Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Repost: The Exploitation Of Rudolph, It’s Animagical!

It’s that time of year when those famous Rankin-Bass cartoons and stop-motion puppet (Animagic) specials like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (which was on this last weekend) 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 recently. Among them was ‘Rudolph’s Shiny New Year’ and ‘The Christmas without a Santa Claus.’ It got me thinking that at a certain point, the Animagic Christmas treatment may have been stretched a little too thin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Annual Christmas Letter

We all hate them, we all mock them and some of us actually take the time to write them. It’s the annual bragging Christmas letter, that we send to family and other people we want to feel superior to. I present to you this year’s edition of the Christmas card letter as written from a wife’s point of view:

Dear Friends, Family and Frenemies:

Wow, I can’t believe another year has come and gone. It seems like just last year at this time I was writing our Christmas letter. It’s been another amazing year for the family and while I haven’t bothered to take the time to call or even email many of you, you all have been on our minds and more importantly, in our hearts. I hope your 2007 has been as wonderful, splendid, fantastic and terrific (not to mention busy, he he,he,) as ours has.

We were so lucky to be able to begin the year with the birth of our 10th child Annabelle, or as I like to call her, Annabellicious (I keep telling hubby that just two more will make it an even dozen). She was born a beautiful girl and all the doctors say that she was the prettiest baby they had ever seen. It’s been just under a year and she can already do fractions.

Of course the twins Niles and Frasier continue to be little rascals. Who knows what they will get into next. Why just last week I caught them eating whip cream right out of the can. I mean really, can you just imagine. They’re so naughty, but I guess that’s what you get with boys. Stuart entered the 6th grade this fall and he is already doing calculus. His teacher says he’s the brightest boy he’s ever taught and he was elected school president. Susie made the cheerleading squad again and is dating the quarterback. She also got the lead in the school production of ‘Grease.’ Unfortunately we thought it a little to risqué so she decided to take a knitting class.

Harold has been an alter boy at every single mass this year and he scored the winning goal at this year’s soccer championships. Lucy’s got the lead in the community ballet and she continues to volunteer at the retirement home. Phil is a junior this year and is already applying to Harvard (I like to say he’s got ivy in his veins). Amanda just learned how to walk and Freddie is scheduled to go up in the space shuttle next year.

You’d think I had my hands full with the kids, but I also found time to donate a wing to the hospital, sew blankets for the orphanage and volunteer (again) for the church carnival. You can imagine husband’s surprise when I returned from Kenya last month with our newly adopted son. I just don’t know where I get my strength. Maybe it’s from those yellow pills in the bathroom. Oops, I guess the cat is out of the bag on that ditty.

How about husband you ask? Well, he’s been ok. The firm was doing so well that he started a second one. Husband outsourced some of the phone operators to Liechtenstein and with the money the firm saved, we built a library solely devoted to the works of Dr. Seuss and Jack Kerouac. He finally got the roof up on the ranch in Kauai and the cottage in Vale should be done next spring. I’m just glad he found the time to attend all the kids’ special events. I can’t believe he had to build our 15th bookshelf for all the awards they keep winning!

Well, enough about us. As you can tell, it’s been another hectic but quiet year. I keep hoping we’ll have exciting news to share one of these years, but I guess for now we should call ourselves the Ho-Hums. We’re just so relieved that Lucy’s surgery went well and now we can all celebrate the holidays together at the castle in Scotland. We want to wish you a wonderful holiday season and we’ll try to think about calling all of you upon our return, in February!

P.S. the dog had puppies again. I guess we really should put her in at night. Oh, I know I’m being just awful.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger has no growl??

OK, seriously, Tiger Woods can say no to a police investigation for almost 5 days? And the police just say ok and then ask if they can come back the next day, just like a telemarketer would? Who else on the planet could get away with that?! Although my friend Arnie had better ones, here's my reactions to this whole Tiger thing...

* I bet his wife is really "teed" off at him

* When he crashed, I bet Tiger's first thought was "Oh Grrrrreat"

* I hope the eye of the Tiger was not injured in the crash. He needs that for his putting

* When he left his driveway he was aiming for the fairway, but just missed it

* I can't believe he wrecked his "caddy." They don't get paid enough as it is.

