Monthly Archives: December 2014

NEW YEAR’S EVE

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Have you made your preparations for New Year’s Eve?  Are you excited about New Year’s Eve?  Are you looking forward to New Year’s Eve?  Well, neither am I.  Perhaps I am just getting grumpy in my old age, but I’ve never had a desire to go to New York or anyplace else to see the ball drop.  (If I want to see a ball drop, I can just wait for the Bengals playoff game on Sunday.) I guess I’ve never had much of a desire to do anything on New Year’s Eve.  In fact I cannot remember the last time I even had plans on New Year’s Eve.  

I remember as a kid New Year’s consisted of 1) staying up until midnight which was something I usually did not get to do, 2) watching Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians on television which was something I did not especially want to do, and 3) eating Cassano’s Pizza in the living room while watching TV which is something I always wanted to do.  Number 3 was the most impressive part because eating pizza and watching TV at the same time was an experience reserved only for very special occasions.  Sometimes I wonder how different today’s kids would be if they spent New Year’s Eve watching Guy Lombardo (and Lawrence Welk weekly) as I was somewhat forced to do?  But I digress.

As I moved into my teens Guy Lombardo was replaced by the Watch Night Service at church where we gathered to watch movies about the Rapture to ring in the New Year.  This was usually followed by tuning in Wolfman Jack on The Midnight Special upon returning home.  One of the more memorable New Year’s was my senior year in high school when after the Watch Night service I went to a friend’s house where the wild and crazy bunch of kids I hung around with sat around telling jokes and discussing which M&M color tasted the best.  Yes, I did have a real wild streak during my high school years. That year the temperature on New Year’s Eve ranged from a low of -6 to a high of 10 followed by a balmy New Year’s Day with a low of 0 and a high of 14!  Perhaps it was that New Year’s when the thought of going to a college in Florida started to sound like a really, really good idea.

But, alas, even during those college year’s New Year’s Eve was not much better.  Somehow I could manage to stay pretty healthy during the semester only to get sick with my annual throat infection over the Christmas break. One New Year’s Eve I could feel a fever coming on and spent the early part of the evening trying to find a doctor’s office open.  When I finally did, I received the expected news that yes, I had a throat infection and I needed a shot – and the target of choice was not the arm.  The nurse who was probably looking to take out her frustrations on someone for having to work on New Year’s Eve because, unlike me, she probably had plans, attempted to administer the shot and then happily declared’ “oh, this needle is clogged, I will have to go find another one” and with that she left me there for several minutes while she, supposedly,  went to find a new needle.  Upon her return with the new clog-free needle she informed me that she would try the new needle on the other side.  I suppose that New Year’s Eve I learned what it means to turn the other “cheek,”

When my boys were small New Year’s was fun because they were excited to stay up late, eat lots of junk and ring in the New Year.  Then, of course,  there was all the excitement of Y2K – when, as it turned out, nothing happened, just like most of my New Year’s.  Now the boys are all out doing their own thing on New Year’s Eve and that just leaves the two of us at home with the odds being pretty good that neither of us will actually be awake at midnight.

So, here is wishing you a Happy New Year and hoping that you get to whoop it up this New Year’s Eve! I see that there are plenty of Guy Lombardo videos on YouTube, so maybe for old time’s sake I’ll see if I can find a Cassanos and eat in front of the computer monitor which, by the way, probably has a larger screen than that old black and white TV in the living room did.  Yes sir, I am going to start off 2015 living on the edge!

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Friday Funny December 26, 2014 Fruit Cake

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This Friday Funny greets the day after Christmas.  The presents have all been opened and a lot of goodies have been eaten.  All that remains are the leftovers, the returns, the bills, and, for some, the fruit cake.  Perhaps you are a fan of fruit cake, this Friday Funny is not for you.  If you are in the 99.98% that are not fans of fruit cake, read on and enjoy!

Did you know that fruitcake has been around since the time of ancient Rome, some even think that the fruit cakes passed around to today were originally re-gifted in the mid-first century.  Perhaps it is an urban legend, but some people have been rumored to have actually eaten fruitcake, most likely after all of the figgie pudding and mincemeat pies were gone.

