypenny and asking if they’d like to see his Aston Martin (if you catch my drift). I should tell you that the notion to go with Pussy Galore instead of Ms. Moneypenny in that last sentence crossed my mind, but there's a certain word there that makes me blush. I shudder to think of using the word Moneypenny in a public setting.  The word should actually be two separate words, but that's how they created it. It's so embarassing when you catch other people making spelling or grammatic errors.

Man, I bet the training films are great to watch. Do you think they save money and just show Bond films or episodes of Get Smart or do you think they actually make the training films themselves complete with monotone narration and lots of great black and white 1950's stock footage? Do the training films talk about how important it is to forget what you overheard during lunch or to only look down at the floor or up to the ceiling when walking down the hall? Are there plenty of suggestions on how to make the perfect double entendre or witty remark after you have killed someone? Does it cover the importance of leaving your disguises in the office and not forwarding government email to your best friend from high school just because it says ‘for your eyes only’ or ‘this message must be destroyed after receipt?’ My mind tingles at the possibilities.

Do you think the CIA plays other government entities in a governmental softball or bowling league? I bet that all the CIA players show up in Ray-Ban sunglasses and fake beards. I wonder if the other teams just throw the games because they are afraid of what would happen if they beat the CIA. No matter what the answers to all of these questions are, I think me asking them out loud has just guaranteed that I will never be invited to work for their agency. Oh well, it was worth a shot, right? After all, you only live twice. And diamonds are forever. And nobody does it better. And tomorrow never dies. And we have all the time in the world (bonus points if you can name which movie that one was in). There, I think I milked that dead horse for all it's worth. Wait, that can't be right...

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Random Post Election Wrap Up That Is So ‘After The Fact’ That It Is Immediately Devalued Like A New Jaguar After It Is Driven Off The Lot

...(And Then Crashed Into A Bus Because The Driver Is Too Busying Looking At Other People Look At Him In His New Jag). - Facebook wouldn't let me fit the whole title up there, which is too bad because I spent an entire hour trying to create the longest title I could.
Although on the bright side, I now know the exact parameters I

have to work within.
Just like when writing Haiku
Which I seldom do.

See what I did there, I went Haiku-ey on you.  How mavericky, huh.  Sadly, it took even longer to compose than the title did...

Well, the election ended almost a week ago and that means it’s time for me to jump well after everyone else into the post-election wrap up. This gives me a few advantages.

One: I can read what everyone else says, translate it into the way I would talk by adding unnecessary “y”s and “ings” to it and by making comparisons to things that would not normally be compared for fear of federal prosecution, and then impress (or perhaps “regale” if I am doing it really well) everyone with my political knowledge and savvynessying.

Two: It provides me the much needed time to read “Time” (I should go ahead and warn you that doing so is so existential, it could blow your mind if you spend too much, well “Time” dwelling on it) so that I can go around telling people that “I read it in Time,” which has been proven to make people think I am 12.2% smarter than the lab rat that only bumps into a wall 7 times before realizing that part of the maze is blocked.

* I wonder if Prez-Elect Obama would consider me for a cabinet post. I was thinking Chief of Laugh or maybe Secretary of the Inferior.

* Have you ever spent your entire weekend roto-tilling your back yard to prepare for a new lawn (which of course in So Cal you can actually accomplish successfully during the winter), only to finish and then realize you’d rather just keep it muddy? It turns out mud-slinging is quite liberating. Admit it, you didn’t know where the election tie-in was going to be, which is quite all right because I didn’t either.

* I think it would be very exciting to live in a swing state. The only problem is that the word “swing” is two letters removed from “swinger” and using that word makes me uncomfortable. Perhaps we could use the phrase “states in limbo” instead. Now the only problem with “limbo” is that it makes me think of “libido” and again, that makes me squirmy. There’s always “decision challenged,” but the “cision” part of that word makes me (and most likely every male) squirmy with its biblical meat-carving connotation (for lack of a much, much better or socially acceptable description).

