Friday, December 31, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Wacky is the best word to sum up my 2009 tree. If it was lime green or had feathers or reminded me or circus soleil, then it ended up on my tree. I had pink pinwheels, purple metal springs, aquamarine bulbs, ostrich plumes, and elongated figures that looked like residents of Whoville. It was weird and an eyesore and I loved it!!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday was our office Christmas party. The place doesn’t really embrace frivolity, so getting a potluck AND a Secret Santa exchange was a real accomplishment. I brought in my “cherried” meatballs … didn’t have so much as a scrap or red, spicy pork left to take home. In the gift exchange, I got a nice big coffee mug … deep blue … with several coffees and cocoas, as well as a $10 gift card to Caribou Coffee … my favorite java spot.
The gathering was nice and calm, full of good conversation and quiet good cheer. What really would have livened things up was a big honkin’ White Elephant!!
A few jobs ago, the company that I worked at had about 25 employees and each Christmas they looked forward to the White Elephant exchange. Now, some of you may know it by other names … like a "Yankee Swap" … but essentially, you bring in a gift … unisex if possible … in the allotted price range with a “from _____” card INSIDE the wrapping. Each participant draws a number. The first person … No. 1 … goes up to the gift table and selects a gift. If everyone is in the spirit of the Elephant, then some packages are super elegant … big bows and fancy foiled wrapping paper. Other gifts are wrapped or enshrouded in a deliberately shabby manner to throw off the participants as to what “treasures” might be hidden inside.
Then the individual with #2 has the option of selecting a gift from the remaining pile or “stealing” the gift from another participant. This continues all the way through the numbers, and then No. 1 is given a last chance … keep the gift they have or steal another, which sometimes is their original selection. It is a microcosm of social dynamics to watch grown business professionals plan and connive and viciously steal from their office “enemies” and get easily distracted by shiny “baubles.” It really is fun. I hear that some variations of the game have people unwrapping their gifts as they go so that others see what they want to steal, or even a full second "round" of theft.
My best year was when I went to Goodwill and bought this terribly beaten up suitcase. It looked like the hinges were barely attached. On the outside I put a beautiful chocolate brown bow. And inside, just barely fitting, I placed Uno Attack … a wonderful game. Anyway, the “packaging” for my offering was so offputting that several people decided it must contain a gem of a gift so it got stolen a lot. That same year, I got a $20 gift card to Olive Garden and a nice spaghetti measuring gizmo. A good year all around.POINT OF RANT: Peace and goodwill … no way, Christmas brings out the baser instincts in mankind and boy is it fun to sit back and watch!!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
About mid morning, I heard a pronounced yawn and my young pajama-wearing relative exited her bedroom and came out into the kitchen of her parent's house where I was working on my laptop. She grumbled something sleepily and I asked her if any of her friends had called her ... her school is notoriously lax on cell phone use. She looked at me in that way only a teenager can and said, "no, but some 420 smokin' bitch texted and wanted to know how I was doing."
My fingers stopped typing and my mouth dropped open a little. As my niece retrieved all the ingredients for a bowl of cereal, I went ahead and stuck in my nose further and asked her about this "420" thing. She then launched into a whole list of things her classmates were into, including beer and hard liquor, marijuana, "spice" (a legal incense, sometimes called K2 containing the psychoactive chemical HU-210), Four Loco energy drinks that have high amounts (11 percent) of alcohol and taurine (a sulfonic acid that inhibits certain neurotransmitters and is believed to create an anxious, euphoric state in some individuals), and even crystal meth.
I was on the brink of asking her about her immediate circle of acquaintances when she swiveled on her kitchen stool and gave me a mischievous look. "What kind of things did you do when YOU were a teenager," she said, her eyes burrowing into my head.
Now typically, I abhor hypocrisy ... but this was my niece! What could I do? I'll tell you what I could do ... just what I did. I lied through my damn teeth. As I regaled the bored and ailing youngster with stories of student council projects and class officer duties and club after club after club, I was secretly remembering the weed and worse that I had smoked, ingested, drank, and snorted. And I also just kept talking because I didn't want to give my inquisitive niece the opportunity to ask more probing questions like "was it fun to get wasted?" or "what was it like to be high?"
So with a somewhat troubled conscience, I give you David ... an innocent youth who learned the ins and outs of tripping at an early age from a visit to the dentist. Enjoy!!
POINT OF RANT: I'm so glad I'm not a parent!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
As a trained journalist, I spend lots of time enjoying various columns and even analyzing the language and imagery used in advertisements. So I couldn't have been more surprised when my reading was interrupted ... halted actually ... by a challenge in the local "weekender" insert. Seems a culinary contributor was suggesting that anyone with holiday baking to do should find a favorite cookie recipe and "jazz it up" by adding 1/2 cup of more of crushed pretzels ... any brand ... to the list of ingredients. The verbally-smirking baker felt that anyone who did so would be amazed at how different and revitalized their cookies would be.
What the hell, I mused and but down my paper to retrieve a notepad and pen. I'm not much of a baker or cookie maestro, but I was heading to the store anyway so I decided to put on the oven mitts/boxing gloves and take up the challenge. Whose "cookies" didn't need an occasional nip and tuck?
In a green plastic recipe box, I have handwritten gems from both my mother and my grandmother ... champion-level cooks in their time on earth. I considered my Grandma's classic peanut butter cookie recipe and my Mom's awesome oatmeal raisin bars, but opted for a 3C cookie ... Chocolate Chunk Chip. I jotted down the needed items and a few necessities of my own.
