Saturday, December 31, 2005

It's already 2006 somewhere

We landed in from Bahstahn around 4pm and were home by 5pm. Unpacking and unwinding and getting the offspring nourished and ready to hang with their grandparents brings us to 8pm-ish.

I must say I rather enjoy NYE. I mean, black tie and hardcore foodieness...what's not to love? Seriously, dig the ridiculously frou-frou yummyness:

Cocktails & Amuse Bouche
~
Iced Yaquina Bay Oyster “Fine Claire”Lemon and Mignonette Sauce
Or
Chilled Goose Foie Gras Terrine with Black Truffle Sauterne Jelly
~
Chestnut Bisque Flavored with Nutmeg,
Roasted Maine Scallops with Smoked Bacon and Cappuccino Cream
Or
Maine Lobster Soup and Crème Fraiche Foam
~
Imperial Baltic Smoked Salmon with Sevruga Caviar and Lemon Cream
Or
Sweetbread and Wild Mushroom Croustillant in a Port Wine Reduction on Petit Mesclun
with 2004 Ch. Ste. Michelle Riesling
~
Pan Seared Turbot Fillet or Mediterranean Langoustine with Crispy Belgian Endive Gratinee,
Or
Maine Lobster Coulibiac with Green Asparagus and Crustacean Tarragon Cream
2004 Charleson Marlborough Suvignon Blanc
~
Roasted Argentine Beef Tenderloin, Beurre Rouge Wild Mushroom and Potato Galette
Or
Niman Ranch Baby Lamb Rack, Dijon Mustard and Fresh Herb, Black Olive and Piquillo Pepper Sauce
with 1999 Ravenswood Vintner's Reserve Zinfandel
~
Imported Artisan Cheese Selection
~
2006 Chocolate Symphony
Or
Fresh Strawberry Creme Anglaise Soup
with 2003 Muscat de Baumes de Venise
~
Coffee and Mignardise
~
Domaine Mumm Blanc de Noirs (12M)

A sad aspect is that after this shindig, I won't be wearing my current tuxedo. A new one will take its place. Goodbye old friend!

Happy 2006, Internet!

-J.

Posted by Joke at 8:02 PM 1 comments

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Today's trip report.

Dear Internet,

One thing you never count on when you go on vacation is getting rained upon. We didn't and we did. While doing the Freedom Trail. But, being the hardy Minuteperson type, we slogged on, unmoved by the peals of anguish from the boys. We slogged through a driving rainstorm in only the flimsiest of cheap-o gift shop ponchos. By the time we got to the USS Constitution, we were like a quartet of rats drowned in the fridge, our now-rosy cheeks flush with the thrill of accomplishment.

We had lunch at some quaint and rustic seafood spot by Bahstahn Hahbah, savoring a seriously sexy lobstah bisque and yummy sourdough and some sort of chocolate something for dessert.

Some things I have noticed:

* Bostonians still smoke a whole Hell of a lot.
* The number of African Americans I see around here has dropped precipituously, matched by an increase in Mexicans.
* The magazine racks have more (and more prominently displayed) whacko-moonbat-left-fringe magazines than in Miami.
* A great deal of Bostonian men wear brown shoes with navy suits. Ver-r-r-r-r-ry jarring stuff.
* Boston is a very cocktail-y place.
* Boston has a lot of great places to get It Was Swimming A Minute Ago sushi.
* Lots of young people wearing black (exclusively) and sporting multiple facial piercings.
* Boston has the only chain of fast-food Indian restaurants I have ever seen.
* Boston has a LOT of places to buy fountain pens.

More to ensue,

-J.

Posted by Joke at 5:39 PM 3 comments

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The ladybug earrings were $7.98

Just back from loitering with Poppy et Cie.

