Die Hard

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Here comes another formulaic take on why Die Hard is, or is not, a Christmas movie.  Plus Christmas was a month ago.  And, the truth is, I don’t care about your opinion on this matter.  Not sure I even care about my opinion on this matter.  But I watch Die Hard at Christmas.  I also watch Die Hard 2 at Christmas.  Also Lethal Weapon.  Because if Die Hard creates an entire conversation around it’s yuletide bonafides then why doesn’t Lethal Weapon?  Totally serious.  I also watch all the Die Hards and the original Lethal Weapon in seasons other than the Christmas season.  Because they’re awesome.  And, I assume anyway, that it is only a matter of time before Maize Hirono and Kirsten Gillibrand, ban them.  But that’s not what I want to write about though.  I want to write about Ellis.  Because Ellis is what we used to refer as a douche.  And we all agreed.  Liberals, conservatives, men, women, old and young.  This was before the progressive left somehow decided it was a sane idea to teach people that being a male was a crime.

Anyway, Ellis, besides being the stereotypical 80’s plot device character, is somebody in every workplace in America.  Ellis, for you non-Die Hard fans or communists as the civilized world refers to you, is the sleeze John McClane meets upon entering his wife’s office with Mr. Takagi.  Ellis is busy using his nose to vacuum up what we all assume to be cocaine.  Then he lies about it in front of not only John but also his boss.  Eventually Holly walks in and Ellis badgers her into showing John the rolex the company gave her.  A gift Holly is obvious a bit self-conscious about.  Ellis eventually is such an annoying douche that even the terrorists tire of him right before they rid the world of his presence.

His character is a snapshot of an 80’s douchebag.  Womanizer, braggart, cocaine sniffer, stupid hair, expensive watch and equally expensive suit.  All wrapped up in telling everybody how important he is.  We all know an Ellis.  Maybe the one in your office doesn’t do cocaine at the office Christmas party but that’s probably because office Christmas parties don’t really exist anymore.  Although that’s another hilariously awesome Christmas movie.  The truth is we all know an Ellis.  Even Santa knows an Ellis.  Donner is the Ellis of Christmastown.  Which got me thinking…

Adam Schiff and Ted Lieu are the Ellis’ of Congress.  Jimmy Haslam is the Ellis of the NFL owners.  Jim Acosta is the Ellis of White House reporters.  The Riddler is the Ellis of the Legion of Doom.  Seth is the Ellis of Pretty in Pink.  Millennials are Ellis’ of generations.  Richard Marx’ 80’s hair is the Ellis of power mullets.  CC DeVille is the Ellis of Poison.

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Published in: on January 25, 2019 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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So I Had This Dream…

miamivicecrockettYou know how you have a dream that is so awesome, so compelling, that you simply enjoy the dream as if you’re watching a great movie?  You might even realize at some point that you’re really asleep and what you’re experiencing is only a dream.  But you don’t care because the dream is so gripping that you can’t look away.  Like the Miami Vice episode when Crockett gets shot by that Columbian drug lord’s girlfriend while Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight is playing during.  But then the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the one thing you don’t want to happen actually happens.  You wake up before the dream is over or at least has reached a point that you’re satisfied with the outcome.

That happened to me right before Christmas.  Granted the dream was powered by Miller Lite and tacos but it was still awesome.  I got up the next morning and immediately wrote it down because I didn’t want to forget any details.

So Mom and I are at a Peter Gabriel concert.  Don’t really have a historical context for the point in which this concert was taking place during Peter Gabriel’s career but I’m comfortable saying it was during his  greatest hits phase.  We’re sitting in the back row on the end of the aisle.  The seats are arranged in a half circle.  We were super pumped about being there which is kinda weird because I’m not really a big Peter Gabriel guy.  Never have been.  There’s really only two, maybe three, songs that I like.  But here’s the thing, Peter Gabriel was only sitting one minute versions of his songs.  Who does that?  I distinctly remember it pissing me off because I had hauled my arse to a freaking Peter Gabriel concert and I wasn’t even going to hear the full version of Solsbury Hill.  Which, as we all know, is Peter Gabriel’s best song closely followed by In Your Eyes with Shock the Monkey a distant third.  I realize you could make a persuasive argument for Games Without Frontiers for that 3 spot.  I’m just saying that I’m not going to help you with that argument.

Anyway, I had a spiral notebook at the concert and everybody was stepping on the notebook tearing all the pages off.  The presence of the notebook and the reasons behind its presence remain unclear.  Regardless it was there.  At this point everybody in our row needed to get up and leave the concert or at least the row we were in.  I assumed the short ass concert was over.  So I turned to my left and let everybody leave the row and then I picked up the now loose and torn pages of the trampled notebook .  I was very angry about the notebook being torn up and combined with the unannounced and thoroughly unacceptable plan for Peter Gabriel to only sing one minute versions of his songsStill extremely mad we only got to hear a one minute version of Solsbury Hill.

