Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On TV This Christmas

For those of us trying to watch TV on Christmas Day, we usually have the same set of choices every year. Each choice works a lot better with plenty of wine.

1) A Christmas Story. A little piece of 1940's small town Americana, where a pellet gun can be the focal point of the holiday for a kid, and the greatest horror is getting your tongue stuck on a cold flagpole. (No, that's not a euphamism!) Ever since the first time I saw this movie, I've been trying to find a lamp shaped like a stripper's leg.

2) The Yule Log. Basically a camera shot of a burning log. That's it. You gotta be pretty drunk to enjoy this.

3) Scrooge. Classic film from the early '50s, based on the Dickens story. A hard working entrepreneur who made wise choices with his money and helped benefit society as a capitalist is villified by evil ghosts that want him to feel guilty because his whining employee "thinks it's too cold in the office" and "wants Christmas off to spend with his family" (with no real concern that maybe Mr. Scrooge wants some company at work and was too busy building the company that pays Cratchett's salary to get a family of his own, thank you very much!). The evil ghosts succeed, and trick Scrooge into giving away his money. What it doesn't show is Cratchett squandering the money on gambling and booze rather than an operation for Tiny Tim, so he can grow into a novelty act and get married on Johnny Carson many years later.

4) Spanish TV. Here you can see buxom, leggy women dancing around wearing Santa hats and very little else.

5) Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. If you ever had a childhood fear of claymation, it comes to life in this horrifying epic about talking deer and snow monsters and drunk mountain climbers. You need more wine.

Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My New Christmas Carol, Part 3

So without further ado, here are the lyrics to what I'm hoping will be a smashing new Christmas hit, to be sung at office parties and door to door for many years to come, bringing me all sorts of song royalties that can be well spent on hookers and blow and copies of transcripts to episodes of Dateline NBC. (In case you want to know how the melody will go, I should inform you now that I don't really know what "melody" means and I have no idea how to write music. But the song will be something like "Ba da DA DA dum dum da da DEE DEE dee" if that makes any sense)

Lyrics to "Brando's Christmas Gloriousness":

As I sit here waiting, brimming with year end hatred;
Thinking about this awful fruitcake, which smells putrid;
I want to get through this awful season
And I don't need a reason
For why I'm turning atheist this year.

Ring your damn bastard bells, you little cretins!
Make me get my shotgun, if I have to!
Because nothing makes me more pissed this season!
Than the sound of your constant screech!
Get me through this awful yule, because I have only one rule!
Let me have my bourbon in peace.

So I tried listening to my radio but all they would play
Is some godawful songs that make me barf on my TV tray
The smell of needles fills me with rage
And holiday-themed stories fill up the paper's front page
Why can't they let me be atheist this year


So when the stocking finally come down
And the lights are no longer strewn about town
I can finally return the awful gifts I've been given
And spend my days ogling posters of Robin Givens
And hope they'll let me be atheist, next year

Chorus x2

My New Christmas Carol, Part Two

It was pointed out to me by my many commenters that in yesterday's post I left out many popular holiday tunes which could still be used at office holiday parties, since they're enjoyable and festive and don't have hateful roots. I'll dismiss these in turn:

1) Holly Jolly Christmas. This song was popularized by Burl Ives, who played "Big Daddy" in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", a movie based on a play by Tennessee Williams. Tennessee, as we know, is the home to Fort Knox, where we keep our gold reserves. Clearly this was the gold standard's answer to Silver Bells. I for one have no interest in currency wars! Take it outside, Greenspan!

2) Jingle Bells. The original version of this song was an ode to Chinese dictator Mao Tse Tung. Okay, just made that up, but it still sucks.

3) Sleigh Ride. This doesn't count because it is not in fact an enjoyable holiday song.

4) Oh, Christmas Tree. Many of you might know that this song was originally called "O Tannenbaum". What you might not know is that Meyer Tannenbaum was a vicious Jewish gangster who created a reign of terror over the Lower East Side, trying to prove that he could be just as ruthless as his Sicilian counterparts. The song's original lyrics were "O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, please stop torturing me, with your spikes, and broken glass, and that thing, you shoved in my ass...." Hardly appropriate for the holidays!

5) Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Sounds like a nice song, until you realize that "Santa Claus" was a code word for the Hungarian Communist Secret Police, and frequently when they "came to town" it meant death and destruction. My kids don't need to lose their innocence with this song!

