Tag Archives: holiday

Happy belated Canada Day

Happy belated Canada Day! I’m so sorry I forgot. I feel like such an idiot. And it’s not even like I have a good excuse. Sure, I was busy over the weekend, but I wasn’t up to anything at all yesterday. I just hung around the house and watched TV. And then right before I went to bed I was messing around on the Internet and I saw something about Canada Day and I was like, shit, I forgot. I forgot about Canada Day.


And like I said, it’s my own fault, all right, I’m taking full responsibility here. But there’s plenty of full responsibility to go around. Like why isn’t this stuff on TV here? I mean, yeah, we don’t live in Canada. But it’s so close. I’m closer to Canada than I am to Florida, and I have to hear about it on TV every time somebody does something crazy in the sunshine state.

Last year I wrote a piece about Canada Day (it was actually on Canada Day, I had my shit together last year) about how much I love Canada, and Canada Day. And some guy wrote me a message back saying how he’s so sick of Americans thinking Canada is a joke. I was offended, and so I ran a search of his IP address, it was from St. Louis, Missouri. Last time I checked, St. Louis is totally not in Canada.

Canada had a big year with their Olympic gold in men’s hockey. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it to the World Cup. So that was kind of disappointing. I remember when the World Cup started, I looked through all of the qualifying countries, totally surprised at Canada’s absence. Is soccer popular in Canada? Do they call it soccer or football? Or something else entirely?

I hope they make it to the World Cup someday. I hope that they make it all the way to the finals. And the other team to make it to the finals will be the USA. That would be the coolest World Cup final of all time. USA vs. Canada. A World Cup entirely dominated by two North American countries that don’t even call it football.

And the best part would be, both teams would refuse to play. They’d go out on the field, sure, but they wouldn’t touch the ball. The clock would run and extra time would be given and finally they’d get to the penalty kicks. But nobody would budge.

It’s a win-win. I’m not sure what the FIFA rules say regarding a stalemate, but maybe they’d just continue the game indefinitely, refusing to call it a match until somebody scored a point. And so it would be like an armistice, a perpetual state of America and Canada being indefinitely in the World Cup finals.

Or, they’d call it a tie and we’d both get to win. Maybe it would foster a greater sense of brotherhood and camaraderie across the US/Canadian border. Maybe our elected officials would say something like, why do we have this border anyway? Don’t the many things we have in common outweigh our differences?

And we’d form one country, a North American superpower. And we’d probably have to get rid of Canada Day, sorry, but don’t worry, we’ll get rid of the Fourth of July also. We’ll start a new national holiday, for a new nation. (Americanada? Is that too easy? We’ll think of something.) We’ll put it somewhere in the middle, like July 2nd, or 3rd. I don’t know how we’ll decide which one, neither is perfectly in the middle.

Maybe some sort of an exhibition soccer match? No, that would only drive us further apart. Maybe we’d just make it a two-day holiday. And if Americanada Day happened to fall on a Wednesday, meaning a Wednesday/Thursday holiday, most bosses would probably just make it a five-day weekend, because what would be the point of making everybody come in only for one day?

Happy Flag Day!

I just love Flag Day, but I always get so bummed out that it’s not a bigger holiday. I mean, I’ve already said, “Happy Flag Day!” to at least half a dozen random people, and nobody really gets it, most people just kind of look at me like I’m nuts, maybe if I’m lucky I’ll get an awkward smile in return. Nobody’s ever like, “Happy Flag Day to you too!” Which sucks, because Flag Day’s a real day, and it’s awesome.


My family was big into Flag Day when I was a kid. My mom would wake us up really early and she’d make a special Flag Day pancake breakfast. I don’t know how she did it, but each pancake came out exactly like the American flag. And I’m not talking just a plain rectangle, no, they were the shape of a proud flag that’s bravely blowing in the wind. Then she’d put out blueberry and strawberry jellies, so we could decorate the stars and stripes ourselves. It was awesome.

I went to the diner this morning, and, whatever, I always get a little sad on festive holidays as an adult, for whatever reason, I can never seem to recapture that Flag Day magic of my youth. I asked the waiter if he could somehow get the chef to at least try to make my Flag Day pancakes. He kept saying, “What?” every time I explained to him what I was looking for. “Pancakes shaped like an American flag blowing in the wind with a side of blueberry and strawberry jam,” and each time, “What?” Finally he just said, “OK boss, you got it,” and he came back ten minutes later with the most regular looking regular pancakes I’ve ever seen in my life.

