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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Never fond of lyrics


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

They Know That Santa's On His Way. He's Loaded

Since the mention of a satisfied customer pay raise 
in this mornings staff meeting, Melvin had been 
positively perky with the kiddies. 

Kevin always got a warm feeling whenever he sat on Santa's lap, and he was not above sharing
The McDonald's forehead product placement was OK, but the latex gloves were a little Stephen King. 
To Moms chagrin, both Junior and Santa were watching Oprah.
Fortunately, Muffys Mommy had been investing yearly in her works cafeteria spending plans option for child psychotherapy

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas decor survival — for manly men

Subpar.  I'll get it right next year.

Holiday decorations say a lot about the mommy — so says the fluffy magazine I was forced to read at the barbershop because all the fishing and streaming magazines were taken.

I, however, am the manly man, real-guy, don't-mess-with-me dad. And I have become the biggest mommy of them all when it comes to Christmas decorations.

I have the schematic for the outside lights planned for months. I actually start the year previous, before I take down the twinkles from the roof, the chimney, and the dog. I track what I think worked and what didn't. I remember what got compliments and what was cringe-worthy.

My involvement with Christmas decorating started years ago with a solitary grape-vine reindeer, which, even then, wasn’t enough decoration for our neighborhood. Our next-door lady, so docile in warmer weather, became an animal with both garland and plastic wrap in industrial rolls. She entombed her house in red plastic, so visiting her was like a level of Dante’s Inferno.

So I added a riding Santa to my yard decor, which came with a cute little grape-wreath pipe, which made the neighborhood come unglued with its political incorrectness. So, I spent some time trying to reweave the pipe into something else.

All I could come up with was a magnifying glass, which turned Santa into a fat and festive Sherlock Holmes.

And still the decorations were not enough — way too subtle. I still got looks from the morning jogging neighborhood woman that said “nice try, Christmas daddy, but you have a long way to go." I answered with a look of my own, which said, “I am just warming up, you holiday twig, so be prepared.”

Then the world was blessed with the simplicity of inflatables. They were cute for a year, but we were poor and couldn't afford them. So, I blew up our fishing raft, put a bow on it and placed it under Detective Santa. My kids named it the U.S.S. Watson.

I realized that I had missed the decor mark when I plucked a burning arrow out of the stern with a note on it that said, "Nice job, Christmas daddy — Not!"

I have since drawn the line at inflatable’s — mostly because they are tacky and can be negated with a simple burning arrow, and partly because they keep popping the fuse and leaving the neighborhood in a blackout.

Inside the house, decorating was easier. I opened up one of my wife’s magazines, which said to use household items in the tree for an unexpected yet homey touch. The problem was having to pull stuff out of the tree whenever I needed to drain noodles or clean the tub.

The household tree was a bust. So was the "international breakfast tree" and the "tree of a thousand marbles."

The "Beatles" tree was covered with little vinyl records, wigs and walruses.

And as much as I liked the “chicken up a tree” tree, I didn’t like having to get up early to hold its beak shut so that it wouldn’t wake up the neighbors.

I didn't want to turn into a controlling mom, so I started letting the kids decorate the tree. This meant that there was a ring about three feet high that was covered with pages from coloring books, plastic stretchy bracelets and anything shiny, while the rest of the tree was as naked as ... as something with no clothes on.

So Mega Dad went to work — my alter ego. Today’s Christmas tree is crystal and has a corporate sponsor. It sports its own circuit breaker and its own switch so I don’t have to don protective gear and knee pads to plug it in.

It is the epitome of good taste.

The outside decor benefited from my intensity as well. I am the awe of the neighborhood. Where I was once the yesteryear's guy who was "not enough," I'm now the unmitigated "awww" of skinny joggers in the surrounding neighborhoods.

I no longer get anonymous stealth notes to berate me. I am the standard, I am the walrus. My twinkle lights gracefully extend into the heavens, and all want to know my secret.

And I tell them. It's mommy power.

