Tag Archives: christmas

What Would Ryan Seacrest Do?

Remember when Jesus died on Good Friday, rose again on Easter Sunday, and then somberly looked into our eyes and said, “I’ll be back?”*  Jesus has proved to be a man of his word, rising from the dead to hobnob with Thomas the Apostle, have a resurrection fling with Mary Magdalene, and appear in a bucket of pizza sauce.  Indeed, Jesus has been sighted many times, but not only in inanimate objects like fish sticks and pancakes… In fact, I am resolute in my belief that JC is back; he’s inhabited a body (fake-Locke style),  and he’s living right here amongst us mortals in Southern California.

In fact, you may have heard of him.

And the modern-day resurrection of Jesus is…

(Wait for it.)

(Wait for it.)

(Commercial break.)

(Long yawn.)

(Thought we were back but it’s just another commercial break.)

(…OK, we’re done here.)

Yes, Ryan Seacrest is the modern-day resurrection of Jesus.  (Shock, awe, teen screaming, and applause.)  In case you haven’t heard of him, Jesus is the guy with long hair who walks on water.  Seacrest is the ubiquitous face of Hollywood, the host of American Idol, the host of E! News, the host of American Top 40, the host of his own daily 5-10 AM radio show, and the host of Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve (with Ryan Seacrest).  Unless you drive a horse and buggy to work, you know who Ryan Seacrest is.  He catapulted Kelly Clarkson to fame. He kickstarted the Kardashians to infamy.  He is a hosting hog (he’ll show up at your son’s bar mitvah, demanding the mike).  He’s been on TV more often than Brian Williams, Oprah, and God (or, who he calls, “Pops”).

You might be skeptical.  But there is evidence suggesting that Ryan Seacrest, is, indeed, Seasus.  First, he has six jobs.  Six.  The fact that Seasus has six jobs is a testament (pun intended) to his ungodly work ethic (let’s just assume that from now on, all puns are intended).  Second, he was born on December 24.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Some disbelievers might say that Jesus was actually born on the 25th — well, Bethlehem is 7 hours ahead of Dunwoody, Georgia, where “Ryan Seacrest” was born.  So it was still the 24th in the ATL.  What up.  Third, both guys had/have girl issues.  Jesus supposedly had a lover in Mary Magdalene; Seacrest supposedly is straight.  The life of do-gooding bachelorhood seems to fit them both, though it’s a shame that Seasus got rid of His free-flowing locks (better to attract hair gel sponsors, I suppose).  And finally, if all that isn’t convincing enough, then just take a look at Jesus’ modern-day moniker: if you rearrange the letters to RYAN SEACREST, you get CRY, SATAN SEER.  (It only took me about two minutes to get that one — for some reason, “Satan” just jumped right out.)

So, that is Seasus.  He’s able to preach his gospel through the church of radio.  He’s got more Twitter followers than the populations of New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont combined.  He’s liked by many, hated by few, but known by everyone.  And for all those wondering, What Would Seasus Do?, I imagine that it goes something like this: He wakes up at 3 AM, talks for five hours on His radio show, throws jabs with Simon Cowell on American Idol, oversees a Kardashian episode where a hissy fit is thrown, does prep for American Top 40, takes an Underdog pill around 6 pm, blows through His E! News gig, calls up Dick Clark to see if he’s still alive and if He can finally change that show’s name to Ryan’s Rockin’ Eve, hangs up once He hears a croaky voice, calls up Pops, has a discussion with the man upstairs for the umpteenth time about Dick Clark (“It’s his time! He’s like 105!”), loses the battle once again, and before you know it, it’s 3 AM and He’s telling his radio show producers that “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”  Good one, Seasus.


* Yes, I did Wikipedia “Jesus”…But no, this quote is not in there.  At least, not anymore.  I hate when they edit out my Jesus quotes.  I’m confident he did say it at some point:

Free-riding man in street: “Hey Jesus, will you pick up some barley?”

(Jesus sighs, rolls his eyes)

Jesus: “I’ll be back.”

See?

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Sorry, But That Cannot Be Your Favorite Holiday

At some point in your life, you will be asked to name your favorite holiday.  Don’t take this question lightly, because you’ll inevitably be judged on your answer.  My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, so you can wisely assume that I enjoy stuffing my face with starched vegetables and fowl.  If you answer ‘Christmas,’ this means you’re either a) very spoiled, b) very Christian, or c) not interesting enough to come up with a less obvious holiday.  In addition, ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ means you’re an alcoholic, ‘Valentine’s Day’ means you’re engaged or newly married, and ‘Columbus Day’ means you hate Native Americans.  See?  It’s a loaded question.

