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December 12, 2004 - December 18, 2004 Archives

December 13, 2004


Back late today. (Why? Not important- you wouldn't believe me if I told you, anyway) More tomorrow, including, possibly, the Great Tire Replacement or something more interesting.


December 14, 2004


The problem with cats is that they do not speak English, or any other human language, for that matter. And unlike dogs, they cannot be trained to recognize commands even if they don't know exactly what words are being said. That's not to say that cats are stupid or don't actually recoginze the sounds- they just don't pay any attention, because, as Bucky Katt said in this morning's "Get Fuzzy," humans play the role of "Man With Food" in the screenplay of a cat's life.

I raise this topic because, with All Access on its annual Christmas hiatus, I don't have to wake up at 4:30 am Pacific time every morning for a few weeks. I'll be doing some work, but it won't necessitate the usual early deadlines. This means nothing to Ella, the World's Most Famous Cat, who wants her food at 4:30 am Pacific time, period. And she wants to play fetch immediately afterwards. And she wants to be petted right after that. Excuses? Unacceptable. Wake up, feed Ella, play with Ella, that's the schedule, and it starts at 4:30 am Pacific time, weekdays, weekends, and holidays. No exceptions. It just is. Deal with it.

And that's what we have to do- deal with it. I have, what, two weeks out of the year when I don't have to get up early, and I'll be getting up early anyway, because Ella, the World's Most Famous Cat will not be denied. If we rolll over and try to ignore her, she'll just climb on us and stick her face in ours and sniff and try to sense life and lick until there's identifiable motion. She will not be denied. I will not get enough sleep. It is preordained.

I feel unrested already.

Plans for these two weeks? None, really- I'll clean out the office a little, do some filing and some preparation for the delivery of the new computer, finally finish some books I've been meaning to get through. Some time for me and Fran to spend together, some time to get caught up on stuff, some time to work out. It isn't much, but it's all I get.

I'll take it. And if anyone knows how to speak cat, tell Ella to give me a break. I'll be doing the 4:30 thing again soon enough.



We just got the news. I'm an uncle, Fran's an aunt. For real.

The new addition is Fran's sister's brand new baby boy, born to Debie and Simon tonight in Tampa, no name yet, nine pounds, 13 ounces (!).


Pretty cool, huh?

Congratulations and much love to Debie and Simon.


December 15, 2004


There's an old sticker next to the garage door opener button, left there by a previous occupant and half-heartedly scraped off later, leaving the lower half still legible on a bed of worn day-glo orange. It reads "God Loves You." And maybe He does, but he's had a funny way of showing it this year.

This is the kind of year 2004 has been for me, in a highly edited nutshell, leaving out several other things I'm not free to relate at this time: dad died after several months of intense searing pain, I ended up in an instant legal entanglement just to properly administer his estate, we've had several automotive problems including not one, not two, but two and a half sets of new tires, I've experienced the interesting sensation of several teeth falling apart, and now yet another of my molars has disintegrated, crumbling into mulch as I ate today, leaving an old filling sticking up with a jagged ridge where part of the outer tooth used to be. It's not neglect or bad dental hygiene- I floss, brush, go to the dentist, all that. It's just the ravages of age, 30 year old fillings failing, teeth weakened over the years going bad. And now, it's time for another trip to the dentist's chair, another bout of pain, probably another thousand bucks. Now I know what I'll be getting with the Chanukah gift certificates I got this year- a new tooth.

It's getting frightening- I'm terrified of what might happen next. Did I say this year can't end too soon? It can't end too soon.


December 16, 2004


My first thought when I heard a guy was holed up in the Crystal Cathedral after firing shots inside was that this shouldn't be too difficult. I mean, the place is all glass. Just get a sharpshooter and nail the sucker from outside.

Of course, it turns out he's probably in an office, and there are, of course, bathrooms and stuff in there, too, which can't be seen from outside. Never mind.