As we got up to leave our seats we turned to leave but instead of stepping into the aisle we stepped out of the driver’s side back seat of a stretch limo.  Don’t really remember being confused by this occurrence either.  Regardless, we just stepped out of a limo.  And I was barefoot.  Yeah, as we were walking to our car to leave I realized that I was barefoot.  I know, weird.  So I turned back to the limo to get my shoes out of the back seat.  The shoes were my brown Birkenstock clogs.  Don’t laugh, they’re super comfortable.  But as I turned back to get the shoes the limo driver is walking across the street to this shanty looking house and he gives my shoes to the people at the house!

voodoohenchmanAnd these folks were those creepy looking voodoo guys like Yaphet Kotto’s henchmen in Live and Let Die.  So I casually, but in a sternly confident way, walked up to them to get my shoes and – poof – they were gone.  Like voodoo magic.  So I yelled at the limo driver “Yo, Yo, Yo, those are my shoes!”  But the creepy Cajun guys just smiled toothy unsettling smiles and opened the door to the shanty.  There, directly in front of me was a staircase to an upstairs room that looked like your uncle’s den from 1973.  Gold carpet, wood paneling, crappy fold out table for a desk.  The guy at the desk was the big fat black guy with the gravely voice and big glasses from the Kandy Bar in Weird Science.  I climbed the stairs and a quick conversation ensured.  Turns out to get my shoes back I had to agree to buy some homemade alcohol in a super weirdly decorated bottle.  The bottle kinda looked like a homemade maple syrup jug.

But it was apparent that this was now a bargaining process to get my shoes back.  Unbeknownst to the guy from Weird Science, I had this giant crumpled up wad of cash in my pocket.  But, like any good negotiator, I didn’t want to take the money out because then he’d know how much money I had and the price of getting my shoes back would undoubtedly go up.

So I offered $30.

gravelyvoicedguyweirdscienceFor some reason I knew the price was $50 so I tried to lowball him.  He said “higher.”  So I said $40 and he just laughed and walked away.  That’s when two of my nieces, Mom and one of Mom’s sisters started walking up the stairs at various intervals.  And their hair was wet because they had all taken showers.  And I thought, “Wow these creepy weird Cajun voodoo guys are letting everybody take showers after the horrible Peter Gabriel concert, that’s really nice.”  But then Mom walked into the den where I was and asked the big fat black guy from Weird Science if she owed anything else.  I turned to her with the WTF look on my face.  I was naturally confused because I was negotiating for my shoes which had nothing to do with Mom.  And I was completely and utterly unaware of any previous business dealings between Mom and Weird Science guy.  So I said, “What are you doing?  He wants me to pay for this stupid homemade moonshine to get my birks back.”  But then the guy says to Mom, “No we’re square. $58 dollars.”  So I was super mad now because how is this guy doing business with Mom and I had no idea.  And what the hell cost $58?

Even weirder was everybody from Mom’s side of the family was there and waiting outside the shanty.  I mean everybody except the few that were lucky enough to score shanty showers.  Anyway, they all wanted to leave the absurdly short Peter Gabriel concert so I was feeling a lot of pressure to get the moonshine for shoes deal done. So now the Weird Science guy knows that I didn’t know Mom had some side deal going and that I’m under pressure to wrap it up.  Both of which undermine my credibility!  Then I notice this one guy from work is also there.  He was wearing a red and black track suit and was also wearing his blublockers.  He’s also getting irritated with me to get this thing done because he had to ref a soccer game at 1:00 and it took two hours to drive home from where we were.  And, he was tapping his watch telling me it was exactly 11:06.

Which made me even angrier because now I’m losing even more leverage in the deal making process.  Which, of course, means the price to get my sweet Birkenstock clogs back is not going to go down.   So I offered $50 and said you win.  But he said that was the old price, the new price is higher now.  So now I’m moving from feeling pressure to being just plain angry.  So angry that I start doing what Denzel Washington was doing in The Equalizer when he checks his watch to time himself on how long it takes to kill all the guys in the room.  Evidently that got me so angry, I woke myself up.

So I did what everybody would have done.  I frantically tried to go back to sleep to find out if I ever got my shoes back and how much damage I caused in the process.  Didn’t work though.  Instead I woke up Mom to tell her that if she’s going to negotiate side deals with big fat gravely-voiced dudes from Weird Science then I’m going to need a heads up.

Things are getting better…

We have a busy December. But, in America, that’s just how we roll.  We have family coming to house the next two weekends.  Then right after Christmas, we’d headed to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl.  This weekend the 16 year-old volunteered to host the secret Santa party for the softball program at the girls’ high school.  So about 30 girls showed up about 10:30 in the a.m. on Sunday and stuck around for about 90 minutes.  At first I was a little apprehensive about the whole thing.  But who can blame me?  I am a seasoned veteran when it comes to trials and tribulations of the aforementioned teenage girls.  I already have had YEARS of teenage girls living in my house.  Why the hell would I purposely invite an extra 30 girls between 14 and 18 into my house?  No, seriously, why would I do that? 

