Saturday, December 29, 2007

Seems to me like Chet Fitch would have been a great guy to know....

Friday, December 28, 2007

a "must-see" site

I was fortunate enough today to stumble on to a really excellent site. It's and it's a compendium of excellent, beautiful, sad, poignant, fun and compelling photography. Those adjectives really cover the whole gamut but I didn't mention their one unifying trait-- they're all OLD photos. Some from the early 1900s, quite a lot from the '30s. The newest ones I spied were from the mid 50s. I haven't perused the entire collection by any means but I looked at a lot of the images and all the ones I saw were hi-res scans, very high quality images. Usually I have no problem sharing "borrowed" images I'd snagged from somewhere out on the 'net, but I find I am reluctant to post here an example pic found on Shorpy. Just feels like I'd be stealing not just images but credit from somebody who's input TONS of hard work thereby putting out a truly top notch site.
So I won't post any pics. Instead I'll just urge you to go check it out post haste, my friends...

Celeb Splitsville

Just today read that Sean Penn & Robin Wright Penn are getting a divorce. SHOCKER. And I really don't mean that in a sarcastic way (like in the smartass way I used it in response to the recent Jamie Lynn Spears pregnancy news)

I am truly surprised they're splitting. Not only does 11 years together qualify as superhuman marital longevity (in Hollywood) but the Mrs even tacked his last name on to hers. Think about infrequent is that in that biz?? These actresses get married and...I don't know what the rationale is behind it...but they NEVER change their names. Like take for example one of the most recently wed in H'wood...Katherine Heigl. If she changes her name (and I don't mean legally..I mean publicly, as in her name in her movie & TV billings) to Katherine Kelley I will eat my effing hat. And y'know, it's a quite large-ish stovepipe with all manner of tough-to-digest ornamentation on it (if that tells ya how emphatic I am). I don't know why they never do it...I don't think it's that all actresses find it outdatedly traditional. Seems more likely that with all their varied legal entanglements / contractual obligations it's just a colossal pain in the ass to do a name change. Or maybe said contractual obligations actually prohibit a public name change ? I suppose that's more plausible than Katherine Heigl saying to herself "Katherine Kelley...though it has the alliteration goin''s just not CATCHY enough. Plus 'Heigl' is so rad and German-sounding" or "Gawwwsh ...if I change mah name to Katherine Kelley...NOBODY WILL KNOW WHO THAT IS!!" Now that would mean the vast majority of celebs are just exceedingly vapid & superficial. Ahh, well that's pretty plausible also, I guess...

Anyways Robin made the rare gesture of taking on her hubby's name. That sure seemed an auspicious sign to me. And 11 years & 2 offspring...also seemed to be favorable omens. Although ... I was puzzled & alarmed by Sean's mysterioso involvement in Eve's arrest drama this past April. I mean, Sean visiting her was really the only intriguing detail in that news item (c'mon.. it was a celeb DUI arrest!! There's like 5 of those a week! Were I a gamblin' gal, I'd start up an office pool, betting on which celebs would next be booked for DUI. Can't you just picture it? "I got $50. on Mickey Rooney and $25 on Nancy McKeon!!" But I digress..) And as soon as I read that bit I thought..."Hmmm...has Sean been gettin' a little somethin'-somethin' on the side?" Of course...I only thought this to myself because I got the feeling that if I were to actually say such a thing...somehow, as a result of my comment, Sean Penn would track me down wherever I was and punch me in the face. It's been quite a while since I've read of Mr Penn being in a physical altercation but still...he still seems very much that type, don't he?? I was irritated , when the E! Online article makes mention of that Eve connection, it sez :
"Penn raised eyebrows in April when he appeared at a Hollywood police station in the wear hours to comfort Eve following her DUI arrest. "
That's a copy-and-paste right there--EXACTLY how they wrote it. I'd like to know, Josh Grossberg, esteemed author of the "Penn, Wright Splitsville" article, what precisely are these "wear hours" you speak of?? I guess I am not familiar with this figure of speech. Also it's noted that this news item was posted around 7am 12/28 so there's been ample time to proofread this...provided you imbeciles know what proofreading is....

Grammatical righteous indignation aside, it's good (thorough reporting) that they mentioned soon as I heard tell of this divorce I thought back to that Eve news item from earlier in the year and recalled how it--as Josh wrote--raised my eyebrow. Or raised both my eyebrowS, I mean. Well, see, I had wanted to raise just one of 'em ...specifically my left (in that cool manner popularized by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Ohhhh how I adore thee, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson...) but I've yet to master the single brow raise, damn it.

Even with the whole "Eve mystery" lurking in the periphery of this tale, I am still quite surprised by the split. In fact, I have not been this shaken by the dissolution of a star-marriage since the nasty '93 bust-up of Burt & Loni.

However, in my perfunctory research on Mr Penn, I picked up some interesting biographical trivia (the thrill of finding a decent trivia-nugget dulls my shock somewhat ) It was pretty widely known that Sean had a famous younger brother (Chris Penn-- awesome as "Nice Guy"Eddie in Reservoir Dogs/ died tragically in Jan 2006) but his older bro is famous too. Uhh, somewhat famous, I should say. Remember the late 80s one hit wonder "No Myth"?? Well the singer who gave us that li'l gem is Michael Penn--older brother of the aforementioned Sean & Chris. Also Michael Penn happens to be married to Aimee Mann (of "'Til Tuesday" fame). I guess that's less surprising, as it seems like burnt-out 80s popsters have a penchant for pairing off and getting hitched (a la Wham's Andrew Ridgely & one o' the chicks from Bananarama)

Not that you asked me, but I quite prefer Mann's big hit (Voices Carry) over her hubby's. It's not that I'm exceedingly keen on "Voices Carry" but "No Myth" has always mildly irked me. After reading the lyrics, I can see how the dude has a way with words that makes me want to like the song but the fact remains that I just don't. I know if the song were to come on the radio right now (well, I'm not presently listening to the radio, but let's pretend I am) it would take all of a half nanosecond for my hand to shoot out & change the station (or at least turn the volume low). I'm pretty sure it has something to do with that oft repeated chorus and the personal connotations it evokes in me.

