Saturday, December 31, 2011

Except This Time I Mean It

I've never made New Year's resolutions and I don't intend to start.

Every December 31st I take the time to reflect, count up fingers, toes, appendages ensuring that nothing was hacked off in August that I'm just realizing now. I note that most of the scars are healing and congratulate myself for having come out of the other end of another year alive and relatively unscathed.

And so here we are, all present and accounted for and relatively unscathed. Tomorrow, we'll get up and start it all again hoping it will be better but pretty much resigned to it being the same and not worse. That's ok. The same and not worse is a good thing for those of us who, like me, worry about every damn thing that can, can't, won't or might really screw things up.

Let's review:

New Year's 1972: Stayed up until midnight, saw 1973 ushered in and was thankful that another year had passed without the Soviets nuking us into the stone age. Also the bully kid from down the block seemed to have lost interest in following me home mumbling "how about I punch you in the face?" under his breath.

New Year's 1977: With the parents out at a party, midnight came and I thought I'd celebrate like an adult. Have a drink. So I poured the better part of a fifth of Canadian Club into a water glass, lit a candle and raised a glass. Somewhere around May of 1978 I realized the holiday was over.

New Year's 1982: Still no Soviet apocalypse but my date woke up with a sinus infection and the couch we spent the night on was upholstered in 80 grit sandpaper. Let's forget this one too.

New Year's 1999: Watched the fireworks of Sydney harbor on TV and realized that all the lights had not gone out, the internet had not crashed and the Dell upstairs running Windows 98 was not going to pick up a hatchet and come looking for me.

New Year's 2005: The Russkie threat is long gone, there hasn't been an attack in four years. Ok, the marriage went into the crapper a few months ago but I'm on a bus to New York to run a midnight race with some significant arm candy. We'll wind up in our own respective homes come morning but for the moment let's pretend that ignoring the sub freezing Central Park temperatures are worth it. It's been a hard year.

New Year's 2009: Holy shit! Is the ride stopped yet???

New Year's 2011: Very little good has come from this year but not much disasterously bad has happened either. For a compulsive worrier, it's been like a stable low-level anxiety that's wound its way through the past 12 months. And yet, for all that's not blown up like a magnesium pile, I'm getting a little tired of reaching a milestone and saying "whew!" I miss some of the occasional risk-taking of my younger years. I miss being out on that ledge. I miss pitching all my forces into the fray and holding my breath. So let's stir things up a little. In less than a week, I'm going to hot up a cold war we've been fighting for the last four years. The details are unimportant but I'm tired of going along to get along. Enough said.

On other lines; Vladimir: Do you still have those SS-20's we all worried about? You know I stole the launch codes in '86. Care to try your luck?

Bunny on.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Brush With Mediocrity

People I'm acquainted with, from college roomate to good friend to colleague to person who's blog I read regularly, are getting their books published with a frequency as alarming as births nine months after a wide scale blackout.

So reach out and feel what true mediocrity is like, touch this blog and know that a lot of my page views come on drunken Saturday nights when the munchies make you Google "Cantonese" but, like I said, you're drunk.

Roomate just got ink on a book about teaching the best business practices through storytelling. Shockingly simple, yet effective in its concept. And just as "Marley and Me" spawned a generation of "Here's my cute, lovable but stupid dog who dies" books, this tome will spawn its collection of hangers-on.

In fact, I tried my hand at one.

See Dick.

See Jane.

See Dick and Jane meeting awkwardly in the copy room, making eye contact, going out to dinner, furtively pawing at each other and unleashing an otherwise uncontrollable lust.

See Dick and Jane sneaking off to an abandoned cube to go at it.

See Dick and Jane get fired.

Now, what did we all learn here?

Good friend, a couple of years back, compiled a guy's guide to guy movies. It didn't do terribly well and I wish him luck with his latest on raising chickens and compost on the fire escape or some such thing. I always thought the guy's guide to guy movies was kind of poorly targeted, though well executed.

'Cause after all, we all know what we like to watch and why. We don't need (and aren't motivated since the Highlander marathon is on AMC) to read about it. I thought that maybe a Gal's Guide to Guy movies would do a little better on Amazon.

