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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Reminder to My Fellow Mets Fans...

I'm the face of the franchise! Who cares about "forearm stiffness?"

Do you know why you feel joy? So despair feels that much worse.

But at least Mrs. Met can still play! Right? Right?

Oh good, football season starts next week. I can watch Michael Vick throw twice as many picks in Chip Kelly's fast paced offense. Yay.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscar LIve Blog: The Bloggening

8:00 Welcome to the live blog! Here we go with Kristen Chenoweth. I guess she still has a few years on that GCB contract to work off.

8:05 Adele looks like the 50 ft woman next to Kristen.

8:06 Clooney has the distinguished beard. He's a serious Hollywood player now! No more models for him. Kidding!

8:07 Echo! Echo! The ABC tech crew is not winning a sound emmy so far.

8:12 Oh good, crappy ads for crappy ABC shows. "How to Live With your Parents..." Brad Garrett should have saved his Raymond money better.

8:13 Anne Hathaway says that her whore haircut was the worst part about doing Les Miz. Oh, poor dear! Have an Oscar, make it all better.

8:15 How racist is this? Kelly Rowland and Robin Roberts have only interviewed the African American attendees. Keep striving, Kelly. One day you too can talk to Jennifer Aniston.

8:18 My Lovely Wife has returned home. The first thing she asked: "Why is Kristen Chenoweth wearing a Kim Kardashian hairdo? Why does she look Jack Skellington did her makeup?" Missed you last year, honey!

8:21 Oh boy! The Oscar producers! Every year, they promise Excitement! Zazz! Flash! Every year, no. It's a bunch of self important people giving themselves awards. You can only do so much with it.

8:23 Blonde ABC lady is showing us us the Oscar table. Close as you're going to get.

8:24 Hey, remember when Renee Zellwegger was cute?

8:25 Oh my god! They're letting a black lady talk to the white hostesses! Go Queen Latifah! This is better than when The Help ended racism last year!

8:27: MLW: "Oh good, they toned down Kristen's eye shadow."

8:28: Hey, remember all the hits that ABC put out last year that they advertised non-stop on the Oscars? Good Christian Desperate Housewives rip off? Ashley Judd, FBI agent? No? I don't think any made it past 13 episodes. Red Widow, welcome to the club!

8:30: And we're off! Here's Seth MacFarlane! Take a drink every time he tries to offend the crowd by being "edgy."

8:31 Also, drink every time they lie about a billion people watching this. You'll be unconscious by 9 PM.

8:32 Oh, poor Ben Affleck didn't get nominated! It's so hard being a handsome millionaire married to Jennifer Garner.

8:34 Good job finding Roman Coppola in the crowd. I don't even think his Dad could find him that fast.

8:35 Drink! Chris Brown - Django Unchained joke!

8:36: Drink! Mel Gibson's voice mails were the basis for the Django script.

8:37: Drink! A billion are watching!

8:37 And the ham plane has landed! Here's Shatner!

8:38 "Boob song." I think this is an example of stupid at first, but gets better through repetition. Can't quite tell if the actresses are embarrassed or just playing the bit.

8:39 Oh right. MacFarlane thinks he is an unironically good singer.

8:40 Charlize Theron can actually dance pretty good.

8:40 MLW disagrees. She loves the boob song. What do I know?

8:41 I would watch the full length sock puppet version of Flight.

8:42 The show tunes are starting to win me over. Gordon Levitt can't sing all that well, but charm carries the day.

8:45 Ok, loved the Sally Field bit. Especially the Smokey and the Bandit pay off.

8:46: Offically tired of show tunes now. Congratulations! You've done in 15 minutes what Les Miz couldn't do in 2 hours and 45 minutes.

8:47 Best supporting Actor! All have won before, so no one can be bitter. This is the closest race of the night. Jones will probably win for Lincoln. I'd go with the always delightful Christoph Waltz.

8:48 I loved De Niro in Silver Linings. Captured the delusions of the Eagles fan very well. Too well. Sigh...

8:49 The winner is Waltz! Slight upset, indicates the Lincoln train has gone off the rails a bit. He is fantastic in Tarantino films. Other movies, not so much. (Green Hornet, anyone?)