* I wonder if Tiger hit is "FORE!" head on the dash?

* To wreck that badly just leaving your driveway means he was not just "putt" "putting" around while he drives

* His car bounced of a "1 wood" then hit a fire hydrant.

OK, I think I'm done now...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

But I Thought These Were The Turkeys You Pardoned...

President Obama carried on a tradition yesterday that dates back to John F. Kennedy in 1963. He pardoned a 45 pound turkey (and it’s backup) for Thanksgiving, thus sparing them from someone’s dinner table. The two birds, Courage and Carolina, were set to spend the day at Disneyland as grand marshals of a Thanksgiving Day Parade instead of in a warm and toasty oven.

However, calamity ensued late Wednesday night in Anaheim, California as the two pardoned turkeys arrived at Disneyland. The park's officials realized that the two birds were not Courage and Carolina, but two larger birds named Yum and Me. Phone calls were immediately placed to the White House to advise them of the mix up but it was too late. Courage and Carolina had already been ‘processed’ and were almost ready to be served at both the White House as Turduken and at a local Washington DC shelter.

“All I can say is oops,” said a White House official. “There was a mix up after the pardoning ceremony and Courage and Carolina were accidentally placed back into the wrong holding pen. I guess things like this happen all the time; these birds all look the same. They sure smell good though,” he added.

Asked whether or not the “turduckened” bird, which most believe to be Carolina, was still going to be served at the White House, the official stated, “well, he has already been prepared so it would be a shame not to go ahead and eat him. We’ll just be more careful next year.”

Meanwhile in Anaheim, Disneyland officials decided to remove the mistaken birds Yum and Me from the parade festivities and “process” them to be sold along with all of their relatives at the turkey leg stand across from “The Rivers of America” in Frontierland. A Disneyland official was quoted as saying, “we did some fact checking and apparently birds mistaken for pardoned birds do not receive the same anti-cooking protection under the law. It makes more economic sense to cook them and sell their sumptuous, overly fattened legs to our park guests.” “Besides,” he added, “have you had one of those turkey legs yet? They are amazing!”

The White House released a statement this morning that condemns the careless judgment of the turkey handlers. The release said that plans are already in motion to prevent this from happening next year. It calls for a congressional hearing and investigation, an improved ten-step post-pardon ceremony turkey handling process and possibly the formation of a new cabinet position to oversee all meaningless Presidential traditions. Lastly, the White House has promised they will use turkey shaped tofu for their dinner next year to make up for accidentally eating the official national turkey.

“We all feel awful about the mix-up. We will not smile, laugh or show excitement in any way as we try our best not to enjoy this turkey while we are eating its succulent and tender meat. Mmmmmmmm, tuuuurrrrkeeeeeeey,” said a drooling White House official.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

If Only I Had Seen This Yesterday...(Holiday Repost)

...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.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve 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 health care and bailout stuff. And let's face it, it'll be cheaper, too!

Speaking of bailout (and bad segues), the president will pardon 2 turkeys at the White House later this week 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 week. There's just something about knowing the work week is prematurely over, Thursday 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 16, 2009

Writing Can Be Exercise Too (And Not Just Because It's Painful...)

I was recently telling some friends that I'd like to work on a book to self-publish sometime next year. One of their first reactions was “don't you need to actually write sometimes in order to make a book?” While I found the comment rude and sarcastic, causing me hours of self-doubt and self-loathing, in which I needed to consume half a block of premium aged sharp cheddar (I'm drifting off track here, aren't I) to cope, my friends did have a point. I used to write every day, and then I found the Cliff Notes method of writing: Facebook status updates and 140 character tweets.

Those 2 methods of expressing myself are certainly easier than crafting 500-1000 word essays on things like the inherit awesomeness of fatty foods or why Tina Fey should befriend me and let me be in her personal entourage. Those same 2 methods do have fallout though. For instance, I can no longer have conversations with people without mentally counting how many words I have uttered and it's been at least a year since I was able to show my approval or appreciation of something without saying “Michael likes this.” And that brings up an entirely different issue. I now begin sentences by referring to myself in 3rd person. So as you can see, Michael clearly needs to get back to the good ole days of writing in long form. Dammit....

