Monday, December 29, 2008

The Gift of Nothing

Every year, lottery organizations try to convince us that the gifts of lottery tickets are the most personal and special presents we can give. If nothing else, they are at least fun stocking stuffers.
It's a lose-lose gift. The vast majority end up being simply gifts of little pieces of paper garbage (like we need more garbage around after the holidays).
On the slim, outside chance that the recipient ends up winning anything with your present, your are then filled with jealousy and resentment that you gave away a big wad of cash to somebody you didn't even care enough about to buy (or make) a personal gift for.

Even worse, your lottery ticket gift could turn out like this!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nascar Gifts and Christmas Pickle Juice

Dogs & Jeans often has posted articles about sports (much to the chagrin of many readers) so you know Trooper Thorn is a big sports fan. If it involves a ball, puck or someone moving quickly, I’m all over that like Madonna on a Latino hunk.

Yesterday I posted a list of things I’d like for Christmas, but just in case there are some self-directed folks out there who don’t take instruction well, please don’t think you are doing me any favours by purchasing any of these sports-inspired gifts.

(Although, in the right setting, a Winnipeg Blue Bomber ceiling fan would fit in pretty well)

Monday, December 22, 2008

All I Want For Christmas Is You

In true Trooper Thorn fashion, Dogs & Jeans has been thinking about everyone else this Christmas season. But I hear you ask: ‘What does our dear Trooper want for himself?”. Well if there are any bloggy readers looking for some last minute gifts, here’s my wish list:

  • Tickets to the BSC Championship game between Oklahoma and Florida.
  • After the government gets finished with a big bail out for the banks, oil companies and auto manufacturers, the telemarketers should receive a big sweaty wad of cash. I’m not getting enough phone calls at home during supper and I’m lonely.
  • The DVD box set of Forest Rangers .
  • A movie deal for one of my screen plays.
  • Three Jonas Brother + One Tragic Kiln Explosion = Peace On Earth.
  • Dennis Leary to star in a remake of The Dirty Dozen
  • Definitive proof that the WMD’s were moved from Iraq to Syria during the delay of UN Weapons Inspections.
  • “American Idol” and Fox’s “When Animals Attack” to merge into one show and put an end to reality television forever.
  • China to admit that, even though their athletes are the age they claim, and are not using any performance enhancing drugs, they are in fact aliens from the latest Indiana Jones movie Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Actually, while any of those would be nice, what I really want is more of You Readers; 200 visitors a day to be precise. I came close once when I was writing about the Olympics and had 198 one day. I know I slacked off a bit with the postings in October, but I’ve been good recently. So if you want to make an old writer happy, please read regularly and bring a couple of friends.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Christmas Gift For You

Dogs & Jeans has a retinue of regular readers and posters upon which Christmas wishes will be bestowed. Since beginning blog posting as far back as the spring of 2008, this has rapidly become an annual tradition like Fourth of July fireworks or the arrest of Senators in Minneapolis Airport men’s rooms.

(This posting is for the sole enjoyment of blog readers. Dogs & Jeans makes no promise to fulfill wishes, either real or implied. As always, we discourage wagering).

Captain Dumbass: Please find some tickets to something at the 2010 Olympics other than the Curling Preliminaries between Lithuania and Azerbaijan.

Cocette: May you receive a CD storage system that will keep the disks with the cases and keep you from future offspring accusations.

Dzzblnd: A rolled up magazine for your husband to use in case of emergencies.

Free Man: I bestow a victory for Georgia in the Capitol One Bowl. Dear God, the Dawgs are better that 9 and 3 but they sure don’t play like it in the big games.

Hot Tub Lizzie: May you have an election recount. You have too many good ideas not to be contributing to the national debate.

Jaina: Have a kick ass name for your Etsy account (I don’t pretend to know what the hell that is but is sure seems to be important to a lot of folks).

Jennifer: Have some super slutty dolls under the tree.

Juggling Jenn: A private photographer who can capture you in all your glory when you do “clean yourself up” you’re a night on the town.

Karen: Happy New Carpets!

Lime: A red-hot poker up the ass of those people in the insurance industry who done you wrong.

Mama Dawg: May you befriend no more than one animal a month.

Midwest Mom: I give you some elf spray. An infestation like yours can really do some damage if you don’t get it under control.

Rhea: Every parent needs a Lego Removal machine.

Sassy Stephanie: A Texas sized snow shovel for the dusting of snow y’ll have.

Scargosun: May the economy turn around to the point you can have decent beer, some Grey Goose and never have to mix all the old booze together again.

Shannon: A book deal for your budding author (whether she wants one or not).

