Monday, December 31, 2012

I Forgot My Old Acquaintances

The final day of 2012 is upon us.

And it’s a Monday to boot.

Doesn’t sound right, does it…the final day of the year being a Monday.

Well, at least it doesn’t sound right to me…mostly because I’m me and that’s just how I think…especially on  Monday…which is also the last day of the year.

It seems to me that the last day of the year should be on a Friday…all the time.

But it’s not, and I’m not sure how to fix it, so I’ll leave it to the folks with the slide rules…if they exist anymore.

I mean the slide rules…not the people. The people still exist, just without the slide rules.

But they still wear those pocket protectors for some reason.

Not sure why.

I mean is a pocket all that important that it needs protection?

From what?

I guess pocket hooligans.

And yes—I know what you’re wondering—even people with pocket protectors exist…on some level.

They just don’t get invited to a lot of parties.

But that’s okay…at least they have a reason.

We don’t have a reason, and we don’t get invited to any parties, either. Unless of course we throw the party…and then we can stay…for a little while.

Well, that’s not entirely true. We do get invited to a New Year’s Eve party every year…even those that fall on a Monday.

But we’ve had to decline the last 3 or 4 years for a variety of reasons. 

Some of which involve avoiding the other New Year’s Eve partiers on the road.

Plus the fact that it requires staying up past midnight, which is getting harder and harder to do.

Especially if you’re fast asleep by 10…even at the party.

The good thing is no one seems to notice if you’re asleep at 10 or not, because they nodded off themselves about 9:30.

If you’re the first person to wake up, at least before sunrise, you’re required to pop open the champagne.

That usually wakes up the other folks, as well.

At least the ones who are still breathing.

Then if we’re lucky we can catch up with the Hawaiian New Year’s celebration.

Can’t get enough of that Don Ho.



Then I guess we’ll have to record Dick Clark.



I suppose Guy Lombardo is out of the question…?

See what I mean…I forgot all my old acquaintances….

Maybe it’s time to start going to the party again.

Archive of Holiday Retorts Past
(Click Link to Read)

Old & Tired — Fresh & New


Friday, December 28, 2012


I’m bored…right now….

Bored, bored, bored.

Hey, it’s a Friday…what d'ya expect?

Not to mention the Friday of the most boring week of the year.

The "Let's just wrap this thing up and move on" week

So that’s why I’m writing this….about being bored.

I figured it might make me less bored…which so far it hasn’t.

And I have a feeling that now I’m just passing it on to you.


I guess that’s what being bored gets you…more boring.

I even tried Googling bored…but I couldn’t get through it.

Which I should have figured since I’m not sure how boring can be interesting.

You know….

I don’t get bored all that often….

Unless I do…and then I will….

…get bored.

But that’s what happens.

Oh sure…we all know those people who never get bored because they can’t sit still long enough to tie their shoe laces, let alone let their mind unwind and just do nothing, if only for a day.

But that’s not me…I tie my shoe laces countless times a day.

Some people don’t know what to do with a fallow moment, let alone an idle day.

I’m pretty sure those people think if they do take a break someone will catch them and report them to the Department of Slothful Indiscretion.

Then their picture might be plastered all over town on billboards.

So they keep moving.

Never get bored.

Like this.

Sometimes I try to break the boredom by doing something totally useless…like this.

I figure if I feel useless, then doing something useless, will be fulfilling.

And then I won’t feel bored anymore.

I’ll feel accomplished.

But I’m still bored.

Bored, bored, bored.

Not that I’m a boring person.

That’s something completely different.

Boring people themselves are probably never bored.

They’re usually too busy telling themselves all the interesting things they do in a day.

That’s because when they’re telling you all the interesting things they do in a day, you’re not listening…because it’s boring.

Because they’re boring.

Because people who think you’re interested in what they did last Tuesday should probably just write a blog or something.


Maybe I’ll peel an apple…from the inside out.

Or learn how to juggle….while peeling the apples from the inside out.

Or learn how to juggle….while peeling the apples from the inside out and tying my shoe laces at the same time.

That sounds kind of interesting.


I’m bored.

Bored, bored, bored….
And now I'm guessing you are too....

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

After Christmas

So if Christmas eve is like floating on a calm sea, peering up into the stars…and Christmas Day is like a rogue wave that knocks you off your feet and envelops you into a deep dark sea of confusion…then the day after Christmas is like sitting in a puddle, on a muddy shore, picking sea shells out of your bathing suit.

Beat up, tossed around… recovering from a thrill ride, all at the same time.

And that was just trying to back out of my driveway on the way to my in-law’s house.

Everybody seemed as if they had some place to go

I even saw one of the Vampires carrying a plate of Holiday Ghoul cookies over to the werewolves.

It’s how it is on Christmas, I guess, no matter what your leanings are.

