Saturday, March 26, 2005

Pagans call Christians 'party poopers'

Never trust a bunny in an ascot.

I just wanted to thank all the people of pagan persuasion who read my column on the Easter Bunny and wrote to explain to me how the bunny -- and Easter, for that matter -- used to belong to them, before they were co-opted by the Christians, like all the other cool pagan stuff that Christians took all the fun out of. Pagans can be a persnickety bunch.

I should mention that I had actually thought about addressing the origins of the Easter Bunny in the column, but in the end it seemed like that would be coming a little too close to disseminating actual information. So I went with a Charlie Sheen gag instead.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Thursday, March 24, 2005

It was probably the free pull tabs that did it

OK, you got me. I live on the North Shore of Boston, but I don't spend a lot of time visiting the local attractions. It’s not that I don’t want to spend a Saturday at the New England Pirate Museum, it’s just that … OK, I don’t want to.

But one place I have actually gone, and enjoyed, is the House of the Seven Gables. Why? Could be the big fireplace. The Colonial gardens. The desk where Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote about how much he hated Salem. All those gables. But my favorite thing has to be the secret staircase, because if you’re really lucky, you might be there the day a fat guy gets stuck in it.

An even better reason to visit the house is the fact that its "Legacy of the Hanging Judge" has been listed as one of the top 100 events in North America for 2005 by the American Bus Association. That means when you spot a deluxe motor coach anywhere in North America, there’s probably at least a 1 in 100 chance it’s headed to the House of the Seven Gables. Or Foxwoods. One of those two.

"Legacy of the Hanging Judge," which runs every Friday and Saturday in October, apparently centers on Hawthorne’s great-great grandfather, John Hathorne, the man infamous for his role as the hanging judge during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. And I plan to see it this fall, to find out if it finally puts to rest the rumor that when asked why he didn’t just step down from the bench and spare all those innocent lives, Hathorne replied, "What, and leaveth show business?"

But I'd bet you could still beat it by challenging it to Tic-Tac-Toe, like in 'War Games'

Woo-hoo! There are a lot of geeks accidentally injuring each other while trying to high five tonight!

They're just like Katherina and Petruchio. Only not in a good way.

Nancy Grace and Chris Pixley: When will you two just admit it? You're in love with each other! Stop torturing yourselves and just allow yourselves to be happy!

OK, I feel better now.

Monday, March 21, 2005

I hear he's moving on to pleather, whatever that is

Leather? Polyester? Only his tailor knows for sure.

Well, looks like we'll find out this summer if Tom Jones will actually keep his promise (threat?) not to wear leather pants any more when he hits the road with the Tower of Power horns, stopping at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston for not one but two (2) nights this July (take that, Huey Lewis!). As I've said before, I'm against Tom losing the leather, the open-to-the-navel shirts or the tendency to spend most of his concerts dodging a flittering barrage of panties. Because you take away all those things, and what do you have? That's right, Conway Twitty.

Anyway, good seats are still left for those of you who have yet to experience all things Tom. If you're looking for me, I'll be the guy in Section 2, Row R singing along to "She's a Lady." I'd even even wear leather pants, if I didn't think my rear end would reject them like a bad kidney.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Although whatever you do, keep Tom DeLay out of it

OK, I'd like to go on the record about this now, so there's no confusion later on: If I'm getting fed through a tube, that's OK with me. Just fluff my pillows, put on some old "Honeymooners" reruns, and I'm good.

Friday, March 18, 2005

And coming in 2013 -- 'Star Wars, The Musical'

Just when you thought George Lucas couldn't come up with any more ways to take our money, along comes this.

It's official. I hate him.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Welcome welcome welcome to the Big Blue House ... or not

I see this mouse in my dreams.

My son watches a lot of "Bear in the Big Blue House." If it's possible for a 3-year-old to have an obsession, this comes close. This is in many ways a good thing. For one, he could like Thomas the Train who, at last check, did not move his lips when he talks. I would imagine that would annoy me to no end.