Suffice it to say we lurve Poppy et Cie. to death. Cannot express it enough, but it's always a great cheer-up to see them. Some highlights and details:
  1. Porky goodness: Take a whole fresh ham, make deep crosshatch scores in the rind. Stud liberally as Hell with garlic cloves, marinate in Seville (i.e. "bitter") orange juice with some ground cumin and salt and pepper. Turn oven on as low as it goes (180F in our case). Put pork in the v-rack and the v-rack in a roasting pan. Scatter fresh sliced yellow onion, a bit of water to prevent scorching and some EVOO in the roasting pan. Cover all with double layer of aluminum foil. Roast low and slow for 7-8 hours, until internal temperature is ~170F. At that point, remove foil and increase the temperature to 400F (or 350F convection) until the exterior is golden brown. Try not to grab the shank end, because the whole of the meat will fall away from the bone. AMHIK.
  2. Whenever you're visiting someone who as forewarned you his/her house is a colossal PITA to find, do NOT let your spouse delegate the ever-crucial Reading Of The Directions From Mapquest to your 8 y.o. son.
  3. Shopping has been a hit in our New England sojourn. Last night I made a pilgrimage to Thomas Pink (where some of the best MTM shirts are to be had) and after plunking down much coin and making my preferences known and all my idiosyncracies were noted, I managed to get, as a special treat, WAY COOL sterling silver ingot cufflinks. I'm SUCH a Vee Eye Pee. Also, my beloved wife utterly forgot her coat on top of our dining room table and I convinced her to buy another one since walking around Back Bay, even with three sweaters and long johns had her in an exalted state of misery. We found a pretty neat Columbia one on sale down from $2XX to $3X since it was CLEARLY mislabeled an XL. (If TFBIM is ridiculously puffy and has eaten wildly she mi-i-i-i-ight get to size 6 territory, and this was a comfortably close fit.)
  4. Also in the shopping fun was the Polo Outlet in Kittery, Maine. Got some cords and shirts and sweaters for the boys and TFBIM managed to find this lambswool/cashmere sweater at $19 down from almost $200.
  5. We managed to score demitasse and soup spoons in our sterling pattern at Reed & Barton.
  6. TSMPM makes a mean lasagne al forno.
  7. I've never had such a bourbon-y eggnog in all my life. You could still taste the egg, but with all that Wild Turkey...I could detect no trace of the nog.
  8. Poppy's kids actually liked their Christmas gift, which is never a certain thing.
  9. Have we mentioned how completely cool Poppy is?
  10. TFBIM was finding EVERY DAMNED THING quaint in this little seaside New England village. "Oooh look! The Dept. of Water and Sewage!" and she'd snap a picture.
  11. Color me weird, but I still think girls in Boston are the prettiest and best dressed in the US.
  12. Improper Bostonian is THE BEST free newspaper/magazine in the USA, bar none.
So there you go,

-J.

Posted by Joke at 8:41 PM 6 comments

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Let's try this again, shall we?

I was posting a lovely little post on my Christmas when the power spiked and rebooted my computer and the post vanished. Here I am 5 minutes and many bad words later.

Here are the Cliffs Notes:

1- Christmas 2005 gets a B+.
2- For the Southern European types in general (and Iberics in particular) the Big Deal Family thing was/is Christmas Eve.
3- It's different now than when my grandmothers (one whose family hailed from Italy and the other from Spain) were alive. Given the way these things mish-mash, in Ye Olden Days the Ibero-Italic combination could be counted on to produce more food than a medium-sized horde of Visigoths could consume. Given that Christmas Eve used to be a day of abstinence (i.e. meatless) for Catholics, things could be counted to start off with a late lunch of the 7 fish thing (which is how Italians got around that), then dinner after Midnight Mass (which is how Spaniards, being Spaniards, got around that). Anyway, these days the food thing tilts more Iberospheric than ever. There is a big honkin' hunk o' porky goodness roasting (making the Spaniards and Cubans equally happy), side dishes to make the Cubans quiet down (not easy), and appetizers and desserts for the Spaniards.
4- As you well know, TFBIM's giftage was mired in transit and so, it turns out, was the stuff we sent Poppywards. So I'm just kicking all kinds of arse with my gift delivery skills. (Side note to Poppy: If I had known TSMYM would have to suffer with making lasagna with a rolling pin, I would have sent him something else. Made me heartsick, it did.) But TFBIM was relatively happy with the pictures of what she can expect in the mail "any day now."
5- I wasted my day anxiously awaiting whether her giftage would arrive on Boxing Day/Chanukah. No mail on 12/26, since people must have a day off for Christmas. "Duh!" for me. (This should all be clear and present proof even I can have an off-day.)
6- TFBIM finally gave me a clunker of a gift. I had to wing it to Tourneau ("Home of the Worst Exchange/Return Policy!") before the 7 day period was out to exchange it and I got lucky. I picked up the Official NASA Issue Astronaut Watch in lieu of what I had been given originally.