"What if I were Romeo in black jeans
What if I were Heathcliff, it's no myth
Maybe she's just looking for
someone to dance with"
Sartorially speaking, it was sooo not a great idea to reiterate one's penchant for black jeans. So there you have it...I hear that line and my mind's eye flashes on a dude in black jeans and right at the outset of the chorus my reflex is..."ick" Although to be fair, it coulda been much worse. It was the 80s, Penn conceivably coulda mentioned ACID WASHED JEANS. That would be beyond "mildly irritating"(as I currently rate the song) and earn the tune the "downright vile" classification.
Now our next line is about Heathcliff. For the record, I AM literate enough to know that that's a Wuthering Heights reference. And y'all know how I appreciate a well-read fellah. Just the same...I can't help it...I think of the CAT Heathcliff. You know the one: "Heathcliff, Heathcliff, no one should terrify their neighborhood..."
The last two lines of the chorus are innocuous enough but not powerful enough to purge from my noggin thoughts of some mysterious ill-dressed dude (possibly making bad jeans worse by wearing a poofy Shakespearian blouse) and that skid row Garfield knock-off.

Feliz Navi-blaaah

So the holidays are done with (I suppose not officially until Jan 2, but it's not as if I have any BIG happenings in the hopper for New Years') and I'm relieved and morose at the same time. I love Christmas : the music, the decorations, the movies (did I mention my "Christmas Story" tape is MIA?? Luckily I was able to get my annual fix on TBS on Christmas Eve) and of course (in the most idyllic of moments) the widespread goodwill to be had/given.

Sooo lemme see...quickie Xmas recap....quick as I can manage...

We had a Christmas Eve party at my parents' house that went pretty well. Personally,I was too busy hostessing to Wang Chung to my full potential, but I still had a nice time (as did pretty much everyone, far as I could tell)

My favorite gift was (from my parents) this iPod docking set-one for home and one for the car with an FM transmitter (for simultaneous charging & playing) Y'know that iPod was sort of half-heartedly asked for (it was getting close to my b-day and my wishlist was looking rather I added it) it was like "Sure I'd like one, but it's not an urgent MUST- HAVE" But since I've gotten it...I'm rather fixated on it. Definitely my fave toy. I'm such a music fiend anyways...I can't fathom now why I'd not rated it a "MUST-HAVE".

My 2nd fave thing (also from the folks) was a small gift of CASH (of course I am much too genteel to impart here the dollar amount) Not only was that much appreciated, it was sorely needed. In fact the coming weeks are going to have to be a period of financial recouperation for me. Uggh.

Now my sister,who is usually apt to trump my parents when it comes to gift giving...failed to dazzle this year. Shit. I feel like a horrible, terrible INGRATE typing that. But I can confide my feelings here, unseemly though they may be, right?? Virtually nobody reads this thang anyhow (that is, unless I mention CLAY AIKEN. Holy HELL...I said something a wee bit disparaging about that dude back in Feb and yyyeee-ikes!!! I brought down the wrath o' the masses on my poor head...and HOW!) She gave me all this stuff I liked...yet nothing I really wanted, y'know? For instance, she got me some good makeup..I like fact, I already have a buttload of it (though, you wouldn't know it by lookin' at me most days...I generally save the "war paint" for my sporadic social engagements). I'd go on but... already I'm feeling so critical and mean and ungrateful.... let's just move on, eh?

This year we flipped the Christmas Day script and we all converged at Laura & Greg's (well that we have done for several years now...I've yet to touch on the "flipped" part of the script...) for the first time ever with Greg's sister, bro-in-law & their 3kids. And instead of sitting around the dining room table to eat ("family style") as we have in years past , Laura set up the dining room table as a buffet table and we fixed our plates and took 'em to various sectors of the casa to eat-- the kitchen island, the sectional, etc. I mean, the whole downstairs of that house is open plan, so it's not as antisocial as it sounds. I liked it. I think change is good. I think maybe people get too rooted in "holiday tradition" and let it all get to be rote. Or at least I think I have anyways. That's not to say folks should...y'know...PISS ON TRADITION altogether. But there is definitely something to be said for mixin' it up a bit. It's good to find new ways to honor the old observances, don't you think? The balance of old & new...that whole dynamic reminds me of the old Girl Scout song...the one about your silver friends and your gold friends? It was sung in a "round". Oh you know the one. You's singing it in your head right now.

Oh... and we have always had HAM for our Xmas repast. This year it was ham and turkey. That tweaking of tradition was yummy as hell, yo.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

OHHH the weather outside is frightful

Yuck...I no wanna drive home in this blasted snow. DAMN IT. Maybe I will loiter around and shop until the snow dies down and/or there is minimal traffic on the roads. I am somehow more at ease driving in foul weather when the roads are more or less empty.

Stay tuned to this same Batchannel for an Xmas recap tomorrow...'kay?

WOOT the hell???

I was mightily disappointed to learn the popular pic for Merriam Webster's 2007 Word of the Year...

Woot?? That's the word of the year? What are we, OWLS?? (Speaking of owls, my cousin was showing these photos around on Christmas Eve of her hubby handling this owl they found in their barn. Everybody was all awed & admiring over it 'cept yours truly. I have a general aversion to birds to begin with but..owls are uber-creepy. I would notsomuch as touch an owl, forget holding it like Philip did. What a crazy mo-fo. That is not normal owl behavior. That owl had to either be a magic owl (probably some superhero or Stevie Nicks in owl guise) OR just plain ol' brain damaged. )

Back to my dismay over the 2007 Word of the Year pick... If we HAD to go with a trendy buzz word type of word, I would've accepted "blamestorming". Not only is "w00t" a shitty and underwhelming word, what's worse is..I believe its origins are in texting lingo. I kinda detest all e- jargon like that-- LOL , LMAO, etc.