But I gave my approval.  Mostly because I’m a seasoned veteran and know which battles to pick.  Piece of advice for all you Dads of little girls out there.  Anyway, even though I knew it was a good long-term decision, it still had me pondering what in the name of the Burl Ives was I thinking.  Turns out it was mostly cool.  They organized it all themselves and helped clean up afterwards.  In fact, the food they brought over was awesome.  Breakfast pizza, egg casseroles, donuts, cookies, bagels, muffins and chocolate milk.

Plus I had to drive up to Ames and pick the 19 year-old.  So I flipped on the radio to the station that plays the old top 40s.  Today was this week in 1987.  So yeah, I was singing my ass off.  Top 5 songs for the week ending Dec. 12 1987:

5- Is This Love – Whitesnake

4- (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes

3- Should’ve Known Better – Richard Marx

2- Heaven Is A Place On Earth – Belinda Carlisle

1- Faith – George Michael

So let’s break this morning down.  First, my house was invaded by teenage girls.  This is a normal occurrence.  So I was relatively unfazed.  Like John McClane when he finds Hans checking the explosives in the Nakatomi Building.  He knows it’s Hans.  But Hans doesn’t know he knows.  So John is unfazed.  He’s not relaxed, his cop senses are on high alert.  But he’s unfazed.  That’s how I felt.  Because these invasions are normally conducted by small raiding parties of less than 5 girls.  Sometimes they only come in pairs and I don’t even notice they are in the house except for the extra shoes by the front door.  Today it was a platoon of softball girls.  But I wasn’t there for most of it.  And, instead of bringing drama, they brought delicious breakfast foods.  Unfazed.  Also a tad bit hungry.

Second, on my way up to pick up our oldest at college, I enjoyed the best music from the Christmas season in 1987.  Notably absent from the top 40 were two songs I distinctly remember from playing an outsized role in the soundtrack to the fall of my senior year in high school.  Those two songs?  Casanova by LeVert and Say You Will by Foreigner.  Man, that LeVert song, now that I listen to it again, is…still freaking awesome.  It might even be better.  Im-freaking-possible not bust out your best dance moves.  Better than I remember.  Say You Will still rocks too but it just didn’t have the same surprise impact that LeVert did.  But go back and look at that top 5.  Not sure you can make a credible case that you’re referencing an actual top 40 list from the late 80’s unless Richard Marx and his power mullet are on the list.  Okay, quick, you have to listen to a Richard Marx song…what is it?  Should’ve Know Better?  Satisfied?  Endless Summer Nights?  Not easy is it?  Because nobody is going to pick any of those songs.  Unless you’re drunk and playing name that tune with your friends as you search for somewhat memorable Richard Marx songs from the 80’s.  Also go play Heaven Is A Place On Earth and don’t sing along.  

Can’t do it can you?  It can’t be done.  There is something physiological that happens.  Some kind of chemical that is released in the human brain when you hear Belinda Carlisle.  Involuntary response to said stimuli is to sing your ass off.  

So I know it sucks that wokeness police are trying to kill Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  And I know they killed any chance you were going to watch the Oscars by sacking Kevin Hart.  And now you have to worry about anything you said when you were 14 years old because the USA Today is going to dig it up and turn it over to the woke Stasi.  But I ended up with free egg casserole and sweet tunes from December of ’87.  So that’s a win dudes.

Like Clockwork…

Every year about this time CBS airs “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”  This year marked the 54th airing.  I have, more or less, watched it each year 1976ish.  But in the last few years with radical progressive outragery selecting every target it can, Rudolph has unwittingly wandered a little too far outside the boundaries of Christmastown.  And now, the airing of this childhood classic has become as much of a Christmas tradition as the grievances about the dizzying array of so-called problematic behavior exhibited by make believe claymation characters.  Which is interesting in and of itself.  I mean the left’s need to control speech and thought is so great it extends into worlds that don’t actually exist.

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER

Anyway, some of the common outrages displayed by the social justice warriors are the following:

It is really a story about bullying.  Yeah, part of it is.  And it’s also a story about overcoming that crap and sticking it to the jerks who bullied you.  Which, and again I’m just spitballin’ here, but kicking a bully’s ass is pretty damn American.  Although being pretty damn American is also problematic behavior according to some of the leftists.  Anyway, Rudolph is bullied – mildly – by the other reindeer boys and by his coach at reindeer practice.  It’s verbal not physical and Rudolph does stand up for himself.  So far this is a good message.  But the whole scene really just shows two things:

1) the other boys are immature jerks, which if you remember grade school, is kinda what most kids act like from time to time,

2) The coach is a bad coach.  I mean Rudolph literally just showed how far ahead of the other boys he was in flight skills.

