A Christmas Eve Pot Pourri with Miracles, etc.

A lot has been happening to me personally over these Twelve Days of Blogging, so I thought I’d recap the highlights for you including more Christmas miracles and a Hanukkah miracle.

Let’s start with another Christmas miracle. The television remote control was gone. I was the likely culprit having last used it. Did I dodder off in my typical addled state and lay the missing remote in an unfindable place? The full house search revealed nothing. It was missing for two whole days. We spent hours upon hours teaching ourselves how to use the funny buttons on the bottom of the TV to change channels, volume, source, etc. The remote was gone. Grieving had begun. I began sitting shiva in front of the television which I usually do anyway.

And then, my youngest daughter found it under the couch. Just like that. She looked, and there it was. Yes, we had looked under the couches before. I had found a dog ball under one of the couches. Our youngest dog was so happy to see it again that he promptly ate half of it before we could take it away from him. Merry Christmas.

There will be some who say that our ball-eating dog’s tail whisked it off the coffee table and onto the floor under the couch. And that we did a lousy job in looking for it. But I have another theory.

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A Free Story on the Ninth Day of Blogging

If you recall one year ago, I published a short story sequel to the beloved movie It’s a Wonderful Life called “Every Time a Bell Rings.” Unfortunately, my short story is quite irreverent and will never be as revered as the movie that spawned it. However, I was thrilled to see on Amazon that it had ratings.

It doesn’t bother me that one of the ratings is bad. In fact, I’m not surprised at the 1 star rating. If you believe that irreverence = bad writing, then you won’t like the story. If you also believe bad writing = bad writing, then you may not like the story. Anyway, it follows Clarence the angel as he gets called on the carpet for his actions during the movie. I’m working on another sequel, and I had hoped to have it ready by Christmas. I’ve enlisted some helpers to work on it to get it ready in time.

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Who Ate Chocolate Jesus?

I warned you that if I got busy, I may recycle an old post. This one is a favorite that always seems to get viewing traffic around Christmas whether I repost it or not. Well, it’s been three years since the last time I foisted this upon readers, so it is high time I try it again. I have edited and punched-up the original 2015 post just a bit. Is this truly a beloved Christmas post, or am I just trying to sneak an easy post through on this 8th Day of Blogging? I think we know the answer. Regardless, here it is …

While waiting in line at a local sweet shop, I could not take my eyes off their chocolate nativity for sale while store security did not dare take their eyes off me for obvious reasons.

chocolate nativity 1
Chocolate Nativity for sale

The very first question that sprang to my mind was, “Who gets to eat Baby Jesus?” I’ll address that later, but that was just the tip of the question iceberg for me. My mind was quickly spinning with so many questions as I checked-out that I tried to pay for my purchase with my dry cleaning ticket. Consider these quandaries that dizzied my consciousness …

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What Do I Want For Christmas?

Now that’s a good question to address on this 7th Day of Blogging, but an easier one to answer would be what I don’t want. Allow me to take you back many years to the glory days of the National Lampoon Radio Hour with Bill Murray and Gilda Radner before they were famous.

I definitely do not want Santa’s trapdoor. What I would like for Christmas is if folks who made me laugh like Gilda Radner, John Belushi, John Candy, Chris Farley, and Phil Hartman were still around to do so. Hey, maybe this Motivational Santa could grant my Christmas wish.

Here’s something else I definitely do NOT want for Christmas offered by someone more pathetic than Motivational Santa Matt Foley living in a van down by the river.

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A 2022 Christmas Poem

Here we are, halfway through my Twelve Days of Blogging, which would make it Day, uh … hmm, I wasn’t aware there would be math. Maybe the pic below will help.

Right, Day 6. I knew it all the time. Just testing you. Anyway, we are halfway through this holiday trainwreck, and today I have some poetry for you. I have provided winter poems in the past, but never a winter holiday poem like I have for you today. I do have to warn you before you click through that the poem is rated for more mature audiences as it concerns drug use … sort of.