We you hear the words “fruit cake,” perhaps it brings to mind an image of fruits and nuts with just enough batter to hold them together. Why eat something that might be healthy like fruits and nuts by themselves when you can take away the nutritional and the taste by adding a little cake batter?

Did you know that if wrapped properly and sealed tightly, a fruitcake may be kept for months or even years?   However, if your fruitcake is older than you are, it is probably time to pass it along or consider burying it at the nearest site that accepts hazardous material.

But, if by chance you want to live on the wild side and get the urge to make your own fruitcake, here are a few basic Fruitcake-Making Tips:

  To prevent over-browning (we wouldn’t want the appearance of our fruitcake to be less appealing than it already is would we?), line the bottom and sides of the pan with foil. If you leave extra foil overlapping the sides, it will make a little carrier that will help you transport it to the trashcan.

  When baking, set the fruitcake pan in a baking pan (13×9-inch) half-filled with water to prevent burning around the edges.  Set the pan in the garbage can and place at the curb.  You might need to check local laws regarding hazardous waste.

  Let fruitcake cool in the pan for about 10 days, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

  For long-term storage, bury the fruitcake at night at a safe distance at an unmarked location.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself on the receiving end of a fruitcake, here are a few suggestions for what to do with it.

1) Put it in a safe place for ten years, then re-gift.

2) Use ti as a weight to hold down your portable basketball goal, this will help to keep the goal from tipping over during periods of high winds.

3)  If you get two, tie at each end of a study pole and use as a free weight.

4)  If you have pickup truck, you can place fruitcake in the truck bed to add weight for traction in the snow.

5)  Fruitcakes make excellent boundary markers for your driveway or yard during snowy months and the hold their shape no matter how many times you or the snow plow run over them.

6)  If you cannot use it during the winter months, just hang onto it until spring and use as a boat anchor.

Thought for the Week
When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time.  Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs? ~G.K. Chesterton

http://www.quotegarden.com

 

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

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At this time of the year, we are bombarded by holiday music.  Some stations have had Christmas music nonstop since the end of November.  Perhaps, like me, you find yourself singing along once in a while with one of your favorites.  Perhaps certain songs bring back a special Christmas memory.  Perhaps, by now, you have just become numb as all the songs have just blended into white noise in the background.

Yet, even though we cannot get away from the Holiday songs, do we really “hear” them?  Even though we might sing along with the lyrics, do we really “know” them?  One song comes to my mind today.  It is a song that you hear occasionally this time of year, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”  

This lyrics were written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas Day 1863.  He wrote at a time that this country was torn by Civil War and just several weeks after his son had been severely wounded in the war.  He wrote it not too long after he had lost his wife in an accidental fire.  Mr. Wadsworth’s world was not full of candy canes and gum drops, it was full of hurt and pain just like the world that we live in.  Yet, he did not let his gloom get the best of him, he struggled on until he could hear those “bells peal more loud and deep.”  This Christmas Eve my wish to you is that you might hear “a voice, a chime, a chant sublime, Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

 

 

Friday Funny December 19, 2014 What Not to Buy Women

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Earlier this week, I shared some good tips I found on the Internet for buying gifts for men.   So, on this Friday before Christmas, I thought it only proper, to deal with gifts for women.  While men are extremely easy to shop for, women are extremely difficult to shop for.  Given this, I thought it might be easier to offer some general suggestions on what not to buy.

Enjoy!

Appliances are to be avoided like the plague.  Well pretty much any gift that translates into work (i.e. blender, toaster, vacuum, anything for the house “as seen on TV.”  I have been told that the general rule of thumb is that if it has a plug, don’t buy it.

Cleaning supplies are to avoided like the flu.  If the thought ever crosses your mind to buy a women Tide, Windex, Tidy Bowl just fight it or prepare to spend the rest of your life alone in a house you will have cleaned with those supplies..