Oh, in other disappointing vote result news.. I missed the Cosmo 2007 Bachelor of the year results. It's not that I wasn't looking. Y'all know how freakily obsessed I was with that vote that one week. But they NEVER posted it on the Cosmo web site. I suppose you actually have to buy /subscribe to the lousy rag. Bleccch. Not moi. Anyways a smidgeon of googling learned me that our 2007 winner is Mr Ohio. NOT one of my picks. I certainly find this guy aesthetically pleasing, but... his write-up is somewhat underwhelming, I thought.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Daaamn is it creepy in this place when the shop floor is all closed down and dark. Total horror flick atmosphere!! It's fortunate that I only have to traverse a small area of the shop to get to the ladies room or else I might be intimidated into withholding pee. That ain't good for ya, y'know.

35minutes left before I bust outta here. That should be enough time to do my nails. I did bring speedi-dry polish (more specifically it's -Rimmel 60 Seconds Vinyl Shine in "Torrid" Hot name for a nail polish color, ain't it??)

the Day B4 the Night B4 Xmas

AND I'M AT WORK!! BAH! Isn't that just BOLLOCKS???

Our co. is officially closed on certain holidays-- day after T-giving, Christmas Eve Day, New Year's Eve Day-- but they think we need to have some customer service & tech support presence in house (I dunno why...for our Kwanzaa-celebrating customers or somethin') so a few people have to volunteer to come in on those days. Sort of "mandatorily volunteer". Well, I begged out of the day after Thanksgiving and I had thought that I had big New Year's plans so I'd given a resounding NO-CAN-DO for Dec 31. And that is how& why of me being in my cubicle on Dec 24.

Honestly, I REALLY can use the extra $$ (you get paid time & a half for working these days) and I know I'm escaping a faaar more stressful job (helping my folks prep for our annual Christmas Eve party) so essentially I'm ok with it. But still, it does bug me because it's totally a pointless gesture to have us here today. It's about 11:15am right now...I've been here since 8am...I've had 5 calls and two of those were wrong numbers. Plus, everybody in the plant is off...that's including shipping so even if someone had an urgent order they needed out today, they would call in, and first off, be ever so relieved to find someone working, just to have me hafta tell them "D'ohhh, SORRY, we can't ship nuttin' out 'til Dec 26th, sirrrr." Es stupido. Muy stupido.

News flash y'all.. my esteemed coworker Laurel just got notified that we're getting let outta here at 2pm rather than 5pm as initially planned . Getting released early for good behavior, I guess. Actually they are closing down /locking up the facility at 2pm, so it really has naught to do with our behavior, good or otherwise. After all, I don't know that I've been that great. "Idle hands are the devil's tools" they say. I don't think I was here a half hour before I started streaming online vids. And that right there, in this company, is the HEIGHT of diabolical behavior. Might as well share some o' my transgressions with you's guys...

I wish I had a bottle of THIS to help me through the remaining 2 hrs of my workday...

THIS one goes out to mah homey Jill. 'Tis some FUNNY SHIT.
But seriously , I rather like this may not be traditional hip-hop but it's awesome nonetheless.

For some reason, the NBC site embed feature wasn't working for those other vids, but seems to work fine on this one...a modern holiday classic that really needs no introduction...

This is also a modern holiday classic. I am generally a big fan of the holidays but they do get me frazzled at times...sooo...definitely there are moments when I am totally simpatico with this song...

Ohhh but damn it, I don't wanna give the wrong impression. I'm not all anti-Christmas like so many jaded bastards out there. I'm only like 2% anti-Christmas and the rest of me is chuck-a-block with Yuletide cheer. Seriously. But that song cracks my shit up. Still, I want to end my Christmas Eve Day post on an upbeat note, so...

If your flagging Christmas spirit is in need of bolstering, I highly recommend THIS Christmas special. I found a VHS of this at Family Dollar a few years ago and snatched it up (for like $4.99). Tragically, said VHS tape is MIA right now, but just watching that trailer consoles me a smidgeon...

Friday, December 21, 2007

OK, so I've never been 100% certain on the meaning of "IRONY"

... but I think this defines it aptly.

upcoming movies of note

I kinda wanna see Nim's Island. It kind of goes without saying, because Gerard Butler is in Nim's Island and generally I am game for seeing anything with GB in it. Nearly anything. I am avoiding PS I Love You because I don't think I could withstand an entire movie of the magnificent Gerard Butler being eternally devoted to -ugggh--Hilary Swank. Oscar wunderkind or not, that chick is Mr Ed in a dress and I find her inexplicably irritating.

And y'know, I generally avoid Jodi Foster too (who costars in Nims) but after watching the trailer (use above link) I am inclined to think it's because I've never watched her in a comedic role. She seems such a serious type that it works to watch her in a comedic role that sort of plays off/makes light of her Type A qualities. Most of her fare is pretty serious and coupled with her innate seriousness it just makes for an offputting viewing experience...for me anyhow. It's just on gravitas, y'know?? It harshes my mellow. Looking at her IMDB dossier, it looks like she hasn't done anything funny since the 80s...oh wait there was Maverick. That was an uncharacteristic "fluff" film for her. And honestly, Nell was pretty amusing too, but I am certain it wasn't supposed to be.

Anyways, Nim's looks cute. Maybe I'll take Chloe and/or Seth to see it. Trailer gets bonus points for the announcer's correct pronunciation of "Gerard" (I mean, I don't think it's a tough name, but it was utterly botched in the P.S. I Love You trailer)

Another promising flick on the 2008 slate-- Forgetting Sarah Marshall . I confess I am susceptible to the lowbrowish humor of Judd Apatow. Also, I think Jason Segel is very worthy of snagging a starring movie role. He was SOOO smarmily hilarious in Knocked Up. Also he's quite good on How I Met Your Mother...which I watch only occasionally. But--off-the-cuff observation on that show-- the supposed lead of that show is the most boring character on there. Well, it's a guy named "Ted" so I suppose that's to be expected. The name "Ted" just OOOZES boring-ness. OK, to be fair, the Robin character is equally dull. Even Bob Saget narrating is more interesting than those two. Alyson Hannigan-always endearing. And it goes without saying--NPH is a SUPAH STAAAAH.

Get Smart looks funny. I love Steve Carrell. The part in the teaser-trailer where he throws the phone?? Hys-friggin-sterical!!!

My Blueberry Nights looks intriguing. Most of all, I'm curious to see how Norah Jones does as an actress. But that "Limited Release" label is BAD NEWS. Por moi, that basically means--SOL catching it in the theater--gotta wait & rent it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fa la la la la la laaa etc. etc.