8:55 Who dressed Melissa McCarthy in a green sack?

8:56 Oscar awards banter: Where comedy goes to die.

8:57 Animated short? That's what that was leading up to?

8:58: Paperman! That movie was delightful. It was probably that or the Simpsons one, since those were the only ones anyone saw.

8:59: Animated feature! All these movies were good, but I'd love to see Tim Burton win.

9:00 Brave. Of course. Wasn't a top shelf Pixar movie, but still good. Nice to see the director in a kilt. It's scottish, get it?

9:01 Meet the nominees! We're just going to throw the three most unsimilar films together! Broadway musical Les Miz! Magical Realist Life of Pi! Indie darling Beasts of the Southern Wild! These are all films!

9:03 These couldn't get their own intro? We need time for more songs!

9:04 Quevenzene Wallis is the youngest nominee ever. Welcome to the high point of your entire career as an actor. You're nine.

9:05 Plus, I don't have one. Sigh.

9:05 Drink! Clooney likes 'em young!

9:07: Cinematography! Life of Pi wins. He has longer hair than the Hugo cinematographer had last year!

9:08: Too bad that Roger Deakins didn't win. He always does amazing work for the Coen Brothers. He's been nominated something like 9 times with no wins.

9:09 Visual effects! Avengers was awesome, but it's more likely to go to a Best Picture nominee like Life of Pi.

9:10: Life of Pi! Magical realism is magical! Our cat likes the pretty tiger.

9:11: MLW: "They're really crawling up Ang Lee's ass, aren't they?"

9:12 Cute, they're playing them off with the Jaws music. Oscars are nothing if not subtle.

9:16 A wig rack! Guess it's time for costumes and make up!

9:17 Channing Tatum has won me over. Which is no mean feat after having to sit through GI Joe on a plane.

9:18: Best Costume! This usually means most costumes. I'd pick Anna Karenina...

9:19: And it is Anna Karenina! Period costumes, epic tale, train suicides... everything you want in a movie.

9:20: Make up! It had better god damn not be Les Miz. The zombies from Walking Dead thought the down trodden poor in that movie were over the top.

9:20: Les Miz? Are you fucking kidding me? They'd laugh those appliques out of the room on Face Off.

Do you hear the people eat? Eating the brains of angry men...

9:22 Bond. James Bond. Bond is the ultimate male fantasy. Secret agent, beautiful women, cool cars, travel the world, neat gadgets... It's like having unlimited credit at the Sharper Image.

9:24 And don't forget the softcore opening credits!

9:25 Shirley Bassey!

9:26 Oh, I was excited until she started to sing.

9:27 Memories: I played a vibraphone solo on a James Bond medley in high school band. "Nobody Does it Better." Actually, I remember botching it up, so really anyone could have done it better.

9:28 MLW: "Shirley, stop touching your boob." Oh, I missed you baby.

9:29: MLW: "I thought she was great."
Me: "Really? I didn't like it. She was flat."
MLW: "You can't sing. How would you know?"
Still glad you're home.

9:30: Wikipedia says Shirley is 76. So, I take back some of my vitriol. Still didn't care for it.

9:31: My Lovely Wife: "This is God mocking me! I have cramps and no Oscar!"

9:32: MLW: "Kerry Washington is so pretty! I hate her!" I'm just going to transcribe her comments from now on.

9:33 Short films! Time for you to get a snack!

9:33 Curfew wins! They actually had the nominees stashed in box near the stage so it wouldn't take eight minutes to get to the stage.

9:35 Documentary short! You know, it would be great if they could spend 10 seconds describing what these docs were about. I'm trying to guess at the subjects based on 3 seconds of footage. King's Point looks like it's set in an old folks home. Open Heart is about heart surgery, I guess. Innocente wins, and I have no clue what it's about. Homeless artists, based on the acceptance speech.

9:36 Liam Neeson! Takes great restraint to not make a dick joke. I'll outsource.

9:38 Three more nominees! At least these seem to be more thematically linked. The political thriller Argo, the political drama of Lincoln and the terrorist hunt of Zero Dark Thirty.

9:41 Drink! John Wilkes Booth was really able to get inside Lincoln's head!

