Friday, December 28, 2007

OLD NOW. OFFICIALLY
I'm 35 today. Yay? At least, as usual, Frank Sinatra has prepared me for the coming year, which will surely be a year of blueblooded girls and riding in limousines. (Their chauffeurs will drive.) Well, maybe not. But with any luck it will be a better year than this last one.

Monday, December 24, 2007

THE MOST CHRISTMASSY PLACE ON EARTH
When you spend the holidays in Florida, it's occasionally easy to forget that it's Christmastime, especially if you grew up in the often snowy, always cold Midwest. Fortunately, there are people down here who work to will Christmas into the tropics. And nobody works harder than the folks at The Oakdale Christmas House in St. Petersburg. Operating since 1977, it's a massive, front yard display of shiny Christmas doo-dads. Very little of it is original work. Mostly it's toys and lawn decorations from the past few decades set up in a series of brightly lighted, almost shrine-like displays. The front yard, for instance, features a Teddy Ruxpin, helpfully labeled "Talking Teddy Bear":

The house combines items pretty randomly. One display features a pair of angels spinning in the air as they book end Minnie Mouse:

There are some original characters however. Meet Mr. Slush and his family. And their disco ball:

But it's not all cartoon characters and inflatable snow globes. Peppered throughout are reminders that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birth. Often in the most unexpected places:


Honestly, the whole thing can't be properly experienced unless you're there. So I'll try for the next best thing. Here's a video. Note the clip of a televangelist playing in the background. I didn't realize until I finished taking the video that the display had a TV at the top but it's in frame at one point. Merry Christmas!


video




Update: Stevie also blogs about this.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

WELCOME TO THE 21ST CENTURY: THE FUTURE OF DRY HANDS
Last night I went to a screening of The Great Debaters, a Denzel Washington-directed film about a groundbreaking '30s debate team from a Black college in Texas. The movie was earnest/well-acted/forgettable but I'll always remember the night as my first encounter with the Dyson Airblade, a new-ish mechanical hand drying system that emphasizes air speed over air temperature. It's like sticking your hands in a cool jet stream. It truly is a wondrous age.

Below, someone (not me, obviously) enjoys the Airblade.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

INCHING OUT OF BLOG LIMBO
Some clips must be shared. I saw this on the generally terrific (if too infrequently updated) hip-hop site Oh Word. It has nothing to do with hip-hop and everything to do with two old guys going at it on live TV. Oh, word!