: this is it, the shortest day of the year :

December 21, 2014 § 6 Comments

image

Today, December 21st, is the stoopid winter solstice. At precisely 6:03 p.m. EST winter officially arrives. This isn’t a day to celebrate, my friends; it’s short and cold and dark. Daytime’s been canceled, at least temporarily. The sun will come up, boing, then go right back down, plop.

That might explain why today is National Flashlight Day. You’ll need one.

Shadows and murk abound, you can’t see your hand in front of your face. Our world  is rendered in varying shades of gray — leaden gray skies, stark black trees, dingy clouds, dirty snow, wan, gray faces. And the sun is no help, we’re as far away from there as we can get. Its light and warmth are but a distant, fading memory.

My point here, which I’m getting to, is to bring cheer and a hearty exhortation: buck up. From this moment on, the days will grow longer, little by little by little. Come March, and the arrival of the vernal equinox, we’ll be adding a couple minutes of glorious sunshine to every passing day. We’ll add degrees to the thermometer and, tada, all will be right with the world. Until then, snuggle in, nap often, and drink plenty of warm fluids — hot toddies are recommended.

Add a paper umbrella and pretend it’s a beach cocktail.

cocktail umbrella

Copyright © 2014 Publikworks

: ’tis the season :

December 18, 2014 § 16 Comments

For a list of brand new words. Ho Ho Hah.

And, really, what better gift is there than a shiny new word? Okay, who said high value gift card? Was it you? Well, tough, you’re getting words. A whole long, delightful list to decorate your conversation.

package

These words are among the dozens being added to OxfordDictionaries.com this year. They do this quarterly, add words. In the future, expect to see a lot more words of Australian derivation. The Aussies, apparently, are the new etymologists, having dethroned the traditional Latin. And it’s about time, too. The old words are fine, they get the job done with a minimum of fuss, but the new ones are just plain fun. You could say they’re, get this, the ant’s pants.

Oh, brother.  That sounds so stoopid when I say it. I’m way, way too dweeby and I shouldn’t even try. You, on the other hand, are totally cool. You’ll sound like an insider, cutting edge. I want to be like you, I’m tired of being a mahoosive loser. There, did that sound okay? Did I do it right? Yay, I’m air punching al desko, man.

I’ll shut up.

black swirl

A Handpicked Selection of New Words for 2014:

adorbs — cute or adorable

wtaf — ‘what the actual f***’ posed as a questioning exclamation

al desko — an act, typically eating, done at your desk (sort of like al fresco)

mahoosive — very, very large

duckface — the pouting, lip-thrusting face made by people posing for pictures

shiny bum — an office worker

ant’s pants — outstandingly good person or thing

idc — ‘I don’t care’

hate-watch — watch a show in order to mock it  or criticize

vape — the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette (Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2014)

digital footprint — how popular a person is online

air punch — shoving a clenched fist in the air, usually in triumph

Deep Web — the part of the Internet not discoverable by regular search engines

hot mess — someone who’s spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered (right, me)

yolo — you only live once. Translation: go for it.

xmas treeHappy holiday, peeps.

No. Peeps? wtaf? I didn’t say th — crap, where’s the flipping delete button?

Copyright © 2014 Publikworks

: a guide to the christmas list :

December 11, 2014 § 10 Comments

We’re an acquisitive species, humans are. We like stuff and lots of it; our homes are packed to the rafters. But ask us what we want for Christmas and we’ll trot out the old, ‘I want you to be happy’ or ‘peace on Earth.’ Lovely sentiments, of course, but tough to gift-wrap.

A detailed list works better; Santa isn’t clairvoyant. You should include size and color choice and brand name whenever possible. Be specific. It cuts down on disappointment and there’s little or no need for returns. The gift giver is happy, the gift recipient is happy. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a win-win situation.  A true Christmas miracle.

Here, let me show you the proper format:

tommyboy

What I’d Like for X-mas

1. Tom Hanks
2. A bag of money
3. Curly hair
4. A short, unseasonably warm winter
5. For you to be happy
6. Peace on Earth
7. Goodwill toward men

Not necessarily in that order, though. Except for Tom Hanks, he’s at the top of the list every year. Wait, no, I flirted with the idea of Ed Burns once — a momentary lapse. Nothing came of it, water under the bridge and all that.

Well, there you have it, boys and girls. Tell me, what’s on your list, if I may be so bold?

bowCopyright © 2014 Publikworks

: half-baked X :

December 8, 2014 § 16 Comments

xNo. This is not a pornographic half-baked, you perverts. Oh, don’t look so disappointed, it’s #10 in the series — you know, 10? X in Roman numerals? Sheesh, get your dirty minds out of the gutter.

I’m trying to get myself a little more organized here, what with the holidays breathing down our necks and all. Posting a bunch of fabulous and unique gift ideas will be completely useless if I put it off until, oh, March. So I did my browsing earlier, in order to streamline your shopping and planning. Of course, that’s only helpful if you like what I found. Not everyone does.

I had a friend who hated every gift I gave her. She was an art director with very traditional, very formal taste. Me? I love comic books and pop culture and funky stuff. I’m a sucker for unusual packaging and goofy design leaves me weak in the knees. I’m partial to silly. This friend? She was not amused. Not once.

I hope you will be. At least a little.

