In return, my parents gave me a hundred bucks (nearly enough for four box-sets tomorrow; cashing in on Warner Bros.' rebate offer), a very nifty hand-cranked LED flashlight that never needs batteries, an iKlean variety pack (which does a much better job of cleaning my laptop than the crap I've been using), and –my personal favorite– a pair of Chucks, classic black.
For those of you who either don't remember, or those who have never heard of them referred to as such, Chucks are (I feel like I'm explaining two-plus-two-equals-four) Converse All-Stars, named for Chuck Taylor, whose name is on every pair. My nephew was looking at my shoes, and he's like, "What's so special about those?" So I explained to him that I used to have a pair of them in high school, and when they'd wear out, I'd get another until I wore that pair out, and that they're a classic. "Well, why are they a classic?" I held them up over my head and asked my mother if they had these when she was my nephew's age, to which she told him yes, and he was amazed by this, because that was like a hundred years ago, by his estimation.
The best part is, the Chucks fit, unlike last year's most unfortunate "Boots!" incident, which some of you may remember, where I turned into The West Wing's Toby Ziegler for three days, walking around in a daze, only able to say the word, "Boots!" It figures that after a bad Christmas, I'd turn into a middle-aged Jewish guy.
Anyway, I'm getting paid for this day off of work, so I'd best be productive. I have to watch the last one and a half episodes of Firefly, then watch Serenity, I've got two seasons of Gilmore Girls and two seasons of The West Wing that I haven't even opened yet, the extras on the extended & uncut version of Sin City, Merhcant of Venice, Sideways, and probably a half-dozen other movies that I've watched about five minutes of before starting work on something else. And it's Christmas, which means I have to watch E.T. at some point this week, because I do that every year. The movie's over twenty years old, and I've only seen it five times, limiting myself to once a year, which keeps it from getting old.
And then, somewhere in the midst of all of this, I'm probably going to go to Denny's and sit down with a cup of coffee and finish reading Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal, which is like reading the transcript of a rather massive sort of Behind the Music: Hair Bands. Now, when I initially read the title, I thought to myself, "Oho! A book on a musical trend!" and picked it up. The down-side is that it's not so much about the musical trend of heavy metal as it's about the individual bands that made up the genre, and I see a substantial difference between the two. I think that a musical movement is like a gestalt, where the whole is more than the sum of its parts, and I don't think that the implosion of Ratt or Quiet Riot led to the end of heavy metal. I don't think that the rise of alternative music led to the end of heavy metal, seeing how all of the metalheads I knew in junior high and high school flat-out rejected Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, and basically anything else that came out of the 1990's.
So, once I'm finished with that book, I'll start in on the one that strikes me as considerably more fascinating, Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America. I've always found censorship to be a very interesting subject, and I think that Granville Hicks' quote on the subject is absolutely true: "A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to."
And, in closing, the new issue of Rolling Stone with King Kong on the cover is, bar none, the very finest issue of Rolling Stone that has ever been published. It's got their collection of mavericks, rogues, and rebels of the year (including Cindy Sheehan, Kanye West, George Clooney, Billy Joe Armstrong, et cetera), and it labels 2005 as the Worst Year Ever, which is absolutely true. It's even better (and often funnier) than Al Franken's newest book, which I spent considerably more money on.
Conclusions I've come to this year:
- The patriots who founded this country were a bunch of intellectuals who decided to tell the ruling powers to fuck off.
- We need more patriots.
- My generation will save the world, provided my parents' generation doesn't destroy it first.