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The Fifth Day of Blogging

If all football/soccer matches were like today’s World Cup final, I’d consider watching more. Anyway, watching that classic match unexpectedly set me back a bit today. What I’m getting at is I didn’t finish my Christmas poem post. But I did get this unexpected Christmas gift today.

That’s right, misshapen muffins (good name for a band, but a bad Christmas gift). Along with the misshapen muffins (in concert at the United Center for one night only!), I also received some coffee. I don’t drink coffee. To put a positive spin on it, any additional gifts I get can’t be worse. Can they?

Holiday Gift Giving

Here we are on my 4th day of blogging.

That means it’s late for most people to start shopping for holiday gifts, but it’s still a bit early for me. I consider myself more of a pressure shopper. However, just this very morning, I gave myself a gift. It wasn’t easy, and it took some effort. I do appreciate the effort I put into my gift to myself.

I use Wordle to wake up and get my brain working in the mornings. This is before any caffeine or other stimulants that are typically found around most American homes like bennies, coke, crank, uppers, blow, speed, snow, etc. have entered my body. Consequently, I sleepwalked through many Wordle gaffes that I should have avoided had I actually thought about my guess rather than randomly mashing the keyboard until I make a word. I’m kind of a 4-try guy in Wordle, but those numerous early-morning Wordle goofs ran up my 5-try tally well beyond my 3-try total. Well, as of this morning, I am pleased to report that my 3-try and 5-try totals now match.

I know it’s not much, but on another grey morning while dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder, it’s a great gift to myself. I’m so thoughtful of a gift-giver to me!

Don’t worry, I have something specifically for you later in this post, but I first have a last-minute holiday gift-giving idea for everyone. Wouldn’t this look sharp on the finger of a loved one?

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A True Christmas Miracle!

Here we are on the third of Twelve Days of Blogging, and I am thrilled to report that I am not yet out of ideas for twelve straight days of blogging.

Sure, not all of my planned blog ideas are monumental. One of the ideas I have is for a picture of “Merry Christmas” spelled out using toenail clippings. However, mine are not enough. All I can make is “Merry Chris,” and the one Chris I know is somewhat surly. I could settle for “Merry Xmas,” but I don’t want to disappoint you, the reader, by not providing the full, traditional Christmas salutation. I suppose I could use some older ones that I have stored in jars in the basement, but I really wanted them to be fresh clippings from this Christmas season. I guess you can just call me a traditionalist. Now I’m playing a waiting game for someone else in the house to trim their toenails to be able to make that post happen. I know you’ll be waiting on pins and needles.

Wow, this post about a true Christmas miracle really went off the rails quickly. Well, let’s get back on track. After already detailing a recent Hannukkah miracle, I am thrilled to report being witness to a true Christmas miracle involving my wife’s pumpkins (not a euphemism).

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A SAD Forecast

These cold, wet, and grey days are not good for my SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I think I may actually be getting a simulated sunburn from all the sunlight-simulating lights I have on in my office. Fortunately, living in the greater Chicagoland area, the weather frequently changes. Let’s take a look at the upcoming weather and see if the cold, wet, grey days will become more palatable.

Hmm, it looks like colder, snowy, and grey days ahead. However, if I substitute gray for grey, gray seems a bit cheerier to me. It’s not much, but I’ll take it! And we are just one week away from the days starting to get longer after the winter solstice!

For those who struggle with depression and can’t do the mental masturbation I do to convince myself that it’ll all eventually be okay, dial 988 nationwide in the USA to speak with a counselor. The holidays are hard. Get help when you need it.

Least-loved Christmas Sayings

Since we have started the Twelve Days of Blogging, I am pleased to offer you 12 of the least-loved Christmas sayings. You know what I mean, things that you don’t want to have to say or hear. Here’s a good example.