And now I must pack, b/c we head up to Boston to loiter with Poppy in NH.

-Joke

P.S. Happy Chanukah!!

Posted by Joke at 3:51 AM 6 comments

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Dear Santa,

I've been a good boy. See what you can do about the following:

From Bottega Veneta, a new briefcase. The one you got me in 2000 is getting kinda, y'know, beat up. While you're there, might as well get the wallet and key case.
All in glorious nappa leather. Why, yes, Bottega Veneta IS the leather purveyor to Alfa Romeo; very good eye there, Santa. Kinda hard to find here in the USA--not a problem for you, I know--so you might have to send an elf to, say, Italy...or just ask the elf to click around for the best deal.

Since we're on an Alfa Romeo sorta vibe, I'd also like this year's supah-dupah limited edition fountain pen from Delta. Last year's kinda sucked, which is why I didn't ask you for it...not your fault, natch. But this year things seem to be back on track. Check out this little number...

To round out the Alfa Romeo portion of the thing, if you're feeling exceptionally pleased with my behavior, you could spring for this:

I've always loved Chopard's Mille Miglia line (feel free to add thereto, by all means), but this is just TOO cool. For the home theatre I could tolerate this Samsung SP-H700AE DLP projector...a mere snip at $13K. If I haven't been THAT good a boy, there's always this one (Hitachi PJ-TX100) for $10K less:


And since I'm getting the old HT shipshape for 2006, might as well help me out with upgrading from 5.1 to 7.1. I'm thinking of the Outlaw Audio 990 PrePro, which IS a raving steal at $1100 (most competitors don't sound nearly as good, and cost between $2500 and $4K). Moving from the HT room to the kitchen, there are a few things I'd like. I'll take off your hands the whole remodeling bit, with the new cabinets and converting to gas, and so forth. I just want new appliances.

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 9:29 PM 0 comments

This is way cool.

For all those who doubt, incontrovertible proof!

www.noradsanta.org

-J.

Posted by Joke at 3:01 PM 1 comments

For today is born unto us a Savior

Let me cut to the chase on this Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to all out there in Blogville, to the old friends and new ones found here. I am grateful for your presence and your friendship, which I consider to be a providential fingerprint. I hope and pray your Christmas is filled with joy and peace and love. I pray you keep in your prayers all those people whose Christmas, whose everyday life, is filled not with joy, but with anguish; not with peace, but with strife; not with love but with loneliness. Pray for those people who are facing want, hatred, need and despair. Pray you find it within your heart to be a light to just one person.

Now, if you like things not too, um, piously orthodox, this would be an excellent time to groove on the A-list Crane's card (100% linen, I'll have you know...I spare no expense for my cyberpals) and then click to your next destination.

I normally don't get too too on this here blog, but today you'll just have to indulge me. Since I'm all papist and stuff, I like things Douay Rheims-ish:

"And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, that shall be to all people: For this day in the city of David, is born to you a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest; and on earth, peace to men of good will."

And of course,

"The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen. [...]For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given us, and governance is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful Counsellor, God Almighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace."

That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.

Merry Christmas to all...Pax et Bonum Dei,

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 9:54 AM 4 comments

Down at Frazzle Rock.

(I purposefully left this under my Christmas card post...)

OK. Mailperson came and went and...nada. TFBIM's basically scrod, giftwise.

This is what the score is:

The nice gold watch? Still in transit.
The Hermès scarf? Still in transit.

The NWT Mark Cross purse?

(This is the model I ordered, but in BLACK.) Well, I received the wrong one* and must wait until after New Year's, since the seller is out of town until 1/3/06, to get it straightened out.

So, um, basically, I wrapped the "wrong" purse with a picture of the right one, put my online receipts of the scarf and the watch (at least these have pictures!) and wrote a mushy note and I hope for the best. How this girl has put up with me lo these many years, I have NFI.

-Joke

* Long story, but I ordered one for her birthday and another for Christmas--both were/are in NEW & MINT shape with all the accessories and so on. Anyway, instead of one and one, I got TWO of the same.


Posted by Joke at 9:48 AM 3 comments

Friday, December 23, 2005

Um, King Kong...?

Sucked.

I hated it. I hated hating it, though. It could have benefited from a hamfisted editor, and immensely at that.



