Have a Merry Winter Holiday!

Christmas postcard, 1911

Goodbye Santa

Well Folks…it’s that time of year again.  Families are decorating holiday trees, lovely artificial Georgia Pines festooned with low watt energy saving winter lights and orbs of colors that span the rainbow.  Mothers everywhere are baking Gingerbread Person cookies outfitted in smart pants suits smudged with blue and pink icing.  Dad is gearing up in the gym, going to cross fit classes so that he can fit into his new chinos from Banana Republic.  With all of these things going on, I think that it is high time to share the history of how Christmas became Winter Holiday…

A very long time ago there was a man named Santa Claus.  He lived in a wondrous place called the North Pole.  Each year, with the assistance of a highly trained cadre of elves (a tiny breed of human who in the Eighties we referred to as midgets), Santa made and delivered toys to all of the world’s children on Christmas Eve.  He asked for nothing in return.  He simply loved to put smiles on children’s faces; much like Michael Jackson (too soon?).  Santa had a team of reindeer that could fly.  They pulled him in a huge sleigh through the chilly winter skies, landing on rooftops all over the world to deposit Santa down chimneys so that he could deliver toys to the little boys and girls.  This happened every year for many, many years.

Today we have no Santa.  We have replaced him with nervous parents who scour the internet searching for age appropriate toys (usually geared towards learning tolerance and/or foreign language skills) for their children.  Our children no longer feign sleep just to wake up to GI Joes and Barbie dolls.  Nope, those days are long gone.  The kiddos are now nestled snugly in bed with their laptops and iPads cruising Facebook and being internet bullies, waiting for the morning to come so that they can open the presents that they helped their parents pick out.  How did this happen?  Let me explain:

I’ve told you about the glorious days of Santa Claus, but I did not share the story of his terrible fate.  You see, Santa caused a lot of discontent to a lot of people (mostly residents of California, but I digress).  The first problem that Santa ran into was global warming.  His snowy homeland, a place held together by the imagination of millions of children around the world, began to melt away.  Children everywhere were being indoctrinated into the myth that is global warming and with each tear shed for a sweaty penguin, Santa’s home began to melt.  The next problem that Santa faced was a heavy accusation of running a sweatshop full of undersized adults, or little people.  This ridiculous subterfuge caused discontented mutiny in Santa’s workshop once word spread to the elves that they were being kept down by “the man”.  Soon, Santa had no one to help him make toys.  To add insult to injury, Santa’s jolly wife, Mrs. Claus, left him for a woman named Marge after attending Lilith Fair.

Today you can still see Santa, smelling slightly of liquor, panhandling for change in front of outlet malls all over the country.  Do yourself a favor and give the guy some change.  Maybe some hope and change.  It seemed to have worked for America.


Economy devistates children all over the world: The Toothfairy files Chapter 13

The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000

Image via Wikipedia

Well, well, well….times sure are tough folks.  Here is a great example of just how tough they really are:

My son lost his first tooth this week and boy was he excited.  For once, we did not have to coerce him into going to bed.  We didn’t have to tuck him in or turn out his lights or read him a story.  Nope, not this time.  This time, he hit the sack like a champ.  Lights out, tooth under pillow, and a gapped grin spread across his sweet little face.  This was pay day-Tooth Fairy Day!

Our son is only six, but he knows quite a bit about life and it’s guarantees.  He knows that if he cusses, he gets a spanking.  He knows that if he is good, he gets to play Xbox.  He also knows that the Tooth Fairy pays top dollar for bottom teeth!  Unfortunately, our son woke up rather disappointed on Friday.

I heard him rummaging around in his room early Friday morning.  I could hear him talking to himself and I could also hear him tearing through his sheets looking for something.  Not one to miss out on his strange antics, I got up and made my way to his room.  He looked very disturbed; angry even.  I could tell that he had something on his mind, so I asked him, “Son, what’s the matter?”

“I got stiffed Dad,” he said.

“What do you mean, you got stiffed,” I asked.

“The Tooth Fairy…she didn’t leave me any money,” he shouted.  He lifted his pillow to lay proof to his claim and sure enough, there was no money to be found.  The only thing that lay under his spittle stained pillow were broken dreams.  The tooth was missing, and so was the money.

Shocked, I tried to muster up some encouraging words of wisdom to offer my sobbing child.  I had nothing.  Never in my 30 years on this earth had I heard of such an egregious circumstance.  The Tooth Fairy failed to make good on payment due!  There had to be a logical explanation.  So, like any good Father, I looked to Google for advice.

A quick search for instances of Tooth Fairy misconduct yielded astonishing results.  I clicked on the first link and found that a young couple in South America had suffered through a similar experience.  Dios Mio!  To add insult to injury, the tooth was not the only thing missing from their young Daughter’s room.  It seems that someone had also taken the poor child’s Ipod.  Despicable.