Not so much a guide to the movies, but rather the fairer sex's guide to how to behave through these classics on the rare occasion that we get to pick the pay per view.

Goldfinger: Moneypenny's a fine woman. But until she starts showing cleavage you might as well forget it. Also, she wants a warm, substantative relationship. This movie is for guys, remember?

Alien: EVERYBODY knows you're better equipped to ward off evil aliens in your underwear. That's just the way it is.

2001; A Space Odyssey: Ok, he's the next incarnation of man. Get it? Now stop asking me all these questions! It's one a.m. for God's sake!

Colleague wrote about his dog a few years back. I guess having a depressing ending was one hell of a hook.

And now, Anna has compiled something called "The Chicktionary". Its over on her blog so check it out. I did and read some sample entries to Thumper who almost peed herself. I guess its funny but here's the thing; being an XY chromasomatic compilation the whole thing is predictably lost on me. There's an entry about the nickname for the monthly period. I would have sooner written something thusly:

Monthly period: Run. Hide. Go to the garage and sleep there until next Tuesday for the love of life. Just stay out of the house.

Like I said, pink in my world is the color that happens when you put a bass in a blender.

But seriously, check it out. Good luck with it Anna.

Oh yes, I've got a book too, I'm just looking for enough stones to not flinch when a hundred agents snort milk out their nose before saying "no." Surprisingly its not funny at all but a story of what happens when you follow desire too far and it becomes something else.

And if that doesn't sell, I'm working on a compilation of all the fart jokes my buddies and I told each other when we were jogging.

Bunny on.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Forbidden Seven, and Then Some...

From Yahoo Shopping today comes seven bad ideas for gifts this season which I've expanded so our Jewish friends can take full advantage of how not to fuck up eight nights in a row. Christian friends can also find favor in an expanded list, particularly if you're Catholic or LDS and have a lot of potential pitfall relatives on this year's list.

And if you're serving; Thank you. Find small comfort that you can always blame it on the post exchange only having it in XXL in green. But come on over if you don't like it, they've got an easy returns policy.

So here are some truly bad ideas.

Appliances-Nothing says "no sex until Easter" like a vacuum.

In a fit of practicality last year, Thumper asked for a pasta press attachment for our mixer and like a git, I bought it, forsaking the usual bauble that momentarily sends the bank balance creaking downwards like the Titanic in her death throes.

Not that it was a bad gift per se, but we've only managed to use it to wring out kitchen sponges so far.

Pets-Noun, not verb. You'll wind up giving a canary to a family of cat owners or a gerbil to a snake-fancier. Not to mention that lay away is awkward.

Gift Cards-The seemingly one size fits all innocuous gift card goes into the bad idea category when its to Ms. Alice's Erotic Delights or Yangs Special Chinese Massage Emporium. Just because it appeals to you.

Add to that, if the government picks it up, its probably a bad idea. So this year when your tax refund shows up as a redeemable gift card to the Kabul post exchange, you heard it here first. I'll take mine XXL, in green please.

Lingerie-Generally not a good idea for the office Secret Santa unless you think Ray, your boss, would look good in crimson crotchless.

Sweaters-Moaners and screamers. Always a superior choice.

Food Baskets-Peppery Ridge Farm summer sausage fondue and cheddar-marshmallow log packed in with jalapeno raspberry spread and a few crackers with the consistency of bleached sand dollars. Yeah, I get this one.

Jewelery You've Seen on a TV Commercial-Men! You know the truth! Any jewelery commercial where a guy gives a girl a sparkly something and she instantly melts only happens that once between those two people and can never be repeated. You simply cannot buy what's in the commercial. We are biologically doomed to trudge through every case in the store (including the confirmation crosses for some strange reason) at least three times until we find the thing we pray will:

i) not be a repeat of last year.

ii) not clash with everything else she has.

iii) not match anything in her wardrobe, so its off to the mall.

iv) not come close to anything you ever once gave to an ex girlfriend.

Complimentary memberships- Gym to a fat guy, zoo to a Peta-type, here are just too many assumptions in too small a place.

Tools-Nothing says "I'm going to be too tired for nooky until Easter" like a full set of plumber's wrenches. See "Appliances", above for hints.

