Thursday, November 25, 2010


I work in retail so this holiday has always had, shall we say, bittersweet memories for me.  When my Mom and Dad still lived here I would make sure I always went to their house for Dinner.  To them it was a big day.  To me it was the day before all Hell broke loose.  Today now that my Mom is six hours away it means less to me as a Holiday.  Sometimes I'll get together with my brother, but mostly the last few years I spend it at home by myself. And I don't mind.  It's one of the few days that I have off that I know I'm not going to spend the day running around doing errands.  I can actually spend it at home, trying to get some things done or maybe just spend the day reading and relaxing.  Because tomorrow is the start of the Christmas Season.

Or at least that was the way it used to be.  Christmas gets a start almost at Labor Day nowdays.  I've been hearing Christmas music in stores for weeks.  Christmas merchandise has been on the shelves since before Halloween.  Once retail used Thanksgiving as the kick off for Christmas.  Now they're so afraid of losing a leg up on the season.

And what's worse.  I can't even start to list the stores that are opening today.   I remember when I first got into retail (I know, I know, I'm the old man of retail) stores didn't even open at four or five on Black Friday.  I don't even remember calling it Black Friday.  But now everyone wants to be open earlier than the other guy.  So early now that they're not even closing on Thanksgiving.  Luckily the store I work for is closed.  At least this year.   But I have my doubts as to next year.  As everyone else opens they're going to figure they have choice but to open.

When I worked for Service Merchandise we started opening on Thanksgiving towards the end.  I remember one Thanksgiving and a customer was in shopping and she remarked to me that it was "such a shame that you have to be open on Thanksgiving."  Now I bit my tongue or I would have told her that we wouldn't be open if people like her wouldn't be out shopping on Thanksgiving.

I said at the start of this post that this holiday isn't all that special to me like it once was.  But I still don't want to work on it.  We have so few days that we are actually closed that I hate to lose the couple we have.  It's a good day of rest before the start of the Christmas season.

But I fear this may be my last one off.

TV to Watch

The new season is well underway so I thought I'd take a few minutes to share some of my favorites so far.  When I switched from the cable company to Direct TV they offered a free DVR with my order and I'm glad that they did.  It's so much better than trying to use a VCR trying to record a new show.  I just program what shows I want to watch and it records it, no matter what time it comes on.  I've found I end up rarely watching a lot of shows when they first come on, I wait until I have some free time and than I'll sit down and watch.  The cool thing about this is I might not watch a show for two or three weeks, so when I finally sit down to watch it I'l have multiple shows to watch at one time.

So in no particular oder are some of my favorites:

The Big Bang Theory:  This is one of my favorite comedies and most of the time actually makes the characters believable for more than just the next joke.  My biggest worry is that because Sheldon has proven the "funniest" character it seems he has been dominating the show lately.  I like Leonard and Penny and the other characters and while Sheldon is very funny, I want to watch more than just him.  I'm hopeful, the last show I watched looks like it might lead back to the Leonard/Penny relationship, which I loved.

Cougar Town:  Finally Courtney Cox has found a show worthy of her since Friends.  This show is so crazy but in the end it is still filled with so much heart that it makes it a worthy watch.

Modern Family:  Another good show, I don't know if I'm as in love with it as most critics, but I still like it and find it funny.

Castle:  Nathan Fillion.  No more need be said.

Sons of Anarchy:  I started watching this last year and somehow found myself mesmerized.  It's one of those shows I would not have thought I would enjoy, but find myself really looking forward to it.  It's about a motorcycle gang and it doesn't try to pretend that the members are just misunderstood or anything, but while you're watching it you find yourself rooting for them and even caring about them.

Smallville:  I didn't catch all the episodes from last season but the ones I did I wasn't that thrilled with.  It seemed that the series was getting tired.  And Clark's whining was really starting to get on my nerves.  But this year, it's Final Season has been great.  I've still got a couple episodes on the dvr I haven't watched yet, but the ones I have so far have been really good.  We can see Clark making that final step to being Superman.  It would be great if this show just turned into Metropolis and we saw the early years of Superman.

NICS:  One of my favorite shows of all time.  This show just keeps getting better and better.  I love all the characters, but Abby is awesome.   Something I realized I liked about this show the other day.  Gibbs, when he dates, goes out with women his own age or close to it.  You don't see GIbbs dating younger women, the few times one has come on to him, he steers it away from himself.  You don't see Gibbs having a relationship or dating the two female leads.  He is a father figure to them.  I like that.  Most shows Gibbs would have already had a fling with Ziva and probably be eying Abby up.  Just one of the small things you don't really think about, but that makes this show so good.

Terriers:  My favorite show of the year.  Next week is the season finale, so if you haven't started watching yet it might be too late.  But if you can catch it in reruns do so.  This show is, as far as I'm concerned, the best show on TV right now.  Earlier this year they tried to bring back Rockford Files with new actors, but it was so bad that it didn't even get past an unaired pilot.  To me this is Rockford Files updated and not just a retread, but keeping what made that show so good.  Watch this show.  I love the characters.