The past few years I have made and mass distributed a mix of Christmas music. This was beginning in 2002 ,although I skipped 2005 for some reason...or well, I guess I did have a reason, that being I was SURE I had used up every good holiday song imaginable. Retrospectively, it seems I just needed to put a little extra oooomph into tune acquisition because in 2006 I came up with a decent roster of new material. And then this year I put out not one (not seven) but TWO quality Christmas tune CDs (with a *few* songs from prev. years...but primarily it's all new stuff).

I like the notion of a homemade/mass produced holiday gift (you know, for those people who you feel you ought to give somethin' to but you don't really wanna shop my landlords and cousins I'm not close to) and the popular option for such a gift is COOKIES. And I'm not going to knock my baking abilities (I gots MAAAD kitchen skillz, yo) but cookies on that, no thanks. Rather a messy pain in the ass, methinks.

Did two CDs this year because some of my picks just could not reside on the same CD no matter how artfully I ordered the tracks? The Chipmunks on the same CD as "Angels We Have Heard on High"? Seems WRONG.

My CDs are as follows....

Mix 1-- TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS SONGS ( I love the real traditional, religous Christmas music. A really well performed choral piece gives me the a good way, of course)

1. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing--Arthur Godfrey & chorus. [ This song is decent, but not the best of its "genre" in my opinion. But I think I took a shine to it because Arthur Godfrey has such a distinct "older British gent" type of voice. I believe this is on account of him being an older British gent*.]

2. Christmas is Coming -- Harry Belafonte & random back up chorus [ I love this song: "Christmas is coming / the goose is getting fat/ please put a penny in the old man's hat/ if you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do/ if you haven't got a ha'penny, then GOD BLESS YOU" I may not even have a quarter-penny--qua-penny?--to my name after this year's Christmas shopping, and it warms my heart how Harry B. & co empathize with me here. I also relate to this goose they sing about. But seriously, I put a different version--sung by the Muppets-- on the 2006 mix and I like that one a smidge better. Sorry H.

3.Little Drummer Boy-- Lou Rawls [very good, very groovy rendition. Second only to Peter Griffin's terrific remake...see below vid..]

4. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas -- Emmy Rossum [ Emmy Rossum is really gorgeous girl.. and now, a good singer we find out. But, she just seems like she would be LAME to hang out with. She just gives off a vague, not-very-fun vibe. But I totally could be wrong. And honestly, I suspect I resent her just a smidge for her getting to rub up against Gerard Butler a few years back when she did Phantom. ]

5.Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring-- perf. by the Philadelphia Orchestra, composition by Bach [beautiful song]

6.The Holly and the Ivy--I think by the Cambridge Choir...I'm almost positive on that but not 100%. Well, whatever choir it is, it's one of those chill-inducing performances.

7.Carol of the Bells --Emmy Rossum

8.Christmas Chimes -- Andre Kostelanetz & orchestra

9.Deck the Halls -- The Columbia Choristers

10.Good Christian Men Rejoice-- Cambridge Choir ["Good Christian rejooooice/ with heart and soul and voooooice" I love this one. Can't believe I didn't have it before this year. I bought it off iTunes which means the album cover is absorbed into my iPod. Which I certainly don't mind...I'm all for a li'l visual stimuli with my tuneage. This beautiful song happens to have a this beautiful Pre-Raphaelite album cover. Behold...

I know I know the painter, but I can't think of who it is right at the moment. I just love it...although it does seem sort of funny shuffled in there amongst pics of Mims and Ludacris.

11. Allegro & Pastorale

12. Hallelujah Chorus--by Handel/ perf by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra w/ choir

13.Angels We Have Heard on High--Cambridge Choir [from the above pictured Christmas Star album. I particularly love the "In excelsis deo" part. I tend to dig anything sung in fact on my '04 mix I had a song called "Gaudete" which is entirely in Latin)

14. Ding Dong Merrily on High! --Choir of King's College [LOOOOVE this one]

15. O Tannenbaum --Andre Kostelanetz & choir [this song is sweet...I stuck with the English version, but I considered putting a German version on the CD too]

16.Here We Come A-Caroling --some choir [ I like it just a half-smidge better when this song is called "Here We Come A-Wassailing" but that's a minor quibble. I think what's most loveable about this song is how it's just overflowing with fervent & indiscriminate goodwill...y'know, all that " Love and joy come to you and to you glad Christmas too. And God bless you and send you a happy new year. And God send you a happy new year" & the like.]

17. Christmas Time is Here-- Vince Guaraldi Trio

Mix 2-- Peppier Christmas Tunes

1. Last Christmas -Jimmy Eat World [ Also have the Wham! original on this mix (track 14 ) so listeners may compare & contrast, and ultimately rule on who does it best]

2.Christmas is a Time to Say I Love You -- Billy Squier [sadly underrated ...why don't they play this on the radio more???]

3. It Must've Been Ol' Santa Claus -- Harry Connick Jr

4. Cool Yule -- Louis Armstrong

5. Wonderful Day -- the Chipmunks [ I thought that "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" was the unequivocal #1 Christmas song performed by chipmunks, but this more obscure gem actually ties with it for top spot!! I HIGHLY recommend.]

6. Carol of the Bells -- The Four Seasons [CD didn't credit "Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons"...I'm not sure what that means. Was Frankie not with the group for this one? Or was he with the group and going through some rare modesty kick at the time of recording?)

