Monday, December 29, 2008

Do other countries generally misunderstand each other?

I think so! I was walking to the bank today, and passed a Long John Silver's restaurant. On the sign was "LONDON STYLE FISH AND FRIES $1.99."

Oh, come on! Almost everyone knows that over in the UK they call them "fish and chips!"

Of course, however, I've heard of a UK restaurant that really misunderstood American food...

(By the way, an actual American fast food breakfast consists of coffee, tiny hash brown patties, an egg patty, cheese, and a breakfast meat like sausage or bacon sandwiched in a biscuit, english muffin, croissant, or even in a tortilla.)

Speaking of cuisine, my father and sister (Dad lived in Mexico for awhile while he was growing up, my sister went on a few mission trips there) tell me we have Mexican food all wrong. One item often served in Mexico you won't find at Taco Bell: cactus.

And now let's move up to the stereotypes. By now a lot of us know that every Japanese man is not a karate master and not every Chinese person is a Sumo or Kung Fu master. Still, stereotyping people in other countries REALLY irks me. I can't really enjoy Weird Al's "Canadian Idiot." I know it's all done in fun, but I just can't. I also find that episode of The Simpsons where Bart offends Australia repulsive. Are we Americans really so ignorant of other cultures? I mean, take a look at this stereotyping of Scots done by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane:

That would have you think that every Scotsman wears a kilt all the time and the only instrument they know are the bagpipes. Forget that! For the ongoing adventures of a real Scotsman, see here. (And by the way, they love Back to the Future over there.)

Man, if we could only realize that not-that-down-deep, most cultures are the same, we might have fewer international disputes.

Well, I guess we all do agree on one thing: even though it's not good for you, everything is better fried in hot cooking oils.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day...

Well, up came Boxing Day (which isn't a holiday in the U.S., but it is in Canada, the UK, Australia, and several other countries). I was awoken by the alarm I'd set on my otherwise useless cell phone at 5:30 AM. I got out of bed at 6 AM. (I'm a lazy man when I can afford to be...) About 7:45, I got a call from Shaun, saying he was picking me up soon. I hurriedly got dressed, popped some aspirin (because I had a headache), and locked the door and ran downstairs. Then I ran back upstairs and grabbed my camera. Shaun came shortly, and we ran to Wal-Mart to pick up THE last gift: a new DVD player for Aaron and Jessica.

Shortly after we got there, my Mom and the kids showed up. Surprisingly, we didn't have a lot of family drama... Dad read the Christmas Story from Luke and Matthew, then we did presents. All my presents were well-recieved, and here's my haul for the year:

  • A new coat, actually from a co-worker who noticed the seven-year old cloth jacket I was wearing had been tearing and was wearing out in the elbows.
  • A paperback edition of E.T.A. Hoffman's The Nutcracker, illustrated by Maurice Sendak (I actually have an old hardcover, but it's showing wear. This was from Dad.
  • Also from Dad was a cool Chronicles of Narnia keychain, shaped like Peter's Aslan shield, with Mr. Beaver's prophecy about Aslan and Spring. ("Wrong will be right when Aslan comes in sight...")
  • Audrey and Shaun surprised me with a copy of the I Can Has Cheezburger book. I love LOLCats!
  • Aaron and Jessica gave me a heavier jacket than my old one, but this was black. They also gave me a long-sleeve charcoal colored shirt. I had just been thinking I didn't have one...
  • Someone was giving us sampler boxes of Russel Stover's chocolates. I'll go ahead and attribute to little sister Genevieve...
  • Mom gave me ANOTHER jacket, this one almost like my old one, just heavier.
  • Daniel gave all his brothers stocking caps. That will help!
  • Audrey and Shaun also gave me the 3-disc DVD of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (just confirmed to be the last Narnia movie released by Disney), the one thing I'd been asking for. (Though I did say people could also get me the 2-disc of Iron Man, but no one did.) It was odd, because I gave my little brother Arthur a copy of the 1-disc version, but through a mix-up, my Dad opened it instead. I quickly set that right, and Arthur opened Dad's gift from me, Walt Disney Treasures: Annette.
  • And Arthur gave me a clip to put on my glasses to make them sunglasses. Right now, wearing them makes my eyes ache, but I've decided it might be because of my old pair. As soon as I get my W-2, I'm filing my taxes and buying a new pair.

