Archive for December, 2016

It’s just terrible. Sure, some might say it’s a mixed bag, but those are most likely the same, sadistic folks that I see jogging around the neighborhood when it’s under five degrees.

It makes sense that these people enjoy our current, frozen hellscape. They’ve been secretly trying to kill themselves every winter, under the guise of exercise.

They do this, so you can feel twice as bad.  First, for how sloth-like indoor life has made you. And second, for the fact that the cold won’t kill them. Yet it would you.

This same sort of deception is at play when someone says “Eh, it’s not so bad.” Or the most obnoxious of all: “It could be worse.”

Yeah, it could be worse. We could be naked, fighting off wolves in Alaska. But I probably wouldn’t have time to update this readerless blog, if that were the case.

And you know what else?

It could also be better, a lot better. We could be cuddling koala bears, while snapping pics of tropical drinks, on a beach somewhere in Honolulu (If that’s even a real place).

That said, I guess it’s not all doom and gloom. After all, December does bring with it the holiday season. And yes, there’s a lot to be grateful for. And the different holidays and their rich traditions make life that much more special. Yadda yadda yadda.

But seriously, who are we fucking kidding? It’s 10 degrees below zero, right now . And I’m willing to bet cold, hard cash, that almost all winter traditions were invented for the sole purpose of stopping us from walking off into the frozen night. Even something as small as a catchy jingle can stop one from giving in to death’s warm embrace.

So you see, If cavemen had Christmas ornaments, we’d all be a lot hairier. That’s just plain science.

Unfortunately, when it’s this kind of cold outside, even heartwarming holiday cheer can mutate into something a bit more ominous.

Take classic Christmas carols like Deck the Halls, White Christmas, or Silent Night. If you’re cold enough (And if you live in Chicago, you are), you begin to decode what these songs are actually about.

Some might point to cabin fever, but the sort of chill I’m talking about is beyond psychological symptoms. And it’s beneficial in one way, and one way only. Like Neo in the Matrix, you begin to see things for what they are.

Fa la la la la is the sound teeth make during their final death rattle. It’s obvious that the poor bastard who wrote this tune, never could get that sound out of his head. Betchya didn’t know that.

Silent night, holy night was evidently written by someone suffering from hypothermia, and preparing to meet his maker. You can’t get much holier than that.

And White Christmas? Well, Bing Crosby might as well have been part of the alt-right. The jury’s still out on him. *Note: Just kidding, Bing. That was a low blow.

“But, what about fun traditions like building gingerbread houses?” You ask.

I agree, it’s a wonderful way to spend the day. Architecture meets sweet delights. It’s the sort of combination that would’ve made Frank Lloyd Wright shed a tear and loosen his belt a notch.

Still, it was an invention most likely born out of necessity. Cabin fever and dwindling food reserves, forced folks to get creative and combine their resources. After all, there’s only so many times one can read Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Yes, I’m assuming Gingerbread houses are an old German thing (no time to google, I’m on a roll).

I suspect I’m starting to sound a bit unhinged. So I won’t even get into the issues I have while drinking and driving (under the legal limit, of course) during the winter months. That would probably be bad form.

Seriously though, even with the salt, it’s like a slip-n-slide out there. And it’s even worse if you’re seeing double (or so I’ve been told).

See? This is what the winter does. It sends you on chattering tangents. Anything to keep your core temperature up.

Well, I’ll stop preaching to the choir, now. We’re all in this together. And if their is a deity in charge of the changing seasons and groundhog shadows, then I hope he or she is a merciful bastard, but I suspect this is not the case.

Also, if you’re from a tropical climate and reading this, you should thank that same cruel deity (who is undoubtedly in charge of the geographical lottery, as well). And know this, you’ll probably be reincarnated in Aleppo. Fair is fair.

A friend of mine, who will remain nameless for this blog (eh, let’s call him Ricardo. I always liked that name). Ricardo’s family started a holiday tradition of their own. His family celebrates Christmas in July. Because, and I’m speculating here, it’s too damn cold to celebrate anything in December.

And they do so with a White Elephant party, which on an unrelated note, I recently learned does not involve car keys, a hat, and condoms (boy, was that an embarrassing night).

Anyhow, Christmas in July seems like a tradition I could get behind. After all, snow is great for about one day. After that, it’s all busted shovels and thrown-out backs.

I guess June or August could also work. But a counterpoint to this would be that those months are already great, and without the holidays, December is undoubtedly the worst month of the year… which is saying a lot.

