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Inspirational Reads

What a Rip-Off

December 29, 2009

Remember back at the beginning of the year when I wanted to read a bunch of books and then, as I finished them, I'd review them on here? Usually I'd do it in the weekend slots since not a lot of people read on the weekends and such. Ha, wow, that fell off shortly after I wrote up my review for Truck: A Love Story (and Kristine insulted me for writing the review), didn't it? Anyway, since I'm not at work this week and only just kind of phoning in the blog thing until I start in with the hardcore writing next week, you're getting a book review midweek.

So, I just finished reading Diana Wynn Jones Castle in the Air today. I read this after finishing up Howl's Moving Castle. I enjoyed the book, but the movie was frankly better. Christian Bale and all.

Anyway, Castle in the's the story of a guy from a middle-eastern-inspired country called Zanzib who is essentially a street urchin with a carpet-selling business, who falls in love with the daughter of the Sultan, finds a magic flying-carpet and a genie and adventure ensues. Wait, where have I seen this before...oh, right, Disney's Aladdin.

Well, what a rip off. I mean, maybe I'll write a story about a girl who eats a poisoned apple and falls asleep and is protected by a bunch of...elves. Yes, that's right. Seven--no! Eight!--elves to protect her. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Hello, what's this? Castle in the Air was written in 1990 and Aladdin was released in 1992, with a final script handed in in 1991? Hmmm...something is rotten in the state of Denmark Zanzib.

This is not, however, the first time Disney has *ahem* borrowed heavily from someone else's work of fiction. Apparently, Robin McKinley's book Beauty was heavily-borrowed from when Disney decided to do Beauty and the Beast, but they changed just enough to keep McKinley's lawyers from settling a large sum of money. Now McKinley's all pissed, and none of her excellent stories can be made into movies, which is too bad because, apparently, her stories of love Vampire-style are really kickass, and would put Twilight to shame (you know, like how any Vampire-based story puts Twilight to shame).

Anyway, the same pretty much happened here to Diana Wynn Jones' Castle in the Air (which is in no way related to Miyazaki's movie Castle in the Sky). Disney changed the story enough that there couldn't be any lawsuits, and by changed it, I mean, they dumbed it down. Way down. They dumbed it down to Disney level. Whichever way you slice it, though, I'm pretty sure Jones got screwed in this lack of deal.

What we have here is the story of Abdullah, a carpet merchant in Zanzib who falls in love with the Sultan's daughter whom he secretly courts after buying a flying carpet. Then, he sees the Sultan's daughter stolen by a nefarious djinn, and then gets captured after dropping his nightcap in the Sultan's daughter's night garden. He escapes (thanks to the flying carpet) and comes across the genie's bottle. With the genie in hand (heh, I made a joke), he escapes the Sultan's armies and flees to the land of Ingary, where he befriends a veteran of the war Ingary just fought with Stangia (I think this is the war that was being fought in the movie version of Howl's Moving Castle). With the help of the soldier and another character (I'm leaving it a surprise on purpose), Abdullah manages to rescue his beloved Flower-of-the-Night (the Sultan's daughter) and defeat the djinn's evil brother, who is the puppeteer pulling all the strings in the kidnapping of princesses and such.

Fortunately, the ending doesn't feel as rushed in Castle in the Air as it did in Howl's. The character of Abdullah, with his constantly flowery speech and overly-polite customs, is quite likable and you can feel empathy toward him while he is trying hard to rescue his princess, but doesn't seem to get anywhere. Also, the way that Jones weaves together several plotlines into one finale is reminiscent of how another of my favorite authors, Tad Williams, which is high praise. The ability to bring all the facets of a complicated story into one, believable ending is difficult to do, but Jones manages quite well in Castle in the Air. Also, it's quite fun seeing how certain characters...appear...toward the latter stages of the story.

The story is a follow up to Jones' story of Howl's Moving Castle, which I also recommend reading (and watching the movie, for what it's worth). The stories aren't necessarily interlinked, but it will make it a lot more fun as you begin to figure out the roles and identities of some of the characters in Castle in the Air. That's a long, drawn-out way of saying you should read both books.

When I finally check-out Jones' House of Many Ways, I'll let you know how that one turns out, too. Until then, happy reading.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. LIV

December 25, 2009

Since no one's really going to be reading this today, I thought I'd forego my usual long, pedantic tale of how Christmas relates to Roman times (according to Pope Benedict XVI, the Bishop of Rome, there is no connection between Rome and Christmas).

Instead, I thought I'd shoot you with a few key phrases that you might need, should you find yourself dropping the subjunctive later in the afternoon:

Felix dies Nativitatis!

Pronounced: "Fay-leex dee-ace Nah-tee-wee-tah-teese!"

Felicitous translation in the hovertext!

And don't forget to thank the one who brought you all the goodies:

Pater diei Christi natalem

Pronounced: "Pah-tair dee-aye Krees-tee nah-tah-lame"

Delightful translation in the hovertext

Plus, there's this timeless classic:

"Tuum oculum transfigeres, parvule"

Pronounced: "Too-oom oh-cue-loom trans-fee-gare-ace, pahr-wyoo-lay"

You'll see the translation in the hovertext!

Felix dies Nativitatis, omnes! Have a safe and Merry Christmas!

What Can Brown Do For Me?

December 24, 2009

Well, I just got off the phone with my local post office. Seems as though the package I ordered December 16th and was shipped to me on December 17th and was supposed to arrive to me on December 22nd won't get here until after Christmas. Really? You know, you could have thrown the package on the back of a truck and driven it from Nevada to Durham in that amount of time, but apparently, it hasn't arrived in Raleigh yet. According to them.

Here's the rub: the shipment tracking that I'm using to follow the status of my package? It says the package arrived in Raleigh Monday night. At 9:46 PM. But, you know, that's a fucking lie, according to the postal service. That was auto-generated by the people in California, according to the postal service.

Looks like I'll be doing all of my business through UPS and FedEx from now on. Fuckstains.

Dump on top of this frustration that I went out this morning to buy the food for the Christmas feast. Traffic was ten times worse than the crowds at Target or Kroger. Although, both places were out of fresh thyme. Who the fuck runs out of thyme?

They were probably waiting for a fresh shipment from the USPS. Cockknockers.

You know what? Fuck you, postal service. You are not stealing my fucking Christmas spirit. Where's the fucking eggnog?

So, to make me feel all warm and glowy on the inside, I'm going to talk my wife into some hot, angry sex tell you a story about my favorite time traveling for Christmas.

With my mother- and father-in-law living in South Bend, IN and my parents in the Fort Wayne area, we have, in the past, driven up to Indiana in order to celebrate the holidays. When my thirtieth birthday rolled around, we decided to head up to Indiana so that I could see my family and get drunk enough to pass out on the couch mid-sentence have delightful and intellectual conversations with some of my college buddies.

The bonus prize in all this tomfoolery? There was a six-inch snow pack on the ground in northern Indiana. We were hoping we'd be able to celebrate a white Christmas with the kids. As luck would have it, a massive bubble of warm air traveled up the Mississippi and situated itself over the lower great lakes valley that week, and as we were driving up, the snow was melting.

When we drive up, we go up through a brief slice of Virginia and up through almost the whole of West Virginia and up to Ohio, where we cut across countryside and go through Columbus and then head up 75 to Lima and cut over there to Fort Wayne and then on up to South Bend. It's a long drive. Since the kids were little, we tried to make that drive at night, so they could sleep.