Just as one cannot run a marathon without exercising and becoming conditioned to do so, one also cannot write a book by writing short little one line blurbs about what I am currently doing. Michael Christelman is currently writing about writing. Crap! Sorry, it seems old habits die hard. I'll try to reign that in a little more. Michael does not like this. AUGH! Double crap!

By now it should be painfully obvious that I really have nothing to write today. But much like that first mile when trying to run or getting hugs from all your old overly perfumed relatives at a family gathering, you just have to power through it. So that is what I am going to do. The fact that this document has sat open and unedited for the last 30 minutes is not going to deter me.

I could write about how I can't hear Julie Andrews' voice without thinking of Mary Poppins or how some people just cannot help but appear superior. I could write about how I sometimes turn on Glenn Beck and watch him with the volume down because his movements, gestures and facial expressions are so entertaining. I could write about how Hugh Hefner is putting in a petting zoo at the Playboy mansion (it's a heavy petting zoo...) Or maybe I'll write about how my spellcheck did not flag the word “Hefner” but DID flag the word spellcheck. I guess you know you've really made it when your name does not appear in MS Word with a red squiggly line under it.

I could also discuss the torsion physics theory and how many believe torsion physics is what the Mayans were writing about when they said the world will end in 2 years. But, I smell bacon, so I should probably go try to find where that is coming from. I guess I'll worry about the writing thing tomorrow...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bullet Points – It’s Like Cheating For A Writer

Usually when I announce that I’m going to write in bullet or list form, that should be taken as ‘I want to write today but have nothing engaging, or intelligible, to say. So, with that being said, I am going to be writing in bullet or list form today…

* Today is Mother-In-Law Day. I know what you’re thinking, and it caught me a little off guard too: Isn’t Mother-In-Law Day on October 31st when we normally celebrate witches?

* We can put up fake skeletons sticking out of the ground at all angles to decorate for Halloween, but I put out 3 meals worth of real chicken bones to get the neighborhood into the spirit and people call me troubled?!

* I wonder why more couples don’t play Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares To You” at their weddings.

* Jeremiah was in fact a bullfrog, but he was not a good friend of mine.

* I’ve often wondered how Barry Manilow feels knowing that Cher could kick his a$$ if the need to do so every arises?

* They say keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Is this still true if someone is your enemy because they have terrible body odor or bad breath?

* I’m not sure I should crave cottage cheese every time my 3 month old spits up on me.

* I had a horrible dream that I was being attacked my thousands of little Disney Princesses and that they were all following me. Then I realized I was just at Disneyland.

* Can an Italian restaurant serve food without playing Sinatra or Tony Bennett? Would it taste worse or something?

* Does anyone else ever get the urge to photo bomb a crime scene?

* Does anyone else find that they have to enunciate REALLY well every time they say the word “fish sticks?”

* I hear that Bill Cosby is making a hip-hop album. Though when he does it, I think it should be called Pudding Hop.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


My very good friend Kat just informed me a little while ago that today is International Caps Lock Day. SO, HAPPY INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY EVERYBODY!






Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This One’s Kinda Cheesy…

If you’re a cheese lover, there’s really only one dessert for you, right? Yep, a nice fondue. However, this post isn’t about fondue, though it is about another cheese related dessert: the cheesecake. To me, it’s my favorite type of cake. Granted, I prefer pie, key lime is my favorite and my birthday is December 24th, just in case you are scoring at home. But If there were such a thing as a beefcake, I might change my mind. I mean, I know there is a word called beefcake, but that is an entirely different subject. Uh, let me get back to the cheesecake. I bring all of this up for a good reason. According to The Cheescake Factory chain of eating establishments, not only is today humping day, today is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day! I’ve never actually heard of this day before (not that it’s stopped me from writing about semi-real holidays) but given the title of the Cheesecake Factory’s name, I am going to trust the source.

