Friday, November 30, 2012

If You Ever See Me Coming Down Your Chimney, I'd Like Chocolate Chip Cookies And Milk, Please

My hair used to be red; bright orange, really, but that distinction doesn't matter so much now that most of it is gone. Anyway, what remains has become lighter and lighter as the years have passed. It is now a mix of blondish gray with definite traces of white.

Ever since I realized that it would one day be nothing but the color of freshly fallen snow, I've had a desire to be Santa Claus. I figure why not put the white hair to good use making children happy? Once I've reached the point where both my beard and the surviving hair on my scalp are totally sans pigment, I'll eat myself fifty pounds jollier, buy a fur-trimmed red suit, and get a posse of elves.

Meanwhile, I had some practice for my future avocation. I was the voice-over of Santa Claus yesterday.

I don't talk about my work too often here because most of it is rather mundane. The voicing I do is generally low profile stuff. You'll hear me on the telephone, mostly. If you get put on hold, you might hear me telling you something about the company you're calling. If you hear a melifluous baritone telling you to press one for this, or press two for that, it could be me. I'm the guy in the recorded message telling you the latest rates at your bank or when the next showing of some movie will be happening at your local cinema. But today was different. Today I was Santa.

The script was all of five lines. There was a "Ho-Ho-Ho!", then I mentioned elves, I asked kids if they'd been good this year, and I asked them what they wanted for Christmas. I think it will be used on a phone service where kids can call in and record their lists.

The thing is, it wasn't as simple as I thought. I figured I'd go into the studio, knock it off in one take, two at the most, and be spectacularly happy with the result. Instead, I listened back and felt the inflection was a bit off. I went back in and did a couple more takes. The pacing was all wrong. Back in. The timbre was too much like a used car salesman instead of a fat old man who gives out toys. I attacked the mic once more. Nothing sounded right. I went back and did Ho-Ho-Ho from my gut, from my sinuses, from the back of my throat, in a basso profundo, in a baritone, in a tenor, with a warble, while smiling, while laughing, while physically holding my belly as though it were a tub full of jelly, anything to try and achieve the general merry tone I thought it should have. I listened back and heard takes that sounded like Mister Ed saying, "Merrrrrry Christmas, Wilbur!"

I spent over an hour in the booth reading those five lines.

The thing is, somewhere in the far corner of my subconscious I had what the Santa Clauses of my childhood sounded like. No matter what I did to read the lines, all I could hear was me and not Santa. By the end, I had to pass it on to another producer for editing because I just couldn't tell if what I was doing was any good at all. I had totally lost confidence in my ability to judge my own work. She took the voluminous files I handed her, pared them down, and sent the client the best takes.

So, I'm Santa, somewhere, on some phone system. Holidayriffic!

I'd give you some of the outtakes to listen to, but I'm not sure where my stuff will be playing, for whom it will play, or anything of the other particulars, so I don't want to take the chance that my good work will be undone if the slip-ups and curses were to circulate anywhere. The last thing I'd want would be for some kid to be thinking of me as Santa and then stumble upon a recording of me saying, "Ho-Ho-Hooooh-What-The-F$%@!". And I can't give you the good final take, either, because it's the property of our client.

(If I find out where it's playing, I'll let you know.)

Here's the next best thing. I came across this magnificently funny video on YouTube that pretty much sums up the same experience I just went through. Enjoy!

Yup. That's EXACTLY how I felt by the end of my time in the booth. If I never play Santa again, this experience will be the reason why.

Soon, with more better stocking stuffers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This, That, The Other

I know I said I wouldn't be back until December, but I've got random things about which I feel like spouting off. Feel free to run away.


Go visit HERE. I'm pretty sure you'll agree. And, if you do, show some guts and join the boycott. I have.


In the election just past, medical use of marijuana was approved in Massachusetts.

(Orange = Legal For Recreational Use; Green = Medical Marijuana Legalized)

I voted for it. It passed by an overwhelming margin statewide and only two small communities in the entire state voted against it. Now, local city and town councils are trying to block dispensing of the drug in their neighborhoods. "Not in MY backyard!", they cry.

What is it with politicians in this state? Every time the people of The Commonwealth approve something via initiative petition and the voting process, they rise up on their hind legs and start bloviating about how the people may have spoken but caution must be taken because the people don't realize the consequences of what they've just said. Bull Shit. The people have spoken and what they said most clearly was that politicians should get the fuck out of the way on this.

Tell you what. Put it in my backyard - literally. Show me where to sign up and I'll run a dispensary from my house. Second option - point me toward the nearest politician so I can kick him in the balls.


Notre Dame completed an undefeated regular season in college football and will be playing for the national championship on January 7th. I'm not particularly a huge Notre Dame fan, but I'm glad they'll be playing.

Over the past few years, it has become the trend for many sportswriters, prognosticators, and others with some access to the public ear, to preemptively crown teams participating in the SEC as the top college football teams in the nation, giving little regard to the worthiness of contenders from outside of that conference. Last year, the national championship was a rematch of a game played during the regular season in the SEC. Something of a self-fulfilling prophecy came about. An SEC team was guaranteed the crown, thus allowing the pundits to say, "See? An SEC team won! We were right! It IS the best conference!"

Now, I'm not so dense as to not see the fine quality of teams and players in that conference. Good football is played there on a regular basis. But it is also played elsewhere in the country, and I'm sick of good teams from other areas being given the short end of the stick.

I want nothing more than for Notre Dame (a team unaffiliated with any conference) to kick the ass of whichever SEC representative they end up playing on January 7th (either Georgia or Alabama, decided this coming weekend in a game between the two.) So, for now, I'm a huge Notre Dame fan.


Lest you think I'm all about the negativity here, I'll mention that I have received fruitcake.

Some of you - the uneducated of palette - will still contend that I'm bringing up a negative. No, I'm not. Bad fruitcake is a miserable thing. Good fruitcake is a treasure. And I've received good fruitcake.

I've had TWO sources of fruitcake happiness: My Uncle Jim and My Good Friend Thimbelle.

(Actually, the cakes came with additional sender names attached - My Uncle John, in one instance, and The Wrench and The Twinkie, in the other, but I don't have links for them, so the other folks get the top billing.)