Socks and Underwear-And here I'm solely focused on the parent. If you remotely assume that somehow you can pass off an ecomony pack of Fruit of the Loom as a seasonal offering...

You truly deserve to be boiled in your own pudding with a sprig of holly through your heart.

Bunny on.

Friday, December 02, 2011

An Adult Gift Guide For Boomers

When we were young, Christmas started somewhere after December 7th and we had a pretty fast and intense run up to the morning of the 25th when we'd bounce out of bed at 4.30 and make noise that we hoped sounded like sunrise.

Then with our parents passed out on the couch we'd tear into what had been left for us under the tree. It was wonderful for the most part but like every grape has a seed and every Hershey's bar with almonds has Arthur McWhinnie mention the word "Rat Boogers" during your last bite, every sack full of presents has its potential "Gotcha!" demerits.

You could always tell the obvious ones. Soft, squishy packages were socks or underwear. Open last. But even the star of the show gifts came with two distinctive pitfalls:

-Batteries not included.

-Some assembly required.

The former had you running around the house, tossing every flashlight you could find for seven seconds of flashing laser robot action.

The latter was even more dangerous. Fathers fell into two categories here and your toys were put together accordingly.

The abjectly incompetent dad never knew what end of a screwdriver was right to use. As a result, your Marx three level garage usually just spread out on one dimension like a Wal-Mart parking lot. A lot of duct tape was involved too.

Then there was the over-achiever, the dad who had to customize everything. The toy tow truck not only has flashing lights, sirens, a working boom, independent front suspension, it also played Sinatra's "Come Fly with Me" and served beer.

Thankfully we're adults now and beyond that except for when you give yourself a home theater large screen plasma TV that needs hooked into cable, wired into the stereo and DVD system and programmed to pick up all the Tivo channels. Now you just hand the remote to the closest fourteen year old and tell them to call you when its ready.

In other words, we're screwed on both generational levels, never being able to do anything for ourselves.

So I'd suggest, for those of us that fall into this unfortunate generation, the following:

If you're going to gift this year, make it pass a two tiered test: Kids can't use it and the old man can't figure it out. Or vice versa.

Not really that complicated: Cars, power tools, liquor, small caliber firearms, R rated movies, sports accessories that involve rope, spikes, alpenstocks or hefty membership fees all fall into this category. There's a lot to choose from.

Send out a clear message in two generational directions: No you can't program "Angry Birds" as my company laptop homepage and yes, I could have done without the "properties of electricity" demonstration while you were setting up my toy trains.

Bunny on.

This Year Can We Just Cut to the Chase (A Gift Guide)

Nobody but nobody seems to have a comprehensive top ten list of Christmas toys this year and there sure as hell aren't any breakouts the way we've seen in past years.

Even Elmo is getting long in the tooth. When he first came out, you tickled him. Then you sang with him. Then you danced with him. Then you went camping or took Elmo to Grandma's. Tellingly, Sell Me Shoes Elmo says this franchise is milking its last drops.

What are Fijits? They look like little purple cockroaches. I'm not even going there.

Leap Pad Explorer tablets load up sports games, fun learning games, interactive activities onto a personal video screen so the kids can walk up and down streets and hallways intently staring at a 3 x 4 hunk of plastic and squeezing buttons with the fury of the possessed. In other words, Blackberry/Iphone/Ipad/Droid users in training. Five bucks says that in two years New York and California will ban texting while riding bikes or skateboarding unless you're Leap Padding handsfree.

Justin Bieber Tour Bus and sound stage. Parents, if you even consider gifting your children this hellspawn of all toys, I will have you jailed for abuse.

Lego Ninjago Lightning Dragon Battle. Try as I might, I just don't get this one. Wouldn't the dragon immolate and consume you before you even got around to sorting all the bricks out by color?

Lalaloopsy Silly Hair dolls. Why not? Play with them, play with their silly hair. Take them to the LalaPalooza silly concert.

Let's Rock Elmo
I am T Pain Microphone
Air Swimmers R/C inflatable Clownfish and/or Shark.

If you enjoy, as I do, the ritual Friday night martini, these might not be the best ideas in gifts to have around.

Bunny on.

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