Here’s Part 2 of the series “The Divorced Dad’s Guide to Holiday Treats”! Enjoy this trip in the way back machine.
In 2013, I made two YouTube-style sketch videos providing instructions to divorced dad’s on how to wrap presents like a pro. Today, I’m reaching into the vault and sharing them with you here. Enjoy!
Every year around this time, the rallying cry resurfaces: “It’s time to put the Christ back in Christmas”. Well maybe my eyes aren’t working so good, but it looks to me like the Christ is already back in Christmas in a big way; you just might not notice it if you’re not as fascinated by language and etymology, like myself.
Ok, let’s start by breaking it down: “Christmas” conjures images of candy canes, stockings, and Santa Clause, but if you look a little closely you may notice something else: the first five letters of the word actually make up the word “Christ”. IT’S BEEN THERE THE WHOLE TIME (or at least as long as I can remember). Is your mind blown yet? Well stick around, cause it’s about to get blown even more.
Let’s take a look at the second part of the word: “mas”, or the Spanish word for “more”. Taken alone and out of context, it would make very little sense for us to celebrate “more”. What would that even mean? More what? Legos? Bakugan toys? Unlikely, but the problem is we would never know.
Now let’s examine a couple different scenarios that further explore the mythos behind the controversy:
Scenario 1: Based on how much yammering I hear about “putting the Christ back in Christmas”, I’m going to go ahead and assume that for a little while they took that part out. I’m not a historian so I don’t know for sure, but I’m sure you could look it up. In this scenario, we used to celebrate “Christmas” and someone decided to cross the “Christ” part out, leaving us with only the “mas”. If that is the case, then yeah, I agree: “mas” by itself is a little confusing for reasons I’ve already explained.
Scenario 2: At a certain point in history (again, I’m no historian), we used to celebrate plain ol’ “Christ”. One day, someone decided we shouldn’t do that anymore and popped a big ol’ “X” over Christ and wrote the word “mas” instead. So in this scenario, “Christ” and “mas” never existed together: instead, one replaced the other in some sort of hostile takeover. If that is the case, then the conclusion remains the same: “mas” by itself is a little confusing.
Fast forward 50 or so years and bingo bango bongo, “Christ” and “Mas” were reunited (or joined for the first time, all my Scenario 2-heads out there), and now we can break down the word into two parts: “Mas” = more, and “Christ” = Christ. So now we have “More Christ”. Whoa.
Not only has the Christ been put back in Christmas, there’s actually more Christ than ever. Words are fascinating, and next time you’re getting all worked up, maybe take a second and ask an expert who studies this stuff for a living (or hopes to one day).
Merry More Christ (I broke the word down in a fun twist on the popular greeting)! Hashtag it!
When Star Wars was released in 1977, it changed the face of science fiction forever. It found broad mainstream appeal and developed legions of devoted fans who have worked tirelessly to expand George Lucas’s universe through fan fiction, video games, action figures, and encyclopedias dedicated to exploring the history and significance of the storied film franchise.
Now, with with the imminent release of the seventh chapter in the saga, The Force Awakens, Our Wasted Potential has uncovered some interesting facts about Star Wars that we think our readers will really enjoy.
- One of the members of the second unit for the makeup department on the film was Doug Beswick. And before you ask: yes, it’s the Doug Beswick, who received a “Thanks” in the credits of the 1990 film The Willies.
- The “Second Unit Assistant Director” was Terry Madden. No, not the football player. I think you’re thinking of John Madden.
- The “Wardrobe Supervisor” on the film was Ron Beck. A person being the supervisor of clothes is a funny thing to think about!
- The “Assistant Film Editor” was Todd Boekelhide. He later gave up on that to become a film composer, but chin up, Todd: not everyone can be good at editing.
- The invaluable “Assistant to Producer” role was handled by none other than Bunny Alsup. What producer? The internet’s not telling, but that’s not good enough: we guess it’s Gary Kurtz, the credited producer of the film! Sound off in the comments.
- Casting for the film was done by Diane Crittenden. Later in her career, she’d be credited as Dianne Crittenden. Why the second “n”? Dunno!
