The Loop / Golf Digest — “Wonderful Christmastime” is the worst of Christmas songs, but it makes up for it by also being the worst of all songs, the worst song ever written by a human, Beatle or otherwise, the worst melody, the worst synthesizer, the worst production, the worst Wings song, the worst pronunciation of the word “here,” the worst lyrics, the worst scent. I have never seen the cover of the 45, but I bet it f**ing sucks. “Wonderful Christmastime” is the most terrible song ever written by anyone, or anything, ever, including robots and gorillas and Puff Daddy and Courtney Love. No one likes “Wonderful Christmastime.” No one. Paul McCartney hates it. All of Paul McCartney’s wives hate it. Santa thinks it’s a joke. God is like, ” I did not bestow upon you the Breath of Life to dishonor me with this unMely dreck,” and I imagine He’s not real happy about “Ebony and Ivory” either.
More holidays should have Kung Fu Panda-themed cards.
GateHouse — If there is any place on Earth more bruisingly depressing than the Valentine’s Day card rack at Target on Feb. 12, I’ve yet to hear about it. OK, that’s not entirely true, I can think of plenty more depressing places, such as the offices of whoever has to do promotion for the “Chipmunks” movies and wherever Newt Gingrich goes to apply his pre-stump speech neck-grease, but at least the people shopping at Target have their own non-billionaire-provided money, now that I think about it, so I think Gingrich wins for most depressing? Winning! Aw, that’ll be a weird feeling for him.
What am I doing here on Feb. 12, you may ask, judgingly? Well, usually I’m like weeks ahead of the Valentine’s situation, because I’m really super-thoughtful at all times, except this year, when I’m scraping together a Valentine plan with two kids, which is making the card selection process a lot more enjoyable and family-oriented and part of a bonding ha oh I’m just kidding it’s a miserable nightmare please tell me someone stashed burlap sacks full of painkillers in the “Get Well Soon” section or something.
But it’s not a nightmare because of the kids, who are being great, except the one who keeps drooling on my face. No, it’s a nightmare because of the desperate surfeit of miserable greeting card manufacturers.
McClatchy/Tribune – I am not a very good-looking woman, which I think is the primary reason I’m having trouble coming up with a decent Halloween costume this year. (It’s also the main reason I kept getting turned down for sororities, not that I’m still bitter about that, stupid Zeta Tau Alpha, I hate you so much.)
Indeed, if you have visited any costume stores lately, you might have noticed that they look less like costume stores and more like places that Britney Spears might shop, if she could stay sober long enough to park the car. Costume stores these days feature an irrationally large percentage of rack space devoted entirely to Sexy versions of average things: Sexy Nurse, Sexy Doctor, Sexy Soccer Player, Naughty Navigator, Sexy Mountie, Support Our Troops Sexy Adult (really), Sexy Wilma Flintstone (I can send you the link to these if you want). One newsroom staffer reported stumbling across a costume for a Sexy Cab Driver, which is, of course, something that has never happened in the history of the human experience. (However, if it does happen, I suggest immediately that we cancel Halloween and institute National I Found A Sexy Cab Driver Day, which we could commemorate by briefly increasing the national speed limit to 200 mph and growing splendid beards.)
"Excuse me, sir, but are you going to use that innertube?"
GateHouse — Having spent New Year’s Day at the Blizzard Beach water park in Disney World — the Happiest Place on Earth, particularly if your happiness revolves around disbursing $27.95 for chicken fingers — in sunny, godawful Orlando, Fla., I have already learned in 2011 these two important lessons:
To beat the crowds at a Disney water park, go in January.
The human body is a thing to be reviled and abhorred.
Visiting friends and a bit of pleasing randomness brought us to the county-sized neon bacchanal of Orlando, Fla. (town motto: “A Black Angus On Every Street Corner, But The Lord God Help You If You Need To Purchase A Vegetable”) over the New Year’s weekend, a time for new beginnings, personal re-energization and, in my case, the opportunity to ring in 2011 wandering around Downtown Disney listening to a didgeridoo player cover Ozzy Osbourne while drinking smuggled-in champagne. Yeah, that’s right. We smuggled hooch into Disney World. This makes us the COOLEST PEOPLE in the entire tenth grade! (Jeez, a lot of my Disney stories have drinks in them. I find I have the same problems with weddings and first communions.)
Anyway, I’m not usually one for making New Year’s resolutions — I’m keenly aware of my raft of personal failings on most days, thank you very much, designating a holiday to accentuate them seems needlessly vengeful — but I will tell you this, faithful reader(s) and/or people who got here by Googling “Tinkerbell Is Of Satan” and/or “Xerox Scrabble Cha Cha”: There is literally nothing on the planet that will leave you more relentlessly dedicated to your workout/exercise resolution than spending six hours at a Disney theme park in which most of your neighbors are unclothed and absorbing for yourself the unspeakable horrors of the aging male physique.
GateHouse — So I’m in a Secret Santa thing here in the office, and like so many things about Christmas, it’s making me reach for the wine bottle well before my usual 10 a.m. start time, because I have now received no gift from my Secret Santa for the SECOND CONSECUTIVE DAY. This keeps up, I’m gonna start throwing elves.
