I Finally Saw Something Today…

Why do brewing companies make the best Christmas commercials? It’s a legit question. Lots of companies run Christmas themed ads. Toy companies, candy companies, fast food companies. But it’s beer commercials that I remember. Granted, I like beer. And it doesn’t have to be Christmas. But I don’t like coffee. At all. But this ad has always stayed with me.

C’mon man, tough not to get all sappy syrupy sentimental about Peter making it home for Christmas and surprising his family with the smell of Folgers in the morning. Because, seriously, who doesn’t like waking up on a snowy morning to smell of fresh brewed coffee coming from the kitchen? No one. Because coffee smells like morning. So does toast. Gotta have toast. So coffee and toast on a snowy morning in December. Well, donuts too I guess. And probably a raspberry coffee cake. But they don’t quite have the powerful aromas that can travel up a flight a stairs to wake you up. Not too many things do. And some of them aren’t pleasant. But we are talking donuts and coffee cake. So then those things, plus the Folgers and Peter making it home for Christmas – all those things together is what makes this a great Christmas ad.

Then you have this classic:

Everybody getting along, singing, smiling, furnishing things with love and snow white turtle doves while wishing we all could just sit down and have a coke. Paul Ryan and Patty Murray did it. You can do it too. Plus it was the 70’s. And aside from the 25% interest rates, the complete loss of confidence in governmental institutions and Tony Orlando and Dawn, what’s not to like? You had the Steelers and Cowboys duking it out to be the greatest teams of the decade. And I guess the Raiders, Vikings and Dolphins too. And the Rams. Chuck Knox had some good teams. Plus you had Mr. Kotter, Schoolhouse Rock and Delta Tau Chi.

Then there’s this ad. The all-time best Christmas ad in the history of Christmas ads.

It just screams Chronicles of Dad vintage Christmas from back in the day. Beer, overcast snowy day, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, small town decorated with lights, gallivanting about town in your sleigh filled with presents. If your sleigh is a ’77 Oldsmobile and the presents are backpacks and the gallivanting is my Mom dropping my sisters and I off at school. That’s probably beside point. But, and this is a key component of this commercials inherent awesomeness, it always ran during NFL games. Like this one from December of ’78. Steelers 35 Colts 13.

Rocky Bleier-1

If you’re in your 40’s, you remember these ads. Maybe not snowy Steelers games but definitely the ads. And they always help you remember the golden days of yore. When gifts like Stratego or a hand held Mattel Electronics Football game could occupy me for days. Plus I always kinda hope somebody will go out and top these ads every Christmas season. But that’s tough task. Not only do you have to overcome nostalgia and the dreaded double bomb Stratego flag defense strategy but you have beer to deal with.

Now I know 30 million of you beat me to it, but then I finally watched this:

Teared up. I did. If I could do this every Christmas, I would. Good job outta you WestJet. Putting that look on so many folks’ faces is yuletide awesomeness.

Chocolate Butter

December is an awesome month. You get all the Christmas themed episodes of your favorite TV shows. Like this:

You get Christmas music 24-7 on at least one local radio station. Can’t really figure out why the Peanuts theme is a Christmas song though. But I have found it virtually impossible to get keep smirky grin off my face every time The Christmas Song is played. If you’re a nostalgic sentimental sap like me, you can’t help it. Because Nat King Cole nails nostalgia in this song the way Mean Joe used to plant Brian Sipe. Except for the roasted chestnuts. Because nobody actually does that. Nobody. If it’s Christmas time and you’re sitting in front of the fire you either drinking Christmasy beer with nutmeg and cinnamon…mmmm…or your watching NFL football in the snow with playoff implications. Or both. Because nothing beats the awesomeness of sitting in your house with the NFL Sunday Ticket amid all the Christmas lights and decorations in front of a blazing fireplace drinking Christmasy beer while watching fans dressed up like they’re about to spend a week outside in the woods on Cold War-era foot patrols along the Norwegian-Soviet border.

But one of the best things about December is the gift baskets delivered to your office. Today’s basket lasted about as long as Jamie Farr’s career after MASH. Pepperidge Farms cookies (Sugar and Chessman), Hershey’s kisses, summer sausage and gouda cheese, water crackers and cheese spread along smoked almonds. The cookies and almonds have virtually no chance at survival. Like a can of mousse in the 80’s. The kisses disappear at a fairly steady pace. They’re easy to grab and eat without anyone knowing how many you’ve taken. The crackers and cheese spread require some utensils so they last a bit longer…until somebody breaks down and puts a knife on the table.

Now, the summer sausage and gouda are an entirely different story. Nobody wants to be the guy who finally breaks open the sausage. Which I don’t really understand. It’s not like the rest of the office is going to berate you for eating something unhealthy…while they are chomping down cookies and cheese spread. But not together. That would be gross. I assume eating the sausage and gouda represents some kind of snacking escalation from the cookies and kisses. Because it is actually not a snack. It’s a meal. A mid-afternoon meal of meat, salt, fat, sausage casing, and dutch cheese.

