Happy-Merry Hallowgivingchristmas

Have you been to the stores lately? Have you!? It was bad enough when the stores were putting out their Halloween candy in July.  July, people. But now, now our treasured holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are being merged into one mega-holiday season. I don’t know if this phenomenon has hit your area yet, but in my town the stores have Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decorations in adjacent aisles. Really retailers?  Just why?

There can be only answer: money. Retail stores will do 30% of their annual business during the “Christmas Season.” It makes sense to make the Christmas Season last for almost 70 days.  Even though the habit is being dialed back, many large retailers are now even open on Thanksgiving Day, denying their employees anything to be thankful for except overtime pay…and even that is not a guarantee given the existence of sneaky Scrooge-like scheduling gurus.

In a stroke of extreme irony, stores now have mega-sales on what is now known as Black Friday; the day after Thanksgiving. People wait in line all night to be among the first to buy something, anything that is on sale. On Thursday they give thanks for what they have, on Friday they are savagely punching and fighting people to get an X-Box or flat screen TV.  Finishing off the Thanksgiving weekend is White Monday. This is the online shopper’s day to stay planted in front of a computer searching for audacious online deals. Using this logic, I expect to see Magenta Tuesday for people to have their own Holiday Garage Sales.

Although, I will interject here – one of my favorite concepts is Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and is a day of actual GIVING – to charities big and small…so Magenta Tuesday better back the hell off.

I don’t want to sound curmudgeonly, but I really feel that the flattening of the traditional holiday “spikes” turns the last quarter of the year into an amorphous blob of festive displays, shopping guilt, jammed mall parking lots, and a false fear that I might forget to buy a gift for someone.

Someone somewhere is bound to capitalize on this frenzied commercialism by inventing color-coded bins for us to stash our stashes of gifts and decorations: Orange and Black for Halloween; Brown and Orange for Thanksgiving; and of course, Red and Green for Christmas.  This will allow us to keep order in our frenetic final days of the year. Sheesh, I can feel the stress coming on already.

Of course, this begs the question, “When will the madness end?” I don’t want to be forced to buy a brown bin with leaf decor for all the Autumnal Equinox goodies, or a pink bin with red hearts for all my Valentine’s Day gifts.

Am I being unreasonable? I just want to focus on Halloween until it’s time to focus on Thanksgiving.  When that’s over, I can set my sights on getting into the Christmas Spirit.

 

Sally Squirrel’s Great Discovery

So, awhile back, my daughter Sarah was at the dentist’s office and while I was waiting with her in the treatment room for her to recover from the anesthesia, I made a new friend. She was quite witty and intelligent, and has had awesome life, so I thought I would turn over my blog to her for this evening so that she can tell her story in her own words. I’m not sure I believe everything she told me, but what the hell, you can decide on your own after you hear her side of things.

My name is Sally. Sally Squirrel. I promised that I would write my story simply and humbly, rather than tooting my own horn. I’m a squirrel and I don’t have lips, so blowing any kind of horn is out of the question. Also, I can’t pat myself on the back because my arms are too short and I can’t reach my back.

The day that changed my life began as they all do. I woke up in a tree. The people who own the tree also had a bird feeder full of delicious seeds. They recently let me know that they had a problem with me eating all the seeds by putting a large collar around the feeder. I was forced to scrounge for other things to eat. Acorns were fine, but got rather boring. Also, I had a dental problem that made eating acorns problematic. I have uneven buckteeth that make me look like a tiny rabbit that grew up near a nuclear waste dump.

You see, we squirrels have twenty teeth.  They’re pretty tough and allow us to break open nuts. They don’t wear down.  That’s my problem. I’m stuck with my buckteeth. I’ve even tried chewing on metal poles to wear them down.  No luck. Making things tougher for me is the fact that I love birdseed. Having these big, ugly choppers means that I have to jam the seeds into the side of my mouth.

Back to the day that changed my life. I was scrounging for breakfast. I saw a group of sparrows dancing around on a windowsill, gorging themselves with birdseed. Sparrows are notorious chickens…well, not real chickens.  More like scaredy cats…well, not real cats, but you get it, right? They definitely don’t like a scuffle. I jumped up on the windowsill and began a delightful feast as the sparrows took off.

As I was stuffing some sunflower seeds into the side of my mouth, I looked into the window and saw something that, at first, terrified me. A man in a white coat was torturing a girl who was in a reclining chair. Oh the humanity! I described the terrible scene to a group of squirrel friends that had just discovered the windowsill buffet for themselves. They all fled in terror. But me, I was transfixed.

