Christmas Crunch 2011

I've never been into hunting, although I've been around it all my life. Growing up, my neighbors were avid hunters with their camo gear and their bird dogs. A guy I work with today is about as obsessed with hunting as anyone I've known considering he films all of his hunts and eats deer in some form every day for lunch. I may not be a hunter in the traditional sense of the word, but I think I understand the hunting state of mind.

Today is the day before Thanksgiving and a day off of work. While most rational and sane individuals would be more than happy to have the opportunity to sleep in and charge their batteries for the upcoming holiday, I was on a mission this morning. You see, Christmas (Cap'n) Crunch has been on the shelves for a few weeks now and I have yet to find a box.

I hit the shower at 4:30am and was out the door by 5:00. I had two hours before my kids would be awake -- two hours to find my box of Christmas Crunch. With Willie and the Wheel as my co-pilot, I was off. There are roughly 12-15 different grocery stores in the twin-city area and I would stop at every one if I had to. Coming home empty-handed was not an option.

Store #1. Nothing.

Store #2. Nothing.

Store #3. Nothing.

Store #4. Not open yet. Considering this place sells donuts and places that sell donuts are typically open at the crack of dawn each day, the fact that I was there before they opened made me consider for a second that I might be crazy. It was 5:45 in the morning and I was on my fourth stop looking for a box of cereal on a day that I should be sleeping in. Awesome. I L-ed OL and headed to my next stop.

Store #5. Jackpot.

I may not have been dressed in camo sitting in a tree stand all morning, but I think I understand why some people might enjoy that. They're happy when they get their deer. I'm happy when I get my cereal.

I win again, Horatio.

Sveum's 'stache.

Sticking with the topic of the Cubs' new manager, the recent hiring of Dale Sveum has inspired me to dig through my baseball card collection to find some of his old cards.

Sweet mustache.

Mike D, Ad Rock, and Dale Sveum

Seriously, fellow Cubs fans. Am I the only one who sees this?

I know the papers are saying that Dale Sveum was hired as the new manager, but I think we've just hired Beastie Boy Adam Yauch.

Death of the Journalist

There's a bit of irony in posting this on a blog, but considering the light-hearted content of this site, I feel no guilt in doing so.

So much truth here.

So. Much. Truth.

People used to burn pages, show their in and outrages
These days the gage is who gets flamed on comment pages
No claim is too outrageous for these constant news updaters
Lines refined to save time, less complicators to sedate us

We ingest five lines or less stories through our sub-consciousness
As times go by the Internet will kill the printed press
Where's the scroll bar on these ink drenched pages? I ain't turning this
Don't belive the hype machine, death of the Journalist

Don't believe the hype machine, death of the Journalist

Good Friday, April 18th, 1930
BBC radio news showed rare maturity
The news reporter said something that these days they wouldn't say
"Good evening. There is no news today."

They didn't feel the need to fill with leads on non-news stories
All picked apart and ripped painting fake failures or glories
Making mole hills into mountains being exaggeratory
Financial backers in their ears feeding different allegories

So let's beguile this sickly horse whispered media
Less reliable sources than Wikipedia
Journalism is in pieces of trivia
The blogger is king, the gossip column is leading ya

As the blogger becomes the journalist the art form dies
They don't have sources anymore they just have Google finds
Referencing other websites as if they're well sourced scriptures
Focused on getting their hits up not winning Pulitzers

Their journalism is lazy in the need to be first
I do more research than some of them when penning a verse
And you know how we are, we just believe it's the truth
We just accept it as news instead of asking for proof
But in a way the Internet makes journalism redundant
Freedom of information despite the attempts of some governments
Man tweets while WikiLeaks, spilling the truths of the troublesome
But truths become perspectives as soon as man discovers 'em

Don't believe the hype machine, death of the Journalist

And it ain't just the news reporters it's the muso's too
If you got a music blog, then son, I'm probably talking to you
Don't skim intros, listen to each track through
And maybe run a spell check before you post a review

They drop a million band names to get the Google hits
Remember, "You heard it here first" and it was in bold italics
Throw enough shit at the wall and some of it will stick
But make no mistake, your wall's still covered in shit

There's obtrustive new remits on the promotion slog
We need exclusive new remixes to service the blogs
And half these online networks are flattery operated
Hand feed them but let them think it was internally propagated

Your lines are recycled, you have no identity
Your words ain't gifted when they're lifted from my fucking press release
Your opinions next to nothing and that's all you'll amount to
You're so vain you probably DON'T know this song is about you

The problem here is I have a new album to sell
And I've probably burnt some bridges in the web wide world
Can I rebuild them; it's too far a distance to tell
And I ain't Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Don't believe the hype machine, death of the Journalist
Well done, Pip.

Ralphie stuff.

November 1st is a big day in our house -- at least for me it is. Every year, November 1st is the day that the Halloween and fall decorations come down and my wife humors me enough to let me to put up my collection stuff from A Christmas Story. She thinks Christmas decorations any earlier than November are simply unacceptable and I can't say I completely disagree.

A few years back, Dept 56 started marketing these small Christmas village pieces through Sears and the collection has been growing ever since. While a person could easily go overboard by purchasing every last piece available, I have decided (for the sake of my bank account and my marriage) to limit myself to the pieces directly relating to the actual movie. For example, Ralphie and his classmates pull a fast one on Miss Shields by greeting her with mouths full of wax teeth -- but a joke shop (where I assume these teeth would have been acquired) does not actually appear in the movie; therefore, the joke shop made by Dept 56 does not appear in my house.

So here you have it. My almost-four-year-old daughter calls it "Ralphie stuff." My almost-two-year-old daughter just calls it "lights." I call it awesome. There's Ralphie in just about every well-known scene from the movie.

This year's additions include a pj'ed Raphie in the backyard just after shooting his eye out as well as a Raphie who's been pushed too far by his nemesis, Skut Farkus.

Back in 2007, my wife and I stopped off in Cleveland on our way to a wedding in New York. The sole purpose of our stop was to visit the house at 3159 W 11th Street -- the home A Christmas Story's Parker family.

Talk about a surreal experience! I walked the sidewalk where Raphie, Flick, and Schwartz wandered their ways to school. I snuck around the backyard shed where Black Bart and his gang attempted to get the best of Raphie.

Of course, most popular with the tourists, I found myself under the (wrong side of the) kitchen sink where Randy hid fearing his brother's demise.

Here are some other shots from our visit that you may find familiar...

For more on A Christmas Story and Jean Shephard's other works and fascinating career, take some time to sift through the links below.