Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year? Let's Hope!

The year 2008 is finally behind us! I know the year 2008 was a rough one for a lot of folks, us included, but there WERE some bright spots, at least for us. I'm sure if you rack your brain, you can think of one or two yourself. Here are a few of mine, in order of appearance:

• The year started quietly, then, in March, I quit my steady job drawing cartoons for a local retailer. If I had known how bad the job market was, I wouldn't have made this decision so hastily. All has worked out slightly well though. Through a series of odd jobs, freelance gigs, and Perfect Wifey's actual job, we managed to squeak by. Barely.

• Also in March, I saw PW do her star turn in  a local theatre production. She was fabulous, and repeated this feat in another role in November of this year. No, I am not biased. 

• Wow, March was busy for us! We also went to Las Vegas for an overdue honeymoon financed by my Perfect In-Laws. We had a wonderful time, and even came home "bucks up", but not by much.

• In April, things really kicked into high gear! We moved into  our new house. It has been a great, but pricey, experience. We are all happy here. It is like the Brady Bunch without Alice, although PW fills that role pretty well. I am more like Sam the Butcher. The neighbors are great too, nothing like the Dittmeyers.

• The month of May brought another milestone: Rocco the Wonder Dog joined the family! He and I have an up and down relationship, but overall, we're glad to have  him.

 Our carpet may not share this sentiment.

• In case you didn't guess, I also started a blog this year. You're reading it right now, in fact! It has been a really rewarding experience, and has brought me back into contact with dear friends I lost track of, as well as making some new friends I've never met. If you are thinking of starting a blog yourself, I highly recommend it. Unless some creepy person starts stalking you as a result. This, however, hasn't happened to me yet, try though I  may.

Man! So much has gone on this year: Great parties with family and friends, our first anniversary and new Doctor Who toys, that it's hard to cover it all (and I have in several other posts, so go to the archives if you missed anything).

Still, no matter what happens this year, it has to be better than the time I spent New Years Eve on a cruise ship, and right after Midnight we were capsized by a giant tidal wave. If hadn't been for Reverend Scott, we never would have made it out of there! I still miss Mrs. Rosen, though.

 To all my loyal readers: Let's just hope for a bright, shiny New Year!

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Fifth Quarter

The Christmas Holiday has finally passed. I hope everyone reading this had as wonderful a time as we here at Casa del Blanco did. 

Perfect Wife and I had  a nice quiet day, and then the day after, we hosted our annual Christmas party. The guest list included the Fabulous Sisters and their respective spouses, my Wonderful Son, and Perfect Wife's  Perfect Parents. A good time was had by all. At least that's what we were told.

Santa was especially good to us. PW got a new coat and some fancy perfume. We also got the always-nice-to-have gift cards.
Rocco the Wonder Dog got a squeaky squirrel toy, which he has become quite fond of.

I really hit the jackpot present-wise, though. I must have been a really good boy this year! Not only did I get a replica of Doctor Who's TARDIS, for those of you who  are regular readers of this blog and have been wringing your hands with anxiety, relax. I DID get a remote control K9 (which is back-ordered, but I'm told is on its way) AND a Muppet Whatnot Kit. I know this sounds like the gift list of a nine year old, instead of a  grown man, but what can I say?

Upon reflection, Santa is not doing too well on keeping  track of his naughty/nice list.

However, Christmas truly isn't  about what you get. It's about what you already have.The best part of Christmas this year, for me, was spending it with those I love the most. I wouldn't trade that feeling for all the  Doctor Who toys and Muppets in the world.

Well, maybe I  would.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

To all my loyal readers, and even to you casual drop-ins, the happiest of Holidays to you all.

You may wonder what today's cartoon has to do with Christmas. "Why didn't he draw Santa, or Rocco the Wonder Dog with antlers, or SOMETHING even remotely Christmas-ish?", you might ask.

Today's cartoon has everything to do with Christmas. It is my depiction of actor Rossano Brazzi, in his immortal role as Phineas T. Prune in the "classic" Holiday film, "The Christmas That Almost Wasn't". It is perhaps one of the worst films ever made, and maybe someday I'll go on at length about why I  feel that way.

