Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Top or Bottom 5 Humbugs

It's the most wonderful time of year. Christmastime.

Between being brought figgy pudding and waiting for someone to give me nine ladies dancing, I have come up with a handful of Holiday Horrors. These things give me a royally rashed rear round this time of year. Enjoy.

5. Leading with ailments. This may very well be the only time of year I see certain members of my or my wife's family. That's okay--that's natural--a part of life. But then again, aging is a part of life also. I don't get why at a certain age you lead with ailments when talking to someone you haven't seen in a year. For example, allow me to recall a conversation with a family member from a year ago:

"So, how's everything going?"
"Well, I've got a goiter in my crotch and the gout's flaring up in my neck again. I don't know when the last time was I watched Wheel of Fortune without having to hack up something. And now its starting to burn when I urinate."

Holy Moses. Can't you just fake a "fine" and be done with it!?
4. Doing things for the sake of tradition. I love traditions--trimming the tree, filling the stockings, having a big breakfast on Christmas morn, etc. But there are certain traditions we do because they are traditions. Often these are justified with "well that's the way we've always done it." You might as well sneak a firecracker into my brain--because I just don't get it. Do what you do--but know why you do it.

3. White Elephants. Growing up we always had a white elephant exchange with extended family. I always assumed it was because the cousins of mine that we married (to each other) couldn't bring anything to the table other than the spare toilet parts. Every year. Every stinking year. But as a child I was enamored by the white elephant exchange. It's quite fun--drawing numbers, stealing gifts, etc. Not anymore. I promise you it seems like you could play a full game of Monopoly before all of the nonsense stops. Now if I am invited to the white elephant exchange I go with one purpose--to take home what I brought.
2. Christmas Wish on the radio. There are two stations in the DFW area that grant a Christmas Wish to many needy folks throughout the holiday season. Here's the deal--someone nominates someone less fortunate and the station, along with its advertisers, do something very nice for the less fortunate family. For example, perhaps a man has just lost his arms and legs in a terrible accident. Some car dealer would come in and pay to have moving sidewalks for the man's limbless body to move throughout his house. Okay--that was an unnecessary shot. Here's the deal, I think that the Christmas Wish is such a good thing. We should always look for ways to help those that are needy or less fortunate. My problem is that we have found another way to make our generosity into a bigger spectacle than the generosity itself. It's all about marketing and aligning yourself as a company that cares whether you care or not.

1. Christmas Cards. This is very controversial at my house. I can't stand the Christmas card. Even moreso the Christmas letter. I just don't see the point. I think its very nice to reach out to those that you love and wish them a special season. I'm all for well-wishing. But again, we have made the Christmas card more important than the thought behind it. It's truly a measure of self-importance: "Look at where we went this year." "Look at us--we are smiling and nothing's wrong in our lives." "WooHoo--we escaped the IRS again!"

This flaunting of self-worth would be tolerable for me if it weren't for the costs as well. That's a racket in and of itself. Stamps are $.41. You better consider yourself DANG lucky if you received a card in the mail from the McCord family--because I skim that dat gum Christmas card list and if I believe I can email to you without offending you--I'm not going to waste $.41 on you. Then again, if you did receive a card from us in the mail--well, you are probably so fragile that we didn't want to break your spirit.

This year's card is posted above. Please note that 1) the snow IS real... photo taken in Sweetwater over Thanksgiving and 2) the card was designed by your's truly.

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sing us a Song, Piano Man

I had the chance to take in one of the all-time greats the other night as William Joseph Martin Joel (Billy Joel, that is) played at AAC. I have to be honest-despite his liking the drink to the point of ruining a marriage to Christie Brinkley... the guy's got something.

Highlights of the night included a performance of "An Innocent Man," which you can take in below. Be sure to notice that William Joel is the best snapper ever. Ever.