And, yes, I agree if you are a youth coach and you’re bullying the kids on your team, then you’re a douchebag.  But I don’t know what kind of internal politics go on at the North Pole.  Who picks the coach?  Is it Santa?  Is it the parents?  Maybe the coach throws kick-ass New Year’s Eve parties and the only way to get an invite to vote for him to be coach.  We just don’t know the dynamics.  Bottom line is Rudolph says “screw you guys” and then comes back and burns everybody by being better at reindeer stuff than the kids who were mean to him.  Problem solved.  Then you have Hermey.  Hermey is bullied by the other elves because he wants to be a dentist and doesn’t like to make toys.  Well, this pretty much sucks if your an elf.  Because it sure seems like most of the job openings are relating to toy making.  But let’s be fair.  Hermey isn’t doing his job.  Then he quits by sneaking out the window.  That’s not exactly responsible behavior either.  I mean why can’t he study dentistry at night?  Lots of people work jobs they don’t particularly enjoy as a means to an end they do want to achieve.

It is really a story about racism.   All the elves are white.  Sam the narrating snow man is white.  Santa is white.  The snow is white.  Fireball has blond hair.  Which probably makes him a Nazi.  The progressive lynch mob rarely mentions that there are females elves also in the workplace.  Which for the early 60’s shows, well, a progressive workplace I guess.  I mean I wasn’t there at Santa’s workshop so I can’t comment on the HR policies regarding equal pay, inclusivity training and the acceptable methods of twitter shaming people who aren’t woke.

It is really a story about homophobia.  Yeah, so what about that part with Yukon, Hermey and Rudolph all sharing a bed in small cottage on the Island of Misfit Toys?  Nobody seemed to have any issues with their the sexuality in that scene.  They were all cold and tired so they hit the sack.  If anything, Rudolph is kind of a inconsiderate jerk for leaving in the middle of the night without telling his bros.  Then they spend a whole crap ton of time searching for him while fighting the cold and snow and evading the abomidable snow monster of the north.  This isn’t homophobia, this is Rudolph being a crappy friend.

Santa is bigot.  When he’s first introduced to Rudolph, Santa tells the young buck that he hopes his nose takes care of itself if wants to lead the sleigh team someday.  I don’t think this makes Santa a bigot.  It makes him a bad GM.  He may as well be in charge of the Jets’ drafts.  I mean he’s evaluating the wrong criteria.  Now I’m not sure what the measurements are at the Reindeer Draft Combine at the North Pole, but my guess is that sturdiness, strength, and air speed are probably a tad bit more important than nose illumination.  Plus, if he were better at team building, he’d notice that the shiny nose presents a unique skill set.  Rudolph could eventually be the best 3rd down back on the sleigh team.  He’d be the James Brooks of reindeer.  Santa might be good as delivering toys but he sucks at reindeer skill evaluation.

Clarice’s Dad is a bigot.  He sees his daughter chatting up Rudolph and tells her that there’s no way she’s hanging with a dude with a red nose.  Is this bigotry?  Or rampant leftyism?  I think the latter.  If Rudolph’s nose were blue, then you can be damn sure he let Clarice date Rudolph.  If Rudolph were hanging out in a safe space lamenting his reindeer privilege flashing his sparkly blue nose around, then we’d be having an entirely different conversation.

Donner is a sexist, a verbally abusive father and is ashamed of his son’s physical characteristics.  Now, I think Donner gets a little bit of a bad rap.  He obviously loves the little guy and he teaches him vital reindeer skills like how to get food, fight off enemies and how to hide from the abomidable snow monster of the north.  How different is this than when your Dad told you get off your butt and practice if you wanted to getting more minutes on the court?  Telling your kid the truth about the how the world works is good parenting.

None of the social justice stormtroopers ever seem to mention the strong female characters in the show.  Clarice gives absolutely no craps what the other kids – or her Dad for that matter – think about her hanging out with Rudolph.  Rudolph’s Mom completely ignores Donner’s directives about staying home while he goes and finds Rudolph.  In fact, her and Clarice basically tell the dudes in their lives, “listen jagoffs, your plan sucks, so either get out of the way or get on board because we’re taking care of business.”

My Christmas List

I’ve written a little about the practicality and usefulness of Christmas lists in the past – https://chroniclesofdad.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/christmas-lists-2/

I’ll never understand why some of you deliberately avoid using a list whilst purchasing gifts and/or are offended when someone provides you with a list.  The list maker obviously put thought and effort into the construction of the list because not everything makes it onto the list.  That means it was done in a thoughtful manner.  By shunning the list, the message you are sending is that you are trying to one-up the list maker because you not only know what they’d like but what they need.

