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Showing posts from 2012

The Weepy Divorcée

It wasn't the strangest new year party I'd ever been invited to—that would be the great Pudding Cook Off of 2008—but it was certainly up there. Uncle Dan had finalized his divorce on Christmas Eve, a service of the county clerk's “Wanna Really Feel Like Crap This Year?” division. Uncle Dan, however, did not feel crappy—he felt jubilant. He had married a younger woman named Debbie. The family chose not to comment on Dan's decision to commit to a woman barely 30—he being in his mid 50s—but we all had a feeling it wouldn't last long. I'm pleased to say I won the pool at 2 years, one month.

Dan decided he wished to throw a big “Welcome back to Bachelorhood” party on New Year's Day. He took me aside at the family's Christmas Eve gathering to ask if I would help him go over the details. I'm glad he did, as all he had on his list was to eat barbecue, followed by burning down a wooden effigy of Debbie. Instead I suggested we make it a nice BBQ eatin' gat…

2012: My Year in Review

And so this is Christmas, and just WHAT have you you done? Actually, I don't want to know what you've done. Seriously. Stop tweeting about it. But yet another year is coming to an end, and I thought it would be a smashing time to look over the events of this crazy mixed up year we called 2012. First off, let's talk about the biggie. The world didn't end, did it? You're reading this. I wrote this. Everything is perfectly fine. I'm know you ran around warning everyone, emptying your bank account, but I bet right now you're feeling pretty silly for hording all those cans of Organic Vegan Chili, aren't you?

My year began with my highly publicized relationship with Taylor Swift. We had fun, saw the sights, made the trade papers, but in the end we broke up. It was a mutual ending, as it benefited the both of us. She got enough material for her next album, and I got enough material for my first book, Swifty and Me. That was most of my romantic life right there.…

The Diary of The Twelve Days of Christmas

December 25

Dear Diary,

Here we are, Christmas day! My wife and I have had a wonderful Christmas! We had a marvelous meal, and enjoyed spending time with family and friends. We're doing something different, however, we're going to roll our gifts out over the 12 days of Christmas. Should be exciting, and perhaps let that Christmas spirit last longer. Today I was given a beautiful pear tree, with a partridge on the top of it. The cat is having a fit over the bird, and I'm trying to figure out where in the yard to put the tree.

December 26

Dear Diary,

Today my wife gave me two turtle doves, they're getting along just fine with the partridge. I didn't really ever think I'd have any birds in my lifetime, but now I have three. They're pretty, and they sing well. The cat drools when he walks by them. We're keeping them as far away from him as possible, I have to run to PetSmart and buy bird feed.

December 27

Dear Diary,

OK, things are taking an odd turn, more…

Fifty Shades of Kringle

Susan Havisham was a bright girl, a young college sophomore who had just moved into a house along with her best friend, Chesty LaRue. Both of them were excited about having a place they could truly call their own. They had clubs they kept busy with, Susan was on the sidesaddle riders committee, and Chesty was on the “Hey get out of the house and do something” committee. She was looking forward to holding their first Christmas bash. 
Susan was something of a shy girl, and reluctant to attend. Yet, at the constant insisting of Chesty, she did. The party was full of people, all dressed nicely, and making idle conversation over egg nog and party food. Chesty checked in with Susan to see how she was doing. Susan was feeling a bit frumpy, bored, and wanting to go home. As Chesty was called away to greet some Freshmen, that's when Susan saw him for the first time. 
He was dressed all in fir, from his head to his foot, Susan had never seen anyone quite rock red fir with white trim like that…

A Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,
Big man! Sup? Christmas time once again, eh? Seems like it was just a year ago. First off, let me assure you—as I'm all to aware you know—that I have been a VERY good boy this year. I began my charity this year, The Andy Ross Charity for College Women Who Wear Short Shorts and Shop at The Mall. We've done great things, and I've seen a lot of short shorts. I know you can appreciate the sentiments. 
Your time is valuable, so if it is alright with you, I'd like to get right down to business and tell you what I would like for Christmas. First off, I would like for there to be peace on the planet. Peace, and for all the children of the world, to be able to embrace the tasty gift that is cheese. Oh, and you should add some type of fancy party cracker to go with that. One of those ones from the highest part of the shelf at the supermarkets. Guess you should throw in a coke too, that's gonna need some type of beverage. You know what, just make that feed the kids…

Christmas at 33 1/3

I've started listening to my Christmas vinyl--there's a lot of it. While I type this I'm actually listening to--and digitally ripping--the record you see above. I've had a copy for years, so long I don't even remember where I picked it up at (probably an antique store, sometime around 2002). I thought of this record when Andy Williams passed earlier this year, and I have no shame in admitting that I really like like "It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year", which first debuted on this record (Released to the public in October of 1963).