Swirl Girl: More Talmud, Less Kabala. “What’s Kabala?”, “About $1.95!”

Wep: 2 doggie Christmas stockings hung by the chimney with care, to be filled with pigs ears and kongs by Santa himself.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Are You Ready For Christmas?

If I get asked this one more time between now and December 25th, I ‘m going to beat the inquisitor with a Yule log. The only people who ask “So, are you ready for Christmas?” have their shopping/wrapping/baking/decorating/self-flagellation done and want to rub it in while basking in the glow of their own festive smugness.

I have been trying these responses out at the Dogs & Jeans office (alright, it’s the office at the investment bank I work for, but I can pretend all these people work for the betterment of all blogkind):

  • That is so like you Christians to keep pushing your religion on people!
  • I have just one more family to ritually murder and I think I’m done.
  • No, but are you ready for me Lover?
  • There is still some turkey left over from last year, so why go to the trouble?
  • I keep it simple: a donation on behalf of each of my family members to our favorite charity: The KKK.
  • I’ve been so busy working on the Obama Transition Team, I haven’t even started. Must be nice to not be invited to shape the future of our country and have all that spare time.
  • What? Are they having that stupid thing again this year? Geez!
  • I just give my parents back the gifts they gave last year, but they have Alzheimer’s, so it’s okay.
  • Pretty much ready. What time did you want us to come over?
  • I haven’t celebrated since my entire family was killed in the New Year’s Tsunami 2004, but thanks for the constant reminder, you passive aggressive bastard!

I doubt anyone will ask me again next year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

If Paris Hilton Gets A Christmas Special, Can Armageddon Be Far Behind?

Every year, a slew of new Christmas TV specials leap from the pages of the TV Guide to muscle their way into our holiday viewing time. And every year, they are beaten back by The Giants: Charlie Brown, The Grinch, Frosty and Rudolph. The chances of a new Christmas show making it back for another year, much less becoming a stable of eggnog-induced-coma watching time are slim. For this reason, Hollywood producers throw so many at us in the hopes that some will be a hit, like hunting at a flock of geese with a shotgun.

This “mass” approach is a likely reason why there are so many but of such low quality. Look at this year’s crop for example:
  • It’s an Underage Semi–Nude Christmas Miley Cyrus!
  • The Little Drummer Boy Finally Gets Some Respect (starring the voice of Barak Obama).
  • Roger Clemens is Coming to Town (to Testify).
  • Sara Palin Presents: “The Nativity” starring Jamie Lynne Spears as The Virgin Mary and Hilary Clinton as Barney the Dinosaur.
  • How the Illinois Governor Stole a Senate Seat.
  • The Littlest Chinese Gymnast.
  • The Year Without a Christmas Tree or Britney Spears Wearing Any Underpants.
  • The John McCain Special: “My Friends, Merry Christmas!”

Monday, December 15, 2008

President Bush Receives Great Iraqi Honor

Once again, North American news media has misunderstood and misinterpreted the actions of someone from another culture. If the gentleman who threw his shoes at President Bush had stopped after he let fly with the first shoe, it indeed would have been an act intended to show disrespect. (BTW: Did the guy bring another pair to walk home in or had he not thought it through enough?) However in Iraq, throwing two shoes at someone is a sign of great respect. Only great leaders get two shoes thrown at them.

A Google search of international customs provides a fascinating list of several other surprising signs of respect from other cultures across the globe:

  • In Quebec, holding someone firmly around the neck with both hands and squeezing is the preferred greeting for respected political rivals.
  • Burying dead animals in a neighbor’s yard in Paraguay will bring you good luck for a year.
  • In Germany, pie-ing prominent business leaders means more than investing in the company’s stock.
  • Writing rude words on the face of a sleeping fellow train passenger in Italy tells the other riders you are a sensitive individual.
  • A Kenyan man who’s wife sleeps with many other men takes it as a sign of his own virility.
  • In England spraying water in the face of a celebrity is the equivalent of idol worship in Pre-Columbian Nicaragua.

Hopefully we will all be a little more understanding if President Obama get’s doused in goat’s blood in Guam and says “Thank You.”

Dec 16 Update: Yankees Sign Iraqi Shoe Pitching Journalist

Sunday, December 14, 2008

If We Make It Through December...

Dogs and Jeans supports both types of popular music: Country and Western.
1973 saw the release of the greatest Christmas album of all time: Merle Haggard’s “A Christmas Present”. You can keep your Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilara warbling yuletide compilations. No collection of songs before or since has captured the emotions surrounding a modest Christmas of folks living below the poverty line.