Crossing into West Virginia, there was snow on the ground. By the time we got to the point where we were crossing over the breadth of Ohio, the snow was almost totally melted. It was actually warmer at three in the morning in Ohio than it had been at six o'clock in the evening in North Carolina. All the melted snow plus the rising temperatures caused things to be foggy, but not so much that it completely obscured the roads. It was sort of a heavy haze hanging over the fields and forests of the Buckeye State.

Fortunately, Ohio was one of those places where the glaciers had flattened everything out all nice and dandy. What that meant was that I could look out over the plains and see, literally, for miles, because the highway was raised slightly in relationship to the farmlands stretching out toward the horizon.

Every little farmhouse and every little homestead had their lights on that night. So, I could look out and, through the gloom of the darkest part of the night, see hundreds of twinkling lights in every shade imaginable. It was beautiful. It was magnificent. It was truly magical.

My heart swelled three times that day.

Whenever I need a little pick-me-up--like, if the fucking postal service is dicking me over with a special little gift that I had ordered for my wife to brighten her Christmas--I think about the trip across central Ohio and looking out through the black and blue and gray haze and seeing little spots of colored lights shining through the murk.

Merry Christmas, everybody.


This is fucking brilliant. Go read it.

The Most Couch-Loungingest Time of the Year

December 23, 2009

Well, we are fast approaching another Christmas, my friends. I've bitched and I've parodied my way up to here, but this past weekend's snow and the extra twenty-five pennies I found in my car this morning so that I could buy coffee at work have put me in the moodiest of holiday moods. And so, I thought maybe I'd set aside the dick jokes and the drooling over large breasted women for just a moment and reflect on what the season is truly about: Holiday specials.

Now, my friend Joshua, Master of the Technical Parent and all-around nice fellow, has a little Tuesday event he calls "Top Five Tuesday" wherein he lists five things that he likes and gives a short description of them. Since Tuesday was reserved for me electronically and mentally stroking myself talking about my birthday and the end of the world, I was too full of myself busy to participate.

Well, better late than never.

Unless we're talking about ovulation cycles.

Anyway, since I'm a day late on the whole Top Five Tuesdays thing, I thought I'd break my top five down into two categories: favorite animated holiday specials and favorite holiday specials.

Five Favorite Animated Holiday Specials:

5.) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: There's just something about clunky stop-motion animation that gets me. Well, at least here. The rest of the Rankin-Bass stable kind of sucks. Except for their version of The Hobbit and The Return of the King, but those aren't stop-motion animated. Anyway, there's probably a lesson to be learned in there somewhere when Rudolph takes the high road and doesn't rub it in everyone's faces that he saved Christmas. Way to be an exemplary humble little reindeer, Rudolph. Especially since your name means "famed wolf".

4.) Mickey's Christmas Carol: While I'm not a big fan of the Disneyfication of stories, this one works for me. Probably because Mickey himself is just a supporting character. Oh sure, it's his lame little kid that melts Scrooge McDuck's heart, but we all know that it's really Pete's cigar smoke what changes Unca Scrooge over from the miserly old bastard to the generous and lovable grandfather figure in the story. Tragically, the story of Tiny Tim drowning when he tries to swim in Scrooge's Money Bin is buried on the back page of the papers.

3.) A Charlie Brown Christmas: I know I might have given Chuck the old run around a couple of days ago, but at the heart of it, Charlie Brown just wants us to remember the spirit of the season. And he's got a point. Everyone's pretty dickish the other eleven months of the year, can't we at least be decent during the month between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day? What's that? Not while we're stealing each other's parking spots at the mall? Fair enough.

2.) How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Boris Karloff's voice really makes this for me, but overall it is the ultimate story of redemption that doesn't involve lightsabres and big, black breathing apparati. I wonder what it would sound like if Karloff read it in Latin! *shivers down my spine* Not to mention, my favorite color is green and I think Max is perhaps the ultimate name for a dog. Put all that together and stir in some Chuck Jones animation and that's a recipe for awesome.

1.) Phinneas and Ferb Christmas Vacation!: Maybe it's that the shine hasn't come off this new holiday special, but I sat and laughed through the whole thing. Whether it was Frosty getting his smarmy ass creamed by a snowplow in the opening scenes or the little cut-scene references to A Charlie Brown Christmas or the not-so-subtle O. Henry "Gift of the Magi" subplot, I loved the whole thing. I even got a little teary-eyed when Perry the Platypus gave Doofenshmirtz some almond bark. Okay, so the tears were because I was laughing so much. Bait and switch, baby. Bait. And. Switch.

And now for the live-action holiday specials! Bring on the eggnog and brandy!

Top Five Favorite Holiday Specials:

5.) White Christmas: No holiday list is complete without the Binger's White Christmas on it, be it holiday special or favorite songs. It's charming, it's heartwarming and it's just a fun movie to watch. It sort of gets your right here. And by right here, I mean in the "...sisters, eh? Why don't you ladies drop those feather things and let's get going" gland. Plus, thanks to White Christmas, every year, I aspire to have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since the Binger tap danced with Danny fucking Kaye.

4.) Miracle on 34th Street: This makes the list because I watched it a lot as a kid. Back then, the miracle of this thing called a "VCR" was new, and my father, being too tight economically-minded bought blank video tapes and then we recorded the Christmas specials off channel 55 out of Fort Wayne. Problem was, he didn't want to deal with those commercial bullshit (my dad, so Charlie Browny), so I would have to sit there with the remote and push pause to avoid having the commercials in the recording. So, yeah, I watched this a lot. Nice to see the USPS can deliver a shit ton of letters to the courthouse but they can't get my wife's fucking last Christmas present to me on the day that they promised. Cock knockers.

3.) National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: Did I mention something about the Binger tap dancing with Danny fucking Kaye? I sure did. And when Santa squeezes his fat ass down the chimney, he's going to find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse. I've seen this movie a lot, too. It's stuck with me. Now, if you'll pardon me, I've got some work to do. The shitter is full.

2.) Die Hard: What? It's Christmas effing Eve. There's an exploding helicopter, a platoon of dead Germans, plastic explosives tied to an office chair, Alan Rickman playing an evil German (as if there's any other kind), and Notre Dame playing football against USC...though why we're playing the Trojans on Christmas Eve still kind of confuses me. Let it Snow... is playing as the end credits roll. Plus, you know that the kid Reginald VelJohnson shot was Urkel! I'm so fired up, I'm going to have to go find this DVD somewhere. Yippee-ki-yay, motherfuckers.

1.) A Christmas Story: Could it have been any other choice? We dorky white kids with glasses growing up in Indiana have to stick together, and while I didn't grow up during the depression nor did I ever ask for a b.b. gun for Christmas (I got a .22 when I was 12), I just have a connection with Ralphie that's primal, gutteral...maybe it's the blond thing, maybe it's the glasses, maybe it's the hounds (my brother had a pack of hounds), maybe it's the love of romance languages (fra-jee-lay), maybe it's just that the family kind of reminds me of mine, but I love this movie. The building where I went to kindergarten could have doubled for Warren G. Harding elementary, and while I grew up outside of da Region where the movie was set (before it became the armpit AND asshole of creation), I can still appreciate the story. Plus, I had a friend whose last name was Farkas when I was a kid. No lie.

So, there you have it, folks. My top five animated specials and holiday movies. Feel free to dissect and discuss all you want.

