Friday, December 23, 2011

Mount X-Mas Movies

I love Christmas time. A big part of the reason I love Christmas time is because of the movies. For me it really doesn’t feel like Christmas until I’ve consumed each of my favorite Holiday flicks. With that said, here’s my Mount Rushmore of X-Mas movies. Oh and you can save the angry emails about taking Christ out of Christmas. A) I went with X-Mas movies because Christ is not featured in any of these films, nor does he have a cameo. And 2) "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as "Christ". So just simmer down.


Mickey’s Christmas Carol

This Charles Dickens classic has been told and re-told. There are dozens of versions on film and for the most part they are all well done. For my money though nobody did it like Mickey and friends. First off it is the most child friendly version by far being that it is the least disturbing (no sickly orphans hiding under some dude’s robe). Scrooge McDuck plays the role he was born to play (literally, I mean the guy’s name is Scrooge). Watch that little mouseketeer Tiny Tim hobble over to old Ebeneezer and throw his arms around his neck and don’t tear up. I dare you.

Marley (Goofy): Ebenezer? Remember when I was alive I robbed from widows and swindled the poor?
Scrooge: Yes, and all in the same day. Oh, you had class, Jacob.
Marley (Goofy): Ha-yuk. Yup. Er, no, no! I was wrong. And so, as punishment, I'm forced to carry these heavy chains for eternity! Maybe even longer.

The Grinch

Another adaptation of a Christmas classic, from Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The book is great and the cartoon is cute but this feature film is fantastic. Jim Carrey is amazing as the Grinch. Cindy Lou Who’s "Where Are You Christmas" is one of my all time favorite Christmas songs. The Grinch back-story featuring the late Josh Ryan Evans was brilliant (Oh Martha, Oh Christmas!). For my money Ron Howard knock this one out of the park.

Quote: (The Grinch) “The nerve of those Whos. Inviting me down there - on such short notice! Even if I wanted to go my schedule wouldn't allow it. 4:00, wallow in self pity; 4:30, stare into the abyss; 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one; 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me - I can't cancel that again; 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing... I'm booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness. But what would I wear?”

A Christmas Story

1983 was a good year for me in the Christmas movie department with Mickey’s Christmas Carol AND A Christmas Story both launching that same Holiday season. Unlike my first two this one is an original. The story of a boy and his heartfelt desire for a Red Rider BB gun. You’ll shoot your eye out. The soft glow of electric sex. The queen mother of dirty word, the f--- word. Soap poisoning. The pink bunny suit. Fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra. It’s beyond classic, it’s timeless.

Quotes: “Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian.” “My mother was trying to insinuate herself between us and the statue.”

Elf

Another original story and my all time favorite Christmas movie. I smile through the whole thing and I never tire of watching it. I think I’m going to watch it again right after I post this. I’ve already paid homage to Will Ferrell’s performance in Mount Funny but it’s worth stating again he was miraculous as Buddy the Elf. Oh and Zooey Deschanel will have you singing "Baby It's Cold Outside" the rest of the day. It’s the story of a human raised by elves who passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, walked through the Lincoln Tunnel and saved Christmas. That’s right, aka AWESOME! The best part is it’s highly highly quotable.

Quotes: “I am a cotton-headed ninnymoggins!”
“So, good news! I saw a dog today!”
“I think you're really beautiful and I feel really warm when I'm around you and my tongue swells up…”
“I'm sorry I ruined your lives, and crammed eleven cookies into the VCR.”
“I thought maybe we could make ginger bread houses, and eat cookie dough, and go ice skating, and maybe even hold hands.”
“First we'll make snow angels for a two hours, then we'll go ice skating, then we'll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookiedough as fast as we can, and then we'll snuggle.”
“Have you seen these toilets? They're GINORMOUS!”
“You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don't smell like Santa.”
You sit on a throne of lies!”
“I just like to smile! Smiling's my favorite.”
“Francisco! That's fun to say! Francisco... Frannncisco... Franciscooo...”
“What's a Christmas Gram? I want one!”

Friday, December 16, 2011

Stop Ogling Women

I’ll get right down to it. Men, stop ogling women. It’s gross and you look like a creep.

With that said, women please understand something; men have the innate ability to spot an attractive woman. That is how he found you. The act of finding you did not rob him of this ability or blind him to all others. Oh and men, pretending that it did just cheapens both of you.