9:43 And here comes Affleck! OK, it's too bad he didn't get nominated for Argo, but come on! Hollywood's acting like that snub is the greatest crime in the history of recorded time.

9:45 Documentary Feature! Searching for Sugar Man wins! The crew that made Man on Wire wins again. At least these get a wider release so I don't have to guess as to what they're about. Seems like a fun movie about a soul singer who becomes world famous in South America Africa.

9:47 The Jaws music comes back. Can we ease up on that? I understand we need to make room for the song from Ted later, but this is the most public acclaim these guys are going to get. 10 more seconds of "thank you" would kill you?

9:50 MLW: "Why is Jennifer Garner wearing a tube top?"

9:51 Foreign Film! I'd like Canada to win for War Witch, (Yay Canada!) But Amour is going to win.

9:52 And the tender story of an 85 year old couple slowly dying together wins. Every review I've heard of Amour says "Wonderful film. I never want to see it again."

9:53 The orchestra is playing at a remote location? Really? Why on earth do that?

9:54 Travolta is here! Which massusse drew the short straw?

9:54: Movie musicals! The cast of Les Miz! Oh, they brought Russell Crowe.

9:55 On the pantheon of bad movie singing, Russell was at least better than Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia. Not a high bar to cross, but still...

So everyone who said Russell Crow sucked can shut up. 

9:57 I loved Chicago. Dreamgirls was OK. Jennifer Hudson's a great singer, but Effie's song doesn't make a lick of sense. "I am telling you, I'm not going...except right now when the song ends." Eddie Murphy was the best part of that movie. Too bad Alan Arkin and Norbit conspired to rob him of an Oscar.

9:58 Jennifer's great, but not even she can save Smash. (Tuesdays on NBC! See it while you can!)

10:00 "One Day More!" One of my favorite musical songs ever. I was annoyed that they made a hash of it in the movie. It's so epic, yet it felt so tiny in scope on the screen. Plus, you know, Russell Crowe.

10:01: Hugh Jackman! I accept that if Hugh Jackman came to the door, he could take my wife and there would be nothing I could do to stop him. And I couldn't even get mad, because he's Wolverine.

10:02: Why did they cast Kermit the Frog as Marius?

10:02 This sounds so much better than the movie version did.

10:03 Hugh Jackman. He sings. He dances. He's Wolverine. He's ripped. I wish I could hate you.

10:04 I saw Les Miz in Toronto on 1989. The Playbill had an ad in it back then: "Coming next year: Les Miserables! Directed by Alan Parker!" Only off by 22 years and a director.

10:05 Kristen Chenoweth is now the Fairy Godmother of Royal Caribbean cruises. As My Lovely Wife says, "Why bother paying for a celebrity spokesperson? Just say that at least we're not the Poop Cruise."

10:08 Star Trek hosts the tech awards! MLW likes Zoe Saldana's dress. I like what's inside the dress.

10:10: The obligatory Ted appearance. The effects aren't bad. But the orgy joke isn't going anywhere.

10:12 Sound Mixing! Lez Miz loses because you could hear Russell Crowe. (All right, last one.)

10:13 Les Miz? Really? Now you're just trying to annoy me.

10:14 MLW is still annoyed at the casting of Howdy Doody as Marius in Les Miz. She'd rather have had Daniel Radcliffe.

10:15 Sound Effects! A tie! How dramatic! Too bad it's in a category no one but the nominees cares about.

10:16 Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall! Not quite as dramatic as Striesand and Hepburn tying for Best Actress in '68, but still...

10:18 Chris Plummer! Ok, the Sound of Music gag was great.

10:19 Supporting Actress! If it's not Anne Hathaway, drink the rest of the bottle.

10:20 Hathaway! She was good, but she stuck out like a sore thumb in the work house scene. She's so gorgeous in her pink dress, you can understand why the rest of the workers hated her. (See: MLW's comments about Kerry Washington.)

10:21 As MLW says, "Whenever pretty girls ugly up, they get an Oscar."

10:22 MLW: "Anne Hathaway acted the shit out of that song."

10:23 My Lovely Wife has just informed me that she would like to be referred to as My Beautiful Wife.  Done and done.