Anyway, I think as we get older our Christmas lists get shorter but more expensive.  For example, I’d like a new mower.  Preferably one with a much more reliable self propelled drive mechanism.  But nobody is getting me a new mower.  Mostly because it’s way too expensive and I really want full control over all aspects of the decision making process when it comes my mower.  So it is not on my list.

The other thing about lists is that as we get older I think, if we’re being honest, they become a bit impractical.  Which, as we know, is the opposite of what the Christmas list is supposed to be.  The list is there for the ease of the user.  It should make the gift purchasing process easier to understand.  Like the rules on what a legal catch in the NFL should be.  I mean if it’s a catch in flag-football, high school football and college football, it’s probably reasonably a catch in the NFL…unless you’re wearing #81 for the Steelers and playing for the Patriots. Anyway…

Here’s what I mean by our lists getting impractical.  I’d like a million dollars cash, tax free.  Right now.  But I doubt that’s going to happen because I don’t really know Santa’s relationship with the IRS.  While it undoubtedly is better now than it was under Lois Lerner, I’m guessing that big bags of cash are out as a potential gift under the tree.

But here’s what I’d really like this Christmas:

1-A channel on Direct TV where I could watch Scooby Doo, Thundarr the Barbarian, Johnny Quest and Schoolhouse Rock.  And the Superfriends.  Yes, I realize there are variations of what I’m describing here on Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix.  But none exactly as I’ve described.  And it’s my damn list.  So instead of dismissively shaking your head at me, think about the awesomeness of what I’m describing.

Scooby EbenezerScooby, whether you’ll admit it or not, is definitive cartoon of Generation X.  It was on Saturday morning. It was on after school.  It taught us problem solving skills, perseverance, and teamwork.  And there are so many versions of it.  There’s the original series Scooby-Doo Where Are You?  Favorite episode?  Close race between Go Away Ghost Ship with Redbeard the Pirate and Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Werewolf?  Then there was The New Scooby-Doo Movies.  Kinda hard to pick a favorite here.  But Jerry Reed played Snowman and had  a dog named flash in Smokey and the Bandit so that kinda gives him a leg up.  Then we had The New Scooby Doo Show and the High Rise Hair Raiser and the Headless Horseman of Halloween.  Both of which were legit scary-ass creepy episodes for a third grader.  Of course it wasn’t too much longer until the eventual, although regrettable, introduction of Scrappy Doo.  Next to the implementation of the federal income tax, the casting of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker and the decision by the Steelers to take Gabe Rivera instead of Dan Marino #1 in 1983 this is likely worst decision in American history.  Realistically you probably have to count those Scrappy Doo shows as actual Scooby episodes.  But I refuse to count the Laff-a-Lympics.

superfriends1Also, it’s not really Saturday morning in the late 70’s without the Challenge of the Superfriends.  Loved the battles with the Legion of Doom.  Didn’t love the Wondertwins.  And everybody loved the narrator…”Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice…”

 

johnnyquestThen there’s Johnny Quest.  I have this memory of waking up early on Saturday morning back in the fall of ’78, hopping on the couch under a blanket and watching Johnny Quest as I got ready to watch whatever college football game ABC decided to force feed us because there was literally no other choices.  Besides being the lead in to college football, Johnny Quest had two other things going for it; 1) Race Freaking Bannon.  Everybody who watched Johnny Quest learned how to be cool by watch Race Bannon, 2) They used guns.  In a cartoon.  While they helped America fight criminal warlords, terrorists and other agents of evil during the Cold War.  Really – along with Star Wars – it was everything a Gen X kid could ask while forming his idea of values, morals and ethics…although I pretty sure catholic school had a lot to do with this too.

thundarrNo cartoon channel worth a crap could ignore the coolest Saturday morning cartoon of the 80’s.  “In the year, 1994. From out of space, comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the moon, unleashing cosmic destruction. Man’s civilization is cast in ruin. Two thousand years later, Earth is reborn. A strange new world rises from the old. A world of savagery, super-science, and sorcery. But one man bursts his bonds to fight for justice. With his companions, Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, his courage, and his fabulous Sunsword, against the forces of evil. He is Thundarr, the Barbarian!”  Seriously, I’m getting all geeked up just thinking about it.

adverbsFinally there is Schoolhouse Rock.  Without which I would not have learned the preamble to the Constitution, the correct use and identification of adverbs, interjections and pronouns along with tricks to master the multiplication tables.  I think the lack of exposure to Schoolhouse Rock is among the key reasons as to why millennials suck so much.

But that’s just me.  And that’s what is on my Christmas list.  Right now.

 

Christmas 1983

Heard Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes on the radio a couple days ago while driving the 8th grader to school.  Turns out that despite the weird freaky video this was my favorite song back in December of ’83 during my 8th grade Christmas.  Other things going on in December of ’83?  I was wearing these:

8th grade shoes

Big Country was shooting up the charts while P.Y.T. was sliding down, Eric Dickerson was setting a rooking rushing record wearing rec specs and Olivia Newton John was not only caught up a in a strange Twist of Fate she was killing it with this hair:

ONJ Two of a Kind

That’s a lotta hotness for a 13 year-old boy to deal with.