I did take away one lesson from the film, however. In the movie, Mr. Prune attempts to ruin Christmas. Don't do this. No matter what happens today (Uncle Joe gets drunk, you didn't get a Nintendo 3, your relative is being annoying, etc.), remember what this holiday is all about, cherish the people you're with and be of good cheer.

Remember, as Tiny Tim once said, "God Bless us, every one!"

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Elves in the Window, and Other Holiday Memories

At this festive time of year, it's fun to think back on all the memories of Christmases past. Here are just a few of some of the fond thoughts of me and my nearest and dearest:

• One of my most vivid Yuletide memories was from one season when I was about five. My Father told us that Santa sent his elves to peek in our windows to see if we were being good.

If  this was his plan to get us to behave, it backfired in a massive way.  We spent the rest of the Holiday season thinking we would turn around and see some little gnome peering in at us through the window. We would shriek in horror at every bump in the night, and had our shades drawn at all times. Our Mother called it: Worst. Christmas. Ever.

• When I was a bit younger, I appeared in a Christmas show  written, produced, starring and directed by my big sister, performed for our parents. I forget the exact plot, but it concerned the possible cancellation of Christmas. I played "The Little Elf" (this was before I developed my elf aversion). When my sister said the line, "Santa says there is no Christmas", I burst into tears. I thought Christmas really was cancelled. The show sorta fell apart after that. I suppose my sister was unaware that at that young age, I was a method actor.

• Another memorable Christmas Eve, at least for my parents, was the year our babysitter gave each of us an entire box of M&M's, which our parents let us eat just before bedtime. Giving already jacked-up young kids a huge amount of sugar on the most exciting night of the year, then trying to get them to go to bed, is a bad idea. My parents learned this lesson the hard way.

I have many other Christmas memories: The cat climbing the tree and knocking it over, having to go to my relatives on Christmas day instead staying home and playing with my toys, not getting the Billy Blastoff set I wanted, etc. I'll save those for another time.

Don't get me  wrong, I love this Holiday. I wish that all year long people could have this cheer and goodwill in their hearts, and be kind and generous with their fellow man.

Even if their fellow man tries to take their parking space at the mall.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

There's No Business Like SNOW Business!

As promised by the weather forecasters, we here in the Irish Riviera were hit with one doozy of a snowstorm! I estimate the snowfall at 2 feet, but Perfect Wife, who actually shoveled the stuff
(while I was up  in bed, "sawing wood"), puts it at more like a foot and a half. Accumulation aside, there's a lotta snow, and it's still snowing!

It's good this storm happened on a weekend, so not so many people had to brave the slippery roads to get to work. Not so good for retailers, though, who I'm sure were counting on this last Saturday before Christmas to boost their Holiday sales. PW and I attempted to go to our local mall, but the road conditions were so poor, we turned around and went home (after a visit to pick up a pack of cigarettes, of course). On Monday, we will join the legion of shoppers who were also thwarted from Holiday shopping. I just hope we can find a parking spot within walking distance of the mall.

Someone who is delighted with the snowfall is Rocco the Wonder Dog. I was afraid we would have a problem getting him outside in this inclement weather, based on his aversion to rain. It turns out, my fears were groundless. Rocco loves the snow! He burrows and sniffs, and rolls around in the stuff. The only problem? Getting the freezing, snow-encrusted human walking him to get him to go back inside.

As I write this, it is Sunday morning, and the snow continues to fall. When it will end, who knows? For now, here at my house, we will just hunker down, watch some Holiday specials and ride this storm out.

Then go to the mall tomorrow.


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Friday, December 19, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Etc...

According to the weather forecasters (who are never wrong), we here in the Northeast of the U.S. of A. are in for one whopper of a snowstorm! Being the helpful chap I am, I've decided to share some snow survival tips with you. (You readers in warmer climates can laugh all you want now. We will enjoy watching the tornado coverage in your little corner of paradise next Summer.)

Remember the following:

• When you hear news of heavy snowfall, IMMEDIATELY go to the market and get all the bread and milk you can. Even if you don't regularly consume either item, this seems to be what most people do, so follow the herd.