10:24 Hey orchestra! Dare you to play Anne off with the Jaws theme!

10:25 Why did they play her off with the Godfather theme? Is that next year's big musical?

10:29 Goody, the Academy President. He's promising us an Academy Museum where you can see how movies are made. We have one of those already. New York wins again!

10:31 Props to Seth. He's a better host than I thought he would be. He's sold the jokes well and seems to be enjoying himself. And the only Nazi joke so far was in the context of Sound of Music, so youget a pass.

10:32 Editing! Fun fact: It's rare a best picture wins without getting an editing nomination. Argo wins here, giving it's chances a lift.

10:33 It's surprising how little love Lincoln has gotten. This was considered the dominant front runner when the nominations came out, but it's really petered off. It hasn't won anything yet. Day Lewis is still a lock, but I would not be surprised if it didn't win anything else. Maybe everyone woke up and realized how dull it was. (Aside from James Spader. He was fun.)

10:36 Can't hear Adele over the music so well. It's all right. I've heard SkyFall about 50 times so far. Great Bond theme, best Bond movie in ages. MBW disagrees, thinks the song is just OK. Marriage is all about communication and negotiating disagreements.

10:38 I thought we were going at a good clip, but then I realized we have 4 more songs to get through. Erg.

10:43 The last three nominees! These also have a common theme! Love against all odds! Old age (Amour)! Bi-Polar Disorder (Silver Linings Playbook)! Slavery (Django Unchained)!

10:45 I've actually seen a few nominees this year, and unlike last year I want to see most of them! Django was exciting fun (though not as good revisionist history as Inglourious Basterds and it dragged in the third act once two of best characters got killed.)

10:48 Production design! Oh please not Les Miz. The barricade, so impressive on the stage, looked like they threw together two tables and a chair from an Ikea sale.

10:49 Lincoln! WE'RE BACK ON TRACK!

10:50 They did make the White House look impressively uninhabitable and drafty. Still liked Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter better.

10:51 Salma Hayek's neck jewels are pretty. "That's her dress!" says MBW.

10:52 I'm glad that D.A. Pennebaker got an award. Amazing career. And Hal Needham! And my wife loves Jeffery Katzenberg. Good choices all around. (Too bad you never deigned to give Pennebaker an award for his documentaries.)

10:54 A note on Les Miz: While I made a lot of jokes about it tonight, I really did enjoy it. I cried in all the right places, Hugh Jackman is fantastic. I point out the flaws because I love.

10:55 MBW: "So what? You cried during the Muppet movie last year. Hey why don't the Muppets host next year?"

10:57 Faces of Death! Who got snubbed this year?

10:58 Ralph McQuarrie, thank you for designing all of my childhood dreams. (And, honestly, most of my adult ones.)

11:00 I forgot Ray Bradbury died! Damn!

11:01 And Babs comes out to sing Memories to honor Marvin Hamslich.

11:03 MBW says that Gilda Radner has thankfully ruined this song for her. All she can think of Lisa Loopner singing this now.

11:06 Down the stretch we come! Depending on how much of the song from Chasing Ice we have to sit through, we may get done before midnight.

11:08 Set introduces the cast of Chicago "because the show wasn't gay enough." Hackiest joke of the night.

11:10 What on earth happened to Renee Zellwegger? It looks like someone punched both of her cheeks and made her eyes swell shut.

11:11 Best score! MBW & I both think Life of Pi.

11:12 Life of Pi! Richard Gere tried to let Renee read the winner, but she couldn't open her eyes wide enough. Good thing Queen Latifah jumped in, or we'd have to start playing the Jaws music again.

11:13 Best song! We aren't going to hear the three songs that have no chance of winning?

11:14 ScarJo, you are very pretty and surprisingly good in Avengers. I don't think singing is your strong suit.

11:15 If Skyfall loses, chug that bottle you didn't chug when Anne Hathaway wins.

11:16 I don't even remember there being a song in Ted. And it got nominated? I don't understand the song category at all. They didn't nominate Springsteen for the Wrestler? But this pastiche song gets in?

11:17 Skyfall! Adele is halfway to an EGOT! She'll get the Tony when the Adele jukebox show hits Broadway in 10 years.

