Good Works: Santa -- brings toys to boys and girls on Christmas Eve; St. Nicholas -- threw sacks of gold through poverty-stricken people's windows so the wouldn't need to sell their daughters into prostitution or indentured servitude
Hmmm... given the age thing, I'm guessing it must be Santa's autograph, not St. Nicholas's. Even Danza wouldn't be dumb enough to get a dead guy's autograph. Would he?
Bad Music Thursday: Finally! A Tony Danza Album the Whole Family Can Enjoy
For those of you who enjoy the many artistic expressions of Tony Danza -- the talk show, the sitcoms, the films -- yet find yourself wanting still more of the Danza man, take heart: You can now buy a CD oozing with his charm and charisma.
Not since this song filled my heart with patriotic joy has a song filled me with such love for my country as Tony's thrilling trilling of "God Bless America."
But you know what I'd truly enjoy? Tony Danza singing Christmas carols. When, Tony, when will you make my holiday wishes come true?
I had heard that a giant Tony Danza had appeared on the field at McCollum Park on Thanksgiving Day during our family's football game, but I didn't believe it until I saw the photographic evidence, courtesy of Nick:
You'll pardon my disbelief when you consider the source of this information:
I have been thinking about Magic Winter Gift-Giving Time (let's face it, that's what it is.) I would love it if the religious and secular aspects would be separated out and I could stand on conviction and avoid all the bloated consumer nonsense associated with this time of year. Yes, I would love the "War on Christmas" to be settled in favor of the anti-"Christmas" brigade. I propose that we forget trying to link any of those pagan or American consumerist traditions to religion and embrace their piggy splendor while allowing the religious holiday to be celebrated in dignity.
I wouldn't celebrate Magic Winter Gift-Giving Time, and I'd be brave enough to explain my reasons to my kids. Other people have had to do that with Santa and Christmas stuff all these years, so it's only fair that I fight for my convictions for a change. Here's how I would celebrate the season:
In lieu of Santa leaving presents in the wee hours between December 24 and December 25, St. Nicholas would leave gifts for children only in the wee hours between December 5 and December 6. I would call the kids in sick to school that day, and we'd celebrate St. Nick's feast day.
Adults won't get presents. Deal with it and shut up.
Instead of the tree being the focus, I'd get a manger scene and keep adding to it every year. Like my Halloween village, only it'll be Bethlehem and shepherds and stuff.
We'd have a huge party Christmas Eve, which would resemble Thanksgiving instead of the monotonous gift-opening extravaganza we currently have. It's boring and the kids start ripping open packages like ravenous hyenas. I'd rather have a big feast, games and convivial friend/familial interaction.
Christmas Day would resemble a lazy Sunday, going to Church (if we didn't go the night before) and lounging around playing games and eating leftovers.
We'd have another party on Three King's Day, with a nice dinner and King's Cake. The end.
But here's the deal: Magic Gift-Giving Time must relinquish any and all claims on Christmas songs with any hint of religious meaning. For instance, we keep "Silent Night" and they get "It's a Marshmallow World in the Winter." No public nativity scenes, angels or anything like that. Those are ours. You can keep the rest of that other bullshit, like light-up reindeer and dogs burping "Jingle Bells" or whatever.
I know I don't have a snowflake's chance in hell of making any of this happen, but it's my dream, anyways.
I do not hate the Barefoot Contessa; that is, Ina Garten herself seems like the kind of person who is dependable, trustworthy and donates to charity. (I don't much like her husband, from what I've seen and heard of him on the show -- don't like your wife having fun with her friends, after the way she dotes on your wrinkly old ass all the time on the show? Fuck you, Jeffrey, you controlling bastard! Wait, where was I? Oh, yeah.)
As I said, I don't hate the Barefoot Contessa, although there are some things about the show that bother me. Aside from the aforementioned Jeffrey, I don't like to think about feet in conjunction with my food preparation. Also, the creepy porn music they play in the background disturbs me a bit. And, sometimes she uses ingredients I'd have to put effort into finding.
However, those issues are minor and wouldn't stop me from watching her show if her lifestyle even remotely resembled mine.
It's hard to find video of her show, but here's one:
She has no kids, no crazy relatives, she seats less than a dozen for dinner parties, no chaos, no noise -- I have no experience with entertaining of this kind. While her parties feature polite conversation, soft music and high-brow humor, my parties feature ribald innuendos, raucous card games and Gassy Gus.
I'm not saying one is better than another, I'm just saying it's different.
Make way for the congealed masses artichokes and lizards why do the cornhusks sit and stare stop smothering the lima beans when will it end said the masher who sat upon a garlic cushion and belched brown goo into the auburn sky
In order to conserve my scanty brain power, I am turning this week into all-Surrealism week. Anthony gave me the idea.