* Like scientists working on the Manhattan Project, I have been busy trying to do something so dangerous that it could result in complete disaster. For months (which has actually taken 4 months. I know. Isn’t the coincidence amazingly, well, coincidental), I have been trying to combine two of the most dangerous ingredients of our society into a cohesive package that could actually result in improving the lives of Americans everywhere. What are the two ingredients you ask? I want very much to be able to say that “if I told you I would have to kill you” but that phrase is so overused that I cannot bring myself to do it and will not stoop so low by using bad clichés. This is where I would normally insert a cliché in an attempt to be funny, but alas, I cannot think of one. Snap! Ok, the two ingredients are knock-knock jokes and the songbook of Barbara Streisand. I think I am finally able to release the result of my work for public consumption. Here goes:
“knock knock”
“who’s there?”
“people who?”
“people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”
Wow, now that I’ve actually said it out loud, its overwhelming suckiness is pretty embarrassing. You could actually say it “bombed,” to go along with the whole Manhattan Project tie-in. If you wanted to, which I am fairly certain you will not.

* I realized the other day while trying to breath after wogging (walking and jogging because sometimes in the middle of running I get lazy) that if I learned to type while using 2 keyboards at the same time, I could stereotype, but people tell me that's bad.

Yes, I admit that I didn’t really write all this week’s randoms about the election, though you have to admit that thinking I was going to got your attention and made you want to read this post. See what I did there? I made a promise to get you on my side and then broke it. Wait, I shouldn’t be bragging about that, should I. Ok, it was never my intention to lie to you, but the reality of the situation forced me to. Plus there were hippos eating my breakfast and I blame them. See, I just flip-flopped AND initiated a cover-up. Golly, politics are fun!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Random Tricks AND Treats - Because It's A Time For Giving

Well friends, as if I need to tell you with all the scariness out there and all the yards decorated and people putting on different personas and the ghoulish anticipation of the hauntings to come, election time is finally upon us.

But what I am going to write about is Halloween. Yep, the sequential Numero Uno in the Triumverate of Holidays is here. And since you can’t come knocking upon my door to receive your choice of candy, Facebook Flair or my self-printed pamphlet on how the union of Jim and Pam on the Office relates to the Apocolypse, I shall offer you these random tricks and treats. They may not be the best things I’ve ever offered you here, but just consider me to be the guy that hands out pencils on Halloween this year (oh, and no offense to my wife’s mother with that remark)…

* Cellphones may not kill, but when using one causes you to walk into the ladies’ restroom at Disneyland, they can cause you to get some VERY dirty looks.

* I really have an axe to grind (or limb to sever, to use the Halloween parlance) with Jack in the Box. Yes their El Cheapo tacos can make your pancreas glow, but I have a problem with the issuance and date selection of the release of their holiday shakes this year. In years past, their holiday shakes offerings have been well timed: October is for their Pumpkin Pie shake and AFTER Halloween is reserved for their Eggnog Shake (though the pumpkin is still available – moot point though that be). This allowed the Pumpkin shake connoisseur (namely myself and one of my friends) to spend all of October delighting in the Pumpkin Pie shake variety. But this year, Jack decided to release both at the same time, and even worse, at the end of October. While I realize this has to be about as exciting for you as the process of retreading a commercial truck tire, I’ve made it too far to stop now (that’s what she said – and yes, that was very bad, but in my defense, I’ve got a lot of TWSS’s pent up inside of me after not writing for the last 2 months and it’s Halloween. If we can’t be saucy on Halloween, then when can we? Right?). So now, I am left with the dilemma I was presented with last night. Which one to get? Do I cram in the pumpkin I missed for the next few weeks and then enjoy eggnog after Thanksgiving, thus reducing my opportunity to enjoy enough of each variety this year? You know what, never mind. This all seemed much more interesting as I discussed the philosophy of it all with a complete stranger (who I am now pretty sure didn’t even speak English) while waiting in line for a soda at Disneyland last night.

