December 31, 2010

Vegan Style

Let me start by saying this: I don't do the New Years Resolution. Never have. Still don't. Never will.

However, today is New Years Day 2011 and today marks Day 1 in what will become a month long crusade. Today is Day 1 where for the month of January I will no longer live to eat. For the month of January I am going to Eat to Live - Vegan Style.

Go ahead and mock it. Go ahead and disagree with the theory and the plan. That's fine. Heck, I'm still unsure of how much of going vegan I agree with. Though I am fairly certain I'm in the vegan corner. I do know this - my wife has dabbled on and off for the past couple years with going Vegetarian and Vegan and it's intriguing.

I'm not joining Peta. I'm not going to start throwing paint on fur coats. None of that. This not a "moral" decision. This is based simply on health. A health experiment if you will. I've been thinking a lot about how food is the fuel to your body. It sounds cliche and corny because it is. Alas, that does not mean it's not true. I think it gets overlooked and I'm going to take it seriously.

I'm currently relatively healthy. I'm considered "skinny" for my height and build by my doctors and I am in the mid-range regarding Body Fat. My cholesterol is average...although that is because I'm on cholesterol medicine due to hereditary concerns. I work out regularly - sometimes. Wait, what? That's like saying, "60% of the time it works every time...!" Anyway you get the drift. This is an experiment and I'm diving in for no other reason other than health, curiosity and the challenge.

My body is my Atheistic Temple as they say.

Those who disagree with the "lifestyle" of the Veg' will argue that you will miss the lean meats and the proteins. They'll throw stats and numbers at you. They'll throw a quart of milk your way and say you need the calcium. That's all well and good but I can throw stats right back if I so chose to get defensive!

I'm a firm believer that dairy is unhealthy. Don't tell that to the mozzarella I eat on a regular basis though. We'll keep that between us. Thanks. I've seen and read enough evidence that convinces me so. Don't go veg' but take dairy out've your diet and see how much weight you lose and how great you feel. (then go back on it and see how it messes up your stomach. that's not a coincidence) The calcium the USDA claims you need and supposedly can only get from milk can be had from a dozen other forms of non-dairy and non-processed foods.

That was a tangent and unplanned at this juncture. Sorry. Next time I'll use the "Tangent Alert" to warn you.

Starting today I will spend the month of January as a Vegan. I will also combine the healthy eating with a healthy dose of morning workouts. I will chart my progress several times throughout the month via this blog so you can see how I'm sufferi...I mean, progressing.

Come February 1 I may and probably will dine at Forte and enjoy the #1 ranked Chicken Parm around...or maybe not. If nothing else it will be a healthy and challenging experiment for the month. One in which had I not had the opportunity to write about I would probably fail to the temptations of mozzarella.

Is it really difficult to be disciplined for 1 lousy month - 4 lousy weeks? Ok fine, don't answer that.

I'm sure I'll have many an "observation" along the way since my opinions can not be reined in like my diet.

Happy New Year
(Authors Note: This post was meant to go up on New Years Day. However, due to alcohol consumption and lack of sleep the night before the plan of action and thus the post got pushed back a day. Who says you can't start your pseudo-resolutions a day late anyway?)

December 29, 2010

Anxiety Central - Part 4

Fellow readers please enjoy the following Guest Blog and Anxiety Central contribution courtesy of Boonton, NJ’s very own "Beens"

Part 4 – Do I Purchase a Smartphone Anxiety (DPSA)

In reading your “Anxiety Central” blogs (well written, as usual), I reflected on myself and my own thoughts over the past several months. However, unlike your “Anxiety Central” blogs, the anxiety I experienced was more of a one time thing…hopefully!

This particular anxiety stemmed from being faced with a difficult decision.

Do I purchase the “Smartphone”?

The fact that everyone has been talking “Smartphone” this and “Smartphone” that…I never paid too much attention. My take on the whole thing was - I never had it, don’t know what it’s about, don’t know what I’m missing and personally, don’t care to indulge…. until one day I was at the mall.

A horrible storm had rolled through, knocking out the power in the entire area. Being I had just gotten there (literally, I went into 1 store & was NOT ready to throw in the towel because of a stupid lightning storm and some hail), I was determined to bare it to the end and wait for the town to restore the power. As I sat there, I observed all of the other people who were sitting around, waiting, and in the same boat as me…. Like me, they were wondering if the power was going to go back on, and if so, when?

I quickly found that it was much easier for these people to divert their attention from these thoughts, by doing “stuff” on their phones. What were they doing on there, I wondered? Were they just texting (as I only had the capability of doing)? Were they playing a game? If so, what game was it? (The games on my Blackberry Pearl were very limited). Were they surfing the net?

I found myself starting to get bored….and jealous.

I called my friend Beth and texted her with updates of my shopping nightmare. Could this be what everyone else was dong as well? The ability to entertain myself, as all of these other people apparently were doing with ease, was dwindling. I decided to strike up a conversation with a girl who worked at Tahari, who informed me that rain storms routinely knock out the power. Long story short the mall was closed soon after and I headed home. Defeated.

My day of defeat was the first day that changed my view of the “Smartphone.”

My view is that by purchasing a Smartphone, I would be diving into a world of technology that:

1) I’m not even sure I need – Here’s why…

I can’t bring my phone into work. I get out of my car at 8:15am (leaving my phone in the car) and don’t see my phone again until 4. Truthfully, I don’t miss it (I feel it’s important to highlight that I do not have internet access at work). I’m sure everyone has my work # if they need to contact me. Once I get into my car, I’ll take a look to see if anyone tried to contact me and if need be, return the call or text (yes, hands-free). Once home, I have my wonderful laptop. My phone usually gets thrown on my bed and is only looked at if it beeps or rings.

Do I need to have 16 MB of RAM or GB (or whatever the hell the lingo is) – as long as I can still call and text, I’m sure I’ll be good without it, right? Why do I need to have the movie Avatar on my phone? Ok, so what, it has an 8 megapixel camera…my Casio camera has 10 megapixel. What do I need a Smartphone for?

2) I’m not even sure I want – Here’s why…

Do I want the ability to look at my emails at any time? Negative. Do I really want to get notifications when someone posts something on my Facebook wall? No thanks. Do I want to “link” all of my Facebook contacts into my personal contact list? Um, no. Do I want a satellite on Planet Google to always know where I am? 1-word: Creepy. Do I need to worry about losing/breaking my cell phone, which now has become my IPod, my calendar & my computer? 2-words: Panic Attack.

All of this equals ANXIETY!!

Personally I enjoy coming home from work, pouring a glass of wine, & checking my emails, browsing Facebook status updates & whatever else I may do on my laptop.

Am I old for thinking this way? Don’t answer that…

I got a Smartphone.

I share this with you to say this – it’s crazy seeing how fast technology is advancing. I never really felt old until the day I bought this phone and this overwhelming feeling hit me…I caught up with technology….but what do I do now?

I’m realizing that we are truly in an age of convenience. Did I need to tack on an extra $30 per month on my cell phone bill to have all the amenities that a Smartphone offers? Not at all, but let me tell you, it sure is damn convenient.

