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Tuesday, December 24, 2013


I was re-reading “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” more commonly known as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and I was shocked to learn that St. Nicholas and the reindeer are described as “tiny.” This did not seem to throw my wife, but I was aghast! I had always thought of Santa Claus as being this big, fat dude, probably with bad breath, not miniature, as in the poem. I wondered what else was in the text that I had previously missed:

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

If no one is stirring in the house, how are my cookies going to get made??? If the mouse does end up baking the cookies, make sure those little brown things are chocolate chips, please.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

A sugar-plum is an old recipe of chopped up fruit (which usually did not contain plums) mixed with nuts, honey and spices, rolled into a ball and covered with shredded coconut. If that thing starts dancing in my head please let it not tap-dance.

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled down for a long winter's nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

I am so used to clatter on my lawn I swear it wouldn’t even wake me up anymore.

Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

I once threw up a sash when I was in college, and I always wonder what happened to the person who was wearing it.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

I have seen that same tattoo before.

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

You ever get behind a “little old driver?” Were they ever “lively and quick,” or did you end up trying to pass them on a double-yellow line and almost causing an accident?

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; "Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

“Donder and Blitzen” loosely translates in German to “thunder and lightning.” Prancer & Vixen used to dance at a place in Queens

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

What’s the hurry? It’s as if the cops just showed up.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

If my dad was still alive I promise you he would yell to the roof and ask them to clean out the gutters as long as they were up there anyway.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

Would you wear all fur if you were going to be traveling up and down chimneys?

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

Drunk, obviously.

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

Drunk AND stoned.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

Wait until that broad finds out who has her face.

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

Where did he come from?

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

Better aside than inside.

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

NEVER give anyone a whistle- I made that mistake once with my nephew.

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Merry Christmas, and happy birthday to all the others born Christmas day!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


So we went to see Gravity the other day in 3D. The glasses make me feel like Jack Nicholson, so I started annoying the ticket-taker with some scenes from Five Easy Pieces, and had to hide from Security. I realize Nicholson probably does wear those glasses all the time to prevent the Lakers from looking like a one-dimensional team.

Anyway for 90 minutes I was glued to my seat. At around the 91st minute I realized I WAS stuck to the seat with somebody’s gum. I couldn’t even move my feet, which were sucked into a mucilaginous soda-related quagmire.

I don’t want to give away the whole movie so I will only give away the plot. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are on a shuttle mission to repair the Hubble telescope. The Russians decide to blow up one of their own satellites, and it causes a barrage of space junk to rain through the universe destroying all the space stations. Can you believe after all this time we are still blaming shit on the Russians?

Anyway, to continue ruining the movie, Sandra Bullock had a daughter or something and she was killed or something. I wasn’t really paying attention because I was so focused on Sandra Bullock’s plastic surgery. It looked to me like she had her nose done, her chin done, her cheeks done and her lips done. And my boss Maggie could probably tell you 10 other things she had done. I would tell you if she had her cans done, since I am an expert on that, but I couldn’t really see them through the friggin’ space suit. So Sandra, if you are out there, show me your boobs and I will tell you if you had them done.

I have no idea what the plastic surgeon put in there, but her nose looks so sharp that it might have been the thing that killed her daughter. I definitely wouldn’t let her too close to balloons or cheap radial tires. Her chin has a big cleft in it now- it actually looks just like George Clooney’s now that I think of it. The two are good friends so I hear so maybe they got a deal on them. I remember her being kind of cute but now her face looks really angular, like she went to a cubist plastic surgeon.

They don’t get back in the space shuttle in time and end up being severed from their tethers, hurtling around up there until Clooney finally gets control of his jetpack and points them toward another space station. But of course Clooney doesn’t have enough bluster in his thruster (never happened before I swear!) and he has just enough juice to point Sandra towards the airlock before he hurls himself off into the starry abyss, lost forever until he hooks up with some alien chick.

They keep trying to communicate with each other through some NASA radio contraption, which is futile. Instead they should be using Twitter, so they can say what they REALLY think about Brad Pitt.

She runs out of oxygen and fuel, and she is just about to bite the spacedust. Then Clooney reappears, lets himself into the cabin, and tells her how to drive the thing. She is excited to see him, whereas my wife would be like, “I KNOW how to drive already, so just sit back in your seat and don’t touch the radio.” But alas, it’s all a dream. Now tell me ladies, if you were going to spend precious intergalactic time having a dream about Clooney, would you dress him in a space suit???? So that was another thing that was totally unrealistic.

She re-enters the atmosphere in some damn space pod that she pod-jacks from the Chinese space station. She figures out the controls even though they are written in Asian hieroglyphics. Meanwhile I almost have an accident if I drive a car with an automatic transmission because I keep applying the brake thinking it’s the clutch. Sandra touches down flawlessly right next to a beach, and walks off into the sunset, Hollywood style.

But I was thinking, wouldn’t it be funny if after all that she finally gets back to Earth and a big crab comes up to her and bites her on the toe, and she dies from an infection. To make it a happier ending, the crab also dies from it.

Incidentally, the Space Station and the Hubble Telescope are in different orbits, as is the Chinese Space Station, and any satellite that would have been blown up by the Russians. Therefore the events in the movie could never have taken place. That bothers some space purists, but look at all the other impossible plot twists in past movies. For instance, in “2001: A Space Odyssey” a chimpanzee throws a bone in the air and it becomes a spaceship. It is highly unlikely that he could have thrown the bone all the way into space. I have a bunch of others that I’ll tell you about another time.