Sunday, December 30, 2007

the ticking clock

Well, it's almost behind us. 2007 has just another day or two to find its pants and slink out of town with its weary head hanging low. Better luck next time, sucker(s).

Being that's the case, that must also mean its time for the end of the year parties to begin. I tend not to get invited to many parties, but I go to quite a few of them. And this is strange, because there was a time I couldn't stand parties. I would go to parties, the few parties I had to attend, uneasily, thinking the whole time, 'Yeah, this is really fun, but I can't wait to get home so I can take my pants off.' That was pretty much -- and still kind of is -- the best part of my evening.

At any rate, what I like to do now at parties is stand around pretending to have conversations, and wait for the drinking games to start. I never take part in the drinking games. No, I'm one of those people who just linger until such time as someone has to drink. Then I leap into the fray, rabidly leading the famous chant: "DRINK, MOTHER F-----, DRINK, MOTHER F-----, DRINK, MOTHER F-----, DRINK!!!!"

That is SO much fun. I just love it! I don't even particularly care if the person drinks or not. No, I think I've decided I just like saying, 'Mother F-----.' There's something very liberating about it.

Anyway, keep an eye peeled for me at your Holiday party. And an ear. I'll finish the year (unless I have time to post tomorrow) with a bit of advice: If you're at a party and find yourself being forced to drink with people around you chanting, "DRINK, MOTHER F-----, DRINK, MOTHER F-----, DRINK MOTHER F-----, DRINK," you're surrounded by idiots. Get up from the table and run. It's the only chance you've got.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

please disregard

Please disregard the poem in my previous post. I am totally in the Holiday Spirit! I would never slam the door on carolers and I would never hang up on the United Way. It's not what I'm about.

Nevertheless, there is a commercial playing right now that drives me batty as a loon. It's the one -- I think it's a Radio Shack commercial -- where an old lady hears a bump at her front door. She goes to investigate, opens the door, looks down and there's some kind of miniature, remote-controlled vehicle that has an i-Pod resting atop it. Playing on the i-Pod is a recording of kids next door singing a Christmas Carol. I don't know what it is about this, but it just fills me with hate. I want the old lady to steal the i-Pod, smash the vehicle and rail at the kids (watching from the window next door), "You kids and your damned internet! I've had enough, do you hear me? Enough!'

Then I want her to slam the door and go to her liquor cabinet and pour herself a tumbler full of bourbon. That would make my Christmas and fill me complete and utter joy.

What else? Well, we saw 'Juno.' Go see it. It's a very enjoyable film. It won't change your life, but it is entertaining. The screening we saw was one where Ms. Diablo Cody herself appeared afterwards for a raucous Q & A session. And it was raucous, I'm telling you. There was a rather distinguished middle-aged woman who served as moderator, and she was very clearly thrown off balance by the danger-radiating Diablo Cody. The first minute? Beyond awkward! They did this rather bizarre two-step and I think all of us in the crowd thought there was at least a chance they were going to kiss. I think the distinguished middle-aged woman thought they were going to kiss. They did not kiss, though, and the Q & A session finally lifted off the ground.

That's 'Juno,' opening soon at a theater near you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday Christmas Wishes

Approximately 1 billion years ago, when the universe was still cooling like a pie on someone's window sill, I had a pen name I used -- Henry Rifle. Catchy, huh? Though I no longer use that pen name, each year I still write a Holiday letter from his (my) sandblasted perspective.

So if you like it, thanks! And if you don't like it, blame him.

Songs for the day -- that's right; songs! -- #187: 'California Stars' by Billy Bragg and Wilco, #188: 'American Pie' by Don McLean, #189: 'Into The Groove' by Madonna, and #190: 'Right On Track' by The Breakfast Club. That's probably a fairly weak entry, but it's a song I've always liked. So...there. That will teach you.

Holiday Christmas Wishes
Vol. 6
From the desk of Henry J. Rifle

Dearest Chums,

It’s beginning to look a bunch like Christmas, which can only mean it’s time to haul out the old Smith-Corona, a full bottle of Hennessy and see what we can see.

What else is there to say about the year 2007 except that it was unfortunate? -- Another largely unmitigated disaster in a long string of them. I’m telling you, I knew when El Presidente’ Jorge’ #2 took the wheel that we were in for a thoroughly unpleasant ride, but now I think I’m really beginning to understand how my dates must have felt back in my younger days. Yes, I think I can imagine what must have been going through their minds when they got in the car with me, looked me squarely in the eye and said, ‘This is really going to suck, isn’t it?’ I would respond by nodding gravely before flipping on the AM radio to catch the cattle futures report.

But the great part about those horrific dates is that they eventually came to a merciful conclusion, and that’s what’s also great about our American political process: as bad as it gets, the end will come, my friends, and it’s not far away now. Before too terribly long, another candidate will vault to power and then they will be free to run this country into the ground as they see fit. That’s the miracle of freedom, fellow citizens. That’s democracy in action.

The important thing is we’re still here. And as long as we’re still here, there’s still hope. Candidates will come and go. The fortunes of political parties will rise and fall like the market, but we’re the ones paying the bills and the freight.
The trick is to not take it all too seriously. Who knows? Perhaps one day a woman or a man will come along with some real answers to the multitude of problems we face – like immigration, for instance. Now that’s a real problem! To hear some people talk, you would think that no one should be able to enter this country. I think that’s a great idea!
In fact, I think we should replace the Statue of Liberty with the Statue of Mr. T. Same size as the S.O.L., same concept, except instead of welcoming foreigners to our shores, the inscription at the base of this statue would say, ‘I pity the fool that tries to get into this country!’ There could even be a button hopeful immigrants could push and Mr. T’s recorded voice would boom out over Ellis Island -- so that it’s an interactive experience.

My viewpoint on this matter might surprise some people because my ancestors were immigrants. We arrived here sometime around the early part of the 20th Century. We would have gotten here a lot sooner, but my great-great grandpa had an irrational fear of large women. He caught sight of the Statue of Liberty from the boat and he lost it! He didn’t stop screaming until they got him back to Norway. Well, it’s all cold water under the Brooklyn Bridge now.

Anyway, Happy Holidays! All the best to you and yours,

Henry J.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

snow day!

It snowed yesterday! Nearly 4.76 inches if my most recent calculations are correct. Just about the right amount for everything. Not too much snow to shovel/snowblow, yet enough snow to snowboard/ski. El perfecto!

I'll have to be fairly brief today. We're about to run to the store to get the fixings for beef stew. Beef stew and winter go together like hand and glove. So that's what we're doing. I may also -- God forbid -- get some writing done today.

All this snow has me thinking back to a day about three years ago when we were in Winnipeg visiting friends. One of my friends was working a job he hated then and I gave him a ride to work on a very wintery Sunday morning. On the way back, driving through snow-cluttered streets with fresh snow still swirling down, a song came on and it was the first time I'd really 'heard' it, though I had listened to it many times before. The song was 'Waiting Line' by Zero 7. It's on the "Garden State' CD and, let me tell you, it was the perfect song at the perfect moment. It's a very trippy, laid-back and introspective tune. And as I was trying to work my way back to my friend's apartment without ending up in Saskatoon, it kind of crystallized the moment in my mind. I'll never forget that car ride or that song for as long as I live.

You probably have no idea what I'm talking about, so I'll shut my big yapper now. I'll close by making that song (Waiting Line) #181. Winnipeg in the winter is an interesting thing (I'll confess: I like Winnipeg). It's either like Boston, but with more snow or like Wisconsin, but with less cheese.

Quite honestly, I can't decide which.