Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Concerning Hamsters and Humans

Big day here at Off the Record. First of all, this is shaping up to be the last post of 2010, barring any miraculous back-to-back posts that could surface between now and the first. But let's face it - we both know that hasn't happened since early November, and it's not likely going to happen in the next two days.

Be that as it may, it's also been a SICK DAY here at OTR headquarters. My son started evacuating the contents of his stomach last night - my wife followed suit just hours later. So, I took the day off to stay at home and take care of the kids (read: video games and blogging) so my wife could get some rest and recover. As you can see, it has been a big, fat, hairy day, indeed... but I haven't even mentioned the most obvious of noteworthy events: The redesign of OTR. That's right - while you were off traipsing around during the holidays, reading everyone else's blog, OTR got a brand new look to usher in a brand new year. I trust you'll take sufficient time to bask in its awesomeness.

Now on to the subject matter at hand - hamsters. Have you ever had a hamster? I pray you haven't. Though, I must admit, they are a brilliant example of what masterful marketing can achieve. What's one thing the world has too much of? Mice. What do you do with all those pesky rodents? Well, you can trap them and kill them - but that can get pretty stinky. So why not change their names to hamsters, and SELL them to people? And who knew it would work. Sadly, I'm living proof.

My eldest daughter decided that for her ninth birthday, she wanted a fluffy rodent to call her own. Her request was so profound in presentation that my wife and I conceded. Shortly after, our home became infested with Butter Cup, the fluffy pet hamster. That was almost two months ago. In that time, I've made some observations that very well could shock the animal kingdom. I'm currently expecting a call from Jack Hanna.

In my research, I've discovered that hamster are, in fact, not unlike humans in the baby and toddler stages of development. In fact, their similarities are uncanny. Do you scoff at my submission? I expect no less from the average civilian. Before you dismiss me as a kook, however, consider these observations:

  1. Both hamsters and babies are known to poop quite often, and one can often find traces of excrement from both species wherever they may have been.
  2. Anyone who's spent any amount of time with either subject knows that both are fond of storing things - food, toys, excrement - in their mouths.
  3. Babies and hamsters are notorious for making lots of noise, which is complicated by the next fact.
  4. Hamsters, as well as many babies, are nocturnal. 
  5. The average observer would do well to note that both species are quite fast crawlers, which they both will make use of to avoid capture. 
  6. Both subjects are quite fond of burrowing, and will occasionally wallow in their own filth.
  7. Babies and hamsters are also known to bite from time to time. 

Well, as you can see, babies and hamsters have more in common than you might have guessed - or would like to admit. But the facts are staring you in the face... there's no more denying it. At the risk of being abrupt, however, I need to end this post...

... before I say too much.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Call of Nerf

What happens when you have a house full of kids and Nerf guns? The answer to that question is before you. The footage was shot at random, and the story was inserted later. Enjoy.

If you're having trouble viewing this video, please go here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Santa Baby

Remember the days when you and your family would just spontaneously break into song? When adults and children alike could whimsically sing a cheery ditty about Christmas without a care? This, of course, was quite acceptable because - hey! - Christmas songs are, by very nature of the holiday they honor, appropriate for all ages. Sadly, far too many God-fearing Christian folk are stupid to the reality of the putrid filth that has infiltrated our adored holiday through the carols we sing. And I was one of them... that is, until recently.

My last post exposed one such song that is so riddled with carnal atrocities, that I shutter in retrospect - that very well may simply mean I should turn on the heat. Nevertheless, I'm back to reveal another such song that has put an acne scar on the face of Christmas: Santa Baby.

Don't be fooled by the fact that this song has "baby" in the title - it is anything but cute and innocent. On the contrary - it is quite the opposite of cute and innocent.

This song uses a subtle, but effective, strategy for lowering our sensitivity to its controversial lyrical content - it is almost always performed by a pouty, attractive woman. Or sirens, I should say! And we, the sailors led to our watery deaths under their captivating spell!

I digress.

As I was saying... the song is often sung by alluring women, such as Shakira, Madonna, Taylor Swift and Natalie Merchant. And they sing with such child-like expression, it comes across as almost cute and harmless. And so we often miss the deeply-seeded message of materialism and greed that saturates this song.

Consider the items the singer of this song has on her Christmas list:
  1. A Sable, which she later specifies as a convertible. 
  2. A yacht.
  3. The deed to a platinum mine.
  4. A duplex (and checks).
  5. A ring (presumably bought at Tiffany). 
Commercialism. Greed. An "It's-all-about-me" attitude. This is what Christmas would be about if this song had it's way. With such desecration to our esteemed holiday, is it any wonder that Eartha Kitt - the original performer of this song - died on Christmas day?

I've said too much.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

'Tis the season to drink eggnog, cut down pine saplings, curse shopping traffic, and - wait for it - listen to Christmas music! Look - I enjoy seasonal songs as much as the next guy... maybe even more. That's why I have a playlist in my iTunes library that is clearly labeled "Christmas Songs." I must confess, however, that many of these songs - some of my favorites, I'm afraid - reflect more of the consumerism side of Christmas. These are, after all, some of our most beloved strains. I'm sure you would maybe agree. Sadly, many of these famous Christmas songs, or so they have been called, are really just blemishes on the face of our revered holiday.

Before I go any further, you need to understand that what I'm about to share may change the way you listen to Christmas music. It could, in fact, turn your entire world upside down, leaving you void of Christmas cheer for generations to come. And so I offer this warning: If you enjoy the assumption that all holiday tunes are jolly, and also morally appropriate, then read no more. If you're in the habit of belting out every Christmas song that comes across the radio, then close your browser and sing on with ignorant bliss.

If you're still reading, however, do so with preparation to be shaken with a dose of reality as I expose some of the deep, subliminal messages that have been encoded within some of our most cherished holiday carols.

I give you, "Baby It's Cold Outside." It's charming presentation of a sing-song dialogue between a man and woman has captured many of us during these yuletide days of holiday nostalgia. Written by Frank Loesser in 1944, it has been recorded by the likes of Sammy Davis Jr., Mae West, Dean Martin, Jessica Simpson and Lady Antebellum, among many others. For years, I've sung this winsome tune at Christmas time without a care in the world. It wasn't until recently that I actually stopped to consider what this song is actually insinuating.

Listen carefully to the exchange as this young, innocent - and presumably attractive - woman who is simply trying to get home, where her worried mother, angry father, and suspicious sister are anxiously awaiting her return. But NO! This man, so called, is relentlessly trying to coerce her into - children, stop reading - STAYING ALL NIGHT! I'm quite certain his intentions are less than noble.

If you're still doubting this summation, I invite my more mature readers to consider these lyrics:

Woman: But maybe just a half a drink more
Man: Put some records on while I pour
Woman: Say, what's in this drink?
Woman: I ought to say, "No, no, no sir!"
Man: Mind if I move in closer
Woman: At least I'm gonna say that I tried
Man: What's the sense in hurting my pride
Woman: I really can't stay
Man: Oh, baby don't hold out

Appalling, I know. I can only hope that our children's children don't grow up listening to this kind of rubbish in the name of holiday cheer.

And now I've said too much.