I would be remiss if I didn't add this little bit for your viewing pleasure, however. Given the year we just went through, I think this is a touching tribute to a fallen star. Plus, it mixes movies and puppetry, so it's kind of like this post.

And, if I don't see you before Friday, Merry Christmas.

You Got Three Years, Bub

December 22, 2009

Do you know what today is? It's the twentieth anniversary of the day Communism fell in Romania. One of my good friends from high school, who is now a professor at Princeton, was in Bucharest when all the proverbial shit hit the fan.

You know what else today is? It's the three year pre-anniversary of the day the Aztecs say the world, she goes kaput. That's their official term for it.

I wouldn't normally mention either one of these grand and monumental events, except that they have something in common. Er, well, aside from one being the end of Nicolae Ceausescu's world and the other being the end of, well, all of our world. Worlds? Whatever.

Oh, and today is Scope's birthday. Which also means that it's my birthday, too. (And Chrissy Moran's. If you don't know who she is, don't look her up while you're at work, otherwise you might offend someone with her "body of work").

More importantly, you've got thirty-six months to get done pretty much everything you've ever wanted to get done.

The first I heard about the great cataclysmic end of all existence was in college while I was taking one of those cultural sensitivity courses foreign culture classes required to graduate. I opted for the Latin American course over the African course because I thought, given the ever-increasing Hispanic population in these United States, it would behoove me to learn a little something about their culture and lifestyle. Granted, now, given my line of work, maybe the African classes would have been better, but hindsight is 20/20, they say.

Plus, I wouldn't have gotten to read 100 Years of Solitude had I taken the African class. Jose Arcadio Buendia was well-equipped for life.

Anyway, I naturally perked up when I heard the date of December 22, 2012 being thrown around for the end of the world because I thought, "Hey, no better way to celebrate my 37th birthday than by burning this joint to the ground..." Naturally, someone looked at the date and thought that it was messy, so it has mysteriously morphed into December 21st, 2012 in the past 12 years or so. In case you can't see it, here's the new numerology: 12-21-12. Neat, huh? And, in case you don't believe me as to how this is all hooey and hoaxy, the end of the world is supposed to arrive at 11:11 am GMT. Convenient, huh?

I mean, it does make perfect sense that the Aztecs would predict the end of the world to fall at a specific hour based on a timeline centered around London, England--a place they had no idea even existed. But, who am I to judge the countless hours charlatans and con artists have poured into this?

The whole idea about the end of the world coming on December 22 21, 2012 is because the Aztec calendar (or is the Mayan calendar...hmmm...wait, those are interchangeable, right?) runs out on that date. The Aztec calendar was based on the 260-day calendar which coincides with human gestation. They also employ a solar calendar, which is 360 days long, consisting of 18 twenty day months, and each year is called a "tun". If you take twenty tuns and you get another day older and deepr in debt. Er, um, you take twenty tuns and you get a katun. Take twenty of these katuns and you have what is called a Baktun, and 13 Baktuns equal a Great Cycle. A Great Cycle translates into 1,872,000 days, or roughly 5125 years.

So, what does all this mean? Well, aside from the fact that the Aztecs missed the actual length of a year by five days--which is pretty goddamned spectacular, since they had no computers, telescopes or the ability to measure the length of the year from multiple latitudes--it doesn't mean much. What it does mean is that, based on some guess work which puts the beginning of the current Great Cycle at August 11, 3114 BC, this particular cycle of the calendar runs out in 2012.

And...what? Well, it depends on whom you believe. The aforementioned charlatans and con artists would have you believe that, when the Aztec calendar runs out, so does time itself. If you ask the Aztecs, it means that on December 22nd or 23rd, the new cycle starts anew.

And what does that mean? Well, it means that in 7137 AD, we get to go through this whole pile of bullshit once more.'ve got three years, my friends. And then you can join me on my 37th birthday, and we can party like there's no tomorrow (heh) and we'll celebrate the turning of a new Great Cycle. Hey, I'll drink to that!

It's a Christmas Miracle

December 21, 2009

Friday afternoon could have been one of the happiest of my recent life, ranking right up there with my marriage to the Comely and Buxom Boudicca, the births of my children, and the firing of Bob Davie George O'Leary Tyrone Willingham Charlie Weis. You see, it snowed.

More importantly, I got the afternoon off. Working in the South is great!

More important than that was that my director took us out for lunch right before being let off early for work. And nothing goes with Christmas and the firing of a subpar football coaches snow like Cajun food. Yep, Cajun food, snow, and farts that make your asshole feel like it's on fire. One heaping helping of Christmas Spirit for me!

I got home Friday afternoon. By the time I got home, there was a whole zero inches of snow on the ground and there was no precipitation falling at all. Feeling guilty about getting out of work early, I decided to head out and mail off my packages for Christmas. Otherwise, my parents might not have their cheap bottles of wine books and my nieces would be missing out on their Bible Charades game. Talk about shattering Christmas dreams!

So, I braved the Winter Storm that Wasn't with packages to mail, visions of snow bunnies and stranded traveling college coeds dancing in my head. I also had to get a few last second items for my kids and some Coke Zero for my wife, lest she drink all of my drinks and then we'd be fist fighting...again...and that's just not good for the Holiday Spirit. Plus, it wouldn't be a fair fight at all, what with me wielding that chemical warfare out of my rectum and whatnot.

As I was wrapping up my holiday shopping and package shipping and picking up dinner, the snow finally started coming down. I walked into Wendys to get some bacon-encrusted burgers for me and the fam healthy salads and the snow was coming down, the streets were wet but not slick, but the grassy areas were snowed over. I came out of Wendys a little bit later and the parking lot and my car were both covered in snow. Awesome.

I realize that my measly one inch of snow doesn't stack up with what a lot of you got this past weekend. So, spare me your sob stories of how you got a foot of snow. I thought everyone wanted 12 inches +. I had enough snow on the ground to be able to take my kids outside and play in it Saturday morning. My daughter was even able to make a couple of snow men Lilliputians. The snow wasn't exactly the best for packing (what with that layer of ice over the top of it), but it was good enough for making snow men Lilliputians. And my daughter took the lid off one of the bins that holds their outside toys and used it as a snowboard...more or less.

But, perhaps the greatest Christmas Miracle of all? My children set aside their petty squabbles and their sibling rivalry in a way that can on be described as "heartwarming". And that would be your hearts, because mine was filled with bitterness and anger (and Cajun spices). You see, they set aside their sibling rivalry so that they could work together to pummel me with snowballs. They even found a way to work in a nutshot or two. Nothing says Christmas like writhing around in the snow with a pulsing, throbbing pain in your groin. Am I right, folks?

And I should have seen it coming, too. My son actually wrote out a list of things to do in the snow. It was as follows:

  1. Build igloos
  2. Make snow angels
  3. Build snowmen
  4. Throw snowballs at my dad
  5. Sterilize daddy by smacking him in the Balzac with compacted spheres of ice and crushing his gonads to kibble. Finish the job with a fist if necessary.

I may have made that last one up. It didn't slow him or his sister down from accomplishing number 5, however.

In order to make my pain better, apparently, he brought me $0.47 in various coins Saturday evening while I was sitting on the couch rethinking the decision to have children enjoying a holiday special. "What's this for?" I asked him. "That's for taking me outside to play today. You earned it," he responded.

For some reason, I have a bad feeling about how his dating life...

