Monday Miscellany

Weekend Update

Not that you care, but my Office Holiday Party on Saturday went well. The food was good, the company at my table was excellent, and we left with 3 prizes and $40 in gift cards. Plus the weather wasn’t bad and it didn’t last too long. Unfortunately nobody got so drunk as to embarrass themselves. (Darn!)

After church & lunch on Sunday, we changed into our sweats and spent the rest of the day, literally, wrapping presents and cleaning. Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? Oh it was! …I am thankful that it’s done though.

I am still debating on the previously mentioned, and as of yet unpurchased, Dirty Santa gift. And now I’ve waited too long to order anything since our gift exchange is this Wednesday! Yep, day after tomorrow. I have excellent timing. So I guess I will be hitting Best Buy after work if the weather’s not too bad, and praying for inspiration.

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Favorite Christmas Movie Moment, Part 3

Everyone loves A Christmas Story, right? It’s a holiday classic no matter how hard TBS tries to run it in the ground with their annual 24-hour showing on Christmas Eve/Day. (Drives me nuts! How can you watch a show for a solid 24 hours and always seem to catch the same two scenes over & over? Grrr…) Here is one of my favorite scenes though; the desecration of a major award, causing the old man to fly off the handle and utter a line that I frequently quote throughout the year, “NOTAFINGAH!”

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A Monkey Sneezing

(randomness makes me happy)

Monday Miscellany

Favorite Christmas Image (for today anyway):

chilling_with_mista_claus

It’s not the only thing that’s toasted!

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Gotta Go Back to Work to Get Some Rest

Another busy weekend of shopping (which, short of three items, is now complete) and decorating (a tree in every room. That’s seven in all: six artificial and one big live specimen. Most of what’s left to do is our outside lights and decorations which we will put out tonight, hopefully before it starts raining.) among other festivities. The singing in church went okay I guess. And the wife’s children’s sermon was excellent. She got a good laugh too; when she began she made a statement to the effect of, “I am very nervous to be up here. It’s not the kids – I talk to kids all day every day – but my hind end isn’t facing an entire congregation while I’m doing it.”

So, overall, not a restful weekend by any means. But not unexpectedly so either.

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Favorite Christmas Movie/Special Moment, Part One

Complete with Kazoo Solo!

Monday Miscellany

Doodlebug Mom posted a little time-waster meme on her blog today, so I thought I would join in since I’m too busy to write anything that requires much thought.

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Stuff ya Didn’t Know about Me or Wish you Never Knew!

1. Number of pets you have adopted or rescued over your lifetime: Too many to count. My childhood home was a prime pet dumping location for some reason.

2. Most embarrassing childhood memory: In Junior High, I had to wear a headband for a few months because of a surgical procedure on my forehead which was a direct result of a car wreck I was in. Except that my classmates didn’t know that; they just thought I was a big Loverboy fan or something.

3. Name a quirk: I am so obsessed with the embarrassment of having food on my face while eating in public; I can destroy a huge stack of napkins during a meal.

4. Favorite lunch: Whether it’s a sandwich or a bowl of chili, I just want it to be alone, engrossed in an online episode of the Daily Show or an interesting Podcast.

5. How you like your coffee: as agent Cooper said on Twin Peaks, “black as midnight on a moonless night.”

6. Name an interesting family “secret”: We are direct descendants of Sioux holy man, Sitting Bull.

7. Give us another one: That last “secret” was a total lie.

8. Current wish: For me & my whole family to be healthy & happy.

9. What I wanted to be when I grew up: My dad likes to tell the story that I once answered, “either a doctor or a shoe-shine boy”.

10. Most painful medical procedure: I would have to say that some of the dental procedures I have had done were far more painful than any medical procedure so far.

11. An insult that has been given to me: A piece of advice, never address a fat guy as “Big’un” or “Tiny”. They don’t think it’s funny or cute. Trust me.

12. Favorite color of clothing: Black.

13. How many trees in your yard? 9 or 10, there used to be more, but we’ve had several die in the last 5 years.

14. If I had 10 million dollars, I would: Open my own business that I loved doing whether it was profitable or not.

15. Meanest or craziest thing you’ve ever said: After being examined very thoroughly in a private place by an attractive female P.A. in an emergency room while passing a kidney stone (& whacked out on morphine), I turned to my wife and said, “I think I just got past 2nd base with her.”