Especially with Christmas spelled as Chirstmas. The gif creator had one job to do. Sigh! Anyway, if you don’t believe that these sayings aren’t beloved, feel free to try one or two at your next Christmas gathering.

  • Don’t try the holiday punch. I think he stirred it with his “candy cane.”
  • Pass me an elf.
  • If that wasn’t figgy pudding, what was that I just ate?
  • Those aren’t reindeer on your roof. You’ve got rats in your attic.
  • My Yule log is sooo hot.
  • If you need to eventually get rid of the gift I got you because of leakage, just be aware that it is highly corrosive and illegal to dispose of in a landfill.
  • Every time a bell rings, an angel gets laid.
  • Trump is coming to Christmas dinner.
  • Grandma’s cookies smell like her denture adhesive.
  • Let me show you what it really means to have Santa come down your chimney.
  • That’s not eggnog on his pants.
  • The liquor store was out of beer and wine, so I just bought some myrrh.

The Twelve Days of Blogging

I had maybe hoped I could delay starting my Twelve Days of Blogging until after Christmas, and nobody would notice or care, and then I just wouldn’t do it, but I stumbled across something that demands I post it today. So, I guess I start my Twelve Days of Blogging with this post. Besides, if I get too busy to blog, I’ll just recycle old Christmas posts. You readers don’t expect much with this blog, and I’m confident I can meet your low expectations.

I heard on the radio about a fascinating, but short, Christmas play, and I tracked it down on Twitter for your enjoyment. Supposedly, the plot and dialogue were written by AI (artifical intelligence, not former NBA star Allen Iverson) that was fed with terms, phrases, and themes from the Hallmark Channel. The AI spit out a mini story titled “The Christmas on Christmas” and is available for you in its entirety if you click to continue reading.

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A Modern Hanukkah Miracle?

The 8 Days of Hanukkah tradition comes from a time just after Jewish rebels liberated the Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt. To rededicate the Temple, a menorah was to be lit continuously. Obviously, energy conservation was not a hot topic back then. No wonder we have climate change issues these days. Anyway, the bad news was that they only had enough oil to last one day. The good news was that a miracle occured, and their one day’s worth of oil lasted eight days until they got new oil.

I know it’s still a little premature for Hanukkah, but did I just personally experience a modern 8 Days of Haukkah? Yeah, I know it may not be as exciting of a story as the original, but it is to me. I was a part of this miracle. I literally partook of the miracle. While it doesn’t concern jugs of oil, it does involve this particular jug …

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I Get Her Point

Do you remember when I wrote 3 short complementary pieces for an art exhibition? There was a free verse poem, a sad mini story, and a funny mini story about peaches. Oh, what’s that you say? You were trying to forget? Well, not so fast as I have another peach story with which to regale you. But don’t worry. It’s not from me but from a sixth grader.

Last night, artists and authors gathered at an area public library to reflect on the art exhibited and read some of the writings. It’s one thing to see a small digital version of the painting on my screen. It’s a completely different experience to see these large oil paintings up close. I should probably visit the Art Institute in Chicago more often.

I am happy to report that my peaches story got some chuckles. However, my sad story did not elicit any tears, and my free verse poem didn’t coax one finger snap from the audience.

Wait, was I supposed to lead the finger snapping while at the mic? Seems presumptuous of me to snap at my own creation.

Anyway, enough about me. You are here to read a sixth grader’s story about peaches that is written better than this blog most days, although admittedly that is a low bar. I should warn you that this youth’s peaches story is a bit disturbing, so exercise caution (and maybe do a few sit-ups while you’re at it) before clicking through.

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Me, Make Money? Fat Chance.

The opportunity seemed to be well within my grasp. I could finally parlay my fat into cash. I just needed to be overweight and willing to lose weight. As you may know from prior posts, I am both.

