Monday, December 31, 2012

Cliff Diving Into 2013

Time to close the book on 2012 and to open a new one for 2013. (Some might call it "Cliff Diving into 2013"). Are you ready?

Well ... I for one ... am ready.

I looked at a number of sites for personal development and resolutions that will make me a better person. Here are the top five ....

1.Take a Trip Somewhere You Have Never Dreamed of Going. 

It's the year to surprise yourself and your family and plan a trip to a destination that you have never dreamed of before. Pull out a world globe and spin it  ... or put on a blindfold and point at a map. I already know where I'm going. I looked up the worst destinations ... I found a doozy.

The Mutter Museum of Medical History in Philadelphia. (listed as the top worst place in America to visit) 

Here's what I read:  Mutter Museum of Medical History is a museum of pathologies, ancient medical equipments and biological exhibits, situated in the oldest physicians popular training complex in North America. Most of all this museum is famous for its enormous collection of human skulls, collected here, and various unique exhibits, for example the corpse of a woman who turned into soap in the ground where she was buried. Here you can find Siamese twins with the combined liver, the skeleton-headed child and other gruesome exhibits with a freaky appearance. 

I guess that after a trip like that ... the rest of your travels will be so much better in 2013.

2. Make a phone call to someone different each week that you never talk to. 

You gotta be kidding me. I'm not sure what kind of conversation you're supposed to have but I think it's worth a shot. Start with people you can't stand. Disguise your voice and then tell them stuff like ... "Your parents should have tried birth control" ... One site I read advised folks to plan a day and time each week to call and talk. That must be to drive annoying people out of their minds.

Oh ... wait a minute ... this is supposed to be good conversation. Hah ... sure ... you mean people really still use phones to talk on?

3. Go to a concert you would have never gone to before.

Oh .... I gotta check if Barry Manilow is coming to town or Kevin Federline has released his second album ... maybe Don Johnson is making a comeback!

4. Learning to count to 5.

Did anyone other than my wife notice that these were my "top five"?

Make your list tonight! Have a HAPPY!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Pickle ... It's a Tradition

Christmas morning and all is right in the world. Presents under the tree, coffee brewing, kids are asleep, a pickle ornament hanging on one of the branches ...

Wait a minute ... a pickle ornament?

Yes ... you heard it right. A pickle ornament. I admit I had no idea that there was a tradition of pickle ornaments but Debbie straightened me out. Even though she was unsure of why the heck you put a pickle on a tree.

After looking it up ... I found out that everyone else was confused too.

Theory 1. One theory was that it came from Germany and was referred to as Weihnachtsgurke. Translation: Put your pickle on the tree for good luck. (Yeah? Put YOUR pickle up there and see what kind of luck you have). I don't think that one is correct since nobody ever heard of that in Germany.

Theory 2. It may have started at Woolworths in the 1890s to coincide with the importation of glass ornaments from Germany. Naaahhhh ... How can that be if Germany never heard of it?

Theory 3. During the Civil War a Bavarian born private named John Lower had enlisted in the Pennsylvania infantry. He was captured in 1864 and taken to a prison camp. On Christmas Eve he begged a guard for some food because he was starving. The guard gave him .... yes ... a pickle ... saving his life and when he got home, he began a tradition of hiding a pickle on the Christmas tree every year. Not making this up folks.

Theory 4. Two Spanish children were trapped by an innkeeper in a pickle barrel in Berrien Springs (wherever that is) and St. Nicholas saved them.

Whichever you believe, we have the pickle on our tree to prove it must be real. We also have ...

...  an entire mini Mexican village living on our bookshelf.

... a fish about to devour the baby Jesus.

... a few of the rejected cast members of Sister Act (my gift to Debbie).

... and my favorite Santa gorilla from Christmas past.

I hope we get to keep these decorations up for another month ... or two ... or who knows ... maybe all year round.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Do You Have This In Taupe?

Retail shopping is a genetic defect.

This is a disorder that primarily strikes women ... but also strikes men from time to time. You can tell the affected men by their understanding of the female conversation:

Guy (with retail shopping disorder): "Excuse me, is your purse a Louis?"

Girl: "Why yes ... it is."

Guy: "I love the style of that bag. Where did you get it?"

Well ... you get the picture. It goes downhill from here. I would give you more details if I could ... but I really don't know the language that well. I really should have Debbie fill in the rest.

Speaking of Debbie, we did a little shopping in Hyde Park yesterday. Hyde Park in South Tampa is an interesting place. A requirement to live or shop there is owning a Louis Vuitton bag. Not only did all the women have them ... they were all the same style.  Apparently, you also had to have blonde hair and 2.5 children.