11:18  So weird when they cut to the orchestra in their bunker. Might as well be in the compound in Zero Dark Thirty.

11:21 If I count right, we're down to 6 awards. Yay!

11:22 Screenplay! I hope Moonrise Kingdom wins. I loved that movie. (So did MBW). Some people get down on Wes Anderson's movies. "Oh, they're such artificial constructs!" Hey guess what, genius? EVERY MOVIE IS AN ARTIFICIAL CONSTRUCT! IT'S A MOVIE!

11:24 Adapted Screenplay first: Argo wins! Good sign for it's best picture chances. I was fairly certain Lincoln would win. Honestly, Life of Pi should have. The book is 300 pages of a kid in a lifeboat with a tiger, and it's amazing. To make a movie out of that is incredible, especially one that isn't just "Scene 23: FOCUS ON Pi in the lifeboat." and repeated 20 times.

11:26: Original screenplay: Tarantino! I really liked Django, even though it is the most violent movie he's ever done and that's saying something. Maybe Wes Anderson should have used the N-word more in Moonrise Kingdom.

11:27 Tarantino stopped the playoff music! You cannot stop Tarantino from talking. No one can.

11:28 MBW: "Dustin Hoffman is so adorable! He should have been in the Hobbit!"

11:30 Tim Burton in the Samsung Tablet Ad. I'd rather see Zombie Unicorn Apocalypse than his Alice in Wonderland movie again. (Wonderland II: Electric Boogaloo!)

11:32 I'm now legitimately curious who wins best director. Spielberg was the heavy favorite, but Lincoln really has had no momentum. Ang Lee? David Russell? I loved Silver Linings Playbook, but that is really more an actor's movie.

11:33 Still surprised that Benn Zeitlin beat out Affleck. If he was nominated, he probably would have won easily.

11:34 Ang Lee! Still annoyed he didn't win for Crouching Tiger. He may be the first man to win twice, yet have neither film win best picture.

11:35 Now I'm wondering if Day Lewis can hang on to best actor. The way the voting has been going, you'd think the confederacy was counting the votes.

11:37 Making jokes about the length of the Academy Awards is the last refuge of the hack. You were doing so well, Seth.

11:38 Surprised I've only seen one promo for Brad Garrett's horrible new sitcom. Maybe they learned their lesson from drilling Ashley Judd's catch phrase ito us last year. "I am not FBI! I am a mother looking for her son!"

11:40 Hey remember when the Artist swept Hollywood by storm last year? No? If the Artist came out this year, do you think it would even have gotten nominated? The films are so much stronger this year.

11:41 Best Actress! The favorite is Jennifer Lawrence. I thought she was great. It Would be cool is Quavenzene won. Take that Oscar to Show & Tell tomorrow. "I brought a frog!" "Yeah, I brought a FUCKING OSCAR!"

11:43 The winner is Jennifer Lawrence! Use the Oscar to kill your rivals in Hunger Games 2.

11:44 Oh my god look at that dress! Kate Middleton's wedding gown was more discrete. No wonder she tripped on it!

11:45 "This woman needs no introduction." And he didn't introduce Meryl Streep. Good job!

11:46 Best Actor! Last year, I said that Bradley Cooper had arrived because he got to do his awful Christopher Walken impression in the preshow. This year, Oscar nomination! Do not doubt the power of my blog! KNEEL BEFORE ME HOLLYWOOD!

11:47 This award belongs to Lincoln, but Hugh Jackman strapped Les Miz to his back and carried it through the sewer to safety. I'd love to see him win.

11:48: Day Lewis! Did Meryl open the envelope? I didn't even see her do it! Fix! Fix!

11:49 First actor to win three leading Oscars.

11:50 So, our most iconic president: played by a Brit. Our most iconic super heroes (Superman, Batman, Spider Man): all played by Brits. TAKE BACK WHAT IS OURS!

11:51 Best Picture next! Argo is still the favorite, but it's only won 2 oscars so far. It's a pretty deep field and they've spread it around pretty well. Based on what's already happened, I'd say Life of Pi has a good chance of an upset.

11:52 Michelle Obama and Jack Nicholson! Even though he's 75, they still kept her far away from him.  3000 miles far.

