Monday, April 20, 2009

D.C. or bust!

Top 5 things I hope to see on our family vacation to Washington DC this week:
  1. Michelle Obama's arms.
  2. Fonzie's jacket, so my kids can say, "Who's Fonzie?" and I can launch into a 45-minute dissertation on "Happy Days" and its various spin-offs.
  3. The Washington Nationals literally implode, so that they're just nine little piles of dust scattered around the diamond.
  4. Nancy Pelosi freeze John Boehner into a solid mass of ice with her frosty glare, like Arnold Schwarzenegger did to to the T-1000 in "Terminator 2."
  5. That Wonkette lady. I know she's there somewhere.
I'll try to live-Tweet my touristy travels around our nation's capitol -- follow me (@pchianca) on Twitter so you'll be the first to know when I meet Bo the dog, or Joe Biden.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Column: Every picture tells a story, unfortunately

Last week my mother, who is now retired and as a result finally has time to go through her closets, presented me with a large box of photographs from my teen years that I had apparently abandoned there when I moved out. Looking through them was an eye-opening experience, similar to what I imagine it must have been like for Nick Nolte when he first opened the paper and saw his mugshot.

Mostly, I was struck by how many of the events in these pictures were completely foreign to me now. Have I actually gotten so old that there are huge swaths of my almost-adult life that have disappeared completely from my memory? After all, it wasn’t that long ago, no matter what my bushy mane of ’80s hair and my seemingly slavish devotion to vertical stripes (in colors that disappeared forever during the grunge era) would seem to indicate.

But sure enough, there I was participating in activities I had no recollection of whatsoever. For instance:

Whooping it up with the high school Celtic Society. I was in the Celtic Society? Since I’m not the least bit Irish, this must have either been to pad my resume for college applications, or because of my almost unhealthy fascination with U2.

Participating in some sort of field day event that involved a tug of war. It looked vaguely familiar, but if there wasn’t a picture of it I would have just assumed I was remembering an episode of “Battle of the Network Stars.” I kept scanning the line of tuggers for Robert Conrad.

Standing next to a life-sized cardboard cutout of Ronald Reagan. At least I think it was cardboard — if it actually was Reagan then I’m going to assume my memory was actually erased by the CIA.

[For the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.]

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

AT LARGE Wednesday Night Link Roundup

» The latest sign of the impending apocalypse.

» In honor of Easter, here's a web site full of old Jews telling jokes.

» Speaking of Easter ... What about those poor abandoned pet bunnies! Good thing we have Popeyes.

» From Friend of At Large Jeff Vrabel: "So, wait, pirates are jerks now?" (Related note: In the old days, did pirates have spokespeople who talked to the press?)

» Finally, a plan! "USA Today To Run Only Pictures Of Attractive People."

And in conclusion, the reason I didn't go into TV news:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Column: My kingdom for some cable!

During the ice storms this past winter, we didn’t lose power or heat, have to move to a shelter or take refuge on the roof to wait for rescue boats. So it would probably seem silly for me to complain about the two weeks we were without cable TV.

That said … Those were the worst two weeks of my life.

OK, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. It’s just that I’d never realized the comfort we took in the soft glow coming off Larry King’s wrinkled face, or that the kids got from the canned laughter taking up the empty crevasses of our household via the Disney Channel. Without it we were faced with an unexpected need to fill that void with something else. Like, you know, conversation.

So you can appreciate the severity of the circumstances.

At first I thought we could fall back on the hundreds of kids’ DVDs we’d accumulated over the years — silly me. “But those are BORING!” they declared, in that way they have of talking in unison whenever I suggest something really stupid.

[Read the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca here.]

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

AT LARGE Wednesday night link roundup

» Oh good, now there's a toddler robot. Because that robot fashion model wasn't creepy enough.

» Iowa marriage ruling hits a (fake) bump.

» New Segway no less geeky than the last one, just shorter and wider.

» Cruise and Travolta as Butch and Sundance? Better would be Clooney and Pitt. Or Bert and Ernie.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Column: A pizza vending machine? Sounds cheesy

I’ve been trying to eat healthier lately in anticipation of my annual physical, but the whole world seems to be conspiring against me. For instance, every time I open the refrigerator, there’s food there.

The latest obstacle to my quest for a healthy lifestyle is an invention out of Italy that, in retrospect, has probably been a long time coming: the pizza vending machine. Darn it … I figured I was safe when I conditioned myself to resist the one that dispensed egg salad sandwiches.

And the machine doesn’t just sell the pizza — it’s actually a mini pizzeria that kneads the dough, spreads the toppings and bakes a personal pizza in just three minutes as you watch through a little window. The only downside is you have to get it out of the machine with a metal claw.

[Click here for the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca.]

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

AT LARGE Wednesday Night Link Roundup

» Like "Dead Man Walking" ... but funny!

» Sad news from fake political circles: "Gov. Jindal Incinerated While Visiting Alaska Volcano."

» Stop everything! Weird Al Yankovic is on Twitter! (Yes, Al remains the most famous person I've ever interviewed. At least until Bruce Springsteen starts returning my calls.)

» "Serenity now!" See 99 Seinfeld references crammed into one poster. Maybe if we all close our eyes and clap our hands as hard as we can, that show will come back on the air ...

» I know it's April Fool's Day ... But who can joke when poor Robin Williams is suffering at the hands of an irreverent, clown-nosed doctor?

Remember that scene in 'Alien' when the creature pops out of the guy's chest? This is worse.

God help us all.

There's more at ... if you dare.