12 Days of Christmas Music That Isn’t Awful (Day 3)

So, shocking as this might be, Christmas isn’t just about rock music for grown-ups.  It’s also, in part, about kids.  Right?  (Be in a house with kids, and you’ll be assured this is so.)  I do have some child-oriented music on this playlist, but it is also music that offers some humorous content for the grown-ups in the room.

This song does occasionally get some radio play now and then, which is where I first heard it a couple of years ago.  It seems to have fallen out of rotation on Houston’s Official Christmas Music Station, though, which is unfortunate, since they should be actively trying to retain all the interesting songs they can.

Anyway, this one makes my kids sing at the tops of their lungs with joy, even when they’ve previously been in a Grinchy mood.  It’s Gayla Peavey’s “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” and it’s like magic.  Enjoy!

Government Shutdown Haiku Contest

While the government shutdown may or may not have been inevitable, you probably knew I’d find some way to attach a haiku contest to it, especially after the 2012 Republican Primary Haiku Contest and the 2012 National Political Conventions Haiku Contest both did so well.

Here’s a little refresher on what constitutes a haiku:  It’s a very short poem whose origins are primarily Japanese, whose three lines are measured in syllables numbering 5-7-5, and which (as we often learn in elementary school) traditionally has something to do with nature.  There are a couple of other considerations here, too, for the poetic purists.  A good haiku will entertain a play between pure description and commentary on the subject matter.

So here we go!  Enter as many haiku as you like, in the comments section below.  Contest is open for as long as the government isn’t.  (And who knows how long that will be?  Better get your entries in soon!)

The prize is a book of poems:  TimeSlice.  This anthology of poets who live in or are connected to Houston, some through their teaching in The University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program, was published by Mutabilis Press and contains a wide array of gorgeous verse from both the “literary” and “underground” poetry scenes in 21st-century Houston.  A few of the poets featured include Edward Hirsch, Carolyn Adams, Tony Hoagland, Varsha Shah, Adam Zagajewski, Robert Phillips, Iris Rozencwajg, and Ken Jones*.   (Click on the above link to MP’s site to see a list of all the poets included.  It’s quite a list.  It’s quite a book.)

Ready?  Get set…  Haiku!

***

*  Full disclosure:  I’m in the book, too.

 

 

More Unbelievable SkyMall Merch

You might remember my post last summer about how SkyMall had turned my weird air travel ritual from interesting to bizarre. The gist of it was that the SkyMall catalog, which used to be filled with arguably desirable luxury goods geared toward conspicuous consumption, is now filled with items you can’t imagine someone actually purchasing. (Remember carlashes? Ah, good times.)

Well, I’m traveling again this summer and see that SkyMall has presented us with some new options, in case we have so much money we’ve grown bored with setting it on fire and need some other way to waste it.

The usual complement of luxury watch display cases and of weight loss and hair growth miracles are still there, of course. And they now offer a stress-relieving head massager from Gadget Universe which resembles a store-bought-Hallowe’en-costume-quality-looking version of a helmet that’s part Norse mythology and part Tron.

Somawave Helmet
You should see this when it’s on someone’s head.

The Somawave Helmet is “like having thousands of tiny fingers stimulate your scalp,” apparently, and should not be used while operating heavy machinery, due to its “euphoria inducing waves” which may produce “trance-like states of consciousness.”  Can’t wait for that.

If you have a squirrel fetish — and there’s a phrase I never thought I would write — you can celebrate it with the Squirrel Throw Blanket and Pillow from Wireless.  I think the pictures of these speak for themselves.

Okay, this one might almost be kind of cute.
Okay, this one might almost be kind of cute.

 

But not this one.
But not this one.

You can also order a shirt which announces, “I have reason to believe the squirrels are mocking me.” Perhaps they are. Perhaps it’s because of the resin Mounted Squirrel Head hanging in your den.

resin mounted squirrel

I have never understood the fascination with giant t-shirts (in and of themselves something I won’t be posting about for Fashion Fridays) printed with someone else’s body. And by “someone else,” I actually mean a cartoon caricature of a Barbie doll. What On Earth now offers shirts which profess to the world that you would be a biker badass if you only had the badassness to do it.

faux tattoo men's

 

 

faux tattoo women's

 

You can also proclaim your devotion to your favorite sports teams while protecting your scalp from sunburn with a Flair Hair Visor.

Yup, this is a real thing.
Yup, this is a real thing.

The “realistic spikes” of “faux polyester hair” come in a variety of colors.

If your style isn’t so hardcore, you can get really big t-shirts proclaiming your…um…forbidden tastes.

I weep for humanity.
I weep for humanity.

If you can’t stand to put yourself in something ridiculous but have no such compunctions about your dog, try these chew toys.

lips

 

 

tongue

 

'stache

 

No trip into the SkyMall catalog would be complete without some really creepy yard statues. I offer you, from Toscano, “Catch of the Day,”

This might freak out your neighbors.
This might freak out your neighbors.

“Bigfoot, the Garden Yeti,”

Guaranteed to make your in-laws wonder about you.

and “The Zombie of Montclaire Moors.”

Guaranteed to freak out your kids.
Guaranteed to freak out your kids.

Finally, for those of us who don’t like yucky things, we can live out our Star Trek fantasies with the Nano-UV, “the most powerful disinfection scanner on the market.”

anti-germ wand in the kitchen

Wave it over your hotel bed and your food to “protect yourself and your loved ones from harmful microorganisms.”

anti-germ wand in the hotel room

No, really. Do it. Do it now.