* I have decided that next year I am going to go as the glam 1970’s version of Elton John for Halloween (and forgive me if you have heard this before – and you know who you are). That way, the following year all I have to do is remove the glasses and I can go as Liberace. Though I may not really want to be portrayed in that light. That big shiny candelabra provided light. Although, the third year I could go as Lawrence Welk and the sinking of my reputation will be complete…

* Despite my 99 and 44/100ths percent certainty, it turns out that eggnog and Coke DO NOT mix. At all. As in ‘it burns all the way down to your colon’ does not mix. Perhaps this is why every time I have had the urge to do it (that’s what she said) for the last few days, everyone has advised me not to. It turns out that 6 year olds are a lot smarter than we give them credit for.

And with that, I wish everyone a very Happy Halloween, here’s hoping you don’t pull a Charlie Brown and get a rock and that you may find yourself in the most sincere pumpkin patch when the Great Pumpkin comes calling. Or when the local polling place comes calling for that matter. Happy Halloween everybody!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A New Post Doesn't Write Itself

It occurred to me the other day that I hadn't written a 'new' blog post in a 'few days.’ I'm not sure how I let those 'few days’ elapse, but I figured I should get back on the horse, or keyboard in this instance, and start writing again. The only problem was that when I sat on the keyboard, all that came out was this: ru8ot goihjudfuhjugrehgughghujgh. And as you can see, that phrase is only funny if you are from the Anhui Province in China, which you are most likely not, especially if you read this blog. Though if you actually find yourself enjoying this blog, perhaps you are from that province and have no basic concept of reality or the English language.

And speaking of Provinces, I had several good ideas and topics to share with you in this post that have been accumulating during the last 'few days’ of my absence. The only problem is that I am heavily medicated, which has reduced my memory to the capacity of a chicken embryo's bladder, though I will try to recount as many of them as I can. Consider it sort of a ‘what I did during by mental break down.’

If I remember correctly, I'm pretty sure I was able to come up with a solution to our current economic chaos, but then I got the craving for soft serve ice cream and forgot to write it down. Although I think it involved purchasing the two dark blue properties in Monopoly and a pyramid scheme about either blocks of cheese or stem cells. I do know that part of my solution centered around Craig's List and our country's most famous landmarks – notably the birthplace of Fred Willard. But that's all a pipe dream now as I cannot for the life of me figure out how to connect the dots that I do remember. Oh yeah, there was also something about rebuilding our Y2K shelters (assuming you were actually foolish enough to take yours down in the first place) and the phrase 'Under the Mattress Savings and Loan,' if that helps.

Then there was my preoccupation with archaeological shows on cable. I really, really got into these things. It turns out that they are as abundant on TV during the day as are TV ads for ambulance chasers, career training schools and lawyer commercials where it looks like they were filmed in a library. It got to the point that I started digging holes in the back yard to satisfy my archaeological desire (and yes you are correct in saying to yourselves right now that you never thought you would see the words ‘archaeological’ and ‘desire’ in the same sentence). However, through my digging, I did discover that the previous owners of my home had buried their very large greyhound dog under our peach tree. Don’t worry, I’m kidding. We really don’t have a peach tree in our backyard. I mean seriously…

I also learned in my ‘down time’ that I am not as flexible and resilient as I used to be. This became neonally obvious to me when I decided to take Lucy and Ethel to a park to play a few days ago. I got the urge to use the swing set and then decided to show everyone at the park that I was Sky King of the Swings and jump out of the swing onto the ground. My dismount, or dis-swing, felt great. I even got enough air to pose for my wife’s camera before my descent began. (Editor’s note: this is where the upbeat tone of the story changes dramatically). At first it felt like I stuck the landing as if Bela Karoli himself had come to me in a dream and shared with me his divine gymnastic learnings and such.