Alas, the snow has melted away. Such is the ephemeral nature of a Southern Snowstorm. My children's hearts are broken, I'm sure. But my nutsack can rest assured that, for one more day at least, it is protected and safe from ice balls being hurled at it, thus sending my testicles flying apart only to smack together and jangle about like a pair of castanets. Arriba!

Despite all this, the snow has finally--finally--locked me into the Holiday Spirit. Mistletoe and ho ho ho and pretty girls wearing only bows and whatever the hell else Lucy says to Schroeder. And brandy-infused eggnog. Can't forget the essentials.

Still, all I want for Christmas is for the swelling to go down.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol LIII

December 17, 2009

Io, Saturnalia! That translates roughly into "Yo! Saturnalia!" I've mentioned before how the Romans loved interjections, and io is one of them, and it really does mean "yo", or "ho", but not the nappy-headed type. It's also pronounced "yo". And Roman children often got io-ios for Saturnalia. Ha! I made a joke. I had to tell you because it was so bad.

Anyway, Saturnalia kicked off yesterday. "And what", you are certainly asking yourself or uttering at the screen, "is Saturnalia?" Stop reading that Wiki entry and finish this blog post, because I'm about to tell you.

Saturnalia was perhaps the most popular of all the dies festi and had been celebrated since before Caesar crumbled the Republic. It originally started out as a way of celebrating the dedication of the Temple of Saturn, who was the major harvest god in Rome. Usually, he was depicted as carrying a sheaf of wheat in one hand and a sickle in the other, representing that he was all about the planting and harvesting of crops. It just so happened that, in 217 BC, the Roman armies got their asses kicked suffered a major loss at Lake Trasimenus at the hands of Chief Roman Enemy and User of Elephants, Hannibal. The promotion of Saturnalia was a way of improving public morale, because at this point, things weren't looking too good for the Roman armies. And when it comes to raising morale, Saturnalia was just what the doctor ordered.

It started out as a single day worth of celebration, on December 17th. However, it quickly became a week-long celebration, stretching from December 17th through December 23rd. As Rome recovered from the ass-kickings handed to it by the Carthaginians and subsequently began winning the Punic Wars, some thought that it was unnecessary to celebrate Saturnalia for a whole week.

But the Roman citizens would have none of that horseshit. The Romans loved their holidays and celebrations, even more than they loved their interjections. Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, tried to limit the party to three days (unsuccessfully), and Caligula (whose name means "little boot") tried to limit the celebration to five.

Fun fact about Caligula: when he wasn't fucking other men's wives or banging his sisters or erecting statues of himself in various temples or killing for the sheer pleasure of it, he tried to install his horse, Incitatus, as a senator. When that failed, he tried to make the horse a priest. And you thought Gandalf and Shadowfax had a strange relationship.

Anyway, eventually the authorities stopped trying to harsh everyone's mellow in the Roman empire and just let them enjoy their Saturnalias. So, how did they celebrate Saturnalia? Well, first you get a couch, set it up in front of the temple of Saturn, and then elect some guy to cut the ropes that covered the statue through most of the year. Everyone rejoices. And now, with Saturn unleashed, we begin the "tomfoolery".

The tomfoolery in question was the "reversal of roles" in society. Slaves were allowed to sit and eat with the families they served (although they still made the meals) and the slaves were allowed to treat their owners/masters with disrespect. And there was much eating, as there were several feasts held during Saturnalia. And with feasting came drinking. Also, you didn't wear a toga during Saturnalia, but instead you wore more colorful and somewhat more formal clothing, your Sunday best, as it were. People played games and sang songs and danced. Trees were decorated with stars and moons and suns. It was a time for visiting friends and family. Often, you gave gifts during Saturnalia, such as candles or small, earthenware figurines called sigillaria. Also, people--especially the slaves who were "elevated to master" wore a jaunty little red cap called a pileus.

Wait a minute...this all sounds remotely similar...

But that's for next week's Latin lesson.

So, this weekend, while you're out finishing up shopping for your sigillaria, think about all the fun you could be having, at least after you've finished up with your holiday duties. Keep saying this over and again whenever the crowds are keeping you down and the fugly holiday sweater you wanted to buy someone isn't in the right size:

Initium ad bibendum non possum expectare...

Pronounced: "in-eet-ee-oom ad bee-bain-doom noan poe-soom ex-pect-are-aye..."

Translation in the hovertext

If you're going to allow the true spirit of the holiday to wash over you this weekend, try this one on for size:

Similibus fossores bibamus et ballemus!

Pronounced: "Seem-ee-lee-boose foh-soar-ace bee-bah-moose et bah-lay-moose!"

I stole this picture from Gwen. Oh, and hovertext translation, as if it matters now.

Since it's Saturnalia, you should go home, lay on the couch, put on a silly little hat, get a drink, and lounge about waiting for all those candles, balls, lanterns and io-ios to come your way. I mean, it's Saturnalia! It's time to party like it's 19 or, 99. Io, Saturnalia!!!

[Note] I changed the second phrase to help reflect Gwen's weekend, since I swiped the dancing elf from her. It's now drink and dance. Io, Saturnalia!

TMI Thursday: The Shaking of the Bed

If this does not sate your thirst for awesome TMI stories, then check out all the other glorious tales of things we probably shouldn't tell at LiLu's home for the staunchy raunchy, TMI Thursdays!

Today is a friend of mine's birthday. Therefore, I shall tell you the most inappropriate story I think I can get away with. You see, when I was a sophomore in college, I roomed with said individual for a semester. We got along fairly well. We were friends, we kept to ourselves, we didn't annoy one another, and we had vastly different schedules.

Now, I'll preface this by telling reminding you, I jerked off a lot before I landed that sweet piece of redheaded Notre Dame undergraduate ass that I now call a wife. So, it's not like I'm casting the first stone here. I just jerked off when my room mates weren't in the room with me.

Anyway, in the room I shared with my friend, I had the bottom bunk, mostly because I had the room first and I'm somewhere around six four. With size fourteen shoes.

*ahem* Ladies. *tips cap*

Not to get off on too long and girthy of a tangent, I woke up one morning and something didn't seem right. Mostly because it seemed like the world was trembling. Not living in a fault zone, I wondered just what the fuck was happening when suddenly I realized that only the bed was shaking, and not the entire world.

And the mattress above me was the source of the shake.

My eyes grew wide as realization set in as to what was going on above me. I closed my eyes and willed myself to fall back asleep. However, try as I might, there was no return to dreamy happy land in the cards for me. So, I lay there during the entire event. At one point, someone next door opened a door, and my friend sat bolt upright in bed, because it sounded as if someone had opened our door. It was at that point that it was confirmed in my mind as to what was happening in the bed above.

Finally, he finished up, and only then did my mind allow me to fall back asleep. So, I slept fretfully for another hour until my alarm went off and away I went on my morning routine. My room mate was still in bed, now asleep.

The day passes and finally, it's the evening. I decide that I cannot keep this secret to myself anymore, so I head over to Scooter's room, where he and Young Bob are watching a movie.

"Guess what happened in my room this morning?" I said, only after hastily shutting the door behind me.

"What?" they both asked.

"I woke up, and the bed was shaking." I put a meaningful look into the last word. For a second, comprehension was lost on both of them. It was kind of cool because I could almost see the lightbulb turn on above their heads at the same time.

"Ooooooooooooooohhhhh!" they said in unison.

"Are you going to call him on it?" Young Bob asked me.