Otters swim through Play Doh, hoping for carrots but only rabbits appear Flags fly as flies drag their bellies through tubs of margarine Yellow hot dogs boil in ice While pink snow falls on cracked lint screens Hear the Jell-O sob
Well, somebody must, because they're bringing it back.
And why not? It was so unique, so non-derivative. Look at last year's "sneak peak" and bask in its innovativeness, inspired writing and spectacular acting:
I just love, LOVE when they have child actors speak in a completely unnatural and supercilious manner. It makes me completely not want to take my meat tenderizer and smash it through the TV screen like a housewife version of Elvis Presley.
Also, do you think the boy is his? I can't wait to tune in to find out. The suspense is killing me! Well, something is killing me. I clicked on more clips, something I don't recommend. Some generic doe-eyed actress is pleading, "Please, you only have one chance at this..." Take it, all-American actor boy, take it! Take that chance!
Good gravy, if they wanted to recycle something from the dung heap of television failures they should have at least chosen something fun to watch, like Man from Atlantis or Monster Squad. Now that's quality TV.
For a (an?) historically surreal experience, you can celebrate "Thanksgiving" at Medieval Times for $29.95 a person if you mention code #0920 at time of purchase.
I'd go if they bring the turkey in by lance. Do they have to stay in character? "What is this New World of which you speak? Thou canst sail around the world; you'll fall off the edge, for the world tis flat! Burn this witch at the stake! She speaketh heresy!"
I know the people who were already here before Europeans landed grumble about Thanksgiving. And yes, it puts a pretty face on a very ugly period of human history. But consider this:
While the truth behind what happened after this first relatively friendly co-existence in Massachusetts is painful, the spirit of this holiday is a lovely one -- people of very different cultures getting together to share a meal and have a big party. It was like new neighbors throwing a party for the existing neighbors to thank them for helping them settle in. Only with less furniture moving and more disease and famine.
Everybody can enjoy this holiday. Vegans can have Tofurky, religious people can say a prayer, non-religious people can be thankful to our nation's hard-working farmers. We all can be grateful that heritage turkeys are making a comeback, and also remember that largely by virtue of when and where we were born, we have clean water spouting from indoor plumbing and real floors and roofs over our heads.
If you don't like the idea of a feast because you feel it glorifies gluttony, you can volunteer to serve others on this day.
Of course, I am a holiday apologist because I LOVES the parties. Party at the Übers on Thanksgiving!
I'll let Mr. T handle the fashion advice this week. He starts out with the most important tip of all: "Everybody's gotta wear clothes... if you don't, you'll be arrested." So true. I have to remind myself of this every day, and now I'll have Mr. T's voice in my head when I do it.
I'm really surprised this concept didn't catch on. The man was, is, and always will be style personified.
"I once got in a fight during a baseball game with Peter Ryndak, Steve Slomiany, and Jim Murtaugh. On my side I had Greg Zoeller and Todd Gilchrist. After about 3 minutes of intense Fight Club type action, Gilcrhist and Zoeller were gone, leaving me to get beaten to a pulp... until Jim Eschrich and Mark Dunn showed up. Dunn said something about calling his mom -- Eschrich actually threw a punch or two. To this day I thank Eschrich that I am only partially retarded. I thanked Dunn by larding his camper."
Questions for Roker:
How did the fight start?
Were you playing baseball, or were you a spectator?
Did you lose any teeth?
Did you get even with Gilchrist and Zoeller?
Is "larding his camper" a euphamism for a sexual act?
That's genius! Evil genius, but genius nonetheless. It does everything!
It heals. It brings in money. It absorbs spills, and you can toss it into the washer to restore freshness. I bet you put it on your head when you can't do a thing with your hair, and, voila! A brand new 'do!
I haven't yet fully digested the four (count 'em, FOUR) coupon sections from this past Sunday's paper. There are a lot of them. Not as many as this guy has, but that guy is clearly insane. (Don't put your coupons on the stove!)
While the coupons we receive in modern times are friendly, it wasn't always so. Here's what happens when coupons turn into death merchants, luring us to an early demise with the promise of free consumer goods:
Oh, yes, people. It was once so. Killer Coupons. Four bonus coupons for killing yourself faster!
She looked in the mirror, and found to her horror that she had taken her daughter to preschool, the clothes to the dry cleaner and the dog to the vet; gone grocery shopping and gotten an oil change; returned books to the library and ill-fitting clothes to the discount chain store; picked her daughter up from preschool; taken the dog and her daughter to the park; talked to several friends and neighbors IN the park; attended a parent-teacher conference; talked to a door-to-door window salesman; visited the nursery section of her local hardware store WHERE she ran into her old flame from high school; run back to the grocery store to pick up emergency treats for her daughter's class the next day; attended a PTA meeting and had coffee afterwards with the other moms ... all with a wad of oatmeal cemented firmly to the middle of her forehead.