The only problem is that the next thing I knew was that I was hitting the ground on all fours like a cat tossed from a 4-story window. I skidded for a few feet across the wood shavings laid down around the swing set. Only these weren’t those fancy recycled rubber tire shreds made to look like wood shavings, these were the real ‘grown from the ground up’ wood chips. It turns out that wood chips are so plentiful that they do grow on trees after all. Although I did slice my knees open, which is always a hoot when on blood thinners, it’s a darn good thing I didn’t break a leg or a wrist because my wife was laughing so hard that she would have been in no position to assist me. Nor would the 7 or so other children and 7 or so other adults and those snide no-good teenagers that actually pointed at me while they laughed. (For those of you addicted to Facebook as I am, there are two lovely before and after pictures at my Facebook page, courtesy of my loving wife).

As frightening as that story may sound, I have an even scarier one – you know, with Halloween and The Great Pumpkin coming and all. I almost consented to buying a mini-van over the weekend (sorry Ed and Beth, I know you have one, but you are still family to me). I swore even before we had children that if my wife and I ended up as Jon and Kate plus 50 that I would never purchase a mini-van. It seduced me though with all the room and sliding doors, its 3 fancy rows that beckoned me to rest my rear end upon them and the most sexy part – the little arm rests that you could put down to turn the seats in the front two rows into captain’s chairs. Double darn that feeling of being able to feel like Captain James T. Kirk while piloting your own vehicle. Fortunately, it was at a stop light while driving the devil’s vehicular spawn when I looked over to the SUV beside us and was rocked back into reality. My hand still trembles at the thought of having almost become a mini-van man, though the doctor says it’s the meds causing the trembling. That fool! (Remember to say that phrase while dramatically slamming your fists onto the desk to get the full effect). Obviously she is of the mini-vanners and can no longer be trusted.

Fortunately my clouded state of brainular activity has experience a slight upswing. Yesterday I triumphantly purchased my first carton of Eggnog of the season – yes, the season that has not even begun yet. Although my math skills aren’t up to par, I believe yesterday’s purchase puts my streak of being able to enjoy eggnog just before and during Halloween night somewhere between 8-10 years now. I really think I can become the Cal Ripken Iron Man of early season eggnog consumption. Don’t believe me; just check my late October blog postings for the last two years. I am actually enjoying the creamy, sweet beverage now. And as an added bonus, I can really feel it’s artery clogging properties taking affect as I attempt to write this.

So thanks to everyone who emailed me during the last few days, by which I can now acknowledge was approximately 8 or so weeks. It meant a lot and even made me want to write again, even though I stole this post word for word from an article in this month’s Reader’s Digest. But let’s just keep that between us, ok?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Most Interesting Man In The World (And No, It’s Not Mo Roca Or Alan Greenspan Or Even Joe Six Pack Or Joe The Plumber )

Yes, yes, this is a repost from about a month ago, but I added a little something to the title up there to increase its relevancy and current events quotient. Holy Moley, that's the first time I've ever written the word 'quotient' to be used as comic phrasing. Note to self: don't do that again.

I hope to get back to daily writing very soon. As I've been going through a mental chill and thaw or 'brainular cleansing,' as I prefer to call it, I have neglected my blog. I think it's actually lost a few pounds and its friends have stopped calling. So, I am posting this because it's one of the very last new things I wrote and just like showing last year's finale of your favorite show the week before the season premier debuts, it'll help get you all caught up.

I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for awhile now but just didn’t have enough info to do so. I know what you are thinking this is about, but no, it’s not about Thomas Crapper, inventor of the toilet. That being said however, we kind of owe that guy a lot. Sometimes I get flush just thinking about it. Nor is it about Gene Rayburn, host of Match Game AND Match Game 76, which was like getting to hang out with your grandparents when they were drinking and cool. Without him, we would never have been able to end our sentences with the word ‘blank,’ as in ‘Jimmy and Judy want to have another child, but Jimmy keeps shooting blank.’ Wait, that’s not the best example to feature the whole ‘blank’ thing. Let’s try this one, ‘Sally forgot to tell Willy that he blanked her the other day at the park.’ You know what, I might be better at answering those than actually writing them. Ah, but I did like cocktail hour with the seniors. Charles Nelson Reilly, Betty White, Richard Dawson and more. Either my perception of the 70s is way off, or those were some real swinging cats. Mental note: strike the phrase ‘real swinging cats’ from my daily list of approved words, immediately. Also, remember to take that Diet Mountain Dew out of the freezer that I put there to make it cold super quick yesterday.