Monday Miscellany

MVP – MVP – MVP

St. Louis Cardinals first-baseman Albert Pujols was just named the 2008 National League MVP. He is only the 11th player to ever be given that honor twice. He has finished in the top 10 in voting each of his 8 years in the majors and 7 of those in the top 4. He is a fantastically talented, consistent & classy player that any team would be proud to have on their team.

This award, along with several others this post-season almost makes up for the stink-fest of a season it was.

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I Like Pie

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They Grow Up So Fast

I have a great kid, I really do. When I visit Jason’s Chicago Dads blog and read about his struggles & joys with his baby girl, it almost makes me miss those days. But now that my little girl is not a teenager anymore I am experiencing heartbreak over things that I didn’t expect. Like seeing her make life-decisions on her own, having to take her off of my health insurance becasue her job has benefits, having to actually invite her over for supper and special events. It sounds crazy, but until you experience it you will never know how that feels.

She posted a MySpace meme this weekend called What I’ve Come to Realize, in which she wrote, “I’ve come to realize that my dad doesn’t want to control my life, but for me to be happy.” She’s right. Seeing her happy makes me happy and proud and satisfied and… (sigh) Did I mention I had a great kid?

Monday Miscellany

Home alone today, and as much as I enjoy a quiet day off, I’m beginning to be bored out of my head! I don’t know how you people that do it all the time survive – just ain’t my thing.

So anyway, I just finished watching Good Rockin’ Tonight, a documentary/tribute about Sun Studios in Memphis, TN. So, not surprisingly, I’m feeling pretty rockabilly-centric right about now! Here’s a little Charlie Rich to share the mood…

Monday Miscellany

Klaatu Barada Nikto

I was distraught to learn this weekend than one of my favorite movies of all time, the Day the Earth Stood Still, is being remade. And to add insult to injury, it stars Keanu Reeves of all people.

I love the 1951 version because it’s really a preachy, hippy movie wrapped in a Sci-Fi skin. The aliens come to earth to warn us that if we don’t change our war-mongering, bomb building ways that we will be destroyed in order to protect the rest of our planetary neighbors. It’s a movie that heavily promoted peace and harmony during a time of extreme fear and uncertainty (the Cold War).

On second thought, maybe it’s more relevant now than I realized. But still, Keanu? Seriously?

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But Who Will Snope Snopes?

There is a politically charged email making the rounds about the Urban Legends Reference Pages, Snopes.com, claiming that it is owned by a “flaming liberal” who is “in the tank for Obama”. And that the site is “a secret tool of the Democratic Party to promote Barack Obama.” The problem is that the forwarders of this email have failed to do a little fact checking for themselves. Even the website that the email urges readers to use instead of Snopes, Truth or Fiction, condemns the claim as pure fiction.

Bottom line, sometimes the truth hurts. Get used to it.

Sorry.

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Happy Birthday Satan

I get sick and tired of the annual debate about how Halloween is evil and that, as a Christian, I shouldn’t celebrate it for fear of inadvertently praising and celebrating the Devil.

In a word, “Hogwash”.  (That’s a great word, don’t you think?)

Whatever ancient traditions the modern Halloween was born from, it doesn’t matter. Our culture has evolved and embraced it as a fun night for make-believe, sweet treats and silliness. Guess what? Many other holiday traditions have pagan roots too. Christmas, Easter, you name it! And again, who cares?

I believe that the parent who is filling their kids’ heads with fear and forcing them to sit out of parties and festivities is doing much more damage to their tender little brains, psyches and emotions than the one that embraces and has fun with it.

So, fair warning, my brain is pretty much focused on the upcoming holiday this week, so my posts may have a tendency to reflect that. Did I mention that I loved Halloween?

Monday Miscellany

Overworked & Underpaid

Well, not really I guess. I am just super busy today. More physical labor than I am used to anyway. Sure helps the day go by quickly though! So this is going to be short & sweet out of pure necessity.

Hay Ride

Last night was our church’s annual autumn hay ride/weenie roast. I opted out of the hay ride because of my allergies. We stayed behind, sat around the fire and acted silly (as we are prone to do). But I totally underestimated the effect the smoke from the fire would have on my sinuses anyway. My head still hurts. Oh well – it was still a good time.