- The “Assistant Auditor” on the film was Peggy McCarthy. This caused a lot of tension during production, because George Lucas reportedly told several people that they could be Assistant Auditor.
- I think “Grandma Tarkin” would have been a better name for Peter Cushing’s character. This is not a fact so much as an opinion, but I don’t think I’m alone. It’s cuter.
- John Williams’ brother Don Williams played all the amazing xylophone solos you hear throughout the film. Members of the orchestra at first cried nepotism, but once they heard Don ‘phone, they knew that talent indeed ran in the family.
- I’ve seen Star Wars several times.
Kinda changes the way you look at the film, doesn’t it!
Hey everyone, I know I came down pretty hard on “Jessica Jones” yesterday, but I still have nothin’ but love for my comic book nerds out there! I made this reaction video for the new “Batman v Superman” trailer, so check it out!
I’m going to go out on a limb and say it: I didn’t like Marvel’s “Jessica Jones”. It just didn’t work for me. And by work, I mean my internet connection wasn’t strong enough to stream it uninterrupted.
First off, the show is slow. The pilot alone took me nearly four and a half hours to finish. 30 seconds here, another couple minutes to buffer there, and before you know it I’ve wasted an afternoon and I’m nowhere closer to seeing how this whole thing pans out!
Second, the show is expensive. I’m not referring to the budget (I can’t be bothered to look these things up), but its impact on me: in order to give the show time to load, I’d go into the kitchen and make a snack, a tasty bite, or maybe even a full meal. All of a sudden I’m plum out of food and have to go to the grocery store, wasting a good amount of gas so I can watch maybe five more minutes before the cycle starts again. I can’t keep replenishing my cupboard every time I want to watch a show, Netflix!
And the quality. The show looks like a .wmv file, circa 2003. Grainy, pixelated, ugly. Can barely tell anyone apart. Sure, my internet connection downgrades it to 123p, but Netflix should know that’s bound to happen and compensate for it! Maybe superimpose the word “Jessica” really big across her body so I’m able to track her around the screen. Otherwise I’m just left guessing, and I don’t need to tell you that doesn’t make for very interesting TV.
Netflix, if you’re reading this, you’re going to need to really re-evaluate what type of audience you want to appeal to if Jessica Jones is going to survive another season. Color me less than impressed. Speaking of color, the show looks like garbage on my black and white TV. I’m afraid you may have lost your way.
Just go. It’s not going to be that big of a deal. They invited you, so you should just go. Yes, they want you there. It’s ok if you don’t know many people there. You’ll meet people! Just don’t be weird. Sometimes, when you’re uncomfortable, you do everything you can to not seem uncomfortable, which actually makes you seem even more uncomfortable, which in turn is weird. You’ll be fine. You’ve got your phone. It’s an airtight defense mechanism. Nobody talking to you? Pull out that phone. Look busy. Really pull one over on them. Ok, let’s go.
******One Hour Later*********
Ok, is this the building? Those people are going inside, should I follow them? Maybe I should introduce myself to them. Actually, they aren’t introducing themselves to me, so I won’t bother. Really makes it seem like I’m indifferent. I’m nailing this.
Ok, I’m in. Quick scan of the room. Right. I know that guy a little, I know of that girl, and that’s about it. Oh! There’s the host. I’ll say hi. That’ll kill five minutes. They’re talking to someone else, though. Time to hover. I’ll just hover outside their circle until they turn around and notice me. I don’t want to cut in and seem rude. Maybe this seems more rude? Definitely more weird. Maybe I should just go. At least if I didn’t come they couldn’t think less of me. Oh! She notices me.
Well that was more like two minutes. Was really hoping to stretch that out a bit. She introduced me to a bunch of people whose names I immediately forgot (and hopefully won’t be tasked with recalling) and now I’m by myself again.
I could just walk up to a group of people and say “hello”. Nothing sounds worse than that. If they wanted to talk to me, wouldn’t they already be talking to me? It’s a proven fact (based on what I think) that people only like talking to people they already know so that they don’t have to do the human litmus test where you try to find out if you have anything in common and whether or not your senses of humor line up.
