Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
As I’ve noted in the past I’m a pretty shallow guy who tends to think in clichés, and bearing that in mind, one of the upcoming New Year’s resolutions that I intend to make and then promptly ignore will be to let go of the clichés, truisms and similar rhetorical crutches on which I depend so heavily. It's also likely that I'll resolve to give up run-on sentences. Fragments too.
Anyway, before that self imposed deadline looms too near I’m going to go ahead and Beat a Dead Horse and point out something that you haven’t heard or thought about in at least five minutes: that this year the Christmas Season began in mid-October. It’s exhausting, really. One can’t, for instance, spend a few quiet moments wandering aimlessly through name-your-retailer-of-choice without dodging floor displays full of red and green socks while the appallingly fey Johnny Mathis simpers about snowmen and Parson Brown in the background. Blech.
The obvious solution, of course, is to simply give up any pretense that there’s any time of year that’s not about Christmas. In short, each and every day should be Christmas. Now some of you wide-awake boys and girls will remember that Timmy, the chronically unsupervised protagonist and perennial danger to the space-time continuum in The Fairly Odd Parents created just such a world just by wishing for it. Of course the results of his wish were, as was much of the rest of the show, predictable. The value of Christmas spirit was cheapened and the excitement necessary for Christmas magic evaporated pretty quickly. Well I say pah! That’s right, I’ll even put it in quotes: “Pah!”
That storyline suffered only from a lack of commitment. Consequences be damned, I think we really should just go ahead and make every day Christmas. What the hell, every day is already Go Out and Buy Some Crap Day, so why not just wrap everything and hand it around. Just think! Everyday at the office could be a secret Santa party. You’d never have to buy your own cologne or joke boxer shorts with painfully unfunny wordplay printed on them again! I like it. An entirely Christmas-based economy with no apologies.
So look for it on your next ballot: Prop 12-25… colloquially known as the Santa Rules. Vote yes. Your local name-your-retailer-of-choice will thank you.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
There are few, if any, moments that I can recall finding myself squarely at the bleeding edge of any sort of curve. Curves of fashion, cuisine and pop culture are normally well beyond me; I was, for instance, likely the last person in the Western hemisphere to find out that a “Bieber” is not, as I originally thought, a small rodent-like puppet in a third-tier Disney show, but rather a pop star of some note. Apparently.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
So as best I can tell, Steve will sell me a little netbook for a thousand bucks. A beautiful, shiny netbook which would, presumably, make me the envy of every Apple nerd in Starbucks. But, as snappy an offer as that may seem, I’m going to have to decline.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Anyway, it was time to send out a Thank You email to everyone who supported our youngest who did it last year, and since I hate letting anything go to waste I figured I would repurpose the email and post it here. I am, in short, never afraid to maximize the heart-string-pulling potential of a piece like this. So then here it is:
First, thanks so much to everyone who supported Ryan’s St. Baldrick’s Day Shavee Extravaganza last year; your generosity is much appreciated.
Now given Ryan’s foray into the exciting world of Type 1 diabetes last year, some might be tempted to wonder why he’s chosen to participate in a pediatric cancer fundraiser again rather than one related to his own thing.
At least partially, it seems that Ryan is excited to repeat the exercise because it gave him a reasonable excuse to avoid what is, apparently, the horrendous chore of getting a haircut. To that end, he has not had even a trim since being a shavee last March.
That said, Ryan’s participation this year is, of course, more than just about his hair. When Ryan was diagnosed last May he spent a week in Westchester Medical Center's pediatric wing. We all learned a lot that week, but perhaps most importantly we were reminded of a lesson that’s all too easy to forget: that there are always, always others less fortunate than ourselves. There is, in short, perhaps nothing more humbling than spending a week with children who are both living with and battling cancer.
So thanks again. The following URL links directly to Ryan’s St. Baldrick’s page where you will find a “before picture” of his unruly (tangly, unsightly mess) of hair that’s long overdue to hit the floor, as well as the links necessary to donate to the cause. (There are also before and after pictures from last year.)