I checked another link…same story.  Tooth gone, no money, and items stolen.  Alarmed by the eerie coincidence, I rushed to my son’s room for a quick inventory of his belongings.  Sure enough, it seemed that he too was the victim of a looting.  His prized copy of Halo for the XBOX 360 was missing.  In it’s place, there was a note.  It read:

“Dear Young Man,

I regret to inform you that due to dismal returns on my investment portfolio and a string of poor choices of a personal nature, I am unable to reimburse you for your lost tooth.  I have, none-the-less, taken said tooth; as it is my inherant duty to ensure that it finds it’s way to it’s final resting place.  It saddens me even further to inform you that I have had to take the liberty of ascertaining one of your video games.  I do hope that I chose one that you don’t often play.  I pray that you hold no ill feelings towards myself or any other variety of fairy.  Our people are in dire financial straights, as we do not qualify for governmental assistance or any social recovery programs.  I did, however, petition President Obama to support a program entitled ‘Cash For Molars,’ but he laughingly declined.  Do not discount the resilient nature of fairy folk.  We will prevail through these difficult times.  My uncle, the Toenail Fairy, has already seemed to have  had some luck in emerging markets.  On a final note, I hope that you are not overly fond of the upcoming holiday, Halloween.  I hear that the Pumpkin King has been incarcerated for selling bootleg DVDs.  It seems that he is unable to make bail.  Best Wishes.  The Tooth Fairy.”

I hope that the economy bounces back soon.  I couldn’t live without Peeps!

The Twilight Phenomenon: A concerned Father fights back (via The Good Twin)

Hello Folks…I’m re-posting this to celebrate the news of Twilight’s final movie. Perhaps this ridiculous tween battle will soon draw to a close….

The Twilight Phenomenon:  A concerned Father fights back So, my daughter is enamored with the whole twilight thing.  She has watched all of the movies.  She has read all of the books.  I must admit that initially I was excited that she was so engrossed in a book.  I am an avid reader and find few things more relaxing and enjoyable than a good book.  So you can imagine that I was happy when my little girl was showing interest in something that I love to do.  Little did I know the consequences of her cho … Read More

via The Good Twin

Freshly Pressured

Wow…what a weekend folks. I survived another rejection notice, I went to the circus with my wife and kids, and one of my posts was featured on Freshly Pressed! I cannot tell you how excited I was (and still am) that the “Powers that Be” chose one of my posts to be featured! I felt like a rock-star. Still do. I know that my wife and children are probably tired of hearing about it. Thank you to all of the folks out there who visited my blog and all of those who left a comment. I truly enjoyed reading each of your remarks and I hope that you all come back soon for another visit.

There are some definite benefits to being featured on Freshly Pressed. You get the satisfaction of knowing that your blog will be reviewed by more readers and you get a big boost in confidence. On the contrary, there is also an often overlooked consequence to being displayed on the WordPress homepage; pressure. I’m now lumped in with those who belong to the seedy underbelly of the blogosphere; the one time wonders of Freshly Pressed. I now feel super pressured to post better content. I know that quality trumps quantity, but what if I make a spelling error, or even worse, what if one of my blog post falls flat on its digital face? What then? I now know how the primates at the local zoo must feel about their situation. I feel terrible for all of the acclaim and recognition that I have lavished on those simple apes. How pressured they must feel to consistently outdo their last performance…what a shame. In the future I will be mindful of their strife prior to boasting of their over-the-top showmanship and their humorous antics. Perhaps that will allow them a fleeting moment of relief, at the least.

I guess that about does it for now. Again, thanks to those of you who read my blog, even the ones that did not like it. I know who you are, by the way. I hold no grudge, but next year I may forget to remind you of the dreadful day! In the meantime, stay classy!

Friday the 13th meets Cupcake Wars

You know folks, I didn’t even realize that today was Friday the 13th until I read through a few blog posts on the WordPress dashboard. Thank goodness that I have managed to survive. I consider this an amazing feat since I had no forewarning. Thanks FOX News. Thanks CNN. Thanks for nothing! Luckily I have escaped certain death and, being in Japan, I have already weathered most of the evil storm that you all in the states are going to go through over the next 15 hours. As long as I am able to hold it down for the next two hours over here, I should be good to go.

It would have been nice to have known a lot earlier today that somewhere out there lurks a masked killer poised to lob off my head at the drop of a fedora. That is the kind of information that I am looking for when I watch television, but there was absolutely no mention of this ominous date in the media today. Again, this could well be the fact that I am 13 hours ahead of EST, but that doesn’t excuse the media’s lackadaisical attitude towards the most notorious day of the year; not to mention their total disregard for my safety. Perhaps they should issue some sort of “Crimson Alert” type of thing when crazed psychopath killers are out on the loose, but instead of a cutting edge early warning system for serial murderer celebratory days, when I turn on the television, I see Cupcake Wars. Yep, you heard me folks; Cupcake Wars! I flipped on the tv and that is all I got. No warnings, no news, no political banter. Just Cupcake Wars.