The individual I meant to discuss today is the somewhat mysterious, but equally cool ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’ from those Dos Equis commercials where he gives us his thoughts on various topics. You know who I’m talking about, right? The middle-aged bearded man with the suave Latin accent who always ends the commercials with ‘stay thirsty my friends.’ I haven’t seen a lot of his commercials, but I dig them. Mental Note 2.0 – never, ever use ‘dig’ again unless you are holding a shovel, or possibly a spoon.

Provided I clicked the right thing yesterday, I have become his fan on Facebook, because we all know that the sign of legitimacy in our pop culture is governed by the ads we see on the left or right border of Facebook. Heck, I’ve been offered Huey Lewis and Billy Joel tickets in some of those ads (though curiously, no Barry Manilow). It’s almost eerie, like they know me or possibly have some really nice software coding that takes my interests and panders to them with ticket offers, groups and discount meats. Yes, I’m making the meat part up, but if any Facebook programmer happens to be reading this, let me say 2 things. 1: Please don’t sue me, and 2: If you happen to offer discount meats on your amazing and fantabulous site, I would not mind.

Now back to the Most Interesting Man In The World, or MIMITW because I know I am going to get tired of writing out his name and that will just lead me to eventually loathe him, which is in direct contrast to why I started writing all of this in the first place. MIMITW is so cool. I think he needs a sit-com or at the very least, a comic book about him. It always seems like he is sitting around a gaming table (possibly playing baccarat like James Bond) in a tropical, smoke filled bar. And of course he is always surrounded by the ladies (for full effect, please say that in a low and slow manner stretching the ‘a’ sound, not high-pitched and exuberant like Jerry Lewis).

What makes this man so interesting, well other than Dos Equis’ advertising agency? Is it his accent? Is it his beard, or is it the ladies (again, read above for proper utterance of ‘the ladies’) that are always surrounding him? You can just picture this guy globe trotting the world to a slow latin beat version of Ricky Nelson’s ‘Traveling Man,’ because this guy WOULD NEVER listen to Rock and Roll. He’s got himself a lady in every port and probably gambles on house credit. I’m also thinking he has hideaways, but not those under the water kinds that only the world’s most evil criminals all seem to have. Those are pre-fabricated and can be purchased at Home Depot and Lowes, by the way.

You get the feeling that people just want to be near this guy to hear him speak of his feelings on too tight trousers or maybe why you can’t be cool with a parrot on your shoulder because they cannot warn you when they need to make the stinky. And as close as people want to be to him to increase their cool quotient, he keeps them at arm’s length and never reveals too much about himself, thus perpetuating his myth. This was actually a tactic I used to employ heavily, until I got a blog and became so desperate for material that I almost referred to myself in third person once.

I can think off the top of my head of at least a dozen songs written and sung by Jimmy Buffett that could be about some aspects of MIMITW. Ok, for some reason I always feel compelled to be honest with you. So in that spirit, I must tell you that I can think of only one song, and now I’m not even sure it was by Jimmy Buffett. No, it’s not Copacabana, but only because his name is not Tony and he doesn’t always tend the bar. Nor is his name Rico and he probably doesn’t wear a diamond.

Right about now, you may be asking yourself if I, the author of this blog, would want to be the MIMITW, or possibly you are asking yourself what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is that idiot writing about now. Well, you’re in luck. I have an answer for those questions. I would not want to be the MIMITW because I do not want to wear tuxedos, or shoes for that matter, nor do I know how to play Baccarat and every time I say that word, it makes me think of Burt Bacharach and that leads me to singing songs like ‘The Look of Love.’ And let’s face it, doing that is instant disqualification from the Most Interesting Man In The World sweepstakes. Also, I too have no idea what I am trying to write about here. This is possibly due to the fact that I have that Muppets song stuck in my head where they all sing and say nothing but ‘menomena.’ Damn that’s catchy. Like dysentery in the south pacific catchy. I also can’t keep my internal monologue from doing the ‘do, do, do, do, do’ part of the chorus in Elton John and Kiki Dee’s ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.’ Don’t worry about that one though, I’m under treatment for it and things seem to be proceeding well.