Dilf is out of town on business. ÜberElder had a sleepover at a friend's house. To counteract the unfairness of Elder having a sleepover, ÜberYounger and I had a "sleepover" of our own, watching Spy Kids 3D (the things I do for my children!) and sleeping in my bed.
This gravely disturbed Moxie.
For one, she doesn't like when Dilf is missing, but she can handle it because her doggie brain thinks he's out hunting or something and can hold his own out in the wilderness. But one of the girls? Leaving with a non-family member and not returning ALL NIGHT? I swear, she looks at me like I'm the worst mother in the world.
"How can you sleep, knowing your puppy is out there in the cold, dark night?" she seemed to say to me, both times she woke me out of a sound snooze, at 11:30 p.m. and 4 a.m. respectively. I shoved her out the door into the back yard to pee, whether she needed to or not.
For another, she sleeps in Younger's bed every night, while she is not allowed up on our bed. So it was killing her to have Younger so close, yet unavailable for snuggling and sleep. She started out the evening on Younger's bed, alone, yet still curled up in her spot at the end of the bed. Then, she pulled one of Younger's nighties out of the hamper, carried it into the parental bedchamber, and, using the nightie as a make-shift bed, curled up on the floor next to where Younger was sleeping and (presumably) cried herself to sleep.
But she didn't sleep. Besides harassing the cat and waking me up twice, she also found time to sneak downstairs and raid Dilf's office trash can of candy wrappers, plus eat six vanilla-scented tea light candles. She also chewed the little tin bottoms into little round balls.
She also woke me up at 7 to tell me the cat wasn't home yet. She does that every morning. Except the mornings she wakes me up to tell me the cat IS home, and waiting at the door. She loves that cat.
Tracey wanted to hear Survivor's "The Search Is Over" last Saturday at our reunion, but she was denied. She hails it as the most romantic song ever written about a prostitute. I never knew that was the topic of the song.
Wait a minute! It's about a prostitute? It's used in children's programming!
Initially while conducting my research for my emergency replacement article, I came upon this site for men's leather goods. It's called the Lil' Shop of Leather, and I was awed by its menswear selection.
Then, I found the home page, and discovered it's located in Branson, Missouri. Scratch that -- it has TWO LOCATIONS -- both in the "historic downtown."
Does Branson know it's a parody of itself, or are they too busy counting the money to care?
Anyways, please enjoy the lovely selection of men's leatherwear I've chosen for you. I don't need a belt for my pants; I've got one on my jacket!
In America, I'm free -- to look like a total doofus.
Can I take this off now? I'm old enough to know better.
What do you mean, this jacket was in "Dumb and Dumber?"
I catch all the Branson GILFs in this little number.
Please check out the ladies' section as well. One post alone cannot capture all the leathery goodness that is Lil' Shop of Leather.
This Week in Coupons: Fakery Will Not Be Tolerated
Food's high holiday, Thanksgiving, is fast approaching. Understandably, I had four (FOUR? SCORE!) coupon sections in Sunday's paper. After all, people not only must create culinary masterpieces, but also must clean their houses for nosy, judgmental in-laws who come to visit on that day.
Pillsbury understands the stress people come under when hosting Thanksgiving, so they sympathetically offer a 35-cents-off coupon for Hungry Jack potatoes to make life easier on the big day.
There's only one problem with that: if I were, in fact, to prepare and serve dehydrated potatoes from a box on Thanksgiving Day, my life would be dramatically less simple. Dough Boy, I love you, but you're off base on this one.
You see, Dilf is a loving husband. A patient husband. An understanding husband. He loves me like crazy. But fake potatoes on Thanksgiving would cause my marriage to ... well, not END, necessarily. But it would be altered forever, and not in a good way.
I would see the betrayal in his eyes. He might not verbalize it, but it would be there, eating away at the strength of our marital bond. And if I were to compound that transgression by topping said potatoes with gravy from a packet, as McCormick Seasonings suggests? Well, let's just say I might as well get the sheets ready for a second bedroom. I'm sorry, McCormick, but that 25-cents-off coupon just isn't worth it.
Twenty Years Ago, in a High School Not Far Away...
1984 State Championship! I was there! Can you see me in the stands?
So I went to my 20 year reunion last night. Those of you hoping for a catty send-up of all my former classmates may be disappointed, because I had a really good time. Everyone I talked to was a complete sweetheart. Of course, I only talked to people I talked to in high school, so...
They were, and are, the brainy people. In fact, through talking to one of my former classmates, I now have a new job description for myself.
"I'm at Berkely developing A.I. (Artificial Intelligence). What are you doing now?" he asked.