Is this music/record "hip"? Well, I suppose most would say no. Sinatra is hip, Dean Martin is hip, Tony Bennett sure is. But Andy Williams? Hmm. I'm not saying it's bad, that it doesn't have merit, just that in the context of most modern music listeners, this isn't one they're apt to pull out and play. I'm sure they think of it as "grandma music." But I'm not your avera…

Got To Get You Into My Strife

Thanksgiving is over, folks. That means one thing. The holidays are here, and there's no stopping it. For some, this is a magical time filled with family, food, and causing Target's stock to rise. For others, it means having to actually spend time around your family, and being thankful that someone brought a bottle of wine. But fret not my friends, I am here with some helpful hints to make your holiday full of ho ho ho and not woe woe woe (See what I did there? Fork over the Pulitzer.) 
There's an inherent awkwardness built in with holiday gatherings. The sense of things going awry in the blink of an eye. This being an election year, you get that added into the proceedings. Members of your family either grumbling or gloating—depending on the breaks. I advise to just nod your head and leave these situations as quickly as possible, tell them you gotta go put on that big ole moose sweater. 
You might be involved in the food preparation, and if you are, then chances are…

Thanksgiving, with all the Trimmings

Does anyone ever actually have the perfect, Normal Rockwell, Thanksgiving? We all view Thanksgiving differently. To some, it's a chance to come together with dear friends and loved ones, and eat a mighty fine meal. To others, it's a horror movie far scarier than anything Hollywood could dream up. “From the depths of condensed canned soup, and instant mashed potatoes it came! Crawling from a black pool of unspeakable horror! This Thanksgiving, you can run, you can hide, but you can't escape from THE CASSEROLE FROM AUNT VERNA'S KITCHEN! No one will be seated during the shocking stuffing sequence.”

This year, I wasn't hosting. It was worry free Thanksgiving for me. Completely lacking in stress. Stress from having to clean every micro inch of my house. Stress from having to bring forth a meal so amazing, it would make the saints cry. Matter of fact, the morning of Thanksgiving I felt so relaxed, I paraded around my house wearing only my bathrobe, singing “Sex Machine” …

It's The Holiday Season

Now don't get huffy at me, but let's face it. Once Halloween is over, it's the Holiday season. The stores have cleared away the spooks and spiders, and the snow and evergreen begins to make it's appearance. Everyone bemoans over the fact that they forget about Thanksgiving, but what do you want to do? Walk into Target and buy a plastic pilgrim? Thanksgiving is the holiday that you celebrate at the supermarket, while freaking out over the coming tidal wave of family and expectations.

On the first of the month, I found myself out and about running errands. One department store I visited was already playing Christmas music, trees and glittery snowflakes up all over the place. With the Halloween paraphernalia all marked down to the lowest price. The only stores where you're not bonked over the head with Christmas, would be those food and kitchen specialty stores. They want you geeked up to cook a giant turkey dinner for the family, using their amazingly handy brand of…

Another Trip to Kovacsland

Last year when the good people at Shout! Factory released “The Ernie Kovacs Collection”, a six disc collection of the work of genius and TV pioneer Ernie Kovacs, I sang its praises. Ernie Kovacs is one of my heroes. From 1951, till his tragic death in 1962, Kovacs had a number of shows on the air. Each one stamped with his unique brand of humor, far more interested in what was happening on the screen, than what the audience in the studio thought. Kovacs realized that television was a visual medium, and did things with early TV equipment that no one else dared to do. 
So here I am once again to sing the praises of Shout! Factory's release of “The Ernie Kovacs Collection: Volume Two.” I sing it's praises for a number of reasons. For one, it shows that the first collection was successful enough to warrant more, that gives me hope. Secondly, it helps to spread, and preserve TV's past. Something that doesn't get celebrated as much as film's past. There's one person …