This past week, I was at a Christmas party when a family friend mentioned that her favorite holiday was, without a doubt, New Years.  Hmm… New Years.  It’s an interesting choice, especially since New Years is like Rudolph amongst all the other holiday reindeer: that is, it’s different.  On New Years, we don’t celebrate anything constant, like other holidays with their tributes to baby Jesus, St. Patrick, or Chris Columbus.  Even our worst holiday (Presidents’ Day) is in honor of George Washington’s birthday, which doesn’t change.  Meanwhile, what do we celebrate on New Years?  The future?  The past?  Or is it our annual ability to drop a giant lighted ball in New York City without electrical malfunction?

Even though the target of our celebration is always changing, we have developed wonderful traditions for celebrating January 1st.  In the days before, we endure a painstaking year-in-review, where we curl up with our diaries and reflect on the past year.  (Gag.)  We then get to watch numerous TV retrospectives on people who died during the past year.  (Uplifting!)  And we prepare our New Year’s resolutions, which always include “Get in shape” and “Drink less.”   (Although we naturally expect to get fat and drunk on New Year’s Eve itself.)

Ah yes, New Year’s Eve is our opportunity to party like it’s [insert-new-year-here].  We dance, we pop champagne, and we leave kids wondering why the grown-ups are all so thirsty (along with, “Wow!  This is what midnight is like!”).  For grown-ups, NYE is also the kickoff to mating season.  You need to find someone to kiss once the clock strikes twelve.  Who will it be?  Mr. Shady in the corner?  Ms. Already lost her purse and it’s 8 PM?  Or Mr(s). Ambiguously gendered person and you’re just curious to find out?

As such, New Years is full of wholesome, Jesus-like traditions.  And it’s also an anniversary of sorts, for all the great New Years we’ve had in the past (Personally, my favorite New Years was 2000, when Y2K didn’t blow up the world).

But again, unlike other holidays that simply come and go, New Years leaves us with a bitter aftertaste: An expensive and rarely utilized gym membership… An inability to accurately date checks until it’s well into March… And if you went for Mr. Shady in the corner, a risk of catching oral herpes.

So, I’m not judging*, but I really can’t see how New Years could be anyone’s favorite holiday… except for Mr. Shady, I guess.  It’s definitely his favorite.


* Yeah right. I’m totally judging.

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The Impact of Santa Claus on Afghanistan’s Presidential Election

In the past few weeks, we’ve heard from Americans who are afraid of what’s happening in this country.  People are mad (and confused) about healthcare reform.  We’re concerned that the administration is leading us down the wrong path. With a government full of communists, illegal immigrants, Nazis, and Kenyans, perhaps our fear is justified.

Well, on the day of the Afghanistan presidential election, here is one more group whom we should fear: men with beards.

Yup, beards.  As in, chin warmers, mustache buddies, and neck rugs.

ahmadinejadWhy should we fear facial hair?  Personally, I believe that beards reflect poor judgment.  It’s coarse, it gathers crumbs, and it rarely makes one more attractive.  It also seems terribly uncomfortable: especially in the summer, I imagine it’s like wearing a fur hat around your face.  (If Santa Claus lived in Miami, he wouldn’t need a beard.)  So naturally, people who choose to have beards are either a) irrational, b) trying to hide something, or c) preparing for Christmastime.

nobeardMy beard theory is grounded in strict empirical evidence.  For example, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a world leader with a beard.  Barack Obama doesn’t have one, Gordon Brown doesn’t have one, and Angela Merkel (hopefully) can’t grow one.  I could think of only one significant bearded world leader, and that’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the crazy President of Iran.  (See?  Beard = bad judgment = psychotic dictator of Iran.  The transitive properties of mathematics don’t lie.)  If you think it’s a cultural thing, just check out the clean-shaven faces of other Muslim leaders: Zardari of Pakistan, Talabani of Iraq, and Mubarak of Egypt.  And while Kim Jong Il proves that beardless men can be psychotic dictators too, it’s never a sure thing unless you have a beard (see below).

