Friday, December 16, 2011

The Annual Christmas Letter

Every year I repost this.  People enjoy it, but much more importantly, I don't have to come up with anything new for today!!

We all mock them and some of us actually take the time to write them. It’s the annualbragging 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 "the 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 2006 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. 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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top 007 Things I've Learned From James Bond (Get it? I semi-crack myself up...)

So, I'm still walking up early which gives me the perfect opportunity to watched my James Bond Films. Doing so, I've learned a few things. Pour yourself a coffee – shaken not stirred - and join me. Be warned though, shaking a cup of coffee can have disastrous consequence. Like ruining a shirt. Or pants or the arm next you...

007. A large portion of the evil doers will end up dead. Just like 'red-shirts' on Star Trek.

006. Bond will always have something catchy to say after he sent someone to their death.

005. Bond will always have something catchy to say while he's...uh, 'disrobing' his female counterpart.

004. He will never make it on time to a meeting where his boss asks him to attend. This is usually because he is wrapping up #5 on this list.

003. Identifying who you are by saying your last name first is very cool. Saying it wearing tuxedo, uber cool!

002. It seems that the only game he plays is baccarat. Note to self, learn how to play baccarat.

And the 001 thing I've learned from James Bond...

All of the gadgets Bond gets to try will one day make it to the Sharper Image Catalog.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Get Your Red Hot Reindeer Dogs!

This one is from 2006.  Whenever I read it, I get hungry...

I saw this little Associated Press story and couldn’t pass it up. Maybe it’s because I just spent three hours driving Lucy and Ethel around to look at Christmas lights. From Starbucks to Jack in the Box, food eateries try to add a little holiday spice to their menu this time of year. At one Chicago area hot dog stand, the holiday offering may be just a bit too much. The AP says that the stand is offering Reindeer Hot Dogs. They are produced in Alaska (you betcha)  and are supplemented by a little beef and pork because reindeer is apparently lean and dries out easily. That's what she said.  Ok, that one really didn't even make sense.  Sorry.  I'll be more judicious in my TWSS execution next time.

I know that deer meat is called venison, but I’m not sure what reindeer meat is called. I would suggest Prancer Pork, Donder Dogs or maybe even Blitzen Beef, but I’ll just play it safe and refer to them as Reindeer Dogs. The story didn’t mention how well the new item is selling, but my guess is not very well.

Mommy: Jimmy, would you like a hot dog or reindeer dog?
Jimmy: Wow, what’s a reindeer dog? Is it like a Happy Meal or something with a Christmas toy inside?
Mommy: Um, no sweetie. It’s ground up reindeer in a pink casing instead of beef or chicken.

Obviously the new hot dog isn’t going to be big with the 8 and under crowd. No doubt that there will be plenty of curious folks who will want to try genuine reindeer meat. Once you add the mustard, relish and onions you probably can’t taste the difference anyway. Go ahead and say it, it tastes like chicken.  The downside to serving up a holiday icon in a bun is that it might not sell, though I really like the phrase 'holiday icon in a bun.'  And then there's 'holiday icon with a bun,' which would be Aunt Bee from The Andy Griffith Show, but now I've strayed way too far off topic. The upside of course is that this guy’s hot dog stand just got a ton of free publicity that will turn into increased sales. Reindeer with your meat so light, you’ll be on my bun tonight. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that.

I think the vendor has really tapped into a new line of holiday food items though. I can just see someone offering up a Frosty the Snow Man snow cone. The tagline: it contains a special blend of the essence of Frosty with just a dash of magic from his hat. Actually, as long as it isn't 'lemon' flavored, I just might try it. Now if I could only figure out what nog is.  Actually, don't tell me.  I don't want to know...

Friday, December 09, 2011

What To Do When You Awake Before The Dead

I have been waking up between 3:30am and 5am for the last couple of weeks. And to think, I was mad at having to get the girls ready for school at 6:30am. That seems soooo late now. Years ago I wrote about “Insomnia Man” and I'm getting ready to launch Captain Slumbers Too Little and his masked partner, Lt. Graveyard Shift. Yes, those are just a working titles. Unless they grab you. Nah, I don't want to pander to my readers like that. Well, unless you think I should? No wonder I have a tough time deciding where to eat...

