Under Siege

In June 1994, I was working as a newspaper reporter in my hometown in Northeast Ohio, having granulated from the college in said hometown in Northeast Ohio, in a relationship with a lovely, funny young woman I had met at said college and then at said job, a young woman who was fond of introducing me to new cultural phenomena, including Guns ‘n’ Roses, the Micheal Stanley Band, Honey Hut ice cream, and The Howard Stern Show.

I was watching ABC News with her the day O.J. Simpson led the LAPD on the slow-motion chase, when Maurie from Brooklyn punked the hell out of Peter Jennings. We knew immediately it was a Howard Stern call. How could you not. “Now, lookie heah.” Marie of course confirmed that it was a “totally farcical call” by shouting out “bababooey to ya’ll” as he hung up. We were on the floor. Good times.

But on June 10, 1994, Howard Stern came to Cleveland to bury the one-eyed cyclops. I had to work that day but made every excuse I could to be in my car. I heard it, I heard the moment when the wires were cut, heard the profanities spewed just before, heard Stern’s graceful recovery, broadcasting on the cell phone, his declaration of “Radio D-Day.” I was a regular listener at the time. Hell. I was an addict. But that’s the day my Stern fan-dom became branded into me. Sssssssssssssssssssssss.

Since Stern got the tapes in May 2006, I have been waiting for this day, and I have just gotten to experience it. As part of the ongoing “History of Howard Stern,” I have gotten to once again hear the goings-on of the day the Buzzard cut the wire.

That was awesome.

Great Expectations

I have just got in from session two today of moving snow. I did a fair bit yesterday while it was falling, so the porch was easy to clear, and the path to my car was easier to make. However, I’ve realized that I’ve planned this a bit incorrectly.

The path to work on first would have been to the sidewalk, not to the driveway. I will consider myself lucky if I get to drive by Wednesday, when I am scheduled to travel for Christmas (though I assume a plow might drive through here before then, certainly). But I will need to get to a bus stop tomorrow to get to the coal mines.

Actually, if I’d really been thinking, I would have stashed Esther the Car in a parking garage somewhere before it hit and bused back home. Then at least I’d have a car not buried under a tundra.

But, I have to admit. It was fun watching my Atlanta-native neighbor thinking he was going to get to drive today. That’s so cute!

Dexter: WTF?

I wish I could find again the cultural blog I was reading where the kid has been utterly dissatisifed with Dexter this season. He wrote that he believed the writers had gotten just plain lazy, taking wild shortcuts in story in some parts and relying too heavily on bloated exposition in others. After last evening’s season finale, I am with him.

And I think they know it sucks rocks, which is why Showtime aired a piece after where Michael C. Hall and John Lithgow got in front of a camera to gush about how intense or whatever they thought the finale had been. What a load. Sorry, friends, but with the Weeds season finale, you’ve got a lot to measure up to.

Spoilers commence here.

Questions. How in Hell did Dexter mess with Arthur’s oil cap? When did he have the opportunity? How did he track Arthur to his final resting place? Where did he finally do the deed, and was the location significant, or did I just miss that? When did Arthur have the opportunity to kill Rita? And why the hell did he bother to do it according to his ritual? And if he was going to kill her ritualistically, wouldn’t he have the mother of two kids leap off a building? And I just don’t buy that he’d be able to coerce Rita into that tub.

Which is where I would have led the season finale to go, actually. Arthur shows up and catches Rita as she shows up to collect her I.D. for the plane. He confronts her, tries to subdue her, but Rita is the one who successfully conquers the Trinity. Dexter shows up to find Rita standing over the big man’s body holding a bloody butcher knife. This would lead to an explosive fifth season, as Rita has to stand trial for murder. What questions would a trial bring out? Why was Arthur Mitchell—by then confirmed by police as Trinity—at Dexter’s house? Would Det. Batista perhaps catch some security cam footage of Arthur and Dexter’s confrontation at the police station earlier and connect a few dots? Might an inquest into Mitchell’s death eventualy expose The Dark Passenger? And how would Rita’s defeat of the Trinity Killer make Dexter feel? Would he feel envious that his wife was able to do what he could not? Emascualted that he was unable to protect his child, and that Rita was?

