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Friday, December 29, 2006

Jessica Cutler Likes Me, She Really Likes Me...Oh Wait, No, Apparently She Hates Me

I was wondering how anemic my readership has been during the holidays since I haven't been blogging that frequently, so I went to the site that tracks my stats. On a good day I get about 190 readers, tops. Imagine my surprise to see that on Dec. 24 I had 2,800 hits and the numbers have stayed in the thousands since then. Why all the attention? Because on Christmas Eve, Jessica Cutler took a break from making her parents proud by talking about doing blow and getting sued for her sexual indiscretions to make fun of my unassuming Christmas Eve post. I'm not quite sure why anyone would get so bent out of shape over me saying I have happy childhood memories and I'm content now, but Cutler's ranking it below an abortion (classy, classy, classy) was just the thing to drive people to the site.
So thank you Jessica. Best Christmas present ever. Shame I didn't see it earlier, because it totally would have made the Best Posts of '06 list.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Best Blog Posts of 2006 as Picked By Me

10. I consider the DCeiver to be at his best when he's taking someone else's Top Whatever List!, or Best Bets for Eating Mediocre Food! list and ripping them a new one for compiling proof only that the list compilers and/or voters are morons. (I rest easy knowing he's currently too busy compiling evidence of Jason Cherkis and Eric Wemple being an embarrassment to journalism to worry about reading this particular list.) Which is why his post on the Washington Post's "Best Bets", and this one on The Hill's "50 Hottest on the Hill" made me spray Diet Coke out of my nose at high velocity.

9. You know those posts that make you say, "Hey, yeah! I thought that, too! And this blogger has just totally captured what I thought about the matter and put into words on his blog!"? Well that's what Good at Drinking, Bad at Life did with this simple, WTF?! post about Eastern Motors.

8. In his memorable "No, I Don't Want a Penis Cookie" post, Rock Creek Rambler made me weep for my gender.

7. The Sour 'N Sweet South Park customizer post that launched an afternoon of citywide wasted productivity.

6. I consider blog post titles a tiny little artform. BeeLog had my favorite of the year.

5. One night in April, after toiling in a warehouse for a good cause, I drove home a fellow volunteer who I'd just met that evening. God knows how we got on the topic but we geeked out about reading D.C. blogs. I didn't have one at the time and wasn't even thinking of starting one. "She was really cool," I thought after dropping her at her house and zipping off into the night. Imagine my surprise when in late June I clicked on a KathrynOn post and saw the same girl, pictured in a post titled, "Anatomy of a Budding Friendship" created entirely to honor her. And as a result of a comment I left on that post we ended up emailing and she convinced me to hit the upcoming Blogger Happy Hour. And now I have a blog. And I consider her a new friend. So the overall effect of this No. 5 post ended up being that of a bunny hugging a puppy under a rainbow next to a milk chocolate river.

4. Forget Santa and his Naughty List. Playaz know who's roasting. This post made being so, so wrong, feel so, so right.

3. Pygmalion in a Blanket's trilogy of "K-k-k-k-keyboard" posts, in which a friend gets punked with a Chia seed-smeared keyboard, were damn funny and had oddly beautiful Chia-focused photography.

2. Sent From My Dell Desktop's move to the greater NYC metropolitan area was a big loss for the D.C. blogging rabble. Sensible, well-written posts like "Always Order Dessert" show why.

1. And finally, Throwing Hammers had what was easily the best post of 2006 with "Drifting Over the Blogosphere."

Oh Santa, You Shouldn't Have

Coco Chanel adored jeweler Robert Goossens for his ability to turn hunks of gold and glittering jewels into works of art that were the perfect juxtaposition for her prim designs. Then Goossens' pieces became the adornment of choice for the Balenciaga, YSL, Dior, Thierry Mugler and Sonia Rykiel runways. And thanks to the exceptional eye of my Significant Other who saw these vintage Goossens gold-set, glittering green stones and knew that I would be in love with them, they are now my adornment of choice. They took my breath away on Christmas morning.

