Merry Christmas and the “Magical Macy’s Christmas Tree”

This post is courtesy of Cher from her blog, The Chicago Files.  I thought it was the perfect way to wish everyone a Merry Christmas because this tree is one of the best things about My Fair City during the holidays.

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macys-christmas-tree-2016-2Well isn’t this absolutely spectacular! I took this photo today while strolling around Macy’s Department store in downtown Chicago.  I absolutely love this tree! It is breathtaking and reminds me of a winter wonderland! How beautiful! I had to share it with you of course!

Source: Magical Macy’s Christmas Tree!

A Hotel Hanukkah in Knoxville

Our menorah powers off of a 9-volt battery.  Instead of lighting a candle, The Boffin threw a DIP switch. Dinner was what we could grab at CVS since every place else was closed or closing. That was OK because of our gluttony at Skyline Chili earlier.  No latkes.  Just Stouffer’s or snacks.  Our presents were loaded into reusable grocery bags and lugged in for the evening.

It wasn’t home.  We didn’t have our Furball beating us with her paw and proclaiming her complete and utter starvation by standing pathetically by her bowl.  But we still had the quiet.  The calm.  The three of us.  Still good, though not usual.  I guess it is what you make it.

Here’s to a happy Hanukkah to all those who celebrate.

An Inflated Sense of Decor

Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas…the time of year when people decide to arrange bits on their windows, porches, and lawns in the name of decoration.  No, this is not going to be one of those posts where I am going to be shaking my fist at the world because of the consumerism behind all of it.

Angry Naked Krylon Guy, however, is pissed.
Angry Naked Krylon Guy, however, is pissed.

No, I love house decorations, even the overdone tacky ones. It provides great entertainment for the neighborhood and breaks up the monotony. And people can come up with some clever ideas with simple items. For example, with some branches, a plastic cauldron, and orange and white string lights, you can make this.

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I would think they have a battery to operate the lights where the “fire” is, or they have a Boffin who would run an extension cord under the lawn.

Clever, I think.

Of course, since I am writing this blog post, you know I am not going to be Little Miss Sunshine about all this decorating lot. I do have my limits, and that limit comes in the form of inflatable decorations. Now, I am not going to rant and say that have to be banned or say they are the scourge of society. Let’s not blow this out of proportion. (HA!)

Inflatable decorations say to me that the homeowner has given up. It says, “I have this bare patch on the lawn that I feel compelled to fill. I don’t have the time/inclination/talent/drive/money to actually make something that could fill that hole, so I will find an inflatable Santa coming out of an outhouse.”

To those outside of the United States and Canada, I am not kidding. That exists.

And we don’t have to wait until Christmas for such things, this gem of a house is not a far walk from mine.

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It took a lot of effort to put the webbing up, and then to stick inflatables around as filler?  To me, it seems like going through the effort of making a nice shortbread cookie and then slapping a cheap store bought icing on it.  Of course, it’s their house.  They have every right to decorate it however they want.  But since it is in the public, I can say that it is lacking.

As a side note, I have to relay a this story. At the time of taking these photos, I was across the street from the domicile in question. It was at that moment when one of our village’s men in blue appeared from one of the side streets along side the house.  He spotted me acting like a Creepy Stalker as I was shooting pics with my iPod. Since this street is a particularly busy one, he couldn’t easily cross over to talk to me, so I had to do my best mime work. I just pointed at the house, puffed out my cheeks, and cupped my arms, as if I either binged on Italian beef or turned into a beach ball. Shields and Yarnell would have been proud. Anyway, he looked at the house, nodded his head, smiled at me, and waved. I cheerily waved back, relieved that he didn’t think I was a Creepy Stalker anymore. While I was going on my merry way, I saw him looking at the house again and shaking his head. I guess I am not the only one who had a similar review of the decor.

At least the owners of this house keep the inflatables blown up.  What bothers me even more are the ones who, to save money, deflate their decorations during the day.

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What it looks like is the Jolly Green Giant had a couple of quickies in their yard and left the novelty condoms behind. I am assuming that in the Valley where the Giant lives, that’s how they reproduce. Unless, since he is part plant, there is some hybridization going on. If there is, Monsanto is probably involved.

If people are going to keep their decorations flaccid (Flaccid is a word only used with the word “penis”.  Decorations on the ground look like used condoms.  It all fits.) except for the 1 or 2 hours they are going to be home when it is daylight, what is the point of even having them in the first place?  Still, we have rights in this country, and the right to limp witches on the lawn is one of them.

But inflatable decorations did give me a blog post, so for that, I thank them.

It only makes me look forward to Christmas.

This British-American Life’s Tips for Visiting Museums

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat otherwise known as the Ferris Bueller Painting in my circles.  It proudly hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat otherwise known as the “Ferris Bueller Painting” in my circles. It proudly hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Now, in the States, school is out for a lot of children, and families are going on vacation.  Actually, summer is a prime time for everyone to get away.  Since most people need a little bit of culture in their lives, visiting America’s museums remains a popular pastime, so here I am to give a few tips, and I am actually being serious this time.

1.  Check out the museum’s website before your visit. – You will know what exhibits are open and what artifacts/art are on loan to other museums.  Most importantly, you will be able to prioritize what you want to see that is important to you because…

2.  You will not see everything you want to see.  – Unless the museum is small, it is impossible to take in everything.  If you are going to Washington D.C., you will not be able to digest everything the Smithsonian complex can offer.  You can’t even handle what just the Natural History museum has to offer in one day.  Just accept that now and put in the planning, so you will not set yourself up for disappointment.

3.  Parents, know your children. – If your child’s mental saturation point lasts only two hours, do not try to squeeze another hour out of him or her because you want to see one more thing.  This is where tip #1 comes in.  And don’t be afraid to divide and conquer, if some kids are enjoying themselves in the museum and others have had it.  One more point: it’s great that you want your children to see something new, but make sure you understand a little bit about the subject too.  Just walking up to dinosaur fossils without being able to answer any questions about what they are isn’t going to impress them much.  And older kids can read the plaques too.  They are not stupid.  In fact, it’s a recipe for boredom, if you can’t come up with a good reason why the kids should be there.

4.  Follow the rules, and listen to the security guards.  – The guards are not there to be assholes.  A lot of time and money goes into the preservation of artifacts and art, and they don’t need yutz tourists like us to come along and ruin everything that was done.

5.  Get there before opening time at the really popular museums in the summer – I am a member of the Art Institute of Chicago and a seasoned traveler.  I cannot emphasize how important this rule is.  People want to see the Big Name Artists and the Big Name Paintings.  Special exhibitions only make the problem worse.  If you think you can get into the Musée d’Orsay in Paris after lunch, you must think spaghetti grows on trees.

6.  Now that I mention the Musée d’Orsay, the Impressionist section of any art museum will be a zoo.  People just lurve those wacky Impressionists.  Lord knows, those paintings show up on every coaster, card, magnet, tote bag, print and scarf in the museum gift shops.  I like them, and there was that rebel, individualistic quality about them.  But they were not the be all and end all of art, which brings me too…

7.  Try a different section of a museum that you normally wouldn’t. – If you are not into Roman history, just take a few minutes and look around.  You may be surprised at what you may learn.  If Native American handicrafts aren’t your thing, I think you can at least appreciate the work that goes into them, even if they don’t fit within your style.  Go into the less popular galleries.  They need love too.