That’s OK I guess, that’s not an official Flag Day tradition, it was just something my family always did to really amp up the spirit of the grand old flag. Kind of like our annual flag hunt. After breakfast, my dad would lead us outside, where he’d spent all night painstakingly hiding little American flags all over the backyard. “First one to fifty flags in the winner!” he’d shout out as he pulled the trigger on his Flag Day starter pistol. It was cool because when he fired, a little flag popped out and unrolled itself, just like you’d see on a cartoon.

We all had American flag t-shirts and shorts, we’d play outside on the Slip-N-Slide and dry off with these American flag towels that we only used on Flag Day. My parents got really into it. I remember one year my mom bought this America Flag doormat, and we all thought it was a really cool addition to all of the Flag Day paraphernalia. But later in the day my grandfather came over. He was a World War II vet, and he got really upset about the idea of someone stepping on the flag.

And yeah, everybody got really quiet after that, the realization that we’d all been stepping on the flag, all day, on Flag Day. My little brother was only like four or five years old, and he started crying, wailing. He was totally inconsolable. My mom tried to reassure him, “It’s OK, it wasn’t on purpose, look, I took it off the floor and I’ll clean it off, it’s going to be fine.” But my grandfather was getting even angrier, “No!” he shouted, “Let the boy cry! You should all be crying!”

After like fifteen minutes or so, the scene was only escalating, and my father, who had so far been reluctant to oppose my veteran grandfather, finally made a move to try to diffuse the situation. Unfortunately, it was at that moment that the sprinkler system went off. My dad had rigged the whole setup so that miniature American flags popped up from underground.

“What is this? You think the flag is some sort of a joke?” That was my grandfather again. His face was beet red at this point. And he was wearing a blue and white shirt, so it was actually kind of funny, I think we all thought it, how he sort of resembled a really angry American flag. But nobody dared say anything. We all just stood there and tried to act contrite until my grandfather left in a huff, screaming stuff about, “double-ya double-ya two,” as he backed his truck out of our driveway.

Flag Day was never the same after that, the next year’s celebration was markedly subdued in comparison. And like I’ve said, Flag Day today is nothing like the Flag Days of my youth. Still, my iPhone’s calendar app had Flag Day preinstalled as an event on today’s date. So that was cool. And I found a deck of American flag playing cards at a store a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been saving them for today, so hopefully my wife agrees to play a few hands of spit or gin rummy. We’ll see. We actually don’t play cards that much. Because yeah, it’s kind of boring, and there are so many more interesting things to do.

Happy Flag Day everybody.

The day after Christmas comedown

The day after Christmas is always such a bummer. Even as an adult, even though Christmas itself isn’t the same magical day of pure ecstasy that it was when I was a little kid, the day after is still this soul-crushing comedown, the same melancholy withdrawal that it’s been since as far back as I can remember. Christmas is great, or maybe it’s not always great, but it’s still Christmas. And the day after is just another day, back to business.


I just feel like, even though it’s no longer that rapturous thrill of opening up an endless sea of presents, Christmas is still a nice holiday. Especially if you put some work into it, plan out in advance what gifts you’re going to get for which friend or family member, as long as nobody goes overboard with anything, the whole Christmas season actually can be something like that cheery merry ho ho ho that they try to make you feel when you’re watching Christmas commercials on TV.

And this year, I don’t know, maybe the stars were aligned or something, but I thought it was an especially successful Christmas. I committed myself to actually spending an entire day putting thought into my presents, taking advantage of all of the Cyber Monday deals online. There weren’t any of those last minute trips to any stores, those awful annual meltdowns where I find myself crushed up against a wall of like-minded procrastinators, mindlessly shuffling from aisle to aisle, asking myself questions like, “Should I really buy my wife a blender for Christmas? Or a blanket? Blender?” before ultimately grabbing and paying for something, anything to get me the hell outside, away from the crowds.

No, this year was easy. And for me, Christmas was prefaced by five days off from work. I scheduled my shifts at the restaurant accordingly, with plenty of family get-togethers to fill in all of my free days. Where a lot of the time the holidays can become a challenge to fit in seeing everyone from both my wife’s and my sides of the family, this year gave us ample time to hang out with our siblings, visit aunts, uncles and cousins, to really be present in a way that’s not possible when you’re spending a limited amount of time figuring out how you’re going to get from point A to B to C.

On Christmas Day we had breakfast with my in-laws before heading to my parents for lunch. Afterward we headed to my grandfather’s before packing everything up and coming home. And now here I am, I’m sitting here by myself for the first time in five days, what’s usually a comfortable quiet spot is now sort of unbearable. I want to be back at home already, surrounded by a million people, everyone talking over each other trying to muscle in a funnier joke, or a louder one at least.

