Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gift Wrapping Passion

I think we can all agree that wrapping presents is as manly of a skill as chopping wood, fixing cars, and bench pressing chainsaws. And I assume you are like me, Pat, in that you do all the gift wrapping in your household since - again I’m assuming - that you wear the pants in your family.

But while I still take pride in a well wrapped gift resulting in only a minimal amount of fire damage to my immediate surroundings, I find myself growing tired of it. More and more I look to just stuff the well chosen gift item into a gift bag and call it good as opposed to the painstaking process of cutting, folding, and taping shiny-fancy paper all over it.


Am I losing the Christmas spirit? I’m still just as manly as I have always been. Maybe even too manly. So I don’t know what’s going on. How do you feel about gift wrapping Pat?

Pat: Oh, I definitely prefer thoughtful gift-wrapping over nameless, faceless gift bagging. But you know me, man...I like to keep it pretty simple:

Christian: But how do you keep your gift wrapping fire and passion still burning after all these years?

Pat: Don’t you think that’s a little personal, buddy? My fiery passion is gift wrapped just fine, thank you very much. Do you call yours a fiery passion too?

Christian: I call mine sherbert.

Wait, we’re talking about ice cream flavors right? Yeah, either sherbert or stiff banana cream with sensual nuts.

But the question I was asking was; how have you not gotten burnt out on wrapping presents year after year?

Pat: Well, it’s not like I’m doing it full-time, all year long. must give a lot of gifts!

And, really? “Stiff banana cream with sensual nuts?” SO cliché!

“Sherbert”, though...I want to talk about that. It’s a little known fact that we often mis-speak and mis-spell the delightful frozen concoction by placing an extra ‘r’ in it. Well, I know how much you love grammatical corrections, dear friend, so let me kindly remind you that the proper spelling and pronunciation of the frozen-dessert-similar-to-sorbet-but-containing-a-trace-of-milkfat is, in fact, “sherBET”. Sounds and looks funny, I know, but there you have it. It’s like “FebRuary” and “WedNESday” and “cliTORis”. You know, words that just sound and look funny.

Christian: Then why isn’t the spell checking lord flagging sherbert? These are hard facts you can’t deny Pat. Explain.

Pat: Well...some lords are naturally better than others. But I’d rather not pursue that line of reasoning. I’ve made it 41 years without a decree of fatwa of infidelity, and I would like to continue that trend.  

Just spell it correctly, okay, and no gods have to enter into the scenario.

Christian: Fine we can go with Sherbet. Just like expet and pervet. And Bet and Ernie. But back to the topic on hand. How should I go about recapturing my zest for quality gift wrapping? Narcotics?

Pat:   Hmm...ever tried double-sided tape? That can spice up your gift wrapping a bit! Makes it look like you did it all with no tape at all! Man, your recipients will be SO impressed!

Christian: Double-sided tape!?!?!? Why don’t you just suggest I use performing enhancing drugs too while you’re at it. I’m not sure gift wrapping is an Olympic event or not - or whether it is in the Winter or Summer games although I see it more as a Winter one since it something you typically do indoors, so that just makes more sense - but I’m sure double-sided tape is a banned substance in regulated competitions. Cheaters are egg eaters, Pat.

Are you saying you use double-sided tape when wrapping gifts? Even the ones you give to your family?

Pat:  God no! I can never figure out how to get it off my fingers, and then I end up going through an entire roll by simply trying to bind two folds of paper together. Kinda’ don’t know why they even make the stuff.  

I was just trying to help.

You know, my wife, before she was my wife, used to work at a stationery store where she was often called upon to wrap customers’ purchases. Know what she said?

Christian: That’s what she said?

Pat: I’ll tell you.

She said it is entirely possible to wrap a gift without using a single piece of tape at all.  Wrap your head around THAT one! Ooh...I got a pun in there too.

Christian: If you’re just going to start making stuff up then we should just end this conversation right now. Wrapping a gift without using any tape? That’s just spitting in science’s face.


Hello readers! Remember last week when we tried to determine the best Christmas song of all time and I suggested “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and Pat got disqualified by my cats so we asked you to give us your votes? The results are in and it looks like the top vote getter was “Fairytale of New York”  by The Pogues.