The Crystal Cathedral isn't too far from here- it's pretty close to where the Angels play and it's down the street from the Block mall where I've been known to spend too much money on skee ball at Dave and Buster's or on books and videos at Virgin Megastore. Most people assume from the location, the size, and the fact that there are places in the parking lot where you can park and sit in your car and hear the service that it's a schlocky Christian theme park. It's not that bad- they DO have a big Christmas show and it IS to your garden-variety church what a Jerry Bruckheimer movie is to an Alexander Payne movie, yet it's less gaudy than you'd expect and, when you're on the grounds, it really does feel like a church- but it does have that reputation of being a typically Southern California "experience." But it isn't a patch on this, the Trinity Broadcasting Network headquarters, just a short drive away:

Oh, I wish I had a bigger picture to show you, but I couldn't find one, and the picture that would best show you the sheer splendor of the place would be taken from the middle of the 405 freeway. It's that side- visible from passing cars or from the South Coast Plaza mall parking lot- that has the huge "Happy Birthday Jesus" in 100 watt white bulbs along the top of the building, which is dripping with lights from every surface and tree and plant. The building looks like the White House reimagined by a Vegas casino architect, or a particularly low-class dinner theater. If you've ever thought, gee, religion just isn't religion without excessive use of electricity, just head south on the 405 and just before the Bristol Ave. exit, look to your right. Make sure you're wearing sunglasses. Apparently, it's open to the public, too, and includes a virtual reality theater and the Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh Gift and Book Shop. I kid you not.

I gotta go there one of these days.


December 18, 2004


This morning's papers were full of articles about "Merry Christmas." A preacher is pushing boycotts of retailers who say "Happy Holidays" instead; L. Brent Bozell's saying the lack of Christmas mentions in entertainment's all the secular Jews' fault. As a Jew, I guess I'm supposed to feel insulted and upset when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas.

Is there something wrong with me because it doesn't bother me at all?

I think the preachers demanding an end to "Happy Holidays" are way off base, of course. There's nothing wrong with being inclusive, should you or your employer choose to do so. It doesn't devalue Christmas or Chanukah, it's been used for generations... no harm, no foul. On the other hand, it doesn't bother me when someone goes with the Christmas greeting. They celebrate Christmas, they're wishing me a happy one, they're including me in their holiday. I trust they'd feel the same if I wish them a Happy Chanukah. I'm pretty sure they would.

And that's where I end up diverging from the intellectual... er, the media elite. ("Intellectual" is in the mind of the beholder- THEY consider themselves "intellectual") And here's why- in the course of my career, I've ended up making the acquaintance of several folks in the Christian radio community. Some work for "Contemporary Christian" stations like the ones called "The Fish" or "Way FM," the ones that sound like an adult contemporary station except the lyrics are about Jesus. Some work for religious talk stations, some work for full-out Gospel stations, some work for brimstone-and-hellfire preaching stations. And the common thread among them is this: they're all nice people. They're not the judgemental, doctrinaire, intolerant zombies the news media thinks populate all the "red states." They're just nice, regular people who happen to believe in Christianity and work in radio formats designed to spread the word. I'm not a Christian, but they treat me as a friend, and that's what I am. We all believe what we believe, accept each other for who we are, the end. If they think I'm a nice guy doomed to Hell, that's OK with me- if that's where I'm headed, I'll have plenty of company. But they don't treat me badly because I'm not "one of them."

Of course, L. Brent Bozell may be of a different mind, but he's of a different mind on a lot of things, especially broadcast indecency. I have little use for L., so if he's making a stink about Jews controlling Hollywood, let him bray- he's so wrong so many times, what he says shouldn't matter (and will someone PLEASE tell the FCC this?). He doesn't speak for Christians as a whole. But when it comes down to "Merry Christmas," I come down on the side of it doesn't matter! "Happy Holidays," "Merry Christmas"... it's all the same! Say whatever you want! Stop worrying about it! The important thing is that everyone have a happy whatever-it-is-that-they-celebrate, isn't it?

Who said I don't have the holiday... er, Christmas... check that, Chanukah and Christmas... make it Chanukah, Christmas, and Kwaanza spirit?


About December 2004

This page contains all entries posted to PMSimon.com in December 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 5, 2004 - December 11, 2004 is the previous archive.

December 19, 2004 - December 25, 2004 is the next archive.

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