Sunday, February 7, 2010
There are few things that live on in perpetuity like those that you grew up with. Or, put simply in deference to you, Kent: everyone knows that the music you grow up with is that which continues to resonate with you long after it has any right or reason to. At weddings or similar events, for instance, you’ll find those who were young during WWII are always shuffling around in a wobbly approximation of swing dancing whenever “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree” is played. (Quaint? Sure, but at least while grandma and grandpa are occupied on the dance floor the waiters get a break from getting yelled at for not bringing the Harvey Wallbangers fast enough.)
Moving on in generations: Acappella Do-Wop groups that regularly terrorize county fairs and the like are populated exclusively by beefy old guys who came of age in the 50’s and have a penchant for hot rods and size XXXL satin jackets. Do-wop? Really? I say “get some instruments and stop pretending you’re on a street corner in Flatbush, you vagrants.”
Then there are those who came of age in the 60’s, and as far as I’m concerned they still have to answer for Herman’s Hermits and The Turtles. (Is it fair to imply that Herman’s Hermits is characteristic of all 60’s music? Not really, but so what? Yeah you can bring up the Stones, The Who, Dead and Beatles, but it doesn’t change the fact that The Hermits sucked enough to smell up an entire decade. And Tiny Tim… oh never mind.)
Next of course came the 70’s; a dark time during which there was, inexplicably, no music at all. None. Moving on.
Now then, having arrived in the 80’s we find a decade represented by a golden renaissance of melodic genius. All was right with the world. New Wave bands littered the musical landscape like diamonds. (Neon pink and green diamonds.) Hair was big, clothes were all the colors of that neon rainbow, and if it didn’t come from Benetton it wasn’t worth wearing. (But what about Capezios and Members Only jackets, you ask? Yes, grasshopper, they were awesome as well.)
Music from the likes of Fine Young Cannibals, XTC and The English Beat filled frat houses and clubs alike, and there was a singer named Madonna who was, to some, young and attractive. Really! No lie!
The 80’s were fair and equitable though, and there were bands for those who preferred alternatives: That decade also saw, for instance, a few 60’s guys like Steve Winwood and John Fogerty come to their senses and create solo works that still define their careers. To me.
But then, all too suddenly, the dream ended when the 90’s blew in like a bitter wind. A bunch of bands from Seattle started filling the airwaves with their atonal nonsense called “Grunge,” and that, as they say, was pretty much that. Since then the musical landscape, such as it is, has been pretty much dominated by teenagers artificially manufactured in Disney’s musical sweatshops and something called Hip-Hop. Or so I’m told.
So there you have it: an exhaustive, scholarly history of music worthy of the finest tubes on the interwebs… and all in a mere five or six hundred words. Relativistic nonsense, you say? Well sure, but just to raise the stakes, I bet next time I can explain all of the world’s major religions even quicker. So there.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
As I’m sure I’ve pointed out more often than is good for anybody, there are few activities that I enjoy as much as wallowing in the shiny baubles that magically appear on the interweb each morning. To some, time spent that way is akin to getting caught in a virtual La Brea Tar Pits of link bait and indefensibly ridiculous bits of electronic effluvia; but I’m more than shallow enough to enjoy all of it.
To wit: just this morning I followed a few links on the Times’ Op-Ed page that were part of a sidebar entitled “Resources: More on what books to throw out and why it’s a good idea to clean one’s home library.” One of the links included was this little gem by Lewis Grossberger, which just shows to go ‘ya why one should never, ever, take anything at face value. Grossberger’s “Resource” is, in short, one of those shiny baubles I so enjoy, and even better, it was hiding in plain sight amongst some of the rather solemn bits of literary opinion on which the Times has always depended.
So, enjoy the shiny and have a nice day while you’re at it.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Made it. It was close, but I just barely crawled across the finish line by dropping our 80 or so Christmas cards in the mailbox. And now that it’s official, I guess I can remove the razor wire from around the chimney and invite Santa to come work his magic. Good thing too; if the Fat Man’s only choice had been to pass by our house and leave nothing but lumps of coal, the boys would likely have staged a mutiny here at our little compound. Or a bloodless coup at the very least. Either way, I would have been kind of disappointed to not get my annual allotment of boxer shorts and socks. You know, exciting Dad stuff.
Anyway, I’m still mortified that we very nearly ran out of time for everything this year and… holy crap, I still haven’t gotten any eggnog… that coup may still be in play after all… gotta go. Merry Christmas.