While I agree this is a great Christmas song it does seem to be lacking in that it's not “A Holly Jolly Christmas”. But you guys have made the decision therefore it is official. “Fairytale of New York” is the best Christmas song of all time.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Best Christmas Song

Tis the season to be tis-ing things and since we both have strong opinions on music I thought we should try and pin down what is the best Christmas song of all time. Plus I know how much Pat loves narrowing down an impossibly broad scope of work into a singular representative as the pinnacle of that medium.

I’m pretty sure I have the correct answer to this one Pat, so I’ll let you start.

Pat:  Can we do Columbus Day songs, instead?  I’m much better with those.

If not, I’m going with Band-Aid’s, Do They Know It’s Christmastime?  I’m going with that for two reasons.

1.  It contains the voices or instrumentation of nearly all of my favorite bands from my early teen years.  Those mostly British new wave-y bands (MUCH cooler than the USA for Africa people, anyway!  Well, except for Dylan and Springsteen).

2.  For you to refute it--which, given the slightly dated nature of it and the preponderance of far more “classic” tunes--would illuminate you as an insensitive jerk, blind to the plight of millions of now-40-something Ethiopians who might just have starved 30 years ago if it weren’t for Sir Bob Geldof and his friends.  You’re not going to be a jerk, are you?

Oh...if we’re going with Columbus Day songs, I’m going with Indian Reservation by Paul Revere and the Raiders.  More of an anti-Columbus Day song, I know, but it’s how I celebrate it.

Christian: I don’t know. There’s just something about Bob Geldof that doesn’t seem that Christmasy.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good song. I do like it and enjoy listening to it around the holidays but best Christmas song of all time? Not a Frosty the Snowman’s chance in hell.

You should try again.

Pat:  No, YOU try.  I’m sticking with it.  And PLEASE don’t suggest “Frosty…”  That song drives me nuts.

Christian: A Holly Jolly Christmas.

Just saying the title makes me hear Burl Ives in my earhole.  Ahhh…

I win, right?

Pat:  I do like me some Burl Ives, and I agree that to go with anyone else is near sacrilege, but…no.  You’re not going to win me over with the rotund bearded grandpa singing the folksy exit song from “Rudolph…”.

I’m sticking with Band-Aid.

But fine, if you don’t like that one, then I’m going pagan traditional on your ass and marking The Holly and the Ivy.  I’d like to see you just TRY to refute tradition (and pagans, man...please be careful when you’re refuting pagans!).

Christian: That song about berries and deer? Is Santa Claus even mentioned in it anywhere? How can you go with that one? Sure it’s a pretty song. But it’s not very fun. Or festive.

The Best Christmas song should put a smile on your face, not make you want to walk out into the woods alone, to second guess all of your life decisions.

Do They Know It’s Christmastime? was a much better choice than The Holly and the Ivy. You’re going in the wrong direction Pat.

Pat:  Where the hell did you get “deer” from The Holly and the Ivy?  Berries, sure, but I don’t think deer are even mentioned anywhere in the song.

Come to think of it, I don’t think anything is mentioned in the song.  I think it’s instrumental.

(Just fact checked this.  Kinda’ embarrassed.  Turns out not only are there words to the song--lots of them in fact--but holly, ivy, berries, and deer are all mentioned.  My bad.  Sorry.)

Yep, I’ll stick with my first gambit.  Do They Know It’s Christmastime it is!

And hey!  Did you know that Burl Ives played Big Daddy in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof?

Christian:  I always wondered what he looked like once all that snow melted off of him.

I went ahead and consulted with the judges (my two cats) and it has officially been decided that you are disqualified from choosing best Christmas song. I don’t know which is worse: The fact that you suggested a song that you thought was an instrumental song but wasn’t or the fact that you selected a song that you thought was an instrumental song.

How on Earth could you suggest an instrumental song (although mistakenly) as best Christmas song? You can’t sing along with an instrumental Pat.

I don’t think you are qualified enough to make this decision. In fact you are DISQUALIFIED!

Disqualified! Meow!

Pat:  I think we might celebrate Christmas differently.  Our celebrations involve no cats, and certainly no animals with man-hands.  Stars on treetops, garlands on mantles, nutcrackers on shelves...but no man-cats.

Christian: The man-cat Christmas tradition originates from the birth of Christ.

Very few people know this but there are actually two versions of this story. The more popular one is where the three wise men show up and hand out parting gifts and all, but there is another version that says there was zero three wise men. Just a bunch of feral cats running around. They were in a stable after all.