• If you have a lot of relatives in the house, be sure to stock up on liquor. Not for them, for you. You will need it.

• Before the snow even begins to fall, begin complaining to your nearest and dearest of lower back pain. This will ensure you can get out of snow-shoveling duty.

• If the power fails, call the power company right away! You are sure to be connected to someone instantly, who was unaware of the massive power failure, and will make your problem their #1 priority.

• Also, in the case of  an outage, and faced with the prospect of no heat, or worse, no television, be sure to make the comment, "This is like how people lived in olden times!", at least every 15 minutes. This was a family tradition when I was growing up.

• If you are lucky enough to keep your power on, make sure you watch the local news, to see some poor reporter standing out in the cold telling you just how bad the snow is. A valuable fact you couldn't figure out by just looking out the window yourself.

• If you are unfortunate enough to be driving in this type of weather, no worries! Talk on your cell phone! Drink your coffee! Drive as fast as you please! It's not like you'll skid out on a  slippery road and kill yourself or someone else. Admittedly, this is a tip I have learned from my fellow drivers.

That's about all I have for now. My plans are to throw a log on the fire, snuggle with Perfect Wife, and find out if Rocco the Wonder Dog is willing to go outside in this kind of weather.

I am not hopeful.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

How Can You Miss Me If I Won't Go Away?

For regular readers of this blog, who check it out daily for a heapin' helpin' of hilarity, I'm sorry I didn't post much last week, but we here at Casa del Blanco have been hit with some bouts of what I'm sure is just the first of many Winter colds. Perfect Wife has it worse than me, but I am not 100% myself right now. For those of you who suspect I have never been 100%, you are probably right, but I still feel crummy.

Being sick did not mean we did not have an exciting week 'round these parts. Some highlights:

• We attended a High School Christmas concert. Curiously, the show only featured one Christmas tune. The rest of the show featured music I have already forgotten. It was two + hours of my life I will never reclaim. When you attend a performance where both the audience AND the performers are there under duress, you know it won't be pleasant. 

The musical director seemed  to be having a nice time, however.

• Rocco the Wonder Dog, after a few weeks of good behavior, has again decided our carpeting is a fine alternative to going outside to do his "business". This has strained relations with him and Perfect Wife.

• We got a Christmas tree! It is a really beautiful tree, and "only" set us back fifty bucks. Buying it reminded me of the days when my sister and I would wait until Christmas Eve, and score an unsold tree from the discarded tree pile at the K of C lot for free, by hauling it over a chain link fence. Believe it or not, this is a fond Holiday memory for me.

• We also ordered some new Rudolph action figures online to add to our growing collection. We were very proud of  our assortment of TV Holiday figures, until a dear friend of mine informed me of the magnitude of his collection. He even has Yukon Cornelius and his sled dog team! In the spirit of "keeping up with the Joneses", we will rectify this situation, even if it means Christmas dinner will be Kraft Mac n' Cheese.

• Also in the Yuletide Spirit, I viewed the Miser Brothers' Christmas special Saturday night, but I  will reserve my comments on that for the fine Clique Clack TV website (which you can visit by clicking on the link at right), that still hasn't realized the error in judgement they made by inviting me aboard.

Yes, it was quite a  week. As they say, "Busy man, you've had  a little day".

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Bye, Bye Bettie

Not so many laughs today. 

We recently learned that everybody's favorite 1950's pin-up girl, Bettie Page, died at the age of 85. We don't really know too much about her life, but we understand her later years weren't too pleasant. So, we hope, wherever she is now, she is content.

What we do know, is that she was a real cutie (not that she could hold a candle to our Perfect Wife), and from now on every time we see a pretty woman wearing those absolutely adorable super-short "Bettie Bangs", we will think of her.

Rest in peace, Bettie.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Takin' Rocco For a Walk-o

Being a pal of  Rocco the Wonder Dog has many benefits, as I have commented on in this blog countless times. As in all healthy relationships, however, there are some issues I'm afraid he and I will never come to terms with. Don't worry, dear reader, this won't be a post about his ability to generate the funkiest-smelling "SBD'S" at the most inappropriate moment when you have company over. Rather, the biggest issue I have with Rocco is his  concept of "going for a walk".