I shook my head. "I jerk off plenty. Just usually when he's not there."

Scooter thought that this was the mature thing to do. So, I dropped it, kind of put it out of my mind.

That is, until the next morning. And the morning after that. And the morning after that.

For a solid week, I woke up earlier than normal only to find the bed shaking. Toward the end of the week, it just became amusing. I tried not to giggle. I did think about kicking the mattress once and yelling out "hurry it up". I didn't, though. I'm classy like that.

And then, I never woke up to that again. It was all very odd.

Fast forward about a year. Young Bob is hanging out in Scooter's room again (it was a common place to convene in the evenings) and my friend slips into the room. And, for some reason, he's in full-on confession mode. So, he starts telling them about all of his masturbatory habits. How often, whom he thinks about, which hand he uses...pretty much everything. But then, here's the clincher: my friend then tells Young Bob and Scooter about how he's amazed that he's never been caught.

Young Bob and Scooter lose it. They just start laughing right there. I think they covered it by telling him "Good job, good job. That's a lot of work to not get caught."

But they knew. And, as soon as I came by after working in the computer labs, they needed to divulge this little tidbit of information to me, as well. We all had a hearty laugh over that. None of us admitted to my friend, however, that I woke up several mornings with the bed shaking and just never said anything to him.

The one thing that we still wonder about, though: where did he keep it after he was done and presumably messy?

Twinkle, Twinkle

December 16, 2009

I love Christmas lights. It's one of my favorite traditions of the holidays. Honestly, I would keep my Christmas lights up all year if it wasn't, you know, tacky to do so. I figure the deck that is basically falling off the side of the house is about the level of tack that I'd like to reach, so down come the Christmas lights the weekend after Christmas.

Now, people have been dragging lights into their houses during the middle of the winter months as a way of "celebrating" the darkness of winter pretty much ever since the house was invented--this custom has been seen especially in the northern hemisphere for millenia. These lights started out as candles and little lanterns and lightning bugs strung out on crack, so it makes sense that some people would prefer the all-white miniature lights that are very common today. My wife is one of these miniature-light elitists people. Over the course of the nine years of wedded bliss, I've been conditioned to like the happy little white lights as well.

Deep down inside, however, I love the multi-colored lights. She has relented in her "no colored lights" stance and has allowed me to string some red and green lights in the front bushes. It's all very pretty...but in an Italian flag sort of way.

As much as I love Christmas lights, and as much as I love multi-colored lights, I have an issue with the LED lights that are beginning to become more popular.

I realize the appeal of the LED lights in that they last longer, use less energy, and don't have that whole one-light-burns-out-and-the-whole-string-is-fucking-useless-now-where-is-that-fucking-useless-fucking-bulb-I'm-going-to-throw-the-whole-fucking-string-away-oh-here-it-is-and-it's-been-broken-and-holy-fuck-I-just-gashed-open-my-fucking-finger-on-the-fucking-broken-glass-season-of-peace-and-joy-my-ass thing. I think all of these things are great, plus it gives electrical engineers something to do during the summer months. Not to mention, they're a fantastically practical use of all that gallium and indium we have just lying around, taking up space.

But, there's just something...odd...about a display made up of all these LED lights. It's like the blues are too blue. They burn my eyes with their blueness. I look at them while I'm driving by on my way home, and my eyes sort of lose focus and drool starts to run down my chin a little bit. I begin to hear voices and angels trumpeting the glory of God in the highest. It's all a little disconcerting. Not to mention, it's slightly dangerous to be driving down the roads like that.

It's like it's not even blue anymore, but instead it's some sort of portal into an alternative universe where up is down, left is right, cats love dogs, and Tiger Woods only plays 72 holes in a weekend. *shudder* I don't want to go to that universe.

The rest of the LEDs? They've fine. They're great. I love them. I applaud them. *slow clap* But, the blues? No thank you. They're just so wrong in their intensity. Plus, that whole portal to another, more terrible dimension just isn't my cup of tea. I prefer my portals to hell to be more of the coven of thirteen witches variety. Wait, I'm sorry. Let me rephrase. A coven of thirteen sexy witches variety.

Besides, we all know Muddy Waters made the best blues around.

It's a Literary Device, Kids

December 15, 2009

Do you know what you get when you put two piers beside one another? Paradox.

I realize the votes are still being counted, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that, in a landslide victory with an impressive 81%, I was able to win the coveted Drysdale Award for the longest posts on a blog.

I just want to say thanks.

A New Take on an Old Classic

December 14, 2009

Snow is gently falling on the the town. Charlie Brown leaves his house, hopeful that today is the day that he'll finally get a Christmas card. As he checks his mailbox he finds, yet again, no one wants to spread holiday cheer to this barber's child. Depressed, he starts to walk, hoping the gently falling snow will lift his spirits.

He goes to his favorite spot: a low wall in the middle of the least-used park in the world. There, his friend Linus is waiting, still clinging co-dependently to his blue blanket. You'd think that kid would wash it from time to time. It's got to stink.

"I don't know what it is about this time of year, Linus," Charlie Brown says, leaning on the wall and staring blankly off into the distance. "I always get so depressed. Maybe it's because no one sends me a Christmas card. Maybe it's because my team never wins a baseball game. Maybe it's because my dog is more popular than I am." He sighs.

"Maybe it's the overcommercialization of Christmas, Charlie Brown," Linus offers.

"You might be onto something here," Charlie says, standing up more straight. "I do get a little discouraged by the gaudy window displays, the long lines at retailers, and the replaying of the same tired old songs on the radio and at every store. Did you know that the other day, I was at the Starbucks in Barnes & Noble, trying to get a peppermint latte, and I had to stand in line for twenty minutes in order to get it. I heard 'Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer' three times, and 'Rocking Around the Christmas Tree' four times and that damned Dan Fogelberg song that's just about getting blue balls and has nothing to do with Christmas twice! What the hell ever happened to 'It Came Upon a Midnight Clear' or 'Little Drummer Boy' or 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'? Have we just completely forgotten our Christmas roots?"

"Oh, Charlie Brown," Linus offered, "You're a Traditionalist. You like the way things used to be. I'll bet if you rooted for Notre Dame, you'd want them to hire Ara Parseghian every time they do a coaching search, with Lou Holtz as the Offensive Coordinator. There's nothing wrong with it, Charlie Brown, but you need to realize that there's a little more to life than just memories. You should try living in the now."

"You might be onto something, but don't you long for the olden days? Back when Christmas meant something and wasn't just a way to balance out the ledgers for the year for all the retailers?" Charlie asked.

"Hell no," said Linus, "I'm a Capitalist. A little bit of greed and competition is a good thing, as it helps to drive down prices, looks to promote efficiency, and spawns innovation."

"Good grief," Charlie said, "I need to go see my psychiatrist."

Charlie walks away from Linus, who remains on the bridge. Linus looks after his friend. "I know someone who is getting Sarah Palin's book for Christmas..."

Charlie wanders down by the pond and watches as everyone skates. He pauses for a moment, wondering who still has ice skates, but realizes he needs psychiatric help more than he needs to wonder about pastimes of days gone by. He moseys on over to Lucy's "office" where he sits down and quietly waits.

After ten minutes, she finally shows up, brushes the snow off her desk. Instead of saying "Good morning" or "How are you?" or "What can I do you for, Chief?", she waves her canister in Charlie Brown's face.

"So much for pro bono work," Charlie says as he drops in a nickel. Lucy rattles it around in the canister some.