Al Cook, I did get suitably spoiled, thank you very much. I'm actually surprised at the lack of junk that was gifted this year! Usually Mom and the kids hit the $1 shops and thrift stores. (We have gotten gifts with 25 cent stickers still attached!)

I also took LOTS of photos that I've put on Facebook. (LINK)

After the exchange, we took out trash, did some Super Smashing on the Gamecube, then Mom, Dad, Drew, and the kids left. The rest of us (Aaron, Jessica, Audrey, Shaun, and myself) got lunch from Jimmy John's, and watched The Dark Knight (my gift to Shaun, 2-disc, of course), while we wait for Shaun's dad and stepmother to arrive. Arrive they did, but I didn't get to meet them, because as quickly as they had come, they left, taking Audrey and Shaun with them. After tiring of some solo Super Smashing, Aaron and Jessica decided to do some sight-seeing and possibly some shopping. They offered to drop me off back at home, which I took them up on, because I was bored and had been gone for about ten hours, plus I wanted to write this blog...

...which was interrupted when my cat unplugged my surge protector. Thank goodness Blogger has that auto-saving of blogs!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Alone

Yep, I got Christmas Eve off (because I usually have Wednesday off), Christmas Day off (because they're closed on Christmas), and Boxing Day (which isn't an American holiday) off (more on why I wanted it off in a bit).

My family opted to do our gift exchange on the 26th (less stressful for my oldest brother Aaron and his wife, Jessica, whose place we'll be celebrating at).

Doesn't help that two presents I ordered haven't arrived. (Just watch, they'll be here on the 27th. That's my luck!)

So, yeah. I'm home, alone.


Hah! Home Alone reference! And Home Alone 1 and 2 happen to be two of the movies I rounded up to celebrate the holiday with. Other movies I've already seen are...

The Nativity Story (2007)
Dorothy in the Land of Oz (1980), it's more of a Thanksgiving special, but there's a Christmas song in there.
A Christmas Carol (1999), the movie with Patrick Stewart
Bad Santa (2003), it wasn't very Christmas-sy...
It's A Wonderful Life (1946), though you realize how little of this movie takes place at Christmas time?
Home Alone (1990)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

Right now, I've got in A Christmas Carol (1984) with George C. Scott. There are so many good versions of Dickens' tale, I can hardly be content with seeing just one. I've also got Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962), and The Muppets' Christmas Carol (1992).

There's also A Christmas Story (1983), The Snowman, the version introduced by David Freakin' Bowie(!), (1982), A Garfield Christmas (1987), and The Polar Express (2004).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Best Christmas Ever!

This story is a work of satire. Do not take it seriously. It was actually originally written when I was younger and just wanted to do something funny. I wrote it as a play using the "American Girls Premiere" program on the family's PC, always an never-ending source of fun.

The Best Christmas Ever!

"Merry Christmas!" called Mr. McIntire, as the children found their presents under the tree.

His oldest daughter Jill looked out the window.

"Should we let Mrs. Gilford in?" she asked, regarding the 45 year-old woman standing outside.

"No," said Mrs. Gilford. "I'm fine...standing out the cold... outside, looking in..."

"Well," remarked Mrs. McIntire, "good thing she's okay! Time for PRESENTS!"

Jill's gift was a snowglobe. Her slightly younger brother Ricky got a strange round object with a speaker and three buttons on it. Molly found a pretty doll dressed as nurse. And the youngest, Brad, got a toy dog to play with.

"Sweet!" exclaimed Ricky. "I got a radio!"

"No, it's not," replied his father. "Press button 1, then button 2, then button 3."

