Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bucking Tradition

The Oakton Patch editor e-mailed last night to clarify how I wanted to punctuate "Underpants" (written as a pronouncement, so we decided upon an exclamation point) in my article that was published today.

I love my Oakton Patch editor.

Let me know what you think of my latest: Traditionally Untraditional, and if you think the exclamation point was the way to go.

As the cool kids say, I'm a Herb,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Christmas Gift

My friend, Lisa, and I were talking about our iPhone auto-correct recently, when a "true, dat" comment I meant for her to receive turned into a head scratching "true far."

I think by now, everyone has seen the list of best-of auto-corrects that was making its way around the Internet -- which is unfortunate, because the one that Lisa shared with me today is better than any of those.

She told me that last week, after her teenage son missed his ride, she texted him and said "walk to your friend's house and I will pik u up later."

Innocuous, right?

Or at least it was until the iPhone auto-correct changed it to:
                                                 "I will oil u up later."

It's a slippery slope,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Having Some

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season, other than making sure my mimosa-to-relative ratio is mathematically accurate, is pulling out the boxes of Christmas decor.

Opening these boxes is a little trip down memory lane that I enjoy as I gingerly unwrap and carefully hang all of my tree ornaments -- a collection that was comprised of about eleven ornaments before my Christmas-loving friends took pity on me and began presenting me with these every year so that my tree would be somewhat respectable.

With that, and so that you can share with me this special time of year, I thought I'd take you on a little tour of my Christmas tree. Here, dear friends, is a very Brutalism Christmas:

Of course, there are some traditional ornaments such as these:

Didn't realize he was "The King" of Israel...

There are also themed sections on my tree, like the homage to my childhood in Virginia Beach...

Although, if this accurately depicted my childhood, there would be an
ornament representing cripplingly low self esteem.
...and ornaments that capture the fun memories of the Oktoberfest party we've hosted for the past several years:

Just needs an ornament of my mom's husband in his underpants to be complete. 

There are ornaments from a fellow Dilettante commemorating our years in the Dilettante Club...

...or possibly her bra size...

...and an area dedicated to my two orange cats:

The one of me stepping in cat vomit and screaming four-letter words while threatening
to call the pound is just out of the frame.
There is also a special section of the tree for my daughter. Someone suggested that I start a tradition of buying her an ornament every Christmas that reflects something she likes or does that year. Which is generally a great idea, though it was kind of difficult to come up with something the first year, when she was only two months old. Let's face it, at that point, the only real love she had was this:

And she was apparently two months old in 1894.

(I do get concerned that when she reaches sixteen, something that reflects "what she likes and does" will be an ornament of a tattooed alt-rocker named "Damage.")

And of course, there are ornaments from my days working for the gun lobby:

If trees are ornamented then only ornaments will have trees. Or something...

And possibly my most cherished Christmas piece, from a Jewish friend and via the Dollar Store is this:
Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In The Holiday Spirits

This photo makes a lot more sense after you read my weekly Oakton Patch humor column here.

No, it doesn't.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

My Life Now Has Porpoise (Groan)

A highlight of our recent vacation to the Bahamas was the "shallow water interaction" with the dolphins my daughter and I did on our second day there. (Another was when Canetto tried to access Brutalism from our hotel's business office and got denied with a message saying the web site included explicit material.)

Our adventure began in an area of the resort called Dolphin Cay. After getting suited up in wet suits, we got briefed on meeting the dolphins so that we'd know how close we could get to them, where we should and should not touch them and what we could expect from the whole experience.

It reminded me a lot of the time I scored a 'meet and greet' with Harry Connick, Jr.
Harry Connick Jr. and Paul Newman
Harry...awed by the silver-tongued devil that is Brutalism.
It was unbelievably cool to be that close to Harry the dolphin the hairy dolphin. (That makes no sense.)
The best part was probably when our hip, young Bahamian trainers prepared our lily-white group to high-five the dolphin. One trainer said, "You need to say, 'Wha-CHA!' and the dolphin will hold his flipper up to give you five.”
Hip, young trainers with the whities. And me with scoliosis. WTF?

We all practiced saying “Wha-CHA!” as a group a few times (and no, I have never felt cooler...thanks for asking), then one woman from the group walked up for her turn and said meekly, "What's up?"

The trainer said, "Come can do better than's more of a Wha-CHA!"

So the woman tried again, and if possible, it came out even more stilted. A barely audible, "What’s up?"

Even the dolphin looked embarrassed for her.

The next person was even more hopeless...he walked up and asked, "What is up with you, Mr. Dolphin?"

I burst out laughing and said loudly what (I thought) everyone else was thinking, which was: "Wow. These are the whitest ‘Wha-CHAs’ I have ever heard."

I will take the complete and utter silence and palpable disdain from both the white group and the black trainers as me single-handedly promoting racial unity in the Dolphin Cay.


For what we learned, Indonesia and Hong Kong, click here
For what we learned, Costa Rica, click here
For what we learned, Italy, click here
For what we learned, London, click here
For what we learned, Iceland, Belgium, and the Netherlands, click here
For what we learned, France and Morocco, click here
For what we learned, Southern Spain, click here

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Getting Schooled

Do you remember how great preschool was? When you got to spend every day surrounded by friends while wearing comfortable clothes, playing fun games, creating craft projects and enjoying nap time and catered snacks?

It's just like when I worked for an Internet start up company in the late nineties.

It is also the subject of my latest Oakton Patch article, which you can read here.

Off to eat some paste,