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I’m not a big fan of Christmas.  Sure, I dig it when people give me stuff, but I’m just generally not built for the shiny, cheerful, happy dorkiness that the holiday season inspires in so many other people.  Perhaps it could be because of a traumatic incident in my past.

The worst thing that ever happened to me was on Christmas. Oh, God. It was so horrible. It was Christmas Eve. I was 9 years old. Me and Mom were decorating the tree, waiting for Dad to come home from work. A couple hours went by. Dad wasn’t home. So Mom called the office. No answer. Christmas Day came and went, and still nothing. So the police began a search. Four or five days went by. Neither one of us could eat or sleep. Everything was falling apart. It was snowing outside. The house was freezing, so I went to try to light up the fire. That’s when I noticed the smell. The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He’d been climbing down the chimney… his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that’s how I found out there was no Santa Claus.

Oh, wait…  Maybe that didn’t actually happen.  Now that I think about it, I believe I may have stolen that entire monologue from Phoebe Cates in her role as Kate in the classic 1984 film Gremlins.  My bad.

Anyhoo, I guess maybe I just don’t like Christmas because I’m a big ol’ prick.  But other than that, I think the main thing that makes me dread the holiday season is…

Christmas music!

Seriously, it’s mostly pretty awful.  With the lone exception of “O Holy Night,” I think I pretty much hate every Christmas song I’ve ever heard.  They are incredibly lame, even when a hip indie rocker or punk band covers them ironically.  There’s only so much you can do when your source material is crap to begin with.  I think there’s some sort of saying about the futility of attempting to polish a turd… 

As I have mentioned thousands of times before because I enjoy complaining, my fiancee listens to country music, which I hate only slightly less than Christmas music.  Guess what I really hate?  If you guessed “country Christmas music,”  you win.  So the other day, she had the radio on while preparing her morning coffee, and I heard a country Christmas song that I think tops them all in its goofy, sappy crappiness.  That song is “Til’ Santa’s Gone/Milk and Cookies” by former country superstar Clint Black.  My god, what a bad song!   Remember back in the 90′s when Clint Black was in the upper echelon of country stars?  For a while there, Clint Black, Garth Brooks, and George Strait were the top three artists in the genre.  Then Garth Brooks went crazy, George Strait made an awful movie, and Clint Black started recording crap like this.  Only Strait’s career was left standing.  I suppose if this was the best that Clint Black had left in him, we are not missing much.

When I awoke from deep slumber this morning, it felt like it was going to be just another lazy Sunday, filled with little more than sitting on the couch scratching myself and having to endure a little shitty country music.  As I lurched forth from the bed and groggily dressed myself to get the pugs outside for their morning squirts, an odd tingle went up my spine, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end.  Something about the date on my clock radio caused this unusual reaction, but I could not yet wrap my still sleep-addled head around what it could be.  November 23rd?  Why does that date sound so familiar, and why does it chill me to my very core?

As I made my way to the door, a strong sense of foreboding grew up from somewhere deep inside of me, and I found myself reluctant to open the door to the backyard.  I knew something awaited me on the other side that would rock me to my foundation, sending my world reeling into a chaos from which I may never recover.  And yet those damn little pugs had to potty, and I didn’t want to clean up any poop from the carpet, so I reluctantly turned the knob to face the unknown horror that waited on the other side.  I was not quite prepared for what I encountered.

The scene in my backyard alone was enough to strike fear into the hearts of even the bravest souls.  I saw wars on a global scale, famine, pestilence, lawlessness, people having no love for one another, and earthquakes.  Locusts swarmed my grass, the sky rained frogs, and the rain gully that runs behind my house was the deep red color of blood.  The sky burned with flames so bright that it nearly blinded my eyes, and all at once, four frightening looking gentlemen on large horses crashed through my fence, sending splinters of wood flying through the smoky air.  It was at this point that I decided I might want to go back inside.