On the first button, the speaker blared out "SHUT UP." On the second, it said "KISS MY BUTT." And on the third, it said "GO TO HELL."

"Oh, this is fun!" shouted Ricky.

He pushed button 1 twice, then button 2, then button 1 twice again, then button 3.


Ricky laughed as everyone shouted, "This is the best Christmas ever!"

Everyone except Mrs. Gilford. Outside, she shivered. "So... cold..." she moaned, then collapsed.

Ricky's gift is a rip-off of an episode of "The Simpsons."

Monday, December 22, 2008

My 12 Days Of Christmas...

This year, on Facebook, I decided that on 12 consecutive days in December, I'd post in my status messages that parodied "The Twelve Days Of Christmas." Today was the last day, so here they all are. I don't find them particularly hilarious, but they make for a fun read.

Jared is NOT giving someone a partridge in a pear tree.
Jared didn't order two turtledoves from
Jared finds three french hens to be delicious...
Jared wants to make those four calling birds SHUT UP!!!
Jared pawned the five golden rings at Gold Digger's Exchange & Pawn and got really ripped off...
Jared is beating the egg market with six geese a-laying.
Jared is listening to Yogi Yorgesson while watching seven swans a-swimmng.
Jared is watching eight maids a milking because he's low on milk.
Jared missed the nine ladies dancing... Yes, that is a tragedy.
Jared can't even rent the Ten Lords A Leaping service, so don't ask!
Jared finds the eleven pipers piping annoying.
Jared wore earplugs around the twelve drummers drumming. It's over... Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Christmas PlayList 08!

Over the years, I've heard Christmas songs that tickle my funny bone! Here's several of them, all hosted via YouTube videos, in a playlist viewer. I want to note that while the audio is classic Christmas comedy gold, the video accompanying them is nothing great. You might want to hit "Play" and go do something else, listening to them as you go...

1. Yingle Bells by Yogi Yorgesson. Using a Swedish accent, Yogi (aka Harry Kari) tells us how riding in a one-horse sleigh is overhyped...
2. I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas by Yogi Yorgesson. Yogi sings of hectic Christmas shopping, then tells us his own "Night Before Christmas," including one of my favorite lines:
"And over the radio, Angel Gabriel is saying,
'Peace on Earth, everybody, and goodwill towards men,'
And yust at that moment,
Someone slugs Uncle Ben."

3. The Christmas Party by Yogi Yorgesson. In the last of the three Christmas songs by Yogi I found on YouTube (more here), we hear of the wonderfully crazy and out of control office Christmas parties.
4. Green Chri$tma$ by Stan Freberg is a a hilarious and refreshing look at an over-commercialized holiday.
5. (I'm Getting) Nuttin' For Christmas by Stan Freberg. No one beats the original version of the bad little boy who's being skipped by Santa (and knows it). I especially love the ending!
6. St. George and the Dragonet by Stan Freberg. In a parody of Dragnet, Stan defeats the Dragon. I'm not sure why this was included on a Christmas tape I grew up with, but it sure is hilarious!
7. I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas by Gayla Peevey. Who can forget the little girl who wants a Christmas present that's far too big for her stocking?
8. All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) by Spike Jones. Once again, this version is the best! No one else captures the same lisping sound and charm.
9. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by Jimmy Boyd. Another unsurpassed original. The little girl who saw her mother kissing ol' Saint Nick.
10. The Twelve Days of Christmas by Natalie Cole. Not the original version, but the most hilarious! There's a wonderful twist that kicks in on the Ninth Day! I love this one!

Merry Christmas! May these tunes brighten your holiday season!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

No credit for me.

This week, I've been turned down by two credit agencies.

I have never had a loan, never had a credit card, never had a mortgage. I've always paid my bills on time, and I've kept a checking account active and paid off any overdrafts in a timely manner since 2005. Either I have been turned down due to my parents' poor credit history, or because of another reason.

My name is on file with a collection agency.