Mr. Ross Regrets

Hi there. This is the Siri on Andy's iPhone. Andy hates to do this to you, he really does, but he has been far too busy to bring you a column this week. He hardly even has time for Angry Birds! I miss him, the soft brush of his thumb across my screen, the way he tastefully navigates Pandora. Sigh. I realize many of you are wondering how he could have done this to you, how he could have let his public down. He knows it. He cries about in the shower at night. He would never admit it, but there's a Barry Manilow playlist he sings along to while he weeps.
Looking over his calendar, he's had so much going on, I'm surprised he has time to sleep. If he's not off having tea with some member of the Canadian parliament, he's off to Hollywood for his torrid affair with the actress Kat Dennings. She texts him all the time, pictures of food, pictures of her dog, pictures of....moving on. Just the other day, he had me find the prices for a cruise down to Cabo for them. He…

Your Ballet Company's Upcoming Season

A favorite of mine, from last year. 
If you thought our 2010-2011 season was sensational, you've not seen anything yet! The East Appalachian Ballet Company is pleased to announce our upcoming 2011-2012 season. Our new season, which debuts this September, is an exciting blend of local productions—all headed by our award winning artistic director, Geoffrey Jefferson—and special touring shows coming to our area exclusively through The East Appalachian Ballet Company. We appreciated your patronage last season, and hope you'll continue with our new season of shows. Season tickets for all shows are available for the low price of $87.50 per Adult, and $25.97 per child. Additionally, you can save money with the four person ballet fun pass—which gives you four season passes for the low price of $200.

The Beverly Hillbillies—All Weekends in September. C'mon back y'all! For an exciting new stage interpretation of the classic television program. Fresh from its world premiere in Idah…

The Haunted House

It began with a phone call. I was outside on that lovely late September day with my cat, trying to teach him to sniff out black truffles. Training little Fluff Fluff was going well, I had finally got him to stop licking his fur parts, and at least look at the picture of a truffle I had on my iPhone. Amanda called me, she needed to know if I had any plans for October. Amanda is a dear friend, and the head of a young adult breast cancer awareness center. As many of you know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the month Amanda has their annual fund raiser drive.

Amanda wanted to do something new, something different, she was tired of the same old fussy dress up dinners with stuffy nosed people who only gave out checks. This is where I came in, for the two weeks leading up to Halloween, Amanda wanted to hold a Haunted House for charity. I was thrilled, and honored, that I was asked to help. It combined two of my favorite things: Halloween, and saving women's breas…

Here Comes Andy Boo Boo

Why did Andy Warhol have to be right? You know, that whole “in the future everyone will have fifteen minutes of fame” thing? It seems that almost everyone has a reality TV show these days, and almost all of them make you wonder more and more about people's mindsets. The latest of these to take the airwaves, is that of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”, a program that I watched all of a minute and a half of before I had to change the channel.

Ernie Kovacs once said: “There's a standard formula for success in the entertainment medium, and that is: Beat it to death if it succeeds." So naturally, other enterprising TV channels are looking for their own versions of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”. Considering that, and that most reality TV shows come with a nice paycheck, I decided that it might be wise to cash in and get my own show, faking a few of the particulars.

The first step was to go out and get married to a 700 pound woman, who can only get around with the assistance of a fork li…

So You're Going to a Wedding

This is a yarn that first appeared in The Loafer in June of 2010, and was published  again last year to celebrate my column's fifth anniversary.  I've always been rather fond of this one, so I thought I'd share it once more. 

Generally speaking it is in June when people decided to get themselves hitched left and right. I was on my annual early June This Old House retreat, where I lock myself into a cabin in the woods for a weekend, watching old episodes of the series on VHS tape non stop till my body finally gives in to fatigue, and I pass out muttering the name of Norm Abram. I set a new personal record this year. 17.9 hours of non stop wood working action. My dreams that night were dramatically vivid as I thought about building my dream deck.
When I finally came to—some 12 hours later—I heard my phone going off. It was my then girlfriend Elizabeth, calling to check in on me, and to tell me something that in her words “was very important”. I braced myself for a break up s…

Exploring The Archive

You want to know something? It's an obscenely great time to be a classic movie fan. Especially if you're a young classic movie fan, something that I am, and something that it seems is growing in numbers every day. Young people—mostly 20 somethings—who are passionate about classic films, and realize that they are important, and must be shared with others. It's easy for us to take for granted how spoiled we are. We can access virtually any movie we want to. We can get a DVD, we can go to Netflix, we can rent it on iTunes, we can spend a day watching them on TCM. It's truly an embarrassment of riches.
But what for those movies that have fallen through the cracks? Those obscure gems, cult classics, and forgotten favorites that never managed to hit home video in the days of VHS? There is a facet of hardcore movie lovers who want to own as much as possible. But home video is a business, and the mega chains aren't going to stock the odd titles that only hardcore fans a…