It was then that I realized that the girl was smiling. The torturer was chatting with her. I couldn’t believe it! I almost dropped my nuts. Looking around the room, I saw figures of happy teeth dancing with toothbrushes. There were pictures of people smiling, showing off their beautiful teeth. I watched in utter fascination as the man in the white coat skillfully worked on the mouth of the little girl.  In no time at all, they were done. The girl got out of the chair and shook hands with the Mr. White Coat. It suddenly hit me! This must be one of those “dentists” I’d heard about. They fix teeth!  I began tapping on the window. They both turned and saw me, they also saw my teeth. I mean, how could they not? Maybe he could help me, I thought.

I frantically pointed to my choppers and then to the dentist.  I tried to give him my best sad squirrel look. The two humans looked at each other and nodded. The dentist opened the window and pointed to the chair. He explained that he was going to put “squirrel appropriate” crowns on my buckteeth. I was ecstatic! Everything went as planned and well, here I am…able to eat acorns and birdseed and the occasional French fry thrown out by passers-by with nary an issue at all.

If I had wi-fi, I’d leave a great review on Yelp for Mr. Dentist. As it is, I just hang out here on the windowsill offering up my story to all who will listen. It’s a good life. And the birdseed is worth it.

Yeah, okay. The wait might’ve been a little long, certainly long enough for me to distract myself with squirrel stories. And before you ask, no, I did not help myself to the nitrous oxide. My brain just entertains itself, sort of like an unsupervised toddler.  But hey, squirrels ARE cute…so there’s that.

Into the Fray

I belong to several different online groups, especially on Facebook. They’re mostly book clubs, classic movie fan sites, and vintage photo connoisseurs. I’ve noticed that, especially in one of the vintage photography groups, people are becoming unnecessarily mean and argumentative. In this group, anyone can post pictures of anything vintage, whether it’s their family, celebrities, locations, etc. Someone posted a photo of Doc Holliday and “Big Nose Kate,” his girlfriend/wife, and there were people – you’d think it would be just men, but women as well – who jumped in to immediately say how much Kate looked like a man in a dress (she didn’t) and of course the comments spiraled out of control from there. Good grief! This Hungarian-born, frontier woman has been dead for 77 years. Let it rest.

In the same group, a controversial photo of Billy the Kid was displayed. It’s been authenticated, but some historians still have their doubts, which I won’t get into here. Still, it was as if some of the group’s members had been personally attacked or offended or perhaps had some vested interest in the origins of this photo for all the rage and insulting comments they were throwing out…directed at the photo, the original poster, as well as to those who mentioned, correctly I might add, that the photo had indeed been authenticated and even insured, controversy within the industry notwithstanding.  Nothing is as irksome as self-appointed vintage photo police.

Photos will be posted of family members and people will scream “Photoshop!” even though the photo is obviously old and photoshopping didn’t exist then. While it’s possible the photo was manipulated in the dark room all those 100’s of years ago, who the hell cares?  In any case, it’s the person’s family, so they would probably know if it was accurate or not. People will post old Victorian spirit pictures (which are well-known to be faked) and the commenters jump on those too – screaming, “fake, fake, fake!” As if no-one else had any idea and they are exposing some modern-day fraud. These Visual Vigilantes attack the original poster and anyone else who voices a positive opinion of simply liking the photo or thinking that it’s “cool,” or complimenting the dark-room work, regardless of whether it’s real or not.

Now I know the Internet, and Facebook in particular, is a breeding ground for arguments, but it has become increasingly apparent to me that people will indeed argue about anything and everything. However, it’s amazing to me that in a group that is supposed to be all about simple, innocuous, and light-hearted fun, there are those who cannot contain themselves. It’s as if they MUST be hateful, mean, and argumentative – as if they’ll implode otherwise, by containing all of that vile vitriol…like pressure-cookers left unattended. Or would they explode? Either way, it would be a big mess.

What is wrong with people that they can’t seem to find enjoyment in anything?  Perhaps arguing and being hateful are their forms of enjoyment? If so, our society is going to hell a lot faster than I originally anticipated.

 

 

Color Me Confused

Earthquakes abound.  Hurricanes are wreaking havoc and leaving trails of death and destruction in their wakes.  There is rioting and looting in major cities, insane dictators launching nuclear missiles, flooding and famine throughout the world and people who still like the Steelers.

But nothing going on in this world today compares to the awesome destructiveness of Crayola’s newest color unveiling, Bluetiful.

Yes, this may be the most important subject and timely topic we can be divided over, hands down.