New Music

I picked up Darius Rucker’s new “country” CD on a whim yesterday. I know that doesn’t seem like a music geek kind of thing to buy, but I’ve been a Hootie fan for a while and had heard a few of the new songs here and there and frankly my curiosity was piqued. And you know what? It ain’t bad. It’s a pretty good marriage of country and jangle pop. And it’s totally listenable. Haven’t listened to it enough yet for it to make What’s on the iPod, but it has potential.

Monday Miscellany

A Century of Futility, 1908-2008

So, which is worse?

1) Your team not making the Playoffs, but getting much closer than you expected. Or…

2) Your team making the Playoffs with the best record in the entire league, and getting swept in three quick games in the first round?

Sorry Cubs fans, I shouldn’t take such delight in your 100 years of failure. But I do. And I hate myself for it.

(Not really.)

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What Kind of Energy?

I’m only going to make one comment about the VP Debate last week. I found it very difficult not to blog about the whole fiasco, but I resisted. It’s not like I could bring anything up that everyone else hadn’t already pounced on. Or could I?

The one thing that bugged me all night that nobody else seemed to notice – or if they did, they didn’t mention it – was a simple mispronunciation. But one that has made headlines in the past. If Governor Palin really wants to separate herself and the McCain ticket from the President, then she really needs to quit pronouncing NUCLEAR the same way Bush does.

For crying out loud! How hard is NUCLEAR to say? It’s not NUCULAR! And she just kept repeating it over and over and over. It really got under my skin!

So, even if Biden only opens his mouth occasionally to switch feet, at least he can pronounce words correctly. So, based solely on that criteria, “Can I call you” Joe wins the debate – you betcha!

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Monday Music

The way you eat that oatmeal pie makes me just want to DIE!

(So wrong – you know it just has to be right!)

Monday Miscellany

An Unexpected House Guest

When I got home from work Friday, I was greeted by a Praying Mantis; not in the yard, or on the patio, but inside the house, just sitting on the table like he belonged there. After having a short conversation (“what do you think you’re doing in here?”) & nudging him onto my hand, I was able to safely move him outside and snap this picture:

Man, I need a new camera with a better macro setting!

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Barbeque on the River

On Saturday, we spent some time in Paducah, Kentucky at their annual BBQ competition. My wife and I are self-proclaimed BBQ snobs, and frankly none of the pork we tried quite lived up to our expectations. Not that it was all that bad. We were just expecting better, being a fairly respected regional BBQ competition. Maybe we expect too much.

The real fun happened spontaneously though. As we sat on the steps of the levy eating our que, a small group of people pulled up in a van, quickly set up speakers and a small sound system, and suddenly started to DANCE. They just looked like regular home-town people with taps on their shoes and they danced a sort of 2-step, electric slide, riverdance hybrid; clicking and clacking on the concrete banks of the Ohio River. I searched the entertainment itinerary and saw absolutely nothing that sounded like what we were watching. Which only leads us to one possible conclusion; we witnessed another incarnation of Spike Jonze’s guerilla dance troupe, the Torrance Community Dance Group. That’s right – we got PUNK’D! I laughed out loud and promptly took an elbow to the side, “hush, you might offend someone!” To which, “they’re offending me right now” was not an acceptable answer, just in case you were wondering.

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Paul Newman 1925-2008

Most of us try to be charitable people. And usually that manifests itself in fairly small ways according to our means. Paul Newman’s philanthropic contribution to our world should be an inspiration to us all. It is probably one of the aspects of his career that I admire and respect the most. He will be missed by more than just fans of his movies, but by all of those who have benefitted from his charities. His legacy will live on.

As far as his movies go though, here lies a fundamental difference between me and my wife. Her favorite is The Long Hot Summer because according to her, he was sexy before people said “sexy”. Mine on the other hand is his portrayal of the deadpan businessman Mr. Mussburger in the Coen Brothers holiday classic the Hudsucker Proxy;

Music Meme for Monday Miscellany

Now that’s a lot of Ms! In lieu of the usual Monday fare, I am following Art’s lead today by participating in a Music Meme. It took some thought, but it was kind of fun to think about for a few minutes.