I guess there is nothing left to do now but raise a glass and toast The Most Interesting Man In The World. Besides, I have run out of things to write about.

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's New Because It's Not Old


It's never a good idea to drive through the twisting, narrow roads of the San Bernardino Mountains at night while listening to Jan and Dean's 'Dead Man's Curve'

It's just daring bad mojo to come your way. And by 'mojo' I mean driving off a cliff and stuff...

Thank you for your time.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Weekend Repost: Random Bullets

I swear that I hope to get back to writing sometime very soon. Actually, let me rephrase that because it sounded like I was ducking the question. I swear that I WANT to get back to writing sometime very soon. As ABC has been informing us of the fact that it's Stay At Home week for the last several days, my doctor apparently took notice and has had me at home for the last TWO weeks. I guess she wanted me to get a jump on the holiday. I've missed a lot in the last two weeks, but went outside the other day and actually saw an orangey colored leaf on a tree.

It reminded me that Fall is upon us and and my favorite few months of the year have arrived. Because I'm in So Cal I realize that the orangey leaf was probably just a dead leaf, but I have to take Fall however I can get it. Have a great weekend and enjoy these somewhat dated bullets from way back in a time that I like to call February...

* When your Female Coworker arrives at work with impressions on the skin under her eyes, don’t ask her if she wore goggles on her drive into work. My first clue here was that everyone around me shook their heads as soon as the question left my mouth and began to linger awkwardly in the air. When she puts on her ultra-cool and ultra-hip sunglasses that are all the fashion now to show you how the marks got there, don’t respond by saying ‘your sunglasses look like a damn pair of bug eyes.’ I probably don’t need to explain any of this any further. Just don’t do it.

* Despite the aging and male pattern baldness, does anyone else think that former advisor to 4 Presidents and current CNN analyst David Gergen is one of the coolest and smartest dudes in the country? I think it’s time to go shopping for a ‘Gergen Power’ T-shirt.

* You begin to realize just how much your children watch and emulate you when as a joke you put Tom Jones’ ‘It’s Not Unusual’ on the karaoke machine and your daughters actually can sing the first few verses and chorus. I found myself smiling that sly, Grinchy smile.

* Who is Amy Winehouse and why do we care so much about her rehab? In more important news, Dolly Parton is having to reschedule some tour dates or something like that because of back pain. Just guess what is causing that pain. Now that folks, is entertainment news!

* I thought it would be fun to go someplace like a Presidential Library and ask one of the guides about a miscellaneous fact about that President and have them completely floored and unaware of that fact. Then I did it. What didn’t occur to me was that because the guide gets to wear a fancy jacket and is actually employed by the Presidential Library, everyone will choose to believe the guide; leaving you looking like an idiot…again. But I swear to you, I KNOW that I read once that President Reagan wore sweats at times on Air Force One so that his pants wouldn’t wrinkle. I just know I did!

* When they were hiring for ‘Super Delegates,’ I must have missed the listing on HotJobs and Monster. I tend to zero in on any job listing that contains the word ‘super.’

* I spend way too much time at work thinking of new acronyms for projects in our department by using the letters A, S and S.

* I can’t believe I forgot to take The Carpenters off of my Ipod before bringing it to work today and plugging into my desktop speaker dock. Well, prior to my coworkers giving me grief about it, I HAD been sitting on top of the world. Is it really my fault if Rainy Days and Mondays through Fridays get me down? Funny enough though, they all longed to be close to me a few hours later when Eddie Kendricks’ Keep On Truckin’ came on.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Another Repost: Let’s Be Honest

This is a repost. Please keep that in mind when you read things below like 'today is a holiday,' or 'I should do xxxxxx today because today is xxxxxx Day.' Ok, now I guess we're ready to go.