You see, Crayola has upset the space-time continuum by daring to name its own product.  After a naming contest for its newest color creation in the blue family, the winning name was Bluetiful.

Immediate outrage ensued and predictably, a boycott was threatened.  How dare this company name its own product?  Don’t they know that millions of children rely on crayons to learn colors and spelling and vocabulary?  It is no longer the responsibility of parents, or even teachers, to teach children that any shade of red is still red or that any nuance of blue is, in fact, still blue. And that they’re spelled r-e-d and b-l-u-e. Darn you, Crayola!  How dare you, the most popular art supplier of colored drawing implements in the world, neglect your duty of teaching our children?

What’s next?  Now that this insult is in place, will I be expected to teach my own children other things as well? Perish the thought!  Kindergarten teachers everywhere are in a tailspin.  They cannot be relied upon to teach our children colors!  Only you, Crayola, could accomplish this feat.  And you, Crayola, YOU just let us down!

I’m not sure I can continue to use my adult coloring books any longer.  Yes, yes, I still play with crayons. But more important, the confusion of naming crayons something other than their original color is just too great for me to handle.  What if I picked up the wrong blue and used it? Gasp! I mean, it could ruin a perfectly good drawing of Starry Night or Rainbow Dash.  I simply cannot be held responsible for my refrigerator art if Crayola continues to confound me this way.

The majority of people who chose the clever name of Bluetiful in the contest obviously have no respect for the role that Crayola plays in tutoring our children.  I suppose next I will have to teach my child manners?  Crayola should do that as well; Please Pink and Thank You Turquoise, for instance.  Yes Sir Yellow?  The possibilities are endless.  Crayola is falling behind the times here, and we are forced to teach our own children.  It is an outrage, an outrage I tell you.

Apparently, Crayola is only confusing us on a limited basis, since they discontinued my favorite color, Dandelion to make room for the mixed-up-not-a-real-word Bluetiful.  If you are going to baffle our children, Crayola should keep Dandelion and just add Bluetiful as an extra.  I was just getting used to Dandelion, and had finally begun to accept that Dandelion was a shade of yellow after twenty-some years of confusion.  And now, this?

A purple pox on you, Crayola, you destroyer of Denim Blue dreams!  Our Eggplant egos have been dashed to the ground, and trampled on by your Salmon sandals.  I can only hope that, together globally, we will overcome this Indigo insult.

Until we do, my friends, stay strong and Bluetiful.

 

click pic to read about all the hubbub

Bow Before Me and My Genius Mind

Well, friends, it’s official. I’m a genius.

According to an article in Curious Mind Magazine, people who share my level of intelligence have a few things in common. We are all slovenly, foul-mouthed night dwellers.

Yes! Vindication!

One of the items the article touches upon is that intelligent people can live happily within mounds of chaos.  I’ve always had the ability to find any object in the innumerable piles of my own self-made mess – or that of others – if I’ve touched it or seen it at least once.  This talent has not only been helpful at home (with two kids who constantly screamed “mooommm, where is my [insert any item whatsoever here]!?”), but at work as well where I was always able to help my employers keep track of their own individual chaos. I assumed this was a subconscious thing I did to remember where the item was or where it was supposed to be, but it turns out that I am, in fact, just intellectually a level above all of you organized people. Hey, don’t roll your eyes at me! It’s in the article, it must be so.  Also, my messy desk is a sign of creative genius, so just leave my mold covered coffee mugs alone and let me work in peace. I’m not lazy, I’m smart!

My inability to go to bed before 2:00 a.m. is also a sign that I am heads above all of you, tucked all warm in your little beds by 10:00 p.m.  Never mind that 2:00 a.m. is when the best items are on sale at QVC or late-night horror movies come on, it is actually just my genius brain doing genius things at a genius time of the morning.  Genius!

Lastly, it would seem my unrepeatable tirades against the entire driving population of my state are also a sign of my extreme intellectual advancements.  Contrary to some of those inane studies that show that people who curse frequently are considered less intelligent, it has been scientifically proven that I and all my potty-mouthed kin are in fact superior in intelligence to our more straight-laced peers.  I have a gloating comment to make about that, but I can’t write it here.  Perhaps if you share my intelligence, you can imagine what it would be.

I’m not one to say “I told you so,” but I always knew that under my sailor’s vocabulary, under-eye bags, and piles of junk, I was a genius.  Now, science proves it.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I love to say I told you so.  I told you so! 

Go forth and spread the word to your cursing, messy, night-owl friends.  We are the elite ruling class of intellectuals.

We are geniuses!

my inspiration for new business cards…