The fruitcake from Thimbelle (Collin Street) was actually four different fruitcakes, each in its own little tin. They weighed about a pound each, with four varying main fruitful ingredients, and they arrived before Thanksgiving and were thus Thanksgiving fruitcakes, mostly gobbled up (yes, gobbled) by the evening of that holiday. The fruitcake from my uncles (Assumption Abbey) was found on my doorstep last night, and while it remains uneaten it is also an exercise program. It weighs SEVEN POUNDS. I've been doing curls with it prior to eating it.

Thank you, folks, from the bottom of my heart (which will be sitting atop my humongous belly after I polish off the cakes.)


I'm still pissed that the Boston Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins.

It happened a year ago, but I can't help it. Until such time as he retires, I'll remain pissed. I still believe they would have won at least one additional championship had he been around and healthy when they needed him in Game Seven of The Finals in 2010, and they might have won one last year, too, if he hadn't been traded. Why do people try to fix what wasn't broken?


Knucklehead has lost over 100 pounds and is now planning to run a marathon. I get winded running to first base. Of course, if I lost 100 pounds, I'd... well, actually, that would leave me at 85 pounds and I don't suppose that would make me a better softball player. Anyway, what he's accomplished is magnificent. You should go to his place and congratulate him on becoming attractive again.


While I think of it, I want to once again thank you folks who tried to help with Thanksgiving Comes First.

I really do fear we've passed the point of no return, though. I'm making a Kendrick Perkins face.


I'll be back on December 3rd with the first of many holiday-themed re-runs. I can hear your heart beating with anticipatory glee. Try to remain calm.

Soon, with more better stuff (kind of.)

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Best Day Of The Year

This, as long-time friends would soon know without aid of this silly preface, is a repeat. I always publish this one during my last time at work before taking the entirety of Thanksgiving week off. If you've seen it before, feel free to skip to the end and leave a generic polite comment. If you do that, though, you'll miss the extremely slight re-writing I've done concerning the Detroit Lions, the New England Patriots, and this year's entirely dispiriting developments concerning retail stores opening on Thanksgiving Day itself.

In going over this piece looking for bits to tighten up, I found My Grandma was specifically mentioned once in a way that would have made it sound as though she was still with us bodily, which she isn't. It would have been awkwardly dishonest to leave her name there, so I excised it. Her spirit, however, will always remain, and the other spots wherein she appears (in a photo, and in the pleasant little story concerning a Dane and some turnip) remain, as they should.

OK, that's enough new material. On with the turkey rehash!


fris‧son / Pronunciation [free-sohn; Fr. free-sawn]
a sudden, passing sensation of excitement; a shudder of emotion; thrill.

(Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2006)

Let me tell you about the holiday I like best of all – Thanksgiving.

I like all holidays. Any day you get off from work, or during which people get together to celebrate, or when you get (or give) gifts? In my book, that’s a good day. Some days are more special than others, though.

Christmas used to be my favorite. When I was a kid, I went straight from one frisson to another during the week leading up to Christmas. The celebration of Christ’s birth was magical and there was no end to the ways that the world delighted me. As I’ve grown older, that magic has ebbed. I haven’t changed, though; it’s the world that has.

When I was a child, nearly every house in the neighborhood sported pastel lights of red, yellow, green, blue and orange, either as decoration outside or via a candle or two in the windows. The streets were bathed in an embracing warmth, a welcoming glow. Nowadays, the lights of choice are mostly cold; icicles and clear starbursts. I guess a lot of folks like them – otherwise, why would they have them? - but all they do for me is make the night streets too much like daytime. Those bright white lights don’t do anything but remind me of how cold it is in winter. The colorful lights of my childhood made me feel warm, even during the meanest of snowstorms.

(Photo from Photos From My Life. Isn't it a beautiful tree?)

I love Christmas music. I always have. I always looked forward to it beginning, sporadically, after Thanksgiving, and then building bit by bit until there was an entire glorious day and night of it from Christmas Eve through to Christmas Night. It played on the radio all day, but only all day on Christmas and most of the day before. In the morning, while opening presents with my Mom and Dad, we played the two or three vinyl Christmas records we had at home. It was special.

Now the trouble is in trying to avoid it. Even as of today, November 16th, there have been radio stations playing Christmas music 24 hours a day for the past couple of weeks. Seriously - and I mean this - if you like that sort of thing, God bless you. To me, though, Christmas music is like chocolate. A few pieces, rich and creamy, are delightful. Feed it to me non-stop for sixty days? All that is, is a sick stomach.

(My job, as good as it is, doesn’t help matters. I’m a voice-over guy, and I also do production work, but my actual job title is “Music Director”. Therefore, in the course of my duties, I sometimes have to use holiday music for background in pieces I complete for clients during September and October. I try to remain detached while doing so, but...)

The final nail in my Christmas coffin is driven in by the greedy merchants who just plain don't have the common decency to wait for Thanksgiving to be over before they start spewing forth their hideous advertisements. Every year, they start earlier and earlier. I rail against it every year, too. MY WIFE tells me to relax, that I can’t change it, that there really isn’t anything all that bad about it. I love MY WIFE dearly, but on this she’s dead wrong. I’ll go to my grave cursing those bastards for draining the innocent joy out of a lovely day. I try to ignore it, and I try to keep the spirit I believe in, but they keep throwing haymakers at me and a few do connect. I keep getting up off the canvas, but it isn't easy. And this year has been more difficult than any before it. Stores are opening in great numbers on Thanksgiving Day rather than having the decency to wait until so-called Black Friday. I think I may stay on the canvas this time and take the count. I'm amazingly tired of fighting it.

Christmas still has charm. The real importance of it, for someone like me, is spiritual, and the sons of bitches can’t rip that out of me unless I let them. The people I share the day with, and with whom I eat good food and exchange lovely and loving gifts, are dear to me. They still make it a wonderful day, but that frisson I spoke of earlier, that I used to have in multiples during the season, hasn’t been felt in quite a while.


The only holiday I can always count upon to deliver a frisson is Thanksgiving.

(I’m trying to set the world record for frisson mentions in one blog. Am I there yet?)

I have never had a bad Thanksgiving. Not one. As a matter of fact, not only have I not had a bad one; I’ve had nothing but good ones for as long as I can remember.