A few hours later, I had about four dozen cooling cookies that looked a bit more coarse than I remembered. Breaking one in half, I popped a portion into my mouth and almost had to grab the counter for physical support. The cookie morsel was warm and so dense and chewy. And the chocolate ... accented by the extra salt from the pretzels ... was so much more rich. It seemed to vibrate in my mouth, sending little shocks throughout my lymbic system. Within five minutes, six golden cookies were deceased. I found a nice airtight contained and sealed the tempting treats away to share with co-workers the next day.
So today ... around 8:30 a.m. ... I entered my department's break room and opened up the cookie equivalent of Pandora's box. Within seconds, the peers who sometimes offer me advice and constantly provide me with professional criticism were offering me other things ... kidneys, movie passes, their children, etc. ... for more cookies on Tuesday. I didn't like the looks in their eyes as they devoured the 3Cs in their sticky little hands, so I smiled weakly and retreated to my office. For a brief moment, I considered moving my credenza to block the door like in every zombie movie I'd ever seen. Of course, I left the cookies behind ... I was fleeing for my safety and they only would have encouraged pursuit. But I was kind of pissed that I didn't even get one to have with my morning java.
POINT OF RANT: Crushed pretzels ... I dare you!!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Nielsen, the son on a Royal Canadian "Mountie" and a Welsh housewife, trained in radio and broadcast arts because of his distinct and resonant voice. Anyone you ask will remember him for his various film and TV antics over the years, but I will remember him the most as the handsome Commander John Adams from "Forbidden Planet," a groundbreaking sci-fi film from 1956 that introduced audiences to newly-developed special effects and the iconic Robby the Robot. And of course, I officially started my Nielsen "bromance" with "Airplane!" and his deadpan performance as Dr. Rumack.
When I heard the news about the silver-haired celebrity's death, I started researching his career and realized that he and my entertainment needs have intersected more times than I ever would have guessed.
His motion picture career is vast and varied from flicks like "Tammy and the Bachelor" (opposite Debbie Reynolds) and "The Poseidon Adventure" to the funny and familiar farces of "The Naked Gun" films, "Mr. Magoo," two installments of the "Scary Movie" franchise, "Superhero Movie," "Soul Man," and "The Patriot" ... just to name a few.
I also went on the Internet to see what other fans were saying and one individual summed up what was in my heart much more succinctly than I ever could. This man commented that "Nielsen had the courage to take on roles that some might have seen as goofy or trivial and made them shine like diamonds. His kind of talent is a rarity."
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
As is typical with may types of birds, the males tend to be larger and more colorful. Turkeys are also known for the unique "gobbling" sounds they produce. There is a myth that turkeys are flightless birds ... all turkeys can fly but it is an ability that, in this breed particularly, is proportionate to weight. Simply put, the big, fat turkeys we buy in the store couldn't fly because they were bred to be big and fat.
When two parties meet to discuss a business proposal, they often engage in initial pleasantries ... asking about family and leisure activities like vacations and the progress being made on a golf swing ... but when deliberations turn serious, it is often termed "talking turkey."
And for any of us with friends or family members who are ex-smokers, we have probably witnessed the explosive tempers and listless moods of someone attempting to quit an ingrained habit like tobacco "cold turkey."
POINT OF RANT: All this turkey talk is making me hungry ... I'd give my right "giblet" for some good old-fashioned stuffing instead of the stove-top crap!!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
My newest scheme is to quit my job, find a financial backer who recognizes my true genius, and create a scintillating series of "art books." My first project would be a book featuring all the courthouses of Ohio. I've travelled throughout a good portion of the state and the heavy-handed designs and materials of the older structures are truly awesome. Even some of the newer "replacement" buildings are impressive with their odd-and-unique mixture of modern elements and rural "sensibilities."
The state of Ohio became the 17th such designated entity on March 1, 1803. Carved from the Northwest Territory, Ohio derives its name from an Iroquois word ... "ohi-yo" ... meaning "great river." Indeed, Ohio is bounded on the south by the mighty waters of the Ohio River. But the state is better known for other reasons. Politically, Ohio represents a juicy morsel with 20 electoral votes and strong Democratic leanings. The "Buckeye State" has also produced seven U.S. presidents.
Ohio is often referred to as a "gateway state," meaning it links the Northeast to the Midwest. In fact, Ohio has a quantifiable uniqueness ... it is situated within a one-day drive of nearly half the U.S. population and about 70 percent of it's manufacturing and industrial resources. That is some powerful geography!!
But my interest lies in the scenery ... 44,825 square miles divided up into 88 counties. And each one seems to have a legal hub complete with slabs or granite, marble, and sandstone ... or newer angled facades with brick and chrome and glass block. Some are welcoming while others exude a foreboding feeling that is downright Gothic.
I think buildings can have such warmth and strength and even majesty while made of hard materials and cold surfaces. My book would also feature some interior photos of each courthouse as well as any early sketches or blueprints. And every featured building would have a close-up inset of the cornerstone. I really want to encourage people to take roadtrips and see the elegant edifices in person.
POINT OF RANT: I would never eat a salad or side dish served by Anne Geddes without thoroughly running my fork through it looking for rattles and "binkies!"
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Dean just smiled a Cheshire cat grin. "Buddy ... would I do that to you?! It's staying put because I know how much you enjoy losing to me and our friends!!"