"I'm developing Organic Intelligence," I answered. With a sparkle in his eye, he replied, "Ah! Humans."
Yes, from now on I will be known as a Developer of Organic Intelligence.
Overly loud music presumably from "the 80's," although I never listened to crap like that. At least not on purpose.
One of the "popular girls" trying to make announcements over the sound of the very loud room (I still have no clue what she was trying to say), making me think of this.
Speaking of the "popular girls," it was interesting the gamut of emotions I felt upon seeing them. First, the disgust and contempt I felt for them washed over me, which is interesting because I hadn't gone into this reunion with bad feelings toward anyone. Then, my adult brain kicked in and I felt a good deal of sympathy for them. Not empathy, mind you, but something more akin to pity.
One of my friends told me that at the 10-year-reunion, one of these girls had come up to her -- someone who had teased and tortured her in the past -- and after complimenting her on how great she (my friend) looked, confided, "But look at me. I'm fat, married and miserable."
I don't want anyone to be miserable. Reaching your high point in high school isn't good at all.
On a happier note, as I said earlier, reconnecting with my fellow alumnae was by and large delightful, and I'm proud to have gone to school with such a genuinely kind and accomplished group of people.
And a lot of them were very funny, too. Which I always appreciate. I'm looking at you, Twin Brother!
He doesn't like "Sex in the City." I also hate "Sex in the City," but saying that is the kind of thing that makes people squeal, "How could you NOT like that show? I LOVE that show!"
So, I have compiled a list of things I do not like, that are popular among other people:
"The English Patient" "Desperate Housewives" "Grey's Anatomy" "American Pie" movies Movies about the Vietnam War Jimmy Buffet "Sir" Paul McCartney "Sir" Elton John (honestly, does that sword the queen uses magnetically absorb any ounce of talent a person may have had, rendering them useless and irritating?) Eric Clapton (you heard me!) Anyone from "American Idol" lamb beer coconut milk tarragon rosemary sweet potatoes (although I eat them because they're good for me.) Dane Cook Comics that go on and on about sex when they probably have 2 inch penises and have seen women naked 5 times at most, and one of those was in health class generic blonde "hotties" expensive purses overly expensive shoes Abercrombie & Fitch the Gap Banana Republic sappy love songs EXXXtreme Sports! EXXXtreme Anything!
There's more, I'm sure. But it's Saturday morning and I'm trying to get this done before the girls wake up and I make some pancakes. You know what else I hate? People who call pancakes "flapjacks."
Spoiled Brattiness: Not Just for Childhood Anymore
I was going to write about Victoria's Secret giving away stuffed doggies with their lingerie, and how creepy that sounded to me. I know I'll probably offend someone with this, but if you're old enough to be having sex and wearing lingerie, the allure of a cuddly stuffed animal shouldn't be swaying your purchasing decisions.
Then, I went to their website and became disturbed by the word prezzies. It's not as bad as I originally thought (it's British slang), but it still invoked images of a grown (physically) woman pouting at her boyfriend or (poor, poor man) husband and whining, "Did you bring me a prezzie?" Then, falling into a full-blown temper tantrum if the answer is "no."
Still, I am disturbed by the general trend of glorifying immaturity and decided to write about it today. I Googled the term "spoiled" because it's a law or something that all blog posting activities must involve the use of Google, so I got it out of the way immediately.
Apparently, only children are spoiled -- at least according to the internet gods. Yes, people over-indulge and under-discipline their children. That's been going on since time immemorial. I have seen them up-close and personal. When it comes to children, however, I sense that they want someone to stop them, and they act more and more outrageously in the sometimes vain hope that someone will care enough about them to say "no." Otherwise, they feel like they're in a swimming pool sinking deeper and deeper and never hitting bottom.
I have less empathy for adults in that situation. And we all know they're out there. Yet other than this website, no one seems to notice the toll extravagance extracts from our society.
As usual, a bratty starlet steps up to illustrate the danger of overindulged "adults":
"I hate my judge," Spears declared to Bret. "He is so mean. Just an old fart. He told me I was being catty with him, but he was being catty with me and paid me no respect at all."
"His job is to sit there and tell people what to do," Spears said. "And that's just so sad, because he gets off on it."
Um, Brit? They call judges "Your honor" for a reason -- you're supposed to show THEM respect, not the other way around. Did you notice she was in the Neiman Marcus dressing room at the time?
I suppose calling people out on their extravagance is bad for business, so it's not gonna happen outside of church, and who listens to what church has to say anymore?
Our country is going to the dogs because indulgence is revered and sacrifice is either scorned or reserved for "someone else" to undertake. Even if children are as "spoiled" and "bratty" as people say, at least they aren't making policy or personal decisions that are gambling away our future and negatively impacting our world right now.