But that’s not all. Noooo. Somebody always bakes. And baking means some type of homemade cookie or coffee cake. Today, in addition to the gift basket, we had cookies. Homemade chocolate chip cookies. Although, after a decent of amount sampling, I determined they weren’t really cookies. They were in fact round cut-outs of chocolate flavored butter. Sure there were some extraneous ingredients used to give them a cookie-like appearance. Like sugar and alarmingly high amounts of four. But this was straight up chocolate butter.

Not that any of that is bad…

I Liked It Better When They Were Little

I completely realize I’m not the first parent to have this thought. In fact, I believe that if you are the Dad in a house with three daughters, you say this to yourself every single day starting when the oldest hits 6th grade and finish saying it when they are roughly 30.

As I mentioned a post or so ago, I had a conversation with the girls about bongs and bong usage. Which was purely academic because I wasn’t speaking from experience. I can honestly say that pot and I have never met. Sure we’ve been in the same room a couple times. Pretty sure I was 14 and a freshman in high school when I saw, and smelled, the point guard on our basketball team having an in depth conversation with Fatty Boombalaty near a fence outside the rec center. Which was in the middle of town and probably not the best place to get baked. Of course when you combine the general propensity for stupid of the normal 14 year old with typical effects Uncle Greenage and you end up with a point guard getting wasted in the town square. But back to my original point…I went through high school, college and my 20’s never once personally meeting Mary J. Wuana. I’m not judging anybody else, but I’m not only proud of that but that fact has given me an added bonus.

Bonus you ask?

Rye is 14. This, of course, is the age when I first was exposed to Mr. Weed. I’m assuming that at some point Rye not only will be in the same room with Ganj McReefer but she’ll be offered it. I also assume that she will ask me if I ever did it. And guess what? My answer without any hint of guilt, deception or ambiguity, will be a thunderously majestic, “Hell no and you shouldn’t either!”

Now I realize some of you hippies and Ron Paul libertarians think the magical lettuce should be legalized…errr…excuse me…decriminalized. You are entitled to your doobie induced opinions. I’m not listening to them. Mostly because the sweet leaf makes you dumber and using Newton’s 8th law of transference, listening to you would make me Anthony Weiner without all virtuousness. Its science.

Unfortunately for me and my future answer regarding underage drinking, I did not make it through high school and college with same degree of discipline and fortitude regarding beer and beer’s assorted friends. Did wine coolers really happen or was that all just cool marketing? Anyway, while Rye and I are driving up to the Iowa State-Kansas game, coldest game in the history of Jack Trice Stadium FYI – 8 degrees at kickoff, Rye asks me, “Dad, did you drink underage?”

Boom. This is how parenting happens. Teenagers, many skilled in the black arts, sneak up on you like Nagumo at Pearl Harbor. You’re busy discussing the right time to get them their learner’s permit for driving when you suddenly realize you’ve been deked. Duped. Hoodwinked into a conversation you weren’t expecting. Without revealing any signs of stress you must react with the calm and precision of Joe Montana in the ’79 Cotton Bowl.

I really didn’t hesitate at all with my answer.

“Yes.”

I guess I could have lied about it. But unlike Kenneth Lay and I guess the president regarding his ignorance about Benghazi, illegal wire tapping of reporters and IRS targeting of conservative organizations, I don’t think lying enhances my position as a leader. Much less as a Dad. Plus I have a sneaky suspicion that Rye is going to do it too. Probably in high school. Definitley in college. What I didn’t expect was her quick confirmation of my suspicions.

“Yeah, I’m probably going to do it too.”

Wait, what?

Not real sure what to do now. Appreciative of the honesty? Sure. Generally happy that Rye is confident and comfortable enough to say it and have a conversation about it with me? Yup. Somewhat unsettled about this reality since she’s 14 and locked onto a collision course with high school? Also yes.

We also had a conversation about homecoming dresses that included her showing me pics of dresses she’s already picked out. Evidently there’s a homecoming dance for 9th graders and she’s in the blueprint formulation stages with her friends for their homecoming dance schemes, I mean plans, for the fall of 2014. It was here where I had some additional questions about the logistics and other attendees of said 2014 homecoming dance. But that’s for another post. Note to self: update and refine intimidating facial expressions and questions.

Back to the underage drinking plans of my oldest daughter.

I am a firm believer that having all the relevant information regarding a decision leads to a better decision. People need history, they need to walk through logical outcomes to decisions and behaviors and they need to think about it before making a decision. But Rye’s 14. And I realize that teenagers generally think about consequences the same way liberals do. So, yeah, I’m a bit anxious.

We have a short conversation about drinking and then on the night before Thanksgiving, while Mom and I are engaged in the traditional Thanksgiving tradition of annihilating a 12 pack the night before Turkey Day, we have the conversation again with her.

