Merry Christmas 2007!

Merry Christmas! ‘Twas a little bit cooler than last year, and I have seen snow this winter, so we’re making some progress. Unfortunately, my hopes of nobody-getting-anybody-anything were dashed. Oh well. Maybe next year.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, my grandfather worked for Montgomery Ward. He was an architect, so I’m not certain what exactly his job was at a department store. Maybe he was designing a new building for them, or maybe he was moonlighting. Either way, one day, one of Grampa’s coworkers drew a picture of a reindeer. I don’t know whether it was part of a promotional campaign, or an attempt to develop a children’s story, or a doodle for his kids, but he drew a deer, and then placed a small red lightbulb directly on the deer’s nose. Turns out it was a magic lightbulb; a giant reindeer with a glowing nose and flames shooting from his eyes leapt from the page, burst through he wall, and let out a bloodcurdling roar as he flew away.

Well, the marketer/author/doodler knew he was on to something—and shortly thereafter Montgomery Ward would copyright his idea and turn it into a children’s song and Christmas special.

Growing up, my younger sister loved rabbits. She had all kinds of bunny merchandise, as well as a large, white, floppy-eared bunny who lived in a large pen in the backyard.

One long ago, somewhat cold Christmas morning, the telephone rang shortly after the Opening of the Presents. I answered the phone with a cheery “Merry Christmas!”

The woman on the other end of the phone said, “If you don’t bring that rabbit inside tonight I’m going to call the police. That poor thing’s going to freeze to death out there.” She hung up.

I returned the phone to its cradle and paused. It had been cold, but not freezing. The moron who’d called clearly knew nothing about rabbits, but was a moron nonetheless and could cause some trouble. So I told Dad about the call. He said not to worry.

It remained cold throughout the day, and every once in a while I’d look out the back window to see if the rabbit was okay. Each time I checked, the fuzzy white thing hadn’t moved an inch.

Night came, and I looked out the window again. The rabbit was still in the same spot. I was getting worried–not about the rabbit (after all, it wasn’t mine), but about whether the police would actually show up over a frozen rabbit. I asked Dad whether he was going to bring the rabbit inside tonight.

He said, “The rabbit’s going to be just fine.”

I said, “Well, I’ve been watching it, and it hasn’t moved all day.”

“Really? Why don’t you go check on it?”

So I turned on the exterior light and walked out back. I tried to step on the leaves as heavily as possible, hoping that the crunch would cause the rabbit to stir before I got there. Surely a dead rabbit would mean at least one if not both of my parents getting arrested. But the rabbit didn’t move. I was finally close enough to reach into the cage and touch it—

—and then I saw that the lifeless white furball wasn’t the rabbit at all. It was one of my sister’s stuffed bunny dolls.

I laughed out loud. The real rabbit had been inside all along, and Dad put a decoy out there to trick whatever busybody came looking for the real rabbit. Beautiful. I stood by the cage for a minute or two, highly amused but a little confused about what exactly would’ve happened if that busybody had shown up.

I heard the crunching on footsteps on dead leaves near the side of the house; someone was approaching. I thought it was Dad, and I turned around laughing. But it wasn’t Dad.

One of the neighbors had walked into my backyard with a flashlight, presumably to check on the rabbit. I said, “You’re not supposed to be back here.”

She said, “Young man, that thing is going to die if it hasn’t already. Now move and let me see, or I’ll get the police to do it.”

I said, “It’s not even a real rabbit, so just go away.”

She said, “Do you want me to call the police?”

Behind her, something rustled. I thought it was Dad, waiting for her. She didn’t seem to notice.

“The rabbit’s fine and you need to go or you’re in big trouble.”

She said, “When you grow up, I hope you take better care—”

Something snorted angrily behind her. She turned around and peered into the darkness.

An eleven-foot, forty-six-point buck with a glowing red nose and eyes of flame sprinted into my backyard. Without stopping, its fangs clamped down on the arm that my neighbor had pathetically flung up to defend herself, and bounded into the night sky. She hadn’t even had time to scream.

I watched until the silhouette of the reindeer and its prey had crossed the moon, then walked back in the house and congratulated Dad on his prank. He got me pretty good on that one.

2 Responses to “Merry Christmas 2007!”

Doctor Hmnahmna says: 
December 27th, 2007 at 11:03 am: And I like how you rocked the late 70s/early 80s moptop haircut. That is the requisite cut for the impossibly cute kid brought in late in a sitcom run to salvage one more year of ratings. It never worked, and cancellation was around the corner.

willburg says: 
January 15th, 2008 at 9:55 pm: i remember hearing the bunny story about 3 years ago but i dont remember the eleven-foot, forty-six point buck.

A good season.

