Thursday, December 25, 2008

Holiday Ramble

The radio at the bank I worked at last December only got reception for one station, which played Christmas music nonstop. I couldn’t take it, and brought CDs to listen to, instead. Even the dirty looks I received after playing gangster rap couldn’t pressure back to A Holly Jolly Christmas.

Contrary to popular belief about Jews, I really like the secular holiday Christmas. The candy is great and the cheerful atmosphere is unrivaled throughout the year. I am most envious of the Christmas lights. JD and I used to have competitions to see who could count the most houses with lights. I couldn’t understand why every home didn’t participate.

One positive thing the shitty economy has brought is a less-hyped Christmas. The percentage of commercials related to the holiday has dropped from 100% to 97%—the perfect amount. Christmas is hyped as the biggest event of the year for one to two months, and then it’s over within a matter of hours. That seems like such a letdown, like crack cocaine. On the other hand, Hanukah lasts eight days. If only I could see more commercials with dreidels and potato latkes.

The Twelve Days of Christmas was created to outdo Hanukah. Around 95% of Americans celebrate Christmas and 2% celebrate Hanukah, but that isn’t enough, is it?

I know it is tradition, but how can parents in good conscience lie to their kids about Santa Claus? If we very conservatively assume there are .25 billion children around the world celebrating Christmas, and one day for Santa to slide his fat ass down all those chimneys, that’s 173,611 houses per minute and God knows how many cookies.

Today I’ll be at the movie theater with all the other Jews in Northern Virginia. Tonight I’ll eat a fantastic second Thanksgiving meal my mom prepares. JD and I joke that it’s our Christmas dinner, but my mom doesn't like that terminology. "It’s our special end-of-the-year meal,” she says, or, “Since everyone else is having a nice meal, we should, too.”

Zeke invites me to his family’s Christmas lunch every year. He used to make a delicious banana pudding for desert until the year I had an allergic reaction to it. I thanked his family for assuring I wasn’t the lone Jew on Christmas, and then rushed home for my trusty Benadryl.

Actress Megan FoxAs if Barbara Streisand didn’t already suck enough, she sold out and made a Christmas album. She’s not the only Jew to be so greedy—Neil Diamond and Kenny G made one, as well. Jesus may have been Jewish, but he couldn’t touch G on the sax. We’ll pay your religion to take Streisand. Better yet, we’ll trade you Streisand for Megan Fox, straight up.

My Aunt Flojo went to high school with Streisand.

Aunt Flojo’s daughter went to school with Chelsea Clinton. I went to school with The Stumbler.

Aunt Flojo bought me Brooks Brothers shirts and ties for Hanukah and my birthday. Those stingy old-timers in the government are blinded by my fancy New York stitching.Brooks Brothers shirts and ties
The top five holiday movies are as follows:

Honorable Mention: Jack Frost. Michael Keaton is great. Snowmen are even better. Michael Keaton as a snowman…forget about it.

5. Love Actually. Though I thoroughly enjoyed this, it made the list mostly so I look diversified. I wanted to use Definitely, Maybe instead, but as it turns out, that’s not even a holiday movie. It was just a better chick flick.

4. Meet the Parents. This is more of a feel-bad flick than a feel-good one. Nevertheless, I laughed to the point where I couldn’t breathe.

3. Die Hard. The perfect holiday movie, the perfect Mos Def look-alike, the perfect action movie, and an absolute classic. The only reason it isn’t higher on the list is the next two movies.

2. Bad Santa. One of the funniest first-viewings in my life. I laughed every minute of Bad Santa to the point of tears, stomach pain, and wishing I could stop laughing. I let Mr. Mountain Dew borrow the DVD, and when he said he didn’t like the movie I was ashamed to be his friend.

1. Home Alone. I’ve probably seen it over 100 times and still love it. I watched it in the clinic with JD five years ago and my nurse thought I simply had nothing else to watch. “Home Alone is timeless,” I told her. When I saw it in the theater at six years old, I laughed so hard I fell out of my seat. I had strep throat, and had trouble catching my breath, and went to an urgent clinic for a penicillin script right afterwards, but it was worth it.

Palin pardoned a turkey. Will she also pardon a caribou?

My friend at work told me the holiday gift exchange was fun last year, so the morning of our party I bought a gift and wrapped it in four pieces of white paper. It was on the gift table, though most people didn’t realize it was a valid present. I likened it to the Holy Grail from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

When my name was chosen, I stole chocolates from someone else instead of taking an unwrapped gift. I merely played the percentages: most gifts I had no use for, and in all likelihood I’d be stuck with something unusable. It turns out the chocolates were International flavors and contained crème. I was allergic.

I flossed the chocolates to everybody when their turn came up in hopes they’d take them, and I’d get to choose a different gift. I was looked over until the very last turn. One guy took someone else’s gift, who took another person’s, who then took my chocolates.

The maximum allowed number of trades was three, so I was forced to choose a wrapped gift from the table. There were two left: my ageless wonder and a long, skinny item. My curiosity led me to that one until a woman told me it was reserved for Lovely Suzie who wasn’t there, but surely wouldn’t want the item wrapped in white paper with hand-drawn pictures of a snowflake, menorah and stick figure Rudolph. I had to take my very own gift that I bought and wrapped that day that nobody else wanted or even realized was an option, on the final pick after finally getting my allergy-ridden International crème-filled chocolates off my hands, and not by choice.

Why am I complaining? It was the best gift there.Soft Washington Redskins football

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Friday, December 12, 2008

His Dingle was Danglin'

SHOW US YOUR TITS! read PepperoniNip’s sign. It was his idea to display it against the window when we passed girls on the highway. Some laughed, some slowed down to get away, and none of them flashed us.