And if you just can’t stand cleaning up after your cat — and yet firmly insist on bringing a cat into your home anyway — there’s this.

cat potty training

The Litter Kwitter 3-Step Cat Toilet Training System. Because potty training a kid just isn’t fun, exciting, or challenging enough.

Be well, everyone. Safe travels.

Puritan Valentine Cards

Okay, I realize this is very geeky, but have you seen the Puritan Valentine Cards floating around?  They are too funny.  Click the link below for the entertainment to begin.

Puritan Valentine Cards

Don’t forget that today is also Generosity Day:  a chance for you to do something kind for anyone and everyone (as if you needed an opportunity other than waking up in the morning to get that done).

Enjoy!

 

Another Poem, This One Funny

So the poem I posted the other day was sad.  Here’s another one, also by Matthew Olzmann, used with his permission.  It originally appeared in Gulf Coast magazine, the literary journal published by the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program.

I think this poem is hilarious.  🙂  I hope you enjoy it.  And I’m going to call it a transition into other things.

Happy Yule!

***

“The Skull of an Unidentified Dinosaur”    

does not belong to the dinosaur skeleton
to which it has been attached.
A man thought he made an amazing
discovery.  Now, it’s a towering mistake,
one for which he’ll likely lose his job,
but only after taking this skyscraper
of bones – with its eye-sockets
like windows to hell – apart.
Femur by mandible, I know what it means
to watch your good fortune change its mind.
Like that time in college, when my roommate’s
supermodel cousin invited us to a party
and accidentally kissed me in the dark.
She thought I was someone else – I have
no idea who – but the gist of the story
can be seen in her freaking out
when the light ruined everything.
For a moment, I thought I discovered
a new world.  And what a world it was –
with its beaches of untouched skin,
and its moon that smelled of a hundred orchids.
I named that land I-could-live-here-
forever Land and holy-shit-was-I-wrong Land.
Einstein says imagination is more important
than knowledge.  I imagine
the man who wired these dinosaur bones
must have imagined his vision was real,
must have pictured it alive.  Covered in flesh,
it was frightening – able to cleave you
open with a swipe of a claw
or devour you in seconds.
But as it is now, having never existed
after tricking you into believing,
it eats at you more slowly, lets you feel
every new rip in your gut, makes you beg:
What kind of animal is this?
I call it:  The Motherfuckerasaurus.
And, technically, that’s not the right name,
but neither is the word stamped here now –
in block letters, on a bronze plaque,
screwed to the floor.

One Decent Antidote for a Case of the Mondays is Cuteness Overload

So this morning I read a post on the delightful blog Becoming Cliché that just about sent my blood sugar into diabetic levels, it was so adorable.  I was seriously ready to go out and adopt an infant animal of nearly any variety, if I hadn’t had to stay at my desk and prepare to teach a class.  *sigh*

But I was inspired to post this little test for you all, which I’d been thinking about doing for a while but hadn’t gotten around to yet.  Perhaps I was just waiting for the right opportunity.  And this morning, it seems, my triggering moment (as we like to say in the poetry biz) arrived.

Here’s the post on Becoming Cliché that was just too precious for coherent words.  You really need to see the whole post and all the photos to get the full effect.  It’s not long.

And now here’s my response:  a test in which you must avoid squeeing.  Click here to get to it.

I should warn you that I showed the test to my kids (Orange-Belt Fairy Princess Badass and Tiny Beowulf) and their friend last weekend, and all three of them exploded from sheer delight.

Enjoy!

P.S. — No one and nothing was harmed in the events leading up to and the creation of this blog post, to the best of my knowledge.

Another New Haiku Venture

So here in the United States, it’s election season. In case you’re not familiar with how it works here, election season begins about fifteen minutes after the old election results are in, and it goes on for bloody ever. But now, two months ish from actual Election Day, things are moving from Rather Intense to Freakin’ Ridiculous. You know I don’t get all that much into politics Continue reading “Another New Haiku Venture”

Ooh, Ooh! Vote For Me! Vote Early, Vote Often!

So the incredibly awesome blogger Byronic Man has this Weekly Question of the Week thing, and each time he asks one of these thoughtful delights, his readers can send in lots of answers and then the top choices get picked to be voted on in a poll.  (I think that’s how it works.)  Anyway, this weekend, one of my responses was tapped to be a candidate.  Woo-hoo!

So please mosey on over to his blog and vote for me.  You can, in fact, vote once per day, so please do!  (And voting for me each time would be AWESOME, by the way.  I’m just sayin’.)

Here’s the link to the poll.  Vote for me here!

And here’s the link to the original post where the question was first asked, in case you’re curious about it.  While you’re there, browse the archives.  That is some quality humor.

Thank you!

A Clarification…

So this past weekend I launched a new little contest, The Chindogu Challenge.  And as I usually do with my blog posts, I referenced it on my Facebook page, since a lot of people read my blog through links there rather than subscribe.  (The majority of you, in fact.)  And while the Facebook post generated a lot of discussion, which is great, no one has transferred their ideas to the blog yet, for the official contest.

I’m just saying, it would be lovely if you’d post your comments on the original blog post, please.  🙂  The link to it is in the paragraph above.  It’s also the post just before this one.  I’m just saying.

Thanks!

P.S. — If you already have a copy of the book being offered as a prize, I’ll send you a different one you don’t have yet.