Christmas music for those who wear earplugs

Justin Bieber in four years when the meds wear off

At my house we are in the throes of the holidays — as evidenced by the half-eaten candy canes stuck to the dog and the extension cord-laden Christmas tree that is duct-taped to the front room fireplace.

All my radio stations are tuned to the “all Christmas with no bathroom breaks” stations — except for those that play twangy Christmas country music (as opposed to the one station playing good Christmas country music, which now plays classic rock).

Frankly, I would rather chew my leg off than listen to any more country holiday whining. And, I would rather not hear about that unfortunate boy's reasoning for buying high-heeled shoes. It is admittedly a sensitive subject, but it's a song as emotionally manipulative as Steven Spielberg in a wheelchair wearing the color purple.

This brings me to my first annual list of the worst songs of the holidays.

My wife suggests I leave this list for the last week of the holidays when we are all plum tuckered out of Christmas music so that I don’t look like a Grinch. However, she is the one who suggested that we decorate the house with twinkle lights higher than anyone ever has before and made me rent a cell phone tower for our front yard. So, this one is my call.

First, and already mentioned, is the song of “The Christmas Pumps,” or whatever it’s called. Little known fact: It was performed and produced by a blind orphan.

Let's jump right to the next song, listing the horrors in no particular order.

There are two kinds of people in this world: people who like Neil Diamond and people who think he shouldn’t be allowed near a microphone from just after Halloween through to and including Valentine’s Day. While we are at it, someone ask Johnny Mathis to take a vacation during the same time period.

Frankly, anytime I hear Johnny sing “Sleigh Ride” I am left with too many unanswered questions.

The members of the original Beatles are responsible for songs four and five. I understand their creative aversion to holiday staples like “Jingle Bells” or “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” — artistic individuality and all — but “So This Is Christmas” and “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time” are John Lennon's and Sir Paul's most iffy offerings. Coincidentally, suicide rates are highest during the holidays. Do some math.

"Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, The very next day I hurled on my slacks. This year, To save me from tears... I won’t listen to George Michael."

The other song Mr. Wham contributed to is just as bad. With all due respect to honorable causes, “Do They Know It's Christmas Time?” — alternative title “Pray for Another Song” featuring Boy George and other unemployed English lads (Sting being the exception to the rule) — makes me wish my ear wax would just seal off the two appendages altogether. It is, however, a perfect song for drowning out the sound of the electric can openers or teeth being drilled.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra version of “Ring, Christmas Bells/Christmas Eve" makes the little voices in my head converse all at once on the topic of mortality and wider freeways. Then the little voices all start disco dancing.

Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Go's fame recreating Judy Garland's famous “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sounds like she started the celebratory eggnog a little early, and I'm thinking Memorial Day.

“Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree” would be considered garbage if not for the charming Brenda Lee, and John Denver singing as a 7-year-old in “Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas” leaves me fondly remembering cherished school days of fingernails on a chalkboard. Anything else by the former Mr. Dusseldorf is gold, including his duets with muppets. Try those instead.

Penultimately, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” should not be sung by anyone. Ever. Michael Jackson couldn’t do it. Celion Dion can’t do it. I don’t think Beverly Sills or even Sandi Patti accompanied by the Happy Jerusalem Synthesized Ensemble, employing seven key changes, could save it.

Finally, I give you anything sung by Kathie Lee Gifford — especially “Mary, Did You Know?” Believe me, Mary, being great with knowledge, was better off not knowing.

Now I like Kathie Lee as much as the next guy — unless the next guy has invested his kids' college funds in plastic or silicone in which case he would like her more. Want the scuffle in Afghanistan to be over? Ship her to Kabul for a series of humanitarian holiday freebies and those poor rebels will be crawling out of the hills begging to be cauterized at the neck. War over.

The best of the best? Try Christmas songs by Frank Sinatra, the Carpenters, Doris Day, Natalie and Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Amy Grant, Harry Connick Jr., Mel Torme, James Taylor, Ray Conniff and, lastly, the Muppets.

Merry Christmas, darling.