Although my anxiety is lessening as my knowledge of this device is improving, the overall anxiety I have about where our society is heading in this age of convenience and technology will forever boggle my mind….

…and forever cause me ANXIETY!

Day 25 + 4 - The Photo Blog

The past 25 + days of this blog have come and gone. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed with myself for sticking with the daily routine of blogging.
I’d first like to thank the Home Depot parking lot in Rahway for affording me and my laptop a place to write. I’d also like to thank my guest bloggers who once again provided their own personal “observations” in exponentially better written prose.
(not even sure that made sense)

Day 25’s blog will be a simple and non-controversial photo recap of the month. If you’re lucky you’ll catch your very own Christmas Card. You’ll see some photos from the well-known Christmas Tree day of cutting where we tied ourselves out’ve the car. And you’ll see some other random shots from the Holidays. Without further adieu I present you…

The Photo Blog

Remember how I said purchasing Stocking Stuffers was stressful? Well this is an example of how my wife tries to make it easier on me…
The fun filled ay of Christmas Tree cutting complete with getting in and out of your car Dukes of Hazard style…

Some noteworthy Christmas Cards. If you’re not represented I apologize. These stood out and I couldn’t exactly put 40 cards on the blog…

The Beckers – Did they follow the unwritten rules of the card? No. But they’re family and they made the card an ornament so that gets big props. Well done.

The Fiores – Again, unwritten rules? Negative. Alas, very creative card so it gets mention. Well done. Now if I only I could meet these kids before high school graduation.

The Hopkins – Excellent. Followed the rules. Had the obligatory child photo but also included the family shot. Well done.

The Ghetians – What else is new. The sun rises in the East. The southerners eat fried food. The Ghetian’s have an incredibly creative Christmas Card.
The Mercurios – Ok fine so they didn’t follow the rules but how do you deny Vito with antlers?

One thing is always mandatory on Christmas morning – Mimosas. And now a second thing – Monkey Bread. Delicious. The wife is becoming quite the baker.

A photo blog is not complete without some basic Christmas decoration photos.

The Greco Family tree

The Greco Family tree topper. Who said you can’t use a wedding cake topper in place of a star?

The obligatory mistletoe. Whenever I hang this I always have to make mention of how growing up at my friends house his mom would always trick me into walking underneath their mistletoe and give me a kiss and I would get so embarrassed. Embarrassing then – heartfelt now.

There’s nothing to “Laugh” about on the holidays. Gag me.

27” of snow and a broken shovel 15 minutes in. Fantastic. Thanks to Neighbor Bob and one of his shovels I survived the blizzard. No, not Bob from Cleveland.

This is a book I had wanted and received. It’s also a foreshadow of a future Book Review blog. Here’s a teaser on what the book is about….
“…thirty-six years, one hundred sixty-eight days, fourteen hours, and twenty three seconds from now, on June 15, 2010 at 3:44 p.m. EST a comet that has broken away from the Kuiper Belt near Neptune will impact the Earth with the explosive energy of 283,824,000 Hiroshima bombs….we have no idea if you will live long enough to witness the phenomenon…neither you nor anything else on the planet will be {alive} afterward…

All of which raises the question – your task, burden, privilege, call it what you like – a question which men and women, great and not-so, of every color, creed, and sexual persuasion have asked since they first had the language to do so and probably before:

Does Anything I Do Matter?“

As told to the main character immediately upon birth by a voice that will follow him throughout his life. 2 words – Thought Provoking.

Everything Matters, By Ron Currie, Jr.
Viking, Penguin Group, Inc.

Links to this post

December 28, 2010

Day 24 + 4 - Christmas Eve Mass

Believe it or not I was trying like hell to avoid the topic of religion during the 25 Days of Christmas series. Honest. However, anyone who knows me knows I can’t go too long without sharing my opinion on the subject. The tipping point?

Christmas Eve Mass

Yup. I attended. Good thing they weren’t carding at the door. You can ask me why I went since I’m a noted anti-religion-ite. I’d give you two reasons. Both are true but number 1 is the only real reason. Had it not been for number 1 I would’ve gladly stayed home and committed sins on my own time.

1) I only attended out’ve respect for my wife’s grandmother. She was staying with us and has to attend so as a result we have to attend or else we feel the wrath of The Gram.

2) What better inspiration for a blog than to go undercover and see what really goes on behind those church walls! Thank God for the song sheet He provided His followers. It proved to be an excellent tool to jot my “Observations” down on! Thanks Big G’. In this case you truly were a Savior. A true Godsend indeed!

I’m not sure how to go about this particular post. Do I list all the different “Observations” or just start to rant. I fear if I go sans-list I may run off on tangents so I think I’ll go list format.

Observation #1:

Ok so before I get into the idea of what actually takes place at Church I’d like to talk about what takes place prior to Church. And I’m not talking about anything ceremonial, etc. I’m talking about what happens at home.

As in, What are these 16 year old girls thinking when they step out’ve their house and into Big G’s house? Umm, did they look in the mirror? Did their parents choose to ignore the fact their daughter looks like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman this evening?

Would the Virgin Mary dress like that if she entered your home? I think not!

Observation #2:

Ahem, parents, you don’t get off that easy either. You ever hear of those “Ugly Christmas Sweater” parties that are becoming all the comical-rage? Yeah well this wasn’t one of them. You would’ve been better of wearing your teenage daughter’s pink mini-skirt than that hideous ball of wool.

Observation #3:

Parents, are you really going to force your 2 year olds to stand in the aisle for this entire mass? Standing room only should only be a term used for sporting events. Not for the Big G’s house of fun. They have no frigging idea where they are and who the hell Gloria is and why she’s being subjected to exultation. Whatever it is it doesn’t sound pretty I know that much!

Observation #4:

Christ has died.
Christ has risen.
Christ will come again.

Really? When? You’d think he would’ve come back by now, no? Maybe stuck in holiday traffic. It can be a doozy! Maybe next year he’ll return and grace us with a special appearance! I smell a tangent…..when he does return do you think he’ll do a talk show circuit? I’m willing to bet that when the Big G’ comes back he does Oprah’s show first. She always gets the big celebs. Oprah and the Big G’. My two favorites!

I wonder what the first question will be. If it were me I’d ask the following:

Do you get nervous walking on clouds like I get nervous walking in my attic? Don’t want to step on the insulation or else you’ll fall thru.

Observation #5:

Ok so the first 4 were softballs. Its about time I threw some heat at the Church. One thing that has always bothered me about Church was the not-so-subtle pressure to donate applied to it's members. I don’t feel bad for the adults who give money. That’s their loss. I do, however, feel bad for the elderly people who are made to feel like they have to donate their money. They are made to feel like their precious old church and their Priests who work for barely nothing are struggling to get by and need their donations to pay the bills. I don’t wanna hear it.

The Vatican is arguably one of the wealthiest private organizations in the world. They own stocks and real estate in just about every corner of the world. Not to mention their art and gold collection. All this and yet the Catholic church acts like every dollar matters. Passing their old looking wicker baskets to make it look like that’s all they have. It’s a sham to end all shams.