As I slammed the door behind me, I turned to find one of my pugs pooping on the carpet.  Dammit!  Could this day get any worse?  I rushed up the stairs to my computer, hoping that the strange atmospheric conditions outside would not have an adverse effect on my wireless internet connection.  I needed to find out what was happening, what the ominous date of November 23rd signified, and why the world was apparently experiencing the true Biblical apocalypse (at least in my backyard, anyway).

As I furiously scoured the depths of the intarwebbernets, I finally stumbled upon the answer.  How could this be?  Could it be true?  My head began spinning as I searched deep into my own soul for something, anything to make sense of what had occurred.  An event that I never had faith in, that I never even allowed to penetrate my personal belief system, had in fact come true, and it had brought with it the end of the world.  If only we had believed!  If only we’d had the faith to trust in something that was larger than ourselves, perhaps the results would be different.  But we didn’t, and now we are doomed.

I sat there in awe and horror as the words filled my computer screen:  “Long awaited Guns N’ Roses album Chinese Democracry hits stores today!  End of times imminent.  Critical reaction mixed.”

Repent, my friends, for the end days are upon us!

Suppose I was to tell you that there is a train station in Japan that had a stray cat living there.  Suppose I also told you that someone decided to put a hat on that there kitty and proclaim him a “Super Stationmaster.”  Then suppose that this cat in the hat became a national superstar, responsible for pumping over $10 million into the local economy and saving the train line from bankruptcy as a result of Japanese tourists traveling from near and far just to see the cat.

You’d laugh and say, “Oh, there’s that Jason again, making up funny stories.  I think this is the first one that didn’t in some way involve poop!”

But repent, my friends, for the end of the world is nigh!  This cat actually exists!  His name is Tama, and he’s the biggest feline sensation to hit Japan since Hello Kitty!

I couldn’t even make up a story like this if I tried.  Although I did once try to convince the regular visitors of a different website to send me a diamond plated cockring so that I could put it on a monkey wearing a tuxedo.

So maybe fiction is a little bit stranger than the truth, but not much.  Still waiting for that cockring, though…

Journal Entry – 10/6/2008
 
Not much happened today.  Spent most of the day at work trying to look busy.  Also fell asleep behind the file cabinet in my cube for about an hour.  Praying no one noticed.  On the way home from work, stopped at Sears to buy this awesome new toaster.  Seriously, this thing does it all.  Four slices of toast at once, bagels, you name it.  Was tired of burning my toast every morning using the old piece of junk that my parents got as a wedding gift.  Sure, it may seem crazy to spend almost $300 on a toaster, but tell me that in the morning when I am in toast heaven!  Can’t wait to test it out tomorrow.

Journal Entry – 10/7/2008

Man, I don’t even know where to start!  It was not an especially good night.  Didn’t get much sleep, kept waking up to what I thought were noises from the kitchen, but never could find a cause.  But once I got up and going, had some coffee, I pulled that new toaster out of the box, and I had the best toast of my life!  Started out with just two pieces, butter only, but they were so good that I decided to make four more.  Got creative and whipped out the jelly, then peanut butter, then even had a couple of toasty bagels with cream cheese.  All were more than I could have ever hoped for!  Even though all that toasted bread caused me to cook up and drop a huge deuce this afternoon, it was worth it!  What a great day!  I love you, toaster.

Journal Entry – 10/8/2008

Blah!  Sleep last night wasn’t any better than the night before.  Toast was still glorious this AM, but it was difficult to get quite as much enjoyment from it as I had yesterday.  Must be rats or mice in the kitchen or something, but every time I go out there, I can’t find a thing!  Will call an exterminator tomorrow to come check it out. 

Journal Entry – 10/9/2008

Had the exterminator out yesterday afternoon, and he couldn’t find any evidence of any sort of infestation at all!  And yet the banging noises continued last night, and I’m starting to freak out.  I can’t handle all of this sleep loss.  I went out and sat in the dining room in the dark for a few hours, just listening, but I didn’t hear a thing.  Then, as soon as I went back to the bedroom, bang, clang, bump!  Dammit!  I don’t even think I remembered to make any toast this morning!