However, this ability to recognize an attractive woman does not mean you don’t have to control yourself. You should refrain from leaping in the air, whistling and howling, while your eyes pop out of your head like a cartoon wolf. There are many reasons for suppressing such a reaction if for nothing else so you don’t look like a lunatic.

I am a man. When not with my family I spend most of my time in the company of other men, young and old. (That sounded bad. I just meant I hang out with guys. Don’t judge me.) On multiple occasions I have witnessed old men ogling women half their age. This immediately triggers my canned reproach, “Stop that. You disgust me.”

As for the young men whose company I keep (Why does it keep sounding like that?), I try to teach them that every young lady is somebody’s sister or daughter with the potential to be somebody’s wife and mother. I ask them, “Would you want somebody treating your (sister/daughter/wife/mother) that way?” The response invariably comes, “No.” To which I respond that we should keep in mind that every girl is somebody’s baby.

Don’t get me wrong this is no easy task for two reasons. 1) There’s a reason that one of the adjectives for a beautiful woman is stunning. A man can find himself gawking at a woman without even realizing it. Honestly, it sounds like an excuse but it’s not. And B) there are women who have every intention of flaunting what the good Lord gave them. That is their right I suppose.

I’d like to tackle each of these separately. First, intent matters here boys. If a beautiful woman happens across your path there will inevitably be a Wow factor but that lasts only a second or two; anything longer than that and you’ve entered the creeper zone (If you start hearing Ferris Bueller’s Oh Yeah in your head that’s a giveaway you’ve gone too far). Let me say it is not okay to objectify women in any way. Even in cases where they clearly don’t have respect for themselves that does not give us freedom to be disrespectful. Be a man. Know who you are and remember who they are, whether or not they act like they know. No excuses.

Second, Mademoiselles you can help here. While we have the responsibility to control ourselves no matter what, you can make that so much easier by dressing modestly. I’m not saying you have to wear a hijab or anything but short skirts and cleavage are going to attract our attention like a monkey to a shiny watch. Don’t hang your junk out there for the world to see and then feign offense when some dude stares at you. Help us respect you by respecting yourself.

This message is intended for all men but I’d like to particularly address married men. You are under no circumstances allowed to stare, gaze, gape, gawk, peer, leer, ogle or peep at another woman, EVER. I will jack stomp the next guy who says it’s okay to “look at the menu” because it’s not like he’s going to order. That’s the stupidest analogy I’ve ever heard. What are you doing at that “restaurant” anyway? Go home. There’s no menu there, you just choose from what you’ve already got in the house. Imagine how you’d feel if your wife went around squeezing guys buns and saying, “What? I’m not going to buy it I was just seeing if it was ripe.” For you it’s more than not being disrespectful it’s being considerate of the woman you love. FYI ladies, for those of you wondering I’m rock’n two ripe melons. BOOM! BAM! (The woman I love is no doubt shaking her head right now)

Let me be clear, this goes for women who are up close and personal as well as the women you see on film and in print. Just because she’s famous doesn’t mean she’s not somebody’s little girl. Just because, to a degree, she makes a living having people look at her doesn’t mean you’ve got free reign to be a scoundrel.

Since I know, in some cases, I’m address the lowest common denominator among us and all appeals for reason will fall on deaf ears I’ll make my final case for the worst possible reason to refrain from ogling. Guys, there is no scenario where you look cool checking somebody out. You always come off looking like a putz. It’s pathetic. Not to mention you give them all the power. So quit it.


One last thing. Ladies, feel free to ogle us all you want. We’re not offended in the least. Our self esteem is low enough that we don’t care and crave the attention, so gawk away. We’ll even shake what our mothers gave us upon request.

That is all.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mean Girls

Growing up we’re taught that boys are made of “snips (whatever that is) and snails and puppy dog tails” and girls are made of “sugar and spice and everything nice”.

Well isn’t that special. The only problem with that is it’s a big fat lie. We’ve all met sweet girls (I married one) and spicy women that is true but, individually and as a whole, women are anything but nice.

Am I nervous about writing that? Do I fear the repercussions of my actions? Is there any chance I’m wrong and have simply misjudged this fairer gender? Yes, yes, and no.

I’ve put off writing this for months in order to be sure of what I wanted to say and that it was at least based in truth. (And because of the fears listed in the paragraph above) I write this now with the hope for a positive change for women everywhere.

This is born of no ill treatment I’ve received from women. On the contrary I feel that by and large men tend to get their fair share of sugar and spice and, ya know, nice. I’m not even here to question the motives behind said niceness heaped upon mankind. (I’ll save that for a different time)

No ladies, I’m here to ask a simple question, “Why are you so awful to each other?”