My mother and father scored a homerun with this phenomenal pink pearl necklace from David & Dragana Wagman. I added another of their necklaces to my collection a few months ago, but coveted this one, too.

Good things do indeed come in small packages.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas Eve...

When I was little I used to kneel on my bed and rest my cheek against the chilled glass of my bedroom window on Christmas eve, and look out on the quiet street. I loved the glow that the little white Christmas candle in the window cast on my room. My family busied themselves in other parts of the house with last-minute wrapping or wrestling a new Strawberry Shortcake bike into submission. When I woke the next morning I'd run down the hall and see that Santa had come. It was perfection.

As I got older I came to know about the melancholy that tinged this night for some. The poor needed so much that often wasn't coming, people alienated from loved ones were in pain, and war made life hell for too many. But I was raised to understand that you did the most you could to help those in need, year round, and on nights like Christmas eve you remembered them and gave thanks for what you had in your own life.

Tonight, the chilled window pane I'll lean against is in my own house, my dream house as it were, perched above a tree-lined street in this city that I adore. I live here with a man I am desperately in love with and a dog I can't seem to stop hugging. I have family who love me and tomorrow when I wake I will watch my niece delight in the fact that overnight, Santa came. I know tonight that I have more to be thankful for than ever before.

*I almost forgot to credit the photo here. It's Colin Winterbottom. He. Is. Awesome.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Lights, please...

"'And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid ... And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.'
That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

It gets me every time.

I'm out of here folks. With the exception of an excrutiatingly personal post that's going up in the next day or so, I'll be taking a break until after the New Year. You've all made this an incredible year for me. I still shake my head in amazement at how many chill friends I made so suddenly because of the decision to hit "Publish Post" on May 17. If you're traveling, be safe. If you're sticking around, be smart. If you're flush with money, be generous. Most of all, find yourself some peace if that's what you need most this holiday.

Merry Christmas,
Brunch Bird

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Something Tells Me an "I Hump and Dump" T-Shirt Would Sell Like Hotcakes

I was just thinking about "Dogs Barking Jingle Bells." That really doesn't have much to do with this post, but someone mentioned that song to me the other day and I've had it stuck in my head so now you can deal with it.

But I do want to talk about pets for a minute. Specifically, interesting alternative newspapers that address them without going all Dog Fancy geeky or eyeroll-inducing pandering. You don't know of any such publication? Yeah, well I didn't either until Dig & Scratch debuted last month. The paper and website are for pet owners who don't get prudish at the thought of articles like, "My Humps, My Humps" about dogpark sexymaking. There's a blog called "Hair of the Dog." And in what's already becoming a popular feature, you can upload photos of your own pooch or kittie. Bring your A game because it appears that every hipster with a hound and a Nikon is getting in on the action and some of the pictures are pretty darn good. If you're in New York City, you can pick one up yourself. If you're anywhere else you can read the website or get a year's subscription mailed for $18 bones. Get it? Bones. snicker, snicker. Oh, that joke was annoying? You know what else is annoying? Having "Dogs Barking Jingle Bells" stuck in your head for two days.

*I don't go all Daily Candy very often, so of course this publication is the creation of one of my boys.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Oh My, That's Hilarious...Wait, What Are We Laughing At?

Ever join a conversation mid-action and think you've picked up enough of it to either make a comment or laugh, then you realize from funny looks that you've missed too much and they now think:
a. You're an idiot.
b. You're weird.
c. You think the crash of the Hindenburg was funny.
Well at a party Saturday night I managed to pull this maneuver, but what added to the hi-larity was that my Significant Other was in the midst of his own little conversational snafu. A word about the party, before we go any further. It was lovely, as you might expect.