Everyone wants to get along.

Just not sure why it takes a holiday.

Maybe because of the sales….

Anyway, like I said we went up to the in-law’s house, who graciously host more than their share of holidays…and the admission fee is more than fair.

I shouldn’t say that…of course they don’t charge an individual admission fee. They’re very hospitable and have a yearly club rate that includes meals and drinks. They even have a more than reasonable family package.

Okay, okay, okay…

I’m kidding.  I can feel Z’s glare from here, right through the screen.

Family gets in free…it’s just me they charge at the door…which they call an entertainment fee.

Which, to be honest—sort of— I don’t mind, because at least they let me in the door now.

There were years when I was told I had to stay outside and watch the cars.

Sure it made for a cold day, but the tips were good…for the most part.

Except for my Amish brother-in-law—the one I went on vacation with this summer; he’s as cheap as they come. He even expects me to provide the carrots for the horse that pulls his buggy.

Which I don’t really mind, except he likes them boiled and slightly sweetened.

At least this year I wasn’t mistaken for the caterer.

This year I was mistaken for the bartender.

Which is odd because on Thanksgiving I sprayed a whole bottle of tonic all over the brand new family room.

So I figured on Christmas they’d assign one of the other in-laws to the task.

But they didn’t, and so there I was checking ID’s again.

You have to be careful with the fake ID’s in this group

Not for the underage drinkers, though. Those fake ID’s are flawless.

It’s the AARP ID’s I have trouble with, not to mention the contraindication prescription medication cards.

But at least I’m inside where it’s warm.

Of course, dinner was well received, as always…at least as far as I could hear.

However, the new family room is pretty well sound proofed so it was hard to distinguish who was cussing at whom.

But it’s usually not that hard to guess.

The good news is there are a couple of new in-laws in the group these days, so business at my “We Share No DNA” T-shirt and Apparel booth is thriving. 

In fact all holiday family gathering days are big sellers.

Not sure why….

Anyway, now that Christmas is all over it’s nice to sit and reflect on all the good fortune I have in my life, which is really what Christmas is all about.

Especially since one of the new guys got stuck taking home the garbage this year, instead of me…but not until we finished painting the basement together.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Imagine, Christmas Eve

I’ve always been more partial to Christmas Eve than Christmas Day.

Even though you’re prepared for Christmas Day, have actually awaited its arrival for quite some time, the day itself can often hit you like a rogue wave that suddenly pops up out of nowhere, knocks you off your feet and envelops you in countless mind numbing activities: schedules to keep, last minute wrapping, phone calls to take, phone calls to make, gruel to stir and eggnog to mix.

And don’t forget those pesky Dicksonian ghosts that drag you all over the past, present and future landscape, before you even have a chance to get your robe on.

Or is that just me?

Christmas Eve, on the other hand, is like floating on a quiet sea, looking up through the stars, where, if you stare long enough, you just might see a red streak of light passing overhead…

And are those the bells of eight tiny reindeer, you hear?

I know, I know, I know.

It’s just my imagination taking hold again.

The red streak across the sky is probably just an airplane carrying weary, last minute holiday travelers off to distant shores…and the bells are just Puddle’s, the neighbor’s cat, who’s known to have a fondness for unsuspecting fowl.

Nowadays, most of us, without any thought, keep our imaginations in check. There are just too many “real” inconceivable every day issues to face, juggle and sort through, that we barely have time for lunch, let alone allow ourselves the luxury of idle thought, and fanciful musings.

I guess that’s part of the burden of adulthood. Adulthood…the thing we craved when we were 10 and would gladly hand back to whoever’s in charge of such things, now that we’re…not 10.

I also know that Christmas Eve has morphed into a major holiday unto itself, these days, so maybe it’s not quite as tranquil, anymore, as I like to remember.

I guess what I’m thinking of are my Christmas Eves of years past. By today’s standards those magical evenings were much less formal—family and friends dropping in, coming and going as they pleased—yet still featured an elaborate meal consisting of a thousand varieties of fish, for a reason I never quite understood, other than my grandma said we had to.

I’m not sure how we did it, but somehow we’d all gather in my Italian grandparent’s little apartment on the night before Christmas and squeeze in around this small oblong table that mysteriously produced huge, endless bowls of said fish products and pasta…but with clam sauce…and even homemade pizza, for those who had an aversion to food that poked and looked back at you.

And all from a kitchen the size of most broom closets.

It’s hard to even imagine now; the place was steamy and cramped, at least to the adults, but to we, the under 10’s, it was a one bedroom Christmas wonderland, highlighted by that weirdly festive, white and blue, artificial tree that my gramps insisted on putting up every year, because he said real trees were rife with vermin and he thought dealing with his grandchildren was more than enough to fill that quota.

Well, I’m not quite sure if he said that last part…I might be projecting.