I know it’s Fall, except for in Southern California where it is a chilly 87 degrees as I write this, and everyone goes all pumpkiny this time of year. And yes, pumpkiny is a real word, though I am hedging my bets that you will not take the time to look it up, thereby allowing me to maintain that pumpkiny is a real word. During Fall we all go crazy for Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin spice coffee creamer, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin patches, carved pumpkins. So, it really is the perfect time to celebrate this holiday. And that’s exactly what I did. To celebrate National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day, I went out and bought an entire box of Hot Pockets. I WANTED the pumpkin cheesecake, but the Hot Pockets just looked so good. Though I did take that picture I used for this story.

However, don’t let the way I chose to celebrate keep you from celebrating with an actual pumpkin cheesecake. I made a pumpkin pie this past weekend and knew what would happen if I brought home a nice glossy mass-produced pumpkin cheesecake. My pumpkin creation would have the cheesecake placed next to it in the fridge and then every time I open the fridge for dessert I would grab the cheesecake. And then when I open the fridge to put something back after using it, I would push my homemade pumpkin pie out of the way and by Thanksgiving, when I open the fridge to find room for this year’s Turducken (crossing my fingers of course that this will finally be the year I get to try Turducken), I’d discover the old and moldy pumpkin pie that I so lovingly made with my own hands and somewhat fresh…ly canned ingredients. Let’s face it; no one really wants that to happen, which is why I did not bring home a pumpkin cheesecake. Well, because of that and the hot pockets thing….

So, happy Pumpkin Cheesecake Day. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to try to get an executive with The Cheesecake Factory to take my call so I can get paid for this ringing endorsement and numerous product mentions I made for their pumpkin cheesecake. Let me clear, I have been talking about pumpkin cheesecake, which is available at The Cheesecake Facory. One more time: that’s pumpkin cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory. The main points here are 1. pumpkin cheesecake and 2. the Cheesecake Factory. Though if you wish, you could interchange them to 1. the Cheesecake Factory and 2. pumpkin cheesecake.

Cheesecake Factory

Pumpkin cheesecake

****If you were in and out of conscience as you were reading this, much in the same way I was while typing it, you can hear the audio version of this post here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Two In One Day? (That's What She Said)

I recorded a second podcast today. To be all perfectionistic, I even made little note cards (ok, they were light blue Post Its that I stuck up all over the computer monitor, if you must know!). I wrote down all the topics I wanted to discuss so I would be prepared. It didn't work...

So, here is my second podcast for today...

Mondays Suck...And So Does This Podcast

Well my friends and enemies, we've made it to another Monday and only 6 more days til the next one! So, let's really live it up until the evil day comes around again.

I had attempted to assist you with this weekday enjoyment project by making another podcast which, as I have asserted before, is not me being lazy or taking the easy way out instead of writing here like I used to. Besides, there is no such thing as laziness, only Body Energy Conservation. If we have learned nothing else from Al Gore, it's that we need to conserve and be more responsible citizens. I'd like to think I did my part.

I can't believe it's already this late in October. It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming in this new year and I was excitedly telling anyone who would listen about my plans to bring back the denim overall into its once prominent fashion status. And good news folks: I've decided to do the same in 2010! Not because I failed in 2009, but because I have decided it's a multi-pronged project. For instance, prong 1: 2009. Prong 2: 2010. It's Like that.

OK, today's podcast really deals with none of the things I have just discussed, which hopefully will make you enjoy it even more. So, Happy $#^$%#%$ Monday and here's today's podcast...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hey, I Remembered I Have a Podcast Site Thing

So, I decided after just under two years that I would try to podcast again. I know what you're thinking, but the fact that podcasting involves even LESS typing than Facebook or Twitter has nothing to do with it!! Gheesh, I blog, am on Facebook, I twitter AND now podcast? I'm pretty sure this makes me a social media whore. Or perhaps, a SMORE?

Nothing too exciting in this podcast, but if you make it through the first 2 minutes, the last 3 get slightly better, much in the same way that I Can't Believe It's Not Butter is only slightly better than the real thing...

In this latest installment, you can hear a few "that's what she saids," several dozen "ums" and my take on why it's called a "podcast." If you listen, I promise you $1 million friendship dollars, only redeemable with me.