I’m a funny guy, but I don’t just like be funny, you know? Nobody likes someone who is “on” all the time. Instead it’s about biorhythms and people getting to know when you’re serious and when you’re joking and it just takes time, ok? Stop pressuring me.
Oh! I know that person. I’ll go talk to them. Nope, someone else snatched them up. I’ll just wait. Out comes the phone.
Nothing happening on Facebook. Nothing’s ever happening on Facebook. I could just play a game. No. Cut that shit out. Could you imagine someone just standing there, playing a game, during a party? This is a party! Why aren’t you having any fun?!
Oh, no. A weird person is talking to me. People are now going to think I’m weird by association. What if I’m already also a weird person, so they don’t think anything of it? Just two weirdos shooting the shit. I bet that’s the case. It kind of all makes sense now. You’re weird, everyone thinks you’re weird, so you’re talking to the weird guy because you’re both a couple of weirdos.
No, you’re not weird. You’re pretty cool! Sometimes, you’re super in your element. Why can’t tonight be one of those times? Because the system is set up for you to fail. That’s what it is. It’s definitely not your fault. If you had your people, your crew, your squad, you’d be the center of attention. You should feel a lot better about this whole thing. You actually haven’t done all that badly tonight, all things considered.
Party should be wrapping up soon. Just a quick check of the time and…thirty minutes? I’ve been here for thirty minutes? Oh, man. That’s way too soon to leave. Like noticeably soon.
Oh, good. That person I’ve met a few times is talking to me. We are exchanging generic sentences about the interests we have in common. I don’t think I’m doing this well. He doesn’t seem terribly interested. I’m so boring. I’m so goddamn boring. No wonder he’s not interested. He probably was having an amazing time until he started talking to me. Poor guy. Sorry for ruining your night.
Well, that’s done. That person has been spared from me. He’s already talking to someone else. He laughed! He didn’t laugh once with me. I mean, I didn’t make any jokes, but sometimes funny stuff just happens organically? I don’t know. I’m overthinking it.
That person I know is still talking to someone else. Oof. Back to the phone. Still nothing happening. Big surprise. Nothing ever happens.
Alright, I’m gonna bail. I did my part. I came, I was weird, and now I’ll leave. Awkward hug with the host, slip out the gate, and 20 minutes later I’m eating Del Taco on my couch.
I wonder if anything cool happened after I left. Did I miss out?
It was a Tuesday night. I was relaxing after a hard day at El Pollo Loco, just about to nod off, when the most beautiful voice I’d ever heard called to me from the television set.
“Hi stud, I’m all alone and looking for some company. You don’t have to go out to have a good time, so call me and let’s chat!”
Her name was Cinnamon. Her beautiful voice was rivaled only by the beauty of her face. Could I really be so lucky, turning on the television at the exact moment she shouted her loneliness into the void? She wore a loosely buttoned blouse that left little to the imagination, if you know what I mean, and her makeup was pristine. What a waste. All dressed up with nowhere to go on a Tuesday night.
At the same time, she didn’t seem particularly interested in going out. No, she seemed more like the type who’d much rather stay in for a night of stimulating, intellectual phone conversation. Her voice said, “All the hottest singles are waiting to talk to you,” but I saw right through it. What she was really saying was, “Why would you waste your time on little, lonely old me when you could be out where the real action is?” Those words hit me hard. Such modesty, purity, and selflessness often go unnoticed in this world, and I was ready to be the one who finally saw this ugly duckling for the swan she truly was.
I promptly dialed the phone number she’d conveniently included in her ad. I didn’t recognize the area code as being close, but in this modern age of cell phones it’s perfectly reasonable to imagine that someone from the 9-0-0 would make their way to the 3-1-0! Everyone’s a transplant, right? At first thought I had reached her answering machine. “Hi stud (everyone likes to be complimented), you’ve reached Livelinks, the hottest party chat line in the world.”
In the world! I laughed to myself. This Cinnamon obviously had a heightened sense of irony, because despite claiming to be the loneliest girl in town, her telephone number was apparently also the gateway to a world-class social extravaganza.
