Bye for now

This will be my last post until the new year. I had intended to post a Christmas story today–I write one every year for my wife, and some are pretty good–but I had trouble figuring out how to do it in Adobe so that it would be more difficult to borrow without credit. Nothing says Christmas like copyright infringement! That’s what makes an iPod such an ideal gift. Maybe I’ll figure it out by next Christmas, so you can all enjoy the tale of the Headless Elf and the Brimstone Reindeer! (Ooops, wrong holiday)

So be good, drink a lot, recite “It’s a Wonderful Life” until somebody throws a punch, and have a great holiday. Let’s look forward to 2006 as a year of goodwill, peace, and prosperity, just like we did last year.

For some cool obscure holiday music, follow this link to the “Sound Opinions” radio show, but get there before the end of Boxing Day:

“Hey, dig me–I’m givin’ out wings!”

More Outsourcing Woes

Our neighbors to the south will soon be wreaking havoc in our labor pool again. With the CIA tied up in the Middle East, who is going to take on the job of overthrowing the presidents of Venezuela, Bolivia and who knows who else in the years to come?

One more example of how the current administration doesn’t care about American workers….

Adios, Marshall Field’s

Not many people outside the Midwest might care, but this Christmas season will be the last one for the name Marshall Field’s, which was purchased last summer by the gimps who own Macy’s. Apparently, they think the name Macy’s translates into “fine quality merchandise” rather than “run-of-the-mill crap for sale in a bus-station atmosphere”, so the Marshall Field’s nameplates will be replaced next year.

Plenty of people have gotten all sticky sweet about it, so I won’t tell you my childhood memories of getting their catalog in the mail in the 1960s, back before all stores basically carried the same toys, and marvelling at what an absolute heaven it must have been to live in Chicago (when I was growing up in a Detroit suburb) and have access to all those marvelous playthings. Won’t waste your time. And it was a big catalog, too.

But I do think the name change is ridiculous, one more instance of the homogenization of America. Go here to read my editorial on the subject, which never found a home in the local newspapers. And if you’d like to sign the online petition on the name change, go here. It might make you feel good, but it ain’t gonna do much else.

In my neighborhood, we’re mercifully spared from most chain stores and restaurants, aside from a McDonald’s and a Starbucks, that have have turned America into one big pile of mediocrity. If I want a hot sub sandwich for lunch, I can walk to four different places, every one of which is locally owned. But I know this is the exception rather than the rule.

When we travelled through Fargo, North Dakota, this summer, we picked up a copy of the free weekly, which was having its annual Reader’s Choice awards. Yay! thinks us. All the secret ins and outs of high Fargo living in one neat package. We checked the category “Best Ice Cream”. In Fargo, the best ice cream is listed as Dairy Queen.

“Best Pizza”? Pizza Hut.

“Best Business Lunch Spot”? I kid you not: The Ground Round.

In every single category save one, the top purveyor in town was a pieceacrap chain restaurant. (The lone exception? “Best Family Dining” was at the Space Alien Café, which we could see from our hotel window and was a lot of fun. Food was even good.) No local specialty barbecue, no high-class beef restaurant downtown that old politicians frequent, not even a local coffee shop with a good piece of pie. Just the same old crap.

So don’t tell me that changing Marshall Field’s name to Macy’s is good, or smart, or inevitable. It’s just one more coat of biege paint across the national landscape. Just the same old crap.

Santa Commandos

The War on Christmas has become a global conflict:

From Yahoo News:

Forty drunken Santas rampaged through central Auckland, stealing from stores and assaulting security guards, the New Zealand Herald reported on Sunday, in a protest against the commercialization of Christmas.


“They came in, said ‘Merry Christmas’ and then helped themselves,” convenience store staff member Changa Manakynda told the Herald, which reported the Santas also attacked a Christmas tree.

What are the jelly-spined isolationists going to say NOW?

Is That All There Is?

As sure as one bus follows another after a 40-minute bus-free interlude, depression follows our annual Monkey Day frolics. Ho-hum. No more banana daiquiris, no more poop-flinging contests, no more lice-grooming with friends and family, no more heartwarming sing-alongs of the theme from “Lancelot Link.” Just three more months of dreary winter.

Well, maybe it’s not all bad. I hear there’s some surreptitious holiday called Christmas coming up. But it’s under siege by EVERYBODY except a small group of resistance fighters who number, oh, about 245 million people. So, keep it under your hat. Fight on, o valiant fighters! You are the brave descendents of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, er, probably not.

For a jolly laugh, check out these pictures of happy, happy children cuddling up to Old Santa Claus.


It’s here it’s here it’s finally HERE!!!!!

Jane Goodall gots the GOODS!

Quit your job!
Take off your pants!
Swing from the rafters!
Dress like a cowboy and ride a dog!
Fling some poop!


It's Hopalong Bongo!

Tease a fundamentalist!
Go see King Kong!
Order a Monkey Phone Call for your friends!
Masturbate like you mean it!
Buy a million typewriters and call a million of your monkey friends and type the complete works of Shakespeare!
Evolve, for God’s sake!


It's the least we can do
Image from the Taipei Times.

Remember When “Rendition” Meant Someone Covering a Song?

I neglected this blog last week for a number of reasons. For one, I bought a new VAIO to replace my rapidly degenerating Presario (the thing has started to act like HAL at the end of 2001, though it hasn’t started its singing act yet). Too many hours have been spent trying to get the new laptop to act like the old laptop, without all the old laptop problems. Still a long way from finishing the project, so in my little corner of the basement, in addition to every other mess, I’ve got two laptops covering all my available desk space.

I’ve also been in a state of excitement waiting for the new “King Kong” to open. A friend of mine from the Tribune who saw it last week said it was excellent, and doesn’t drag during its three-hour run time. Has anyone else noticed that the movie is opening across the country on National Monkey Day? It’s no coincidence, I’m sure.

Oh, and I was trying to find some sardonic angle to explore on the whole torture business. You know, whether the US does it, and if so, how, and who really believes Bush and Co. give two figgy puddings what Europe thinks about it. (IMO, Condi Rice’s trip is just an excuse to show off her new dominatrix boots.) Torture’s just such a lovely topic to discuss during the Christmas season, isn’t it? Makes you feel all warm and cozy, especially when you bite into a nice, warm gingerbread detainee.

What kind of angle might work? An Andy Rooney curmudgeonly take (“I don’t know what the whole thing about torture is. You want torture? Try opening a bottle of Advil with the child-proof lid”)?

A Garrison Keillor, wistful and reserved (“We liberal arts majors never gave much thought to torture, even as we dissected the Marquis de Sade—figuratively, of course”)?

Unfortunately, I was unable to figure out how to type the onomatopoeic sound of one more part of my hope for mankind being shorn from inside me like guts scraped from a pumpkin, so I just left the blog blank. And vowed to stick with monkeys from now on.