Just so you know – I ripped the questions and answered them before I read anyone else’s responses. It’s pretty funny to see if there were any similarities that way – which there were!

1.       Of all the bands/artists in your record collection, which one do you own the most albums by? Without actually counting, I would say it is a close race between U2, REM, and Tori Amos. (I was w-a-a-a-y into her several years ago and she put out tons of albums.)

2.       What was the last song you listened to? Well, I haven’t listened to anything so far today. I think John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change” was playing on the radio when we got home last night if I’m not mistaken.

3.       What’s in your record/CD player right now? Cowboy Junkies “Trinity Revisited”.

4.       What song would you say sums you up? Uh, Weird Al “White & Nerdy”

5.       What’s your favorite local band? Depends on your definition of “local” I guess. I don’t frequent the local music scene, but I’m hoping to catch Lou Jetton & 61 South next weekend at a BBQ festival in Paducah, mostly because he used to be my favorite weather man on one of our local news channels. But the best to come out of these parts, in my opinion, would be Uncle Tupelo.

6.       What was the last show you attended? I wish I went to more shows – I love live music. I’m just getting too old for it. I think the last one was The Wallflowers and that was a few years ago.

7.       What was the greatest show you’ve ever been to? Hands down, the best show was U2’s Pop-Mart tour in St. Louis!

8.       What’s the worst band you’ve ever seen in concert? I saw some pretty pathetic Christian bands back in high school, but all I can think of right now was Red Red Meat, who opened for Smashing Pumpkins. That was pretty painful.

9.       What band do you love musically but hate the members of? To paraphrase author Sarah Vowell, most of the musicians that I enjoy seem like pretentious, arrogant a-holes. But I don’t really hate anyone – just wouldn’t want to hang-out with them.

10.   What show are you looking forward to? I would like to go see John Prine next month, but I doubt if I will be able to.

11.   What is your favorite band shirt? I think the only band shirt I still have that almost fits is a reprint of a Rattle & Hum shirt. But back in the day I loved my Mellencamp Scarecrow Tour shirt! It was a play on the FFA logo on a baseball jersey style shirt. I rocked that one a lot!

12.   What musician would you like to hang out with for a day? Probably Jack Johnson. That would be a very mellow experience filled with tropical beaches & ukulele playing.

13.   What musician would you like to be in love with for a day? “In love” is kinda strong, but uh… Norah Jones.

14.   Commodores or solo Lionel Ritchie? Is this a trick question?

15.   Punk rock, hip hop or heavy metal? If those are my only three choices, I would have to pick Punk.

16.   Name 4 flawless albums: Wow. That’s a tough one! I don’t think flawless is even possible, but four that mean something to me & that I can listen to from beginning to end, over & over, are;

U2 – Achtung Baby
Counting Crows – August & Everything After (defined the 90’s for me!)
Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley
Lyle Lovett – Pontiac

17.   Did you know that filling out this survey makes you a music geek? I knew that long before I started filling out this meme!

18.   What was the greatest decade for music? Every decade has its ups and downs. I would have to say late 50’s early 60’s when much of what we call rock & roll and R&B were born.

19.   How many music-related videos/dvds do you own? Again, without counting, I’m going to say in the neighborhood of 25-30. Maybe more.

20.   What is your favorite movie soundtrack? That would be Christopher Guest’s “A Mighty Wind” – I can sing along with every song, laugh out-loud, and get cheered up every single time I listen to it!

21.   What was your last musical ‘phase’ before you wised up? (Have I actually wised up? Really?) The one when I was too scared to listen to anything not labeled “Christian” for fear of accidentally worshipping Satan was particularly bad. But I guess my last actual phase was Grunge, though I hesitate to admit, I still like some of the music from that scene.

22.   What’s the crappiest CD/record/etc. you’ve ever bought? Ooooh, I’ve bought some doozies in my time. I once bought a cassette in a bargain bin that I thought was an Elvis Christmas Album, but when I got home I realized it was a Christmas album by just the Jordanaires. That was just awful.

23.   Do you prefer vinyl or CDs? I prefer CDs I guess – but I still love the vinyl too! The feeling of playing those old records on a turntable just can’t be matched! Sound quality be damned!

The End…

Oh yeah, I almost forgot the obligatory meme “tag”: anyone who reads this is hereby officially tagged! So there!