7.We Need a Little Christmas --Percy Faith singers

8. A Marshmallow World-- Dean Martin [ I love me some Dino. His singing gives me a warm tipsy feeling. This tune is Robin's fave Christmas song, btw. ]

9.Frosty the Snowman--Jimmy Durante

10. That Old Christmas Moon -- Leon Redbone

11. Christmas in Killarney-- Bing Crosby [ Nearly as good as a visit to Scotland-by-the-Yard for puffing me up with pride in me Scotch /Irish heritage ]

12. Amen -- The Impressions

13. Wonderful Christmastime -- Paul McCartney/ Wings

14. Last Christmas -- Wham! [I regret to confess...I slightly prefer the track 1 version. Less moaning & sighing in that one]

15. Monster's Holidy-- Bobby "Boris" Pickett [ this here, is the absolute pièce de résistance I urge you to seek it is the most ridiculously bad Christmas song ever made. OK, that's just my own opinion there but, objectively, it's got to be the only Christmas song that has Santa Claus sounding like Count Dracula]

16. We Wish you a Merry Christmas-- Booker T & the MGs [this instrumental has the distinction of being rated Zagat's "Best Christmas Song for Go-Go Dancing" And I can confirm that ruling. I haven't tried dancing to ALL holiday songs as yet, but I have tried with MOST. "Angels We Have Heard on High" ?? Doesn't work. "Adeste Fidelis"? No can do. "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" jammed out by Booker T & the MGs ?? Groooovy, man. Don't just take my word on it though...see for your own self!!]

*Have since tapped into the wisdom of wikipedia and discovered that Arthur Godfrey was born in NYC in the good ol' USA. But man...if you could just hear that track, you would SWEAR the dude was a Brit!!! Really!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Britney's little sis is has a bun in the 16 yr old oven. Let's hope, for aforementioned bun's sake, Jamie Lyn didn't inherit Brit's bat-guano LOCO gene.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Reindeer Games

Hello dare, bahmemba me?
I took a week and a day off from work and--though I'd not intended it-- a week and a day off from blogging. It's not as if I haven't been on the computer. I made sure to upload photos I took of my snowman. I looked up recipes online. I made CDs. It's just seemed as though I left my will to blog here in my cubicle...along with my white sweatshirt.
I didn't do anything overly fabulous with my vacation time... it was mostly used up with Christmas preparations (and I'm still not quite prepared) I will commence with an overview--brief as I can manage-- following a brief photo-tribute to my snowman, who was buried alive this past Thursday.

I call this one, "Happy Waving Snow-fellow--Mid-day":

And now we have here less of a close-up with "Happy Waving Snow-fellow--Late Afternoon /Early Twilight"

And the last piece in our series, which I have dubbed "Happy Waving Snow-fellow: Nighttime"

See how undaunted he is by encroaching darkness? That little snow-fellow was all heart. Hell of a lotta chutzpah, ya know. He will be missed.

Oh snap. ..I never thought to name the li'l guy. I retrospectively christen him..Allistair.

Okay a rundown of my vaca, bullet-pointed, to encourage brevity:

  • *Made a snowman on 12/10. I had been wanting to build a snowperson for a while but just hadn't gotten around to it. By "a while" I mean about the past 3 winters. It's not that I've just sat gazing out the window, sighing at the winterscapes before me, just idlly thinkin' "Gawsh a snowman would be swell, eh??" NOT THE CASE, MON FRERE!! I've actually gone out--booted & be-mittened-- to commence with the snow-dude construction but I always have the bad luck /timing to get the snowman jones when the wrong sort of snow is falling. Meaning-- I go out and make a snowball, then bat it around on the ground (like a kitten with some yarn) but the ground snow will NOT adhere to the snowball snow...thereby totally impeding snowperson construction --by all traditional methods. But this last time I was NOT deterred by unadhesive snow and I dredged the deepest depths of my McGyverism reserves and triumphed!! So I constructed Allistair (posthumously named ) by packing snow into different sized buckets. Consequently he is very cylindrically shaped and I didn't dare fuss too much reshaping his bodily components, since the snow was barely sticky at all. I thought the oversized Santa hat did nicely for obscuring the cylindricality of his noggin, anyway.
  • *Shopping, shopping, shopping. I still have a smidge more to do... for my Aunt Laurel...need somethin' for my bro-in-law...want to get a little something else for my Mom, my Chloe & my Sadie. Yesterday I went to Scotland By The Yard shopping. I'm rather fond of that store...not that I frequent the place or anything. It's sort of out of the way and it was only the 2nd time I'd been there. But still, it fills me with a sort of nationalist pride and makes me happy to be 1/4 Scottish and 1/4 Irish. This seems a good time to again mention my clan tartans..refer to this post of a coupla months ago. So I DID make a purchase and it is plaid item....but not our plaid..I'm sorry, our TARTAN. If it was for me, I would have insisted it be of the clan Matheson, I felt almost traitorous just buying the thing. But it was to be a gift, of course, and the future recipient , I am quite certain, is more concerned with color palette than she is with historical legitimacy or whatever. OK, OK, it's a wool blanket for my sister... I was trying to subtly & discreetly obscure the details but why the hell am I bothering? My sister has never, WILL never access my blog (luckily for me) Anyways I felt sheepish already, poaching another clan's tartan. And this tartan was labelled "MacDonald of the clan Ranald". No kidding... Ronald McDonald tartan. That made me chuckle. Anyways I was remarking about this to my mother while I was being rung up and this dude overheard me and he cuts in..all zealous-like.."Are you MacDonald of the Ranalds? Because I'm a MacGooglyMoogly and they were related to that clan!!" (OK, so I don't truly remember the dude's last was Mac-somethingerother) And I'm all "No..I'm a Matheson. I just like the colors of this blanket" and the guy was SOO clearly disappointed in me...and... I could be imagining it but I think he was trying to suppress his disgust. That did not help my feelings of shameful clan-treason guilt. Well, they were real bad for a half minute or so. But then I decided to tape the Scotland-by-the-Yard receipt to the bottom of the gift box thereby enabling Laura to return the blanket if she wants. And of course that means if she doesn't. . . clan treason is on HER head. Oh..I am really botching this attempt at brevity....damn.
  • *Sappy sappy lameass Christmas movies-- I have watched Fa-la-la-la Lifetime's " The Road to Christmas" (not too shabby) and, last night, "Lost Holiday: the Jim & Suzanne Shemwell Story" (LAAAME, though I maintain my total & eternal adoration of that yummy Dylan Walsh) I am wanting to catch ABC Fam's offerings: "Christmas Caper" and to a lesser extent:"Holiday In Handcuffs" Speaking of required holiday viewing, I had to watch "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" last night while decorating my parents Christmas tree . I don't mind the movie, but the experience of watching it with my Dad present is somewhat excruciating. Forget the fact that his laughter is--objectively speaking-- wildly excessive.... the WORST is that he gives a play by play of the movie. "Oh the sled part is coming up next!! He sprays his coaster with cooking spray and goes like HELL! He (uncontrollable guffaws) winds up (more guffaws) IN THE WALMART PARKING LOT" Did I say somewhat excruciating? Well, I was being nice. Incidentally , my fave holiday movie classic is "A Christmas Story" with Ralphie, Red Ryder &co. I'm entertaining the notion of buying it on DVD. I just LOVE that one. How can I be sustained with just a worn out ol' VHS copy, I ask ya?