Journal Entry – 10/10/2008

Been one full week of this craziness, and I don’t know what to do.  My only solace this morning was remembering to make my favorite English breakfast, beans on toast, with my amazing new toaster.  I was so tired that it was difficult to even chew, but it was still a nice respite from lying awake at night with visions of tearing my house apart to find out where these damn noises are coming from.  As I sit here at my kitchen table anticipating yet another night of sleeplessness and downing beer after beer in the hopes of passing out later, I start to have a strange affection for this new toaster.  I start having conversations with it, telling it how it’s the only one that understands me, begging the toaster to never leave me, and it seems to be listening!  I think I may be losing my mind.  Will keep drinking to kill these disturbing thoughts.

Journal Entry – 10/11/2008

Wow, I must have had way too much to drink last night!  Woke up this morning, and toaster was in bed with me!  I guess after reading last night’s drunken journal entry, I could understand how it got there.  The odd thing, though, is that I distinctly remember putting it away in the cupboard before stumbling off to bed.  I don’t remember waking up and going out to the kitchen to get it, but I guess I could have blacked out.  Weird! 

Journal Entry – 10/12/2008

Okay, I’m definitely losing it.  Woke up this morning with toaster in my bed again!  No drinking last night, and I put it in the cupboard and even locked the cupboard.  If I woke up and got the toaster, I would know it, and I’ve never sleepwalked in my life!  Then, after returning the toaster to the cupboard and again locking it, I went to take a shower.  As I was washing the shampoo out of my hair, I opened my eyes and looked down, and there was the toaster just outside the shower door!  Something very strange going on here…

Journal Entry – 10/16/2008

More sleepless nights over the last several days, and more freakish occurrences.  Something is not right about that toaster!  I used to think that it was the only one who understood me, but now I’m scared!  Still finding it in my bed every morning.  Have found pairs of my socks torn up out in the living room with the toaster sitting nearby.  Found scratches at the bottoms of several doors in the house, all about toaster height.  Have noticed damage to some furniture as well, almost as if it was chewed on!  What the hell?  I think this toaster may be possessed by an evil demon, and I worry about it strangling me to death in my sleep with its electrical cord.  Could this actually be happening?  Can they perform exorcisms on small household appliances?  Or could this all just be in my head?  I am very frightened!  God help me, my toaster is a monster!

Journal Entry – 10/17/2008

Well, I’m a little embarrassed about my behavior over the last week or so.  I called Sears to try to file a warranty claim or exorcism request, but they pointed out a few things I missed in the User’s Manual.  My toaster is not possessed by an evil demon or spirit or whatever.  Oh, it’s haunted all right, but that’s actually a feature of the toaster.  Through some sort of weird interdimensional technology that my brain does not fully grasp, the toaster goes across the great divide into the land of the dead and captures the soul of your most recently deceased pet!  Turns out my toaster is actually just Mr. Sparkles, my old pug that died a couple of years ago!  That would explain the socks and furniture, and the toaster was not trying to choke me with its electrical cord, it was just Mr. Sparkles trying to snuggle!  I was curious why the toaster was called the Black & Decker Pet Ghost Toaster.  Now I get to have perfectly cooked toast, and I get to enjoy it with my old pal Mr. Sparkles!  Oh crap, gotta go!  Time to go walk the toaster!  It poops bread crumbs!

I’ve got a little challenge for you.  Sit through the entire video below with the volume turned up, and no cheating.  Actually listen to the entire song.  Then see if you can make it through any ten minutes of the remainder of the day without repeating this song over and over in your head. 

Warning: This challenge may cause nausea, dizziness, upset stomach, diarrhea, mild insanity, and rectal chafing.