Let me back up: No, I don’t hate Christmas, except the shopping and parking and most of the music and the way it makes me engage in the near-impossible task of actually absorbing more debt into my increasingly hilarious floral arrangement of credit cards (somewhere in Visa Fortress, I’m fairly well convinced that a group of doughy shareholders does the “Beat It” dance every time they see my name).
And yes, I know it’s better to give that receive, thank you very much, hippie Democrats, Charlie Brown and the nagging voice in my head that keeps me awake every single night.
Count Chocula is, needless to say, embroiled in a centuries-old feud with that shirtless werewolf cereal.
GateHouse — I have discovered two equally displeasing things about Halloween this year.
1. The neighbor down the road, the one on the corner at Sundew Court, which is like the least-evil name ever (she might as well live at Dew Drop Hug Soup Emotionally Supportive Boulevard) has produced a front-yard Halloween display of such breadth and creativity that frankly my fake tombstones (“Here Lies Doug M. Upp” — ka POW), cheesy blinking “Great Pumpkin” Linus and assortment of artfully sliced-up pumpkins looks like a cruel failure by comparison. The neighbor’s display occupies probably 2,500 square feet, likely required several meetings with the power company, includes what I’m sure were Army-sized rations of that cobwebby cotton stuff and is making the rest of us aspiring warlocks feel SUPER INADEQUATE. Thanks, Sundew Court. See if I include you in the next block party volleyball game.
2. The second, and obviously more important problem: I cannot buy Count Chocula anywhere remotely near my house, and/or Sundew Court.
I don’t want to minimize anyone’s problems. I know times are hard for everyone. Your boss is slicing back your hours and your bank is being a jerk, but frankly my problem is worse than any of yours multiplied by a fafillion, because none of you have, in the past week, driven around for a full afternoon stopping at five grocery stores in the futile hunt for a fictitious cocoa-based vampire who apparently IS NOT FOR SALE IN SOUTH CAROLINA, due to, I am sure, something Rush Limbaugh said once.
GateHouse — IMPORTANT CARTOON-AND-BLACK PRESIDENT ALERT: In addition to being a Muslim Kenyan chain-smoking Bolshevik Hitler-loving child-indoctrinating reality-TV-contestant-inviting Will.I.Am fan, Barack Obama hates Charlie Brown. This is actually no great shakes because most of the “Peanuts” kids hate Charlie Brown, but Obama hates Charlie Brown in a way that efficiently connotes his hatred of America as well. (If America wanted to kick the football Obama would be all like, “Whiff, suckers,” and then throw mayonaise on the Little Red-Haired Girl.)
And I have proof, because of Facebook, and Tennessee, in that order.
Last week’s airing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the special that’s been beloved for decades despite being about 25 solid minutes of the emotional abuse of a child, was pre-empted on the television machine by Herr President Omuslim’s speech about his strategy for the war in Afghanistan, or some such nonsense you could read about on the crawl under the Tiger-sexting stuff anyway.
GateHouse — As is generally the case with most critical holidays, the important negotiations regarding my Halloween took place in a Target — specifically, in the throughway between the G.I. Joe toy aisle and, if I am not mistaken, Dish Soap, categories that pretty well illustrate my own journey through life thus far, come to think of it.
Over the previous weeks, the Little Man had whittled his list of costume ideas from approximately 3 million down to two: Spider-Man, which had been his costume for the previous two years (one that allowed him to save a great many neighborhood children from harm, despite bumping into all manner of wagons and mailboxes due to an unfortunate incompatibility between mask size and his face), and Train Engineer, which, as anyone who knows the Little Man will attest, is a costume of crucial importance, because the Little Man has very literally not discussed anything other than trains since April 2006.
GateHouse – There are a lot of things wrong with Santa Claus — the tobacco addiction, the repeated breaking and entering, the vanishing for 364 consecutive days without explanation — but to that long and deplorable list ABC News has added the following: Santa Claus may be sending the wrong body message to children.
Indeed, in a video clip posted this week on abcnews.com, there stands a blow-dried twerp in a shiny suit, arguing with a disgustingly faked sense of concern that “the big belly will send a bad message to kids,” specifically the millions upon millions of kids who look at Santa Claus not as a magical elf who brings free presents every year, but as the standard for sheer physical magnificence and the primary reason they keep going to gym class every week.
GateHouse — If you are running out of gift ideas and time this Christmas season — and, let’s be honest, you are, I can see the cold desperation in your eyes — boy, do I have good news for you. But I must warn you that it’s gonna hinge a little bit on what your definition of “good news” is; I’m being honest when I say that when you buy someone a casket for Christmas and watch them unwrap it, it’s going to make things more than a little weird around the old family hearth for a good 15 minutes or so. (Also, it’s gonna take a ridiculous amount of wrapping paper; you may want to hit the Sam’s Club. Try and find a good hiding place for it, too: You can’t just hide a casket under the bed. Well, you can, but you need a super-tall bed, and still it would probably freak the bejesus out of the kids.)
Writer: GQ, Men’s Health,
the Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Indianapolis Monthly, Golf Digest, Vice, BruceSpringsteen.net,
the Indy 500, Fatherly, etc. Proud owner of a Bruce-related Guinness World Record. Even longer bio/clips.