"Mmm..." she says, "the smell of sweet wampum. What's on your mind, Charlie Brown?"

"Well, it's the holiday. Every year when the holidays roll around, I get depressed. I love the lights, I love the good feelings, but every year, I find it a little harder to get in the Christmas spirit," Charlie admits. "I just don't understand it."

"Maybe you have Santaphobia, Charlie Brown," Lucy offers. "It's the fear of Santa Claus."

"Well, I--"

"Or maybe you're afraid of all sacred icons. That would mean you have Hagiophobia."


"Or maybe you have ailurophobia--that's the fear of cats. Or perhaps you have triskaidekaphobia--that's the fear of the number thirteen. What about chionophobia? That's the fear of snow. Or maybe, just maybe, you've got pantophobia--the fear of everything."

"That's it!" Charlie screams. "What the hell does any of these phobias have to do with my depressed mood at the holidays? Are you just trying to show off that you know some big words? Maybe I have hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia. Ever hear of that one? Christ, you're like that asshole on the internet who writes a Latin lesson on Fridays and thinks that people give a damn about it. I came here for advice, and you're throwing around Greek terms like someone actually gives a damn!"

"Relax, Charlie Brown," Lucy said, "I was just trying to help. Maybe what you need is to lump some more stress onto the holidays. How about you be the director of our community Christmas pageant. You're so good at doing everything else in life, there's no way you could screw up our pageant."

"You know what, that's a good idea," Charlie says. "I can feel fulfilled by giving directions to everyone else. I'll do it. Thanks, Doctor. Oh, and, sorry about blowing up at you."

"No problem, Charlie Brown. On your way to the theatre, why don't you pick up a Christmas tree for the production? Nothing too big and fancy. Maybe one of those big pink aluminum ones that were a fad during the 60s or something."

"Thanks again, Lucy. And, yes, I think I will pick up a tree. See you at the theatre."

Charlie Brown gets up and walks away from Lucy's office. Lucy, still sitting at her desk, watches him go. "Damn," she says, "there goes debilitating dependency on alcohol and anti-depressives waiting to happen. Oh well, as long as he keeps paying me for psychiatric advice."

Charlie walks back to his house where he finds his dog, Snoopy, decorating his dog house for Christmas. He has strung lights and balls and tinsel all around the house, topping it with a curious miniature windmill that blinks on and off.

"What's this?" Charlie asks. Snoopy hands him a sheet of paper.

"A holiday decorating contest? With a cash prize of $500 for first place?" Charlie sighs. "Good grief, even my dog has gone commercial."

Snoopy pauses for a second and levels a piercing, virulent stare at Charlie Brown. "Look, asshole, half of that money I'm donating to the local no-kill shelter. Then I'm going to buy Woodstock some birdseed and a little something for Sally. Hmmm...I should probably buy Linus something for all those times I try to steal his blanket from him. Maybe a blue Snuggie. Anyway, after getting Sally and Woodstock and Linus covered with the money that's left over after donating, I'm going to buy you that game system you asked your parents for, but they can't afford since your father is a fucking barber. This is the best I can do because I'm a dog Do you know how difficult it is for a dog to find a job? So, why don't you just run along into your nice warm house, and I'll content myself with decorating my unheated, cramped doghouse so that I can earn a little cash, you judgmental prick?" Of course, since Snoopy isn't that dog from Family Guy, he can't say these things to Charlie Brown. Instead, he thinks them, and eventually Charlie wanders off somewhere else and Snoopy can get back to decorating.

After getting some money from the house, Charlie swings by the low, brick wall where Linus and his nasty-ass blanket are still hanging out. "I'm going to get a Christmas tree for the community theatre's Christmas pageant. Want to come along?"

Linus agrees and they head down to the Christmas tree lot. He shops around for a bit, ignoring the big, gaudy, anachronistic aluminum trees that no one has seen in forty years and instead, opts for a live tree.

"Nine-tee dah-lahs!" the Christmas tree lot attendant barks in broken English.

"Wow, that's expensive," Charlie says. "We live in the middle of a pine forest, you know. Shouldn't these things be a little more affordable?"

"Nine-tee dah-lahs!" the Christmas tree lot attendant barks in broken English again. Charlie begins to think that this might be the only English the guy knows.

"Look, I have $25 that I saved from mowing the lawn over the summer. Would it help if I told you my mom was going to go see Jesus tonight, and she needed these shoes this tree, because apparently Jesus can turn water into wine but he sucks at making shoes growing fir trees?"

"Nine-tee dah-lahs!" the Christmas tree lot attendant barks in broken English once more.

Charlie waves the twenty-five dollars in the guy's face. He points them toward a pile of reject trees. They are all marked $25.

"I like this one," Charlie Brown says, picking up what is little more than a stick. Needles fall off it.

"This could get ugly, Charlie Brown. Why don't you just get a nice, big tree and file a work order with the theatre to repay you for the tree?" Linus offers.

"First of all, Linus, who is going to carry a big tree? Second, this is community theatre we're talking about. Twenty-five dollars is their yearly budget." He pays the attendant and walks off with his stick of a tree.

Finally, Charlie Brown heads down to the Community Theatre, in which a bunch of kids are goofing off on the stage. Charlie quiets them down and hands out the parts for the play, a recreation of the Nativity scene from the Book of Matthew. As he begins to call for action, everyone goes back to dancing in their really strange ways, as Schroeder bangs out some more seriously awesome free-form jazz piano rhythms. Finally, someone sees his pathetic tree, and they all begin to laugh.

"You call that a tree, you loser?" someone yells out. "I've seen fuller and greener toothpicks!"

Everyone laughs.

Charlie's finally had enough. "Well, Merry motherfucking Christmas! You know what, you bunch of assholes? I take your shit every day--every single fucking day. This is the best tree I could afford down at the over-priced Christmas tree lot. My dad's a fucking barber, for Christ's sake. It's not like we're swimming in money. Besides, Jesus wasn't born under a fucking Christmas tree! So, if you don't like the tree I picked out, you can shove it up your ass."

"A tree that small would have no trouble fitting!" someone shouted. More derisive laughter is showered down over Charlie Brown. Charlie rolls his eyes and goes to take off his jacket. Everyone returns to dancing.

"Alright, alright!" Charlie Brown yells. "Let's ignore the tree and get down to business. Doesn't anyone know that this is a Christmas play? And you're all dancing? And kicking up clouds of dust--no offense, Pigpen."

"My family can't afford a water heater," Pigpen says. "Piss off."

Everyone shouts at Charlie Brown and goes back to dancing and singing Jingle Bells.

"Argh! Doesn't anyone know the true meaning of Christmas around this joint?" Charlie screams in frustration.

"I do, Charlie Brown," Linus said. "I mean, of everyone here, don't you expect me to know this shit? I'm like that guy on the internet who writes a blog featuring a weekly Latin lesson. That guy's a genius. Like him, my mind is filled with useless information and I feel the need to thrust it upon you. I'm a bit pedantic."

Linus takes the stage and points to the light booth. A spotlight falls on him. he then recites a passage from Book of Luke, from the King James Version of the Bible:

"'And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

There's a long, heavy period of silence. Linus walks up to his best friend, still toting his blanket.