11:53 I haven't seen all the pictures. Of the ones I have my favorites are Silver Linings and Django. (Haven't seen Argo yet.) Unlike last year, none have made me roll my eyes. (War Horse! Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close!)

11:55 Remember when Spielberg used to direct fun movies? Like Jaws & ET & Raiders of the Lost Ark? Instead of grubbing for Oscars for the last 20 years? (Of course, should Spielberg read this, we meant "directing important films that change the world.")

11:56 Argo! Oh thank goodness that nice Ben Affleck got to take something home! Otherwise the universe would have cried out in injustice.

11:58 Of course Argo won. It's a movie about how Hollywood helped saved the hostages, Yay Hollywood! We're great!

11:59 Would have been nice if he thanked Kevin Smith. Ah well.

12:00 And we're done! Overall, not a bad show. Not too many grievous mistakes. Not a bad job by Seth MacFarlane. I didn't even get drunk on fake outrage! Good job!

12:01 Oh, we're not done? One more song. Come on guys...

12:02 Come on, credits...hurry up

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Oscar Live Blog II

Having awakened from my blog hibernation, it's time to live blog the Oscars! This was fun last year, so what better way to honor Hollywood than to have a pointless sequel? 

Sigh... Miss you , Liz.

It will be great! Although I will be working right up to show time, so I may miss all the Hitler jokes Seth MacFarlane crams into the monologue.

Pop culture reference... Nazi joke... Smirk... Still better than Billy Crystal!

So join us at 8:30 for all the fun. And forced frivolity. And awful musical numbers.  And self important people congratulating themselves. Good times! 

See you then!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Secret Identity

"I can see your beard!"

"Of course! Everyone can see my beard!"

"No, your black beard!"

The small child on my lap is very excited. He has peeked behind the Christmas curtain and seen the backstage workings.

Or he is just being a brat. I can't decide which.

About a year ago, My Lovely Wife got us a Christmas gig as Santa & Mrs. Claus. It must be fate. I once played Santa Claus in a school choir performance years ago in junior high. The teacher wanted someone to play Santa while the choir sang, and literally everyone turned to look at me. I was a somewhat chubby kid, but my lovely wife says it's because I'm extra kind (In fact I just typed this part - Mrs.Claus). To quote Arthur, the young janitor in Miracle on 34th St., "The costume didn't have any padding, and I got my own padding." Mom and Granny were tickled by my performance, and it seemed to go well. My lines were non-existent I popped out from behind a chimney and put some toys in stockings. I had to laugh and shake my little belly, like a bowl full of jelly. Then laying a finger on the side of my nose, behind the chimney I rose. (Kudos to C. Clement Moore this is part of my new book "Confessions of a 7th grade Santa.)

The party from last year also seemed to go well, since they invited us back. My Lovely Wife says ( she's typing this right now) it's because we really love kids and love to give out and buy toys for them as much as the Clauses. Plus you can see both of us actually CARE when we are talking to them and taking pics with them. It's about the spirit of the man in the red suit ,more than just a party Santa.

I am the all-seeing Santa! I see all and know all! Yes, especially when you do that.

For the most part, being Santa is quite an easy job. I get paid quite well to sit. On a throne. And supplicants are brought before me. I can see why dictators and the royal family find this appealing. 

And most kids are overjoyed! They run at me and leap onto me and hug me. (Leaping can be problematic. My Lovely Wife played the Easter Bunny at a mall in New jersey long ago. She couldn't see a thing out of the eye holes, but she could hear a voice shout "I'm heavy!" Then she heard the tromping of running feet. Then she went bunny tail over tea kettle as the heavy child slammed into he and her chair. Then she was stuck on her back, more Easter Turtle than Easter Bunny, with all of the Easter balloons and decorations falling down around her.) Some of them are just so tickled to meet Santa! 

Lots of them need coaxing. Even though they have been talking to their parents for months about what they want for Christmas, the minute they seem me, they forget everything - even their names. Pretty much the way my wife would act if she ever met Hugh Jackman. 

My wife says"Take your shirt off Santa Wolverine-Gaaaaah...."