So, here is my latest podcast...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's National Grouch Day, Dammit

Well, I awoke this morning to learn that today is National Grouch Day.  I sat down to write something from a grouch's perspective, but I can't.  After all, 30 Rock's season 4 premieres tonight.  So, I will just leave you with this grouch quiz.  Who in the montage do you think is the grouchiest?  Warning, I may have slipped one or two in there to throw you off.  So, I hope you have a horrible National Grouch Day.  Get it?  I wished you a horrible holiday because we're supposed to be grouchy?  That's why it it's funny...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Getting Schooled By The President

Perhaps you read this news recently, or perhaps you are discovering the horrors of it here for the first time. If that’s the case, let me begin by saying don’t shoot the messenger. And then I’m going to remind you that I’m the messenger. I do that because I don’t want you to shoot me. Ok, are we clear on that? I’m the messenger delivering bad news and I have no desire to be a target for whatever projectile you are about to want to launch my way after reading what I will eventually get around to telling you…unless of course you are shooting little balls of bacon wrapped cheddar nuggets. Then you can open up on me with reckless abandon. Well, not too reckless. We don’t want to waste any nuggets of perfection, which by the way is the exact opposite of what this article is.

Ok, now on to the news I wanted to share with you. Just remember reading it that I am merely the messenger. Oh wait, I’m pretty sure we covered that in the above paragraph. Yes, in fact we did. While I realize the 3 to 4.5 people that may read this are not of school age, they do have children of school age and will be affected by this much differently than those of school age. And here we go: The White House (and not the one at the corner of my street that hasn’t mowed it’s front lawn since Peter Cetera was a member of Chicago, even though no for sale or foreclosure sign is up yet) has announced that the President wants to extend the school year and the school day. Ok parents, go ahead and start singing “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” (preferably Andy Williams’ version, because that is clearly superior to everyone else’s).

Obviously, the President must have a good reason for this, like the fact that 8 out of 10 school children polled believed that Cap’N Crunch was a member of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, kids today think they are wearing fedoras when they are in fact wearing Trilby hats, the CW exists as a TV network or maybe even that we are behind many other countries academically. Just like in NASCAR (which is racing where cars turn left), when you are behind, you work harder to catch up. And clearly the President wants us to catch up.

Do you know how I caught up in school? I tried to joke my way out of a bad grade or the fact that I didn’t do my homework. Then do you know how I really caught up? Detention and extra credit, not that I’m advocating that as a solution here. The White House also believes that children are less likely to get into trouble after school when they are still at school or in some other academic endeavor like intermural chalkboard eraser cleaning. Obviously they have a point there. I can remember all the trouble I used to get into when school got out. I’d go home, pop a big bowl of popcorn, sit on the couch and watch WGN’s amazing afternoon lineup of Cheers and WKRP in Cincinnati, or if I was really lucky, their broadcast of an afternoon Chicago Cubs game with Harry Caray at the mic. So as you can see, it’s obvious that the President wants to curtail the after school shenanigans of bad asses like me. Plus, I guess there’s the “valid” (which I am saying very sarcastically, by the way) fact that kids who have working parents would have a safe place to be after school until their parents get home. And is any work at home parent really going to complain about having a quiet house or more errand running (i.e. Starbucks) time each day? Uh, no.

Ok, so we can almost make a case for longer school days. The summer deal however is a bit more to swallow (that’s what she said). While most parents yearn to send their children back to school around July 5th, I tend to like having my twins around during the summer so we can do all those fun traditional summer things together like huddling under the A/C vent, mainlining snow cones to keep our body temperatures at a safe level and calling all of our friends with pools incessantly until they invite us over. And what would happen to the traditional family vacation if the summer was cut short? I don’t think the President realizes how shorter summers would affect my family’s (by which I mean only me, with my extremely reluctant family in tow) goal of touring all of this country’s fine cheese and dairy factories. You didn’t think I was going to say National Parks, did you? I was able to check that goal off my to-do list now that Ken Burns National Parks documentary is airing on PBS! It almost makes me want to support PBS financially during their next pledge break.