**SPOILER WARNING**SPOILER WARNING**SPOILER WARNING**SPOILER WARNING**

The movie is really 3 short-ish features in one. One is getting TO Skull Island, the other is getting in and out of SI and the third is what happens with Kong in NYC. The premise--to flesh out and back-story the 1933 original--is excellent. The special effects are excellent, truth be told and Naomi Watts has a beguiling Nicole Kidman/Reneee Zellweger combination thing going on which I rather enjoyed, big hairy brute that I am.

But the movie suffers from the weight of many affectations. One of the most grating ones is a modern fetish for switching film stock to underscore different things the director wants underscored. Another problem I had was believing Adrian Brody as a romantic lead. Color me a heterosexual male, but I can't see it. In this film he looks like a stoner reject from the road company of Brideshead Revisited. However the two fatal wounds this film has (and inflicts on the hapless viewer) are the following:

1- The whole Skull Island section was ENDLESS. "Look, they're being speared by Native Skullislandians! Wow!" becomes "WHOA! Dinosaurs!" degenerates into "What? AGAIN with the dinosaurs?" to "Oh, @#$% scorpions?" to "Alright already with the humongous bats. Skull Island is full of dangerous and gigantic beasts. We get the point. Actually we got the point about 45 minutes ago."

2- Naomi Watts was forced to act out the longest and most zoophilic instance of the Stockholm Syndrome I have ever seen.

I'll never get those 150 minutes back.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 2:44 PM 4 comments

Better late than ever, Part 2

Christmas tree-ness & ornamentation...

The tree. Monorail has been adjusted, as you can plainly see.

Ornament bought for the Jubilee Year.
One of the "Frosty Friends" assortment.
Peanuts. We're big on Peanuts for Christmas.
Some more of the Frosty Friends.
...and more of the Peanuts.
The devolution of St. Nicholas. From the Saint to...
Coca-Cola Santa to...
Santa Pez dispenser.
Grinch corner.
VeggieTales (a big hit w. our kids)

And Ye Olde Nativity scene. The Baby Jesus is not on display until 12/25. I think that's either a Catholic thing or an Iberic thing, but there ya go.

-J.


Posted by Joke at 2:09 PM 5 comments

Better late than ever, Part 1

Here are the Thanksgiving Day pix (the ones that came out, anyway).

Y'start with the turkeys brining.


Then you get your stock going (when I started the pot was to the edge with liquid, as in the 1st of these two pix)

This picture got mangled, but it was the picture of all the accoutrements needed to cook all this stuff. These are the tables for all the people who came. (Not shown: Kid's table.)

Top and bottom ovens, w. one turkey apiece.

The appetizer leftovers.

The grilled turkey leftovers. (Note the tray with the heretic mashed potatoes is DAMNED NEAR EMPTY.)

The regular turkey leftovers.


The general leftovers.

A very tired 8 y.o.

-J.


Posted by Joke at 1:34 PM 7 comments

Sweating it out for Christmas.

Poppy is right. I am a cheap bastid. Howe'er, not the "get cheap stuff cheap" cheap bastid, just the "get expensive stuff cheap" cheap bastid.

So, because as you may have heard, it's Christmas and all that and because I have had a pretty good year at the office, I decided to pop for a particularly nice gift for my wife. In fact, I decided to get something besides the white gold version of something Poppy has in yellow gold. (This had heretofore been my modus operandi for bestowing baubles upon my beloved.) TFBIM has been hinting forever that she didn't have any yellow gold stuff (white gold looks better on her, but whatever) and when we were in Chicago we stopped in at Tourneau because I am a total watch slut and I needed to see what else I couldn't live without.

Anyway, she saw and fell in love with this watch but, given that Tourneau's prices are essentially full-on MSRP, on top of which we'd have to pay IL's usurious sales tax (which alone would have worked out to something in the mid three figures!), we left it at that. That was 12/9/05. A couple of days later, while rummaging around online for a fountain pen generally not available in the USA, I ran across an Italian website and, sure enough, those muhfuhs had this watch! In and of itself, that's no big, right? But their price was a lot closer to the surface of Planet Earth than Tourneau's. Which led me to think..."Geez, why don't you look for this watch online?"

Which I did.

