Monthly Archives: December 2012

I have just realized it’s now Jan. 1 on the other side of the dateline. How’s it looking?

toon941-New-Years-Eve-2010Maybe it’s much too early in the game
Ah, but I thought I’d ask you just the same
What are you doing New Year’s
New Year’s Eve?

My parents invariably seemed to be quite pumped about New Year’s Eve way back in the day. A festivity that in our neighborhood meant one of those suburban John Updike-ish baccanales that were pretty darn prevalent it seems to me. No wonder that at least half of them would today qualify as candidates for rehab. But, I’m not about to judge them. Well, I do, but I don’t want to look like a hyprocrite since I’ve had my own days of bad-judgment. Some of them were fun, too.

For, in those days, NYE meant to me a session of babysitting kid siblings. I knew  instinctively that some sort of wanton hedonism awaited once I came of age. Well, once I was past babysitting age I entered the realm of being dateless. Dateless on New Year’s Eve: what could be worse? A boy had to plan months ahead sometimes – at least until he had a steady – to make sure he wouldn’t be without a kissy-face partner for that magical moment when the ball dropped at that mystical time.

But then I found, once I had that kissy-face steady, that sometimes there were also quite enticing spare females wandering around larger social gatherings. And since you were entitled, you could also kiss a number of other little paragons on nubility. Consequently, one time, after having visited the beverage site with too much indiscretion, and having noticed those spare females, I engaged one in very, very, very fond embrace in an upper hallway of the house in which the party was being held. In fact, kissing her passionately, and with my hand well down the back of her long skirt.

Wonder what she’s up to these days.

And that incident to me epitomizes all that I particularly loathe about New Year’s Eve. Not that I dislike even now the concept of caressing someone down the back of her long skirt, it was just that we were virtual strangers and the New Year’s party somehow gave permission to such blind abandon. Today, as as the mindless  hedonism of youth loses its allure, I find this fabricated festive time irksome.

Over the years I went to house-parties galore. Whoever I was married to at the time and I also went to a couple of soirees held at local hotel ballrooms. They were singularly detestable exercises in forced frivolity. Do you really want to kiss somebody you don’t know, have never even seen before, and don’t even find especially attractive? I know I don’t. Not any longer I don’t.

So, it came as no surprise to me to read that a majority of Canadians, especially those past 40, essentially do absolutely nothing on New Year’s Eve. Such news was also comforting. It lets me know I am not either weird or antisocial. Well, the jury might be out on the weird part, but I’m not antisocial. I just don’t want to be told that this is an occasion in which I should have no-holds-barred fun. I’ve had that (see girl with long skirt) and it was nice – really nice, but I no longer want that, anymore than I want to wake up to an aching head due to overindulgence and lack of sleep and a wife who won’t speak to me well into the first month of 2013.

Anyway, what the hell is it about? It only means we’ve moved into another year on the old ‘Gregorian’ and it also means I am coming up to another year older and at my age that’s a little disheartening. I don’t much like reminders that time is passing at the rate of that new Chinese train.

Anyway, it’s never been the same since Guy Lombardo shuffled off this mortal coil. And now that Dick Clark has gone as well, we are really in the doldrums. Come on kids, ask your grandparents who Lombardo was, and maybe your parents who Clark was.

What we do now is have our own NYE. Wel put on some nice music, the fireplace will be blazing, we’ll light some candles, and we’ll eat coconut-crusted butterfly shrip we put together in the afternoon.

I’ll then ask (from here on the west coast) if it is yet midnight on the east coast. If it is, we can have our NYE kiss without interference, and then maybe stay up a bit longer, or snuggle into our own comfortable king size. That does work for me, quite satisfyingly.

And I’m not even going to mention so-called resolutions since they’re never kept and only serve to make otherwise decent people begin the year – or at least two weeks into January – feel dreadful about themselves.

Happy New Year to you all!

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 160,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Would you vote for this woman, or did you have something else in mind?

christy-clark-tits-milfOf all the elements of political insanity in this province, the weirdest one has to be debate over the ‘MILF-ness’ of our premier. I’m not about to explain what the acronym MILF stands for. If you don’t know already, you don’t deserve to know

The situation in a nutshell involved Ms. Christy Clark being asked by a caller to a local radio station if she liked being a MILF. She, undaunted by the impertinent query by somebody with too much time on his hands, and could you imagine such a query having been made of, say, Margaret Thatcher? Just sayin’, replied that she took it as a compliment and that she’d rather be a MILF than a Cougar. (Johnny Carson cymbal rim-shot here). Oh, and message to young bucks, she doesn’t want to do it with you

Anyway, what she probably thought was a droll parrying of the dumbfuck question has now fomented an undeserved stream of controversy, and her critics assert that such an attitude is obviously why she cannot attract female voters to her cause. Especially female voters with zero sense-of-humor. I mean, come on. It was kind of droll.