For every other holiday, I can dredge up at least one bummer. There have been New Years Eves with toothaches and New Years Days with hangovers, Washington’s Birthdays with flu, Memorial Days with sunburns, July Fourths with car accidents, Labor Days with the dread of returning to school, Halloweens with stolen candy, and even Christmases with “Dear John” letters thrown into the mix, but never a bad Thanksgiving.

(I’m hoping I’m not the victim of selective memory. Somewhere in the past there may have been one horrible incident I’ve tucked into a corner of my mind under lock and key. If so, and you know about it, don’t tell me. I’d rather be ignorant and happy.)

You know one of the reasons why it’s so easy to have a good Thanksgiving? Nobody’s trying to sell you anything. It’s just good company, some football, great food, and maybe a nap with your belt loosened. The biggest thing anyone can put up for sale is a bird. There are no bogus guilt trips laid on you by manufacturers trying to make you feel as though you haven’t done right by your loved ones. All you have to do, to do right by your loved ones on Thanksgiving, is show up.

Oh, the smells of Thanksgiving dinner cooking! There is no perfume in existence that matches the fragrance of turkey, stuffing, gravy, squash, turnip, sweet potatoes, hot rolls, pumpkin pie, and all of the other mouth-watering aromas that emanate from the kitchen on that day. It is the smell of pure love. The one doing the cooking isn’t doing it because he or she is guilt-ridden. It’s being done because the people who will eat the feast are near and dear; as simple and lovely as that.

MY WIFE and I have hosted Thanksgiving at our place for the past eighteen years. It is the most sublime pleasure of my year to plan that meal and then prepare it. I’m the luckiest man in my family. I get to enjoy those smells longer than anyone else. And I get the lion’s share of the leftovers, too.

I remember lovely huge tables full of food at my grandparent’s apartment in Roslindale, the vegetables served in great green ceramic bowls and topped with big pats of yummy sweet butter. I remember other times of waking in my upstairs bedroom to the smell of a turkey roasting in my childhood home in Dorchester. Later, after my parent’s divorce, I ate TWO huge dinners every Thanksgiving – the first cooked by my father and the second served at my Grandma’s in Weymouth, where I would eat with my mother. It wasn’t easy, but I loved both of them too much to disappoint either one of them, so I did my duty. I even ate a couple of pieces of pie at both places, just so they’d have no doubt about how much I loved them.

I try to remember what the name of the holiday calls for – the giving of thanks. I look upon my preparation and sharing of food as a sacred rite of sorts. There’s no skimping on this meal. If money’s tight, it’s a way of showing my faith in the idea that God will bring better times. Always, it’s a time to be thankful for the good people who are sharing the table with me (even if some of them don't like their picture taken.)

There are lovely constants at Thanksgiving. For instance, every year the Detroit Lions play football. Well, at least they try, and they ought to get credit for that. And the same stories get told at the table. There's one that never fails to get mentioned, concerning turnip and a Danish friend of the family .

Seems that one year, when this Dane was a holiday guest, my grandmother was preparing the food and one of the vegetables was turnip. The fellow laughed and said, in his Danish accent, “Turnip! Ha-ha! Very funny!” and when he was asked why he was laughing, he said, “Ho-ho! Yes, the joke’s on me! That’s a very funny joke. OK, you can take it away now.” Seems that they only served turnip to pigs in his region of Denmark. He thought it was a joke for his benefit. When he found out that it was something we actually ate, and enjoyed, he became somewhat indignant, if not sick to his stomach. Every year, when I bring out the turnip, that story returns for it’s annual telling. And I love it. There is also usually a mention of turducken as though it were just invented the previous week.

When the meal is over – well, at least the part of the meal that doesn’t involve pie – my stepfather and I turn our attention to the end of the Lion’s game. Meanwhile, the other folks have good conversation, coffee, tea, and, yes, pie. If the Lions win, Bill and I have a piece of pie to celebrate their good fortune. Since this rarely happens, we console ourselves with a piece of pie if they lose. It’s all good.

(This year, the Lions have a decent squad. Unfortunately, they'll be playing the Houston Texans, possibly the best team in the league, so the Lions will probably lose again. Oh, well. Pie!)

Soon, it gets to be late afternoon and folks start leaving. First, my Cousin Scott and his wife, Andrea, because they go visit some other relatives. Then my Uncle Rick. Finally, after all others have gone, Bill and My Mom hit the road, and then it’s just me and MY WIFE, all alone in the house. At that point, I do what any red-blooded American man would do. I take a couple of the leftover rolls, slice ‘em open, stuff them with turkey and dressing and gravy, and eat them while I watch the end of the Dallas game (and if they'd lose as often as the Lions, I'd be a happier man, but, once again, Pie!)

(As a bonus, I get to watch my New England Patriots play their big rival, the New York Jets, on Thanksgiving evening. More pie! Yes!)

I love this holiday so much, I take the entire week off each year. That way, I can very leisurely clean the house and buy the food and decorate and do prep work for the feast, taking those chores completely off of the hands of MY WIFE, who deserves at least as much of a restful, enjoyable feast as I’m giving everyone else. I love every moment of that busy, yet still somehow slothful, week. And, in that spirit of sloth, this will be my last post until December.

I wish you a Tremendously Happy Thanksgiving. Say your prayers, eat much, show love (and, if you value the day,  please don't shop.)

Soon, with more better stuffing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Steal This Blog (updated)

And re-post it as often as possible. If you have better poster-making skills than I do, feel free to improve upon it. And THANK YOU.

(A few different versions. Steal the one you like best!)

(Click any to enlarge.)

Sorry about the obscenity in the last one, but I honestly couldn't think of a better way to word it.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This Fight Needs To Be Fought NOW

This is the year when it happens, one way or another.

More and more retail stores have announced plans to open on Thanksgiving instead of waiting for the Friday after. And those states that don't allow opening on Thanksgiving are being pressured to rescind the laws already in place forbidding taking holidays away from the workers.

Massachusetts Retailers Say "Blue Laws" Are Outdated

There are a lot of things wrong with Massachusetts, but on this they've had it right for years. Thanksgiving has been completely off-limits for store openings. Now, because of supposed fears that shoppers might go across borders to buy stuff on Thanksgiving night, many of them are calling for change to the laws.

This is the end product (and I mean that in the worst way imaginable) when Christmas and other holidays are pushed forward. The first time a Christmas carol was played over a store loudspeaker in October, this became the inevitable consequence. When otherwise good people stood by and did not complain, it was only a matter of time.