As I was formulating my thoughts on this topic I came across an article on how women are viewed in the workplace written by a woman named Gini Dietrich, she said, “Here's the thing, though. We're our own worst enemies…We're catty, we're mean, and we're judgmental. We treat one another poorly, and we rarely support one another.”

That’s from one of your own, sisters.

Here’s an illustration of what I’m talking about. Say you have a friend who is overweight. That friend loses fifty pounds. If that friend were a guy his guy friends would say, “Dang man, you look great! What did you do to lose all that weight?” Furthermore they’d be genuinely happy for him. If a woman were to see this same man they’d say, “Wow, looking good! Did you lose weight?” And they’d be genuinely happy for him. However, if this friend were a woman…? First of all a man would say nothing for fear of overstepping his bounds and appearing to come on to her (single guys fearing rejection and guys in a relationship just fearing their companion). A woman would SAY, “Wow, you look great! What’s your secret?” (Implying something other than diet and exercise like bulimia, anorexia and/or a tummy tuck) Using every ounce of energy to force a smile and appear to be genuinely happy for her. Inside, regardless of her own dress size great or small, she’s begrudging the accomplishment and attention while simultaneously hating herself.

I think that’s where it starts too, with self. Women are so hard on themselves. They minimize their own assets and accomplishments while maximizing their own perceived flaws and imperfections. It’s no wonder that this cruelty extends to anyone with two X chromosomes.

For those of us with a Y chromosome, sure we can get down on ourselves from time to time but, for the most part we feel we can do no wrong. I’m a hefty approaching-middle-aged bald man; yet I step out of the shower, towel it up and stand in front of the mirror brushing my teeth humming I’m Sexy and I know It without a hint of irony. (I work out!)

Women on the other hand get as close as they can to the mirror inspecting every pore, worrying about every wrinkle and bemoaning the dark circles under their eyes. Everywhere they look they have impossible standards of flawlessness shoved in their faces. Picture “perfect” women on the cover of every women’s magazine. You know what’s on the cover of every guy’s magazine? Pictures of “perfect” women. Think about it.

This problem is perpetuated by their own attempts to cover up their “flaws”. Women go to great lengths to conceal not only their physical “imperfections” but they attempt to conceal their true nature, you know overcompensating with that sugar and spice stuff. Thus women actually believe that this woman or that woman is perfect and they somehow have failed.

I assure you that she is just as big a mess as you, in her own special way. We all live with challenges and insecurities. Just do the best you can and take care of yourself; chalk the rest (wrinkles, grey hair, etc.) up to a road map of your own personal journey in life. My giant butt is a landmark to my traveling companion on this earthly sojourn, bacon.

The physical appearance and skewed perspective stuff are just the most tangible examples. It goes deeper. Women cannot be happy for one another. They begrudge every achievement attained or fortune that befalls their fellow women and that includes close friends. And it’s not plain old envy or jealously either. Guys are envious and get jealous too. It’s more than that. It’s a special blend that can only come from womanhood. It’s…It’s like…It’s like boogers and lice and everything vice. I’m not saying women wish bad things on other women (although sometimes they do) they just don’t particularly care to see good things happen to them either.

I’ll end with a quote from Ms. Dietrich (show of hands: Who just judged her for being single? What is wrong with you? Haven’t you been listening?) and then a final plea. “If we [women] want things to change, that has to start with us. The next time you are faced with making a snap judgment about another woman, think twice. Support one another. Be kind. From there, change will happen.”

Now, stop being awful to each other.

***Disclaimer*** I wrote this with my wife’s full knowledge and blessing. She neither admits to these practices nor seeks to separate herself from her fellow women. She’s fine with me posting this with the understanding that she’ll offer me no protection when I’m inevitably attacked by womankind.

Guys, you’re up next. (Click here)

Friday, December 9, 2011

PUNCHMEN

Have you ever tried to pull into a seemingly open parking spot only to find an empty shopping cart blocking your way? Have you ever been behind someone at a Redbox kiosk who was casually browsing through the entire selection, reading each description, while a line formed behind them? Have you ever made plans to meet up only to have that person nonchalantly waltz in 20 minutes after the appointed time without so much as a “Sorry I’m late”? How about a neighbor who has a late night loud party outside on a weeknight? And don’t get me started on Tommy Thompson cutting in the lunch line every day from 3rd through 6th grade. I mean who does he think he is?! Hey Tommy, there’s a line full of people back here! Real live human beings with feelings. We’re hungry too and want to get to the tetherball court before Jeffery McDougal hogs it for the rest of recess. I hope you die!