We chat with the kids and try to take a picture, then the big question. Have you been good this year? A lot of the kids who are terrified of Santa start to look really worried. Some of them have been Santa'd into submission with warnings that Santa's watching! It's a horrible way to use the jolly fat man, but My Lovely Wife said it was something that really worked on her sister - almost too well. Some kids are scared for a reason, because they are getting COAL. And my sister-in-law got some EVERY year because she was on the naughty list for a while. But we tell them if are nice till Christmas, it still counts. We want them all to have a very happy holiday and not to be scared of Santa. We want them to know that the holiday spirit is very real and exists in us, the embodiment of all things jolly and joyous, Santa and his Lovely Wife Mrs. C.

Next, the minions must ask for tribute, like in Game of Thrones. "Winter is Coming- the list is long." The tiny, clinging supplicants who climb on my lap must dictate their terms of enrichment. And the bounty most sought for in the land? TOYS! TOYS! TOYS!

This is where my lifelong obsession with toys comes in handy. Do you want a doll? (Yes.) What kind? (Either Barbie or American Girl. Buy stock in American Girl dolls. Practically every girl who sat on my lap wanted an American Girl doll.) A stuffed animal? Do you want video games? Xbox or Playstation? (Buy stock in Nintendo. Kids love the 3DS.) Happily, all the staples of my childhood were still popular: Tonka trucks, Hot Wheels, and Lego. (Before Lego got a Star Wars license, they made a generic Space Lego that was always my favorite.) 

Of course, not all the kids love Santa. Some are afraid of me. (There's a whole book about it.) And that's really more funny than sad. Why are you scared of Santa? He wants to give you presents! I'm nice! (Although it is ironic that protective parents tell their kids all year "Don't talk to strangers! Don't take candy from strangers!" And then they see me at a party and they cannot wait to throw their children at the strange, bearded man with a deep voice and funny clothes handing out candy canes.)

C'mon, kids! Santa's in the van! Really!

It's so cute to see a little boy plant his feet in the ground, lock his knees, and refuse to be dragged any closer to Santa. Honestly, it would hurt my feelings if it wasn't so darned cute. It's less cute when the child is placed kicking and screaming on my lap. Let's just say that most Santa costumes don't come with a protective cup.

Mrs. Claus and I always tell the parents to take the picture, screaming or not, since it's still a memory worth preserving. My very favorite picture from Christmas as a child is of me and my little brother sitting on Santa's lap at the mall. My brother looks to be maybe 18 months old, which puts me at around 5 years. In the photo, I am counting off my items on my fingers, all business, most likely asking for Star Wars stuff. (So much has changed since then!) My brother is screaming. He is screaming so loudly that it looks as though he is trying to unhinge his jaw like a boa constrictor trying to swallow a cow. To me, that photo is the Spirit of Christmas in miniature. 

There is a third group of kids, the slightly older ones who are a little too cool for the whole Santa business. You know the ones. They look for any slip of the beard. Any inconsistency, "You don't sound like the Santa I saw yesterday.""Are you really Santa?" I suppose it's karma, since I was exactly that kind of brat as a kid. And you just haven't lived until you try and debate the metaphysics of Santa Claus with a six year old. The elves are at the North Pole. They build the toys. Well, they are very good at making Kindles. Magic, that's how. Yes, Santa is everywhere. Just like Jesus. Just leave out chocolate chip cookies for me, all right? And carrots for the reindeer.

Which brings us back to the start of this post. At about hour 2.5 of a 3 hour party, my mustache started to wilt. Now, no one yanked it off, while screaming "LIAR!" I was sitting next to a space heater, and the combined effects of sweat and children siting on my beard caused it to droop. I tried to cover it as best I could while resetting my bobby pins, but one or two kids were telling me they saw my real mustache under the white one. Coal for you!

These are minor speed bumps. The kids are great, and it is amazing to be a part of someone's Christmas memories. There were also face painters at the party and one of the kids got a Santa beard and glasses painted. "I can help you do deliveries!" he said. That's a better gift than the the Blu-Ray player I asked Mrs. Santa for for Christmas.

It's fun to believe in Santa. Even when you're grown up and don't anymore, it's fun to remember the excitement you felt as a child. When you could believe in something good and magical.