bharrisonAre there exceptions to the rule?  Of course.  But at the very least, having a beard is just bad luck.  The last U.S. president to have a beard took office over a century ago.  Unsurprisingly, Benjamin Harrison (1881) is probably one of the most obscure presidents ever.  Before him, James Garfield had been the most recent President with a beard.  Out of 47 U.S. presidents, only five had beards, and both Lincoln and Garfield were shot and killed.

afghanistan copyThis is what makes the Afghanistan election so troubling.  Two of the three top contenders in the race have beards.  Incumbent President Hamid Karzai has overseen his corrupt regime with a full face beard.  Abdullah Abdullah, a former Afghan foreign minister and eye doctor, has a rapidly graying beard and very few friends in Washington.  The only beardless contender is longshot Ashraf Ghani, who has a Ph.D from Columbia, a resume that includes a stint at the World Bank, and a puff piece in the New York Times.

So, Afghanistan, what’s it going to be?  Five more years of furry faces, or a pick that will shock the world?

beardstimeless

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The New and Improved Chinese Zodiac for Christmas

Over Thanksgiving break, I made the unfortunate decision to have lunch at a local “Polynesian-Chinese” restaurant. polychinaTiki Palace was dead empty when my grandmother and I arrived at noon. The waiter with the leather jacket and lazy eye further confirmed my growing suspicion that the place was a front for the Polynesian-Chinese mob. While waiting for the food and trying to catch a glimpse of illegal opium dealings, I found myself perusing the Chinese zodiac placemats. I’d forgotten how wonderfully descriptive these zodiac signs were. Born in the year of the Ox, I read that I am supposedly easy-going, fierce, demanding, and good with my hands… I would be a good hairdresser, the zodiac proselytized.

It seems like you can always convince yourself of some truth if you think about it long enough. After reading about my Ox-ness, I started reconsidering careers in which I could put my good hands to use, like becoming a concert pianist or a cardiac surgeon. chinesezodiacIt also got me thinking: if such attributes can be gleaned from something as arbitrary as year of birth, how else can we be convinced of our easy-going fierceness? So, given that this blog is inspired by exposing arbitrariness, overgeneralizations and frivolous categorizations, I have decided to create a zodiac of my own. Based on a complex mathematical algorithm, basic principles in quantum physics, and an undying belief in Santa, this revised zodiac is a marked improvement upon the old, vague, anything-goes version. My only hope is that Tiki Palace will one day carry my zodiac… and take their orange chicken off the menu.

THE NEW, IMPROVED, POLYNESIAN-CHINESE-WESTERNIZED ZODIAC

Add up the two digits in your DAY of birth (for example, if your birthday is on the 4th, you would add 0+4 = 4). Then take the sum, and match it to the reindeer below.

1 // RUDOLPH – 2 // DASHER – 3 // DANCER – 4 // PRANCER – 5 // VIXEN – 6 // COMET – 7 // CUPID – 8 // DONNER – 9+ // BLITZEN

reindeer(1) RUDOLPH: You are a tireless optimist, filled with fuzzy positivity. You are perennially cheerful, chipper, and trusting. You’re generous with your smile and your exclamation marks. You often sing karaoke, bake cookies and use “heart” as a verb. You don’t notice that sometimes, other people want to bludgeon your sugary goodness with a baseball bat. You get along best with Dancer and Cupid. You should avoid Dasher. You will likely become a customer service representative for a company that sells rainbows and hugs.

(2) DASHER: You rush through life, never noticing a thing. You are perennially busy, edgy, and on the phone. You enjoy Starbucks lattes, walking fast, and eating hot dogs from street vendors. You probably own two phones, a bluetooth headset, and a profanity-heavy vocabulary. You get along best with Vixen and Blitzen. You should avoid children and the elderly. You will likely find yourself sobbing in the bathroom as your fortunes slip away with the withering stock market.

(3) DANCER: You love drama. You swing from extreme highs to extreme lows, from radiant jubilation to a depressing, old Sarah McLachlan song. You are overemotional, sensitive, and sometimes scary to be around. When you’re angry, you like to start fights and challenge strangers to dance-offs. When you’re sad, you like to buy a gallon of ice cream and watch The Hills in sweatpants. You get along best with Prancer. You should avoid hard drugs and The Notebook. You will likely become a high school chemistry teacher/soccer coach.

sadsanta(4) PRANCER: See ‘DANCER’. Sadly Santa was not creative enough to come up with unique reindeer names.