Avoid sharp objects like a 24 hour stomach virus.  Ginsu knives may sound really neat and you may look forward to the opportunity to cut a pop can and a tomato with the same knife, but believe me, she will not share your enthusiasm.  Plus she will have a sharp object in her hand while she is upset with you,

Just avoid any gift for yourself that you intend to pass off as a gift for her.  This applies to power tools, sporting event tickets and DVD’s of the Three Stooges.  If you really want it for yourself, but it for yourself, just make sure you buy her something nicer.

Don’t even think of no name perfume like a $3.99 pint of Eu de Paris, which will not remind anyone of France unless it might be the local waste water plant.  If you are going to buy her perfume, at least purchase a brand that both of you have  heard of.

Please, please, please do not give her any type of cubic zirconia jewelry you saw on some shopping network and never, never, never try to pass this off as a real diamond.  The day will come when she will be embarrassed and you will be lucky to have all your teeth.

You will be tempted to buy clothes.  You have gone shopping together, you know think you know what she likes, you know her size.  So, no problem, right?  Wrong! This is a trap!!  Please do not fall for it.  There are three possible outcomes when you but her clothes: a) they do not fit, b) it is the wrong color, c) she just does not like it.

If you want the relationship to last past Christmas Day do not give her a gift certificate to Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem,  or Weight Watchers. Please tell me you already knew this one. 

Never buy a woman anti-wrinkle cream, or anything that is supposed to help her look “younger.”  These gifts may result in serous bodily harm to your person.

If this has eliminated all your gift ideas, just go with a nice pair of earrings.  Happy Shopping!

Thought for the Week

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

http://www.quotegarden.com

 

SIMPLE RULES – BUYING GIFTS FOR MEN

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This is the time of year when men fret over buying gifts for women and women fret over buying gifts for men. While buying the “perfect” gift for a woman is next to impossible, but gifts for men is a piece of cake, literally if not always figuratively, but cake will often work.  Fret not, just follow these simple rules.

When in doubt – buy cordless power tools. Cordless drills, cordless saws.  If he has a complete set of cordless power tools, you can always buy him an extra battery pack.

If cordless power tools are too much for your budget, just buy anything with the word ratchet or socket in it. Men love saying those two words. If he has all the ratchet and sockets that he needs, there is always a socket extender that will widen the world where he can use all those sockets and ratchets that he already has.

If you are really, really cheap (or broke) broke, buy him anything for his car. You should be able to find a gallon of windshield fluid for under $2.50.  Wrap it up, it is bug, heavy and useful.  He will appreciate it.

Another very safe guy gift is a remote control to replace the ones they have worn out or broken or lost. You could go all out and get a universal remote, but beware you may not see him for a few days as he programs everything in the neighborhood to work with this power wielding instrument. As an added bonus give him an extra pack of batteries for the remote.

Label makers. Almost as good as cordless power tools. Within a couple of weeks there will be labels absolutely everywhere.

Many men do not cook, but they will barbecue. So buy him the largest grill you can find with the largest propane tank that is legal. He will be offering you burnt sacrifices in no time.

Baseball, Football, Hockey Tickets are always a smart gift. However, he may not appreciate tickets to “Mama Mia” of “Riverdance.”

Every man needs a really good wheelbarrow and an aluminum extension ladder. Never buy a real man a stepladder. It must be an extension ladder, at least 12 feet in height.

Men love rope. Whether it be a hundred feet of 3/8” manila rope or a nice bar of “soap on a rope” the message that you really care will be received.

Friday Funny December 12, 2014 Christmas Mondegreens

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Happy Friday!  Christmas is fast approaching and the airwaves are filled with holiday songs.  Perhaps you enjoy singing along with your favorite tunes and carols.  But are you sure you are singing the correct words?  If have found yourself mishearing words to songs, you just might have found a mondegreen.  Here are some amusing Christmas song mondegreens to kick off your weekend.

Enjoy!

Dashing through the snow, on one horse soap and hay…

Round John Virgin, margarine child…

Later on, we’ll perspire, as we drink by the fire…

O tiny bomb, O tiny bomb…

See the grazing mule before us, fa la la la la la la la la…

Good King Wences’ car backed out, on the feet of Steven…

Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names…

Rudolph, the red-nosed stranger…

He’s makin’ a list, of chicken and rice…

Get dressed, ye married gentlemen…

Chipmunks roasting on an open fire…

Hark, the hairy angels sing…

We three kings, of porridge and tar…

We three kings from Oregon are,  Bearing gifts, we’ve traveled so far …

On the first day of Christmas my tulip gave to me…

Sleep in heavenly peas…

The cattle are lonely….

