Archive | December, 2010

Joys of the Season

13 Dec

So it’s late December, almost Christmas. By now your house is decorated for the season; every roof peak and gutter dripping with bright, blinking lights, your yard a plethora of expensive, inflatable joy. Shortly after Thanksgiving you probably bundled against the crisp air and spent all weekend building your masterpiece. I bet you arranged that herd of reindeer and anchored that blow-up Santa with pride.  And as you worked, did you imagine what everyone would think? How the neighbors would look out from their frosted windows and smile, nodding their heads in approval as they sipped their steaming mugs of cocoa, quietly admiring your spirit of the season?


Don’t bet on it.

Last week I heard a story that was so off-the-chart awesome I had to share.

A guy called in to one of our local radio stations, during their segment called, “Wake Up Call confessions,” and laid out a scene so disturbing it was like Heart of Darkness, the Christmas special.

Apparently his wife has a problem with inflatable Christmas decorations. She thinks they’re a seasonal plague, that they’re cheap-looking and stupid. According to him, she absolutely hates them with the searing white-hot intensity of a thousand angry suns, and every year is forced to deal with a huge display right across the street in their neighbor’s yard. She wakes up every morning to all of it; the puffy Santa, a herd of swaying reindeer, giant snow globes, blow-up snowmen, you name it. If it’s inflatable and has to do with Christmas, their neighbor and his kids have it jammed in their front yard.

This year she decided she had suffered enough. And over the last couple weeks she slowly convinced her husband to deal with it, that if he really loved her he would take care of it. You know, like get the whole lot of them fitted for big inflatable cement shoes or something.

And in no time he found himself nodding, agreeing to her bah-humbug demands. He gave it some thought and came up with a plan.

One day after work he went to the store and came home with a few inflatable decorations of his own. He took care and set them up in his front yard that night, staking them and, I imagine, waved across the street with a smile as evening slowly set and the young neighbor kids played for the last time with their inflatable friends. Did the children see the man’s wife, smiling from inside the window, her eyes gleaming with joy? We may never know.

What we do know, according to the confession, is what happened next. He waited. For two long days he and his wife quietly anticipated revenge, anxiously biding their time.

Finally, the time had come. He set his alarm and woke in the dark of night. He dressed all in black, covered his face with a ski mask and grabbed the biggest butcher knife he could find. He snuck into his own yard, quickly dispatched his newly purchased inflatables and then crept across the street.

With his heart filled with love, making a Merry Christmas for his beloved wife, he stabbed each and every one of his neighbor’s blow up decorations. He slashed in the darkness until they were all dead; nothing but sad and limp pieces of crumpled plastic joy.

Did his wife wake in the middle of the night, alarmed by the empty spot in their bed? Did she then smile, breathing deep and snuggling down into her warm covers, knowing her husband was about the business of their sweet revenge? Again, we may never know.

What we do know is that the very next morning, she wasted no time playing her part. As the husband backed out of the driveway, leaving for work, he saw his wife on the neighbor’s front porch. She was talking to the mother of the young kids, commiserating about the shameful vandalism that had gone on the night before.

As he drove by, he saw his lovely wife point to their own yard and shake her head, indicating they had been victimized too. He smiled. Right about now she would be convincing the woman that big, inflatable decorations like these were just too much of a risk, what with the state of the world these days. And, of course, he knew how convincing she could be.

She would look her neighbor in the eye, her face full of understanding, and say something like, “You never know. It’s a shame, but you just can’t trust people.”

And she would be right.

Pretty sick, huh? I know. You can’t make this stuff up. For the full confession, check out: Confession – Grinch Who Slashed Santa | KDND 107.9 The End

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Harry Plodder and the Deathly Wallows, Part Suck

4 Dec

Fair Warning: I am about to discuss and/or eviscerate plot points of the latest (and needlessly never ending) Harry Potter movie, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. If you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to save this post until after you have. Or, better yet, consider yourself lucky and just skip to the end where I sum up the whole stinking turd in three sentences.

Having said that, I want to be clear. I am a huge Harry Potter fan.
That’s me, about 10 years ago, completely geeked out as Harry. I was so in love with the books that I dressed up as the little wizard for Halloween. I pulled together a costume, complete with home-made cape and a Nimbus 2000, way before every kid on the block was wearing a pair of round spectacles and sporting a lightning shaped scar on his forehead, too.

Which is exactly why this movie is such a colossal disappointment. I wait for years in between these movies, longing for the next installment of one of the best series of all time to come to life on the big screen. To watch Harry fly around the fantastical landscape (complete with dragons and Whomping Willows) on his broom and see how he and Ron and Hermione will ultimately defeat Voldemort (oops, I mean He Who Must Not Be Named). And so for months and months I anticipate, eagerly waiting for that glorious 2-3 hours when I’m back at Hogwarts, or at The Burrow, caught up in whatever magical misadventure those crazy kids are up to this year. (What can I say, a childhood of Scooby-Doo won’t allow me to think of it any other way).

But what did I get this time? Two and a half hours of whining and drudgery; of the three of them camping in at least 15 different locations, bitching at each other like they’re starring in an episode of The Bickersons. The best part of the whole thing is the animated depiction of the legend of the Deathly Hallows. It takes less than ten minutes. Seriously.

To make it all worse, throughout the endless camping, (where most of the time the three of them stand around with deep, intense faces, wallowing and saying things like, “What are we going to do?”) Ron, Harry and Hermione have to share the burden of a horcrux, which in this case is a necklace, I think. I could be wrong though, I started to black out a bit from boredom. Wearing the necklace (which once belonged to Salazar Slytherin) makes them feel mean and hateful, and so they lash out at each other. Hmmmm, if only I had some experience with a super-powerful magical object (worn as a necklace) that had this effect on those who possess it. Maybe Frodo and the ring should’ve just made a cameo; he and Sam could’ve drug Gollum through one of the umpteen campsites or something. At least that I could’ve respected.

The whole thing is just too long. When asked about splitting the last book into two movies, director David Yates said he “believes fans will appreciate the bifurcated approach because it means fewer bits of the book will be left on the cutting-room floor.” Deathly Hallows Director Makes Harry Potter Films for Grown-Ups | Underwire | Wired.com.

He was wrong.

Yates goes on to characterize Deathly Hallows, Part 1 as “intimate.” I think the word he was actually looking for is boring. In the end, it’s just a lack of action that kills it. The characters’ tedious self-reflection and lack of direction is mind numbing.

To borrow a phrase from my daughter, the entire movie is an epic fail. The whole thing could’ve been handled in about 20 minutes:

Dumbledore is dead. War is coming. Find the Horcruxes or all is lost.

Okay, I lied. Maybe 10 minutes. But when you factor in all of the bitching, moaning and angst caused by wearing Slytherin’s enchanted locket, it might take the full 20 minutes.