As David Sprague’s review on Amazon says:

Christmas wasn't always the easiest time of year when Merle Haggard was growing up in Oklahoma. Money was tight and the elements were harsh, but faith helped the family get through. That's exactly the sense the country legend puts across on this holiday collection. Hard times are chronicled on songs like "Daddy Won't Be Home for Christmas" and "If We Make it Through December," but joy is found when the smallest of pleasures ("Grandma's Homemade Christmas Card") saves the day.

My favorite was always “Bobby Want’s a Puppy Dog For Christmas”; a father’s plea to Santa to fulfill the wish of his lonely sun. I’m getting all verklempt just thinking about it. Talk amongst yourselves…

Okay I’m back.

“A Christmas Present” also contains Merle grumbling through traditional classics like “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells”, but it’s his own tunes like “Santa Claus and Popcorn” that really make this record (how dated is that? A ‘record’) a timeless classic.

Do yourself a favour: download (legally) a copy of The Hag’s Christmas Present, pour yourself some bourbon and get ready to feel pretty darn lucky you aren’t an Okie from Muskogee in the early 70’s.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Detroit Thanks You For Your Support During the Holidays

For many years, I have been bothered by the inevitable Christmas commercials that show a husband giving a brand new, giant ribbon festooned automobile as a gift. You know the ads where mom comes out into the driveway in her house coat and there, in the grey December morning, is a shiny Lexus or Jeep in the softly falling snow.

I never thought this was possible. How did the guy manage to put the money together to buy a freaking car without his wife noticing the obvious deductions from the bank account? And who has the balls to risk this, "YOU DID WHAT!!!!! HOW DARE YOU BUY A CAR WITHOUT TALKING TO ME ABOUT IT!?!?!?!?!?!!", instead of this, "YOU ARE AMAZING! I LOVE YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!"?

I wanted to find some of those commercials on YouTube to post here and make fun of them, but instead I found postings from guys who ACTUALLY BOUGHT THEIR WIVES CARS FOR CHRISTMAS!!!! (And not only lived, but were likely richly rewarded)

And there are plenty more. Who knew it was possible?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tis the Season for Female Reciprocity

Before anybody says “Trooper Thorn is just an old Scrooge,” let me begin by saying I like Christmas. After the World Series, College Bowl Tournament and Stanley Cup Playoffs, it is my favorite time of year. I love the time off work, the abundance of food both at home and at the office, the music and the TV specials. I also like an excuse to have a beverage or two on weeknights with friends (which is better than having a beverage or two on weeknights alone).

However, I think there are some areas of improvement for Christmas which would make the season much more enjoyable and reduce a lot of the pressure:

  1. Restrict gift giving to children under 13: Kids get excited about getting presents from Santa, and then only toys. If you insist on giving a present to an older child, just make it something practical like stationary supplies they can use for school. The only exception to this rule would be sporting goods they can use with Dad.

  2. Don’t give men gifts: I hate getting presents. If I never received one more Christmas or Birthday gift, I’d be happy. If I want something, I’ll go buy it. If you insist on buying men anything it should contain at least 5% alcohol or have been written by someone in the Baseball hall of Fame.

  3. Gift exchanges should only be between women: Face it, most men hate buying gifts for their girlfriends and spouses but not because we are unthinking, uncaring troglodytes. We despise doing it because women place such restrictive criteria on the gifts: nothing useful or practical, no uncomfortable underwear (because that is just for us), nothing last minute or bearing the name “Chia”. Most importantly if a man gives a gift that is not the correct size it is a catastrophe: too big and we accused of thinking the receiver is fat, too small and we are accused of rubbing salt in the wound.

If women just exchanged presents between girlfriends, sisters, mothers and daughters, men could simply open the bar early enjoy the spectacle.

Finally, if we can’t adopt any of the above regulations, can we at least celebrate Christmas once every four years like the Olympics?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Internet Dating Greeting Cards - Part 5

Between, Plentyoffish, lavalife, craigslist and other Internet dating sites out there, the nature of relationships between single (hopefully) men and women out there have changed. Your Trooper has been a casual observer of a number of people’s Virtual Relationships Or Online Meetings (VROOM’s) over the past couple of years and can say with no fear of error that it is completely different than dating in the Real World. I'm sure some of you single folks out there are nodding. Let me hear you say “Amen Brother!”


Hallmark has really missed the opportunity to capitalize on the trend towards Internet dating, as the circumstances people encounter require a whole new type of card. As a public service to all my Bloggy Friends out there, Dogs & Jeans is posting a multi-part posting of New Greeting Cards For Internet Daters.

