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.