Thought for the Week

Christmas is a time when you get homesick — even when you’re home. ~Carol Nelson

http://www.quotegarden.com

 

 

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Perhaps It Is Not What You Thought It Was

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Every year since 1964, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer airs on television this time of the year.  It is one of four Christmas specials from the 1960’s that continue to make an annual yuletide appearance.  The others are How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas (two of my favorites) and  Frosty the Snowman (one of my least favorites). 

I would imagine that you have seen Rudolph, probably many, many times.  But have you ever stopped to think much about this seemingly innocent story?  For instance have you ever noticed how mean and unSanta-like Santa is?  Have you noticed that Santa is portrayed as a self-centered, mean, impatient, old man.  He is certainly not a right jolly old elf by any means in this story.  Remember how all the Elves work long and hard on a song especially for Santa in their spare time?  The joyful elves present their song to an obviously disinterested Santa who responds at the end with “it needs work, I have to go.”  Perhaps Santa was preparing for a career as a judge on American Idol?  Later as Mrs. Claus is trying to fatten him up for the big day he whines, “How can I eat? That silly Elf song is driving me crazy!” 

Plus, if you think about it, Santa’s attitude toward Rudolph throughout the entire show is quite self-serving.  While Santa is initially impressed with Rudolph’s performance during the reindeer games, once Rudolph’s fake nose falls off Santa quickly changes his tune and scolds Rudolf’s father while the other reindeer children mock Rudolph.  Perhaps Santa needs #stopbullying.  It is only at the end when Santa realizes that completing his job is dependent on exploiting Rudolf’s unique abilities that he sees any real value in Rudolph.

After all these years, I still do not understand the Island of Misfit Toys.  Charlie in the Box is there because of his name?  Currently on ebay  you can buy a Sox Monkey in the Box, a Curious George in the Box, Flipper in a Box, Magic Dragon in the Box and Sponge Bob Square Pants in the Box.  There are even 174 listings for Charlie in a Box! So what is the issue here?  I think it is his attitude and not his name. 

What about the train with square wheels on the caboose.  Wasn’t Hermey a trained Elf?  Don’t you think a trained Elf could have made some round wheels for the caboose?  He probably could have helped the boat that sunk to float as well.  Why didn’t Hermey help the misfit toys?  Seems like if Hermey cared about the misfit toys, he could have helped a few of them out.  And by the way, at the end, was it really a good idea to let Hermey begin to practice dentistry in his spare time without any formal training?  I wonder if he had any malpractice insurance? 

Then there was the Dolly for Sue.  What exactly was her problem?  Apparently Arthur Rankin of Rankin-Bass has stated that Dolly had psychological issues caused by being abandoned by Sue.  Well what kid wants a toy with psychological issues? Maybe they could market her as a doll that comes with her very own “baggage.” She reminds me of the “Talking Tina” episode on The Twilight Zone.

Then there is Yukon Cornelius.  What exactly is he teaching impressionable little ones?  He throws his pick-axe into the snow, picks it up and licks it in hopes of finding silver or gold? That has got to be quite unsanitary and who would want to risk getting metal splinters on their tongue?

Yet perhaps the cruelest moment in the show is saved for the end.  It is supposed to be a feel good moment as Santa delivers the long forgotten misfit toys.  Remember how an Elf comes out of Santa’s bag and starts giving each misfit toy a little umbrella as a parachute as he sends it to gently drift down to its new home?  Next time you watch Rudolph pay close attention to the misfit bird.  Remember the bird is a misfit because it can swim BUT IT CANNOT FLY.  The Elf holds the umbrella in one hand and the bird in the other, then he pauses and lets go of the swimming bird>  He waves “bye-bye” as the “bird” no doubt plunges quite rapidly toward the earth.

And all these years, you though Rudolph was a nice, innocent, little story.