In a nutshell, I went to get my coat as we were heading out. At the same time, the hostess was good-naturedly ribbing S.O. a bit, asking him if we tease each other about "blog crushes," as she and her man do. He said "No," right away but realized that he was sort of confused because he's new to the lingo and in his head he was doing the slow-motion sideways dive and deep "Noooooooooo!" to try and stop himself from doing what he actually did: the sort-of-confused-so-I-end-up-coming-off-like-an-uptight-conversation-ending-fuddy-duddy maneuver. Then, I walked up not realizing what had just happened and rolled my eyes and said "Let's go," all mock-seriously and pointing to the door, not knowing until he explained on the elevator that this would have had the effect of making it look like I've spent nights sleeping on the couch, Andy Capp-style, with him fuming over the matter of blog crushes, which are just an online joke. So our bow and exit from the party displayed our trademark George-and-Gracie comic timing and Fred-and-Ginger elegance.

At the very least, it was just like the Hindenburg.

"Wait outside Bill. And try not to give anybody rabies."

While in a vegetative state on the couch this weekend I was flipping through the channels and about had a heart attack when I saw this:
That's "A Wish for Wings that Work," and I haven't seen it on TV since its 1991 debut. That year, it captured the heart of a brace-wearing Catholic school girl who believed that if she was lucky she might one day become Mrs. BrunchBird Breathed. As it turns out, about 10 years after that I had an interaction with Berkeley Breathed in furtherance of giving the coolest Christmas gift I've ever bestowed in my life.

My Bloom County addiction came straight from my much older and decidedly cooler brother. So while many girls my age were reading Tiger Beat, I was curled up with "Loose Tails" and "Tunes for Our Times." I associate those books now with the happy view of the 1980s that only a child of them could have, and idolizing my brother. Anyhoo, a few years back, Breathed released a new book. I ordered a copy of it from a very cool bookstore that also reps his artwork. I enclosed a note with my order, explaining that it would be for my brother and the gist of the first part of this paragraph and I'd love it if he could autograph it. So Breathed signs the book that comes back. And I'm not talking "Best regards, Berkeley Breathed." I'm talking a full-on, heartfelt note back to my brother that riffed on these themes. Awesome. As was watching the Christmas special for the first time in 15 years.

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Why the Terrorists Hate Us Friday!

Item: Forest Faces
Cost: $12.95
Catalogue: Plow & Hearth

A few days ago I was saying that I think I might have to retire the WtTHUF feature. As I come across these things a little part of me dies, and frankly, I'm starting to wonder if there's enough of me to last through the Christmas catalogue season. Heck, I get three issues of The Sharper Image a week; that alone could put me in the grave before I so much as sip the first nog of '06. But then came the catalogue bearing Forest Faces and I said, 'You know what? This is needed. Now more than ever.'

What better way to show your appreciation for the natural beauty of a tree than nailing a polyresin face into it? "If trees could talk, they'd have faces like these!" reads the pitch. First of all, their ability to talk really has nothing to do with the appearance of their faces, so nice try anonymous copywriting drone somewhere in Encitas, California. Secondly, if trees could talk I'd pretty much bet they'd be saying "If you come near me with that shlock I'll hurl acorns at you like my not getting made into a box of fax paper in the near future depends on it." What really strikes me is that you know--you know--someone came up with this product idea after watching The Lord of the Rings. So while Tolkien was trying to make a point about peace and nature, some mouthbreather is thinking, "Booyah! Holiday sellout baby!" Oh, and I'm not even being facetious. Grumpy here (one of four styles they offer) is out of stock. Guess your cranky crabapples and pouty pines are going to have to convey their emotions the old-fashioned way: falling on your three-car garage during global warming-jacked storms.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I Felt Like a Wee Little Contractor, Minus the Tool Belt and Coin Slot (With Photos!)