This year, we decide if greed wins or loses. There will be no second chance.

If some stores that never opened on Thanksgiving in the past are opening this year, depriving their employees of the holiday, then more stores will open next year. Legislatures will be pressured to change laws in those states that don't allow such openings. Finally, the entire landscape of the holiday will change. It will, in fact, no longer be a true holiday. Thanksgiving will become just another day to shop instead of a relaxing day to be with family and friends.

I don't know what more I can say. I've pretty much covered it all in this space, at one time or another, over the past seven years. If I missed anything, it was no doubt supplied by the other fine bloggers who have joined the fight. If it hasn't hit home in a way that makes you want to fight, I don't know what will. Make no mistake - if you don't fight it this year, you won't have a hope in hell next year. This fight needs to be fought NOW.

Sign the petition. If you have a stamp, write to some CEO and express your opinion. Or, if you don't have a stamp, e-mail a few of them. Ask your friends and family to do the same. Or do nothing and see Thanksgiving become just another day for shopping.

Soon, with more better stuff. Or never. Your choice.

Monday, November 12, 2012


You folks always buoy my spirits during this time of year, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Let's get to the good stuff - your writings!

But, before that, here's the most important thing you can do today to help the cause - sign this petition and share it with as many people as possible. It was started by a Target employee. Her heartfelt plea may be found at the link. We can make a difference, folks.

Thank You. As of my writing, signatures are approaching the 150,000 mark. You might also alert your local news people to it. I sent an e-mail to my local papers, as well as to the leading TV and radio news outlets. Those folks are always looking for interesting stories to fill space. This will probably be something they'll do a story about.

There is also talk of a general strike by Walmart workers on Black Friday.

"Lots and lots of Walmart workers are going to be forced to not have Thanksgiving because they're going to be preparing all day for the busiest shopping day of the year," Dan Schlademan, director of Making Change at Walmart, said. "This essentially cancels Thanksgiving for hundreds of thousands of workers. It's not like Walmart is financially hurting. It's not like they're not making unbelievable sums of money. The price of this is really decimating an important family day in our country."

Read more about it HERE. I would be willing to join workers on the picket line if the strike is because of having to work on Thanksgiving. If someone in my area wishes to contact me with details, please do so. If they decide to strike because of their treatment on Thanksgiving that is the ONLY thing that could possibly drag me away from football and leftovers that day and get me out of the house.

And now, your newest entries:

J. Timothy King alerts us to mistreatment of pumpkins!

Toonman, at Out And About In New York City graced us with a mention in his weekly cartoon strip.

My very good friend, Lime (who, despite the name, is not a small green citrus fruit), has this to say.

Mariann Simms, who does business at Blogged Down At The Moment, had some thoughts concerning Thanksgiving, Christmas, and (gulp) Doomsday.

J. Timothy King, AGAIN! Double-Duty! He should get some sort of TCF medal.

Silly Rabbit (who, in reality, is neither) contributes her thoughts HERE.

Joe Hagy is The Cranky Old Man. He's also one funny son of a bitch. And he thinks he has a way to make Thanksgiving more palatable to retailers. But, uh, Joe... Isn't that sort of what we're fighting here, and... Oh, never mind. Go. Read. Then read his other stuff, too. He's a hoot.

Carrie, at The Slow-Dripped Life, found us via The Cranky Old Man, so I have Joe to thank for that. I take back everything bad I've ever said about him. Read Carrie's piece HERE.

(Oh. You mean Joe didn't know I'd been saying bad things about him? Shoot. I guess I blew that one!)

(That's just a joke. Joe is magnificent. You should buy his book, too. It's hilarious, nostalgic, and entirely un-PC. As a bonus, there are spelling errors.)

(Well, there are. But his writing is so good, I just plowed right through them. Seriously. Great read. Buy it.)

Kitty (I guess, since I changed my avatar to a LOL cat, I'm attracting people with names like this) added her very wonderful thoughts.

Last minute addition! Judi Fitzpatrick joins the chorus!

And now, to prove it pays to be first in line, here are the links I previously published in the first round-up this year. If you didn't read them then, you should now.

First up is our Facebook page. The person with the brilliant idea to set it up was Matt Conlon (may his tribe increase!) If you haven't been to the Facebook page yet, go there NOW. I see no reason for you not to like it, so LIKE it, please.

IT is one heck of a nice guy, and I appreciate his being the first blog to kick it off this year.

Messy Mimi may be just that, but if you ever want to know what you should be celebrating on any given day, visit her. She makes lists. So, if anybody knows which holiday belongs where, it's her. And she says THANKSGIVING COMES FIRST!

One of my favorite folks on teh intertubes (and one I've actually had the pleasure of meeting because he was fool enough to come to one of my softball games) is (not my uncle, but he may be yours) Skip. Go to his place and join him in growling!

Warmtears93 did a YouTube vid.

My Swell Pal, Cricket, has re-posted his most excellent piece. This is not meant as a slight toward any of the other fine folk here, but his is one of the best pieces of writing, concerning Thanksgiving, EVER. It deserves way more praise than I can give it here.

Kat says even her kids know it's wrong!

Tilting At Windmills (how appropriate!) reminds us that we have things to be thankful for all the time.

My good buddy, Buck (who is the nicest retired Master Sergeant in New Mexico, despite his protestations whenever I say that), has re-posted his piece from years past. He makes his own allusions to Don Q and Panza.

The absolutely wonderful Hilary, at The Smitten Image, named us her Post Of The Week! Woo-Hoo!

Life On The Funny Farm asks us to slow it down a bit and remember our blessings. I couldn't agree more.

The Old AF Sarge, at Chant du Depart, says funny things and pithy things. He also compares me to a Brazilian soccer star (Come on! Go there! You know you want to know why!)

The wonderful Barbara Shallue (there may be other Barbara Shallue's out there, so I need to be specific) has written about our cause in her inimitable grace-filled style.

Kaz, a friendly sparring partner of mine from Universal Hub, sent this cookie:

(Apparently, a woman who works in a cookie store, in a mall that starts playing Christmas music way too early, had enough. She made the cookie in protest.)

Three Hundred Sixty Five, a nice follower of ours for a long time, added her two cents.