Not totally sure of what I was asking Santa to leave under the tree that particular December.  Cool BMX bike accessories?  Terry Bradshaw’s elbow to heal so the Steelers wouldn’t be subjected to Cliff Stoudt’s affinity for interceptions.  Actual brake dancing abilities.  Parachute pants.   A higher appreciation for Journey’s Ask the Lonely.

Bails wants a cat.  And candy.  But mostly a cat.  I’d probably be down with getting her a cat made out of candy but she’s not getting an actual cat.  I don’t want a pet.  I don’t need anything else to take care of.  I have a mortgage and three teenage daughters.  Three teenage daughters who routinely engage in petty sister on sister apparel thievery and depending on their position in the aforementioned thievery feign innocence or demand retribution.  Plus there is the rampant dismissive sarcasm which gives me a full tank when it comes other living things that ignore directions.  I don’t need a cat looking up at me after it pees in the corner of my office the same way Jake Tapper looks at Kellyanne Conaway.

conwaytapper

Now don’t misunderstand me.  I don’t dislike cats.  We had cats my whole life growing up.  We had Thursday, Bandit, Smokey (see what we did there), Spooky, Sneaker and then there was Muffy.  I liked all of these cats.  Well except for Muffy.  Nobody liked her.  Which seemed to suit her fine since she also disliked all the other living things in the house.

But I don’t want a cat in our house.  We have dark wood floor for pete’s sake.  Do know what kind of havoc cat hair can wreak on dark wood floors!  Trust me, it’s gross.  That stuff starts blowing across it like tumbleweed.  And I like clean floors.  Everybody has their weird stuff and one of mine is clean floors.  Cats are the sworn enemy of clean floors.  Like bumbling villains and meddling kids.  Like Lynn Swann and George Atkinson.  Like B.A. Baracus and flying.  Plus, despite all the girls’ assurances that they will take care of the cat, I’m pretty damn sure it’ll be me who makes sure the cat not only learns to use the litter pan but also cleans it out.

Yeah, I’m not doing that.  I did poopy diapers for about 5 years.  I’m done dealing with poop.

If I were to ever agree to a cat, I would never, ever, never, ever, never make it a Christmas present.  That’s crazier than pretending to be a native American to land a spot on the Harvard faculty.  Why would I attach the sentimentality of Christmas, of all holidays, to a pet which I have clearly explained is only around to cause me grief.  That’s not very Christmasy.  Also if I was somehow duped into getting a cat, it would be an outside only cat.  The kind that hangs in the garage, kills rodents and scares away rabbits.  The kind that rains death upon the interlopers in my yard that eat the plants.  We could name it Van Damme…

More Complicated?

Was Christmas less complicated when we were kids?  I mean pretty much all you did was agonizingly count down the days before Christmas Break, watch the Bob Hope Christmas Special and wait for Santa to deliver the loot.  Now it seems we either get overwhelmed or it sneaks up on us.  Although to be honest, if Christmas sneaks up on you there is really no one to blame but yourself.  C’mon the decorations are up in October.  It’s not like Christmas arrives all stealthy.  The songs have been on the radio since before Thanksgiving and the decorations are up in all the stores minutes after Halloween is over.

I think what really happens is we let it overwhelm us.  Every year we vow to shop earlier, get the Christmas cards done over Thanksgiving and to help Mom wrap the presents.  Well, that last part is a complete falsehood.  I’ve never done that.  I stick the labels on the gifts.  That is extent to which Mom trusts my wrapping skills.  I’m a strong proponent of the widespread use of gift bags.

Now I’m must spitballin’ here but I’m pretty sure my appreciation for gift bag usage is based in the Christmas story.  And I’m not talking about the 1983 movie in which Ralphie told us, “”Christmas was on its way. Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas, upon which the entire kid year revolved.”  No, I’m talking about the traditional telling of the actual Christmas story…updated for levity during this busy time of year.

Feel free to let me know if you remember it a bit differently.

According to yuletide folklore, Mary and Joseph traveled a long way to Bethlehem, inadvertently obligating couples from thenceforth to the customary holiday journey to visit family and friends while dealing with delayed flights, snowy roads and impatient whining children.  Or, depending on your current parental situation, know-it-all, eye-rolling teenagers.  Nary a mention of wrapping gifts.  Also no condemnation of the rampant use of gift bags in place of traditional wrapping.  Go back and look.  Pretty sure the Biblical scholars are going to back me up on this.   Mary made a list of what they needed and Joseph stupidly viewed the list as suggestions and instead only brought egg nog, chips and a list of where all the rest areas were located.  Thankfully he was smart enough to observe a star in the sky which guided them to the Inn where they were told their reservations had somehow been lost and had been “upgraded” to the stable.