That's all I can think of at the moment.  I'm sure as soon as I post this I'll remember some show that I will wonder how I could have forgotten it.  But you can't go wrong watching these shows.

Friday, November 19, 2010

How Much Do You Know?

Take this poll here and see how much you know about the world today.  This is a survey that the PEW Research Center did and the majority of Americans answering failed.  I did 9 out of 12 which put me above 86% of the people taking the survey.  Two of the three answers I missed I had doubts of my answer and if I had went with my other thought would have gotten right.   The third I just didn't know.  Take it and see how you do.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I Want To Hold Your Hand

I meant to post this awhle back, but never got around to it, but it's too good not to give notice to.  Last year I was a huge Glee fan.  I still am enjoying the show this year, but I'm not sure what it is, I'm just not enjoying it quite as much.  But this moment in the new season made me feel like last season, when the songs would just make me sit up and feel.  As regular readers know I am a huge Beatles fan and they took this song and re-made it like no other version I have ever heard.  Listen to it and not be moved, it's impossible.

Where Do I Give Books To?

Ok, in a recent post I mentioned how I've finally made the decision to give some of my books away.  It's either that or build a wing on to my home to hold the books.  But I don't want to throw them away.  I want someone else to enjoy them.  I've been looking online for some place to donate them to, but the ones I can find want you to jump through hoops just to give them the books.  Does anyone know any place where I can donate some books, maybe more than a few.  Sending them to our soldiers overseas would be great, but I can't find anywhere to send them to.  Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Friday, November 05, 2010

You Read That Already, Didn't You?

One of the most oft asked questions when someone walks into my house is "Have you read all those books?"  I have a few books, here and there.  Well, I won't lie and say I've read all of them, I have a bad habit of buying books quicker than I can read them, but I have read a lot of them and am working on reading the ones I haven't.  Another question that gets asked a lot is "Why do you keep them all?"  Now that's a tougher one.  My Dad used to be after me all the time to get rid of some books, if nothing to make room for the new ones I continue to buy.  But it's hard, real hard, for me to let a book go.   The answer I always give when someone asks me the second question is that I like to go back and re-read a good book.   Now for those people that don't even know the enjoyment of even reading a book once never understands this answer.  Why would you want to read something you've already read they ask.  And no matter what I say they'll never understand.  But there are some books that I've read at least a half dozen or more times.  Every few years I go back and read all the John McDonald Travis McGee novels.  I've read pretty much all of Harlan Ellison's stuff more times than I can think of.  Sometimes I'll just be looking over my books, nothing in mind and see a title that reaches out and grabs me, yells at me to pick it up and visit again.  The Great Gatsby is one I get caught in picking up every so many years.  The World According to Garp is a repeat offender.    It doesn't matter that I've read it before, once I open that first page and start reading it again I'm lost.   I can feel the excitement as I read the words and it doesn't matter I know what's going to happen in the coming pages.  It still gives me a thrill.  How do you explain that to someone that doesn't know that a single book can be more exciting, more inventive, more awe inspiring than the biggest most expensive movie?  It's like explaining sight to a man that's never seen.

I'm getting a little bit better as far as this is concerned.  Awhile back I packed up about a hundred paperbacks and sent them overseas to some of our proud fighting men and women, hoping that they may get a little enjoyment out of them.  Because I have to admit there are some books I own that I will never go back and re-read, or that I have no desire to even look at again.  I would rather someone that might enjoy them to have the chance to read them if all I'm going to do is let them sit on a shelf and collect dust.  So I think I'll probably go through the shelves again and collect a pile of them and see if I can find that address or another one to send some more overseas.  Or to some other place that can use them.  Books should be read.

This post actually was going to be about a recent series that I'm in the process of re-reading right now and how much I'm enjoying them  but it's kind of grown out from under me, so I think I'll leave that to another post.

New Harry Dresden

This one is for my pal, Travis, in case he hasn't seen it yet.  I didn't realize until I saw it at the bookstore, but Jim Butcher has a new book out staring Harry Dresden.  It's actually not the next in the series, but a collection of stories that Butcher has written about Dresden over the years.  And it includes a novella that takes place right after the events of the last Dresden novel, which if you read that will know the anticipation his fans are feeling waiting for the new book.   

A Stan Lee Interview

This is an amazing interview with a man that has probably influenced me more than just about any other living writer.  When at the end of this interview the man tells Stan how much his writing has meant to him I found myself agreeing 100%.  I grew up with comics.  I grew up with Stan Lee.  So much of who I am today I owe to the words that Stan gave to Daredevil, Captain America, Spiderman and so many others.  I learned that being good meant more than just doing good when it was easy.  No matter how hard it got, how bad it got, the good guy did not give up on his ideals, what made him a good guy.  It's something I've never forgotten and have tried to live up to, sometimes perhaps imperfectly, but still always with that goal in mind.

There are other writers and other people that have helped make me the person I am, but Stan Lee was one of the top influences.  

Thursday, November 04, 2010

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