Now Christy, desperately trying to hold onto a self-destructing government might have reconsidered her words. Or, she might have thought, “even though you are attempting to insult me, asshole, I’m not biting.” Admirable in its own way, and would have been considered a laugh-riot if it had been uttered by a male

I met Christy (pardon me, Premier Clark) a number of years ago and long before she was premier. She was here to speak at some party function or other. We had a nice chat. I thought she was friendly, pretty, seemingly smart, but I must confess that never once did the thought of separating her from her undies cross my mind – and I have been known, I confess, to having had such thoughts about other women I’ve met – because what I was mainly thinking was “your dad used to be one of my high school teachers.”  Such a connectedness injects a little saltpeter into wayward thoughts and/or impulses.

So, for those who would criticize Christy for her MILF comment, or even her MILF-ness as perceived by some, would they set the same standards for male politicians? Are females in public life to deny they have genitals that they actually might consider using for an intimate function? Males get away with it. Clinton was a horndog and JFK had a stream of babes that spread back forever. Sure, their carnal shenanigans caused a bit of controversy but I don’t suspect male and/or female voters stayed away in droves as a consequence of their carnal activities. Not so

There is much that the premier of this fine province can be criticized for, and should be. But perhaps violation of the ‘double-standard’ should not be one of them.

Spare a thought for the lonely and lowly bivalve

oystersWe had oysters for dinner last night. Not to test out their aphrodisiacal properties, though you never know. OK, chuck out that myth. But, regardless of the fact they aren’t really Viagra on the Half Shell, they’re always a delightful treat.

The ones we had, I’m a little embarrassed to admit, were Washington State oysters. Embarrassed if only that we, living where we do on the east coast of Vancouver Island – which is ‘Oyster Central’ of Canada and Baynes Sound oysters are known quite universally – felt a tad disloyal. However, Wendy, when she was a business consultant, did consultancy with an oyster farmer on the Olympic Peninsula, right in the neighborhood of where the ones we savored originated.

I love oysters. I accept the fact there are those that don’t. Some find the icky and nasty. Well, maybe I find people that don’t like them to be icky and nasty, too. I don’t do raw oysters. I know there are those that savor them au naturel, but I find that concept a bit unappealing. Or, as an aunt of mine once opined, “Eating raw oysters, to me, is too much like having a bad cold.” I get it.

So, I cook mine. I share the Woody Allen opinion about eating raw oysters (since often they are alive) in which he states he was his food “dead, not sick, not wounded, but dead.”

When I lived on the beach a number of years ago – right on that aforementioned Baynes Sound, whence we harvested our own bivalves right out in front – we’d get a good beach fire blazing and then get it down to glowing coals and then we’d through oysters in the shell right onto the coals. Yes, I know it’s cruel, but if you keep your distance you cannot hear them scream in the inferno. Anyway, you would watch them, and when the shells popped open they were ready to consume. Throw in a little butter and Tabasco and you have a delectable feast. And since that was years ago and since a certain amount of beer had been consumed and one might have been accompanied by a lovely lady then one could convince oneself that the aphrodisiac qualities were no lie. Of course, if it was a moonlit summer night with a beach fire, that might have had something to do with a delightful dessert after the oyster feast.

Oysters themselves don’t have thrilling lives, I can only assume. Kind of sad. Their parents spawn and for brief time the little oysterlings swim freely – the glory days of their youths – and then it all comes to a dreary end. They attach themselves and there they sit, fully stationary down all their days until some greedhead such as I who had said to his lady “let’s have oysters” comes and apprehends them and turns them into dinner.

I suspect an oyster’s life is very lonely, and probably real boring. You know, just being out there and unable to do anything. I don’t know if oysters are sentient. I know they cannot read, and seem to be unable to chat with other oysters or passing fish. Damn, now I’m getting a bit depressed and guilty over the number of times I’ve defiled and truncated their lives.

Oh, and last night we had them breaded and with seafood sauce. They were heavenly.

OK, not so guilty. They’ll never know I was the one who ate them.

Happy to have my ‘Merry Little Christmas’

childs-christmaswalesMy progression through Christmas throughout my life goes pretty much as follows:

–         Until ages 6 or 7: Loved every bit of it. It was still magical and Santa was a ‘real’ entity and I remember – I do, I do – the time I saw him filling my stocking. I immediately, of course, closed my eyes for I’d been warned that if I looked too long all I’d end up with was coal.