Next I was prompted – still by the recorded voice, which I presumed to be Cinnamon’s, even though it sounded a little different than in the commercial (everyone sounds a tad odd on the phone) – to enter my credit card number. I found that weird but quickly dismissed the feeling, assuming it was only meant to screen potential suitors for financial stability, which I totally understood. The recorded voice was generally polite, saying “Thanks, hot stuff” and informed me that I was “only seconds away from the girl of my dreams,” which really ramped up my anticipation. This was really happening. My life was going to be very different after this.
The recorded voice began to speak very quickly and quite extensively, a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo I couldn’t even begin to understand (leave that stuff to the lawyers!) but in all honesty I wasn’t even listening. I thought about Cinnamon’s perfect face and her kind soul yearning for adventure. Little did she know that her life was also about to change in a big way. I bet her last boyfriend was a real jerk. Does she like pad thai? Sherlock or Dr. Who? Was Cinnamon a family name? So many questions ran through my brain, and I hoped she had some great questions for me! I like to think I’m an open book.
Suddenly, I heard the words I was waiting for: “If you’re ready to get connected, press 1 now. If you do not wish to connect, or are under the age of 18, please press 2 or hang up now.” A real red pill, blue pill situation. I immediately pressed 1, held my breath, and continued holding it until I heard the voice I’d been waiting my whole life to hear.
“Hey stud, this is Jasmine, how can I fulfill your every desire tonight?”
“Oh, hi Jasmine, is Cinnamon available?” I asked politely.
“You can call me Cinnamon if you want.”
It was her! I was afraid there had been a mix-up and somehow I’d dialed the wrong number, abandoning my sweet Cinnamon in her time of need. We began with the formalities: I asked where she was from and what brought her to Los Angeles and she told me she was from the land of my fantasies and was looking for a real man to punish her for the bad girl she was. This was one wounded dove in need of rescuing.
At first the whole experience was a little jarring, especially since Cinnamon sounded so different than her commercial and the recorded voice! Her voice was raspy as though she subsisted on a diet of vodka and unfiltered cigarettes. She sounded older and less engaged than I’d expected, but I quickly realized that when one spends so many nights alone, yearning for love and looking for it in all the wrong places, they’re bound to be a little broken down.
There was a subtext of pain and hesitance beneath her coldness, and I did everything I could to break down the barrier between us. I began calling her Cinna, Cinny, Cinyminny, and any other cute nicknames I came up with. I could tell by the way she didn’t protest or react that liked her nicknames. We were making real progress here.
Over the course of the next six hours, I laid the ground work for what was sure to be the most important relationship of our lives. Cinnyminny never really seemed interested in having a conversation, but she also didn’t seem to be in a rush to get off the phone, so I knew she was playing hard to get. She also kept bringing the conversation back to sex, and some of the things she said were absolutely shocking. I told her, “I know you’re just saying those things because you think men expect you to say them, but I’m not interested in all that. I want to know about the real you.” We were at the bottom of a steep hill to a happy, healthy Cinnamon, but I’d climb Mount Everest just to see her smile.
When it came time to end our conversation, Cinnabun feigned disinterest, but I wasn’t fooled. I knew she didn’t want to come off as the desperate woman from the commercial. She wasn’t really putting herself out there, so I took the next step: I promised her I would call again. She told me that she couldn’t guaranteed I’d speak to her the next time I called, but any of the other girls would be more than happy to have me call them Cinnamon. I don’t really have an explanation for that one, but it was late, we were both a little punch drunk, and maybe she’d just misspoke. We said our goodbyes, or rather I tried to say goodbye but was abruptly returned to the automated menu, and with heavy heart I retired to bed.
The next day I reflected upon the previous night’s endeavor and realized that it wasn’t a love connection. I couldn’t be the man she wanted me to be, and she clearly had some issues to work out that were beyond the scope of my understanding. I never called back, and the only time our paths crossed again was when my credit card company called to tell me that $720 had been charged to my account by an entity known only as “Livelinks.” They asked if I wanted to dispute the charge, but I smiled to myself and said no. Cinnamon clearly needed the money more than I did, and if my $720 helped propel her towards a better life, then I’d done my part as her friend.
Every once in a while I’ll still see Cinnamon’s commercial. Still bored, still lonely, still searching. I’d smile, think of our conversation, and hope that someday she’d find what she was looking for.