Mr. President, I urge you to reconsider your plans to lengthen both the school day and school year. After all, can you blame this country’s youth for thinking that Capt’N Crunch was a member of Sgt. Pepper? Have you seen his uniform? I almost made the same mistake myself and I was a product of the traditional agrarian school calendar. Of course I am currently unemployed and my twins have to help ME with THEIR homework, but that’s the exception to the rule. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish reviewing the state capitals with the twins for their school project. By the way, does anyone know what year San Diego became the state capital of California? I’m thinking it was around 1350, but I want to make sure.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My To-Do List

We all have to go sometime.  Where you ask?  To work?  To the bathroom?  To that wedding of a friend we really can’t stand?  Jury duty perhaps?  Shopping for evil things like celery?  Well, not quite.  I mean we all have to “go” sometimes, as in die, pass away, ascend to that great amusement park in the sky.  

Before I do though, there are a few things I’d like to get the chance to try.  Yes, I could just call it my bucket list, but I may get sued and sent to Shawshank prison (yes, that’s a really bad double Morgan Freeman reference) and while I would love to travel to Maine, I was thinking of slightly nicer accommodations when I get there.  So anyway, here is my bucket water pail list.

*  Shoot an old fashioned cannon – I’m not quite sure when my desire to do this appeared, but I can’t wait to get to try this.  In a forest or a desert or a big clearing somewhere, I just want to load and fire a cannon and watch the cannon balls fly.  The target I’ll be shooting at, you ask?  Bowling pins, granted they’ll be a few football fields away, but it might just be the best thing to hit the game of bowling since the Wii came along.

*  Walk into a bar and have everyone call my name -  Now I don’t mean literally walk into a bar, as in collide with it, although that would probably get more people calling out to see if I’m ok.  I mean walking into an eating or drinking establishment and having everyone shout my name.  In fact, I’ve wanted this one for so long that I’d even answer to them calling out someone else’s name.  Except for Sue.  I do not want to have to answer to Sue.

*  I’d like to return the denim overall back to fashion prominence -  No, we’re not all farmers, railroad engineers  or construction folk (to be as absolutely stereotypical as I can), but who can argue with pants and shirt in the same article of clothing?  And let’s face it, calling them overalls instead of a Phirt sounds infinitely so much better. 

*  At the same time, I’d also like to see the fedora make a comeback -  (and really, how great would it be to see a bunch of fedora topped people in overalls walking around) Sure people like Jason Mraz wear one, but I mean having men in general don them with their daily work attire or for social events or for just going out on the town or for engaging in infidelity (ok, that last one may have been inspired by watching too much Mad Men lately).  I’ve been working on a slogan for bringing fedoras back, but the best I’ve come up with so far is “A plethoras of fedoras,” and I’m pretty sure the plural of plethora isn’t even a word.

* Flip an egg in the pan and actually not puncture the yolk.  Not too incredibly much to say about this one, but really, I’ve been trying to perfect the egg flipping thing since Junior High. It’s time.

*  Go to Graceland – Nothing too fancy about this one.  I just want to go to Graceland.  And sing “It’s Now or Never” in a full Elvis 1970s concert jump suit.  Complete with karate moves.  And giveaway scarves to soak up my perspiration (because that word sounds so much better than sweat).  But that’s all.  Like I said, nothing too fancy.

*  Bring a new phrase into the national and cultural lexicon.  Right now the two front-runners are “Harsh my Vibe” and “Cool Peeps.”  Here is an example of each: “Man, Facebook keeps harshing my social networking vibe every time they disable my profile.” And “I had a bacon and cheese omelet for breakfast.  It was cool peeps!”  Yes, obviously I am still taking suggestions…

*  Sit in a balcony and heckle – While this one sounds cruel, I’d really be doing it in homage to the Muppets’ Waldorf and Statler.  I’ve been working on some canned comments to yell in anticipation of the big event, but every time I practice them, I get threatened.  At least up in a balcony, there’s some safety from being harmed.  Unless of course you’re Abraham Lincoln…

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

When The Coffee Is Cold And The Donuts Are Stale.

That title really doesn’t mean anything, but it sounds kinda deep and therefore might get you to read whatever it is I’m about write.  Though telling you that up front kind of defeats the purpose…

!  I had the weirdest sensation last night as I was trying to fall asleep.  The sheep were counting me, but they started getting really frustrated when they kept having to start over at 1 every time.  I guess they didn’t realize it was such a bhaahd idea…sorry, that one deserves an apology.