Anyway, Mary and Joseph, settled in next to the manger in which they placed the baby Jesus.  Next to the manager was a small conifer.  In this case, a fir.  Possibly a spruce.  Biblical arborists disagree.  Regardless, Joseph, having driven the cart all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem, suggested that they just put all Christmas gifts for family and friends in gift bags.  After all it would be quicker and the important thing is the gift not the wrapping paper.

Thankfully, the three Wise Men also saw the star and began their trek to see the baby Jesus.  Lesser known is the story of the Wise Men.  They saw a star and began a trek to bring gifts to the baby Jesus.  This, of course, began the age-old practice of dudes everywhere driving aimlessly through mall parking lots searching for open spots whilst their wives and girlfriends incessantly sent them pics asking which gifts they should buy.  Unbeknownst to them at the time, the three Wise Men doomed husbands and boyfriends throughout the ages to consistent criticism for the gift decisions because of their weird gifts choice of gold, frankincense and myrrh .  Maybe some 0-6 month onesies or some diapers?  Or even a gift card to Rock Bottom for Mary and Joseph would’ve been nice.  I mean they are going to want to get out of the stable for a few hours here and there.

Anyway, key thing to remember is the story does not include anything about:  1) wrapping gifts, and 2) saving Christmas cookies for some unnamed post-holiday reason.

So, feel free to use gifts bags for any type of gift and don’t worry about saving any Christmas cookies for later.  Nobody makes New Year’s cookies…unless they help with hangovers…

 

There’s No Diet Pepsi

There are some things that are omens, they portend bad things.  In late 1991 Nirvana hit the charts with Smells Like Teen Spirit.  It seemed like a pretty cool song from a band of stinky homeless guys.  But it was just the bugle call signaling the end of hair metal.  In the 1990 the FCC implemented the educational/informational mandate and unfortunately killed Scooby Doo, Thundarr the Barbarian and Spiderman & His Amazing friends along with the rest of Saturday morning cartoons.  In week 6 of the 1980 NFL season the 1-4 Bengals came into Three Rivers Stadium to play the defending Super Bowl Champion Steelers.  The Bengals lone win and the Steelers lone loss was the result the first meeting between the teams in week 3.  The Bengals won again and it seemed like an unfortunate upset but it was really the beginning of the end for the 70’s Steelers Dynasty.

I show up at the gas station Wednesday morning as I normally do on my way to work.  I head over to the fountain pop and grab the big 44 oz. styrofoam cup.  If I have the option, I always pick styrofoam and 44 oz.  52 oz is too much and 32 is too little.  One place has a 42 oz and I’ll go with that when I stop there.  But it’s always styrofoam.  It keeps the pop colder than plastic.  Plus, and I’m just going by some extremely lazy research, styrofoam is not biodegradable or recyclable while plastic is recyclable.  So I figure walking around with a big styrofoam cup makes the PC enviro crowd irritated.  Good enough for me.

Aside from that small and extremely petty victory, I just like cold fountain pop in a big cup.  Irritating the left is really just a unintentional bonus.  Not that I’m dismissing lefty irritation but if we’re all being honest with ourselves, irritating the left isn’t especially difficult.  They’re offended by almost everything.  And if somehow you come to a non-offended conclusion, they will explain why you should be and twitter shame you into being offended.  Regardless, I really like Diet Pepsi in the big cup.  It’s the official soft drink of the NFL.  Plus fountain pop tastes different the can pop.  Not that I’m against can pop.  If I’m ranking them, can pop is a solid second to fountain pop.  Plastic bottle pop is last.  I’m not drinking that if I can avoid it.  It’s like Bud Light.  I’m not avoiding it at all costs, but I’m grabbing can of something else first.

But on this particular Wednesday morning, as I fill up my big Styrofoam cup, the liquid coming out of the Diet Pepsi dispenser is alarmingly clear.  Like it could be Sprite.  Nobody wants Sprite in the morning.  But I don’t have a lot of options.  There’s only one Diet Pepsi dispenser.  So here’s the situation…I can leave the gas station and drive to another gas station which really isn’t that close and is in the opposite direction of my office.  I can get a crappy plastic bottled Diet Pepsi.  Or I can bite the bullet and fill up with…Diet Coke.  I know.  It’s a lose-lose situation.  Probably a lot like the Democrat’s presidential primary choice.  Luckily for me I’ve faced this situation before and I went with the driving to another gas station option.  But that was on a Saturday morning and I still have to get to work.  So I filled up Diet Coke.  I wasn’t happy about it.  I got to work and yeah, I drink the whole thing.  But as soon as I finished it, I went down and got a can of Diet Pepsi to wash the taste out of my mouth.  And then I get my arse kicked for about 6 hours in meetings.  Clear liquid outta the Diet Pepsi dispenser…bad omen…

Hello Christmas My Old Friend

I like Santa.  He’s a jolly old fat man with a snowy white beard.  He’s about giving, hope and faith.  He represents the best in all of us and asks nothing in return.  He shows up regardless of the weather, regardless of how you voted in November and regardless of whether you believe in him or not.