We were on our way to Charlotte, North Carolina, to visit a couple friends. SHOW US YOUR TITS! seemed like the proper way to begin. We hoped the girls were of legal age, but nowadays there’s no way to tell. On that note, PepperoniNip should probably be in jail.

After arriving, the alcohol quickly accumulated in HollaAtYoBoy’s veins, though he wasn’t the only one. WassupMuhfucka got kicked out of the bar for lying down (passing out) on the booth. Three 40s in three hours just as a pre-game will do that.

HollaAtYoBoy showed early signs of disaster. He spoke to a homeless man in loud, random noises before telling him to “scoot.” He ate half a pizza with his eyes closed. He repeatedly called PepperoniNip a “Ja Rule soft bitch,” and serenaded him with, “Where would I be without my baby?”

HollaAtYoBoy’s 30-hour rise in BAC peaked our second night in the Queen City. WassupMuhfucka woke up to the stream of HollaAtYoBoy’s urine flowing into WassupMuhfucka’s bag of clothes, at which point WassupMuhfucka said, “What the fuck!”

I was asleep on the air mattress several feet away, but not for long. HollaAtYoBoy collapsed on me and rolled onto his back. I looked over at my sleeping (passed-out) friend, only to see his one-eyed monster staring back. After peeing in his “toilet” he took three steps and fell on his “bed,” without zipping or even tucking it in.

WassupMuhfucka was furious. I was nauseous. The image burned into my retinas and still randomly appears. I may need electroconvulsive therapy.

The following morning we went to Bojangles’ for breakfast. We made puns with the restaurant name.

“This employee is bojanglin’.”

“This jangle’s the jam.”

“His dingle was danglin’,” I said. I wasn’t much in the mood for Famous Chicken ‘n’ Biscuits. I saw far few tits and one too many dingles to have an appetite.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Don't Give Up. Don't Ever Give Up.

An individual named Dani repeatedly bugged me over the last several weeks. She wanted me to blog about Survivor Corps, a seemingly good organization that is dedicated to eliminating anti-personnel landmines around the world. On her first request I politely declined, citing that there are hundreds of good organizations, and since I can’t possibly blog about all of them, I won’t single hers out. On her last request to date I told her, “I can’t help you. Please stop emailing me.” I was impolite, and now, Dani, we’re even.

Seeing as how this is a cancer blog, there is one cause I will promote: more funding for cancer research. It is projected that 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2008; more than 500,000 will die.

Last week ESPN raised funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, a reputable non-profit organization that has raised over $80 million for cancer research. It is named after Jim Valvano, former N.C. State basketball coach who, against enormous odds, led his team to the 1993 NCAA National Basketball Championship.

In 1992 Jim Valvano was diagnosed with cancer, and died less than a year later. At the 1993 inaugural ESPY awards, Jimmy V gave one of the better speeches I’ve heard, along with Al Pacino’s “The inches we need are everywhere” speech from Any Given Sunday.

Jimmy V stared death in the eye and saw life. He died less than two months after his speech, but that didn’t stop him from finding joy, no doubt while suffering tremendously. He said, “If you laugh, you think and you cry, that’s a full day, that’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

I’m not big on crying (or thinking). Personally, I’d go with laugh, spend some time outdoors, and watch an old Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Now that’s a day.

Jimmy V also said, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” I think he was referring to more than just surviving. He knew he was going to die. “Cancer can take away all my physical abilities; it cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul, and those three things will carry on forever,” he said. I think he meant that we shouldn’t give up on living, and we shouldn’t give up on hope—hope for a cure, if not now then in the future. That is his legacy.

For years Lance Armstrong has been saying that we need not millions of dollars for research, but rather billions. He is right. It is estimated to cost $1 billion for a single drug to pass through research and development. It is also said to cost $1 million for a single person to be treated for cancer. The V Foundation has raised a remarkable amount of money, but it’s not enough—it’ll never be enough until cancer is KO’d. (I’m not opposed to using the majority of resources strictly for breast or lung cancer research. If scientists learn how to make one of the biggest killers obsolete, then maybe they can learn how to nullify them all.)

The V Foundation gives 100% of all new direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs. Like Jim Valvano said: donate money, not for him, or for me, but for you, for someone you love, and for our kids.

Maybe Jimmy V's speech will change your mind...

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Friday, December 5, 2008

A Gladiator at Heart

Read this first:
Hardest Hitting Safety in the Land

Sean Taylor was beloved by Washington Redskin fans in a way most people outside the DC area wouldn't understand. We believe he had the physical ability and desire to be a Hall-of-Famer and the best free safety to ever play. We wanted to get to know Sean, and he wouldn't let us as he hid from cameras and the media, so we thought about what kind of person he was, and likened him to ourselves, and were drawn to him. We talked about how he could knock anyone out cold, and how he could jump 40 inches straight up, and how he could outrun any receiver.

We finally got to know Sean when he was murdered last year, which makes it even more sad. We learned about his growth as a teammate, son and father, how his daughter made him want to be a better person, and how much his spirit influenced others around him. We saw that his defensive coach, Gregg Williams, loved him like a son and openly admits Sean was the best and favorite player he ever coached.

We think about what could have been—the records, championships, trophies—and the young man just barely older than me who changed his life and found peace, only to have it stolen. Redskins fans continue to mourn him and cherish his memory.

During the first home game following his death, there was a video tribute to Sean at FedEx Field, which was later posted on the Redskins website. It is only fitting that the background music in the video is from Gladiator. My friend, Vodka/Benadryl, used to cry when he watched it—a grown man, shedding a tear from a video he'd already seen dozens of times.

Sean Taylor, a Redskin forever...

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