Keep donating to the church. See where it gets ya’.

Observation #6:

The next time you’re at Church do me a favor. As you’re standing just look around. Really analyze what you’re seeing. Really look at it and think. Think about what everyone is doing. People with their hands in the air. People singing about a mythological person. People with their eyes closed and praying to a figure that doesn’t exist…

Now I ask you – when does the sacrificial cow get brought out? And when it does come out I hope it’s grass fed as opposed to corn fed. Much healthier for everyone involved!

Side Note: I’m fairly certain everyone around me knew I wanted no part of being there. It was odd. I really felt as though I had a giant scarlet letter ‘A’ for Atheist on my chest. Honest. I wonder if they knew? It was probably written all over my face. Or they might’ve noticed my notes. Either one.

Observation #7:

When everyone goes up to “receive communion”, I think that’s what its called, and the volunteer says, “Body of Christ” what do you think you’re doing actually? Don’t get me wrong, when I was a kid and made to attend Church this was my favorite part of mass. It was always great to get a snack since I am always hungry and it also came towards the end so I knew once we started lining up in the bread line I knew Church was coming to an end.

So anyway, when you eat “the body” does it make you feel closer to the Big G’? Tangent alert….while we’re at it what’s with the wine? I know it’s supposed to represent “The Blood of Christ”, right? I feel like very few people ever drink the blood so how about we do away with that altogether. My vote is to take the volunteers who hold G’s blood and give them another plate of bread to hand out. It would make the lines go quicker. Just a thought.

I’m gonna stop at 7 Observations because first of all, if I keep writing I may find myself on a direct path to Hell and that’s never fun…unless of course I say a Hail Mary in which case all is forgiven. Phew! And second, I think the Catholic thing is to have 7 fish on Christmas Eve (or is it Christmas Day?) and since I didn’t have 7 fish I decided what better alternative than 7 Observations!

Happy Holidays

December 22, 2010

Day 23 - Christmas Carolers

There is a particular part of the Christmas season that has always made me wonder the following,

“What in the hell are they thinking?”

“It’s” the kind’ve Christmas tradition that some people partake in that I’ve always looked at as rather embarrassing. I’ve really never understood “it.” I’ve never understood how someone could possibly have the mentality to go out and do such a thing.

Until now “it’s” only been an activity that I’ve witnessed on television. I’ve known people that have actually done this but had never seen “it” in person. That is, like I said, until now. Or until last week when the door bell rang at 9pm. I hesitantly went to the door expecting “it” to be some lunatic trying to get me to convert to their religion. I was wrong. “It” was something entirely different. “It” was the dreaded and embarrassing…

Christmas Carolers

Let me explain for those who have never been confronted by Christmas Carolers as I was. I now consider myself an expert on the matter. It’s the most uncomfortable and awkward situation you will ever come across in your life.

You have no chance to speak. You are not given an opportunity to greet them. You are not given the chance to say “No thanks.” You are not given any chance at doing anything other than standing there and waiting, no - hoping in all hell, that this ends as quickly as it began. I opened the door and got smacked straight in the jaw with a right hook packed with "Jingle Bells" and "Winter Wonderlands."

So picture the scene. I’m standing in my front porch with a look of utter discomfort as my wife is laughing hysterically in the comfort of our living room. I wish I could see the look on my face. I knew it was priceless. The entire time I was thinking the following:

“Holy hell, fellas, stop singing immediately. You are embarrassing yourselves….Wait, do they realize they’re embarrassing themselves? How are they not laughing at the look on my face right now? Sweet mercy please let this be their only song…oh no. It’s not their only song!...Get me out’ve here!!!! I’m so uncomfortable right now I could die…”

And then the carnage came to an end.

The dreaded Christmas Carolers consisted of 4 high school guys. I was fascinated by their mentality and their ability to knock on a stranger’s door and perform under Christmas pressure so I had to ask a question or two. Here’s how it went down...and it's important to note I wasn't being sarcastic with any of my comments. I was genuinely curious and at this point did not want to come across as being rude...

Me: Wow. Impressive fellas. Impressive.

Fellas: Thanks. Thank you. Merry Christmas.

Me: So hold on guys. Before you go anywhere. Are you just going up and down the block knocking on doors and singing for people?

Fellas: Yes, sir.

Me: Are you doing it for any organization or something?

Fellas: No. We’re just singing to spread holiday cheer.

Me: Wow. I mean good for you. Good stuff, fellas. Seriously good luck guys.

Fellas: Thank you, sir. Merry Chritmas.

And off they go. As I close the door and head back to the living room my wife is still laughing at the look on my face. I was amazed at what just took place. As much as I am anti-Christmas Carolers and find it embarrassing to simply stand outdoors and sing all happy and what not I was floored by these kids. These kids were impressive. 4 high school guys who were genuinely doing it to “spread holiday cheer.”

They weren’t working for a church or some other organization. They were 4 kids who simply wanted to do it so they did.

That, my friends, is impressive. My opinion changed that night. Not entirely but it did waver. These kids did spread cheer. I felt proud to live where I did. I felt proud that these kids lived in my area. I felt proud to be celebrating Christmas. They made me feel good.

Odd, right?

A few minutes later we heard the distant sounds of 4 high school kids spreading cheer a few doors down. Another family that hopefully felt the same way I did afterwards. Good job guys.

Happy Holidays

December 21, 2010

Day 22 - Pass the Wine, Please

This evening I like to think I will have accomplished something very few others have. I like to think I will stand in rarified air, as they say. I get to attend the 2nd company holiday party in the same season…for the same company. To clarify, having been transferred to a different division of the company, one in which has their own party, in the midst of the season affords me this rare opportunity.

So, you think I’m gonna blog about that? Negative. What I’m gonna blog about is the fact that tomorrow marks Day 1 of hosting out of town guest(s) for the holidays. I’d like to ask all my loyal readers to join me in explaining to anyone new out there how we cope with the holidays and hosting:

Pass the Wine, Please

Here is what the typical out of town guest provides during the holidays. I will break it down for you.

1) Stress – No the dog is not going to eat you! She’s only sniffing!

2) Anxiety – Wash the sheets in the guest bedroom!

3) Pressure – Since when do you not like chicken? You always love this dinner so sit down!

4) Mental and Physical Exhaustion – See above

5) Weight Gain – Pass the wine, cookies and cake for the love of all things fat and jolly.

Now I ask everyone out there. Why on earth do we host people for the holidays?
It must be my overtly positive outlook on life that made you think I welcomed the challenge. You are mistaken. I think everyone's New Years resolution should be to tell your family to get a hotel room in 2011 and/or put the presents in the mail!

Happy Holidays

Day 21 - The Spirit of Christmas

Readers far and wide, please enjoy a contribution from a Guest Blogger who shall remain anonymous. For the sake of it we shall refer to said Blogger as Bob from Cleveland....