Well I gotta jet....I didn't really canvas the entire 10 days off (6 off from work / 10 off from posting) but I really don't think I left out anything noteworthy either. If I think of anything, I shall be sure to apprise of those omission in a future post, mmm-kay??


Friday, December 07, 2007


Go to Merriam Webster and give 'em your pick for "Word of the Year".

I voted a couple of days ago...for the word quixotic (which I have hidden so that I might not sway your voting. But if you're absolutely certain that knowing what my impeccable opinion is will not influence your selection in anyway...just highlight the "blank" and my pick shall magically appear)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Had no idea my parents were such huge Sears patrons...

Yeaaah, more of my eccentric 'net perusing at lunch today: wound up looking through the 1982 Sears Wish Book (isn't the internet MAGNIFICENT??) Well I didn't browse the entire thing (I only get an hour for lunch, y'know) but rather, I zeroed in on the toy section. And therein I discovered that I owned something from nearly every page. You know how I recall this with such certainty & clarity?? Because IT'S ALL STILL IN MY PARENTS' BASEMENT!! Most of it anyways... They are packrats extraordinaire and that basement clutter is pretty damn fierce. On the other hand though.... if they were to send any of those glorious toys to the dump...I might just cry. Really..

Y'know it's cliche to marvel "Kids these days have everything" I can concur with that, I guess, but I think my generation had it pretty sweet. There's some truly awesome shit in the '82 Wish Book!!

Some of the highlights--

Out of all these board game "classics"....we had BONKERS! I have no recollection whatsoever of how the game was played (or any memories of ever playing the game, for that matter) but isn't the artwork on the box swell?? You know what game we had that was absolutely kickass ? "Cat's Eye " which, sadly, is nowhere to be found in the Sears Wish Book. And even sadder still, it's MIA from the basement.

In a barely relevant aside-- remember Bonkers candy? Maaan you couldn't get through a Laugh Digest without running into 50 ads for that shit. Do they still make Bonkers???

We had this Hasbro "Skedoodle" gadget. It's another of the missing toys (ok, maybe my parents didn't save absolutely EVERYTHING) but I'm not really missing it. I mean, it looked like a really neat-o gadget but ultimately it was just Etch-a-Sketch's lameass cousin...with a joystick. (This was the boy version...haaa) As is to be expected, we lost most of the stencils. I think Sears screwed my parents over when they bought their Happy Valley Furniture (see item #1) . Apparently this was a 2 bench and 1 table set but we only had (I should say:"HAVE") 1 bench. So the folks at Sears gave 'em the shaft I suppose..... or at least that's a nicer thought than the possibility that my sister's & mine incredible avarice (even at that young age) had so impoverished my parents that they chipped in their one third of $46.99 (I's no good at math) to an impoverished mommy & daddy collective and split the Happy Valley Table & Bench set with 2 other families.

Oh, also we had a toy box very similar in structure to #2 there, but the design on it was different and less wonderful than the Happy Valley line. This toy was MINE, all mine. I remember the instructional tape (with blank B side) they provided... called "The World of Sound" if I recall correctly. I know one of the clever uses for tape recorders they suggested was recording oneself playing "Chopsticks" on the piano. Which is not exactly how I used mine....

I clearly remember my first big job with this baby... I hid it behind a platter on the the dining room hutch and I surreptitiously recorded my parents' meeting with the insurance man. Yeah...we had an insurance man that came to our house (my sister used to be scared of him) I don't think they do that in the insurance biz anymore do they ?? That practice has gone the way of Bonkers candy (yep, I have since researched it.. they's discontinued ..WAAH)

Apparently I sensed that I could glean some valuable classified info from insurance dealings....but my wee 6 year old brain had no idea what that info would be. Hell, I barely know now...
This I am adding in here to illustrate that I didn't possess something from EVERY page of the Wish Book. I just want to show how I was not truly SPOILED ROTTEN (I was just regular spoiled) . How rad it woulda been though, if I did have this!! I had a Viewmaster... but you had to READ the reel commentary. Not half so rad as all this, right?? This is like a filmstrip, kinda. Filmstrips were terrif...especially if you were the chosen one who got to man the projector. When educational films made the jump to VHS they became significantly duller...because they lost that audience participation factor...
This school here predates the total lame-ification of Little People that took place in the 90s (the Fisher Price toy, we're not talking about midgets here) I had this awesome school...... it was unfortunate for the pupils that they didn't have anywhere to play unless they took the roof off the school. They so should've held a bake sale or somethin'. Still, they did have a pretty sweet merry go-round. I wanted a life-size one for my school.
This one I did have...had my parents not bought me toys like that and the Play Desk (below...) I would not be the academic ace that I am today.

But my absolute favorite thing to play with as a wee moppet...hands down....was BARBIE. Probably if playing by myself I would fart around with the Play Desk or "Skeedoodle" for a spell (oh..we did have some truly rad Colorforms playsets...Smurfs, Miss Piggy, Mork & Mindy) but if Laura and I played together, 90% of the time we were playing Barbies.
The first stage was house construction-- we had a few pieces of Barbie furniture but no Mattel manse of any kind. We would set up rooms on the stone step in front of the fireplace and also the coffee table. We'd make tables out of coasters and beds out of crocheted Kleenex box covers (the oblong type, obviously ). Then we'd name all the girls .Our top names were: Kate, Sydney, & Samantha. Not in that order...'cause I believe "Sydney" was the #1 fave...we'd fight over who got to be Sydney. But we played with 6 dolls (3 ea..very fair) so we musta had a few other names we used. I can't remember the others. Just never "Barbie"...nobody ever used "Barbie " for a name.