The first step in battling my “waking up before the alarm clock goes off” (which should be considered a sin) is to up the amount of my sleepy time medicine. Sleepy Time is not the legal name for it. The legal name is only something my doctor can pronounce. So I did that. And proceeded to wake up EARLIER than I did yesterday. I stopped taking naps for a few days, that also didn't help. Although it made me a zombie around 6pm each night. Not the good sci-fi zombie.

I could lessen the cups of coffee I drink. That was a joke. If you do that I will hunt you down and do despicable things to you. Really despicable things! Like watch Lawrence Welk on Sunday nights wearing old cardigan sweaters that smell like “old folk.” So see, messing with the level of caffeine I ingest is off the table.

This brings me to the part of the essay which I like to call “Things Not To Do When You Wake Up While The Rooster Is Dreaming.” Normally accepted things to do during this time are things like write a sappy letter to your spouse, straighten up the living room, make the girls lunch for school and read. You know, quiet but yet productive things.

Those things would be all well and fine. But not for me. I like to wake up, turn the Christmas trees on Yes, I said trees with an 's.' Don't be jealous. That just the way we tumble. Maybe that should be 'roll?' Then I make coffee. After that, I turn on the tv, because gun fire will keep the whole house asleep. After that, I start a fire. Ya know, just quiet things to do.

So, if I am going to keep waking up so early, I have to change my ways. Perhaps that is when I'll receive a visit from Captain Slumbers Too Little. Oh wait, I made him up. I really have to get more sleep..

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Oh Fudge! He Bought The ‘Christmas Story’ House.

I know I'm putting up a lot of reposts these days, but some day, that will end.  I'm pretty sure.  Nah, I'm totally sure.  

Why watch a movie scene when you can own it? Who ever thought that when E-bay opened its doors (their virtual ones, I guess) that people would be buying parts of famous movies on it. That’s exactly what a man did with $150,000 dollars. He bought the house in Cleveland where Ralphie and his family lived in the movie “A Christmas Story.” It’s sure to become a cult destination and presumably all the Bumpus’ hounds are long since dead, so it’s probably a pretty safe investment. It opened for tours this past Saturday and the same gentleman bought the house across the street to be used as a gift shop and museum. The story gets better, the man also makes and sales his own leg lamps. I guess in a weird twist of fate the lamps based on the ‘major award’ that graced the house’s front window in the movie partly financed the purchase of the house itself. Only in America folks, only in America.

It’s one of my favorite movies and if you’ve never seen it, you should. It’s on DVD and TBS runs a 24-hour marathon of it every Christmas Eve. Personally, my family got so sick of me trying to sneak it on TV by changing the channel every time someone left the room on Christmas Eve that they just broke down and bought me the movie to shut me up (ha, the joke’s on them because it didn’t work). You could almost say that just trying to get it on the TV for everyone to see became my own personal Red Rider BB Gun quest. I like to slightly annoy the family by wearing my ‘you’ll shoot your eye out’ t-shirt on Christmas Eve for family pictures and I have a miniature leg lamp ornament that has its own special place on our tree (thanks Carlton Cards and your ornament makers). I’ll admit though that it does take a little creativity explaining to Lucy and Ethel (my twin youngins) why there is a fishnet stocking leg on our Christmas tree. Fortunately, it’s one of those explanations that can begin with the phrase, “when you get older…”

I guess it’s true when they say that there are some real bargains on E-bay. Wouldn’t it be neat to get to buy a piece of movie history? I think it would be a lot of fun owning an iconic home. You could stand in the driveway and wave to the people who drive by just to see it. Houses that come to mind are the Cunningham’s house on ‘Happy Days,’ Archie Bunker’s house, the beautiful home from the Steve Martin movie ‘Father of the Bride,’ (I actually know where that one is) and of course the Brady’s home on the Brady Bunch. By the way, did you know that the 'Brady' home is not a two-story house? Boy can they work wonders in Hollywood.