(Like Santa Wolverine! - Mrs. Claus)

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Back in business

So, apologies for the hiatus. Work and life conspired to push blogging to the background. But, I'm back with many new things to vent about.

Stay tuned for updates, including a special holiday themed post later today.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Get Your Ass to Mars

One of the last true explorers passed away last week.

I'm late to the party on this, and just about everything there needs to be said about it has been said. But I will add my small piece.

Armstrong's family has asked that when you "see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."

Not to contradict his family, but I would argue that the best possible way we could honor Mr. Armstrong would be to follow the advice of Mr. Schwarzeneggar.

Let's get our asses to Mars.

My Mom grew up in the space age. She grew up reading Robert Heinlein and dreaming about living on the moon. I grew up in an age where our grandest missions were to resupply the international space station and circle the earth a few times. NASA's been facing cutbacks for years, finally shutting down the Space Shuttle program, and I can't help but think that it's directly tied to our lack of ambition. If we're only going 242 miles up, how is that going to inspire anyone? New York to DC is 242 miles. Amtrak can get you there is 3 hours. (Fucking AMTRAK! C'mon NASA! Amtrak is kicking your ass!)

And I don't think that the public's appetite for space travel has waned. Look how excited we all got when the Mars Rover Curiosity landed this summer! Pictures were taken! Internet memes were spawned!

When we put our minds to it, we got a man on the moon in ten years. 43 years later, that's as far as any person has gone.

I am a liberal Democrat, and I think Newt Gingrich is a bloated toad, but he did say one thing I agreed with on the campaign trail.

Gingrich offered his vision of an ambitious new space program. "By the end of my second term," Gingrich said, "we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American." The crowd erupted in applause.
And he was just getting started; by 2020, he said, there would be regular flights to Mars.

Of course, he was probably just pandering to the Republican voters on Florida's space coast in an attempt to woo those who had lost work once the Space Shuttle shut down.

What's that, you say? Oh, Mars would cost too much? How about we divert $50 billion out of our current defense budget? That only leaves $650 billion left to defend ourselves with. I'd much rather we fund a trip to Mars than another 10 year adventure in Afghanistan or Iraq (or a brand new one in Iran).

So let's get to it. Let's christen the USS Neil Armstrong and get going. I want a Mars landing by 2022. I want footprints on Mars, not tire treads. You want to talk about uniters and dividers? Then this country should unite and get someone on Mars.

And then start the lunar colony. There's still time for Mom to have her Moon Condo to retire to.

(Because she's not moving to Florida. She hates Florida.)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Do Not Want

I love baseball. (Despite the best efforts of the Mets.)

I love Clint Eastwood movies. (This love of his films continues in spite of him losing a debate to a chair last week.)

 Get off my lawn, you smart assed chair!

Any Adams is cute as a button. Even when she's trying to be all South Boston tough in The Fighter, she still adorable. She's been great in just about everything since Enchanted. (What? No, that Amelia Earhart thing never happened.)

So why do I have no interest in seeing this movie whatsoever?

Probably because it's not going to be about Clint or baseball or Amy Adams' adorable nose. It's going to be about baseball as a metaphor for life. It's going to use baseball as a wrapper around a treacle-filled family drama. It's going to use the Field of Dreams trope about how baseball will bring dads and kids together, And Amy Adams looks like she going to be spending the movie in a full on concerned pout.

Also, it's about the Atlanta Braves. God, I hate the Braves and their stupid tomahawk chop. (Really, you're going to sell me on the fact Clint discovered Tom Glavine? I wouldn't slow my car down if Tom Glavine crossed the street in front of me.)

Clint, you're 82. Sadly, you aren't going to be with us that much longer. Why take a chance that this could be your last movie? Why have the last image of you in the public's eye be this, the chair debate, and your wife's awful reality show?

C'mon, Clint! Get to work on Unforgiven 2: Still Unforgiven! Bill Muny's back and he's still cranky! Sure that would suck, but at least it would be entertaining. At least I could watch that on HBO and not be tempted to turn to Real Sex 324 on HBO6.

Like everything else in life, I could be wrong about this. It could be a masterful family drama.

But I'll never know. Because I'm not watching it.

PS: Braves suck.