I think most scholars agree, it’s nearly impossible to figure out which story is correct so it is best to celebrate both by combining the three wise men and the feral cats into a few man-cats.

And that is how Jesus was born.

Zero three wise men.

Anyhoo, since you’re disqualified now we’re just going to go with A Holly Jolly Christmas as the best Christmas song of all time. I’d also be fine with going with Sleigh Ride, Here Come Santa Claus, Jingle Bells, It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow or Mele Kalikimaka.

Actually, how about this? Since our dearest cherished readers are some of the most intelligent and highly attractive people around, we’ll let them decide. Give us your vote. Any Christmas song you want. We’ll tally up the votes and declare the winning song next week. But just to be clear, no one is going to win anything.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Revisiting Christian's Issues

Way back in May and June of 2011, Christian and I discussed two specific activities taken up by many an aging man in our hometown of Portland, Oregon--lawn-mowing and running. In those posts, I tried to convince Christian of the merits and benefits of each activity, firmly believing myself that each one makes me a more righteous, ethical, handsome and charismatic person. I couldn’t convince him. Also, while he once ranted against some of our town’s bicycle riders, he has now become one himself. Rather than call him a hypocrite, I thought it might be nice to see if, in the over two years since those first discussions, he’s changed his perspective at all.

Pat:  Well, Christian? What do you say. Have you had some time to break out those shoes and hit the pavement or trail? Or...have you reconsidered the joy inherent in a nicely mowed lawn? And tell me about your experiences on the bike. Please.

Anything you want to say that might indicate that I was right would be fine.

Christian: You couldn’t be more wrong. First off I’m not a hypocrite with regards to the bike thing. In that post, as you’ll recall, I talked about how I hate all bicyclists. Even though I have now become one, I still hate them all. So no waffling there.

As for running and lawn mowing, I still greatly dislike both but feel they are a necessary evil. Running because its important to exercise and lawn mowing because I’m tired of bringing my neighbor’s property values down. I did try to combine the two, to kill two birds with one stone, but it turns out I hate running while mowing the lawn even more.

And I still haven't experienced runner’s high. Although I did once have the entire left side of my body go numb, I then smelled sulfur and saw a bunch of dead relatives of mine trying to usher me towards a bright light. Is that runner’s high?

Pat: No, not really. At least not any high I’ve experienced.

(psst! By the way...I might have tried running in a state some might refer to as “high” one time. Not advisable.)

So it sounds like you have fully embraced the health-focused, landscaping lifestyle! I’m proud of you, Christian. Really. It takes a lot to change our patterns and lifestyles, and it sounds like you have made a truly mediocre and half-hearted attempt to embrace some new practices.

What do you have in mind for the next steps of your paradigm shift, buddy?

Christian: Nothing. That’s all there is.

Oh... I guess I did recently turn to a lifestyle of extreme religion and became a devout born-again snake handler. But other than that, nothing else.

Pat: Well, that’s a start. Are any of the snakes fast? Can you run away from them as a form of exercise?

Oh! Or can you sprinkle them across your lawn as a way to make mowing just a little bit more fun? If you see them as pets, then I’m really sorry. That last bit was maybe a little morbid. If not though...chunk ‘em up!

Christian: Well since I’m still relatively new to my Snake Church they haven’t let me handle any real snakes yet. Mostly just ropes and hoses right now. Although I have been bitten several times. Not by snakes.

One thing I have learned though is that you aren’t supposed to run from the snakes. Or hoses in my case. They are to be handled. Repeatedly. Lots and lots of handling. I think the idea is that if you can handle snakes you can beat the devil. Or something like that.

They speak a lot in tongues so I still don’t fully understand everything. I’ve had a hard time finding a translation app for my phone that does tongues to English so until then it will probably be slow going for me. Looking forward to that first real snake handling though.

Pat: The snakes speak? That’s weird. Or...wait. Do they do something with their tongues? Wait. Did you mean the snakes or the people. WHO THE HELL IS SPEAKING?!!?

Christian: Jesus Pat, the people are speaking in tongues not the snakes. We don’t talk to snakes. We just hold them deathly close to our major arteries as a way of showing Jesus we love him and that we are ready to fight cloven hooved demons for him. We’re not idiots.  

Now if you'll excuse me I need to go practice sucking poison out of puncture wounds.