–         From 7 to 13: It was still pretty good. Christmas dinner at my grandparents’ was a bit Child’s Christmas in Wales, and there were the grandparents (whom I loved so much) and great aunts and uncles, and regular aunts and uncles and cousins galore, and the kids’ table for dinner, and Christmas crackers and maybe even a little sip of wine by the time you were ten or so. No Claus belief any longer, but still a bit enchanted. The day began after stockings and stuff, with brunch at my Aunt Freda and Uncle Norman’s place. Incredible food and merriment and carols sung around the piano and watching ostensibly teetotal Great-Auntie Nan get pissed as a nit on countless glasses of sherry as the time went on. It was, after all, “only once a year.”

         14 to 18: The cynical teen years. Disappointment at not getting anything resembling what I wanted. Christmas was the morning and then hanging around for much of the day with the damn parents (since the grandparents were now, sadly, passed on) and having all your buddies off doing stuff with their families, and no girl to share my time with. God, I wanted a girlfriend. That would have made up for not getting any damn thing that I wanted other than crappy unfashionable clothes from assorted aunts.

–         19-25: Girlfriends came into the mix. Christmas became a tad more agreeable. Girlfriends combined with booze and partying led to all sorts of monkey-business. Not too much spiritual about those days, and sometimes too much spirituous.

–         For many years after: I grew more ‘what the hell?’ about the whole thing. I do not remember a season that wasn’t mixed with a certain negativity on my part – I shall be honest about that – and will also confess to having been very unfair towards my first wife and her family, all of whom were huge Christmas people. And Christmas also, with them, included going to church. Anyway, I suspect my attitude was a reflection of my state-of-mind at the time.

–         During my second marriage it was better for a time, mainly because there was a child in the mix and in the earliest Christmases we had together it was such fun having found just the right gifts for her. Then she went into her jaded teen years (which were pretty much like mine) and other problems arose and Christmas was – for a time – very bleak and sad.

alastair-sim-scrooge-note-007–         Today: My attitude has gone through something of a transformation, and I like it. What I’ve learned is that I have the right to choose those elements that work best for me. I also go into the season with no expectations. I’ve gone back to loving the traditional carols, along with other musical stuff like Presley’s Blue Christmas, der Bingle’s White Christmas, Jingle-Bell Rock and in recent years the powerful Fairy Tale of New York by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. And I like the food and the friends, the cards and the wrappings, and Alastair Sim’s A Christmas Carol every Christmas Eve (including this evening). Not to mention Dylan Thomas’s own offering of the narration of the wonderful A Child’s Christmas in Wales, and Judy Garland singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ to munchkin Margaret O’Brien in Meet Me in St. Louis. And I find that I have gotten back to awakening very early Christmas morning, feeling a certain exultation; getting up, lighting the fire, lighting the tree, activating the outside lights and sitting with a quiet coffee.

And that all said, I reserve the right to still detest the Little Drummer Boy.

Merry Christmas to all.

Here’s the real goods on the Christmas season

Keith-Moon-The-WhoThis is, I confess, a repeat. What can I say. It’s a busy time of year, so sue me. Anyway, it offers a bit of pre-Christmas diversion.

Just when you thought life was too dangerous to be bearable, I am here to offer you some comforting news, just as a kind of Christmas gift from me to you.

An article in an issue of the Globe and Mail a few years ago offered the reader a bit of enlightenment that has come about due to legitimate scientific experimentation. Consequently, you are now free to do away with some widely held myths this Christmastime.

Here are the results of the G&M study:

– Poinsettias are not poisonous: Poinsettias are at worst widely overdone at Christmas and are really not all that pretty and should best be studied in the places where they grow, like Mexico, Hawaii and other tropical climes. But, there is also a longstanding belief that even a nibble on a petal would result in immediate and agonizing death. In fact, recent studies have shown you could scarf a boxcarload of them and suffer no ill-effects. Such a finding, however, does not make them particularly beautiful.

– Suicides are not more prevalent at Christmas: Newspaper folks, cops and medical parishioners have always been in accord with the poet who attested that April is the cruellest month. In truth, the desire to off oneself comes with the balmy days of spring, for whatever reason. While the Christmas season may bring about some genuine despair, the final solution seems to be rarely sought.

– Sugar does not make kids hyperactive: It rots their teeth and can expedite Type 2 diabetes, but if they are tearing around the house and damaging the bric-a-brac it is probably because they’re undisciplined little jerks.