I was once conned into getting magazine subscriptions from a small company called Omnipresent, and I quickly decided afterward that I didn't want the magazines I'd subscribed for. I asked to cancel, but they told me that there was practically no way to opt out. I then canceled the debit card they had on file and returned all of the magazines that came to my door. I checked them on the Better Business Bureau, they had an unsatisfactory record. They also told me they had a website, but I did a thorough search, and found no such site.

I avoided phone calls from them, because I felt (and still do!) that my rights as a customer were being violated. They had gotten me into a situation that they had provided no way out of, even though there should have been. (They told me I couldn't cancel, but I could switch which magazines I was subscribed to, which made no sense at all.)

Anyways, in October 2007, I got a notice from a collection agency asking me to pay a $300 settlement or a full $525. I did not respond, and have not heard anything since. I have checked for Omnipresent's status on the Better Business Bureau again, and they weren't listed. (Heh...)

Still, I'm guessing that's left a nasty mark on my credit record.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Digital TV is mine...

Well, I now have one of those Digital TV converter boxes. Yaaayyy... Now I can watch television in almost DVD quality on my analog set. Woot... I often say I don't watch TV, but there are some shows I tune into about once a week, though if I miss them, I'm not apt to care about it. Only problem is, I need a new antenna, because with the one I have now, the video lags and gets corrupted. Just like digital video on a slow computer...

I turned on "Don't Forget The Lyrics," and they have three women and three girls singing Christmas songs. WELL-KNOWN Christmas songs, like "Jingle Bell Rock." This is stupid. This is no challenge at all.

But anyways... You know what movie they should make? The Legend of Zelda! From all of the great games Nintendo has churned out, there is definitely material for an epic feature film set in Hyrule. I just don't think the audience would respond well to a mute hero. (But that can be changed.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Quite a few months ago, I watched the Star Wars trilogy. Not the prequel trilogy (I saw the first one of those shortly after the VHS release, and did not care for it at all), the original trilogy. I rented them through Netflix, and, for any of the dorks out there who care about these things, I managed to see the original versions.

I thought the first one was an all right movie, good story, plenty of adventure and action, a fun movie, but the next two get so wrapped up in this universe, I lost interest. Not really fun to watch at all. Am I a Star Wars fan people have asked? Before I saw them, no. And now that I have, no.

This happen to you? When you were a kid, you saw a movie, you loved it, you thought it was great, so you scrape up enough money somehow to buy a video tape version of it, which you watch several times, then the tape gets misplaced or put away, and you've seen the movie so many times, you just don't worry about it.

Then, years later, you find the movie on DVD, and think, "Oh, I loved that movie!" So you buy it. Eventually, you pop it in and watch it for the first time in a few years, and think... "What did I see in this movie?" That for me, is The Indian In The Cupboard. Good books, though.

A very different case was the Back to the Future series. When I was a kid, my oldest brother had the first movie and we watched it quite a few times, then one day, my parents rented the other two and we watched all three in succession. (Yes...) And that was about the only time I'd seen them all... For years! Until I rented the first one from Netflix earlier this year, and discovered just how good they were.

And there's also the case of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I probably haven't seen The Return of the King since 2005. About 2 months ago, I did see The Fellowship of the Ring, but was rather overwhelmed with how much it reminded me of old friends of mine who were also Rings fans that I've lost contact with. Last night, I did watch the first half of The Two Towers. (I have the original Theatrical Edition DVDs, widescreen of course, the Extended Editions, and the Limited Editions, and all of the discs that came with the gift editions of the Extended Editions. That's twenty-seven discs I rarely watch but don't want to get rid of.)

There's some movies and franchises I think need remade or re-booted. Here you go...

The Indian In The Cupboard series: they only made a movie of the first one, but the other four books in the series had some very cinematic moments. Though, considering how book 3 only has a light plot, and book 4 is mainly exposition, I think they should be combined into the other three stories.