Anyways, I will spare you retellings of the elaborate melodramas we'd stage and get back to the Wish Book. In there I found "Magic Curl Barbie" which I retro-covet. I never had that one. Surprisingly, Barbie truly rocks that fro.. . and I dig that dress. Is it not terrif?? I find I can appreciate her better while supping with Ken rather than in the above pic where she dwarfs the entire beauty salon. How is Barbie supposed to water her fro in that sink, huh?? HUH?
We did have Pink & Pretty Barbie. She really had a gorgeous tan---a genuine, cooked-in-the-sun hue....none of that orangey faux-glow back then, you know. And the shirt she came with was probably the single-most popular piece in our collective Barbie wardrobe. Don't know if you can tell from this pic, but it had silver polka dots. Also, it was backless--very saucy. The write-up here says her sheer pink cape could be converted into a hat. WHA-A-AAAAAT?? How is it that I never knew that??

I don't know why it so upsets attractive can a hat made from a cape be, anyways??

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I will always feel better, just knowing there's an Icehotel

Don't ask how, but I wound up perusing the ICEHOTEL site during my lunchtime 'net wanderings. So, as I'm gnoshing on my gordita I'm thinking "Now when I'm feeling low about a particular bout of frivolity (as I am apt to succumb to) I can always think:'ICEHOTEL' and not feel so bad, remembering that there are thousands of wealthy kooks -more frivolous than I--that will fork over a thousand bucks to sleep for a night on A SLAB OF ICE". Hey, I'm totally down with the notion of the "destination hotel", but that is just redunkulous.

OK, well, it's not to say that I'm not interested. Obviously-- if it was able to compete with a fresh Taco Bell gordita for my attention-- it intrigued me greatly. Most of these hotels offer guided tours during the day (then close to the general public @ 6pm when the paying guests overrun the joint) . I would be game for a tour. Even better...I would be game to party at the IceBar . After a tipple or two, I would barely even notice how friggen cold I was. Heck, after four or more ...I'd probably sleep there. So I guess from that we could conclude that I WOULD sleep in an ice hotel. . . provided I was super-innebriated. And really, that's a moot revelation...because..well, let's presume I did not luck into some generous Swedish benefactor(s) ... and so if I were that drunk, I would probably also be quite broke, I wouldn't have sufficient moolah to hole up in the ice hotel . I would fall asleep in a snow bank and probably wake up with severe hypothermia. Let's hope I lose a chunk of my ass outta the deal, anyways.

Wowwww, that was a rather lengthy foray into Hypotheticalville. Just wanted to divert meself from dreadful, tiresome WORK, I guess. Which is certainly understandable.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

P.S... was Doritos. Nacho cheese Doritos, to be precise. I spied some Cool Ranch in there today but I never , WILL NEVER, be cool with Cool Ranch. Ick. I am a bit of a Doritos traditionalist, you could say.

Ohhhh and speaking of brown sugar shortbread cookies came out..ohh, somewhere above disastrous, less than awesome. They're pretty good when used in a biscotti sort of capacity, but eaten plainly...ehhh. I felt somewhat ashamed of them and stopped at Shaw's on my way in and bought Mrs Field's chocolate chip cookies and these yummy cinnamon-chocolate Belgian cookies that I pick up from time to time. So ultimately I proferred a cookie SMORGASBORD. Which is quite appropriate for National Cookie Day, yes??

Games People Play

Robin & I just played a round of "Cheeto OR Dorito?" This we play when one of us has obtained a snack size bag of either Cheetos (crunchy-not puffs) or Doritos from the cafeteria vending machine...taking care that the other does not catch a glimpse of said bag. Next, the snack holder ensures that the other is off the phone and poised to listen carefully. "Holder" then noisily bites the first Cheeto or Dorito. "Listener" must guess (from 2 cubicles away) whether it's a Cheeto or Dorito based on the sound of this initial CCRRRUNCH.

Gawwwsh, the game name is pretty self-explanatory, I thought. I have to spell everything out for you, you dimwit.

Robin has a far better guessing track record than I do. I don't do too badly, but she is UNDEFEATED . I think she has superior hearing. She's damned good at eavesdropping too.

Monday, December 03, 2007

2007 National Cookie Day Preparations (UPDATE)

I went with (drumroll ) option C. There actually a fair number of cookie recipes that don't call for eggs. And none of 'em called for Eggbeaters either (Epicurious is too snooty a site for that sort of thing) But some of 'em called for fancier ingredients than I had available (actually found this impressive-sounding--and very well reviewed-- recipe for "Swedish Dream Cookies" that called for AMMONIUM CARBONATE). And other choices, that didn't call for fancy ingredients called for fancy equipment (so maybe parchment paper ain't all that fancy,but I DON'T have any, ok?) And actually the recipe I decided on -- Brown Sugar Shortbread-- called for a springform pan (cookie baking sans cookie sheet--insaaaane!!) But I thought that one of those 9" diameter disposable round cake pans would work and once I called my Aunt 'Rainey to confirm this, I was off and baking.

I prophesied to Robin that Iwould have the Christmas tunes blaring and be clad in an apron with snowmen on it (or Santas or trees or some such seasonal motif) . Well, I came very close to fulfilling that prediction.... I'm not one to wear any apron (no hardcore slob who's used to being a head-to-toe mess does) but I put on the new Santa hat that I got at Kmart on Saturday (yes , Kmart AGAIN) And I put 3 of my bestest Christmas mixes on shuffle and blared them (at a reasonable volume)

So I have taken the cookies out of the oven and it's on the cooling racks. I was not optimistic at the outset with these suckers and I remain skeptical. I made a lot of substitutions... first off, I needed 6 sticks of UNSALTED butter (I tripled the recipe) but was only able to come up with 3 unsalted (and the other 3 were salted). Also, the recipe called for "golden brown sugar" and I only had "light brown sugar" so I used that...don't know if that totally fucked 'em up or not. And lastly (and probably my most drastic substitution) I used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. Ooh and then I added too much sugar. The dough was not so doughy, it was quite crumbly , but the recipe warned against overstirring so I just bit the proverbial bullet and dumped into the 3 foil pans and tossed it in the oven. They baked through (I should hope so!! I had them baking for over an hour) but, they looked just exactly the same coming out oven as they did going in an hour prior. So that's less than encouraging. But my definitive verdict is pending a taste test. . .