I had to make a gingerbread house for work. (Because what professional workplace doesn't think having suckers make gingerbread houses is a good idea.) Figuring that it was going to be a nightmare of Boschian proportions, I intended to live-blog it. However, it was actually sort of easy and delightful, and took only an hour. That's because I made the cheat-y Martha Stewart versions. (That's right, Martha advocated a shortcut. Gasp and clutch your pearls at will.) Namely, you dispense with the, uh, gingerbread, and use graham crackers for sheetrock. Here's how my sweet little subdivision came in on time and almost under budget.

1. The materials. Annoyance? You've got to shell out for multiple bags of candy to get the roughly two pieces per bag you need for your decorations. By the way, you use a steak knife to cut the corners off of the graham crackers that form the front and back of the house.

2. Melted the white chocolate chips in the microwave. This is your joint compound. Martha advocated using a type of icing that requires dried egg white powder. I live near the Spanish Safeway. I'm lucky they have apples. Melted chocolate chips would have to do. Squeezed from a little disposable bag, they worked just fine as it turns out.

3. Decorate. My Significant Other came home from work at this point and at first sort of chuckled at me, then got a little closer and attempted to steal my building materials (for which he received a swift slap on the hand) and then suggested I add a snowman. "Capital idea," I said. "Make it." So he took off his dress shirt and sat down and made a snowman. All the while giving me a sheepish, "I'm not gay or anything but this is kind of fun," look. And his snowman was awesome.

We had a blast. They ended up being the little houses on Irony Lane.

I'd Love to Fly to St. Barths With You. My Boyfriend, Too.

I am a social girl. If I'm not out and about a fair amount I get bored. My Significant Other is a social guy, but because of differing degrees of liking the sauce (as in, I do, he doesn't) I tend to fly solo a lot. Heck, even when we're out at the same place we're not attached at the hip. After three years, I still dig looking up mid-conversation at a party, bar, crime scene, whatever, and smiling or leering at him inappropriately, then going back to our respective conversations.

There's a pesky side effect of painting the town red with only one brush though. I'll chat with an interesting dude and walk away thinking "Nice guy...Oooh, I wonder if there's any Cheerios left at the house!" End of story. And most guys walk away from me doing the same. "Nice girl....Oooh, I wonder if there's any porn on HBO tonight!" They either know that I have a Significant Other of hulking mass, or they're not interested in anything but my knock-knock joke repertoire and ability to knot cherry stems with my tongue. But lately I'm finding that even if I've mentioned my S.O. in conversation, there is a breed of guy who seems to think it's well-advised to seek a follow-up audience.

Take the guy I was chatting with Friday night. He's a musician and plays the saxophone, which I do as well. So I asked where he played and said something to the effect of, "Oh, my boyfriend and I love live music so we'd love to see you play some time." I gave him my card. Today there was a phone message from him. So now I'm second guessing, on one hand thinking, 'OK, people need to make friends and some folks still actually use a phone to communicate, so this is totally normal. Plus, I told him to call about any shows. And he was a really cool guy so he might make for an interesting friend some day.' But then I'm thinking, 'Is this guy really choosing to ignore that I mentioned several times having a boyfriend and is he looking for a date?' A couple weeks earlier a similar scenario ensued after a cocktail networking thing in which I'd given my card out to some people in attendance, and a guy contacted me about having drinks. My best friends in the world are three guys I've known for six to 10 years. I can go out with them alone--drinking, gambling, the occasional strip club--and it's not a big deal, because I know they're above board. I'll never know with someone I've just met though if they appear intent on ignoring the fact that the S.O. exists.

[Editor's note: I should interrupt myself here. Having grown up surrounded by pretty brunettes and blondes, I am more than a tad on the "eh" side about my self-image. Let's face it, the American private school system is not one where a coil-curled redhead with a dry sense of humor gets a lot of attention from the boys and emerges thinking she's the cat's meow. When a friend or the S.O. elbows me in the side and alleges that I'm getting hit on, I am loathe to do anything but blush and make an awkward non sequitur about a New Yorker article on urban beet farming that I've just read. So this isn't me pouting my lips, jutting one hip and twirling my hair while saying "Wahh, poor me, I'm so cute I just don't know what to do."]