I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to guest blog as part of this Holiday series, and welcome the opportunity with all the vim and vigor of a young child on Christmas Morning! It’s appropriate that I step in today, 12/21, two years to the day prior to the most impressive celestial event our world will ever witness, a moment that has been defined as one of unavoidable change to our world. While I don’t subscribe blindly (surprise, surprise) to the Mayan prediction that the world will end 2 years from now, I do see this as a time we can all EVOLVE. What better time to embrace one another and open our minds. I think we all, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics and Humanists can universally agree on the best part of the season:

The Spirit of Christmas.

This is a time of year where everyone realizes the balance between giving and receiving. Unlike the (sometimes obligatory) act of Birthday gift giving, occasional community service (some of you probably do, right?), regular phone calls to check in with family and friends, there is something about this time of year that drives us to be a better person, to reach out to those we love, to want to see those around us feel that joy in their soul the way we all do this time of year. We get to experience the high we feel when humanity is at its best; Chilean miners being rescued, a German wall crumbling down, our own nation flying our flags in unity, without the tragedy that often precedes these events.

We all define this spirit in a variety of ways. The religious will tell you it is GOD at work, and that feeling is b/c GOD is very real. Others may believe it is religion itself that provides this irrefutable feeling of community. Non-believers may attribute it simply to the fact that this is, with all its celebration and merriment, simply a fun fucking time of year! I am no theologian, nor would I ever look to lead one’s beliefs to or from that which makes them feel whole, but it is time to reveal my thoughts on the subject and my hope that we can all grow from gaining an understanding of one another. After all, if we all share this undeniable feeling known as The Spirit of Christmas, perhaps we share more common ground than we realize.

I typically identify myself as Atheist, although I’m more appropriately labeled a Secular Humanist. It pains me that the mere mention of this strikes fear and disgust in so many. Nobody wants to be told they’ve been believing a fairy tale their whole lives, especially since so many already know it in their hearts but don’t see the benefit in crushing the dream, potentially disrespecting their family history, and taking the unnecessary risk should Judgment Day exist. I get that. I enjoy the thought provoking and entertaining dialogue that is often generated from debating with a well educated (no, not an oxymoron) believer. I also respect the stability (aka: crutch) that this faith in GOD provides to those who, for whatever reason, need this in their lives. I, on the other hand, place my faith (yes, Atheism need not be void of faith!) in something more concrete; Humanity.

Shocking as it may be, I believe. I believe in the collective good of Humanity. I also recognize the sometimes equally powerful collective evil Humanity contains. Not too dissimilar to religion’s belief in Angels and Demons, Heaven and Hell. I believe that said collective good will continue to win this constant battle. I believe that when each of us pours our energy into positive growth, there exists a kind of powerful energy around Humanity that can perpetuate this collective good. Kind of a “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” existence. Not too unlike a believer’s belief in, dare I say it, GOD (without that silly personification, of course!). Conversely, the energy I speak of is fueled by humanity itself. By FREE WILL. By you and I. Nevertheless, our differences lie in the means, not by the ends.

The point, my friends, is that we should all embrace one another’s beliefs and non-beliefs, as they contain infinitely more similarities than we realize once we open our minds to one another and eliminate the often comical details that have evolved over thousands of years like a dangerous game of “Telephone”. There is truth to the axiom of “The Devil is in the Details”. It’s what separates us all, and it doesn’t have to. So this Holiday Season, whether you believe in GOD, religion, science, Mayan theories of destruction or even little green elves and a fat bearded man living atop the earth’s axis, we can all embrace the Spirit of Christmas for the ends rather than the means, and make this Holiday season one of joy, love, and most importantly, ACCEPTANCE.


December 20, 2010

Day 20 - The Fallacy That Is Midnight Mass

Here I am sitting in my car crafting this post in the Home Depot parking lot in the lovely town of Rahway, NJ. What – is that weird? Anyway, I’m trying put some ideas down on paper (or laptop) and suddenly it came to me. Not necessarily a topic with much depth but a topic that has burned me for as long as I can remember.

The Fallacy That Is “Midnight Mass"

It’s another in the long line of church sponsored shams. Back in the day when I was a young and impressionable kid and actually attended church on Christmas Eve it always confused me as to why the hell we’d be at “Midnight Mass” and yet it was 9:00. Is there any rationale behind this scheduling gaffe? Someone please explain. I'm sure all churches do it differently but the fact remains the "Mass" should be at "Midnight" if that's how they want to market it.

I have a feeling I’d have to go straight to the source, The Christmas Marketing Manager, for the proper answer. Maybe he/she is a big college basketball fan and was inspired by the idea of “Midnight Madness”. Entirely possible. And if that were the case I’m willing to bet they’re a Duke fan.

Back to this fallacy I speak of. Religious or not, why would you want to go to church on Christmas Eve? Doesn’t it just get in the way of everything else going on that day? In my religiously-valued opinion churches should close over Christmas. God should recognize your efforts all year and say,

“Hey ya know what, followers? Take a break. Enjoy the family. Have the wine at home. See ya’ next Sunday!”

If I were God I’d do that. But that’s just me.

Happy Holidays

December 19, 2010

Day 19 - I Support the Winter Wedding. I do.

I feel today is an appropriate day to discuss the people who decide to get married around Christmas time. Why is it appropriate? Well because a friend of mine who has lived in Vietnam the past several years is getting married today to a woman he met out there and quite frankly it’s a pretty tremendous and prophetic story. Not only has this guy landed a wife but he’s also succeeded in opening up a school and hosting one of the top-rated, literally, expat blogs out there. Sometimes averaging 500 pageviews a day puts my latest surge of roughly 35 a day to shame.

With that being said, congratulations Ben and Huyen! To all else, take a look at his 1,000th blog here.

Now back to all other Winter Wedding-ites. Let me make this clear right off the bat:

I support the winter wedding. I do.

The idea of snow and photos and flowers and liquor and everything really goes well. However, it’s the people that decide to have their wedding within a day or two of the holiday that bother me. And it’s not just Christmas. It’s other holidays as well.

You’ll have to realize you may get some unhappy guests at this special day of yours. Are you prepared for that? People are busy around the holidays. And like I said, not just Christmas. They may have family in town. They may have kids in need of babysitting and that’s not easy on or around a holiday. Hotel rooms are more expensive. Travel is more expensive. So on and so forth.

I’m not saying you cater to your guests on your special day. In fact, I’m not saying that at all. It’s your day and whatever you want your family and guests should support. I just want you to realize you may not make that 150 minimum people mark like you promised the facility. I’m just sayin’.

Happy Holidays

December 18, 2010

Day 18 - Merry Christmas v. Happy Holidays

There are a few things that this time of year spurs other than holiday spirit, family joy and all that other bull. Anger, resentment and debates on political correctness are some of those few. Political correctness is where I’m headed with this blog. There tends to be a very passionate debate about the proper greeting around this time.

Ladies and gentlemen, on today’s undercard we have two heavyweights of the season. Please welcome into the blog world:

Merry Christmas v. Happy Holidays

In one corner we have the people who go merrily on their way tossing out Merry Christmas’s like its their job. No concern or thought given for whom they’re saying it to despite the fact they may care less about your holiday and celebrate something entirely different.