"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Feeling like a total douchebag, Charlie Brown lowers his head, grabs his tree, and leaves. Everyone, feeling a bit humbled and wondering if Charlie's going to go hang himself, follow at a respectful distance. Charlie heads off into the night, returning home. There he finds that Snoopy's decorations have won the contest, but the faithful beagle is nowhere to be found.

"Well, good for him, I guess," Charlie says, then takes a ball off Snoopy's house. "I won't let his commercialism ruin my holidays. Never again. I'll embrace my traditionalist views. And now, I'll decorate this pagan symbol of life that's been adopted for the Christian holiday with this ball I just stole from my dog."

He hangs the red ball on the tree, and the tree slumps over.

"I've killed it!" Charlie Brown says, running into the house and crying.

The people from the theatre stop and look at Charlie's sad little tree. "It's not so bad," Linus says, wrapping the base of the tree in his blanket. "I mean, Charlie Brown did spend his own, hard-earned money on the tree, and then everyone laughed at him."

"I guess we did act like dicks," Lucy said. "Let's decorate it and try to lift his spirits."

"Yeah, let's actually do something nice for him for once!" someone says.

They strip down Snoopy's award-winning house and decorate the tree. A Christmas miracle occurs, and the tree magically looks fuller and greener.

"Charlie Brown may be a shithead, but his heart is in the right place," Lucy says.

Schroeder then leads them all in an a capella hummed version of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing". Apparently, this rouses Charlie Brown from his deep depression, and he comes busting out of the house.

"What's going on out here?" he demands. He then looks at the tree, and then mysteriously jumps and sticks his butt out while doing a double take.

"Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!" everyone shouts. They then burst into a sung version of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing". As with all Christmas specials, it begins snowing, despite the fact that the sky was cloudless in the previous scene mere seconds ago.

Snoopy comes home after finishing up his Christmas shopping and sees that his decorations have been taken down. "What the hell? I worked hard on that, and you assholes come along and rip down my lights and decorations! Fuck each and every one of you with a baseball bat!" Of course, since Snoopy isn't the dog from Family Guy, he can't vocalize his frustration. So, instead, he begins growling and chasing all the kids out of the yard.

Merry Christmas, indeed.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. LII

December 10, 2009

We are hip-deep in the holiday season. For instance, tonight, at sundown, Hanukkah begins. My son is fascinated that one of his friends doesn't celebrate Christmas, but celebrates Hanukkah instead. It's his latest "thing". Tonight, he was telling us about the dreidil. He was also telling us about the symbol of Hanukkah, the manure-uh. And, yes, we did correct him on the pronunciation and only giggled a little.

We're also in the middle of the holiday special season. This means that we get one of two stories told over and over again. For one, some tragedy has occurred and now there's a chance Christmas won't happen at all (the Rudolph model). For the other, some cantankerous old asshole, hellbent on ruining everyone else's day, has a sudden change of heart because the spirit of the holiday is upon him (the Scrooge model). It's kind of like how every story is either a story about a war (the Iliad) or about coming home (the Odyssey), or some mixture of the two.

See what I did there? Yeah, I dragged this bitchfest right back to antiquity. Of course, the Iliad and the Odyssey were Greek, and not Roman. In case you were wondering (and I know that you weren't), the big Roman epic was the Aeneid.

I bring this all up because, well, we're in the Christmas season, and since the Romans didn't really celebrate Christmas, I had to do something to link the two. Well, maybe they did after Constantine had that whole "see the sign of Christ in the sun's rays" moment, but for more than a thousand years, I can guarantee there was no Christmas goose being carved up in Rome. So, essentially, I'm grasping at straws here in order to relate Christmas specials with our favorite dead language.

Despite this lack of Christmas celebrations, I'm here to tell you that the origins for both the Rudolph model and the Scrooge model of Christmas specials have Latin origins. It's true. Penned by the famed Roman poet, Doctore Seuss, everyone's favorite Christmas special actually has roots in Latin, and it is the perfect blend of both the tragic no Christmas model of holiday specials and the cantankerous old bastard's heart growing three times storyline:

Quomodo invidiosulus nomine Grinchus Christi natalem abrogaverit.

Pronounced: "Quo-moh-doh in-weed-ee-ose-you-loose noh-mee-nay Green-koose krist-ee nah-tah-lame ah-broh-gah-way-reet."

Nasty wasty translation in the hovertext.

Okay, so, maybe this wasn't written in ancient Rome. However, there is a book with that title, and it is full frontal awesome--which you should be able to tell just from the title alone. Don't believe me? Well, let's take a look, shall we:

Quomodo comes from combining quo and modo, meaning "in what way"
invidiosulus tags the diminutive ending -ulus, and translates as "the little envious one"
nomine you should know from church, but it comes from nomen "name" and is translated as "by name" (in church it's actually "in the name of"...those Romans with their interchangeable prepositions based on meaning...what a bunch of cards!)
Grinchus is the Latinized form of "Grinch"
Christi this is Latin for "of Christ", like how Corpus Christi means "body of Christ"
natalem means "birth"
abrogaverit is the subjunctive perfect tense of the verb abrogo (I abrogate or I annul or I recall or I deprive) and is translated as (for our purposes here) "may have taken away". (Indicative pluperfect might have been a better tense to use here, in case you're scoring along at home...which would have made it abrogaverat and would be translated as "had annulled or had abrogated").

Anyway, stringing all of that along, the literal translation is "In what fashion the little envious one, by name the Grinch, may have taken away the birth(day) of Christ". I don't know about you, but that (and a gallon of brandy-laced eggnog) sure puts me in the Christmas spirit!

TMI Thursday: In Which We Discover Why Shower Sex is Not an Option

If this does not sate your thirst for awesome TMI stories, then check out all the other glorious tales of things we probably shouldn't tell at LiLu's home for the staunchy raunchy, TMI Thursdays!

I'm a tall man. I'm about 6 foot 4, plus some change. Not quite six five, but more than six four. I also have size fourteen feet.

*ahem* Ladies. *tips cap*

Anyway, most women are not in the six four range. This makes that whole sex-while-standing thing kind of tough. Unless I want to cut a hole in her lower back and go to town, I'm going to have to resort to the horizontal mamba. And, really, I can safely say I have no sacroiliac-inspired fetishes.

Now, the Ex was a taller woman. She was just under 5 foot 8. She also had long legs. But, not necessarily long enough, but still, we were close.

One day, I was over at her house after another exciting shift at the bookstore. I went over to drink myself into yet another alcohol-infused state of denial that I had just wasted the previous four years getting that coveted bachelor's of science degree. Nothing says despair like working in a bookstore with a degree in chemistry after being turned down for five different jobs. *sigh*

As luck would have it, when I arrived she had just finished her daily running-five-miles-so-that-you-could-bounce-a-quarter-off-her-ass exercise routine. As she let me into the house, she told me to relax and get her a drink and we'd watch a movie and drink ourselves stupid...right after she got out of the shower.

So, she goes into her room and I hear the water running and I think "Hmmmm...I've never showered with someone before..." I pour the drinks, I get up, I go into the bedroom, and I strip down. I sneak into the bathroom where I pull the shower curtains back all Norman Bates style. Because nothing says "foreplay" like inspiring heart-stopping terror in the one you love.

Lucky for me (and her, I guess), she was in the middle of shaving her legs and her vagoo, BUT she was rinsing the blade when I did the Psycho trick, so there was no sudden jerking of the blade, no deep gashes in her flesh, no blood. That's a relief.