There are two weight loss clinical trials that caught my eye. One was more local in downtown Chicago. I could easily take the train into Chicago and walk to the clinic, but I wouldn’t want to walk so fast that I would lose too much weight so that I would no longer be considered fat. I would have to leisurely stroll. It paid okay, but the real payday was at a research clinic a couple hours north in Madison, Wisconsin. Their weight loss clinical trial is paying $18,000+ for participation in their 6 month trial which includes some overnight stays with meals provided. Yes, it would include several all-expense-paid vacations for me.

But there is a problem …

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Sunday Funday Music Finale

It’s been seven straight days of blogging about my favorite songs for each day of the week. I know how you feel. I’m sick of it, too. I really thought it would be easier. Well, we’ve reached Sunday, the final day, and I have a conundrum. I know, I should see a doctor about getting it removed. But seriously, my preference for a favorite song with Sunday in the title is this one.

I love Morrissey’s plaintive crooning backed with orchestral strings. But I can’t end a week of musical posts with Morrissey’s wailing. I feel the need to go out on a higher note. So, I’ve got one last song for you. It’s got an upbeat sound paired with a very snarky lyrical message about suburban life. Here it is, direct from the hit TV series …

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Songs for Saturday Morning & Night

I was thrilled to see the sun rise and shine this morning, just as I am on every cold day. If we can’t have heat, at least give us some sun. I knew immediately what song with Saturday in the title I was going to feature. Not since Monday was I so confident in a song. I am possibly suffering from recency bias as this is a newer song, but I just love the upbeat sound and the easy, uncomplicated lyrics. This song requires 0% thought to 100% enjoy it. It’s just a joy to listen to. So, here’s some musical joy from Vance Joy on a Saturday.

As I write this post, the sun is fading and I am reminded that’s it’s almost Saturday night and reminded of another great song with Saturday in the title.

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Friday Songapalooza

After having a dreadful time finding favorite songs with Wednesday and Thursday in the titles, I am relieved to be at Friday with a plethora of songs from which to choose. Why are there so many songs about Friday? Well, it’s the start of the weekend and time to party, so people want to sing about it. I may be humming a tune myself as I clip my fingernails later on a Friday night. Now that’s a party!

Back in my younger days, I knew it was the weekend and time to party when Chicago radio station WXRT 93.1FM played Another Drugland Weekend by local band The Hounds at 5PM on Fridays. If not for that song, I’d probably still be in the church choir today. If you missed The Hounds in the 70s, don’t fret. You can catch them later this month playing in a bowling alley just across the border in Madison, Wisconsin. Really!

Who’s up for a short road trip? I know the promotional blurb above suggests ordering a cheeseburger, but when I eat at the Bowl-A-Vard Lanes, I prefer their coq au vin or lobster thermidor to satisfy my palate. Highly recommended!

But this isn’t supposed to be a post about songs with weekend in the title. I need to have Friday on my mind as I write this post, which leads me to …

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Thirsty for Thursday Songs

If you couldn’t tell, my blog post yesterday about favorite Wednesday songs was written on a moving train. Did I really have to specify that the train was moving? Who sits and writes on nonmoving trains? Anyway, I went back in and cleaned it up a bit today before diving into my favorite song with Thursday in the title, of which there is none. Ugh! Two days in a row now with no obvious favorite song choice. Who knew this would be so difficult when I started out this week of blogging about fave songs for each day of the week? Let’s get to Friday and all the fun weekend songs.

There are some popular songs about Thursday like this link to a Jess Glyne tune with over 53 million views. But I promised a deeper dive into the music. Just like on Wednesday, I’m heading back to the mid-60s for my Thursday song. As I listen to this tune now, I can imagine some new age, indie artist named Noah in 2022 singing this. Instead, it’s a new age, indie dude named Donovan from almost 6 decades ago.

It’s just a mere wisp of a song, but so pretty with a timeless vibe to it. I think people in the 1500s would have dug it, too.

I’ll end this post on a sad note with an RIP for Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac fame. She had a voice like an angel and was a songwriting genius.