Thursday (as in Thursday, May 1st - please refer to the paragraph above) is National Honesty Day. No, I’m lying. It’s actually today (as in Wednesday April 30th, but this is beginning to confuse me very quickly). See what I did there? It’s just a little honest humor. Honestly, National Honesty Day is today. What kind of person would I be if I lied to you about National Honesty Day? If you play it straight and honest just one day this year, surely it will be today, right?

As usual, I’m not sure what the best way to celebrate National Honesty Day is. I’m thinking it does involve a measure of oh, telling the truth? Even if the girl in the cubicle across from you asks what you think of her new hairdo inspired by Prince and Tina Turner (that would be purple and sticking out all over the place for anyone currently suffering from Mental Imagery Deficit Disorder), you can’t tell her how good it looks just to avoid hurting her feelings. I realize the moral dilemma with this, but it is National Honesty Day. Perhaps your best response to this should be to tell her to ask you tomorrow. Don’t give her a reason, because most likely it would involve you lying. Just simply ask her to ask you (I realize that’s a lot of asking) about her hair tomorrow, when it isn’t National Honesty Day.

Since today is National Honesty Day, I probably shouldn’t ask you if you like my idea of trying to get the phrase ‘excuse me, but I have to go x-ray my chicken’ to catch on. It was inspired by a real life conversation with some friends of mine and it seems like such a good alternative to saying goodbye or coming up with an excuse for why you have to leave. I’ll pose the question to you again later in the week so I can get your un-honest opinion. I feel like I should insert a winky smiley face after that last sentence for some reason, but saying winky makes me blush, so I won’t.

It seems that a day about honesty would be a good day to come clean about things that I may have been less than honest about. As embarrassing as that may be, I have never come across a holiday I didn’t celebrate, except for any holiday honoring tall people (no offense) or holidays that slander Barry Manilow. That’s just unacceptable. I guess the first thing I should be honest about is that I really, really like The Ray Conniff Orchestra and Chorus. The Conniff love started early and innocently enough as I grew up with their Christmas albums being played in the house. Then, I started seeking out his music on my own so I really can no longer blame the folks. There is just something about a bunch of men and women singing a slightly elevatorized version of the biggest hits of the 50s, 60s and 70s that makes me happy, dare I say, giddy. Don’t knock it until you’ve heard them sing such gems as Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ or Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘Sundown’ or even Paul McCartney’s ‘Live and Let Die.’ Then, you can knock it, because I know the temptation to do so will be immense. Honestly (again, it seems saying that should be followed by a winky face).

I should also be honest and say that I still wear Hawaiian shirts even though they appear to have gone out of style in about 2002, if you use Target’s clothing racks as an indicator of fashion, which I do. If you are over 50 and drive a PT Cruiser, they MAY still be in vogue, but neither of those criteria fit me. Either do the jeans I had in high school, but that’s really not important to this discussion. I’m just being honest. I wish the Hawaiian shirt would come back into style because I have so many of them. Perhaps if I threw more BBQs I could get to wear them more without feeling the social awkwardness that comes with being a thirty-something wearing a Hawaiian shirt to a cool hang out (which for me is someplace like Chili’s).

One more thing I would like to be honest about is that I recently used what I believe is an ‘imitation’ cheese product instead of the real (and delicious) deal when I was making a quesadilla at home. I know, I know. The horror, the humanity, the absolute degradation of my morals and values. I am a cheap, slimy rat-like creature that hangs out in the bottom of portable toilets at county fairs and other public places where extra temporary rest rooms are a necessity. Before you judge me though, I want you to stop and realize two things. 1: I had the guts to be honest about it and 2: I have a very nice smile and am good with old people and little kids. Well, let’s make it three things. 3: I was with Ms. I Want To Go To Mime School and we were at the local 99 cent store and thought that a dollar was a great price for pre-shredded bagged cheese.

