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Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Yarn Duck and Other Local News

I had to roll out of bed and drive to the grocery store first thing this morning, because my son (teenagers!) neglected to tell me that he'd used the last of the dog food last night. Then I had a blueberry protein shake for breakfast, caught up on some chores, and settled down to watch football. I kept flipping between the Three Stooges and the Green Bay Packers, and I started to doze off. In my sleepy, stupified state, my mind started conflating the two programs, and confused images started popping into my head, like Larry jumping offsides (dressed in a suit of armor) and Brett Favre tip-toeing up behind an opposing player with a big piece of lumber, trying to conk him out.

I don't know what it's like in your neck of the woods, but in mine, we've apparently made a group decision to ignore the traditional sanction against Christmas advertisements before Thanksgiving. I wasn't consulted. But everything's Christmas already—the stories on the news, especially. The piles of crap atop the aisle dividers in the local drugstore are so high they block out the light from the fluorescents and make the aisles seem dark. It's like we just have to forget all about the thankful holiday and get right to the greedy one. I have a new defensive proposition: no Christmas stuff until after Halloween. That one still seems to be in force. I wonder how long it will last?

For the record, I can't imagine wanting any material thing enough to stampede my way into a store climbing over, shoving, and elbowing fellow shoppers as I went. I suppose I'd do it for food if my son were starving, but the thought of doing it for a Play Station 3 is completely alien to me. Then again, I somehow live without cable, a gaming system, or a cellphone, so I guess I'm not exactly the ideal consumer of electronics. Rioters are preferable.

Meanwhile, back online: The Online Photographer turns one soon. A week from tomorrow, to be exact. As part of the gala celebration, all contributors will be flown to Paris for lunch at Maxim's, where the champagne will flow like water, and everyone will be given gold-plated limited-edition Linhofs and showered with praise. Well, not really. However, to mark our birthday, next Monday we are publishing T.O.P.'s list of the The Ten Best Living Photographers. Please tell all your friends, and please check in on Monday so you can help disagree with our list.

The defunct yarn duck, after a months-long second career. The pale green dacron seen at lower left is in local demand.

In other developments, the Yarn Duck is giving up the ghost. I have a sneaking affection for the Yarn Duck—clearly knitted as a cuddle-toy for little kiddies, it has survived an astounding second career as a favorite tug-of-war and fetch-it toy for my pit bull. Lulu, the dog, is as strong as a chimp (chimps, as you may or may not know, are five times as strong as NFL linemen, although I guess if I have to explain my simile it means it's not a very good one), and the Yarn Duck has absorbed incredible abuse. Alas, the Yarn Duck has a mortal wound in her side now, and is losing her stuffing. Lulu is very fond of the Yarn Duck too—when we put it away where she can't reach it, Lulu carries one orange yarn foot around in her mouth (I put it in the picture, there on the left) like Linus with his blanket.

Finally—speaking of stuffing—a local mystery was solved the other day. Something's been eating away at the cushion of an old wicker divan we have on our back deck. This has had me mystified, since I'm pretty sure the stuffing is dacron, inedible even for desperately hungry critters. The mystery was solved when I witnessed a large squirrel scurrying haltingly across the deck with a giant poof of pale green dacron in its mouth. It stopped, groomed the poof of fuzz into a neat pellet, and proceeded on. Somewhere, close by, there are some unusually well-insulated squirrel nests, in a happenin' shade of green.

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON inspired by Monkeysquirrel


Blogger Dwight Jones said...

Too late, Southern California does have Christmas ads in the newspaper before Halloween. I can't say what's on TV because I don't have one. I'm an even worse consumer than you are...

3:56 PM  
Blogger charcoal heather said...

Sorry Mike, but this battle has long since been lost. I believe Wal-Mart began it's pre-Halloween Christmas advertising and stocking shelves with holiday themed goods several years ago. Other major retailers quickly followed suit.

Corporations are doing this because 1) there is no large public resistance to early Christmas advertising and 2) it's plain and simple profitable. It would be one thing if no one were purchasing Christmas-themed products in October but, quite the contrary, these things are obviously selling well enough to warrant their early existence.

None of this should be surprising, considering the popularity of, say, Lucky magazine which is fine monthly publication about shopping.

How long will this go on? Well, as the song goes, "As long as the soda cans are red, white and blue."

8:19 AM  
Blogger Tom Dills said...

To me the irony of the pre-Halloween/pre-Thanksgiving sales and decoration is that no one is realistically buying Christmas gifts this early. Well, some people probably are, but no one I know. I think people are mostly buying stuff for themselves, as evidenced by the greedfest over this Playstation thing.

We now return you to our regularly-scheduled photography....

10:30 AM  
Blogger Robert Roaldi said...

We live in cultures where large numbers of people judge the success of their lives by what they buy rather than what they accomplish.

If you work hard to accomplish something, the results of which include money with which you then buy something, well, that's not so bad, really. It's the work involved in acquiring the money that provided food for your soul, however. The toy you buy is just candy.

But we've managed to elevate toys so that they've become the end game. We're wrong to do so, we know we're wrong, and yet we persist. I don't get it.

2:01 PM  
Blogger beezerboy said...

You have once again proven that you can write about almost anything and keep us entertained. Keep at it!

6:40 PM  

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