For those of you who have never seen this ‘amazing’ television show, it goes a little something like this:
The audience is introduced to four sets of pastry chefs from all over the United States. Occasionally, the viewing public is surprised by an interesting import such as a French pastry chef or a Cambodian cupcake cook. Almost always, there is a contestant who is all tattooed up and is running an edgy bakery somewhere in Southern California. Probably pot cupcakes, but I digress.

These blowhards get all worked up competing against each other to create unique cupcake recipes that revolve around various themes, depending on the week. Unfortunately, there is only so much that one can do with a flipping cupcake. These “chefs” usually come off to me as self-indulgent windbags, especially the moron covered with tattoos that thinks that he is bringing something raw to the world of cupcakes. Newsflash dipstick. There is already something raw about cup-caking. It’s called eggs! Give me a break. You are an overrated caterer for children birthday parties and company potlucks. You make miniature cakes for crying out loud. You don’t even make big boy pastries!

The big shots that run network programming need to get a grip. How the hell is a cinnamon ginger jalapeno cupcake going to stop Jason Voorhees? Perhaps he is a sucker for red velvet, but I highly doubt it. The only red that he wants to see is the blood that he squeezes out of your jugular!

Have you ever googled the word google???

Beware the Google monster!

Being a card-carrying, publicly professed Google addict; I use Google for almost everything.  To my wife’s growing dismay, the words “google me” fly from my mouth with little disregard of consequences, especially during Jeopardy.  I find myself arguing with that urbane Alex Trabek on a fairly regular basis.  Who does his fact checking anyway?  We always take his answers for gospel, but I’m getting off track here.

Lately, “google me” has become a personal mantra of sorts when I believe myself to be correct.  On the other side of the shiny penny, I even use this as my battle cry when sure that I’m full of malarkey.  Nothing says ‘he’s mighty certain of himself’ more than throwing down the Google gauntlet.  Alas, my wife, all-knowing and not-to-be-trifled-with, normally accepts the challenge….she googles me.  She calls to carpet any unusual claim that I make or any downright lie that I tell; whether it be for a laugh or simply to prove a point, she always calls me on it.  Sometimes, I am right.  Other times, I am completely wrong.

Today, I made a laughable claim to some co-workers (mind you this was in jest).  I proclaimed that if you googled the word Google, it would cause a catastrophic world-wide web disaster.  The internet would suck itself into a digital black hole.  It would be the equivalent of traveling backwards through time to your childhood and smothering yourself with a pillow as you slept (kind of a crude analogy, but you get where I’m goin’).  Of course, no one believed me.  Why would they?  I was simply making a joke.  But…my addition is strong and my willpower weak.  As soon as I clocked out, I ousted my laptop from its fancy Swiss army bag, called up my beloved google, and pressed the following keys: g..o..o..g..l..e.  I then pressed enter.

A low hum began to emanate from my HP.  Shaken, I tried to exit my web browser.  It froze.  The familiar google webpage remained locked on my desktop, menacing in its omnipotence.   From the top of my display, I noticed a bright blue light.  My web-cam had sprung to life, seemingly by itself.  I tried to free myself from the relentless pull of the vast white background surrounding that familiar empty rectangle of power.  My eyes remained transfixed on the screen.  My grip tightened upon the sleek body of my laptop.  I watched, frozen, as the screen filled with dizzying blurs of codex, digital daggers ripping at the fabric of the internet.  Before my watery eyes, Google died a Cesarian death, impaled on the floor of the twenty first century Senate.  As I watched the glorious web fold into itself; I wondered what had I done.  Then, my webcam shot a laser beam into my left eye and I passed out.

Seriously, true story.

Google me.

Thousands of Japanese people couldn’t be wrong…or noisy???

The public transportation system in Tokyo, Japan is the largest rail system in the world!!!  Trust me, I checked Wikipedia.  It is also a place where noise, laughter, conversation, and sound wander off to die.  I am amazed that, while packed with thousands of citizens, the subway cars in Tokyo are as quiet as a graveyard.  If you are looking for an out of the way place to write a book, I’ve found it.  Trust me, no one will fool with you here.  As you squeeze into these tubular transports, elbow your way into a coveted seating position, or become relegated to stand; you will not hear a peep.  No one will ask you about the next stop or what you are reading or where you are going.  They will just be…quiet.  The silence that settles into the Tokyo subway car is deafening.  The marching rhythm of clackaty-clack-railroad-track is the only sounds that will fill your ears, provided you haven’t donned an i-pod or any other such musical doodad.  I find that it is a testament to the strong silent citizens of this wondrous land.  Their calm determination to occupy a small space and demand isolation, much like that of their tiny island homeland, is commendable.  All heads are bowed into books, eyes down, headphones on, ear buds inserted; everyone is in their own private coach car.  It is amazing.  The subway car churns up mile after mile in peaceful noiselessness, occasionally the silence is broken by a digital voice announcing the next stop.  Some of the braver citizens, liberal in their wayward glances, peer up from their books to watch the passengers escape the cars along with the processed air.  Swoosh…the doors shut, the air locks engage, and back to the silent grind of the subway.  Amazing!  You should visit.  Ride the subway, just don’t get chatty.