I think I adequately demonstrated that the current holiday tunes are just not up to snuff. So, in my next post, I bring you--a new holiday song for the ages.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My New Christmas Carol, Part One

Every year I never receive what I really want for Christmas, which is tons of money coming in from music royalties. There seems to be a simple fix--write a holiday song, and get it licensed out at office holiday parties! After all, just a nickel per party and I'll be waist deep in hookers and blow in no time.

The trick is to convince people that my holiday song is much more acceptable than the more popular ones. It shouldn't be hard:

1) Silver Bells is a pointless song sponsored by the silver industry, in an attempt to get us off the gold standard. Hey, send this back to 1896 when people gave a damn!

2) White Christmas is a racist, anti-black rant, meant to celebrate white supremacy and hold back minorities. Sorry, I want no part of that, Hitler!

3) Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer--clearly the red nose is masking Rudolf's alcoholism, and the song is about enabling his drinking problem. No sale, folks!

4) The Little Drummer Boy? This is really about child warriors, which considering recent happenings in Congo and Liberia, is in truly poor taste. Forget that, pal!

5) Silent Night--this song is about the suppression of free speech. Not this time, haters!

So, the holiday standards are clearly no good. What exactly then would be an acceptable song, free from any legacy of hatred and servitude? Stay tuned, as my next post will feature a song that you'll be hearing at many an office holiday party in the coming years....

Goddam Snow

DC rarely gets as much as two feet of snow in one day, but when it does happen the city is about as well prepared for this as Miami would be. A short trip across town to attend a wedding became a long series of fits and starts, as our friends' car could not get traction on the unplowed roads and more than once we needed random strangers to help push from the outside. Ultimately, when the ordeal was over it was time to wait out the blizzard with mint juleps and Conan the Barbarian.

Of course, I had my share of snowstorms in Maine, where the sidewalks are a packed-snow mess for four months out of the year, and they have yet to implement my ideas for dealing with it like heating coils under the roads and sidewalks and building a network of underground tunnels leading to the bars and restaurants. Something about "lack of funding" and "logistically impossible" and "please put down that hammer". I guess snow is just one of those things we have to suffer through.

Friday, December 18, 2009

20 Years of Simpsons

Twenty years ago yesterday--December 17th, 1989--a new TV show debuted on Fox, a network that was only two years old. This show was about a cartoon family, which had been featured in animated shorts on a short-lived sketch show for British commedian Tracey Ullman. This new show was called "The Simpsons".

Now, I took to the show pretty quickly--it was hard not to like the troublemaking kid and the idiot father, not to mention the various side characters who developed over time--Moe, the pathetic lowlife bartender, Barney, the chronic drunk, Mr. Burns, the evil capitalist boss, Chief Wiggum, the corrupt and incompetent police chief--and I watched the show regularly when it aired Thursdays and later on Sunday nights. I quoted Homer Simpson in my high school graduation speech, and in college the gang watched the show together in awed silence so that we wouldn't miss a funny line.

It was a show that started off pretty standard, and found its legs quickly, becoming absolutely hilarious for a several season stretch. Since the glory years of the early and mid-90s, the show has had some weaker episodes--often signs of weakness are gimmicks such as guest stars playing themselves ("hey, R.E.M. just happened to show up in Homer's garage!") or sending the Simpsons to some foreign country for quick sight gags ("hey, the Simpsons are now doing the samba in Brazil!"). "Thoughtful" or "political" episodes are generally weak too--Lisa Simpson should serve as a foil for Bart's troublemaking and Homer's latest bad idea, rather than the focus of an episode, and I don't need to see Marge's sister come out as a lesbian to know how I feel about gay marriage. But on the whole, the show has retained it's charm over the years, staying funny most of the time and frankly, even its weaker episodes are funnier than most of what's on TV now.

The Simpsons will shortly surpass "Gunsmoke" as the longest running prime time non-news show, and I figure by now they must have produced over 400 episodes--this means if you were to have a "Simpsons marathon" and watch every episode back to back, it would take you 200 hours, or over 8 days. Non-stop!