Now that I’m by myself, I’m forced to think about how another year has passed, to wonder what Christmas is going to be like five years from now, or twenty, or fifty. Is it always going to be this tough, abruptly shifting from holiday back into reality? Why can’t we figure something out as a society to make the transition a little easier? Do I really have to go back to work today?

It’s crazy to think like this, I know it. You can’t be looking backwards. And yeah, once I get back into my routine, things will level out. My days are going to get busy again and I’ll start looking forward to the time I get to spend here at my desk, quiet, writing at my computer.

But right now I’m stuffed because I’ve been eating for like five days straight. My tongue hurts because there were all of these bowls of candy and desserts out at my grandfather’s and I couldn’t stop myself from shoving everything into my mouth. And I’m practically delirious with exhaustion. I haven’t slept a solid night since I’ve been away from my bed. I’m going through some serious Christmas withdrawal, and I want it to be over already. Why does it always have to end? Why can’t we just let the good times keep rolling?

Love, Actually, actually is all around

My wife and I have this annual holiday tradition. Every year, she watches Love, Actually on TV, and each time, about halfway through the movie, I come downstairs and start making snarky comments and bad jokes, to the point where nobody’s having any fun at all by the end of the film. Jeez, when I say it like that, I sound like a huge dick. And, I don’t know, I’m not that big of a dick.


But Love, Actually, come on, in which darkest timeline have I wound up where this movie has taken on such celebrated significance? I saw it in the theaters with my wife while we were still dating, and at the time, yeah, I did nice things like that, went to the movies to see romantic comedies. We saw Two Weeks Notice, a bunch of other mostly Hugh Grant movies. As we exited the nine o’clock showing of Love, Actually that night, all I thought was, well, I guess that’s as bad as it’s going to get.

But no, she started watching it the next year, and the year after that. Each Christmas, the TV stations started playing it more and more. Every time I’d hear a significant buzz, groups of people waiting for the subway, talking about how much they love Love, Actually, stuff like, “Oh my God, I just love that movie. It’s seriously probably my favorite movie of all time. Love, love, love, Love, Actually.”

Last night was the 2013 viewing, and I caught more of the movie than I usually do, to the point where some of the stories didn’t ring any bells in my memory. Obviously I’ll never be able to forget the scene where Hugh Grant, acting as Prime Minister of the UK, gives President Billy-Bob Thornton some ridiculous speech about Britain being a small but proud nation, but other subplots, like the one about the office romance hindered due to that lady’s disabled brother, it was as if they’d been blocked from my memory entirely.

Which was probably for the best. If only I had stayed away this year. But I can’t help myself. I hear that ongoing Mariah Carey chorus and I just have to march in and start poking fun. And asking lots of questions. Like, is Liam Neeson that kid’s dad? I mean, I know the mom died, right, but do they address whether or not he’s the kid’s biological father?

To me, it seems as if he has to be the step-dad, like maybe he married this single-mother, and after a while she died, and he’s left in charge with this little kid who he really doesn’t have that strong of a connection with. Because their relationship is so over the top. “You’re in love? Well go get her! Run after her! Right past Mr. Bean, through airport security, go get ‘em!” If that were a real dad, he’d be like, “Hey, do me a favor, all right? Just stop talking for a second. Please. Just one second. I’m incredibly depressed around the holidays, ever since your mother died, it’s just me and you. Stop talking about your little kid girlfriend for a minute, please.”

And you talk about love, right? Half of the stories have nothing to do with love. What about the one where the guy falls in love with his best friend’s wife? First of all, I’m watching this movie and I’m like, who the hell is this guy? Why does he look so familiar? Then it hits me, he’s the actor who plays Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead. And again, I wish I had never watched it this year, because now when I watch my favorite TV show, I’m not going to be able to shake the image of this guy wearing an oversized sweater holding up signs telling his friend’s wife not to make a sound so he can steal a kiss while he’s not paying attention. I’m going to be too focused on scrutinizing his fake American accent. Seriously, how do people do that? If I tried to talk in a British accent, best case scenario, everybody in earshot would mercilessly make fun of me, worst case scenario, I’d get punched, hard.

Or what about the story where the guy is cheating on his wife? I’m not trying to make a moral argument or anything, you know, because a story about a guy cheating on his wife, in a romance movie, you don’t really need some guy like me pointing out how out of place it is. But from a logistical standpoint, it really bothers me. Like, he buys a necklace for his mistress, OK. Why don’t you go shopping for jewelry like on the way home from work or something? Why insist on taking your whole family to the mall, and then making the worst attempt ever to sneak out of their sight for a second so you can buy a necklace? Isn’t that a little reckless? It’s stupid, is what it is. And then, you’re not into your wife, fine, but maybe buy her something a little nicer than a CD to at least pretend that you give a fuck about her not finding out. Doesn’t she even say something earlier, like, “Is it just sex? Or is it sex and love?”