What was I talking about?

Oh right…jerks. The number of inconsiderate people in this world seems to be growing exponentially.

“Generation Me has grown up believing it's more important to 'do your own thing' than conform to the group. Unfortunately that also means people of this generation are more likely to be inconsiderate of other people.” -Jean Twenge

If this disturbing trend was confined to Generation Me then I could just chalk it up to a group of young punks and fear for our future. However, it’s people of all ages that are clamoring to do their own thing and leaving our social structure in ruins.

Thankfully my buddy Peder has come to our rescue. While on one of our daily BS sessions he fantasized of a revolutionary whim. He said it would be nice if he had a license to punch people who deserved it, sort of like a license to kill.

And there it was; a simple solution to this crisis of inconsideration. We empower Policemen to deal with those who’ve broken the law and we can empower Punchmen to deal with those who’ve broken a social contract.

The most egregious offenses generally come on the road so we’ll have to mobilize this new Social Order Crime Control Department (SOCCD). The SOCCD would also need a 9-11 type call center for inconsiderate emergencies at the office or in a shopping mall (we’d have to pay them quadruple time on Black Friday). Other than that the only cost would be a note pad to mark the offense so that the punched would have something to read while rubbing the throbbing pain on the side of their face.

Imagine with me, you are riding along in the right lane preparing to turn at the next intersection. Some guy in the left lane, on his cell phone, gets over in front of you as the light turns red. He is going straight so you have to wait for the light to change instead of turning right when it was safe to proceed because of this inconsiderate soul. Has he broken a law? No. Did he rob you of anything more than a few seconds of your day? No. Can you get over it without letting it impact you in any way? NO!

Wouldn’t it be nice, as you sat there behind this bozo, if lights flashed and sirens whaled and a Punchman pulled up beside him handed him a piece of paper and then punched him in the face? Yes, yes it would. Justice would be served and you could go about your day with a smile on your face while Señor Poopyhead would think twice about how his actions impact those around him.

Now application of this type of justice wouldn’t be so simple. It is twice as likely that the “he” in our story was a woman and the cell phone could have been, well a cell phone and/or, make-up or she was reaching for a CD or, my personal favorite, no external distraction whatsoever just lost in her own thoughts and not too concerned with the fact that she is operating a lethal hunk of metal traveling at high speeds on roads also occupied by other living breathing humans. But I digress…

My point is that nobody wants to see some dude punch a woman no matter what his title or her infraction. Obviously our female SOCCD members would handle female offenses. We’ll call them SLAP (Slapped Lady Alternative to Punch) officers as they’ll hand out only well deserved slaps to the face. Trust me this can be even more gratifying than a fist to the chops.

Then there’s the elderly. I live in one of the snowbird capitals of the world and, although nobody wants to say it, sometimes Meema and PopPop have earned a little chin music. I’m not suggesting that able bodied men and women go around roughing up G-paw or slapping down Granny. I’m not a monster. I purpose a group of senior citizen volunteers sort of like the Sun City Sheriff’s Posse. We’ll call them Citizen’s Cane as they’ll be allowed to cane one another. (Tell me you’re not smiling at the visual of an old guy with a light and siren on his motorized shopping cart waving a cane and chasing another old guy on his motorized shopping cart. Oh you’re smiling. You’re smil’n big time.)

Of course, like the police, warnings will obviously be an option and leniency granted to first time offenders but that’s not as fun as talking about people getting socked (or SOCCD) in the face.

Fortunately in these hard economic times government won’t be able to shoulder the financial burden of SOCCD and therefore won’t be able to get involved and screw it up. We’ll have to deputize civilians who are willing to stand up for the faceless masses that are wronged by the inconsiderate among us; those willing to shoulder the burden and swear an oath to uphold all that SOCCD stands for.

Punchmen Oath

I do solemnly declare upon my honour and conscience that I will act at all times to the best of my ability and knowledge in a manner befitting a Punchman (or Punchwoman)
I will preserve the dignity and will respect the rights of all individuals as I strike them with my God-given appendage of justice (or as I cane them or slap them silly)
I will discharge my duties with integrity and will promote understanding and consideration
I will exercise my authority as a Punchman (or Punchwoman) in the manner intended by this blog
I will faithfully obey the orders of my superiors (Peder and Aaron) and will be ready to confront jerks, fools and a-holes in the line of duty
I will act with honesty, courtesy and regard for the welfare of others, unless they are inconsiderate in which case I will punch (slap or cane) them
I will act justly and impartially and with propriety towards my fellow punchers (slappers and caners) I will constantly strive to honour this oath in my service as a Punchman (or Punchwoman)

Now go. Go! Get them my pretties. And their little dog too.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

You Can't Handle the Tooth

Welcome to part II of my deceiving our children series.