Consider--when the show started, George Bush SENIOR was in the first year of his term, Gorbachev was still heading the USSR, and Michael Jackson was just considered "a bit weird" rather than full-on crazy. No one had heard of Bill Clinton, and the Internet was a primitive form used only by high end techies. Hair metal bands were still the rage, and Johnny Carson and David Letterman were still on NBC. It was the Russians who were getting out of Afghanistan, not us getting further into it. And European countries hadn't developed the "Euro" yet--you'd have to get "francs" and "lire" and "deutchsemarks" when you travelled there. The Simpsons has been something most of us have grown up with.

Here's hoping for more great episodes ahead. It's been a good ride.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Thankfully, so far I have yet to contract the flu (knock on fake wood desk; why is this obviously not real wood desk painted to look like wood?). But considering so many people I work with have kids, it's only a matter of time before the dreaded virus makes its way around here. Of course, it won't spread quite so quickly if the people who catch the flu follow the universal tips:

1) When sneezing, sneeze into your elbow. That way if anyone tries to grab you by the elbow they get a handful of snot. They'll soon learn to grab you by the hair instead.

2) When travelling on a train or plane, wear a surgical mask. It not only stops colds, but chicks will think you're a doctor! I smell a love connection!

3) Stick your toothbrush in the dishwasher to sterilize it. Nothing sterilizes a toothbrush better than getting bits of used spaghetti sauce on it. Then go buy a new toothbrush, you cheap bastard.

4) Did you know that people are more likely to get germs from door handles than anywhere else? Make a habit of kicking open the door instead. Your co-workers will thank you!

5) If you really don't like a co-worker, feel free to cough and sneeze all over him. Giving someone the flu is sort of like punching them, except you don't go to jail!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Now D.C.'s Gays Don't Have an Excuse to Avoid Settling Down

Yesterday the D.C. City Council voted to legalize same-sex marriage, by a vote of 11-2. Hopefully this trend will bolster efforts in other states, though similar votes failed recently in Maine, New York and New Jersey. Which brings me to my point.

The gay marriage debate hasn't played out in simple ideological lines, with conservatives opposed and liberals in favor--if that were the case, we wouldn't have seen those defeats in the Northeast where liberals tend to flock and "Republican" has become a dirty word. In fact, Republicans who can win elections in the Northeast like Mitt Romney and Rudy Guiliani were pro-gay rights when they campaigned (though for Mitt at least that changed when he ran for President later). And what about the two votes against gay marriage in the D.C. Council? They came from Yvette Alexander and Marion Barry--not exactly right wingers in other areas. The only explanation is that there's a large subset of liberal voters who just can't abide by the idea that a gay couple could have marital rights. It is especially shameful for Marion Barry's voters, since they've shown that they arent' so judgmental that they'd vote against a guy just for being a crackhead.

Hopefully, though, the anti-gay marriage voters will in time see that living in a community where gays are marrying one another isn't the end of the world. Then maybe they can concern themselves with society's real problems.

Giant rabbit attacks.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

End of the Aughts!

With the new year approaching it only recently occurred to me that this is also the end of a decade--for some reason the hype of the end of the last decade (also being the end of a century and millenium, unless you were one of those nerds who pointed out that it really doesn't end until 2001 but then if you were one of those nerds you wouldn't be reading this because you'd be busy doing rocket surgery or something) seemed to overshadow hype for the end of the 2000-2009 span.

In this past decade, we've seen the following:

1) George W Bush went from being Texas Governor to a national disaster.

2) Barack Obama went from unknown community organizer to laughably overrated Nobel winner.

3) New Orleans went from a cesspool of crime and filth to . . . a cesspool of crime and filth.

4) Britney Spears went from underage Lolita-esque strumpet to worn-out mother in need of mental help. And we watch because we can't not watch.

5) Netflix has destroyed Blockbuster. The "video store" will be a relic of the past in a few short years.

6) The economy went to crap.

7) China is now our biggest creditor. Mao is spinning in his grave.

8) The Twin Towers are gone and we now are stuck in two third world countries across the globe. We're a very unpredictable people--so Burma ought to watch its back.

9) Goth has been replaced by emo hipsters. Pabst Blue Ribbon would have been a good investment.

10) Cupcakes are the new mocha lattes, as overpriced gourmet versions of things that used to be cheap and plentiful. The next trend will be high end soups.

11) The Simpsons went from longest running comedy to longest running prime-time series.