So I'm happy he instead likes (OK, loves) Bear, who was created by the Jim Henson people and is funny and sings catchy songs. On the other hand, I've started to hear those songs in the strangest places, like in the shower and when I'm lying in bed late at night. I'm becoming convinced I can tell apart Pip and Pop, even though in all likelihood they're actually played by the same purple puppet. I'm starting to understand Treelo the Lemur, who talks sort of like a Tiny Tim record played backwards.

But beyond that, I'm concerned because the Bear franchise was recently purchased by Disney (known affectionately in my household as "That bunch of B------s!"), who are systematically releasing all the shows again in different boxes, so my son -- who, like many Bear fans, cannot read -- can see them in Toys R Us, think them new and attach himself to the display like a barnicle to the hull of a carp trawler.

And so, as we prepare for Bear birthday party number three (the 1-year-old event featured Clifford the Big Red Dog, more due to the law that all birthday cakes must now contain a cartoon character than any particular affection for the oversized mutt), I brace myself for more quality time with the big old Bear, and for Disney to find new and innovative ways to take my money in the process.

But mark my words: No matter what, I will not embarrass myself by engaging in any bidding wars to buy a cha-cha-cha-dancing Bear doll on eBay. Again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Saturday, March 12, 2005

And yet somehow, they make me feel safer

It was a rough night in the Chianca household, as our two dogs -- golden retriever Annie and black Lab puppy Lily -- decided at around 11:30 p.m. that the family needed protecting from the chunks of snow that had decided to fall off the house. They did this by mounting a full frontal barking attack clearly meant to scare the snow back up onto the roof, and, possibly, back into the clouds in its original crystalline form.

Granted, the sound of the snow smashing against the bulkhead was fairly jarring, and I suppose there was at least a remote possibility that it could have been a burglar who was trying to break into the cellar by jumping off the roof, in the hopes of crashing through the bulkhead and leaving a burglar-shaped hole in it in his wake. But I should also point out that these were the same two dogs who a day earlier had managed to sleep through several minutes of knocking by the UPS man, who could probably have simply opened the door and stepped over them on his way in to kill us.

The moral of the story is, just because you’ve got a watchdog doesn’t mean they’re watching anything particularly important.

Friday, March 11, 2005


More on the bird flu front. I was just starting to relax again when I happened to spot this comforting headline:

Feather pillows may carry Asian bird flu

Great. Now I'll never sleep again.

As if that wasn't bad enough, when you do a Google news search for "Asian bird flu" -- presumably in the hopes of finding cogent, clear-headed information on how to deal with the impending pandemic -- the number two result that comes up is ... my column.

We're really in trouble now.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


I finally broke down and updated my circa-2001 cell phone, which was starting to feel vaguely reminiscent of something that might be hanging off the belt of a Verizon lineman. Despite my previous insistence that there is no need to be using a phone to take pictures and surf the Web, my new phone can do just that, and other things that only a thorough examination of the approximately 4,000-page instruction manual (and that's not including the Spanish side) will reveal.

In fact, I hadn't had the phone for three days when I figured out how to take a picture and -- I'm still don't quite believe this myself -- e-mail it to somebody. Not that I needed to do that, but ... If it's so wrong, why did it feel so right?

Now excuse me while I download some ringtones ...


What's remarkable about this story isn't so much that the baby can speak at 2 months old, but that he can speak Chinese. Now, that's impressive.


My column on bird flu last week garnered some interesting responses from the medical community, who confirmed that WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE! (Paraphrase.) Actually, I heard from one researcher who shared my amazement that the media has all but ignored the impending pandemic, apparently because it doesn't want anyone to panic (the media being the model of restraint that it is); I also heard from someone at a California pharmaceutical company who said they're getting a bird flu vaccine ready, and could I write about it in the newspaper? My answer of course being, you send a case of those babies my way and I'll write that one dose will turn you into George Clooney.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


This is what is affectionately know as "the test post," or the one that will determine whether or not I've figured out just how the heck this thing works. If this goes well, we'll move on to other, more important topics. (Such as: The secret ending to "Million Dollar Baby," in which Hilary Swank is killed by space aliens.)