Sorry, there was nothing suspensful in Rita’s death. For many of us, it was simply a relief.

‘Tis the Season to Be Jelly

On today, the eighth day of the exalted holiday known as Zappadan, which is really going great gangbusters, guys, it is time for what is becoming an annual rant about that other holiday, that of Christmas.

You know, Ted Baxter’s moronic pronouncements of the liberals’ “war on Christmas” just occur earlier and earlier every year.

This year, he started in even before Samhain, having that blonde Frankenstein on his show to pitch yet another hateful, evil book about how much liberals hate Christmas. It’s awful. And, it’s wrong. So. Let’s roll out the truth yet again about who, exactly, is pooping all over Christmas.

Christmas is a holiday so old and rooted in so much ancient history that the urge to celebrate has likely by now been scrubbed into human DNA. Ancient Romans celebrated Saturnalia on Dec. 17. Scandinavian Pagans celebrated Yule. Christmas itself is referenced in print as early as 354 CE. Celebrations and praise at wintertime go way back with humanity; such holidays are likely as old as agriculture. Which makes sense. In winter, you roll out your stocked goods and party because you had a pretty darned good harvest. Thanks to the gods and whatnot.

Now. Believe it or not, there was a time when Christmas wasn’t such a big friggin’ deal in these Untied States of America. In the mid-1600s, you’d get a five-shilling fine in Boston for celebrating it. And the Revolution put a bad taste in our mouths regarding anything that seemed kind of English, so they weren’t too crazy about it in the late 1700s, either. But in 1819, Washington Irving, the 19th century’s Steven Spielberg, wrote The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, gent., which included stories about the celebration of Christmas in an English manor house and which reflected on Christmas as a peaceful, warm-hearted holiday bringing groups together across lines of wealth or social status. By 1870, Congress and President Grant at last declared it a legal federal holiday, along with New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Independence Day.

My point: This country did not come to Christmas out of a profound need to celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. It came to Christmas because humans and nations require a vast winter holiday. And it did not choose Christmas because we were of the Lord. It chose Christmas because we were of England.

I was reared with no consideration of God, and for the most part, I retain this belief system today. Yet, I was reared with Christmas, and I continue to celebrate it every year. We had the tree, the presents, the family, the fellowship, Santy Claus, yeah, we did all of that. And we weren’t bashful about wishing anyone a Merry Christmas.* See, in these Untied States of America, Christmas is supposed to be the inclusive, national secular holiday that we can share with our friends, our neighbors, and our families. But some folks, and I’ll betcha our bloated friend over at Fox “News” is one of them, just can’t have that.

“Political correctness” isn’t what saps the joy out of this holiday season. It’s the “remember the reason” assclowns.

Look, folks. The more you insist on dragging your church’s crap all out in to our Public Square, the more Nativity scenes you insist on erecting, the more you tut-tut if someone abbreviates it to “x-mas,” the less inclusive our treasured national holiday is allowed to be. So our Jewish friends over there, they’re made to feel all weird about Christmas and Hanukkah, which isn’t even their Main Event anyways, and so then your Wal-Mart greeters have to start saying “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings,” and then Ted Baxter’s enormous bloated head fills up more with steam.

I guess what I’m saying is, why can’t these people just shut the hell up and let us all stand back and look at how pretty the tree is?

It’s Christmas.

*Though, to be fair, I did grow up in a somewhat more homogeneous community than where I live these days.

Just Hangin’ Around

I have been scouring the news for it, but to no avail. I mean, I guess ordinarily a suicide isn’t news. But I’d think that a suicide in an office building adjacent to K Street would be.

It makes for a weird morning. You walk in, you punch your floor, and the button doesn’t light up. You assume the elevator’s broken and you try another, and your buttons still doesn’t light up. You ask the security about it, and she says you’ll have to go to 7 and walk down. You walk next-door to grab some breakfast, then you find that you’re building’s on lockdown. You call your office. Your boss has to come rescue ya.

They found this person at about 9 a.m. He or she had somehow hanged him or herself from some support beam in the atrium on my floor. All’s I saw was a bunch of yellow police tape. The office was obviously shaken about it. But there was nothing to do but work.

Weird.