Gramps also loved his roasted chestnuts, and no Christmas Eve was complete without his after dinner ritual of carefully slicing an X into each one, popping them into the oven, then watching all of us warm our hands as we peeled them open and popped them into our mouths…and sometimes down a cousin’s pants.

I could go on and on with tales of Christmas Eve, and right now you’re probably afraid that I will—I didn’t even go into my Irish side of the family, which in lieu of the thousand varieties of fish, sampled a thousand varieties of eggnog, along with a thousand varieties of ways to serve roast beef and potatoes, all the while debating if Bing Crosby had ever actually been to Killarney, let alone celebrated Christmas there, with all of the folks from home—but, not to worry, I don’t want to keep you from your own Christmas Eve preparations.

However, scungilli aside, do yourself a favor as you make your way home on this cold winter’s night, whether returning from over the river and through the woods…or just walking back from the tavern down the street…take a second and peer up into the starry night above.

Shove the things you can’t control, can’t avoid and can’t conceive to the side, for just that one little second.

You might just see a red streak of light passing overhead…

And are those really the bells of eight tiny reindeer, you hear?

I don’t know…I guess that’s up to you….

Looking for a fun, new Christmas Tradition to share?

"The Little Red Christmas Ball" will shine bright and hold tight for you and your family...this year and every year to come....

Now available at Amazon

And don't forget

“The Kingdom of Keys”

also available at Amazon

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Longest Night of the Year

So here we are…the longest night of the year, along with the shortest day.

Oh, and it’s also the end of the world…maybe.

A lot of stuff going on.

Hard to keep pace.

Not to mention it’s prep day for our annual Christmas party, which is tomorrow…you know, apocalypse pending.

I’m not sure what’s worse… apocalypse pending or prep day for our annual Christmas party.

At least with the apocalypse there’s always a chance of meeting new people, building new societies.

With party prep day the only person I meet is the beer and ice guy downtown…and I’ve heard all his stories…twice.

The only building going on is the tower of cheese I construct out of Velveeta slices…individually wrapped.

The good thing about this year’s party though is it’s not officially falling on the solstice, so I was able to get the Druids, half price.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re still expensive, even with the run on Mayans this year, which cut into their business.

But I’m talking the good Druids, not the suspect Druids, with the dull blades.

Only problem is they’re usually a little washed out and hung over from the events of the previous night’s bacchanaling.

But I figure I can live with that; I mean they’re really only here for color…and the tower of cheese.

Druids love Velveeta.

Speaking of Druids, Z has me cleaning the bathroom for the party.

I know…I mean it’s a bathroom.

How clean does it have to be?

But I do it…every year…just to make Z happy.

Plus Z’s scary if you cross her on party prep day.

Even the Druids get a little wary around her.

Especially if the crust on the practice baked brie gets a little over done.

One time the Druids were dropping off their human degradation and Karaoke machine and they put it in the corner right by the tree.

Mostly because they asked me where I’d like it, and that’s what I told them.

Well, Z walks in the room—and, you can smell the singed pie crust coming from the kitchen—and she’s not in there for two seconds when she starts screaming, “What kind of Druids sets up a human degradation and Karaoke machine by a Christmas tree!”

Well, the Druid looks at me for help so I immediately do what you’d expect me to do…I go down in the basement and bring up the extra chairs.

I’m betting you’ve never seen a Druid cower before…me neither.

Anyway, once Z showed the Druid the error of his ways and got him set up in the proper human degradation and Karaoke environment—the sun room, by the La z Boy—I started opening the folding chairs.

The folding chairs are also Z’s idea since she kind of frowned on the portable bleachers I borrowed from the High School a few years back.

I’m not sure what the problem was with the bleachers, only that Z said they were tacky.

So I hosed them down, and that was wrong too.

Ultimately, I had to drag the couches back in off the lawn and replace the carpet, but I figured it was easier than arguing about it.

In the meantime, the Druid snuck out the back door...but what else would you expect from a Druid?

Then my neighbor, Art, from around the corner, who claims to be one sixteenth Mayan, drops by to remind us—again—that “The end is nigh” and tries to get us to put a deposit down on one of the last remaining spots—according to him—in his fortified underground bunker.

Fortified underground bunker, my eye. It’s really just his re-modeled basement entertainment center, but he claims to have DVR-d the entire 3 seasons of the TV show “Ed” to help pass the time.

Needless to say, Art is not invited to the party.

In any case, I better get back to party prep…you know, just in case the end is not indeed nigh at all.

The good news is, Armageddon aside, the sun should start traveling higher across the sky again, little by little each day.

So let the merrymaking begin!

Unless Art is right.

But at least we have the Druid’s human degradation and Karaoke machine to pass the time.

And don’t forget the tower of cheese.

Is red still appropriate for the end of the world?

Apocalypse…so awkward.