When Debbie shops, it's a total out of body experience. When I shop, it's a total out of my mind experience. She loves it and I hate it. That's a strong word ... I really dislike it (a lot). On this particular day, we were only looking for only one gift. What I have come to realize is that whether you are shopping for one gift or one hundred gifts, there is a minimum time requirement.

Silly me ... if I know what I want, I just go in and pick it out and leave.

That apparently negates the shopping "experience". That experience includes:

1. Sweeping the store. Not the broom kind ... the reconnoissance kind.

2. Inspecting the merchandise. This would be looking carefully at the targeted item for purchase once you find exactly what you want.

3. Continued shopping. NEVER pick the first thing you find even though it's what you want. There might be something else that is better.

4, Ask the salesperson for alternatives in the stockroom.

5. Once the other five items are brought to you from the stockroom … Inspect them carefully and compare it to your first choice.

6. Decide on the first thing you saw.

7. Check your watch to assure that there has been at least 2 hours spent on this purchase before they ring you up.  

8. Pick up your husband who has been wandering aimlessly outside of the store.

Merry Christmas, shoppers.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Love Christmas

I have really been into Christmas this year.

I find myself listening to Christmas songs on the radio, Sirius, iTunes ... everywhere ... day and night. And Christmas movies. I can't get enough of them. I average one or two a night when I get home from work.

I've studied Christmas movies and they seem to fall into a few categories:

1. There are the Scrooge meets Groundhog Day films. You know the story ... the main character (usually a real jerk) is visited by angels who take him back and forth through his pitiful life until he changes OR he wakes up every morning before Christmas to relive a pathetic day that either hurt his family (always a brother who has unconditional love and is shunned) and his employees (who work Christmas day). In either scenario ... he wakes up on Christmas and is so happy to be alive and buys everybody a turkey.

2. The Christmas "Disaster" films.  Everything goes wrong ... the extended family invades the house and totally disrupts Christmas ... or ... the neighbors invade the family and totally disrupt Christmas ... or ... the child is left behind and becomes the sole savior of the house against burglars who totally disrupt Christmas.

There's also the Bad Santa who totally disrupts Christmas for just about everybody. And there's a film of a fight between a mailman and the ex governor of California for a ... doll.

And of course ... the film that is full of hilarious disasters including a kid who gets his tongue stuck on a frozen pole, a dad who gets a lamp fashioned out of a woman's leg and a BB gun to "shoot your eye out."
3. How about "Do you believe in Santa" films? Can't get enough of these ... Miracles ... Elf ... Santa Clause ... all have the same theme. If you believe, you'll get presents. If you don't , Christmas is ruined for the entire world.

Yes Virginia ... there better be a Santa Claus.

Children everywhere cry themselves to sleep every night after they watch these classics.

I did.

Okay ... time for the Jews. You may have seen this video from Saturday Night Live ... if not ... here it is. Classic sketches including .... Christmas time for the Jews! :

Happy holidays!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

And the EMMY goes to ...

Got a text Saturday night December 1st ... from my buddy and fellow song writer Mike: "We just won da EMMY!"

We did? We really did? I couldn't believe it .... so I looked it up. Sure enough under category 14: Children/Youth, we tied with Floxy and Julio Episode 1 from Puerto Rico (an obvious winner in San Juan, I imagine).

Okay, it was the Suncoast Emmys, the regional show, not the national show (although I had my Sally Field speech ready to go ... wait ... that was the Oscars ... oh well I wasn't there anyway.)

Our nomination was "Chicken Named Mac" with Michael Sexton, me and Kevin Riley. Mike really wrote this song. It is such a great tune and is filled with super lyrics. It's all about nutrition and stars a fat chicken who "eats all the garbage that they throw at him" until he learns to "exercise and eats right ... SWEET".

Kevin is the animator (and one of the most talented guys you ever want to meet).  Oh ... I can't forget the AMAZING engineer: our friend George Harris (Because he wont let me forget. He saw his name was missing). The four of us produced three of these interstitials ... you can find the other two at or just click below:

"Chicken Named Mac" was shown on the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Telethon for All Children's Hospital and was nominated this summer. All have a messages for kids and are a little reminiscent of School House Rock (okay ... we stole their schtick).

Take a listen. Pretend you are about 6 and they sound even better! 

Ballad of the Big Prostate

Here’s a little country tune I wrote just yesterday to commemorate a dark day in my history. I don’t have a tune but realized you can use an...