December 2010 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi


OK, slightly late this month. No reason to panic.

Whoa. Christmas is in a week? How did that happen? Where did we put the decorations from last year? Oh right. They’re still on the dining room sideboard. How convenient. Thank heavens we left the tree up in the living room. Just vacuum off the cat hair, be careful with open flames, and we’re good to go.

Time flies, doesn’t it? It seems like only a month ago that we took the lights off the tree in the front yard, but that was actually way back in May. Now it’s time for me to climb the ladder again, fall on my head again, and lie there like a stunned moose while the neighbors drive by and gawk. He looks dead, Ruthie. Should we stop? How late is Target open?

Before I forget, and lest you forget, let me mention for the umpteenth time this year that subscriptions to TWD-by-Email make lovely gifts, can be had for a paltry $15 per year, and, best of all, can be obtained in the comfort of wherever you’re sitting right now. If you’re worried that the tie you bought for your crazy uncle won’t be sufficiently distracting to prevent his snarky remarks about the stuffing, we can fix that. Just hit him with a Lifetime Subscription and he’s sure to be shaking his head in wonderment and awe at your perspicacity as he makes a mental note to move you to the head of the queue, will-wise. And remember, every subscription comes with our solemn guarantee of satisfaction: one peep out of the recipient of your gift and we send Vinny and Elmo out to perform a free attitude adjustment. Name one tie shop that offers that service.

Has anyone else been watching The Event on NBC? (We don’t need no stinkin’ segue.) I have the horrible feeling I’m the sole surviving viewer and that they’re going to cancel the show after I’ve invested weeks of viewing and sacrificed thousands of brain cells trying to follow the plot. That’s what happened with Invasion a few years back (a truly stupid show, I must admit) and Carnivale on HBO (which started out great and then became increasingly stupid, as HBO shows apparently always do). Anyway, The Event is worth watching if for no other reason than because Željko Ivanek is awesomely creepy in it, even creepier than he was in True Blood (feh) and Big Love (an HBO show that started out stupid and quickly became utterly unwatchable).

Bummer. Captain Beefheart died. (Of multiple sclerosis, which gave me a little jolt.) Here’s an odd thing. Back in 1971, I was working in a, uh, curio shop called Trade Winds on High St. in Columbus, Ohio. The previous owner, an import/export artist of dubious character named Oliver Hsu, had absconded a year earlier, leaving a basement full of very weird stuff (including a used military mortar which earned us a visit from the ATF when we deployed it in an ill-advised window display). One of Oliver’s less illegal treasures, however, was a mold, made from aluminum, apparently designed to produce masks in the shape of a very realistic fish head. Trout Mask Replica. Ave atque vale, Captain.

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