I am not so hopeful.. already thinking I might combine this plan c with a dash of plan a.

I went out and plowed with the 4wheeler tonight. I wasn't all that effectual because I'm very hesitant with the gas so, consequently, I work rather sloo-oo-owly. But, I get points for showing initiative to pitch in with the snow removal drudgery (the Dad work). Plus, it got me out of doing dishes...which is the utter WORST.

Reporting in, even on my day off...

Update on the 12/3 Cookie Baking Initiative... there are no g.d. EGGS in this house. How am I suppose to bake cookies without @#$%ing eggs?? Yeeeeah, I know: cash + short car trip +store =a dozen eggs in the fridge, but I don't wanna go out in this!!! Daaamn!

Well here are my options:
a) Depart for work a bit early tomorrow, stop by the store en route and buy the undeserving ingrates at my office some friggin' Chips Ahoy (ok, just kidding, it's very sucky for them that they have to work in this icky blizzard and I have a nice snowed in day off, so I feel for them. I really would get them the good stuff: some of those European varieties and/ or Pepperidge Farms cookies

b) Go up in the woods aways, and, with the help of my father's elf call (I was a bit surprised to find that amongst his hunting there even an elf season? ) try and lure out some elves of the KEEBLER variety and then track them back to their bakery trees....and totally pillage the joint.

c) Avail meself of the "Advanced Search" feature on and search for cookie recipes that omit eggs. I mean, tragically, there's people out there who have cut eggs out of their diet entirely for some reason or another (cholesterol, ovo-allergies, extreme phobia of anything dispensed from a chicken's ass) and they couldn't possibly go through life foresaking the JOY OF COOKIES also...could they? I mean, SHIT, how fucking bleak would that be?
Hmmm, it occurs to me that if such a search comes up with 100 recipes calling for Egg Beaters I am as screwed as ever (having none of that gunk on hand either)

d) Suck it up and drive to the damn store.

I'll drop a post later and let you know what was decided....(try and live with the immense suspense)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Dec 4

Dec 4 is NATIONAL COOKIE DAY. So sez Muppet Wiki, anyways. And that's a reliable enough source for me. DAMNED reliable. I know--for reasons of credibility-- aspersions have been cast on wikipedia--and rightfully so. But Muppet Wiki...ahh, well that's a whole other story, eh?

So..reason #1 that I'm glad I've got Dec 3 off-- I can bake up a few batches of cookies to distribute upon my return to work on Nat'l Cookie Day. I think I'll make gingerbread men and some other kind.

Of course, reason #2 that I'm glad I've no work tomorrow...we're supposed to get a shit load of snow over night (due to start in--ohhh, 40 minutes ago) I can drive in winter weather..when I must. But truly I prefer being "snowed in".

Maybe before I commence my baking binge tomorrow, I will build a snowman....haven't built one in aaages. I think a red blow pop would make for an excellent snowman schnozz.

Tonight my iPod froze up and HOLY SHEIZER, you shoulda seen me! I went from zero-to-panic mode in a half-nanosecond. I raced with my sick gadget (like paramedics racing a chronic case to the ER) in to the computer room to avail myself ASAP of the apple support site's know how. Once I got the instrux on how to reset the iPod, I fixed it easily. Although I was fretting for a second --as I turned it back on after the reset-- that maybe I'd lost all my songs. THAT would have been majorly inconvenient. I've got over 2000 songs on this thing now. Well to be precise, that'd be 3TV episodes and 2132 songs. I would not wanna have to re-sync all that...

I am sometimes not a very helpful person

Behold an exchange I witnessed the other evening in Price Chopper.

CONSTRUCTION WORKER LOOKING DUDE: (as he ambushes the gangly checkout boy from behind while said cashier is ringing up the sketchy looking lady ahead of me in the 10 Items or Less lane) : Do you know where the cranberry sauce is?
GANGLY CHECKOUT BOY: Crrraaanberry saaauce. Hmmmmmmm. (lengthy exasperated inhalation at this point ) Yyyyyeaaah. I'm.. . .not....surrrre....
DUDE: Maybe with the canned fruit?
CHECKOUT BOY: Ohh..yeah..maybe!! Yup, yup, canned fruit. That's probably it!!

Now a small bit of me was calling out "AISLE 6!!CANNED FRUIT!" before the stupid burly shopper even finished his query, but the ruling majority of my guiding Jiminy Crickets were content to stand there silently and just feel irked by the whole tableau. And so that is just what I did. Yeah, yeah, I know-pretty rotten of me...

I was actually irritated by both parties here. I mean, obviously the cashier was a source of irritation. I kinda feel that if you work somewhere, you should have a proficient understanding of the layout of the facility wherein you work. Ohhh, but that just could be me and my crazed and unreasonable notions. This cashier fellow is, sadly, a very common sort of idiot.

My qualm with the burly, inquiring customer can be summed up in one word: RESOURCEFULNESS. know me...I could never leave things at a single word. Lemme elaborate...

When I want to find something in a store I look for it. And look , and look. I will do laps and laps around the place before I deign to ask for help. My blisters have to have blisters before I approach a clerk. And sometimes I won't even then. Now, I confess to being unreasonably extreme in this behavior, but I do have a reason behind it all. It's simply that I value my own resourcefulness. Now I don't claim to any uber-MacGyver, paragon of resourcefulness, but I do have my moderate allotment and am glad of it. But, I suspect it's like a have to flex it regularly or it will atrophy and become flaccid and useless. Aw, heck, I figure that to be a decent analogy--rhetorically speaking that is (it's not as if I have actual firsthand experience of having actual muscles..ha!)

So somewhere in this guy's brain, he obviously realized that the canned fruit aisle was the best place to check for cranberry sauce, but he'd so conditioned himself to go begging & simpering for help that he couldn't just go directly to aisle 6 and friggin' look. GRRRrrr!