See Part 1 here

See Part 2 here

See Part 3 here

See Part 4 here

Part 5: A card for your BFF when she is off to meet her handsome, wealthy, sexy, single Internet boyfriend for the first time!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Do Women Not Want for Christmas?

Dogs & Jeans is taking a one-day break from the series of Internet Dating Greeting Cards, so we can bring you this link as our ongoing commitment to public service. If you are married or have a girlfriend and wish to maintain the relationship, please read the through the list to ensure you do not make the mistake of giving one or more of the items as a gift this holiday season (no matter how cool they may sound, and some do).

Resist the temptation to purchase any of the following:

Ladies, do your fellah a favor and let him know how out of favor he'll be if any of these show up under the tree.

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Internet Dating Greeting Cards - Part 4

See Part 1 here

See Part 2 here

See Part 3 here

Part 4: Signs your cool Internet girlfriend has gone PSYCHO!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Internet Dating Greeting Cards - Part 3

See Part 1 here
See Part 2 here

Part 3: A card for the woman who has everything, including a cheating man.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Internet Dating Greeting Cards - Part 2

See Part 1 here
Part 2: Goodbye My Russian Girlfriend

Friday, December 5, 2008

Internet Dating Greeting Cards

Part 1: Sympathy for a Stalking Victim:
Internet Stalker Greeting Card

Tomorrow Part 2: Goodbye my Russian Girlfriend

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Can't People Just Leave Madonna and A-Rod Alone?

Reports are swirling this week that, just two weeks after her divorce from Guy Ritchie, Madonna and long-denied boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, are quietly shopping for a house together. Maybe "house" is the wrong word for a $60,000,000 mansion with 700 rooms, solid gold plumbing, stars embedded in the ceilings and magical furniture that sings and dances for your pleasure every night. But still, shouldn't they be able to shop for a home in peace, despite sending out press releases alerting the media to their every meeting with real estate agents?

The following list of activities is further evidence of Madge and A-Rod's efforts to keep their 'Private Life' private:
  • Daily agenda of activities are sky-written early in the morning ensuring the notation blows away by noon

  • "Sweet Nothings" to each other may be posted on their blogs, but access is restricted to only those people not living in Guam. If you are from Guam, mind your own freaking business.

  • When A-Rod frequents gentlemen's clubs, he shouts at each dancer, "I haven't seen Madonna naked to know if you share any resemblance!"

  • Only by playing Madonna's most recent album backwards will you hear her confess "I have stolen Alex Rodriguez's soul and I will stave off death by draining his life force slowly. "

  • A-Rod approached the Kansas City Royals for a trade so he could play in a smaller market, thereby spending more quality time out of the limelight with his "special lady/medical oddity". However, when he learned they could only afford to pay him in 50% off Jiffy Lube oil change coupons he reaffirmed his commitment to the Yankees.

  • The photo on the Times Square billboard of the two of them making out on top of the body of a homeless drifter was shot with Vaseline on the lens so it gives it a 'hazy, dreamy' quality. Obviously that is intended for 'personal' viewing only.

  • Travel by private jet is exactly that: PRIVATE. If they wanted everyone to watch, she's be sitting in his lap in "Coach" next to you!

Monday, December 1, 2008

What's in a Name?

Society in general, and public schools in specific, have been engaged in an insidious effort to rid themselves of all things which might negatively affect a child's self-esteem. First they adjusted and finagled the marking system so that there were no more letter grades or percentages. After all, how could anyone ever be the bottom of the class if no one can be the top? Competitive games were dropped from Phys Ed classes and replaced with running laps and yoga. Gripping fun!
Then failing a child was removed all together. Of course the lesson was that it didn't matter if you tried or not in life, since we are all equal in society regardless of intelligence, ability or determination.
Now it would appear schools are changing the names of the courses to remove any possibility of offending someone, just like Christmas tress become 'Holiday' trees. (BTW, has anyone ever heard of any religious group, other than Christians, who complained about a public venue having Christmas trees?) "English" has become "Language Arts" just in case non-English speakers were offended that people were studying grammar and literature in a language other than their own. "Sex Ed" became "Family Life" and now is "Active Health", but kids still giggle when the teacher says 'penis'.

Dogs & Jeans has obtained a copy of the local High School's curriculum for next year. You will be shocked to learn how far the re-branding trend has moved:
  • Mathematics is now broken into two streams: "Fun With Numbers and Shapes" and "Short Stories Where People Travel on Trains"
  • Art is now "What Would Jesus Draw?"
  • Biology and Social Studies have been combined into a super-course called "Love Our Planet and Everybody on It"
  • Physics is now "Magic with Things" while Chemistry has become "Magic with Stuff"
  • Drama is now "90210"

How are things at your local secondary school?