But, seeing her there, with her hair stacked up on top of her head, the water running down her body, glistening on her skin, her breasts full and shimmering, her long legs stretched did something to me. And that something was that it caused me to be rock hard. Instantly.

"Are you coming in?" she asked. I had been standing there for a minute, gawking at her, watching as she stood naked, the water from the shower head pouring down over her body.

"Oh, yeah," I said, snapping from my reverie. I slipped into the shower, and she turned around. The water was hitting me on the shoulders, running down over my body, and she had her back (and ass) turned toward me.

"Hey, this works a little better," she said, putting more soap on to shave herself. "You're like a meat shield. I can shave up a lot better. You should come over whenever I need to shave."

Watching her was hot. My blood slowly boiled as her ass was pressed back into me, her arms moving as she shaved herself. I decided that, hell, I was in the shower, and when in I started to soap myself up. I always forget just how damned nice a shower at the end of the day is, especially when you're trying to wash away the lingering scent of failure that pretty much permeated my existence back then.

I was pretty clean, and she was wrapping up shaving, so I decided to get a little sexy. I soaped my hands up and I reached around her, sliding my hands under her arms and up over her breasts. "Just trying to help you get clean," I offered, whispering in her ear. I worked my hands over her breasts, up under them, all around them. I felt her nipples get hard. She pushed back into me, so that I was nestled against her ass. When she moaned softly, I knew things had progressed nicely. She cocked her head to one side, I kissed her neck, nibbling down the smooth curve of her shoulder. I let one of my hands slide down her tummy until I got to her freshly shaved parts. She moaned louder as my fingers explored.

She pulled my hand away and bent over, taking me in her other hand and guiding me to her. There was a period of awkward adjustment where we tried to line our bodies up right, but it was tough, since I'm tall and she was almost tall enough, but not quite. I kept stabbing her in the ass, and she finally was like "You know, I really don't want to do that. But, I guess if we can't find another way."

Finally, though, after a few more minutes of adjustment, she had one foot up on the side of the tub and was up on the ball of her foot with the leg still on the floor of the shower. I bent my knees and finally, blissfully, I was able to slide into her. She was bent forward at a harsh, angle, too, bracing herself against the shower wall with a forearm so that she didn't smash her face into the tile. I had hold of her hips, one hand on each side of her round, wet ass, while I thrusted into her. Her other hand was massaging herself while I pounded away.

The sex, it was good.

That could have been the understatement of the decade right there.

The sex, it was incredible, see into the Creator's mind so that the design of all things is revealed, toe-curling, screaming like a Viking warrior good. The sex was sweetness on a platter with a side of stellar and a reduction made with awesome. The sex was like...okay, you get the point.

And it was getting hotter and heavier and louder. I'm grunting loud with with every thrust, she's begging for more, more, more, and I'm getting closer, closer, closer when I feel her clench around me and shudder and her breathing comes in a staccato burst of gasps and moans.

I've done it! I've taken her to the promised land! I am a Shower Sex God! This is how we will do things forever and ever again! I am Indefatigable MJenks, hear me roar.

And then her foot slipped.

And she crashed forward.

And her face smashed into the tiles.

And her nose started bleeding.


I mean, like, oh my God, I might need to call 911.

Of course, she had slipped off me, and my mind was torn between "rub this last little bit out" and "help her, you heartless cocksucker, she's bleeding to death".

I chose option number two. I actually picked her up, hero-style and set her down on the bathroom floor on the bathmats so she wouldn't get cold. I turn the shower off. She's bleeding profusely from the nose, and she's crying. And she's laughing.

And I run through the house, naked and wet, to the kitchen to get her some ice to put on her nose and to grab a phone and her bathrobe in case I need to call for help. I get back, and she's still bleeding, still crying, and still laughing. I get her a fresh washcloth for her nose, and then I make another washcloth and wrap the ice inside it to hold on her nose. Finally, after a few minutes and enough bloody towels and washclothes to make it look like a murder scene, the blood is stanched.

Pitifully, she looks up at me, dark circles around her beautiful green eyes. "Is it crooked?" she asked, taking the ice rag from her nose.

"No," I responded, "but it's pretty badly bruised."

There was a silence for a moment, and she looks back at me. "That was some good sex," she offered.

"It was," I agreed, trying not to think about how close I had been before tragedy struck and how I was still unfulfilled, yet flaccid.

"The ending? Not so fabulous," she said. Again, I concurred.

"I think we should strike shower sex from our repertoire," I said.

"Agreed," she said.

And that, my friends, is why I have stricken shower sex from the playbook.

You're a Dirty, Dirty Snowman

December 9, 2009

This could be one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time (a notable exemption for when I got naked this morning for my shower).

I'll admit it: tears came to my eyes when Frosty busts open the refrigerator car and yells "It's my porn collection!" Now that, my friends, is what's known as comedy. At least, that's how I see it.

But, since it's funny, there are some people who want--nay, need--to ruin it for everyone else. If you're one of those people, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that God didn't gift you with a sense of humor or decided to give you a little dick or a stinky snatch or whatever it is that has made you so cranky with life itself.

When dealing with an overblown moral outcry over something that is meant to be funny or humorous, it's always best to turn to the experts. Therefore, I thought I'd give you the FOXNews story. No, really, you should read it.

My favorite part of the story? When this Colleen Raezler person says, "It really drives home the idea that nothing is sacred anymore."

Sacred? Frosty? Oh, silly me. I thought that, at the first Christmas, there was Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, a manger, some donkeys, sheep, camels, a talking dog, a little boy tapping out a beat on his snare drum, some angels and shepherds. I must have somehow lost the Holy and Most Sacred Snowman figurine from the Nativity sets that I own.

I'll let you in on a little secret: Frosty the Snowman sucks. It is awful. Terrible. I would rather watch a hobo taking a shit into his own hat rather than watch Frosty the Snowman. I want to puke whenever I hear that fat fuck yell out "Happy Birthday!" whenever the hat gets placed upon his head. Someone fetch me a hairdryer.

It's sad when you can take a perfectly good song and ruin it with a Christmas special. Of course, Rankin-Bass did the same thing to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", so it's expected at this point, I believe. I mean, I know a little something about fucking hot redheads named Jessica, and it doesn't make you that fat and bearded overnight. You can trust me on that one.

Inevitably, whenever something like this happens, people will throw themselves in front of whatever media device is before them and bemoan the state of the children. Won't someone please think of the children? Well, here's the thing: the children in the video? All animated. They're not real. They're made up. Figments of someone's imagination (you know, kind of like the evilness of this video).

Real life children? This isn't marketed to them. It's a video for CBS' website. You have to actively seek it out in order for it to be viewed by children. Unlike, say, news on what Tiger Woods has stuck his dick in this time, which is everywhere. I mean, it's fucking ridiculous. I can't go anywhere without being smacked in the face with Tiger coverage or opinions on him or speculations about his future. I'm just waiting for this:

Tonight, on a very special episode of "Spongebob Squarepants": Bahahahahahahahahahaha! Patrick! Can you believe the shit Tiger's pulling? Yeah, Spongebob, did you see some of the pictures of those chicks he was banging? I sure did, Patrick. I think Steve Phillips must have been Tiger's wingman! Bahahahahahahahahaha!

So, anyway, Frosty is coming on Friday night (December 18), if you're interested. If not, I recommend the Phineas and Ferb special, which will, hopefully, make fun of how fucking lame Frosty the Snowman is.

Or maybe you can, you know, bust out your porn collection.