Joan, at Grandma's Recipe Box, gave links to this blog and to Cricket. Well done!

And Lisa Johnson, of Anali's First Amendment, mentioned both the Facebook page and this blog in her blog! Yay!

One person I must mention is Jeni, at Down River Drivel. She has had the "logo" on her sidebar for ages.

And Lisa McColgan has filled a niche by composing a Thanksgiving Comes First POEM! Woo-Hoo!

My Darker Grey Friend - Michelle Hickman - has her post up!

And that will do it for now. If I missed your post, please let me know ASAP and I'll add it. Don't forget to SIGN THE PETITION, please. I think it's our best chance at really making something meaningful happen.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nothing But The Suldog Equivalent Of Fluffy Kittens

Somewhere back in time, when I used to be sane, I said:

"I'm not encouraging obscenity, but I won't discourage it, either. Make it funny, or use it to emphasize a point, but I’d prefer that you don’t be gratuitous just for shock value. Obscenity always works better when it is an organic part of the whole. Be creative."

I'm afraid my previous post did not fully take my own advice. I won't say it was completely gratuitous, nor was it without its gruesome charms, but you folks deserve better than to be hit in the face with my bile.

So, I apologize. If it helps any, I'll plead temporary insanity. The more of that sh... stuff I see, the closer I get to going to some corporate office building with weaponry in tow. Venting here saves lives. And you, by listening, keep me out of jail. Thank you.

If you haven't been to the THANKSGIVING COMES FIRST Facebook page, please visit now. If you LIKE us, this space will probably remain scatology-free for that much longer.

(If you're one of those folks who enjoys it when I go off like a nucular bum [to quote from one of my favorite books] don't use reverse psychology by refusing to LIKE the page because you think it will set me off again. If you want to hear me swear some more, just send me a private e-mail and make the request. If it will make you happy, I'll reply with a stream of invective that will blister your eyeballs. I'm serious. If that's how you get your jollies, I'll send you stuff that would make Larry Flynt blush. I aim to please and you've been warned.)

The next post in this space will include links to all of the latest THANKSGIVING COMES FIRST blog writings, so if you haven't done one of those yet, why not do one now? And if you feel like swearing, I'll take it in the same gracious way you took it here. Thanks!

Soon, with more better stuff.

P.S. I just have to mention this. I made what I thought was a great joke in this post. Apparently, nobody caught it (or, at least, nobody commented in a way that would make me think they did.) Did any of you read the last line there and then check out my profile pic? I hate to explain a joke, but I also hate to think I went to all that trouble for nothing.

P.P.S. This is what you get now that I have an internet connection at home and MY WIFE is out of town.

P.P.P.S. For anyone who cares, I'll be watching the BC - Notre Dame game tonight. My theme shall be copious amounts of Chinese food, along with fond memories of 1993 and 2002. That's an inside joke, so don't worry if you're not Buck and you don't get it.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Yay! Thanksgiving Is Now Officially Half-Dead!

Now that I'm all calmed down, it's time to get back to my more gentle side.

But, before that can happen, I have one last ugly thought.


The greedy fucks are opening at 8pm on Thanksgiving itself. They don't even have the decency to wait until the day after. So all of their employees do NOT get Thanksgiving off.

I don't care if I'm on fire and the only place I can get water is Walmart. I will NEVER set foot in one of their stinking stores again. And, no offense, but if you do, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Hmmmm. Here's something else of interest...


Seems they're doing the same thing. 

Oops! More good news!


Oh, OK, I guess I'm not quite cooled down enough yet. I'm going to go hit myself in the skull with a hammer until I pass out. In the meantime, though, if maybe you're just a tad peeved at these corporate turds, like I am, I give you permission to cut and paste every bit of this post, run it on your own blog (or on Facebook, or tweet about it, or just print it out and send it to the assholes as many times as you have spare stamps, please.)

In the meantime, I can't think of a better time to re-post this. It's a good old-fashioned Christmas Carol I penned last year (and which IT set to video, the demented bastard.) You can hear it in all it's putrid glory, if you click this here thing:

Lyrics, for those who can't make 'em out.

Commercial Christmas

Up your bum with sugar plums
It's November, when Santa comes!
He's bringing you a credit card
And he wants you to charge it hard
It's Christmas
It's Commercial Christmas
Jesus Christ got nothin' to do with this

Friday's black, they're on attack
At Wal-Mart, Costco, and Radio Shack
They won't stop until you've bled
They need your green to get out of the red
It's Christmas!
It's Commercial Christmas!
Jesus Christ got nothin' to do with this

It's Veterans Day! Put up your tree!
Slide on down the chimney with me!
We'll go on a spending spree!
Bend over nine times, the tenth one's free!

(lots of stuff - crummy solo, spoken words, etc.)

Hey, hey, Rudolph! Whaddayasay?
Are you all set to pull that sleigh?
I'll drink until my nose gets redder
Then we can light up the sky togedder
It's Christmas!
It's Commercial Christmas!
Poor old Christ, up on his cross
His eyes bulge out, He's at a loss
He remembers bein' in the manger
But He can't remember anything stranger
Than Christmas
Commercial Christmas
It seems He died for your revolving credit account!

I'll be back on Monday (unless something I see over the weekend gives me apoplexy, which is always a distinct possibility.)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, And The Incomprehensible

This is highly flammable. Don't read without your special asbestos-lined goggles.

If I don't talk about the elections, I will blow a gasket. Feel free to go somewhere else if you don't want to be part of the harangue. I won't be offended.

I expect nobody to agree with every opinion I'll be vomiting onto the page here. That's fine. That's why we have elections in the first place, because everybody has their own opinions and not everyone else will agree with what you or I see as pure common sense. If you want to call me a flaming dickwad because of anything I say here, go for it. That's your right (at least if you're an American citizen, and let me be clear that I'm thankful I live in a country where I can spout off without fear of the government coming to kick down my door and arrest me for doing so. Your mileage may vary in other jurisdictions. In any case, I consider it your God-given right to call me a flaming dickwad at any time, and in any place, and I'll defend to the death your right to do so.)

And please, PLEASE, if I offend you in any way, don't let my personal idiocy affect your fondness for the THANKSGIVING COMES FIRST stuff. That's as non-political as it gets, and if I find I've screwed that up in any way, via this rant, I will probably hang myself. In Massachusetts, that's still one of the best options.