The Fun Stuff

nerdy. Jewelry — How about a bracelet for that special someone? One bearing the symbols for nitrogen, erbium, and dysprosium? Made of aluminum, it adjusts to fit any wrist and ships in, oooh, a swanky black velvet bag. $20.00

http://redditgifts.com/marketplace/merchant/neurons-not-included/

 

ornament

Holiday Decorations – Turn on the charm with this whimsical holiday ornament. It’s aluminum permanently printed with non-toxic inks and includes a merry red satin ribbon for hanging. Perfect for the tree or, gosh, anywhere, really. $12.50

http://redditgifts.com/marketplace/merchant/neurons-not-included/

Other Stuff

blowgun-cubicle-defender-office-warfare-toy__63762.1411403363.300.300

The Blowgun Cubicle Defender — simply load the foam dart in the barrel, aim, and blow. Darts shoot up to 30 feet and stick to windows, computer monitors, televisions, and, sometimes, co-workers. A piddly $4.98  http://www.eggheadtoys.com/blowgun-cubicle-defender/

 

tshirt

Hokey Pokey T-shirt — For the existentialists on your gift list. A terrific t-shirt guaranteed to start more than its share of fun conversations. Also available as a sweatshirt. Ships on 1.22.15

http://www.prettygoodgoods.org/products/68432-hokey-pokey-t-shirt 

A Couple Great Book Ideas

51nk3ymKlvL._AA160_How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical and Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening by David Rees

Do you love pencils? I love pencils. A lot. This guy, though, makes me look like a rookie. Not only did he write the book on sharpening pencils ($20), he’ll actually sharpen one for you ($40; shavings and a certificate of ‘sharpening’ included). Visit his website for details http://www.artisanalpencilsharpening.com/

UnknownWhere’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Okay, judging strictly by the cover, I expected this to be Chic Lit. I don’t like chic lit, so I refused to even look inside. But then I got bored and ran out of books to read. I picked this up and didn’t put it back down, not even when I’d finished. I read it through one more time. It’s funny and smart and wonderful. You’ll love it, cross my heart. http://www.amazon.com

Well, there you go. I’ll try to get back before crunch time with another fine selection of peculiarities for the holidays. I feel like I’ve barely made a dent. The holidays are always more fun when they’ve got weird and unexpected things popping up. So I’m off … Feliz Navidad!

Santa_checking_list_1912

Copyright © 2014 Publikworks

: wings :

December 4, 2014 § 17 Comments

Okay, we’re all familiar with the old chestnut, ‘every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings,’ from It’s A Wonderful Life.

angelWell, I’m no angel, but ding, ding, ding, I got wings. Mine aren’t the feathery, wispy things that flap. Mine came in the form of a black, four-door sedan with just under 70,000 miles on the odometer. I’m free as the breeze, my huckleberry friends. I can go anywhere, do anything. I don’t even need a tailwind.

You don’t think I can fly, do you? Well, fine, I can’t, I’m still a hostage to gravity. However, I’m no longer subject to car payments. I used the insurance settlement from my recent accident to buy an older, cheaper model. One with significantly fewer miles, I might add. So, believe me when I tell you, I have wings. They just weigh more and have a horn, no bell.

So that job I walked out on? Right before I totaled my car? Who cares. I can squeak by until I find a more lucrative position. Which would be any job in the world, really. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my freedom — from stress and worry and pressure and regret.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I must flutter off.

Angel Moon

Copyright © 2014 Publikworks

: thankful? me? ha, good one :

November 26, 2014 § 12 Comments

haThis hasn’t been my best year, ladies and gentlemen. No, this one officially qualifies as an ordeal. A tribulation (in theological terms). Oh, Hell, it’s an effing nightmare. I’ve been battered and trounced and kicked while I’m down. I’ve taken a pasting.

Yet here we are, on the brink of Thanksgiving, a day of celebration and the counting of blessings. So what am I supposed to do? I’ve nothing left to count. Should I give thanks for the case of shingles I got in October? For my squirmy, screeching upstairs neighbor? The totaled car? A flooded apartment? That kind of stuff? Fine, we’ll be here ‘til Christmas — Valentine’s Day, at the latest.

Wait, I do have one reason to thank my lucky stars. One very good, very compelling reason: I don’t live in Buffalo under seven flipping feet of snow. Hallelujah, thank you, Jesus.

Okay, I know, it’s already melted, but it was there. And it will be back. Again and again and again and again … I, however, will be here. In my own frozen Hellscape, sure, but minus the 84 horrifying inches of snow all at one time.

I can endure the subzero temperatures and the windshield scraping and the bitterly cold wind; I can abide the chapped lips and hat-hair; I can withstand carpet shocks and teeth chattering and, yes, even the violent shivering. But I draw the line at snow. Any snow. Even a flake.

Snow makes everything a job and a claustrophobic one, at that. The entire universe shrinks to the width of a cleared path or a plowed road wedged between towering piles of dirty snow. Normally a colorful and vibrant place, earth looks as barren and forbidding as deep space. And earthlings, that’s you and me, are forced to dress like space travelers — from the outsized headgear to the puffy boots — because of said crappy weather conditions.

So, I’m sorry, Buffalonians, but I’m glad I’m not you. Thrilled, really.

Now, here’s to an early and glorious spring for us all. A happy Thanksgiving, too.

turkey_chefCopyright © 2014 Publikworks

: earth to neptune :

November 19, 2014 § 2 Comments

Clouds-of-NeptuneThis is Neptune. It’s a lovely blue color. The average temperature hovers around -200º Celsius and it’s 2.8 billion miles from the Sun. Brrr.

graphic

iciclesThis is Earth. I’m a lovely blue color and I’m flipping f-f-f-f-freezing, man.

Copyright © 2014 Publikworks

astronaut