In the other corner you have the folks passively walking around dishing out Happy Holiday’s like it’s their politically correct job. They show concern and thoughtfulness to the fact they might be speaking to someone who doesn’t share the same beliefs.

Who’s the winner of this bout? It’s the people who are merrily on their way tossing out Merry Christmas’s like it’s their job. The fact of the matter is that yes this is “the holiday season” but the true fact is that it’s only “the holiday season” because of Christmas time and I don’t want to hear otherwise. If you are someone who takes it personal when somebody wishes you a Merry Christmas when you may not celebrate that particular religion do you take that same attitude with you in all walks of life?

If so, then you shouldn’t take advantage of the vacation afforded you as a result of the holiday. You shouldn’t take advantage of the Christmas sales. None of it. If you want to separate yourself from that holiday than go all in.

The fact of the matter is that whomever is wishing you Merry Christmas is simply being nice. They’re being friendly. Take the greeting as a sign of respect and positive communication that is rarely seen this days between strangers. Instead of getting insulted you can simply say:

“Why thank you. I don’t celebrate Christmas but thank you very much. And you as well!”

People need to stop taking everything so damn personal. It’s annoying. Just enjoy life for crying out loud.

Merry Christmas

December 16, 2010

Day 17 - Wrapping Paper Coordination

I’m a firm believer in something I like to call…

Wrapping Paper Coordination

I take wrapping Christmas presents seriously. Sometimes more serious than at other times based on how patient I’m feeling at the moment but nonetheless I do take it seriously. In the past I’ve been complimented on my wrapping job and its mainly because I’m a man. Sexism anyone? Well here’s how I see it – no man should take wrapping gifts for granted and here’s why.

Presentation is everything

1) Would a diamond ring look as nice without it’s box? (ok fine bad example. It would. You get the point though)

2) Is your restored leather interior really that nice if it’s surrounded by a beat up ’85 Hugo?

3) How far does that Princeton degree take ya’ if you go to the interview in a track-suit?

The moral of the story is that you should take wrapping serious. It should be something you take pride in. Don’t just waltz into the local store and pick up a tube of any old wrapping paper. Make it a process to choose one you think is the classiest.

Here’s another thing to take into consideration. Something that got lost in the fray of
Christmas Marketing is the plain solid red or solid green and even solid white paper. Got 6 gifs to wrap? Try going 2, 2, and 2 and enjoy how great that actually looks under the tree. Sounds basic but the combo of solid colors screams classy.

Just do your giftee a favor and put as much time into wrapping the gift as you supposedly spent shopping for the gift. And for you out there that don’t put much effort into gift giving then realize that a great wrapping job can only increase it’s perceived value.

Happy Holidays

Day 16 - What is it About Christmas Movies

What is it About Christmas Movies...

...that attract a cult-like viewership around the holidays? It’s the one time of the year when you can watch a made for TV movie starring C-List actors about Santa Claus bringing the joy back to a sleepy-town in New Hampshire and find yourself infatuated.

I’m not against “the Lifetime movie” by any means. In fact some really can be entertaining on a take-it-for-what-it’s-worth level. And this is coming from a guy who considers himself a serious movie critic.

I came home the other night to my wife crying and claiming she was watching “the greatest Christmas movie I’ve ever seen” starring Alyssa Milano and Ivan Sergei (of Jack & Jill fame of course) A made for tv movie with average acting and convoluted story-lines and yet she was in tears and I found myself sitting there watching the final 20 minutes as well.

“She’s gonna leave him at the altar I know it!"

Kind’ve embarrassing, no? Nah, I’m not ashamed. Then you have the classic Christmas movies like A Christmas Story which has made Peter Billingsley a very wealthy man and turned the word “Fragile” into a cultural reference. I have noticed less and less of this movie on air though. It used to be played consecutively from December 1 – December 25 on TBS. Now not so much.

The movie that has taken up that spot on air is Elf. I remember when this movie hit the theaters several years back. It was a dud. Laughed at by critics and viewers. Now it seems each and every year it gains more and more of a following. Try clicking on Facebook without seeing the following status update…

“Elf tonight! I like to smile. Smiling’s fun!”

Elf is building up cultural steam much like the leg-lamp in A Christmas Story did way back when. I wonder if my kids will be watching Elf on TBS in 15 years?

As much as Elf truly is a good movie there is one movie that is incomparable to all others. There is one Christmas Movie that stands tallest among a sea of redwoods. A classic in every sense of the word and yet I fear not many in this day and age have actually seen it. I scoffed at it back in the day until I was chained to the couch and forced to watch it.

White Christmas with Bing Crosby, Danny Kay and Rosemary Clooney is a great movie. I was deterred initially by the idea of it being a musical. I’m usually not a musical-movie kind’ve guy. This movie is more than that. Sure there’s some song and dance but it falls within the confines of the storyline quite well. For those that don’t know the movie is about two performers (Bing and Danny) who are WWII veterans that find out their former Sergeant’s B&B isn’t doing very well up in New Hampshire (possibly Vermont) so they make it their goal, along with Clooney and another gal, to bring it back to life. It’s honestly a great movie. Don't knock it 'til you try it.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for the Christmas Movie. All types.

Happy Holidays

Day 15 + 1 - Benefits of the December Birthday

I planned on writing this blog last week when the topic was at the tip of my tongue. Alas, I delayed so here it goes. My birthday was this past weekend and growing up I would always hear the following:

“Man that must suck. You probably get jipped on gifts since it’s so close to Christmas!”

My response was always:

“Nah not really. I don’t really mind anyway….” And I’d go on to state my reasons. I didn’t have a blog with reader’s worldwide back then so now I’m gonna take this opportunity to fully state the…

Benefits of the December Birthday

1) As soon as Thanksgiving hits you basically didn’t have school until March. Yes. March. Factor in Thanksgiving, then the mental obsession that is your birthday, then Christmas, then NYE, then NFL playoffs (yup), then the Super Bowl, then Valentine’s Day, then February break. Next thing you know you fell asleep after turkey and woke up watching spring training.

Well, I guess that’s it. That sums up the benefits all in one. I’ll take the few month mental and physical vacation from reality over a birthday in April, August or November any day of the week. In fact, in the world that is rankings December Birthday’s are No. 1 on the list.

Remember folks, similar to outdoor lights, saturation is more important than equality. It gives you more to anticipate and it’s more enjoyable when the time comes.

Btw, bonus points if you get the one part of the above "Fortune" that doesn't exactly suit me....all others are pretty much right on.

Happy Birthday

December 15, 2010

Day 14 + 1 - Definition of "Holiday"

I would like to take this opportunity to talk about “the true meaning of Christmas”. Ok fine not really. How about “the true meaning of Holiday.” Without getting too deep I figured I’d go straight to the source. With apologies to Merriam and Websters, the mecca of all things definition.

Question: Who decides what a word means? And whomever decides doesn't that mean they ultimately control the English language and can do with it as they see fit? Pretty powerful. I digress, see below for a comparison of what thinks and what I think is...

