Friday, October 16, 2015

Next Month is Thanksgiving. But for Now...

Wow, mid-October already.

It's the Ides of October, which isn't really a thing, because I think only March has Ides, right? But here's what October does have:

It's the name of U2's second album:

October was released on October 12, 1981. This shot looks like three guys from Dublin and one from Auburn on the photo bomb.

Mr. October was Reggie Jackson. He claimed he was the "straw that stirs the drink," and I loved him with the A's and hated him with the Yankees.

The "October Surprise" occurred on October 26, 1972. 12 days prior to the general election between Richard Nixon and George McGovern, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger declared that peace was at hand in Vietnam. Nixon took every state but Massachusetts on November 7, and the real surprise was that the war would drag on another three years.

Rocktober: I've always liked this term, and it will forever remind me of KISW:

Holy shit! There's no apostrophe in "Seattles." I'm so ashamed of my teenage self who spent over three years with this on his bedroom window.

And lastly, in 1974 there was The Missiles of October. an ABC, I'll say Tuesday night, Movie of the Week. It starred William Devane as Jack Kennedy and a pre-Apocalypse Now Martin Sheen as Bobby, rattling the whole time in a panicked Boston accent that made you think he was far better suited for an SNL sketch.

The guy in the back looks very interested, either in our president's profound concern for the world's future, or his bottom.

October is my favorite month, period. Melancholy maples sing their golden and crimson swan songs. The mornings are bright and crisp, the sun looming lower in the sky with each shortening day.

Wow, sorry. I'm starting to sound like a Reagan commercial, there. But anyway, hanging out all cool and shit in October's caboose, not really talking to anyone, is that which makes October king of all months: Halloween.

Do you like it? Love it, even? I do.

Regrets? Mmm, hmm, I have a few. Remember Ross Perot, the Texas billionaire who ran as a third-party candidate back in 1992 against Bill Clinton and Pappy Bush? Yeah, so I decided to be him that year for work Halloween and ended up imitating him way too much all day long. By the end of the day, many people hated me, as did I.

But really, I'm writing this to hear about you. Come on, friend, I know you've got a quirky All-Hallows story or two. It's the strangest night of the year and weird stuff happens.

What characters you've been? Just to grease the skids, here's who I've impersonated on All Saints Eve, both as a minor and an adultish:

A mouse
A devil
A skeleton
The Green Lantern
Ricky Bobby
A hippie (3 or 4 times)
A 1950s greaser
A slug
Mike Roy, Erica's boyfriend on All My Children, circa 1985.
The Hamburglar

That's enough. Seriously, please reply with pictures and anecdotes. Your anonymity will be... shall we say... concealed.

Friday, October 2, 2015

We Are the World. Okay, Not Really.

Finally, a few answers.

And big news! I'm a white guy!

I've suspected this for a long time. My lips are so thin I can curl them inward and floss my teeth with my mustache stubble. I'm working it up to a Sonicare-type pulse, but I must practice this alone.

Anyway, right, big surprise—I'm cauc-freaking-asian. Not hard to surmise, since I like Rush (the band, not the douchenozzle), and my veins still run slow and chunky with full-fat cream-of-mushroom soup from all those acres of potlucks.

And, like fifty-three-year-old guys of many cultures, I had no idea what to ask for for my birthday last summer. Socks maybe? A tasty canned ham and some Ritz Crackers? Enticing for sure, but let's put those in our back pocket for next time, because, one evening in July over drinks and Mexican food, a friend told us she'd had her DNA analyzed at For around a hundred bucks, she explained, you spit in a little test tube, mix it with a chemical, seal the tube and mail it in a prepaid package to a lab in, um, somewhere.

Our friend's genetic heritage was ninety-nine percent Scandinavian with some trace elements of African. Oh really? After hearing her describe the various regions and how each possessed unique genetic markers, I decided to request the ethnicity estimate for my birthday.

Oh, and hey, for those of you who may feel reticent, and without delving into any distasteful minutia, it was the most effortless DNA sample I've yet to commit to the bottom of a far.

Anyway, fast forward to Wednesday, when, as they say in a corporate setting, I was "pinged" with the results. My heart raced. From which primordial stew did I arise? Why do I tan but my brother looks like a blue-skinned Shumai dumpling in the August sun?

I started thinking, as currently-thriving human beings on the planet Earth, we've all got to have some fairly robust genes, wouldn't you agree? Let's face it, we can freak ourselves out considering the minuscule odds that were overcome to lead to our existence, so for God's sake, congrats to us all!

I clicked open the page that revealed my genetic makeup:

I'm 25% of Scandinavian descent—Not to brag, but if you compare my brother to me, I've got significantly more Viking in me. My eyes are blueish-grey and I've an aptitude for push-ups. He's got muddled, dilated brown eyes and a fourth nipple. He's also got these abnormally large earlobes that make him gain weight when he eats too much salt or cheese.

21% Great Britain—Makes sense. The Cliffs of Ben Dover were a convenient port for Leif Ericson  & Company to enjoy some much-anticipated bangers and mash on the way to Liverpool to pick up a crate of the new Herman's Hermits 45s.

20% Ireland—I'm not going to lie. I love being Irish. I'm so proud of my maternal grandfather, Patrick Joseph Conway, who made a life for himself and his family after leaving Westport, County Mayo, for New York in 1905.

15% Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal, Andorra and France)—Okay, this made the whole thing worth it. I'm a Spaniard! Actually, if you are of Irish descent, chances are that you're also of northern Spanish origin. Throughout the middle ages, sea travel proved far more speedy than land exploration through Europe due to dense European forests.

That's when the Milesians from Basque Country in northern Spain made a quick nautical junket up to Ireland, ensconced themselves in the recently-widowed Celtic populace...and taught them to dance like never before.

The rest (13%) is western European. I suppose that's where I get my love of a good poop joke.

Kind of crazy to think that Vikings can swoop in from the north and Milesians can invade from the south, and somehow, despite all of those non-Biblical relations, some dude in Seattle ends up being around to write about it.

Done now. Must dance.