Ballot choice Votes Pct.
Assisted suicide
Would allow a doctor to prescribe medication, at a terminally ill patient's request, to end that patient's life. More infomation.
Winner No
1,488,561 51%
1,430,543 49%
So, folks who consider life completely hideous, due to their viciously painful illnesses, will still have to resort to the usual self-concocted and haphazardly successful illegal solutions. I was torn about this one prior to voting, but the more I think about it now, the more I wonder just what in hell gives anyone the right to deny death to a person? I would NEVER choose to kill myself (at least, on purpose) because my religion frowns on that sort of thing, but if somebody spends their days wracked with pain and their most fervent wish is to be done with it, who am I to be judge and jury? What in Christ's holy name are the people who voted "no" on this thinking? That they're somehow doing someone a favor by keeping them alive to suffer some more? Yeah, maybe you want more time with a loved one. I can understand that desire. But, really, think about it. You're selfishly denying them release because of your needs, not theirs.

Ah, hell. I'm glad I don't have to face that sort of decision from either side of the equation. But, if I knew someone whom I loved dearly was constantly in pain, and I knew that they wanted to be relieved of that pain, and no medication or medical option was available for easing the pain, and that person asked me to kill him or her, I'd kill that person without a second thought and gladly let God decide if I was evil to have done so.

(I'm just getting warmed up, believe me.)


Medical Marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts. Now the people who have been denied an easy way towards death will at least be able to alleviate a tiny bit more of their pain while they wait to die.

That anyone with even a modicum of compassion would not be in favor of this stuns me. Some ill-informed individuals have it in their heads that this will lead to their children becoming addicts. No, it will not. Marijuana is completely non-addictive in any physical sense. Yes, it can be as psychologically addictive as anything else - so are food, sex, tiddly-winks and blogging - but marijuana is utterly benign in a sense that alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and many other drugs are not. Comparing grass to, say, alcohol, is akin to comparing skiing to falling off of a mountain. They may look the same at certain times, but one is much more dangerous than the other.

In Colorado, marijuana was made legal, period. The same thing happened in Washington state. I applaud the folks in those two places. Unlike some of the folks in the other 48 states, they apparently don't have their heads implanted in their rectums.

(Now it remains to be seen whether these states will buckle to the inevitable pressure that will be applied by the feds to over-regulate, over-tax, or otherwise destroy these gains. In my current frame of mind, I hold little hope that the laws will be enacted unscathed.)

In other good news, Maine approved same-sex marriage.

I'm not in favor of same-sex marriage in general. But the reason I'm not has nothing to do with homophobia. I'm just against the government being involved in marriage, period, and I care not a tinker's damn whether it involves gay people, straight people, multiple aliens from Neptune, or fucking zebras. There should be no tax breaks for being married, nor should there be any penalties for not being married, and marriage should be a commitment entered into by two (or more) people at their own whim, in whatever way they desire, officiated upon by the cleric or non-cleric of their choice, and should in no way, shape, or form be subject to the changing morals and mores of some state or federal legislative body. My marriage happened before God, in a church, and the piece of paper the state issued concerning it has no more value to me than soiled toilet tissue. And if anybody else, of whatever sex or sexual persuasion, deems equal standing to a ceremony they were involved in, I truly don't give a damn one way or the other. If there is ownership of property involved, or children, or anything else that may involve legal matters later, draw up a contract. But leave the fucking government out of your bedroom and mine, thanks.

Having said that, so long as the state has deemed itself a worthy partner in people's private lives, then I don't see any reason for them to deny that partnership to anyone. I personally know of a couple of guys in Maine who I couldn't be happier for. They've been together longer than any legally married couple I know. So, more power to you, guys. And if you decide to make it legal under this new law, I'd be delighted to be in the wedding party in some way.

One other thing occurred on Tuesday about which I am unwilling to kill myself. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for President, set a record for national vote total. He garnered 1,140,000 some-odd votes as of this writing. One of them was mine and I'm damn proud of it. That total will inch up as all precincts report. Of course, he still finished a distant and under-reported third to Obama and Romney, but I'm willing to take my jollies where I can get them at this point in my life.


Barack Obama was re-elected.

I don't think he's the devil incarnate, nor do I think he's an illegal alien, a terrorist, or any other ridiculous piece of flummery dreamed up by looney tunes like Donald Trump. His record on the economic front, however, is pitiful. The bailout was, and will probably remain, the worst piece of government domestic action in this century. It's absolutely amazing to me that a man with his record on the deficit and unemployment could be re-elected. If his name was Carter, he wouldn't have been. I could go on, but I won't. He's the one for the next four years and I hope (I pray) that we will not sink into a morass from which we are unable to extricate ourselves. I'd hate to wake up in 2016 to find that my ass is owned by a bank in Beijing.

(Romney was no bargain, either. He was, in my mind, the slightly lesser of two shitty evils. As I say, I voted for Gary Johnson. Didn't matter in Massachusetts, so I kept my flawless record of voting for non-winners in presidential elections intact. I would have loved to have seen how the campaign might have played out had Ron Paul secured the nomination, but I expect the outcome would have been the same. It would have been a lot more fun, though.)

Elizabeth Warren is the new senator from Massachusetts.

That so many people in this state had the wool pulled over their eyes by the miserably divisive campaign she ran... well, I suppose it should surprise me, but it doesn't. She painted Scott Brown as a misogynist (he isn't) and ran commercials that appealed wholly and unapologetically to the females in the voting ranks. The tagline, "She cares about US", came on the heels of an ad featuring only women speaking, outlining some questionable claims concerning Brown's voting record on women's issues. Had any male done similar, making an appeal to one gender - his own, that is - he would have been (rightly) skewered and barbecued. That she was victorious with such a slimy tactic makes me ashamed to be human.

(Am I in favor of what are termed these days as "reproductive rights"? Yes, mostly. Do I think the government should ever pay for birth control, abortion, or any other contraceptive measures, whether pre or post coitus? No, with the possible exception for a victim of rape. That some people have it in their heads that birth control of any sort should be handed out for free by government fiat, and that any politician who opposes that concept is anti-woman, amazes me no end. No, you are not entitled to dick, with or without pills, spermicide, sheathing, or anything else. And the same applies to Viagra, condoms, and any other male sexual option you want to bring up, just in case you were thinking of dragging that body into the argument.)