The Definition of "Holiday"

As Per

Holiday (hol·i·day) – noun

1. a day fixed by law or custom on which ordinary business is suspended in commemoration of some event or in honor of some person.

2. any day of exemption from work (distinguished from working day).

3. a time or period of exemption from any requirement, duty, assessment, etc.: New businesses may be granted a one-year tax holiday.

4. a religious feast day; holy day, esp. any of several usually commemorative holy days observed in Judaism.

5. Sometimes, holidays. Chiefly British. a period of cessation from work or one of recreation; vacation.

6. an unintentional gap left on a plated, coated, or painted surface.

As per Yours Truly:

Holiday (str-ess) – adjective, noun

1. a word used to describe a time of the year when you are forced to adhere to scheduling conflicts, awkward embraces and money problems.

2. a time of year when you can take advantage of your employers by not going to work despite the fact you could care less about the holiness of said day.

3. a time or period of exemption from any alcohol limit, type of cocktail, or inhibition, etc:
You’re more than welcome to drink since it’s a holiday.

4. a religious creation; holy day, esp. any of several fabricated and mythological days observed by people of all religions.

5. Sometimes, holidays. Chiefly British. a period of cessation from work or one of recreation; vacation, in order to drink heavily when it’s otherwise frowned upon.

6. an intentional gap in your life caused by excessive drinking and the eventual blackout that occurs.

Happy Holidays

Day 12 + 3 - Stocking Stuffer Stress

One thing that goes overlooked during Christmas is the value of the Stocking Stuffer. Personally I’ve never been a big Stocking Stuffer guy. Growing up it was always an afterthought and simply a guaranteed jackpot of M&M’s, scratch-offs and possibly a gift card. The simplicity of my stocking gifts growing up is what has me suffering an extreme case of…

Stocking Stuffer Stress

I’m a gift giver. Plain and simple. I’m the rare guy who enjoys shopping and buying gifts for my wife and whomever else is lucky enough to be on my list. I pay attention all year to hints. I do my own research. I enjoy it and quite frankly I’m damn good at it. That being said I have an extremely difficult time coming up with ideas for the Stocking Stuffer. All this despite the fact my wife is a huge fan of the Stocking Stuffer and excels in the purchasing of these gifts. She recognizes my stress and drops hints, cutouts, coupons, spreadsheets, etc. all year. I’ll open up my wallet or my calendar and find little magazine cutouts of $10-15$ items that are “perfect stocking stuffers!”

Unfortunately for whatever reason I have a hard time taking it as serious as she does. Where as I keep an organized folder of ideas and printouts for actual presents I simply can’t keep the stocking stuffers in control. I always end up giving it my best effort and doing things on my own. When in doubt you head to Sephora. A ladies dream.

Walking through Sephora is like looking at one giant restaurant menu written in script. Don’t you just hate when menu’s are in script? I know I do. Anyway, you just walk up and down the aisles staring blankly at the rows and rows of things that all look exactly alike. Much like a menu.

Each year I spend about 20 minutes staring at the different color nail polishes since it’s easy enough to understand. Kind’ve like how I immediately go straight to the “Pollo” section of the menu. I take this purchase seriously and am always looking forward to my wife’s reaction when she sees the color I picked out on my own. Well, last year I painstakingly analyzed each color and came upon what I thought was a great one. I forget the color’s name but it’s probably something like, “Deep Blue Euphoria”. I was proud of my purchase.

Fast forward to Christmas morning and the wife opens up the stocking and I find out that my 25 minute hunt for the perfect nail polish resulted in picking out the exact same color I chose the year before. What can I say – I guess I really liked that color. You know what they say, one can never have too many “Deep Blue Euphoria”!

And so goes my Stocking Stuffer Stress

Happy Holidays

Day 13 + 2 - Cutting Down the Christmas Tree

As I've said before, nothing better than heading out to the tree farm and picking out your own tree. Toss me the handsaw and let’s get at it! I have to say that the wife and I picked out a gem this year. However, a couple things struck me as we were...

Cutting Down The Christmas Tree

1 – It’s embarrassing trying to tie a tree to the top of your 4-door sedan when the family next to you is tossing there Douglas Fir in the bed of their pickup truck. And the family on the other side is tieing it down to the top of their SUV. Then there’s little old me cowered in the middle like a freshman at his locker sandwiched in between seniors.

2 – This one is important. Take this advice people. When tieing the tree to the top of your car don’t wrap the rope through the windows and through the car. I always thought that’s what everyone did when you didn’t have roof racks (in the past I always had a roof rack and a more manly vehicle). Well needless to say, after spending a thought-provoking 20 minutes utilizing every nautical knot possible in order to ensure the tree doesn’t move in transit my wife realizes I have effectively locked us out’ve the car. Yup. Can’t open the doors since they’re tied shut. Luckily the wife squeezed through a 5” opening in the door and was able to lower the windows so I could climb in. It’s almost like the two seniors locked me in my tiny freshman locker.

I had Michelle taking pictures of me as I navigated my way through the window and into the front seat for the purpose of attaching a picture for your enjoyment. Alas, I’m choosing not to. Maybe in a future blog you’ll come across said photo. Just maybe.

Happy Holidays

Day 11 + 4 - Chanukah Needs a New Marketing Manager

First let me apologize for the absence in posts the past several days. I’m going to try my best to catch up. And on this Day 11 + 4 I’d really like to discuss how…

Chanukah Needs a New Marketing Manager

Yes. I hope they’re hiring. I’ve been thinking about this the past week or so. As far as I know Chanukah is the Jewish version of Christmas. I know not in a literal sense but in a holiday festive sense it’s supposedly a happy holiday, no? Any of my Jewish readers feel free to help me on this one.

I’ll tell you what I do know. I know that Christmas is marketed like a banchee. You name it and there is a Christmas themed version for it. Houses are adorned in lights. Blow up animals around each corner. Reindeer on roofs. Christmas music on every FM radio station. I could go on and on. So I ask you, my fine Jewish brethren, where the hell is the Chanukah swag? Who is in charge of this damn holiday for you guys?

I imagine there is a Vatican City for the Jews somewhere. Or is the Vatican for Jews as well as the Christians? Who knows. Anyway, the point is that the Christmas Marketing Manager is doing one hell of a job in his cushy corner office in the Vatican. I’m gonna assume that either Judaism does not have a Chanukah Marketing Manager or that the one currently employed in Jerusalem only has the position due to nepotism of some sort and isn’t really quite qualified.

Authors Note: Nothing wrong with nepotism. The only people that don’t support nepotism are the ones that don’t have the nepotistic opportunity.

Authors Note #2: Not sure “nepotistic” is a word but you know what I mean.

Here’s what I know about the job the Chanukah Marketing Manager has done. He or she has come up with 3 marketing ideas:

1 – The Menorah

2 – Blue version of Christmas Lights

3 – The giant Menorah to put on the top of your car.

If you realize that the blue lights are a knock off of Christmas lights you can check that one off the list. Then if you take the giant menorah for your car off the list since it’s a knock off of the Rudolph nose and antler car ornaments you really only have 1 bright idea, no pun intended.