[One more editor's note: I find it almost impossible to do the bitchy female thing and look around the room or appear bored when a guy is talking to me. I try to be friendly and engaging because I'm genuinely interested in talking to new people if they've got something to offer conversationally. I give out my business card. I realize that this can appear from the other side of the beer bottle to be opening a door.]

Here's my question: When and how do you interject into a conversation that you're taken? More than I worry about leading some guy on, I worry about the alternative. About the guy who strikes up a conversation with me just to be nice and then I blurt out "I have a boyfriend," and he's all, "Good for you chucklehead, I'm married. Would you or your ego like a refill on that champagne?" Is it preferable to just get it out of the way right up front with some conversational cue and then move on with the discussion? Or do you wait until they call, email, etc., and explain? Or do you just ignore those follow-ups all together?

And please dear God, don't anybody suggest fake engagement ring.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Trashy, Like, They End Above the Knee?

First, some background about Orem, Utah. Sixty-three percent of the city is either married or widowed. Brigham-Young University, the school that expelled a Real World cast member for living in a house with males, is a few miles down the road. Orem's nickname is "Family City, USA." And most significantly, census numbers about religious affiliation indicate that 90 percent of the folks in Orem likey The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which calls for, among other things, avoidance of pornography in any form, including R-rated movies. Yet some intrepid soul in Orem, Utah, this morning Googled "trashy undies," and found yours truly, thanks to this post. Perhaps they're thinking of trading in their holy knickers for something more fun. Mr. Romney, are you a closet Brunch Bird fan? In any case, welcome. Tell your friends. I think my low-level debauchery could make me the Anais Nin of Orem, Utah, in no time flat.

Position: Dog Nanny; Requirements: Head Must Fit Neatly in Freezer

Reader Etcetera is floating around on Craigslist today and comes across this. A man who describes himself as 50, single, and professional living in AU Park is in need of a dog nanny for his 15-month-old "puppy." Specifically, a live-in dog nanny. She of course immediately thought to send it to me. Not because I'd make a great dog nanny, but because I delight in poking a stick into that which I do not understand:

"I am interested in having someone assist in taking care of her and doing occasional chores in return for full room, board and a car. I have had two such people in the past year who became good friends and did a great job but have moved on to pursue other life interests. Their responsibilities included walking her for 30-60 minutes three times each day (morning, dinner-time, night), feeding her dinner, taking her to the park 1-2 times each weekend day, being a pet taxi on occasion and letting her hang with them when they were home during the day. Most days you will have from about 10AM to 5:00PM free. When I am in town, you will also have from 11PM to 9:00AM free. (If I am not in town, you will need to stay with her during these later hours.) Additional occasional chores would include weekly clothes washing, errands around town and being home if a home repair or delivery is scheduled...I live in a large new home near the metro. I will be providing a new car and a credit card for all your food, dog, car and home expenses."

So in exchange for a few hours of "dog nannying" that is almost entirely concentrated in the evening, you're going to get a home, a new car, and a credit card. I am reminded of a dialogue exchange from a classic of American cinema, "Detroit Rock City," when our young protagonists are contemplating picking up a female hitchhiker: "They make scary movies that start out like that." "Yeah, but they make porno movies that start out like that too, man!"

Let they cynical comments fly folks.

Monday, December 11, 2006

For Those Expecting Me Saturday Night, I'm a Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins

Best. Weekend. Ever. (And for those of you who grumble about people doing their weekend wrap-ups on Monday, then go read Cutler or something.)

*Friday night: All-Holiday Blog Celebration hosted by the delightful I-66. V's got some pics up with the promise of more to come. Let's hope, because some folks are looking tip-say in the ones that are up there. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'. As always, the talk was good. It's so nice to have conversations with people in bars that don't start with, "So who do you work for?" And the fact that the Significant Other was chilling in the basement bar with his boys (and birds) made for some nice upstairs/downstairs mingling variety.