Jesus, this blog is all over the place. And I’m not sure how I feel about any of it. Except for the part about hating winter. I feel quite strongly about that.

I guess what I’m trying to say, in a very roundabout way, is we’re lucky to have the holidays. Because without em, we’d be a bunch of miserable assholes.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.



I have to dredge up a lingering issue. One that really chaps my hide (god, I love that phrase). Recently, against my better judgment, I begrudgingly settled on the Studio Movie Grill, for a family outing. It’s one of those all-in-one theater chains that thinks combining drinks, dinner, and a movie, is the ULTIMATE MOVIE GOING EXPERIENCE.

Which is kind of like calling an anal fissure EDGE OF YOUR SEAT EXCITEMENT.

The corporate mission statement behind these abominations, is much like a slogan from McDonalds or Burger King. Super-size it! Make it a combo! And don’t forget to add a McNugget Flurry for only twenty-five cents more! 

See, this is how it works: You take a movie, and then you add an overpriced, frozen dinner, and a lot of terrible drinks, and you wrap that all up into a burrito of poor decision-making, and then you shove it in your face-hole. Where stuff goes. And please remember to reserve your seats ahead of time, online. Because there’s always an online component, when you’re destroying something beautiful.

At a glance, like most successful sales pitches, it sounds like a good idea. “Hey, we can get a drink at the theater, then we can eat our meal while watching the movie! Oh, and there’s a red button we can press on our tables! Wooooo!”

This sort of logic might seem sound, if you have a babysitter watching the kids, and you have exactly two hours to spare. Fine, crowbar it all in. 

But for those of us lucky enough to have a night out, and a desire to watch a movie and share a meal, this is the worst possible option. It’s like a candlelit dinner at White Castle. Except there’s a possibility of more diarrhea and less ambiance.

Problem #1: You have a drink or two at the bar beforehand, while you wait to be seated. Great, now you’re slightly buzzed going in. One soggy quesadilla later, and let’s face it, you’re not exactly on your A-game. So yeah, enjoy that movie you’ve either misinterpreted, talked over, or fallen asleep to.

I’ve been trapped next to two drunken middle-aged housewives, complaining that they didn’t “get it” between wet slurps of margaritas and whispered conversations with the waiter. Of course they didn’t get it. They were doing everything but watching the god-damn movie. And it was fucking Jurassic World, not Truffaut.

Problem #2: You’re dealing with waiters in the middle of the movie. They’re scrambling around like ball boys at the French Open, and someone in your group is inevitably going to ask “Should we get another bucket?”  No. You should get a gun and put it in your mouth. Because art is dead.

Problem #3: The food is awful. It’s microwaved soylent green. And we swallow it down like the gluttonous, indecisive children we are. God forbid we hold off on saturated fats for a couple of hours, and choose where we’re going to eat. No, that would be too great of a decision to make. Instead, let’s ruin a movie along with our night. Whatever it takes. Just feed us your soggy quesadillas, and turn up the background noise. This is a decision-free zone.

These places fail miserably in everything they set out to do. They’re a failure as a movie theater. Your experience will undoubtedly be compromised by the wait staff, by your own buzz, and by the people on either side of you (who are either continuously pressing shiny red buttons, or devouring unholy quesadillas between wet burps).

Let’s face it, if one of these places was just a restaurant and bar, it would be a Planet Hollywood without all of the accoutrements.

Movie theaters with a bit of history and a varied movie selection, are getting harder to find. While in their stead, we’re being offered something we don’t need or want. And yet, somehow, we’re still being coerced into thinking that this is our preferred method of movie-going.

And it’s too easy. And they know that. And we like easy.

Enough is enough! So, um, I guess this is the part where I stand up and quote something… and that something is one of the greatest American songs to ever grace a film: “There’s no easy way out. There’s no shortcut home.”  *koff* Rocky 4 *koff*

It comes down to this, dinner and a movie has been co-opted by corporate assholery. We are being sold an inferior alternative. An alternative that cuts out a vital part of this shared, cultural experience. It cuts out the part where you choose for yourself. The part where you walk out of a theater and say “Hey let’s grab a bite to eat, or a drink, and talk about whatever it was we just saw.”  And I fucking love that part.

I guess it’s our own damn fault. We’ve allowed this to happen. We’ve went along with the program, and in doing so, we’ve betrayed a piece of our cultural identity for the first shiny, new thing that came along. 

And with less and less real movie theaters left, this inferior alternative is quickly becoming the only game in town.