– There are magical hangover cures: There are not, period. The only cure is time and by God you will suffer during that time. Self-inflicted injuries have penalties, so live with it or learn to drink moderately.

– You do not lose the majority of your body heat through the top of your head: Everybody believes this one, but it just ain’t so, say researchers. If you went out in sub-zero weather with a hat on, but no pants, you would lose just as much body heat through your legs. You would also probably be arrested.

Space limitations precluded the G&M covering ‘all’ the myths and misapprehensions that about this time of year. So, as a service to my faithful readers, I am about to fill you in on the items that did not make it. Consider if you will (said in a Rod Serling voice, if you choose) the matter of the following:

– Simply three successive playings of the Twelve Days of Christmas has been proved to render laboratory rats suicidally depressed. However, the Little Drummer Boy need only be played twice to render those same rats insane.

– Commercial eggnog is passed by food safety inspectors provided it contains not in excess of 28 percent industrial waste.

– A sex act with a non-spouse if carried out under mistletoe does not constitute adultery in the eyes of some churches. Federal law, however, forbids the naming of those churches.

– In Belgium it is illegal for children to arise earlier than 7 a.m. on Christmas morning. The state can seize children who violate this regulation, and their parents can and will be arrested.

– It is common knowledge that there exists in the world only one certifiable Christmas cake, and that it has been sent by mail from recipient to recipient throughout the western world since 1627. At the end of the Yuletide season it is returned to the Tower of London where it is kept next to the Crown Jewels until the following October. In 1747 one Percy Warbeck of Coventry was beheaded for slicing off a little chunk and suggesting he actually liked it.

– The Queen’s favorite Christmas song is the dogs barking Jingle Bells and she demands that it be played at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Eve. The dogs are, of course, all corgis trained by Her Majesty. Refusal by an archbishop to carry out this mandate can and has resulted in beheading or banishment to the Antipodes.

– The actual Little Town of Bethlehem in Israel is also known as the Cleveland of the Holy Land and was, prior to the rise of computers, the Wite-Out manufacturing capital of the world. Computers are still deemed blasphemies by the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce.

– In Britain, Canada and much of the Commonwealth, December 26th is known as Boxing Day. This is a day devoted to unfettered brawling in the streets and pubs with no penalties. It’s a great stress reducer.

–         In the State of Pennsylvania it is mandatory for families to invite the most loathed members for Christmas dinner and it is also compulsory to bond and fake having a good time. If said good time does not ensue, the loathed cousin, aunt or whoever, can report the family which will be forced to forego all Christmas activities for the ensuing five years.

–          The Little Drummer Boy is Satanic: This is my opinion and I’m sticking to it. No coincidence that it is the favorite carol of loathesome Angela on The Office.

May you all have a wonderful season regardless of what you get up to.

–          .

Searching for a convenient scapegoat? You can’t do much better than Scoobie

scapegoatSometimes late in the evening when we are tired and braindead we like to turn to a program that exalts the even more braindead. It’s a voyeuristic gem known as Cops – “Bad Boys-Bad Boys”.

It’s just perfect for the time of day. Really, really stupid and sometimes (offtimes) substance-enhanced folk trying to outwit the ladies and gentlemen of respective constabularies. What a thankless damn job that is – hug a cop over Christmas.

Anyway, the one element that is a virtual constant is the lying on the part of the suspects. My God, these people are so pathological and they actually think the poor coppers haven’t heard such bullshit tales a million times over.

A particular favorite – and the one that provided the theme inspiration for this blog – was one that involved a couple of pissed-as-nits young louts who rolled their car after a police chase. One guy was pinned in the car (he was later extracted virtually unharmed) and the other guy sat and chatted with the police about what happened, who was driving, and so forth.

Well, according to the tale, neither of the lads was driving. The one behind the wheel, and who had scarpered over the bank behind them was a dude name ‘Scoobie’. No, the interviewee couldn’t remember Scoobie’s last name (even though he’d attested he was a “really good friend”. About Scoobie’s address: “Oh wait, I know it – it’s-it’s – no, I just can’t remember at the moment.” Ultimately it became a case of “Book ‘em, Danno,”  in the absence of the mysterious Scoobie.

Well, since that time Scoobie has become a kind of folk hero for Wendy and I. If something goes wrong in our lives, perhaps even something we’ve done or not done, we’ve found it convenient to blame Scoobie.

He has become our universal scapegoat.

Every home should have a Scoobie. Feel free to share him.