12) Family Guy came back on the air, and spawned yet more Seth McFarlane shows (at this trend, he'll occupy all of prime time for the entire week by end of next decade). He's like a fungus!

13) The Big Three automakers are for all practical purposes down to the Big One. Chrysler and GM will go the way of Gimbels and Zima.

14) The cost of going to a ball game is now out of reach for those who don't want to sell their kidneys. And Dan Snyder still can't get a team to win.

15) Airfares are still cheap, but with the exchange rate it's not worth going anywhere that doesn't take the dollar. Puerto Rico will be the new Bahamas.

16) It sucks more than ever for new college grads. Those of us who thought we had it rough before have learned to keep our mouths shut. Something tells me these new grads will be as grumpy as the Depression-era generation, telling everyone that they don't know what suffering is.

17) Gasoline was a buck a gallon at the start of the decade. Although it's nearly three times that now, we're still happy it's not four or five bucks a gallon. Hybrid cars still look lame though.

18) Mel Gibson went from hotshot actor to insane fundamentalist religious whackjob. Ditto for Tom Cruise. I'm betting the same for Robin Williams in the next decade.

It's been a rough time but we all went through it together (except you toddlers, you don't count!). Here's hoping the next one is an improvement!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Up Yours, Winter!

Some people call winter their favorite season. These people are called idiots. Consider the following:

1) The only real period of daylight is while we are at work indoors. Darkness beginning by 5 PM is depressing. They should simply have the day begin and end five hours earlier, so we'd have five hours of daylight after the end of the workday. I wouldn't mind working the first five hours of the day in the darkness. That's why we have lights in our offices!

2) Waking up when it's chilly and you just want to stay in your coccoon all day but know you can't do that. If only I can conduct my daily business from inside my coccoon. But apparently you have to be the president of the United States to get to do that.

3) Road conditions are hazardous. It's dangerous enough with all the brain-dead morons cutting me off and that damn bus that always seems to get in the way. Ice only makes it more of a challenge.

4) If you stand outside long enough your butt cheeks will freeze together.

5) Restaurants have a lot less seating because the outdoor seats can't be used.

6) No backyard barbecues so that limits my cuisine by like 75%.

Granted, summer has its downsides--heat and humidity, bugs--but it's not even a comparison. It's going to be a long few months!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Hannukah!

Hannukah starts today, and I must say the total lack of Hannukah parties and gifts and parades makes me think the local Jews are really dropping the ball here! After all, this holiday has had a couple hundred years' head start on Christmas--that's plenty of time to invent a jolly fictional character to hand out toys, and co-opt some pagan rituals and decorations.

The holiday originates from the days when the Greeks (as remnants of Alexander the Terrific's empire) were running Judaea (in present-day Israel), and lots of Jews assimilated by taking on Greek culture. Presumably, this meant eating gyros and wearing lots of gold chains and colognes and owning diners on the Interstate. After all, gotta do what's popular! But a group of super-religious Jews rejected that, and went by the name "the Maccabes" which is Hebrew for "screw this gyro crap and pass me a bagel". The Maccabes fought the Greeks and the assimilated Jews, and took over the big temple in Jerusalem, then decided to light up some lamp action. Of course they only had oil for one day, but by divine miracle--or failing to measure the oil properly in the first place, either way--the oil burned for eight days. It was such a great time for celebration that the Maccabes said "from this day forth, we shall celebrate Hannukah, and never see it be overshadowed by some upstart religion's big winter-time holiday".

Today, Jews around the world (though let's face it, mostly just the American Jews) celebrate Hannukah tonight and for the next eight nights, by lighting the menorah and spinning the dradle and looking for a good Chinese place to eat on Christmas. Happy Hannukah!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


The better part of this morning was spent at a meeting at Tyson's Corner, and unlike a lot of meetings it was actually useful (and they served breakfast! Beats the hell out of my normal breakfast of granola bars and shame). But I'm not going to post about the meeting itself, rather the morning drive into Tysons.