Any rookie parent can pull off the Santa thing. It’s an annual event that you spend weeks gearing up for along with everyone else. The application of carrying out such a charade is well established and you just plug yourself into one role and your children into another. “Santa won’t come until you’re asleep and he only comes to good little girls and boys.” Badda boom badda bing. Done.

Hollywood lends a hand cranking out film after film and TV special after TV special. They keep children’s heads spinning with a dizzying array of stories and different versions of how the magic happens. Really you just pick one and go with it.

If you can’t pull off Christmas you should just take your kids back and get a refund (by the way, can someone find out if that’s possible? Just curious.)

The real test of parental fortitude is the perilous and unrelenting molar parade that is the tooth fairy. Although it sounds dainty I’m here to tell you it ain’t for sissies.

Once they hit that magic age it can strike at any moment. And you’ve got to be on your toes for years. Doesn’t matter if you’re tired, sick, busy or distracted; when that tooth pops loose you’ve got to be ready for action.

Unlike Christmas you are on your own. There’s no massive worldwide effort complete with reminders in every store and on every channel. Nope it’s just you versus your own guile.

And don’t expect any help from Hollywood either. Sure the tooth fairy has a cameo now and then but there’s only one full length feature film dedicated to the topic and despite The Rock’s best efforts even he can’t save you when the day (or more appropriately night) of reckoning arrives.

Whether your sweet innocent child comes to you with tooth in hand or you pry it loose from their gaping jaws with a set of pliers; operation incisor has now been activated. Tying a string to it and slamming the door or dropping a toaster is only half the battle; and it’s the easy half.

No your task is, without outside aid or assistance, to remember.

You help your child place the tooth underneath their pillow, hopefully positioning it for easy extraction later. You kiss them goodnight and tell them to sleep tight. Then you settle into your nightly routine. Therein lies the problem. Your nightly routine does not include a stealth recon mission into enemy territory. Nope, you wind down or straighten up; you finish up work or veg out in front of the TV. Then it’s off to bed.

Then in the wee hours of the morning a tiny disappointed person approaches your bed. “The tooth fairy didn’t come last night.” Horror and shame washes over you. How could you forget? You are in it now. You have no choice but to lie (and by "lie" I mean lie more). You try to comfort the child with fabricated stories of the perilous lives of tooth fairies. Maybe there was a blizzard in tooth fairy land or maybe the tooth fairy was trapped by the neighbor’s dog and couldn’t make it. Maybe the tooth fairy called in sick.

At first the tender hearted innocent fruit of your loins accepts your canard, but then comes the questions. “What’s tooth fairy land like?” Of course you don’t have an immediate response to this out of the blue question. Seeking satisfaction your child pens a letter to the tooth fairy and places it under their pillow with the forgotten tooth.

This time, motivated by guilt, you do not forget. You replace the tooth with money and reply to the child’s note with a simple story of a magic land with tooth shaped buildings and pray they don’t recognize that the tooth fairy and Santa have identical hand writing.

Now’s where the tangled web you’ve woven becomes suffocating. Their younger sibling is delighted by this reply and decides they too will compose a letter to the tooth fairy at their next de-toothing. Only this time they go a step further and ask for a picture of you, the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy, you, replies back that you, the tooth fairy (Which is, again, you…wait I’m confused. Where were we? Oh yes, the tooth fairy), don’t have a picture but will gladly draw one. You, the tooth fairy, sketch a tinkle bell like picture and replace the note with a monetary token for the lost tooth.

Seeking to head off any further written correspondence you, the parent, explain to your children that they ought not to bother the tooth fairy, you, with letters because they are busy and might miss other girls and boys if they take time to respond to your note. Shameless

So that is settled and all is right with the world until that blurry eyed child wanders into your room again, lower lip protruding, mournfully exclaiming “The tooth fairy didn’t come last night”.

Without hesitation you reply, “Sweetie, that’s because it’s Cusp of Carabelli Day. It’s a tooth fairy holiday.”

You’re a monster

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