Honestly, it never occurred to us to look at the package to see if it actually was a cheese product. In fact, had it not been for the fact that IT WOULDN’T MELT, I never would have had a reason to look at the package. Apparently, she experienced the same thing when she cooked with it. Seriously people, who the heck makes a heat resistant cheese-like product? Having cheese and not melting it is like having an entire container of new Play-Doh and not sniffing it. Well there ya go, I just honestly shared another thing. Yep, I am a Play-Doh sniffer. I can’t get enough of its doughy, salty aroma. Yes Lucy and Ethel have caught me PD sniffing twice, but I don’t care because the aroma is so dang intoxicating!

Well, I’ve run out of things to come clean about, honestly. No if you’ll excuse me, I have to go x-ray my chicken. See, it works almost anywhere!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Holiday Repost: ARRRRRR, Or Whatever Matey

I am fully aware that I owe you a Randomocity day or at the very least, a new post. Spoiler Alert: That won't be happening today, but today's annual holiday HAD to be observed and fortunately I can steal from a past holiday post. So, hoist your mainsails and giddy up. Wait a minute, that's not right. I'll try it again. Yo yo yo, lemme show ya how to roll. There's no way that's correct. Set your reactions on stun, because today is...Ok, that's not even close and now I'll be branded a nerd.

I'll give it one last chance. Ya better be gettin' yer eye patch on because today be Talk Like A Pirate Day.....arrrrrrrr. So hoist your colors you bloomin' cockroaches. Don't forget to show 'em your "larboard" side. Use your best ole salty pirate phrases me hearties or ye be walkin' the plank. There, I think that did it. And to think they all laughed when I told them we'd learn something one day from all those rides on Pirates of the Caribbean! Yep, that is what I learned. Nonsensical dialogue that I get to use every September 19th. Matey. I forgot to talk like a pirate there.

It's too bad I wasn't able to be at work today because this really would have gone over well with my coworkers! I would have the entire staff talking like pirates within minutes of arriving in the office. I could even have worn an eye patch and cut off jean shorts with a tattered white dress shirt. And I could put my neck tie around my head like a cool seafaring sweat band. For the record, I mean Dr. J basketball type sweat band not Metallica or Aerosmith sweating while on stage. Heck, I wouldn't even have had to shower before going into the office. Then I would have been able to take me an office wench (no offense intended to any of the ladies I work with) and drink rum Diet Coke with extra added Splenda all day (you know, to make it all sugary and sweet and rummy like).

Wow, because it's an official holiday, I could've gotten away with challenging Female Coworker to a 'mailing tube' sword duel to the death (even though I'd still make the woo woo light saber sound every time I'd wave it around - TWSS). Did I just say duel to the death? If you HR guys are still reading my blog, I meant duel to determine who will pay for lunch. Sorry, I got a little carried away. I know, I know, it's 'talk like a pirate day' not 'be a pirate day.' I guess this means I couldn't hoist anything in my office (why does that sound worse than it is??) or 'seize' things from the office supply closet. Good thing there is still next year. Yes, for the record, I would have played the music from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride all day long too. Yep folks, I have it on CD. This not only makes me awesomely special, it makes me a loser. See, you can't call it bragging when I both praise and degrade myself in the same sentence. Now what I just wrote made it harder to find people who want to be around me. Again, not bragging.

Oh well. Perhaps I'll still talk like a pirate around my family today. Or even better, I can extend the celebration into tomorrow and talk like a pirate during the twins' birthday party. That's sure to get me lots of free time upstairs watching all the bonus features of Baby Mama and my new 2 DVD combo set containing both Wayne's Worlds on one disc (yes folks, that's right, both Wayne's Worlds on one disc - call now!). Pirating should be a fun thing to do all day. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes for my family swabbies to get sick of me.

Arrrrrrr, shiver me timbers, I'm already annoying myself!! Dead men tell no tales, especially when they talk like pirates all day. Ok, I promise I'm done. I don't even know what that last phrase means...