For those of you not from the DC area, let me tell you that Northern Virginia is a complete mess of poorly planned overdevelopment leading to aesthetic and transportation and lifestyle nightmares. Think North Jersey meets the Los Angeles area, with weather falling somewhere between those two locales. Traffic is a constant snarl, and everything is either a mess of soulless steel-and-glass or ugly strip malls. There's no real grid, as you'd find in the city, so if you get lost you're basically screwed. Since the population of this region is made up mostly of northern transplants, I figured the confusing and irrational planning that went into the road and development system was part of some anti-Yankee revenge for the Civil War. I imagine if the war was fought today, General Sherman's forces would be stuck in traffic somewhere on Chain Bridge Road near the Beltway, wondering if they should eat at this Applebee's or try for the Hooters down the road.

The part of Fairfax County that is called Tyson's Corner is the epitome of everything good and bad about Northern Virginia. Tyson's Corner is likely named after some dude named Tyson who owned a corner of some dirt road. It was probably very charming and rustic back then. Today, it is a crowd of skyscrapers, auto dealerships, chain restaurants (both middle class like Silver Diner and high end, like the Palm), and the noted malls Tyson's Galleria and Tyson's Corner Center. For some reason developers and businesses decided this was a great place to set up shop, although it's not directly on I-66 and has no Metro access yet. Its' as though someone said "let's just build wherever this frisbee lands" and went from there.

Apparently there are going to be changes for Tyson's Corner, including four new Metro stops when they expand the line in a few years, and redevelopment plans intended to make the area more pedestrian friendly and less congested (which should take decades). These are welcome changes, though it'll be expensive and time consuming considering this is an area that could be a decent sized city in its own right. But the area right now is a good cautionary tale for what happens when an area overdevelops without any real long range plan. It would have made a lot more sense to keep this in mind decades ago.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's Pagan New Year, Charlie Brown!

Another thing I like about this time of year is the holiday specials that are on TV--the Scrooge story is a good one, advancing an early Marxist message that wealthy and financially sound capitalists should divest their fortunes and give to their labor forces based on need. (After all, if Bob Cratchet was a bachelor happy with a cup of gruel each day, the spirits wouldn't have used threats of violence to force him to give the guy a raise). The first version I ever saw of "A Christmas Carol" was the Mr. Magoo version, and I remember by the end of it thinking "wow, this is pretty deep for Mr. Magoo!"

Then of course there's the claymation Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer special, in which we learn that the other reindeer were a bunch of dicks and Rudolf only became popular when his genetic abnormality proved useful. Keep that in mind, club foot people! We also learned that the elves were enslaved, as when Herbie the Elf wanted to become a dentist he was shunned.

But the best special on TV was the Charlie Brown Christmas special. It's the best of all the Peanuts specials, edging out "Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" and coming way ahead of "It's the Passion of the Christ, Charlie Brown!" and "It's the Cuban Missile Crisis, Charlie Brown!" As you may know, it starts out where Charlie wants to find the true meaning of Christmas, and Lucy (who seems to be an unlicensed psychiatrist) convinces him to be the director for the gang's Christmas play. Of course, it just results in everyone doing their own crazy dance (this was the '60s, after all) and no one listening to Charlie. Because it's clear that Charlie is a drag, man, they send him to get a tree and of course he screws that up by getting a scrawny piece of crap. The other children are correct to mock him, and they sure do, leading him to limp off in sadness, ask what the true meaning of Christmas is, and then his buddy Linus quotes from the Bible to remind the viewing audience that all the pageantry is somehow connected to the birth of Christ. Charlie then tries to put an ornament on his sad tree, and it wilts, much like his spirit. He trods off in sadness, and then Linus and the other kids give the tree a little "love" (which seems to me to consist of simply wrapping Linus' blanket around the base, then putting a bunch of ornaments on it and the tree somehow seems to be more full and healthy).

What's great about the Charlie Brown special is (a) the fact that they use real kids' voices, (b) the catchy jazz score, and (c) the touching aspect of what Linus did for Charlie. When the chips were down and Charlie proved to be a total tool, Linus stuck by the dude and helped him get the lousy tree, and supported him even though Charlie picked out the saddest tree in the lot. He then buoyed the dude's spirits with his religious recital, and saved the tree in the end. Ultimately this is a story about friendship and sticking by people when they're down. And that's what Christmas is all about!

Plus Snoopy being way cooler than his master? Priceless.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Crusades

On a scale of one to John Edwards, some things really suck big time. And one of those things is this constant "war on Christmas" talk that has been making the rounds.

Apparently, it goes like this:

1) Baby born in a barn and his mom believes her husband isn't the father. While this is typical in Maine, it became the subject of one of the world's biggest religions and countless movies that Mel Gibson could tun into some Jew-baiting.

