Thursday, December 22, 2011

When in Doubt: Make a List

RADIOLAB: Laughter by Nick Iluzada
RADIOLAB: Laughter, a photo by Nick Iluzada on Flickr.

It’s nearly the time of year when we all make brave/bold/ambitious New Year's resolutions. I tend not to because I never see them through so I’m making a different type of list this year. This is my 1st annual Things I'm Glad I Learned this Year Which I'll Hopefully Remember Next Year list. I hope it catches on.

  • The best reading is re-reading.
  • Renovating is great in theory. Shitty in practice.
  • You can get sick of eating ribs.
  • Turning the computer on and off a few times often fixes the problem.
  • It's important to be kind to everyone. Especially to those who you know don't feel the same.
  • If you're not failing, you're not living. Or trying hard enough.
  • Bad meals will put you in a foul mood and should, therefore, be avoided.
  • Bad movies can be enlightening.
  • Happiness is a choice.
  • Bacon makes everything better.
  • Kids are smarter than you think.
  • Nothing feels better than waking up next to someone who you know loves you.
  • Swimming naked is better than with a bathing suit.
  • Kids can be jerks, too.
  • Sleeping in a hammock is very satisfying.
  • A chipmunk landing in your hammock while sleeping? Not so much.
  • Making someone laugh is The. Best.

Anything to add?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What's That Ringing in my Ears? Oh, It's the Sounds of Christmas!!!

Last week, I was in the city doing a little bit of shopping when the clerk at my favourite cheese shop - who's amp, by the way, is always at 11 on the "I love my Job" meter- told me that the reason she was looking and feeling a little depressed was due to the fact that she was dreading the weekend. Why I asked? Did you have a horrible task to attend to? A funeral to attend? A children's Christmas concert, perhaps? No she told me and then leaned in conspiratorially so that no one but I could hear. "This is the weekend we will be turning on the Xmas music". Ah, I said with a knowing nod of my head. I then doubled my order and told her I wouldn't see her until after the New Year when they would go back to playing whatever music they slap on that makes me buy more Boursin than any human should reasonably eat.

Every year, millions of people head out to gather gifts their family will tire of in a fortnight and find themselves needlessly exposed to Christmas music. Would it surprise you to know that when U.S. soldiers at Abu Grahib wanted to break the will of their Iraqi prisoners they chose "All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth"? I'm not because every time I hear the less-than-dulcet tones of Bruce Springsteen warning me that Santa Claus is coming to town, I want to put Amnesty International on speed dial.

I should come clean: I don't hate Christmas. I like the idea of universal fellow feeling. I’ve made my peace with consumerism. Plus; I enjoy getting presents. What I don't like, however, is having music I despise shoved down my throat every time I step into a Shopper's Drug Mart to buy feminine products. Here are a few things I would rather hear than Christmas music:

  • a jackhammer
  • a cat in heat
  • a mosquito in my ear
  • anything by Keasha
  • fingers on a chalkboard
  • an old school computer modem
  • a colicky baby
  • Ben Stein
  • Nancy Grace
  • a drunken karaoke singing "Don't Stop Believing"

And while we're on the subject, why does every second song have to be a question? Do They know it's Xmas? What Child is This? What Time is Santa Coming to Drop off the Bootie? I might have made the last one up.


Here is the point (and it's more a desperate plea at this point) : for every Xmas song played, throw in a favourite song of that year. Wonderful Xmas, by Wings followed by Halocene by Bon Iver, for instance. All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey followed by Helena Beat by Foster the People. You feel me? For every mallet hit of Xmas cheer, a lovely ear worm. It would make the season brighter.