If you’re going to drink, drink beer. Don’t drink liquor. Shots, regardless of the revelry in which they are consumed, always result in bad decisions, headaches and pics on twitter. Always smart to drink a glass of water between drinks. Never leave your drink unattended whether its water, pop or beer. Never accept a drink from a douchebag, I mean dude, you don’t know. Always travel with other girls in packs. Packs supplemented with real ninjas.

We’re not sending her into high school unarmed. She’s going in like Seal Team 6.

Published in: on December 5, 2013 at 7:13 pm  Comments (1)  
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Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving is to Christmas what the Raiders were to the Steelers in the 70’s. Awesome in it’s own right, but still not the best. And that sucks for Thanksgiving. I decided the theme of this year’s Thanksgiving would be pie. I hope you held up your end of the bargain on that. I did. Damn you pumpkin pie and your tasty pilgrimy flavorsome goodness! Pumpkin pie is the Immaculate Reception of Thanksgiving. It’s good every time, it never gets old and people will argue about its rightful place in the lore of the day for eternity.

Anyway, in our school district the kids get the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off instead of Veteran’s Day. You can make your own value judgments regarding that decision. I’m not joining you. The convenience of having the girls with that Wednesday off cannot be overstated. Last week, as has become our tradition, they helped me get out and put up the Christmas decorations. And by helping me, I mean they didn’t help and instead watched TV.

Well that’s not totally true. Kinsey actually did provide some real bona fide assistance as I removed the boxes and bags of Christmas decorations from the storage shelves in the basement. I do a fairly decent job of making sure the decorations are easily accessible but after a year’s worth of storage, stuff builds up. Also we have a lot of them.

But here’s the dirty little secret with Christmas decorations; you can’t start putting them all up until you’ve cleaned and dusted the areas in which they will be displayed for the yuletide enjoyment of all. Which, or course, sucks. Plus you can’t discount the fact that you are purposefully cleaning for the sole reason of getting the aforementioned display areas ready for Christmas decorations and you are doing it in what is clearly marked on all calendars as the day before Thanksgiving. There’s no getting around the fact that its still Thanksgiving season. And listen, if you’ve spent any time on this blog, I have a certain distaste for the early Christmas epidemic that takes over America in November. But I’ve rationalized the “getting a headstart on the Christmas decorations” behavior as most Americans do. Hey, if the President can say Obamacare is working, then I figure we’re all allowed to just do whatever the hell we want.

Regardless of the administration’s hold on their approval rating, I figured since we’re leaving for Mom’s folks house later the same day, unpacking and putting up the outside Christmas lights doesn’t really qualify as cheating on Thanksgiving since we won’t turn on the lights or actually enjoy any of the decorations until after Turkey Day. Yeah, I know, it’s a giant crock of sh..crap. It’s like Big Ten football fans convincing themselves that the additions of Rutgers and Maryland make the conference better at football. Still not okay with Penn State being in that league by the way. I miss Pitt-Penn State on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Thanks for killing tradition ESPN, Nike and Jim Delaney.

Anyway, whilst I’m bringing up the boxes of Christmas stuff I notice a couple things. First, I’m working far harder than I expected. Which in turn could mean a few other things; 1) Stamina is not what it used to be. 2) We have way too many Christmas decorations. 3) I’m old.

ChixmaslionRegardless, after getting everything off the shelves I made a key decision. The tree and ornaments can wait until after Thanksgiving. Kinda have to do that with Mom and the girls anyway. It’s a family activity. You can’t put up the tree and decorate it by yourself if you are married and have three girls living with you. All you can do it prevent the ornaments you don’t like from being placed anywhere of consequence on the tree. My favorite ornament is small replica of the Chicago Art Institute lions with the Christmas wreaths placed on them. Sentimental. One of my first memories of my family moving to Illinois in December of ’77 was driving by those guys and seeing the wreaths. That and the ice bowl against the Giants to clinch a playoff spot for Payton and the boys.

Second thing I noticed during the my decoration retrevials? Instead of helping, Rye is watching Friends. And not just any episodes of Friends. She’s watching the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends. And it totally sucked me in. Go to Youtube and watch them right now. This show is more hilarious now than it was when I was watching it in my 20’s and early 30’s. Don’t get me wrong, Ross is still annoyingly sucky. And it is more than a little concerning that Rye seems to identify with Phoebe. But Joey kills me.

“What’s not to like? Custard? Good! Jam? Good! Meat? Gooooood!”

Also sucks for the Millenials that all the Friends copycat shows don’t really approach the hilarity of the original. Also it just sucks to be a Millenial. Granted its not all your fault. You were raised by Boomers. Thanks for bankrupting the country and never learning financial literacy Boomers. But c’mon Millenials, yeah you’re awesome at social media but you’ve been praised for just about everything you’ve ever done and no, you’re not going to be charge after you’ve been here 5 minutes.

But that’s kinda off topic…