Why just one bright idea?

Isn’t Chanukah 6 nights of gift giving? There really seems to be more of an opportunity to take this holiday up a notch. I mean it’s never going to eclipse Christmas but there’s no reason it can’t be more publicized. Noone even knows when the hell the holiday is for crying out loud.

Fire the current Chanukah Marketing Manager.


December 9, 2010

Day 10 - How Long Do You Maintain the Lie of Santa Claus Being Real to Your Children

Readers, please enjoy the following contribution from an Anonymously special Guest Blogger...

I am lucky enough to have been asked to comment on the following topic for Day 10:

How long do you maintain the lie of Santa Claus being real to your children?

I was told this was due to my expertise as a parent of 2 children and a person who had a traumatic Santa Claus reveal during my childhood. Before beginning, I guess I should share my “traumatic reveal”. Sitting at the lunch table in 3rd grade, eating my lunch in all of my blissful innocence, I overheard some friends talking about how Santa is not real. I continued to eat, while eavesdropping and trying to maintain my cool. That is when it all became clear. I was a fool. I had just been the victim of a giant scam.

I am fairly certain that was the catalyst for my quest for truth and my rejection of all things make believe (i.e. God).

If it were up to me, I am not sure that I would introduce Santa to my children at all. However, given the current state of society, this is a battle I will not willfully join. Since I have given in and chosen to participate in the tradition of Santa I have done a lot of thinking and come to some conclusions which bring optimism to the ruse. I do not feel that Santa Claus has to be a lie. I have never confirmed or denied Santa Claus and never plan to. I have decided to look at this as an opportunity. An opportunity to develop an inquiring mind and teach my children to think, analyze and interpret for themselves. I realized the potential of this great big scam (and yes, I do liken it to a scam but, as I have now reconciled, a scam with benefits) when my 3 year old son started a dialogue with me.

“Mommy, I think Santa is in my head. But then how do the presents get here? By an airplane? But then how do the presents get to our house from the airport?”

Ahhhhh…mommy is now beaming with pride!

So to answer the question, “How long do you maintain the lie of Santa Claus being real to your children?”, I would first like to change the word “lie” to “possibility”. And my answer is until your child asks enough questions to figure it out on their own.

If your child is not engaging in the thoughtful questions and pondering the legitimacy of a fat man sliding down a chimney, the defiance of the time space continuum, the giant book of all the children’s names (and the logistics involved with maintaining up to date records) etc., then it may be time to ask some leading questions and help them draw some alternative conclusions. Either way, use this as a time to develop your children’s ability to think, analyze, process and, most importantly, question.

Happy Holidays from a Guest Blogger beaming with pride!

December 8, 2010

Day 9 - Christmas Is Meant for Cold Weather

Day 9 – Christmas Is Meant for Cold Weather

The idea for this post just came to me and boy am I glad it did. This one is yet another topic in the long line of things I’m passionate about. The facts are simple, obvious, logical and backed by common sense.

Christmas is meant to be celebrated in the cold weather.

Sorry folks out in California, Florida, and wherever else the average temperature for late December is higher than 50 degrees. You lose. You’ve made a pivotal mistake in your life that unfortunately for you and your family you can not take back. You have decided to put a Christmas Tree up in your living room and wear shorts and flips while doing it.

One word – Wrong.

Let me ask you this, seriously, while shopping at your local strip mall for little Billy’s stocking stuffers are you really feeling the holiday spirit when it’s 75 degrees and the palm trees are swaying?

No. You’re not.

Christmas is meant to be comfortable. It’s meant to be paired with hot chocolate and eggnog (ahem, foreshadow for a future blog). It’s meant to have fireplaces and roasted chestnuts. Its meant to have a “chance of snow” tomorrow…not that it ever does.

It’s meant to have images of evergreens, snowstorms, reindeer and icicles not cacti, sandstorms, locusts and sunscreen. Nothing looks worse than an image of Christmas lights on a palm tree. Its laughable really.

So think about it. Do you want to be laughable?

Day 8 - Christmas Eve v. Christmas Day

Day 8 - Christmas Eve v. Christmas Day

We’re 8 day’s into the season and rapidly approaching the 3rd week when things really start getting hairy. I think now is a good time to explain to everyone out there why Christmas Eve is actually a better holiday than Christmas Day. The sooner everyone realizes this the sooner they have time to prepare and change their family traditions accordingly.

Raise your hand if you think I’m in the minority on this one? (Insert each one of you raising your hand)

My thoughts on Christmas Eve are not much different as to why I believe Thursday is the best day of the week. 1 word – Anticipation.

One thing that’s great about Friday and Saturday is that on Thursday that’s all you can think about. It consumes you…at least it does me. Note: if you so happen to be a stay-at-home-whomever than you probably don’t fully understand. Hence the reason Thursday is the greatest day of the week. Friday is ok and all good but the next thing you know its Saturday and you’re saying to yourself, “great. Tomorrow is Sunday and the weekend is over.” So why not just enjoy Thursday with all it’s innocence and promise for a great weekend?

Back to Christmas Eve. Do you see where I’m coming from?

Christmas Eve is one giant day of Anticipation. Combine that with lots of food, alcohol, and a few early presents here and there and you don’t get any better.

I can also discuss how for the second half of my life growing up my family actually made the controversial leap into opening up all our presents Christmas Eve night. I know I know. Blasphemy. Or is it? I think not. I think it made Christmas Eve even better if that was possible. Personally, I like the idea of being all dressed up and slightly tired with some glasses of red wine in me and opening presents better than waking up at the crack of dawn, all groggy and the sun blinding me while opening presents.

Cue every parent disagreeing with me…

I know I know. I fully understand the idea of the kids waking up and running to the tree in all their glory. Their own personal anticipation. I get it. And I fully agree with that. When I have kids that will happen and I’ll love it. But until then I can look back on the joys of opening up presents next to a fireplace (although my house growing up didn’t have one) at nighttime and slightly tired. The next morning getting to sleep in and wake up when I please with a stack of gifts at my disposal to do with as I please.

For the record, I’ll be the dad who dresses up as Santa Claus and accidentally gets caught putting presents under the tree so don’t go thinking I’m all bah humbug.

Happy Holidays

December 7, 2010

Day 7 - The Christmas Card

Day – 7 The Christmas Card

Now that we’ve crept into the second week of December we should all brace ourselves for the onslaught of mail that is The Christmas Card. The Christmas Card, to me, is a lot like Facebook in that it’s simply a forum to show people your life. Ultimately it’s all about you.

Don’t get me wrong I’m a big proponent of The Christmas Card. And as I have chronicled in this blog before, I caved into the pressure that is Facebook a short while ago.

So yes I do support The Christmas Card but I do find it entertaining to see the manner at which people go about The Card. For all intents and purposes I’m going to compare The Christmas Card to the Facebook Profile Pic. And as such I think the same rules should apply.

Rule #1 – I know you love your pet. And don’t get me wrong you have a great dog. Honest. But if you must include your pet than include your pet as well as you. Your dog is not wishing me a Merry Christmas. You are.