Eventually, I found a Dutch website that had it and even with the Euro ($1.15 or so at that moment) the watch was priced far more attractively. No, not the site in the picture, that's just where I got the photo. Even better, by not being a citizen of the neo-collectivist festung Europa I didn't have to pay the it's-bloody-highway-robbery-that-is VAT tax. I placed a quick call to my BiL who travels to Holland often enough and he told me this place was, in fact, a well-respected and well-established jewelry retailer. So I ordered. That was 12/11/05. You can see where this is going, right?

Well, the ONE thing they need to work on is shipping options (they didn't offer any beyond "You want it shipped? Or you wanna come by?") because here we are Christmas Eve Eve, and I am worried this thing is on a tugboat that just left Antwerp. I dunno who the patron saint of shipping & receiving actually IS, but I think I need to find him/her and fast.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 3:58 AM 6 comments

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Frazzled is as frazzled does.

OK, so it's Christmas and TFBIM is rehearsing her production of Frazzlemania. I, of course, am perversely serene. Mind you we have a division-of-labor thing going on here to the extent this is what she has to do:

1- She has to buy gifts for anyone she wouldn't want me to buy gifts for (i.e. C-listers)
2- She has to proof the Christmas/Holiday card list
3- She has to wrap all gifts
4- Decorate the trees (I do the heavy lifting)

Everything else I do. I get/make all the food stuffs, fill/address/stamp/mail all 122 cards, buy the gifts for the people whom I--firmly--believe do not suck. But yet she frazzles.

I think a big part of this has to do with expectations. The trees must be perfect (not that anyone will notice any imperfections), and any of her useless friends who needs help must be allowed to drain her time and patience with their inane requests. (The three good friends never do this, BTW)

So part of my Christmas "thing" is to tell her to come in off the ledge.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 9:26 AM 3 comments

Christmas Music.

BabelBabe went off on a pretty right-on rant on Christmas music. I tend to agree but I want to mention to the Internet where our paths diverge.

I agree with Badge that the Bob & Doug Mackenzie's is the best (and only acceptable) version of the 12 Days of Christmas. The rest--and especially the original--just suck dead wombats. The Allen Sherman version is passable.

I agree w. Gina on that "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" song. That one just flat-out sucks and even if I didn't miss my grandmothers to this very day, it'd still be a stupid--and stupidly unfunny--song. After 9/11/01 and the death of some people I knew, Weird Al's "Christmas At Ground Zero" isn't nearly as clever as I used to think. (In his defense, it was written eons before.)

I DO enjoy Stan Freberg's "Good Morning, Mr. Scrooge" which is a funny way of reminding people what Christmas is all about.

I don't have to listen to "the" version of a song or carol, so long as it's done well. To be sure, I PREFER it that way, but The Ventures' rendition of "Sleigh Ride" is just cool, man. I also have a soft spot for "Run Rudolph, Run" by either Chuck Berry or Brian Setzer. But I want to hear Der Bingle singing "White Christmas," and Nat "King" Cole's "The Christmas Song" not to the exclusion of all else, but in the great majority. Julie Andrews is great, too. Sometimes I go full-out the other way and crank up Andy Williams or Perry Como. Or if I feel REALLY reactionary, the Choir of St. Michael's Cathedral. Oh, and Vince Guaraldi. Gotta have my Vince Guaraldi.

OK, ramble off.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 8:56 AM 4 comments

Pilfered from Badger (as per her instructions)

15 things (only!) about books:

  1. I learned to read when I was 3 or 4, also via a Little Golden Book about a bunny getting lost because he disobeyed his parents. Coincidentally, to this day I still have to look at my hands to determine right from left.
  2. I used to hide under the bed, with a flashlight, to read. My sister (we shared a room at the time) used to snitch on me.
  3. I love/loved encyclopædiæ. I remember reading The Golden Book encyclopædia when I was not quite 5. Often I'd start looking for something, but I'd get distracted. This is why I know all about Hittites, Hellenism but I have no clue what the Haymarket Riots were all about.
  4. The books I have been reading the longest are the Sherlock Holmes novels/stories.
  5. The first/last book that made me cry was the the post script to Harvey Penick's The Game For A Lifetime.
  6. I love being able to read books in the original English, Spanish or Italian (you're taking your chances if you hand me something in Latin, though). It's fun to compare the different national preferences for genres/style. It is SO true that books lose so much in translation.
  7. The first set of books that changed me for the better were the Bertie/Jeeves books by PG Wodehouse.
  8. Two books that changed my worldview at around age 12 were The Road To Serfdom and Wealth of Nations.
  9. I like collecting those Easton Press leatherbound books.
  10. I also collect cookbooks. I have 9' x 4' of shelving CRAMMED with cookbooks. A cookbook which gives you one home-run recipe is a joy forever. (Badger, get thee the Cooking with F r i e n d s Cookbook)
  11. Sometimes listening to an audiobook ruins the print version forever. If you have a nasal, whiny (or "whAH-nee") voice with a profound Georgia accent, you should let some actor/actress read it for you. (Did you catch all that Frances Mayes?)
  12. Badger sez: "I can't bear to get rid of books. I keep everything. Ninety-five percent of the crap I have in storage is books." Amen, sister. In my case it's 85%, 10% being magazines, the rest being cassettes and LPs.
  13. Used bookstores are a supreme pleasure for me.
  14. When I was a kid, during summer vacations I'd pedal off to the library and spend all day there, arriving prior to, and departing immediately after the summer downpours. (Invariably in SoFla's summer, it rains ALL DAY.)
  15. When I go walking (2-4 miles a day) I invariably take a paperback w. me. Yes, I can read AND walk.

-J.


Posted by Joke at 8:34 AM 1 comments

Monday, December 19, 2005

Mo' Christmas pix

Those whom I've offsprung, casing the joint for their big heist of 12/25/05.
The basic Christmas setup in the living room. Dig the Disney monorail in lieu of a train. Why California's Orange Stinger is right next to Florida's Contemporary Resort is due to TFBIM's artistic license.
-J.

Posted by Joke at 4:13 PM 6 comments

Angels I'll have heard on high

Dear Internet,

Well, there will be much a-carolin' in the Jokesphere over the next few days. I just dropped NOS off at choir practice, for they have a concert on 12/23. NOS has the singular honor of TWO solos, on the strength he is the only boy who can stay on pitch. He's got to belt out "Veni Emmanuel" totally a capella and one section of "The Little Drummer Boy." I have to grit my teeth about that because it is my 2nd least favorite* carol. Since NOS's school is Old School Catholic, there is a lot of stuff in Latin and not much in the way of reindeer or Frosty the Snowperson. One Austrian girl is soloing "O Tannenbaum" which always sounded to me like some German CEO asking for a junior executive to come into his office.

There is also a Christmas Eve Mass, where NOS has been assigned to play a shepherd. Mimic genius he is, he keeps talking like Shermy from the Peanuts Christmas special "Every Christmas it's the same thing. I always end up being a shepherd." But the church--a fairly rococo affair--always looks great when spangled with Christmas lights and boughs and balsam and all that.

NTS's school is a lot smaller and so pretty much EVERYONE has a song to himself. Lucky me, NTS gets to sing Feliz Navidad and The Twelve Days of Christmas (my hands-down LEAST favorite Christmas song) and I must grin and bear it and beam at the boy. He is devoid of pitch and lyrics are, well, let's just say he is no strict constructionist and he considers them to be a "living document."

-Joke

* I mean really. You're the Virgin Mary, you've just schlepped from Nazareth to Bethlehem, there are no hotels to be had, you are about-to-burst pregnant, you've had to bunk in a stable, gone into labor in a stable, plopped Baby Jesus in the manger and wrapped him in swaddling clothes because there is no place to buy proper blankies and all of a sudden some kid shows up and, instead of bringing so much as a rattle he has the gall to say "I didn't bring anything, but instead I'll bang the drum awhile for your newborn. Doesn't that sound restful?" This is why Catholics venerate the Virgin Mary so. Had it been my mom, she would have put the kid through the drum like in the cartoons and told him that if the baby woke up, there would be Hell to pay.

Posted by Joke at 8:06 AM 3 comments

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Well, cool!

Last Thursday we went to a Christmas/Chanukah party at one of our clubs. This was also a small benefit for Operation Santa Claus, and since I am all big on that particular Very Good Cause, we went. There was a champagne tasting (for those scoring at home, it was Pommery, who sponsored part of the doings.) and yummies and general merriment. At the end of the evening there were prizes handed out.

Well!