This season turned out pretty well for the Bears after all: two games against the Packers, two wins against the Packers. Yesterday’s win—which was Green Bay’s worst loss of the year—makes up for the nine losses this year. I wish I could’ve seen the game yesterday instead of following it on NFL.com. Did Urlacher breathe fire after his touchdown? Did Farv-ruh cry again?

It’s time to abandon the conference system in the NFL. The Patriots are the best in the league this season, the Colts are probably second, and they can play no later than the conference championship. Never mind this season; the two teams with the most wins in any five-year period in league history are the Colts and the Patriots—and there’s no way they can play in the Super Bowl. That sucks. We’ve seen the same patterns several times in league history, most recently in the early 90s. The Niners and Cowboys were the best teams, and met in three consecutive NFC championships. God, those would have been incredible Super Bowls.

With the Iowa caucuses a little over a week away, I suppose it’s time to pick a horse in the 2008 election. Well, I can’t, yet. I’ve narrowed it down to two candidates, who I truly could stand to see in office for the next four or eight years. So I’ll endorse both of them:

I hereby announce, with great delight, that I would like our next President to be either the Democratic Representative from Ohio’s 10th District, Dennis Kucinich, or the former Republican Senator from Tennessee, Fred Thompson. Both are clearly men of great accomplishment.


I somehow managed to delete my old journal. Fortunately, I copied all the entries and comments to disk, and I’ll have to figure out how to get them back on-line.

Here begins the new blog.

3 Responses to “Oops.”

  1. admin says:
    December 24th, 2007 at 4:23 pm: Test.
  2. Doctor Hmnahmna says:
    December 27th, 2007 at 6:13 am: Not only did you lose the blog entries, you lost your users. I had to re-register.
  3. admin says:
    December 27th, 2007 at 6:28 pm: Yup. You have to re-register.

“If you shoot him, you’ll just make him mad.”

This weekend I watched parts of two movies on race. One of them was Crash—forgive me for being a wee bit behind the times. I never saw it in the theater, figuring it’d be out on video or on television soon enough. I guess this weekend was soon enough.

I assume that the film was meant to spur nationwide discussions of the important racial issues of the day, in the hopes of bringing us all closer together. But at some point, a Best Picture winner has to be artistic, and Crash—at least the 15 minutes or so that I saw—was about as subtle as a public service announcement. Maybe one day I’ll have the patience to watch the whole thing and give it a fair shot, but it seemed like little more than an R-rated, heavy-handed after-school special.

The other movie was Mel Brooks’ visionary meditation on race, Blazing Saddles. Sure it’s hilarious, and most who’ve seen it love it, but I think it’s safe to say that it was far riskier to make Blazing Saddles in the racial climate of 1974 than it was to make Crash thirty years later. I think it’s also safe to say that Brooks did more for improving race relations than Paul Haggis did, even it wasn’t all that much. And yet Crash seemed so haughty and important. Oh well.

This weekend I will drive to Chicago to see friends and relatives I haven’t seen in a year and a half. I’m looking forward to seeing my old roommate, various aunts, my favorite uncle, and my now-eight-year-old cousin–it doesn’t seem like that long since I saw her last, but to her it’s been roughly a quarter of her conscious memory. Happily Sadly, her cat has died since I moved, so I won’t have to worry about being clawedand I hope the cat has gone to Cat Heaven, and is now a Cat Angel.

Truth be told, I’m most looking forward to seeing my long-lost love. It’s been a year and a half with no contact—my fault entirely, I’m the one who hasn’t called. I was stupid, and I screwed up when I left. Now, I’m not in a position where I can just move right back up there, and marriage simply isn’t feasible, and things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour—but O, to taste once again!

Great commercial, if the Bears didn’t suck this year.

It was a pizza, in case your browser couldn’t call up the picture. A deep-dish pizza from Malnati’s. It wasn’t a woman; women are everywhere–there’s, like, billions of them. But Malnati’s—fresh Malnati’s—exists only in Chi-town.

One Response to ““If you shoot him, you’ll just make him mad.””

  1. Doctor Hmnahmna Says:
    December 10th, 2007 at 7:11 PMAlas, the only Malnati’s I’ve ever eaten has been the variety shipped on dry ice to anywhere in the USA. Still great pizza. Maybe one of these years I can make a longer trip to the greater Chicagoland area than a run through O’Hare.

Two educational timewasters.

Because you could always be less productive:

“Eight letters in search of a word.” Make as many three-or-more-letter words as you can in the time provided.

“Know your world.” Locate cities, landmarks, et al on the map. Humbling at times, but fun.

One Response to “Two educational timewasters.”

  1. gatorbob Says:
    December 12th, 2007 at 10:40 PMOkay, I was up at 3 a.m. last night trying to plant my little flag within 2000 kilometers of Tenochtitlan and Easter Island. Thanks a bunch. Can I return the favor by pointing toward the following website:


    Here’s the set-up – you supply the synonyms for increasingly difficult vocabulary words – they donate grains of rice to charity. Good luck!