(And, as with Romney, Brown was no superb choice, either. He blew this election, via questionable tactics, just as readily as Warren won it. Making a major portion of his advertising play upon the claims Warren had made concerning her Native American heritage was a stupid, stupid, stupid mistake. She was already as hurt as she could have been by that gaffe. Brown jumping on it for further dead equine beating turned a lot of people, including me, right off. I still voted for him, since Warren makes my skin crawl, but I'm sure he lost many others. Anyway, if you took him to about 44 or 45 of the other states, gave people his voting record and didn't tell them he was a republican, they'd guess he was a moderate democrat. That he couldn't get elected in this lunatic asylum of a state I reside in says a lot more about The Peoples Republic Of Massachusetts than it does about him.)

I already mentioned the assisted suicide thing. What else sucks?

The general tenor of some of the campaigns, but I'll get to that in the next section.


Need I say anything? Anything at all? Yeah, I guess I have to, so I'll make it nice and obscene.

Good Lord Almighty. I think the guy is a bad president, but can the racists please stay in the closet and not try to help? Thank you.

Will we ever get past the way we divide people up by skin color, religion, race, gender, wealth, or anything else, in this country? When the FUCK will the people who keep trying to make it "us" versus "them" (both the folks who hate other folks and the misguided do-gooders that think keeping these divisions is somehow helping things) just DIE the FUCK off and leave us with what little sanity that may still remain? How about we try just looking at each other as human beings for a while and see how it works? We can always go back to being assholes if it doesn't make things better.


That billions of dollars (that's "billion", with a "B") were spent on advertising for the presidential campaigns, with additional hundreds of millions spent on senatorial, congressional, and other races. I've complained a lot, but do I have any solutions I'd like to offer? Yes. If I could enact one law to make this whole thing more bearable, I'd make it illegal to spend more on advertising than the salary for the job you're seeking.

(Term limits? No. Term limits get rid of the good along with the bad. It's like bombing a country because the king or emperor or dictator-for-life says something or does something with which you don't agree. Fine, it's probably an effective way to kill him - if you drop enough bombs - but there are good, decent, kind people, with families and children, struggling to get by just like you and me, who are also being blown to smithereens, crippled, maimed, and otherwise getting what they don't deserve. There are more cost-effective solutions. We killed Sadaam without him being hit by a bomb. We can get rid of the lousy officeholders without resorting to the equivalent, too. It's called "voting". That it wasn't as effective as I might have liked, this time around, does not rule out its efficacy in future.)

The single most incomprehensible thing is that you stuck with me to the end of this. You truly are special. I am now decompressed and the usual benign fluff will resume next week and continue for the next four years. Thank you.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Welcome To The World Of Tomorrow

(Before we begin, I'll remind you to visit THANKSGIVING COMES FIRST on Facebook. LIKE it, damn you!)

(OK, perhaps that was a little too authoritarian of me. If you LIKE it, I'll tell you a story.)

(Thank you. Here goes.)

(But first, let me allay your fears. With a title like the one I've given this piece, and coming on the heels of Election Day here in America, you may have the idea that this will be a political diatribe. It won't. For one thing, I wouldn't even know where to begin. The many and myriad ways this country decided to send itself down the tubes yesterday leaves me so dispirited that I can't speak on any one subject without foaming at the mouth. If I start talking politics here, and you stick with me, neither of us will get any work done and the economy will tank even further. That seems inevitable now, anyway, but if my shutting up will stem the tide a little, I'm willing to do my bit.)

(I will say, though, that The 5% Rule seems to have once again been proven true.)

(And now we'll find out if the liberals are willing to put their money where their mouths are. When Bush lost the popular vote, but won the electoral, the pissing and moaning could be heard from coast-to-coast. With it looking as though Romney will have won the popular vote, but Obama will remain in office due to an electoral college win, we'll see if the complaining is on par. I tend to doubt it, but who knows?)

(Anything else? Yeah. I'm happy about one thing. Medical Marijuana was approved in Massachusetts. Opponents said that this was an attempt to have pot completely legalized via the back door. You bet your ass it was. Now that we have a foot in the door, my fervent hope is that we use the other foot to kick the fucking door down completely.)

(Elizabeth Warren. Oy.)

(Sorry. I can't help it. If I kept this shit in, I'd become an ax murderer. At least when I vent it by writing, lives are spared. Here comes the friendly part of today's stuff.)

MY WIFE and I have finally made it to 2012. This past Saturday, we bought a trio of services from RCN. Instead of my having to access teh intertubes exclusively at work, we now have access at home. We had a landline phone until the past weekend, but now we have phone service via our internet provider. We also upgraded our cable TV service to include TIVO.

What this ultimately means, of course, is that I can once again pretend I'm way younger than I actually am. Not having an internet connection at home labeled me as an extremely ancient fart. I was outed daily as a geezer when I revealed we still relied on a landline for our communication needs. When folks found out I still suffered through actual commercials while viewing TV, I was regarded as some sort of mentally deficient relic from prehistoric times. Now I can go into chat rooms, pretend I'm 16 while talking to teenage girls, and nobody will be any the wiser!

No, maybe that's not such a good idea. Still, I could if I wanted to, so I have once again become potentially dangerous (which is, by most measures, a sure sign of youth.) Meanwhile, MY WIFE has shown early warning signs of addiction.

We had decided to get up early on Tuesday and go to the polls at 7am to vote, the earliest possible time in our precinct. I awoke at 6:20, came out of the bedroom, and found MY WIFE at the keyboard with slightly bloodshot eyes. I asked her how long she had been surfing. She confessed to having been doing so since 5am.

I tried to be understanding. I've been able to satisfy my cravings for internet interactions whenever I've gone to work, but she hasn't. This is the first time she's been fully free to explore any and all aspects of world-wide webbiness. Her job, unlike mine, did not allow her to freely graze in the pastures of electronic delight. Her travels were highly regulated and confined, whereas mine were graciously allowed (so long as the work got done and was up to snuff.) So, I didn't get all snarky on her ass. I did, however, raise a slight ruckus concerning one thing she had done.

She left messages for people using MY Facebook account. By any measure, that is considered a serious breach of netiquette.