2) At some point, the Catholic Church noticed that when converting European pagans, it was hard to convince them to stop celebrating Winter Solstice with fir trees and decorations and egg nog and fruitcake. So the Church decided to appropriate these traditions into Christianity, arguing that late December was when Jesus was born and that decorating trees and getting the new Mr. T doll is the way to celebrate this.

3) Fast forward a couple thousand years, and Americans have effectively commercialized the holiday to now include reindeer, Santas, snowmen that come to life but don't murder children, and some pretty awful holiday songs by Bono and Elton John and Paul McCartney. Not to mention office parties where you can photocopy your butt.

4) Some major retailers notice that Jews and Muslims like to spend money too, so they make a strategic decision to refer to sales as "Holiday Sales" rather than "Christmas Sales" and tell their overworked and underpaid smock-wearing staffers to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas".

5) Some chip on the shoulder Christians get pissed at the idea that anyone would acknowledge any other religion besides their own, and decide that the real assault on their holiday comes from this rather than the overcommercialization and appropriation of pagan rituals. They promptly call Fox News.

6) Fox News takes a break from covering ACORN and showing former beauty queens reading the news, and adds serious coverage to this War on Christmas.

7) Meantime, I'm the only kid in 1st grade who didn't get a toy replica of the General Lee from Dukes of Hazard.

Frankly, we'd all do well to appreciate the important things about the holidays. Getting boozed up and wearing awful sweaters while watching Snoopy save Christmas!

Holiday Decorations

It seems that this time of year almost everyone's living room (or that bit of space near the window, if you're in an efficiency) has some sort of decoration up for the holidays, whether we're talking about a Christmas tree, a Hannukah menorah, a Festivus pole, or a Buddha-Day bag of sand. And this also means that political busybodies are busy (with their bodies) complaining that the trees are bad for the environment, the menorahs are just a sop to the wax candle industry, and the bag of sand is just retarded. There isn't much complaint about the atheists putting their traditional nothing up, but that's only because complaining about putting up nothing gets a bit too existentialist.

I don't put anything up myself, since I'm stockpiling my holiday spirit for when I have little monsters of my own. But you better believe when the time comes, the menorah will be plastic and electric and the Christmas tree will be a white tabletop model. And every year when Santa doesn't actually bring them anything? I'll tell them that maybe they should have been better kids! And when the neighbors find out about this I'll say "hey don't blame me, it's Santa that screwed them over" and let them think that I still believe in Santa so that they won't want to ruin my childlike beliefs.

I imagine they're going to put me in the worst old-age home available when it's all said and done.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Say it Ain't So, Tiger!

Just in case you spent the past week living without electricity in order to earn some carbon credits (which will totally be worth something some FANTASY WORLD!), golfing star Tiger Woods was apparently cheating on his very hot wife and this very hot wife proceeded to beat the crap out of him. This got a lot of laughs out of late night comedians, which is kind of sad because we're still talking about domestic violence (and before you say he deserved to be beaten up because he cheated on his wife, ask yourself if that would be your reaction if it was Tiger beating up an unfaithful wife), but it also provoked some conversation with my co-workers.

Namely, why? After all, Woods seems like a pretty outstanding guy, especially in a day of athletes being thugs and trash. (Yes, I'm thinking of you, Steffi "Bulldozer" Graff-Agassi!) And here he was married to some Nordic valkyrie Viking woman who he probably could get to wear fur loin cloths and a horned helmet while yodelling in their opulent mansion. (Or am I the only one who would have done that?) The question we had was why does it seem that just about every celebrity athlete, performer or politician seems to cheat on their spouse? It certainly doesn't seem to mirror the general population.

The gang at work basically concluded that Tiger cheated because he has so many opportunities what with the fame and groupies and such, that it was only a matter of time before he gave in to temptation. This is a depressing conclusion--it sort of implies that if you're with someone who is faithful, it's not because you're so great or they're so morally upstanding--rather, their faithfulness is only due to a lack of opportunities!

I'd prefer to be an optimist and say that Tiger cheated because he got sick of the yodelling.

Blasted Snow

Snow sucks. I know a lot of people who disagree, since they love skiing, but skiing sucks because words in English shouldn't have a double "i". (It's also why I'm wary of Hawaiians). Besides, snow in the mountains is fine--what sucks is when we have it on roads and sidewalks.