(5) VIXEN: You’re devious, sneaky, and utterly intriguing. You’re a Bond girl before we find out whether or not she is evil. You are mysterious and potentially harmful to others. You enjoy drinking martinis and attending masquerade balls. You get along with nobody. You should avoid everybody. You will likely get arrested, escape, and move to Fiji at some point in the future.

(6) COMET: You revel in your anonymity, coming and going as you please. You are partial to the emo-style nomads, the quiet heroes, and the courageous loners. You want to be in the choir, in the background, disrupting the world as little as possible. You get along best with yourself. You should avoid Dasher and Dancer. You will likely find yourself going down one of two paths: either becoming a) Nobel-winning genius, or b) the Unabomber.

lifetimemovie(7) CUPID: For you, the world is full of love. You love love. You love people. You think that all the world’s ills can be solved by love and diamond rings. When others complain, you immediately think that it’s because they’re not getting enough love. You prescribe Match.com, a stiff drink, and Viagara. You get along best with Rudolph. You should avoid single people. You will likely find yourself as on a TLC reality show, or as the subject of a Lifetime original movie.

(8.) DONNER: Unfortunately, you are dull, boring, and uninteresting. Because “Donner” does not translate into anything literal, you are stuck as the default outcast, the uncool kid on the block. You spend your days doing mundane things, like knitting, making finger puppets, and watching HGTV. You iron your shirts and you have great table manners. The only excitement in your day comes from guessing correctly on House Hunters. You get along best with your friends on Second Life, but you should avoid all normal people. You will likely find yourself in a charming 2BR/2BA brownstone with a leaky roof and cats.

(9+) BLITZEN: You are fifteen minutes ago. You’re brash, outrageous, and completely behind the times. You think you’re a godsend, but everyone does the eye-roll once you leave a conversation. You enjoy debating hot-button issues that you’ve read about in magazines, and you often end up disagreeing with those idiot “experts”. You’re obviously the preeminent authority on all topics ranging from GQ to Us Weekly, so we should listen up. You get along best with anyone willing to listen. You should avoid people who are smarter than you (if they exist). You will likely end up at an Alaska rally for Sarah Palin in 2012.

So, do you believe in the truths held by this zodiac? According to this, I’m a Donner (born on the 26th, 2+6). Ho hum + HGTV + cats? Sounds about right.

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The Presidential Debate Redux, With Michael Scott

TOM BROKAW: Good evening from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.  I am Tom Brokaw of NBC News.  Welcome to the second presidential debate of this campaign season, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, AIG, and Dick Fuld’s compensation package.  As you have noticed, this is the first ever debate to feature not only the two presidential candidates, but also a representative of middle America, Michael Scott of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.  Welcome, Senator Obama, Senator McCain, and Mr. Scott. (polite applause)

MICHAEL SCOTT: Tom, I would prefer that you address me as Senator Scott.

TOM BROKAW: (long pause)…Uh, okay, let’s get started.  The first question is to Senator Obama.  This from Oliver Clark.  Oliver asks: Through this economic crisis, most of the people that I know have had a difficult time.  How is this bailout package actually going to help these people out?

SENATOR OBAMA: Thanks Tom.  Oliver, first, let me tell you what’s in the rescue package for you. Right now, the credit markets are frozen up and what that means, as a practical matter, is that small businesses and some large businesses just can’t get loans.  If they can’t get a loan, that means that they can’t make payroll. If they can’t make payroll, then they may end up having to shut their doors and lay people off.  And if you imagine just one company trying to deal with that, now imagine a million companies all across the country.  So it could end up having an adverse effect on everybody, and that’s why we had to take action. But we shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

SENATOR McCAIN: I’d like to jump in here.  My friends, Oliver’s question is a good one.  You know, the match that lit this fire was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I’ll bet you, people like Allen and Mr. Scott here probably never even heard of them before this crisis.

MICHAEL SCOTT: (perplexed)Who’s Allen?

SENATOR McCAIN: See?  So, Fannie and Freddie were the match that started this forest fire.  Some of us stood up against it. There were others who took a hike.

TOM BROKAW: Thank you Senator McCain.  Mr. Scott, do you have anything to add?