*Late Friday/early Saturday: I know karaoking and dancing was on the agenda, but I ducked out in the wee hours for my own after-party: a bowl of Cap'n Crunch on the couch while watching the early-morning repeat of Austin City Limits. That night's performers? Ben Folds and Ray LaMontagne. Triple word score.

*Saturday morning: Occasionally, I try to earn my moniker by not only eating other's brunch offerings, but preparing my own. So Saturday I welcomed friends with babies. I find that it's easier for them to socialize during the golden hours between morning bottle and early afternoon nap. Between the four couples in attendance there were six kids: three already arrived and three in utero. The menu included baked praline french toast, bite-sized bagles with smoked salmon and black pepper, and scrambled eggs with chives. With 95% of those in attendance being working media I realized that we could have published something if we had to. Awesome.

*Saturday afternoon: Christmas shopping 'til my feet were crying and my debit cards were begging for mercy.

*Which leads us to Saturday evening. I was supposed to stop by the Santa Stumble for a couple hours before heading to The Big Hunt for Etcetera's birthday drinking. I got distracted. And spent the evening snuggling under the comforter for this season's first official "Elf" viewing. I drifted off to sleep to the sound of "Buddy Elf, what's you're favorite color?!"

*Sunday: typical Sunday morning stuff, then more shopping. Experiences in our nation's retailers that day ranged from odd to annoying. However, they cannot be blogged about because the gift recipients read this blog. So really, not listening to me whine is my gift to all of you.

*Sunday evening: gift wrapping, cookie baking (Snickerdoodles), watched "Tsunami: The Aftermath" on HBO. Interesting but not transcendent or anything.

But in general, best weekend ever. Thanks to all who made it that way.

Did I Get Drunk and Leave This Here While Interning in 1996?

I'm in a souvenir shop Sunday looking for something silly and I glance over at their shot glass shelf. There's your standard Washington Monument and "I Heart D.C." offerings. And then there's this one, above the $2.99 sign:
That would be a Clemson University shot glass. As in, my alma mater. In South Carolina. 550 miles from here.

Please let me know if you wander into any other Capitol Hill shops and find a well-worn copy of the "Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet" soundtrack and a navy and white Ann Taylor suit with an elephant pin on the lapel because then I'm going to know I got robbed at some point here in the late 90s and they're just now moving the merch.

Friday, December 08, 2006

It's Why the Terrorists Hate Us Friday!

Item: Gold-Dipped Roses
Cost: $799.99
Catalogue: Sky Mall

What lucky person doesn't want to come home after a hard day of work to find a dozen long-stem roses...dipped in gold and jammed in the ugliest vase ever created by human hands. Gilding the lily never seemed so restrained. Here's a tip King Midas: If you can afford that, get her this.

Because Wading Through All Eleven Sentences About Britney's Tinker Would Have Been Too Taxing has helpfully started summarizing the key points of their news stories in a red-bordered box that sits atop the article, sparing us the time it takes to read the lengthy works of journalism for which they are known. This is especially helpful when you're talking about pieces like this afternoon's "news" story about Britney Spears courageously breaking her week-long silence about why she's been flashing her vajayjay to anyone standing near her car for the last few days. What's great about this new "Story Highlights" feature is that it cuts to the chase and says "You know what America, you really are as dumb as a tree stump, and we've just got just the technique to pander to you."

This also makes me wonder how our most revered news stories might have benefited from a little bullet-point boost. Say, this one:

FBI Finds Nixon Aides Sabotaged Democrats
Story Highlights
* Nixon did something very naughty.
* Committee with funny acronym involved.
* John Mitchell warns Katie Graham of imminent breast-related accident.

Japan Bombs Pearl Harbor
Story Highlights
* We did NOT see that coming!
* Oh no they di'nt.
* Inspiring posters to be manufactured in droves, eventually become kitsch.