What’s the message here, that true love is all about perspective? That regardless of how bad a situation appears from the outside, somebody might be caught up in true love? That actually sounds kind of legit. Holy shit, did I just figure it out?

I could go on all day, but I’m clearly in the minority here. Love, Actually actually looks like it’s here to stay, and for the long haul too. I can just picture myself as an old man, this movie’s going to come on and I’m going to force myself to sit there and provide asinine commentary, pitching the same lame Love, Actually jokes. Remember when I said before that I wasn’t that big of a dick? I guess I can be kind of dickish, but only when Love, Actually is on. I don’t know, it just brings out the worst in me. It’s a good thing that all of the follow-up imitation ensemble movies always bomb at the box office, like He’s Just Not That Into You, and I think there’s a Valentine’s Day one also, the sister from Seventh Heaven is in it. OK, I’m done. I’m going to be sick. Wait, no, OK, I held it in. Wait, it’s coming back. Yeah, I’m definitely going to be sick. Yep, I did it, I threw up. Gross.

Happy Columbus Day!

Can we please give some credit where credit is due? I’m talking Christopher Columbus, the man who discovered America. Everybody knows the story, they taught it to as schoolchildren. In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. And he found America. Nobody else had the guts to go out there and find America. Everyone was too afraid that they’d fall off the face of the flat Earth.


Again, this is all rudimentary American history, I’m not going to go through the whole tried and true “it really happened” story. Because it did happen. And why do I even have to mention that, that it really happened? Because every year, Columbus Day rolls around, and you see a bunch of stuff on the Internet, like “Columbus was an asshole!” or “He didn’t really discover America!”

Or my favorite, “People didn’t really think the earth was flat!” to which I say, oh yeah? If the ancient Greeks knew that the earth was round, how come they didn’t send any ships over to find America? Because they didn’t know the earth was round, and they didn’t know America even existed. That’s why Alexander the Great’s empire collapsed. That’s why Xerxes won at the end of 300. And that’s why The New Adventures of Hercules and Eolis wasn’t renewed for a seventh season.

“Oh but what about the Vikings! What about Newfoundland!” Listen, has anybody ever been to Newfoundland? Because I haven’t. And if you’re thinking it’s a little solipsistic of me to write off a place as nonexistent just because I haven’t been there, I’d like to offer this: none of my friends have ever been to Newfoundland. Have you? Seriously, have you? Because I’ve had friends and family members visit a lot of places, Japan, Africa, even Toronto. So yeah, I can say with some confidence that I’m pretty sure they’re all real. But Newfoundland? Vikings?

I’m not even sure that the Vikings ever existed. But I’m getting off topic. Let’s just say for argument’s sake that Newfoundland does exist. Couldn’t these so-called Vikings have simply crossed the frozen North Pole, straight up from Scandinavia, and then ventured down south to Canada? So even if Newfoundland does exist, it’s not like these bearded adventurers had to cross any oceans or anything. No, because they wouldn’t have, because everybody that was born before Columbus proved that the world is round simply took it as a matter of fact that the planet Earth was flat.

“It doesn’t matter at all,” the naysayers complain every year, “because Columbus was a jerk, he butchered the indigenous population, he would chop off the limbs of little children to test out the sharpness of his blades, he demanded tributes of gold from everyone under his rule and mutilated anybody that failed to meet the quota,” blah, blah, blah.

No way. I remember watching this video in the first grade, it was the complete story of Christopher Columbus, it was a cartoon, how he convinced the Queen of Spain that the earth was round, how he led those three ships across an unprecedented transatlantic voyage. When he finally reached dry land, I distinctly remember him marching to the shore, meeting a group of curious Indians and saying, “Hello! My name is Christopher Columbus! I come in peace!”

Why would they teach little kids something if it were so completely contrary to what actually happened? They wouldn’t do that, not in America, not in the greatest school system in the world. It wouldn’t make any sense, to take something so wildly inaccurate and then present it to little kids as historical fact. What would be the point of such needless revisionism? No, I can only assume that everyone else is lying, that instead of looking to Columbus and seeing a great man, they’re just petty, angry, jealous that they weren’t the ones that got to discover America.

Everybody loves Christopher Columbus. The people of Columbus, Ohio, they really, really love Columbus. The nation of Colombia, they love Columbus even more, they named the whole country after Columbus. That should have been our country’s name, the United States of Colombia. I can’t believe we dropped the ball on that one.

Let’s just give the guy some credit, OK? To a great man, one of the greatest, Christopher J. Columbus. I wish every day were Columbus Day.