Rule #1A – While we’re at it. Please take the antlers off the poor animal.

Rule #2 – Yes. I know. We all know. Your child is adorable. But your infant is not wishing us a Merry Christmas. You are! Family photo’s if you must, please. At least one parent should be present.

Rule #2A – Well done. Ok fine so you went a little overboard paying for the professional photographer but at least it’s a family shot. But did you really put that sweater on your son? And that dress on your daughter? She looks like a candy cane and he looks like a mini-Clark Griswold. There had to have been better options, no?

Rule #3 – Unlike Facebook where basically anything other than you is not allowed you are allowed a photo of the exterior of your home in all its decorated-glory to be the picture. It’s like a variation of the store-bought picturesque card you are supplanting.

Rule #4 – The classic store-bought card suffices well.
Rule #5 - Never should you ever sign the card, for example, "Love, Bobby, Hillary and Rover!" Keep the animals out've the signature for the love all things Merry.

In summation, please try to adhere to the above rules. I recognize Rule #4 is the more expensive option versus a photo from Snapfish, Shutterfly or wherever so if you must go that route than please pay attention to the rules. If you have failed this year I understand and you’re forgiven. Next year you know better.

Happy Holidays

December 6, 2010

The 25 Observations of The Holiday Season: Day 6 - Musical Entertainment

Day 6 – Musical Entertainment

Before it gets too late into the Christmas Season I need to address a very important subject regarding the rules and clarifications regarding music.

If you open up the "Common Sense Guide to the Holiday Season" you will see the following rules.
Chapter 3: Musical Entertainment

Rule 1At no time should Christmas music be played until the stroke of midnight on Thanksgiving night.

If you haven’t noticed, this rule is similar in the one found in Chapter 2 regarding Outdoor Christmas Lights. It is imperative for people to realize the gravity of breaking such a rule. When and If you do listen or “cheat a little” prior to this date you basically ruin any and all excitement there may have been come that Friday. You have basically taken the anticipation of the moment and trampled on it like Columbus did the Indians.

…although he got a day and a Holiday out’ve it so maybe its no all that bad?

Needless to say you should follow "The Common Sense Guide to the Holiday Season" and not some moron who feels listening to “Little St. Nick” on November 20th is a good idea.

Happy Holidays

The 25 Observations of The Holiday Season: Day 5 1/4, Fake Christmas Trees Belong in the Garbage Not The Living Room

Day 5 1/4 – Fake Christmas Trees Belong in the Garbage Not the Living Room

There are obviously many aspects of the Holiday Season that I have opinions on. However, there may not be one greater than people who institute fake Christmas Trees into the equation.

Nothing says sac-religious more than a plastic Christmas Tree. Are you that lazy? Are you really that festively-bland? Nothing says moron more than sticking three poles together and tossing it in the corner of your living room.

Hello everyone. How do you all like my tree?! I got it from Wal-Mart and it came with the lights and everything! Happy Holidays!

How about the age-old tradition of heading out to a tree farm with a saw in one hand and a hot chocolate in the other sap-filled hand. You really can’t compare going to Target for a tree v. going to the Great Outdoors for one (even if it is a tree farm) If you’re an “indoor person” most of the year there’s no reason you can’t brave the elements and bring out your inner Jeremiah Johnson come December.

Another obvious advantage to the real tree is that nothing smells better than freshly cut pine needles. Ok fine a few things do but that’s for another blog (freshly opened can of tennis balls, anyone?).

So please don’t be the family that decorates the outside of their house all big and fancy and then tosses a plastic tree on the indoors.

If you’re gonna do it then do it right and if you wanna look the part you better play the part. Enough said.

Happy Holidays

December 4, 2010

The 25 Observations of The Holiday Season: Day 4, Black Friday Lunatics

Day 4 – Black Friday Lunatics

I’m willing to bet that 90% of my readers (all 6 of you) are going to disagree with this post. View this as a learning experience. Please don’t take any offensive language or accusatory remarks personal because there will be plenty. Remember folks – it’s not personal...

You’re all lunatics and a societal embarrassment.

My opinion on this topic is similar to my opinion on Costco. Shoppers racing around the warehouse are similar to the way you rats clamor to the front-doors of your local stores. Only this time you have the audacity to think it makes sense to sit outside your local Wal-Mart at 3am the night of Thanksgiving just for that discount that you can get the following afternoon.

And don’t answer me with the following:

“It’s not because of the discount. It’s because if we don’t go when it opens then there wont be any available the next day. They’ll sell out!”

Then don’t get that item. Move on.

Where is your dignity?

Someone also needs to rationalize the idea of pitching tents in parking lots in anticipation of the doors opening. Think about this, folks. Are you really setting up camp in the parking lot of some store on the side of a highway? And in doing so are you still looking yourself in the mirror and liking what you see the following day?

Let me pose you a question. Let’s say you’re watching a movie. In the movie there is a crazy scene where there are hundreds of people outside the local mall at midnight freezing their asses off. As the clock strikes midnight the doors of the mall open to an onrush of people. A proverbial running of the bulls only instead of running in fear of being gored to death they are running with a determination fraught with disregard for human life. Said determination ends in people being trampled. It also ends in you standing in another line just 10 minutes later. Is this an act you would find envious or would you scoff at such actions?

Folks, that wasn’t a movie. That was you last Friday. Embarrassed?

December 2, 2010

The 25 Observations of The Holiday Season: Day 3, The Company Holiday Party

Day 3 – The Company Holiday Party

Each Holiday Season there are several constants. Other than Alcohol Consumption my favorite constant is the Holiday Party. It goes without saying it doesn’t hurt the Holiday Party Fun Factor that these two go hand-in-hand…

(Alcohol and it’s necessary relation to the Holidays is a future blog don’t worry)

Tonight I will be attending my company’s Annual Holiday Party. I’m a sucker for these events because I enjoy dressing up and drinking wine and beer and talking with people I normally would never say a word to. I enjoy the across-the-table uncomfortable conversations with people you would otherwise talk behind their back too.

Another bonus about the Company Holiday Party is the ability to see what your colleagues are like when under the influence. Who’s the crazy dancer? Who’s the one unable to hold their liquor? Who’s the one that breaks free of all inhibition? These are all fascinating studies in the life of the working man or woman.

That being said here’s a sample conversation that may take place tonight

Me: How’s it going, man? Nice little party, no? You’re looking sharp as always. Well done.

Other: Eh. I hate these things. I hate coming to these parties. They’re so lame. Don't ya' think?

Me: Yeah I guess I can see that. Well, Happy Holidays anyway. Cheers, bud.

That’s a quick little snippet of a conversation that may take place. Actually, I guarantee it will take place. Now, let me translate what those words really mean.

Me: I’m only talking to you ‘cause everyone else is busy. Honestly I’m not happy you’re at my table and you look like an idiot. Who dressed you?

Other: Eh. I never liked you and I’m waiting for you to leave me alone so I can get a smoke and talk shit about you.

Me: Happy Holidays you prick.

Bartender – Another round!