One of the messages wasn't so bad. She wished my sister-in-law a Happy Birthday. I probably would have done that myself if I wasn't entirely self-absorbed. I think she also asked her to vote early, vote often, and vote Libertarian (two-thirds of which I'm in favor of.) It was the other message that irked me a bit. She commented to one of my softball teammates concerning his profile picture.

I can't remember the exact words she used, but it struck me as something that had the possibility of making me look totally gay. I don't have anything at all against gay people, but I prefer to have my sexuality recognized for what it is: unapologetic heterosexual horndoggery. And so I sent a follow-up message to my buddy:

"MY WIFE is all excited about having The Internet, so she's been sending you messages in my sleep. By the way, what IS up with that photo?"

I'm not sure if that cleared me. If it didn't, I'll make fun of his weight the next time I see him. As much as I don't want to say anything that might hurt his feelings, I'll have to. Straight guys are the only ones who make fat jokes these days. Women and gay guys don't do it because... well, I'm not entirely sure why they don't, since fat jokes are almost as funny as dick jokes, but they don't. And my being a total a-hole will prove to my buddy that I'm not interested in being his a-hole. Or something like that. If you're a straight guy yourself, you understand. And more's the pity, probably.

So, anyway, yeah, I've entered the current century (electronically, if not mentally.) I'll try to get MY WIFE to set up her own Facebook page next, and she has also expressed a desire to have her own blog. This, of course, means that there will actually be somebody on-line who can fact check my blog and offer rebuttals, so I'll only be half as entertaining as I am now since much of my value as a writer resides in my stunning ability as a liar. However, in the first two days we had TIVO, she recorded three shows, so she may never get around to it.

(TIVO is like some big, friendly, completely retarded cousin. Just like that relative who kept telling you to try the asparagus au gratin at the last family reunion, it keeps suggesting stuff to us that, in its lumbering way, it thinks we will like. MY WIFE recorded the following shows: CBS Sunday Morning, Call The Midwife, and The Mark Twain Prize telecast. Working from that list, TIVO suggested that we would like Pardon The Interruption, James Robison, Remember The Titans, and The Glass Menagerie. I'd usually insert a joke at this point, but why bother?)  

Soon, with more better stuff (although, if you see my profile pic suddenly changed to a LOL cat or something, it may not be me, so be wary.)

Monday, November 05, 2012


As much as I despise the October-November onset of Christmas advertising, music, and decorations, each way-too-early holiday season brings with it some real joy. I am uplifted by my fellow sufferers who try to make a difference. The smiles they give me almost make up for the crap foisted upon us by the greedy bastards who think that Christmas is nothing more than an opportunity to get into the black.

(If you've somehow landed here without having any idea what I'm rabbiting on about, here's my [annual] original posting.)

Listed below are links to those who have joined the fray in some way or another. Please visit them and tell them what lovely people they are. You won't be lying.

First up is our Facebook page. The person with the brilliant idea to set it up was Matt Conlon (may his tribe increase!) If you haven't been to the Facebook page yet, go there NOW. I see no reason for you not to like it, so LIKE it, please. Tell others about its fantasmagorical grooviness. And if you see anybody from Target lurking there, invite them in for an asskicking.

Fellow bloggers with good intent are listed in the order in which they posted their thoughts.

IT is one heck of a nice guy, and I appreciate his being the first blog to kick it off this year.

Messy Mimi may be just that, but if you ever want to know what you should be celebrating on any given day, visit her. She makes lists. So, if anybody knows which holiday belongs where, it's her. And she says THANKSGIVING COMES FIRST!

One of my favorite folks on teh intertubes (and one I've actually had the pleasure of meeting because he was fool enough to come to one of my softball games) is (not my uncle, but he may be yours) Skip. Go to his place and join him in growling!

Warmtears93 did a YouTube vid.

My Swell Pal, Cricket, has re-posted his most excellent piece. This is not meant as a slight toward any of the other fine folk here, but his is one of the best pieces of writing, concerning Thanksgiving, EVER. It deserves way more praise than I can give it here.

Kat says even her kids know it's wrong!

Tilting At Windmills (how appropriate!) reminds us that we have things to be thankful for all the time.

My good buddy, Buck (who is the nicest retired Master Sergeant in New Mexico, despite his protestations whenever I say that), has re-posted his piece from years past. He makes his own allusions to Don Q and Panza.

The absolutely wonderful Hilary, at The Smitten Image, named us her Post Of The Week! Woo-Hoo!

Life On The Funny Farm asks us to slow it down a bit and remember our blessings. I couldn't agree more.

The Old AF Sarge, at Chant du Depart, says funny things and pithy things. He also compares me to a Brazilian soccer star (Come on! Go there! You know you want to know why!)

The wonderful Barbara Shallue (there may be other Barbara Shallue's out there, so I need to be specific) has written about our cause in her inimitable grace-filled style.

Kaz, a friendly sparring partner of mine from Universal Hub, sent this cookie:

(Apparently, a woman who works in a cookie store, in a mall that starts playing Christmas music way too early, had enough. She made the cookie in protest.)

Three Hundred Sixty Five, a nice follower of ours for a long time, added her two cents.

Joan, at Grandma's Recipe Box, gave links to this blog and to Cricket. Well done!

And Lisa Johnson, of Anali's First Amendment, mentioned both the Facebook page and this blog in her blog! Yay!

One person I must mention is Jeni, at Down River Drivel. She has had the "logo" on her sidebar for ages. I'm sure I'm missing some others who have done likewise. Feel free to let me know about my blindness!

And JUST ADDED, as of 12:38pm, Lisa McColgan, who has filled a niche by composing a Thanksgiving Comes First POEM! Woo-Hoo!

JUST ADDED at 12:56 - Michelle Hickman has her post up!

And now, the best news I've heard all day: A Canadian chain store has bowed to customer's wishes to not play Christmas music too early! Good for them, and good for the people who let them know how they felt about it! Here's the story at CNN.

Thanks, all, for the superb efforts. If you wrote something that I missed listing here, I beg your forgiveness. Let me know about it and I'll add it in on the next round-up.

Yes, there will be at least one more TCF round-up, so please write. Let me know when you have. I try to search these things on Google, but I'd hate to miss your contribution.

Until then, THANK YOU.

Soon, with more (of your) better stuff.