MICHAEL SCOTT: Tom, again I would prefer it if you addressed me as Senator.  And yes, yes I do have something to add.  You know, I run a paper business out in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  While Fannie and Freddie are out there lighting fires, guess who, or more importantly, what–is getting burned?  That’s right: paper.  And you know what will happen if these forest fires don’t get extinguished?  No more paper. (McCain nodding somberly) Now, I’ve taken a hike before, don’t get me wrong.  There are many beautiful trails outside of Scranton.  But if we keep having these fires, what’s going to happen to these trees that overlook the trails?  Whoa, big fire, (simulates fire with hands) Smokey the Bear can’t save us, ahhh–there goes the paper!  There go the trees!  There go the trails!  Now I’m out of both a job and an enjoyable weekend hobby.

TOM BROKAW: …Right.  OK, next question.  Senator McCain, in all candor, do you think the economy is going to get worse before it gets better?

SENATOR McCAIN: My friends, we can fix our economy. Americans’ workers are the best in the world. They’re the fundamental aspect of America’s economy.  They’re the most innovative. They’re the best–they’re most–have best–we’re the best exporters. We’re the best importers. They’re most effective. They are the best workers in the world.

TOM BROKAW: (confused) OK… Senator Obama?

SENATOR OBAMA: Part of the problem here is that for many of you, wages and incomes have flat-lined. For many of you, it is getting harder

MICHAEL SCOTT: That’s what she said!

SENATOR OBAMA: (looking pissed) Excuse me?

MICHAEL SCOTT: Sorry, that’s just a thing I do, I–you know, OK, so seriously–the economy.  I mean, I live a pretty good life.  I don’t own 8 cars or anything, but I do own my own condo, I run my own branch of Dunder Mifflin, AND (pointing to stomach) I am a soon-to-be father.

TOM BROKAW: Congratulations, but we really need to get on–

MICHAEL SCOTT: (continuing) Now, do I want to raise my child in a country where America is #2?  Where we’re sitting at home, looking up as Madagascar laps us in the recyclable paper business?  No, no–that is not what I want for my child.

TOM BROKAW: Thank you Mr. Scott.

MICHAEL SCOTT: (wagging finger) Tom???

TOM BROKAW: (reluctantly)…Senator Scott.  Let’s move on.  Next question, Senator Obama: There are some real questions about whether everything can be done at once.  Health care, energy, and entitlement reform–give us your list of priorities.

SENATOR OBAMA: Terrific question, Tom.  We’re going to have to prioritize, just like a family has to prioritize. Now–

SENATOR McCAIN: (interrupting) Hey look, we’re not–we’re not–we’re not rifle shots here.  We are Americans. And I think you can do all three at once.

MICHAEL SCOTT: (whispering) That’s what…

TOM BROKAW: That’s enough.  We’re moving on.  Our last question is from a hippie in New Hampshire.  She asks: As president, how will you know what you don’t know and what will you do when you figure out that which you don’t know?  Senator Obama, I’ll start with you.

SENATOR OBAMA: Tom, one of the things that we know about the presidency is that it’s never the challenges that you expect. Here’s what I do know: I know that if the economy continues to struggle, Mr. Scott over here is going to have a tough time keeping up with the mortgage payments on the condo he’s got.  His firm may soon be facing the real possibility of having to let some people go.

We can’t expect that if we do the same things that we’ve been doing over the last eight years, that somehow we are going to have a different outcome.  We need fundamental change. That’s what’s at stake in this election.

MICHAEL SCOTT: (looking fearful) Will there still be enough money for a Christmas party?

SENATOR McCAIN: My friends, there are challenges around the world that are new and different and there will be different–we will be talking about countries sometime in the future that we hardly know where they are on the map, some Americans. (Michael Scott nods emphatically)

When times are tough, we need a steady hand at the tiller and the great honor of my life was to always put my country first. And–and–you know who is going to raise our taxes and take away Christmas?  That one.  (points at Senator Obama)

MICHAEL SCOTT: (running from stage) Noooooooooooooo!!

TOM BROKAW: And that concludes tonight’s debate from here in Nashville.  We want to thank Belmont University, the Commission, and the traffic light operator for tonight’s debate.  There is one more opportunity for the talking heads to give their stump speeches: next Wednesday, October 15, with host Ryan Seacrest and musical guest Akon.  Good night everyone.

(NOTE: All text in black is what was actually said, taken from the CNN transcript of Tuesday night’s debate.)

 

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