!  When someone figures out what Elton John is singing about in "Honky Cat," will you please contact me at Thanks in advance.

!  If I could be a superhero, I would want my super power to be a great metabolism so I could be a foodie and not have to pay the price physically.  Metaboman has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

!  I like to speak metaphorically and rhetorically.  I call it metorically and the best thing about it is that I never really have to make sense and when I ask questions, I don’t have to wait around for it to be answered.

!  John Wayne wore a hairpiece, which I think is just as bad as Kenny Rogers and Burt Reynolds having plastic surgery, or having ribs that weren’t slow smoked for 8 hours.  Although, you really couldn’t tell that John Wayne was wearing one…Yes, Misters Rogers and Reynolds, that’s a burn!!

!  My friends think it’s so weird that there is an earthquake that shakes the table causing us to have to start our Jenga game over EVERY time I am about to pull out the block that will make the tower fall.  Boy, that is odd…

!  So, I've been driving the same truck for almost 5 years and still can't find the cupholder without looking. I hate when you can't find the right hole and there’s all that fumbling around...that's what she said.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Time For Some Mad Rhyming Skillz Skills

Though not everyone celebrates all the high questionable holidays you can find on the internet (Hi Kat!!!), I am celebrating this one.  Today is Bad Poetry Day.  When I saw that it was, I got all aflutter (which has to be the dumbest word ever invented, well next to turkey bacon, that is).  I do bad poetry all the time!  Why just 2 blog posts ago I actually dabbled in awful poetry with my ode to Match Game, my personal chicken soup for the soul.

So, what better way as a wannabe writer to celebrate Bad Poetry Day than by writing…you guessed it, an 1100 word dissertation about how you should not be able to see the bottom of Porta-Potties when inside of them, especially at public functions like fairs and sporting events where there is really good food because you’ll lose your appetite faster than Lindsay Lohan lost her virginity…or credibility, your pick.  Ok, I’m kdding.

So, here is some bad poetry.  Some written before, some brand new.  I’d offer prizes if you picked which was which, but I don’t want to.  Enjoy the bad poetry…

Facebook, Facebook, why do you dislike me so?
You disable my account as often as that of my friend Beau.
It is because I comment too much, or like to write on your walls?
Tis better I say, than writing on bathroom stalls.
I find it ironic that “I Can’t Live Without You by Nilsson” is playing as I type this.
That has no bearing on my poem, but it’s my poetic license.
On your site, I can talk to my long lost friends, much to my delight.
But then you disable me, in the middle of the night.
Perhaps I misunderstood what social networking means.
To you, I guess it’s only worth a hill of beans.
As soon as this is seen, I’m sure I’ll be disabled again.
And then I’ll be forced to create another profile that ends in “Christelman.”

Ode To Match Game
I love watching Match Game, that isn't so lame. Though some of your panelists were not very tame. There was Richard Dawson, always in the mood. That is until he joined the Family Feud. 

And there was Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly. They both could say just one thing, to make you go smiley (bear with me, I don't have a lot to work with here). 

Dumb Dora got her blank stuck in a jar. You always had to be careful to not take it too far. On a card your answer you would quickly scribble. The only word I can think to rhyme with that is dribble. 

The contestants would hesitate to say something dirty. Though Gene Rayburn would try by getting so flirty. With his long thin mic he'd laugh and he'd ask. After all, that was this man's task. 

The panel was always so hip and so bold. Which is remarkable because they also were old. I can imagine they'd party with shag carpets and wine. They were so cool, almost before their time. They had great sayings and lots of word tricks. Especially on Match Game 76.

But alas, Gene Rayburn I'm not, that much is true. But I'll fill in the blank, if you'd give me a clue. Then maybe for once our answers would jive, even though your panelists are no longer alive...