Of course, even though the houses may be iconic, you’d be in a little trouble if they weren’t so easily recognizable to others. Then you’d be stuck with a home you bought at an over inflated price because of its supposed fame. If that happens, don’t dare think about sticking a tacky sign up in the yard that reads, “Stop here – former home of the Cunninghams on ‘Happy Days.’ Photo ops only ten dollars.” That would be sure to tick off the neighbors. If you were going to live in one of them, tours would be out of the question, too. The family wouldn’t take too kindly to strangers traipsing in and out of the house throughout the day. I can see it now for poor little Suzy. Every time she’s in the shower, one of the tourists needs to use the guest bathroom downstairs and when the toilet is flushed, she is scalded.

So now, in addition to blogging, I’ll have to keep my eye on E-bay in case a famous house is put up for auction. I’d pursue Beaver’s house on ‘Leave it to Beaver,’ but that’s only a fake house on the Universal Studios lot. Hopefully Sheriff Andy Taylor’s house from ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ is real and will be auctioned off soon. The only problem is that the show was in black and white. Does anyone know what color it really is? I’d hate to bid on a house from a black and white television show and end up winning a house with purple trim. Maybe I’ll hold out for Graceland or that big house the President is always landing his helicopter in front of. The name of it escapes me at the moment. If it has enough room for a helicopter, I’m sure it has ample room for a bounce house. Hopefully they take Pay Pal.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Santa Faces Possible Indictment Over Mutant Deer Discovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Scientists Prove Artificial Christmas Trees Help Promote Weight Loss

TV networks do it so I am doing it.  It's a holiday repost...

A revolutionary and landmark study was completed over the past holiday weekend and its results were announced yesterday. The San Bernardino, California based I Can’t Believe We Get Funding For This, Inc. (ICBWGFFT) research think tank has proven a link exists between holiday decorating and extreme calorie burning. It’s kind of the reverse of trimming the tree.

The research was conducted with fourteen men participating. All fourteen men ate until they became dizzy Thanksgiving Day and throughout the remainder of the holiday weekend. Seven of the men were then instructed to spend the weekend doing their normal routines while the second group of seven was asked to assemble a seven foot artificial Christmas tree complete with lights and decorations and then to string lights on their homes. The group of decorators lost thirteen pounds between Friday and Monday morning while the first group who did not decorate gained twenty. Incidentally, the group of weight gainers is now suing ICBWGFFT.

“Obviously there’s a significant link between holiday decorating and weight loss based on our highly controlled studies,” said ICBWGFFT’s lead scientist. “Everyone assumes that artificial trees are easier to deal with at Christmas time, but that is just a myth. With a real tree you just drive home from the lot or tree farm, put it up in your living room and decorate it, but with an artificial one you are responsible for lugging it around, erecting it and fluffing up all branches and tree tips before you can do anything else like adding lights or decorations,” she added.

The scientists believe that the constant motion necessary to assemble a decent looking artificial tree is equal to jogging or swimming for three consecutive hours. They observed their subjects’ non-stop activity as they made lap after lap after lap around their trees trying to make sure that each branch and tip on every single limb was positioned perfectly. The scientists also noted that the more compulsive the individual, the more time they spent arranging and rearranging the trees’ branches.

“These men would step away from the tree to look at their work, see a bare spot, and begin moving the branches again as if they just couldn’t stop working on their tree,” a scientist noted. “It’s like they were hummingbirds and had to maintain perpetual motion. To be honest with you, we’ve had a lot of fun reviewing our study subjects’ tapes and will probably submit a few to America’s Funniest Home Videos when we’re done.”

ICBWGFFT said that the more lights and decorations placed on the tree, the greater the weight loss would be. They also were able to counter the notion that stress can lead to weight gain. The holidays and decorating for them are some of the most stressful times of the year, but despite the stress the decorating men endured over the weekend, all seven subjects posted significant weight loss. Unfortunately, five of the seven subjects consumed an average of three cups of eggnog per day after the testing period and gained their weight back. Those subjects are also now suing ICBWGFFT.

Officials at ICBWGFFT celebrated their groundbreaking discovery by announcing this morning 
that they have teamed up with an artificial garland manufacturing plant in Ohio to begin selling artificial Christmas trees with 5,000 tips and the most branches possible on any commercially available tree. They hope to have the tree, named The Thinning Tannenbaum, in major retail outlets, home improvement mega stores, vitamin supplement shops, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig by the second week of December.