The Trashmen – “Surfin’ Bird”

       Things are tough all over right now.  Even as I write this post, the global financial markets are in a constant state of fluctuation, and the future of our national and global economy could be described as shaky at best.  No one has felt this turmoil more than me, I can tell you that.  In the last month, I have lost my job, my car, and my house.  I basically have nothing to my name anymore, and I have been reduced to a homeless ghost that wanders the countryside, ignored by an uncaring world and only surfacing on occasion at the local public library to steal books to burn for warmth and write the odd blog post.  So remember when you were whining about how little I was updating my blog last month?  Yeah, thanks for your sensitivity, asshole.

       I feel that I have been taken advantage of by a corrupt system, and when I see on the front pages of discarded newspapers, which I use as blankets to cover myself when I attempt to sleep on park benches throughout the city, that the government is preparing to spend $700 billion in order to bail out the predatory banks that are responsible for this whole mess, I have to ask, “What about me?”

       The little guys across this country are the ones who are really feeling the hurt here.  We are the ones who have lost our homes, our vehicles, our plasma TVs, our silky Armani suits, and our sweet wakeboarding boats.  We are the ones who were taken advantage of by the banks when we asked for the money and they actually gave it to us.  What were they thinking?  How could they take advantage of us like that?

       Look, I can’t be blamed for not being able to pay my mortgage payment, or my car payment, or my boat payment, or the mortgage payment on that condo in Florida I bought, or my payments on the Harley, or the payments on my various credit cards.  This is not my fault.  I mean, I dropped out of high school at the age of fifteen because I hated the homework.  Do you really expect me to understand the complex mathematics of variable interest rates?  I work part time at a Chuck E. Cheese pizza parlor cleaning the spit wads off of the animatronic characters for $6.50 an hour.  Did you really expect me to be able to pay for that diamond-studded television remote that I just had to have?

       But that’s the problem.  I kept asking for the money, and the banks kept saying, “Sure!  Here ya go!  It’s every American’s constitutionally protected right to go into massive amounts of debt in order to live way beyond their means!   To whom do we make out the check?”

       And that, my friends, is why none of this is my fault.  Think about it.  If I grew up with parents who never, ever said “no” to me even once in my life, would it really be my fault if I didn’t understand that there might be consequences to my actions?  Well, that’s what the banks have done to me, so this is all their fault.  Don’t bail them out!  Bail me out!  Come on, I’ll pay you back, government.  I’m good for it, I swear!  Gimme, gimme gimme!

       In this confusing but critical time in our nation’s history, the upcoming presidential election promises to play a crucial role in deciding the future of this great nation.  Will we recover from our current financial crisis and continue to be a leader on the world stage, or will we succumb to our woes and end up as a tiny footnote in the long history of man?  On a more local scale, will Joe Gas-Pump and Susie Shopping-Cart take the real hit from all of this chaos and end up out on the streets with no home and no way to feed their families?  Will our country’s obsessive reliance on fossil fuels cause the continued destruction of our precious natural environment and the proliferation of out-of-control gas prices?  Will our nation remain safe from the ever-present threat of attacks from the outside world, whether it be from an newly empowered China, the resurrection of our old foe Russia, or a more shadowy and faceless terrorist organization?  Will our young servicemen continue to sacrifice their lives for a fruitless war that appears to have no end in sight?

       Both the Democratic and Republican candidates for the presidency have spent much time debating these issues, trying to convince the American public that they are the right men for the job to restore the United States of America to its former glory.  We’ve seen debates, attacks, proposals, and some outright nastiness from these two men, and it’s done little to assuage our fears that perhaps neither of these men is able to correct the ills of this once great land.  When will we find a real hero to lead us out of this partisan swamp that has mired down our political system for so long?  When will come the time for a decisive leader, one who understands the vital issues facing our nation today, and one who is prepared to do what it takes to bring forth real change and a solid and steadfast plan for righting this listing ship that we call the USA?  Ladies and gentlemen, that time is now!

 

Two years I’ll hide that uncomfortable hunk of debt up my ass.

- Walken, on his plans to fix the current economic crisis

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