Barry Manilow
Hi Mr. Banilow.  Yes, I am quite a Fanilow.
This One’s for You and all that you do
I like your music in a bar, I like your music from afar.
I like Mandy even more than I like cotton candy
No, I can’t smile without you, that much is true.
I’d like to take a weekend in New England
But when there wouldn’t be able to stop that song you’re singin
Although you didn’t write I write the songs,
Someone other than you singing it would just be wrongs (see, with the “s” at the end it guarantees it being bad poetry)
Then of course there is my favorite - Copacabana
Which is known from here to Japana
It looks like we’ve made it so I will wrap up this little ode
And then I will head right on down the road
So Mr. Manilow, please keep on singing
Even if doing so makes other’s ears keep ringing

Haiku Schmaiku
Syllables in five
I would rather speak in jive
Ok, that’s enough

A Love Affair With Cheese and Bacon
Cheese and Bacon
There is only one thing I can say
I must have you every single day
Not doing so gives me a rash
I am not sure what rhymes with rash
On you both, I would spend all my cash.
Hey, I just found a rhyme for rash
One is from a pig, the other from a cow
I’d like to merge the two, but am not sure how
Together your flavors would be exquisite
This is a subject I would like to revisit
So, my arteries I allow you to harden
I just wish I could grow you in my garden

Crazy A$$ Jedi
A poem about you will I write
Nothing but a Muppet you are
Gonzo’s voice you possess
Small you appear to me
Taught many a Jedi you have
Yes just talking backwards I am
This poem, sucks? (Ok stole that line from my FAVORITE movie)

Happy Bad Poetry Day!  I really hope you also do not celebrate it this way.  Oh look, another rhyme...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Screwing Up The Average…

Ok, I realize that by posting this week after posting last week that I am screwing up my average, but I’m going to give it a try anyway.  The only problem is that the idea bin was kinda empty today, save for a few cobwebs, half a piece of chicken and the sounds of crickets chirping…

 Apparently, in the world of fake holidays, today is “The Meaning of Is Day.”  That’s all fine and dandy until I realized that if I can’t explain the Star Wars universe to two 6 year olds then there is no way I stand a chance of explaining the meaning of is.  It’s like trying to conceptualize how long infinity is, what happens after we die or what makes bacon so delicious.  Or, where babies come from, as I was asked by Lucy just 3 days before LaVerne was born.  I know you’re wondering, so my answer was “wanna go get a Slurpee, or 4?”  So in short, today’s post will NOT be about the meaning of “is.”  Instead, I am going to take the easy way out be really creative and use bullets.  I mean bullet points!  Whoa, my therapist would’ve had a field day wondering what I meant by that.  Close call!

!  Why can’t I ever wake up with a GOOD song in my head instead of a song from one of Elvis’ worst movies?  And why do I tend to wake up with choreography for it as well?

!  What does it mean when someone tells you “I expected so much more out of you…”  Does that mean I owe them money or something?

!  What happens when you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both…and then you are right back where you started from because the bad negated the good, meaning no real change took place.

!  Is it so wrong to want an evil nemesis?

!  Why can I fall asleep within thirty milliseconds of sitting down in my recliner (yes, I have a recliner.  And no, I DO NOT eat at restaurants any later than 4pm…why do you ask) but it takes me an hour to fall asleep in bed?

!  Did anyone else get a cease and desist letter from Danica Patrick, or was that just me?

!  Apparently saying “I’m on Facebook to make influential contacts that might help me get a new job” is not the same as job searching.  Who knew?

!  Does eating too much bacon mean I am more susceptible to contracting the swine flu? 

!  Have you ever just started hearing the same phrase repeated in your head over and over, like the way Obi Wan talks to Luke, and wondered if there was a reason you keep hearing it?  For me, it’s not “use the force” or “what did my wife just say to me while I was nodding like an idiot,” but “bacon wrapped cheese.”  Although oddly, it is Sir Alec Guinness’ voice that is saying it…

!  When I call LaVerne my little Winston Churchill, it’s a sign of affection.  I mean she really DOES resemble the former Prime Minister.  Well, without the bowler’s hat, cigars and 250 extra pounds.

!  Why does the thought of bacon flavored Slurpees not disgust me, but actually titillate me?

!  Why does saying the word “titillate” make me giggle like a little school girl?

! And why can’t I say the phrase “giggle like a little school girl” without an evil German accent?