It seems that I thought the prizes were being called out by ticket number, when in fact it was by membership number. So today I get a call from the office to the effect I had to swing by to claim my prize. At first I was a bit surprised by the whole thing since I never win these things, but since I had to work out, I stopped by the office and--looky here!--I have won dinner for 4 (w. cocktails and wine!) which is something that should weigh in somewhere north of $250!

Yay me!

-J.

Posted by Joke at 5:11 PM 4 comments

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Show & Tell Must Go On

This is not what BB had in mind, but TFBIM is running around with the camera. So this will have to suffice. There are people who are rather lax about Christmas/Holiday cards. Not I. I take this evry seriously and each year I buy 120 (!) cards in three general categories: A-List, B-List and C-List.

The A-List is a mighty low-density place, maybe 15 out of 120 cards. These are for people I simply adore.

These cards are completed longhand, in my atrocious penmanship, via fountain pen, and include an actual message--beyond the usual "Merry Christmas!" greeting--of some length. The top one is suitable for both Jews and Christians because all it says is "Joy To The World" so unless someone has issues with Three Dog Night, we're OK.
The cards are invariably Crane's, except for the one year I got a fat stack of Ralph Lauren Purple Label cards when I bought my tuxedo.

Next come the B-listers. These are people I like well enough. They are pleasant to converse with, and not too grating. The best members of our (TFBIM's and mine) families reside here.
If they are all hip and/or secular, we sling along these neat Haddon Sundblom cards. The message is usually computer generated and hand-signed.

If they are among the pious, we send this cheerful burst of orthodoxy, with a short handwritten "Merry Christmas!" or something like that and a signature.

C-listers get this:


I picked this up for $1.97 for a box of 25, and they are all computer scribbled. This is for MOST of TFBIM's pals, most of my relatives (who are lucky to be getting anything at all) as well as hers. These people are one stupid remark from not even getting THIS.

Lastly are friends'of the boys. I grabbed these at The Museum Store website.

The idea is cute for little kids...you scribble a quickie greeting and then send the "blank"card along with the sticker sheet and the kids "make" their own card.

Merry Christmas to all* and to all a good night,

-Joke

P.S. Well, to all the Gentiles. Happy Chanukah to the Jewish kids.


Posted by Joke at 5:57 PM 7 comments

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Trauma, desperation, depression...

The lady who cuts my hair is moving away to Key West. She's been cutting my hair since June 1984.

I am in denial.

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 8:05 AM 10 comments

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Virtual shopping

Today, I will go virtual shopping for Christmas & Chanukah gifts. Because I can't trust some of you people, I will post them on 12/23. Even people who get "real" gifts will get virtual gifts, because I am THAT giving.

I totally, completely, thoroughly ripped this off from BabelBabe, so everyone go over there and say hi. This is her "thing" like Blackbird's is the Show And Tell Not Photo Meme Thing.

My thing, however, will be to post our Letters to Santa (or, according to the ancient tradition as revealed to us by Saturday Night Live, Hanukkah Harry). As I shop around virtually (and not quite so virtually) I am overwhelmed by the "Oooh! I want!" feeling. Some things are so beyond the pale as re. price that, unless I invent a new operating system that takes on a 90% market share while selling at confiscatory prices, I am likely to remain with my nose pressed against the window.

So there you have it.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 7:38 AM 1 comments

I loved this, but then again I would

http://saveanelf.com/

Posted by Joke at 7:36 AM 4 comments

Monday, December 12, 2005

Happy Birthday Poppy

Happy Birthday to the single best human being I have ever met from the Internet.

MWAH!

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 11:31 PM 0 comments

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Joke's Book Club (again)

Yes, I am a raving Italophile. Sue me.

Go out and get The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt (something tells me he also used to write a fashion column for Esquire in the 1980s). Based on the events immediately after the devastating fire which consumed the ironically-named La Fenice (The Phoenix) Opera House in Venice, this book captures the hidden bits of the city that even return visitors miss (or choose to miss). The pace is a bit slower than Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, but not too much. I love the eccentrics who populate backstage Venice and the way he captures the melancholy vibe of a place now known for being beautiful but centuries ago was a superpower.

The writing is clever and witty without being obnoxious and the book lulls you along at the dreamy pace of Venetian life. This book is like a 3 hour lunch (in a good way), and will leave you feeling oddly langourous.

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 9:31 AM 5 comments