Most dogs I have lived with in the past seemed to understand the purpose of a walk was to do your "Business". If you happened to see a squirrel or encounter another dog and got to sniff his rear end in a neighborly fashion, all the better.

Rocco seems to believe that the purpose of a walk is to stay outside in the freezing cold and sniff every inch of the land he can as long as he can. He often gets "on the trail" of something and gets all worked up, sniffing and whining as he pursues his "prey", and all thoughts of going to the bathroom are tossed to the forewinds. This is probably a wonderful jaunt for him, not so much for the human being getting their arm wrenched off as he tries to pull on his leash to places he shouldn't go. If he actually had a purpose to his "tracking", I might be more understanding, but, since whenever he actually encounters some creature (and his success rate is embarrassingly low), he has no idea how to proceed. "Do I attack it?", he wonders, "Sniff their rear end?". He is clueless. I have seen him stand 2 feet from a bunny, transfixed, with no idea what to do next, while the bunny in question looked at him with a curious stare, as if  to say, "Are you gonna chase me or something? Otherwise, I'm just gonna keep eating grass". This is embarrassing  to me, Rocco and the bunny.

Don't get me wrong. Rocco is a wonderful dog, and if we can ever get together on the whole concept of what a "walk" entails, he will be a perfect dog.

I wouldn't hold my breath.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Uncle Walt!

Today marks a major milestone for all the cartoon, animation, theme park and movie buffs out there: 107 years ago today, at 1249 Tripp Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, Walter Elias Disney, better known as Walt Disney, was born!

Judging from all the things I've read and heard, Walt might not have been the easiest man to deal with. Still, he's given the world so much pleasure (me in particular), that today should be a national holiday. Maybe when Mr. Obama takes office, he will rectify this situation.

If my time machine's flux capacitor was working, I would go see Uncle Walt and thank him myself. Since it isn't (there may be a problem with my Mr. Fusion®), let me just say:

Happy of happiest Walt! I hope you finally found your "Laughin' Place"!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mothy Madness!

I think we can all agree, there are a lot of annoying creatures in the world: flies, mosquitos, Adam Sandler, etc. (Some of you might include me on that list.) Right now, for me, the award for "Pest of the Month" goes to the Moth.

We live in SE Massachusetts, and it is freezing here right now, so you would think insects would freeze to death if they left their cocoons or wherever they live when they're not annoying people. This is not  the case. Our family is experiencing a nightly moth invasion, the likes of which we have never seen! Every night when we return home, our house is plastered with hundreds of the disgusting little rascals. We have to race into the house en masse  in the hopes of allowing as few of them as possible inside. Of course, this plan never works well with four people and a dog, so plenty of moths fly in uninvited.

Moths should be aware that entrance to my home will result in their death as soon as I get my trusty fly swatter, but they continue their regular appearances all over the place. I also hate how they dissolve into  a cloud of dust instead of squishing like a normal bug.

One member of the family doesn't seem to mind the moths. Rocco the Wonder Dog has become quite adept a catching any moth that flies close enough to him in his mouth, and swallowing them. He seems to find them both amusing and tasty, a sentiment the rest of us don't share.

Hopefully, this invasion will end in time for Christmas.  I would hate for Santa to be flying around picking moths out of his teeth. Also, it might drive our loved ones from the house during our annual Christmas gathering, and I might not get the Whatnot Muppet and Doctor Who remote control K9 I asked for.

If those of you reading this are wondering why I would waste my time and energy whining about a minor inconvenience like moths on this site, I'd like to point out you wasted your time and energy reading it.

I've got to sign off, there's a moth on my laptop!

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Me, On TV!

Today is a really busy day for me, so you will have to find your daily heaping helping of hilarity elsewhere, for now, sorry.

However! There is a  cool website about all things television, called CliqueClack, that has made the serious error in judgement of adding me to their roster of fine writers. Click on the link to the right and see the postings of people who watch WAY too much TV, and have plenty to say about it. 

It's actually a wonderful site, and I am honored to be a part of it.

Tomorrow or the next, I promise, more boatloads of jocularity! 

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