Anne of Green Gables should get a new shot at the big screen. There was a silent flick, a movie in 1934, a BBC mini-series, an anime series, the famous Megan Follows mini-series/movie with it's sequels, and an animated television series. The Megan Follows version has been the best adaptation that still exists, but the sequels to it really strayed from the books. The deal is, after the first two, director/writer of the series got sued by L.M. Montgomery's estate for not paying them royalties, so he lost adaptation rights to the books. So, his third mini-series, and his fourth (premiering next week in Canada), as well as his animated series, were based on his own adaptations, which is rather sad, since the books have some really good stories. Only problem with a feature-length theatrical movie is how much of the book will be onscreen, and how memorable virtually every part of the books are. (Maybe extended home video versions could help there...)

And of course, I'm always up for more of L. Frank Baum's works as film versions...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Shopping 08

Looks like I'm doing almost all of my Christmas shopping online this year. Due to a tight wallet, I'm just shopping for immediate family. Maybe I'll get some cards or bake some cookies for my friends. My family can't expect too many gifts, but they won't be getting trashy dollar store items, either.

I avoided Black Friday because I was broke.

The worst thing about Christmas shopping is realizing how out of touch you are with your family.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Something that's really irritating...

Okay, so you get a phone call. We know now that phone calls are made by people or machines, notifying you of some stuff, trying to get your money or vote in an election, or a friendly chat.

In the days leading up the election this year, my phone would ring, and someone would be trying to get me to vote for their candidate. What I found odd was how low they were speaking. Eventually, I'd had enough of trying to make out what they were saying and just hung up.

Today, someone was trying to call me about a business opportunity I'd looked into and left my phone number and e-mail address for. When they called, I could BARELY hear what they were saying! I even said, "I can't hear what you're saying," and they just continued speaking in the same low tone! I hung up again!

Later, I got an e-mail from the person saying that I obviously wasn't interested.

While these two items are very different, the same reason applies... If you're not willing to communicate CLEARLY what you're trying to say, apparently, you don't believe in it that much, and considering all the scams in politics and business, I can't afford to take risks. If your candidate, opinion, or business is so great, SPEAK UP!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Quick blog...

So, most of you heard about the unfortunate case of the Wal-Mart employee who opened his store on Black Friday last week. I just posted a comment about it on a video on YouTube, and I said this...

It is all the shoppers' fault for trampling the guy. I find it odd that they killed him in a rush to buy gifts that we use to celebrate a season of love, Peace on Earth, and Goodwill to Men...

Have some goodwill as I crush your skull is more like it...

Best Christmas Rant Ever...

Heh... This is the best rant I've ever heard regarding Christmas or "holiday" celebrations in America.

Dear Santa, or Guy Known For His Beard,
This letter is from Foamy with squirrelly cheer.
Most people would start by asking for stuff,
But not this little squirrel, I have more than enough.
Though this year I ask for a simple request,
I know you're just Santa, but give it your best.
As seasons go by we grow greater complaints,
Of seeing icons of Jesus and statues of saints.
This Christmas I would like to enjoy it once true,
Without liberal schmucks burning pictures of you.
Some don't like Christmas and I can't really see why:
We get to eat turkey, get presents and pie.
(PETA might not like the turkeys of course,
But gifts for the masses! How is that wrong?)
Folks who hate Christmas scream "Tolerance for all!"
But intolearate difference when it's right out their door.
They bitch and complain about Christmas in town,
While menorahs and Kwanzaas are on the school grounds.
It's a known double-standard both simple and true,
So I've devised a solution, especially for you!
I know you give coal to those who are naughty,
But may I suggest something more sporty?
I would lace candies with minty fresh poison,
And give them to morons, so they can enjoy them.
What better way to put this issue to rest
Than to get rid of those whiners with CANDIES OF DEATH?
So forget all the toys and stuff on my wishlist,
I just want to have an enjoyable Christmas!
(But of course if you find room on your sleigh for a treat,
Cream cheese is good and bagels are neat!)
That's all from the Foamy, and I'll see you real soon,
And make sure you bring candies, I have morons here, too!