Oh death of journalism, thy name is cable news.

(Sent From My Dell Desktop is also pondering this odd development. The highlights thing that is. Not Britney's aversion to underwear.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Anyone Been to the University Club Lately?

Could someone please explain to me what the University Club's Christmas lighting concept is? They've got the traditional white lights accenting greenery and red bows. But then they've also decked their august halls with blue and gold lights, and then piled oddly shaped topiaries with lights in a bilious shade of green. The Russian Embassy next door--with its white lights, greenery and red bows--could put up giant, inflatable matrioshka dolls and still look elegant by comparison. You know Ushakov and the missus are totally rolling their eyes every evening when the Griswolds next door fire up the display.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happy St. Nicholas Day! Grace Period for Newbies: Get Your Shoe Swag On

Those with a European background may be familiar with this custom. I was born there, so that's where my family picked it up. Before going to sleep on Dec. 5, you put a shoe outside your bedroom door. The next morning, you wake to find that St. Nicholas has visited, leaving a candy treat, a little toy, and if you've been naughty, some switches/twigs. The Significant Other woke this morning to find that St. Nicholas had left him a few luxury chocolates, an automatic yo-yo (it never needs rewinding people!), and just one switch. (St. Nicholas it seems, is keenly aware of one's failure to keep pen off the $300 duvet but recognizes that this is a minor infraction.) The dog appeared miffed for about the 500th morning of her life that she does not wear shoes. Although it's typically an a.m. thing, I think it's safe to say you've got the rest of the evening to jam one of your loved one's shoes full of goodies and then explain your new tradition. I guarantee you'll get a smile.

P.S.--If the shoe in question appears to be a somewhat inhospitable environment for foodstuffs, just put a bit of tissue paper in there first.

Even If You Don't Follow College Football, I Highly Recommend Watching This

To the fans of Ole Miss I say, "Uh, sorry." To the detractors I say, "You're welcome."

And for those of you unfamiliar with Ole Miss football Coach Ed Orgeron, here's a description of an infamous incident in which he addressed his players, after having ripped his shirt off (courtesy of Southern Papa):

"When I point to this side of the room, I want you to say 'Ole Miss.' When I point to this side, I want you to say, 'Wild Boys.'" Standing there with no shirt on with every guy in the room shirtless, started pointing to each side of the room. Half the team would yell, "Ole Miss" while the other would yell "Wild Boys." Apparently it got pretty crazy and guys started flipping chairs, yelling, and throwing coolers across the room while chanting Ole Miss... Wild Boys. ""He then stopped and said, "One more thing. If any of you motherf*****s thinks you can take me, you come up here and get a piece of me right now. He gave everyone an opportunity to come up and fight him and said, "That's what I thought," and walked out of the room."

Sweet, sweet Coach O, the man who makes Mike Leach look way less batsh** insane.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

And This Little Piggy Cried Ho, Ho, Ho All the Way Home

It's occurring to me that Christmas is less than three weeks away and I've got to order a baked ham of sizeable mass for Christmas dinner. Which means locating and visiting some sort of ham-peddling establishment. Hilarity will no doubt ensue, as it did last Thanksgiving when I--a vegetarian of 12+ years--was tasked with buying a turkey large enough to feed the 16 family members coming to my home for the holiday. There was nothing short of a nervous breakdown in Whole Foods when the poultry guy asked me if I wanted an organic turkey, a fresh turkey, or an organic fresh turkey. The last thing I remembered before passing out on a rack of whole-wheat Twinkies was him telling me that it would be about $238.29, regardless.