I didn't always feel this way, since as a kid snow often meant a day off from school and maybe some sledding or building a fort. But now when I build a fort it just looks pathetic! It's all "hey are you homeless or something?" and then I spend too much time explaining myself. And sledding's tricky what with mankind's natural enemy, the Tree.

Instead, this is the time of year it's best to prepare hot drinks and gather with friends around the fireplace and play Trivial Pursuit (the only board game where you can participate without having to see the board). And try to forget that warm weather is months away.

Friday, December 4, 2009


My friends and I drink too much. Of course, we also do too many other things too much (eat, make sarcastic remarks, toss batteries at one another) but it occurred to me that it's time we did something for the community after taking so very much from it. This is why we're doing the First Annual Drink-a-Thon For the Kids.

The Drink-A-Thon (or DAT for those of you who can't get enough of acronyms) goes like this--participants begin at 8 AM and have to have one drink per hour; that drink can be a 12 oz beer or glass of wine (we're going to avoid hard liquor for this as we don't want a bunch of tequila-fueled mayhem marring this charitable event). The more hours each participant can go, the more money they can raise, since sponsors will sponsor a certain amount of cash per drink. (Say, a buck a drink for your participant--if they make it 20 hours, then you pledge $20). During this period the participants can eat, drink and do anything--they just have to stick by the drink-per-hour rule.

To keep up stamina, there will be plenty of eating and group activities (ping pong, arm wrestling, strolling through town) and ideally we can get some bars to sponsor the players by providing discounted beer for this cause. Participants of course will have to try and line up sponsors for this charity. Donations can also be made in the form of food and drink. We also want to get T-shirts made, partly to help spread awareness for our cause.

The date we have set for this is January 9th (Saturday). The only thing we need to do now is decide on a charity for which we can send the proceeds from this fundraiser. So far I've got:

1) American Cancer Society
3) Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Elves

Any other thoughts?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Random Thursday Thoughts

1) If someone keeps referring to the sex they just had as "consensual sex" it's sort of creepy.

2) An ever increasing amount of my day is spent trying to not seem stupid. I'm not sure what to make of that.

3) I feel a bit guilty when a restaurant's chef went through all the trouble of making a nice presentation of the food and all I want to do is break it apart and eat it and wonder why it's not a bigger portion.

4) I can't stand fake cheese and yet I'm at peace with Doritos. I'm complicated like that.

5) For every ten people you hear talking into their hands-free cell phones, at least one of them does not actually have a hands-free cell phone and is in fact nuts.

6) To take advantage of better products and lower prices, you're better off living technologically ten years behind everyone else. You can do it--after all everyone ten years ago was able to live like that. Just don't be upset when your friends ask you weird things like whether you got their text.

7) I like to say I drink beer and wine for the crisp refreshing taste. But if someone offered me nonalcoholic beer or wine I'd probably laugh at them.

Is Pathetisad a Word?

Every now and again you come upon something that is both unintentionally hilarious but also really sad at the same time. Case in point--this political cartoon, which was made for a local election in Oklahoma a few years ago for a candidate named Brent Rinehart. Rinehart, judging from the cartoon, is a die-hard Conservative Republican and apparently thinks the biggest problem facing Oklahoma County is rampant homosexuality. Apparently, Oklahoma has tons of gay people and only Brent Rinehart could stop them! I hope Mr. Rinehart doesn't take any sightseeing trips to the Castro District in San Francisco or New York's West Village--he'd go bonkers!

The cartoon itsels is pretty hilarious--the drawings of homosexuals make them look like Roman gods, and the "good ole boys" on the City Council have ridiculously large thumbs. Plus, the typos--oh, the many many typos! Why hire someone with a sixth grade education to proof-read when you can just assume the cartoon is good enough? Granted, the homespun nature of the cartoon was charming enough to get me to read it--unlike a lot of more flashy campaign literature--but the lack of attention to detail sends a message that I'm sure the candidate didn't want to send.

