Saturday, December 24, 2005

This week's column: Oh, 'Carol'!

Each holiday season brings certain things that are unavoidable. For instance, at some point in December you're going to turn on the radio and hear "Dominic, the Italian Christmas Donkey." And some of those times, if you're distracted enough, you may listen to almost the whole thing before remembering to change the station. That's three minutes of your life you'll never get back.

Another thing you can count on is to be bombarded with umpteen productions of "A Christmas Carol" - this year there are no fewer than four on the North Shore alone, not to mention the film versions with the likes of Mr. Magoo, Mickey Mouse and the Muppets. (Granted, Charles Dickens is believed to have commented to William Makepeace Thackeray, "My 'Christmas Carol' is pretty good on paper, but with a fake felt frog ... well, that would be something.")

If we do have to have so many versions, though, wouldn't it be nice if they did something different for a change? For instance, does it always have to be ghosts? Why not ever the Wolf Man? And that ending where Scrooge gets all nice -- just once I'd like to see him wake up, down a snifter of schnapps and foreclose on Cratchit's house.

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Football without booze is
like baseball without ... booze

Overheard during the fourth quarter of the alcohol-free Jets-Pats matchup:

Fan No. 1: Delightful contest, wouldn't you say?
Fan No. 2: Quite, quite ... Oh dear, it appears the Jets have fumbled the pigskin.
Fan No. 1: Bad form!
Fan No. 2: Wait, I'm mistaken -- they've recovered.
Fan No. 1: Jolly good. (polite applause)
Fan No. 3: Bollinger, you suck!! Pats rule!! %$#%@! %$#%@! %$#%@!
Fan No. 1: I believe that fellow has snuck in some libations.
Fan No. 2: Grab his flask! (riot ensues)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Before you send someone out
to check for me in the trunks
of nearby abandoned vehicles ...

Hello, and please excuse the pathetic lack of posting on this blog of late. Work responsibilities have reared their ugly head, which I know probably comes as a surprise to those of you who figured that being custodian of this blog must be a full-time job in and of itself. Plus there have been some other interruptions, like all the wrapping. Oh Lord, the wrapping.

Expect periodic postings whenever I sneak some blog time in, and for regular entries to resume after Jan. 1. It's my New Year's Resolution, and I always keep those, which would explain why I'm so slim and have so many worthwhile hobbies.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

This week's column:
It's beginning to look a lot like gift-mas

You say time is running out, and you still haven’t found those certain special somethings that will make the people on your list think you’re the cat’s pajamas this holiday? Well, never fear; the At Large staff has culled through our "new product" press releases and compiled this list of actual items for the person in your life who has everything.

As for cat’s pajamas ... You’re on your own there.

To read the "AT LARGE" holiday gift guide, click here.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Sunday, December 11, 2005

This week's column:
Shopping's been merry, merry good to me

Although department stores still hire scary women to squirt you with perfume for no good reason, I'm happy to report they've finally done one good thing: stopped the willy-nilly throwing around of the offensive term "Merry You-Know-What." (I'm hesitant to say the actual phrase since it's been known to spontaneously turn people into Christians against their will; this is why during the Crusades, knights made a common practice of offering Yuletide greetings to heathens right before the beheadings.)

After all, one need look no further than the Constitution, which says very explicitly that no one should be subjected to such abject proselytizing while they're buying underwear. It's right between the part that says we have the right to use a .50-caliber assault rifle to subdue deer and the section entitled "Abortions for Everybody!"

Sure, when department store clerks say (OK, I'll say it) "Merry Christmas," it may sound like they're just offering a friendly seasonal greeting. But what they actually mean is, "May this underwear go with you in Christ," or "May this underwear fill you with the blessed glory of His undying love." Or maybe more to the point, "May these be the underwear in which you burn in hellfire if you don't embrace the one true Lord." They're crafty, these department store zealots.

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

Friday, December 09, 2005

If the judges find out you own 'Judy
at Carnegie' on vinyl, you're toast

Who says nobody's doing anything about men who would otherwise be manly heterosexuals turning willy-nilly to gay lifestyles? (And when I say "will nilly," I mean that in only the most politically correct way possible.) Turns out that Massachusetts pastor Tom Crouse is drawing a straight line in the sand, so to speak, by sponsoring a "Mr. Heterosexual" contest.

And he's not doing it as an excuse to parade hunky alleged heterosexuals around the church basement. Apparently the pastor felt there was a need to "show men and boys that it's OK to be heterosexual." Yes, it's about time someone did something about all those gay schoolyard bullies, forcing the other kids to listen to show tunes and color coordinate against their will.

But is this contest for me, you may ask? To find out if you might make a good "Mr. Heterosexual," take this simple quiz:

1) Football is ..
A) Sport of the Gods
B) A great way to spend Sunday afternoon
C) Like ballet, but the men are bigger and the pants are tighter.

2) I'd like to be stuck on a desert island with ...
A) Tyra Banks
B) Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
C) Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Jr.

3) Finish this phrase: "Will ..."
A) Smith
B) and Grace
C) someone loosen my Missoni wool mohair scarf and pour me a Bailey's banana colada? It's getting hot in here, baby!

Award yourself 5 points for each A, 3 points for each B, and 1 point for each C. If you scored 13 or higher, you may be the next Mr. Heterosexual. If you scored 5 or lower, James Dobson of Focus on the Family is waiting outside to beat you up.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

And for an extra grand you can
get one that plays 'Also Sprach
Zarathustra' when the lid opens

The Invention of the Month for December goes to Toto, the company that has developed a $5,000 toilet. Is the toilet made of solid gold with a diamond-encrusted lever for fancy flushing? No, apparently Liberace's next of kin had all of those melted down.

Rather, it's a remote-controlled toilet: The lid lifts as you approach, the seat lifts on its own if you wait a few more seconds, and it automatically flushes and lowers the lid upon completion. Suggested motto: "It does everything except pee for you!" And that's probably coming in the 2007 model.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

This week's column:
A mist opportunity for drinkers

Here in Massachusetts we have our share of problems worthy of attention by our state legislators. For instance, there's the fact that what you'd pay for an average home here would, in Florida, purchase Cape Canaveral.

I'm sure the legislators will get to that, but in the meantime they're making progress on at least one other important issue. I'm speaking of course of their efforts to outlaw Alcohol Without Liquor (AWOL) machines, which are devices that turn alcohol into a mist so you can, yes, inhale it. This apparently doesn't sit well with people who feel that alcohol should be in liquid form, which makes it easier to pour through the funnel.

In fact, the makers of the AWOL, Spirit Partners Inc., have come under fire in several states for their device, which they bill as "a fun, new, exciting way for adults to enjoy alcohol in a responsible manner." And as we all know, when you look up "responsible" in the dictionary, there's a picture of people snorting alcohol into their lungs like some kind of crazed sauce junkies.

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