Archive of Holiday Retorts Past
(Click Links to Read)

Winter Solstice
Looking for a fun, new Christmas Tradition to share?

"The Little Red Christmas Ball" will shine bright and hold tight for you and your family...this year and every year to come....

Now available at Amazon

And don't forget

“The Kingdom of Keys”

also available at Amazon

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


One of my favorite things as a kid was sliding face first down a hill of freshly packed snow.

Sometimes even on a sled.

Well, mostly on a sled…my flexible flyer to be specific.

At least I think it was a Flexible Flyer.

Now that I think of it, it might have been a Flexible Flyer knock off from Woolworths, because I’m not having too many flexible memories other than a lot of crashing into trees and light poles.

But that was more than half the fun…at least for me.

In fact sleigh riding is one of my top three favorite winter memories.

The other two are filling my pockets with snow…and filling my cousin’s pocket with snow.

Good times!

I remember the Christmas I found that oddly shaped, package tucked under the tree, like it was yesterday. I was so unaware, that I hadn’t a clue what it could be.

Let’s see…about four feet long by a foot wide.

Maybe it was a football!


I was 6…I had spacial recognition issues…undiagnosed.

My mom and dad watched as I curiously twisted and turned the package this way and that, as I was prone to do with all my plunder, wanting to savor each and every holiday moment to its fullest extent…which could take a while, seeing as I had about 200 hundred or so presents to work my way through...some of them even mine.

“Maybe it’s a train set!”

“Why don’t you just open it instead of guessing?” my mom would say, hoping to start breakfast sometime before noon.

“Or an Easy Bake Oven!”


I liked to bake.

Eventually my dad decided to “help” me open this peculiarly wrapped item, and lo and behold…there it was: a shiny new sled.

Much sleeker and shiner than the my old sled—which my gramps picked up at a rummage sale—that still had the remnants of a name carved into it…something like “Joe’s Mud” or Moe’s Tub” or “Slow Dud”.

Something like that.

I always thought it was an odd thing to write on a sled, but who’s to judge?

Anyway, no one was really sure what it meant exactly, other than rust doesn’t slide very well on snow.

But not my brand new Inflexible Flyer.

My brand new Inflexible Flyer really could fly…over Hill and Dale…and sometimes Mike, Phil Pam and Wendy…my other sledding buddies.

Of course one needs a hill and some snow before one can fully enjoy the wonders of the sleigh.

The hill part was easy since I lived near the park where there were actually three hills, varying in degrees of difficulty.

The snow part was a little trickier, though…especially when you’re waiting for it, as if it were another Christmas day.

But, just as Christmas always arrived, sooner or later, a nice fluffy blanket of virgin powder would drop from the sky and off  to the park we’d go, sleds in tow.

I mentioned there were three hills with varying degrees of difficulty.

The first was nothing more than a bunny hill, but a good starting point for the novice sledder.

You just had to watch out for…or at least be aware of… the small little brook that ran across the bottom of this short incline.

Which I did for the most part…most of the time…but it was super cool to be able to stand your frozen snowsuit up in the corner when you came home.

The second hill, across the way from the first hill, was a little steeper in nature, but without the brook to worry about. However, it backed up to a large 10 foot high stone wall, so there was very little wiggle room to maneuver along the top ridge.  And if the hill happened to be icy slick that day, as it often was after a couple of hundred kids stomped all over it, many a sled farer was known to begin his trip down  the hill prematurely, with or without his sled.

Then of course, even if your ride was successful, and you managed to slide all the way across the park…getting back up the hill could be problematic…unless you were outfitted by the Mt. Kilimanjaro base camp team.

The final hill was off to the side,  but really only suited for the big boys, or the little boys with a death wish…or at least a wish to walk around with a limp and a cauliflower ear for several days.

Narrow and steep, it required a steady hand and a really, really flexible flyer to maneuver around the multiple pines strewn all about; not to mention the wooden backstops attached to the rear of the horse shoe pits.

I didn’t worry too much about those wooden backstops, however, since I was usually jammed, sled and all, between the branches of a balsam fir tree, way before I made it down that far.

Still, every once in a while I managed to navigate those menacing trees and the first row of horseshoe barriers…and I can’t tell you what a thrill that was.

Until, of course, I hit the second row of wooden barriers and jettisoned, sans sled, into yet another pine.

Which I found oddly exhilarating.

As did my mom, who would often get a little woozy after I limped in the door with a black eye and something that once resembled an ear.

Needless to say, I went through a lot of sleds in my youth, and my mom a lot of novenas.

Not sure why.

Looking for a fun, new Christmas Tradition to share with your family?

Pick up "The Little Red Christmas Ball"

Now available at Amazon

And don't forget

“The Kingdom of Keys”

also available at Amazon

And while you're at it

Like" the Retorts on Facebook