Now, on to this man's candidacy--I imagine that even if I opposed homosexuality (I favor it, since it leads to fewer unwanted children, less repression, and better home decoration) it wouldn't be enough of a big issue to occupy three quarters of a campaign brochure/comic. I mean, a county commissioner has to deal with things like fixing roads, making the schools work efficiently, utilities and property taxes. So some gay couples move into the area--is that really the sort of thing that makes even a traditionalist say "forget the fact that there's a sanitation workers' strike and tornadoes wiped out our power lines--we gotta stop this gay crap"? As it turns out, even the conservative voters didn't find the gays to be that big a deal--Rinehart came in last in the Republican primary.

While I hope his loss discourages gay-bashing in campaigns, I hope it doesn't prevent candidates from making amateurish cartoons to promote their candidacies--we need the unintentional laughter.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Holiday Poem Strategy!

So, holidays are approaching and you have to lay out hard earned cash for gifts--what do you do? After all, if you add up co-workers, friends, fambly, and tips for servicepeople, you can be talking about some big bucks!

When we were little kids, it was fine--just ask dad for some money and use it to go buy him a tie, or make something really neat out of popsicle sticks. (Note--if my kids ever give me something made of popsicle sticks? Then I'll get them back next year by making some shoddy piece of crap out of straws. Two can play at that game, kids!) But once we're earning our own money we're expected to do better. (Just try giving your boss a painting made with glued bits of macaroni for Christmas this year. You might find your office being relocated to a broom closet!)

This is where Brando Poems come in handy. See, people are going to get toys, bottles of wine, gift baskets and ties every year, and will soon grow tired of this stuff (except maybe the wine, which they will drink and then need more of next year, unless you're giving the wine to a recovering alcoholic and you should really stop doing that you insensitive cretin!). But a Brando Poem provides a new batch of happiness every time the recipient gets one. Plus, by giving the recipient fully copyrights to the poem, this can be an investment! Here's this year's special holiday poem:

Ring around the yuletide tree,
Or Hannukah bush, if your last name is Lev-y,
Make sure to drink less egg nog, since it's quite full of fats,
And be sure to find a sitter, to watch your little brats,
Don't deep fry your turkey, unless you watch it close,
And sit back and enjoy the films of actress Glen Close,
Enjoy the colored lights as they twinkle,
Have plenty of cider, even if it makes you tinkle,
Wish specialness and light on all those you see,
But not that guy down the street because he's a dick.

I highly advise you to get the copyright registered before other readers get the same idea.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gift Giving Dilemmas

The history of holiday gift giving begins with the first Christmas, when Baby Jesus was given gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh by his visitors in the manger--the Three Kings of the Orient. Of course, Jesus felt a bit awkward since he didn't have gifts for the Kings, and had to pretend that his gifts for them were still in the mail. The uncomfortable silence ended when the owner of the manger told the Kings to scram since they weren't paying customers, but the tradition remains--gift giving has become a regular part of the Christmas holidays.

Later on, in Germany, a guy named Santa Claus started breaking into homes to leave presents for the kids in exchange for milk and cookies (milk and cookies being valid currency in medieval Germany) as well as some food for his reindeer. When the demand for presents became too pressing, he'd hire a gang of elves to work in his toy factory (elves being very cheap labor at the time, since they hadn't unionized and really didn't need much in the way of food) and before long had a massive worldwide operation that netted billions worth of cookies. Santa had a policy of only doing business with kids who were "good" that year, which explained why incidents of juvenile delinqency dropped markedly during the September through December quarter. Until his sleigh was short down by Soviet pilots in the 1980s for violating their airspace, Santa had a good thing going. But the gift tradition continued--with parents handing out presents instead of red-suited strangers.

Jews had for a number of years avoided this tradition, as they dont' celebrate Christmas (though if I were Jewish? I'd totally still celebrate it! Colored lights and food and stuff--can't give that up!) and instead celebrate a holiday that rejoices in having found energy savings that one time a while back. Understandably, though, Jewish parents found their kids' cries of "why do my goy friends get presents this time of year and all I get to do is play dreidel and eat chocolate coins?" rather unbearable. So it was then decided that each night of Hannukah the Jews would give their kids presents too.

So this is why this time of year we find ourselves in the holiday stress of determining who to buy gifts for, and it has become a Machiavellian task--do I get something for my co-workers? What do I get for the guy/girl I have been dating for only a few weeks? Is it wrong to get someone a $30 gift certificate when they got me a $40 gift certificate? Fortunately I have a solution . . . stay tuned for the next post!