Christmas is the season, to paraphrase Frank Cross, when we’re all a little nicer.

Theoretically anyway.

Mom was in Omaha and Lincoln for most of last week. And her side of the family came to the house over the weekend to celebrate an early Christmas.  Plus Rogue One came out Friday.  Yeah, so Friday morning was pretty much shot when it came to cleaning up the house and making food along with all the other related holiday preparedness chores necessary to accomplish when family is about to arrive.

So that means it fell upon me to get the place ready.  I unilaterally modified that task to mostly ready.  Why?  Because I’m a simple dude.  And a lot of stuff that some people think are necessary, I don’t.  But listen, we kicked Christmas’ ass decorating this place.  It looks freaking awesome.  Our family room looks like HG-freaking-TV was here.  Chip and Joanna, when they’re not fighting off the leftwing twitter lynch mob, would be proud.  The house smells like a yuletide log filled with mistletoe and sugarplums, delivered to the house by a one-horse open sleigh driven by eleven lords-a-leaping, exploded leaving an exquisite ensemble of poinsettias, silver bells and a sea of swirly twirly gum drops.   It’s like Santa himself detailed the Seal Team 6 of elves to come get the place ready for the holidays.  So I figured as long as the house is clean, the beer is cold and there is enough food to prevent starvation, we’d be set.

Yes, there were a few things left to clean up after we got home from watching Rogue One.  But it was Rogue One.  What the hell were we supposed to do?  Wait until next weekend to see it?  Here’s a pic of me getting ready to watch.

theaterrogueone

First one in the theater baby!

Regardless, I was on top of making sure the house was ready.  Thursday night, whilst cleaning up the basement, I thought I’d get all the laundry done too.  Seemed reasonable.  However, there are three teenage girls in the house.  Things which are of deathly importance to them do not always rise to that same level with me.

So, I’m doing the laundry and various clean up related tasks.  I’m about done and getting ready to call the evening’s prep work a win and just go to bed when Rye comes into the bedroom.

“Dad, when you were doing laundry did you go into my room and take anything?”

“Are you asking did I pick up any of the clothes that were strewn about your floor?  No, I didn’t.  I asked if you had any laundry you wanted done and you specifically said no.  I chose to believe you.”

“Ok, well it was Kinsey then.”

“Wait, what was Kinsey?”

“Well, my Lulu Lemon tights got washed in the washer and they are only supposed to be hand washed.”

Quick point of context – Lulu Lemon is the brand that sells tights/leggings that are about $700.  I’m kidding but Rye did save up a bunch of money this summer specifically to buy leggings that were about $100.  Yes, $100 American dollars.  They are so precious but also evidently constructed so poorly that they can’t cannot survive a routine cycle in a washing machine and instead can only endure 19th century clothes washing technology.

“Sorry about that kiddo but I just put whatever whatever was in the darks pile into the washing machine.  I didn’t look to see what was in the pile because I figure if you guys made the rare decision to put your own dirty laundry in the laundry room I was just going to go ahead assume you were serious about that stuff getting washed.  I just unloaded the washer and hung up 3 or 4 pairs of black tights or leggings or whatever.  Nothing like that got put in the dryer.”

“Okay, well, Kinsey must have put them in the laundry on purpose.  I hate her.”

Then she went into Kinsey’s room, blamed her, and then went back into her room and started crying.

So much for there being a feeling of Christmas in the air.  But that is how the mind of 17 year-old upset about her ridiculously expensive black leggings being washed glitches when upset.  She doesn’t think that she may have inadvertently put them in the wrong pile, or absent mindedly picked them up with something else off her floor, instead she tried to pin the blame on me.  When it was obvious that wouldn’t work, she seamlessly transitioned to blaming her sister, for no other reason than malice, for trying to purposely ruin them.

I mean what was Kinsey’s motive?  What did she have to gain by going into Rye’s room, searching for the Lulu Lemon leggings and then sneakily placing them in the pile of dirty laundry in the laundry room.  Where’s the payoff?

After getting blamed, Kinsey comes into my room looking like the media on election night.  She confusedly asks me if I knew what Rye was talking about.  We went through a quick recap and Kinz says, “Why would I do that? That literally makes no sense.”  Aside from acknowledging her use of “literally” in a relatively appropriate way, I just told her to ignore Rye and go to bed.

Which, if I’m being honest, is my go to strategy when dealing with the three teenage girls in my house…

Christmas and…beer

Nothing goes together like Christmas and beer.  Well, yes, family and friends, the baby Jesus, and large conifers placed inside your house are all more important than beer.  But does anything feel more yuletidy than these:

 

 

 

Published in: on December 15, 2016 at 4:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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