Monday, December 20, 2004


One of my favorite things about Christmas - besides the birth of Jesus - is the surplus of made-for-TV Christmas specials, which usually air on CBS and have the words "Hallmark," and "Wish," in the title.

Because I have to admit that sometimes I let the chaos of the holiday season get to me, and I need someone - like Jennie Garth, Patrick Duffy, or even Meredith Baxter-Berney - to remind me what the holidays are all about. So what ARE the holidays all about anyway? Well, from what I've learned from made-for-TV specials, Christmas is all about a) reuniting with your long lost husband who you thought was dead but was really living in the Republic of Congo for reasons that are irrelevant at this time, b) discovering that a mall Santa Claus is the real Santa Claus because you asked him for "true love" and then ended up having simulated TV sex with Patrick Duffy, c) rescuing somebody from a well, and d) realizing that someone who you thought was mean is actually not so bad, and then having simulated, yet wholesome TV sex with them.

Yes - so many made-for-TV holiday specials have taught me so much over the years, but it's been one that has taught me the most. I had never seen "A Very Brady Christmas" before until this past weekend, and even though I only saw the very end, it's a virtual miracle that I've been able to celebrate Christmas for all of these years without learning the lessons from this heartwarming holiday special. Because I know now that if a building randomly collapses on Mike Brady - or anyone for that matter - all you have to do is gather 'round the building and start singing Christmas carols. Of course, it helps if Carol Brady is leading the singing and she's rocking a humongous afro, but it's not necessary. Anyway, if you keep singing, Mike Brady - or whoever else happens to be trapped - will just walk out of the rubble as if nothing happened. Then everybody has dinner, and Alice the Maid, or whatever your maid's name is, says something dumb and everybody starts laughing.

So this morning on my way to work, I just happened to pass a building that had just collapsed (it was very windy today). But instead of letting the people inside die - like I did last year - I got out of my truck and started singing. I couldn't remember any Christmas songs, so I sang "Every Little Step I Take," by Bobby Brown. It worked, and everyone got out safely, except my crazy maid, who fell into a well.

So if you ever find yourself in this situation, thanks to made-for-TV Christmas specials, you know just what to do. And you never know - the person trapped inside may be your "true love," which could mean that someone (you) is getting lucky tonight. And that's what Christmas is all about.

And don't forget about Jesus.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Peyton Manning - An exclusive look

Whenever I think of Peyton Manning - which is quite often - two funny things come to mind. First, there was actually serious debate six years ago as to whether Manning or Ryan Leaf should be the No. 1 draft pick. Secondly, there was actually serious debate two years ago as to whether or not Peyton Manning was overrated. Now these two things might not be "ha ha" funny, like Margaret Cho, if she were funny. No - they're "funny" in the sense of "I can't believe people are so stupid."

The Indianapolis Colts were not stupid however, when they selected Manning with the #1 pick in 1998, leaving the San Diego Chargers to select Ryan Leaf, who went on to have a more hilarious career than Margaret Cho, if you can imagine. And last year, Manning put to rest all the talk of him being overrated by a) winning a share of the MVP award, b) winning a playoff game (two games, actually), and c) becoming the highest paid quarterback since Alex Rodriguez (who played quarterback in high school, but now does something else.)

Peyton Manning is currently orchestrating the greatest quarterbacking display in NFL history. He is doing whatever he wants on the football field. He throws touchdown passes like it's his job. And even though it IS his job to throw touchdown passes, he's exceeding the company quota, to use a more blue-collar analogy. For example, my quota here is to churn out one (1) column per week. But if Peyton Manning were here, he would have already thrown 44 touchdown passes. Does that make more sense? Good.

So how does he do it? How does Peyton Manning make it look so easy? Well, we tried to track him down for a one-on-one interview to find out his secrets, but he declined, claiming he had "never heard of (me)." Of course, I'm kidding - we never tried to track him down. Besides, I think it's better for everyone involved if I just make up what I THINK Peyton Manning would say with regards to topics such as a) football, b) Peyton Manning, c) Ron Artest, d) life in general, and e) Christmas.

Manning told me that the secret to his success on the football field was his ability to spread the ball around. He is obviously blessed with many talented wide receivers, including Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Brandon Stokley, and he prefers not to focus on just one. He told me that he imagines all of his receivers as just one giant bagel, and he likes to "spread the ball around like cream cheese." I thought that was a pretty weird way to put it, but hey - it seems to work.

When asked to describe himself, Peyton Manning never referred to himself in the third person, which is a tendency of many high-profile athletes. Instead, he called himself, "The Guy Who is Going to Destroy Dan Marino's Puny Record." (At one point during the interview, he said, "The Guy Who is Going Destroy Dan Marino's Puny Record is thirsty. Someone get him a drink for crying out loud.") But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he actually WAS referring to himself in the third person, but he was just using an even more egotistical moniker. Nevertheless, Peyton Manning said he was very down-to-earth, and he is actively involved in charity work. Also, he likes kittens.

Peyton Manning thinks what Ron Artest did was wrong, but also added that "it's difficult to say what you would do until you're actually put in that situation." When asked if he had purchased Artest's latest hip-hop album, Manning replied, "No."

Manning believes that life, especially when you're a professional football player, can get crazy at times. He acknowledged that people are always after him for something - whether it be money, free Gatorade, or fake interviews. Nevertheless, he urged everyone (me, in particular) to just "try your best." He added, "If you just apply yourself, one day you can throw 44 touchdown passes. In the game of life." Then I told him to "go long" and he said he was just using "metaphors." Whatever.

And finally, when asked about the upcoming Christmas holiday, Manning said he was looking forward to spending time with his family, especially his younger brother Eli, who is currently experiencing some growing pains as the quarterback of the New York Giants. Peyton said that if he could give his brother anything for the holidays, it would be "a new offensive line." When asked what HE was requesting from Santa this year, Peyton replied, "Nothing. I have everything I want right here. Oh wait - how about a new defense? Do you think Santa can bring me a new defense? I've been extra-specially good this year!"

You sure have, Peyton Manning.

You sure have.

Monday, December 06, 2004

A Christmas Carol...and Staci, and Barbi, and Denise...

The strip club on Route 516 is having a Christmas party!

From what I understand, the date of the party is December 17th - a Friday night, so as not to compete with Saturday evening mass - and will feature "DJ Nasty," and $1.50 ello shots," which I inferred to mean "jello shots," with the "j" most likely somewhere in the Club 516 parking lot.

Now I've never been to a Club 516 Christmas party, but if it's anything like their Easter throw-down, then I'm in luck! (I can't even TELL you about the Easter egg hunt). And I hear that the employees will all be wearing Santa hats - and JUST Santa hats - and that they feature the only eggnog that tastes like Coors Light. Oh boy!

The only problem is that my wife and I apparently have another Christmas party scheduled for that exact night. But it's the same darn party we go to each year, where everybody has their clothes on, and there's no cigarette machine. We have to listen to stupid, generic Christmas albums, instead of jamming to the beats of DJ Nasty - whose holiday play list includes "Welcome to the Jungle."

I was trying to convince my wife that we should blow off this other party and experience the holidays the way they were meant to be experienced: with random naked ladies in Santa hats grinding your lap for money. But she says we HAVE to go to this other party because the host is apparently the "best man from our wedding." So it looks like I'll be paying for THAT decision every Christmas for the rest of my life.

So I guess I have no choice - we're going to the lame Christmas party...again. But hey - at least there's no cover charge. And the ello shots are free.