So now it's the ham holiday. That should be easier though because way fewer people are involved this year and my understanding is that the ham arrives cooked and slathered in some sort of honey, saving me from repeating the second-most calamitous moment of Thanksgiving '05: the cooking of the meat. It was right around the "reach into the turkey's cavity and pull out the neck and giblet bag" stage that I reacquainted myself with the floor. My mother and father arrived in short order, stepped over my carcass, and whipped up a lovely Thanksgiving meal. But this year I shall triumph! I am confident that I will find this "Heavenly Ham" venue which is spoken about in reverent tones, or at the very least flip to the right page in the Dean&Deluca catalogue, and order up a cooked pig worthy of tiny baby Jesus' birthday.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Hope You've Got a Big Trunk, 'Cuz I'm Puttin' My Foreign Policy In It. Hey-oh!

Awwww, the country's fearless leader is going for a bike ride. How do I know? Because I got stuck behind his motorcade on the B/W Parkway Saturday morning. The 10 black SUV/vans sandwiched by two cop cars gave him away. And how do I know he was going for a bike ride? Because his and his agents' bikes were mounted on the back of one of the vans in exactly the same fashion you'd load up your Huffy. There's not room in one of those monster vehicles for three bikes? I mean, my father could get three people's luggage, three bikes and a 10-foot canoe into our family's ride. No, W travels in a fierce looking fleet and still manages to look like a little bit of a stooge.

Email Just Came in From My Big Brother Regarding Clemson's Bowl Selection

To: Brunch Bird
From: Big Brother
Date: 12/04/06
Subject: Music City Bowl!

...Excuse me while I go make myself a Drano martini.

Friday, December 01, 2006

It's Why the Terrorists Hate Us Friday! Reader Submitted!

Item: LifeGem Diamond
Catalogue: LifeGem
Price: $19,999 for 1.0 Carat

With the holidays here, many are slipping into moments of quite reflection, mentally recounting memories of loved ones who have passed away. Well, that's for suckers. If you really cared about Aunt Matilda you'd have had her carbon extracted and compressed into a diamond in a high-tech EZ Bake Oven contraption in Elk Grove, Illinois. Courtesy of Brunch Bird reader Bruce come LifeGem diamonds. Tagline: "Like the memory of a loved one, a diamond lasts forever." LifeGem diamonds are made by extracting carbon from a lock of your loved one's hair, heating and compressing it. About five months later, you've got a diamond. Or, to be more specific, you've got your grandmother. The folks at LifeGem say that this isn't just a job for them, it's a calling to help people ease the grieving process. And if they happen to get $3,500 to $25,000 in return (that's just for the loose diamond mind you, not the setting), well then that helps them continue to carry on their mission.

They also offer pre-planning, so you can be sure that your family isn't left with yet another pesky detail after your passing. "Experience shows, this will be one of the toughest times your family will ever face. By planning ahead, you have made the situation much more manageable." There are also family packages to ensure that little Buster and Bettina officially have the creepiest show-and-tell item ever. And finally, or perhaps inevitably, there are pet LifeGems.

The LifeGem founders write, "We believe in LifeGems with every ounce of our soul." Something tells me that those souls have a previous commitment after death. With Mephistopheles.

Lovers Happy Hour II, As Told in Pronouns

UPDATE: V's got the pics in handy slide show form.

It was hotter than Hades in Chi-Cha last night and this time I actually do mean in temperature. Bar owners of D.C.: just because it's December doesn't mean you have to dogmatically leave the A/C off. Minor blip in an otherwise chill evening though. Highlights:

* After months and months of sitcom-esque crossed paths, I finally met her. And she is very, very cool.
* Speaking of very, very cool: this guy and this guy. More and more, I just really look forward to talking to them at these things.
* This gent and this gent are class acts. They consistently display my two favorite traits: they're hilarious and interesting. Lucky for them we didn't go to the same high school because I totally would have been doodling little hearts around their blogs when I was supposed to be paying attention in English Lit.
* Last night was great because I got a lot of face time with bloggers I haven't previously been able to talk with much, like her. Her dry humor cracks me up. The description of her apartment makes me pea green with envy.
* And as for her, her and her? Well they're the type of birds who, when you look up at a gathering and see them there, confirm that you're in exactly the right place that night.

Happy Friday luvahs.