Thursday, December 30, 2010

Aloha means hello and good-bye...and a lot of other stuff too.

The year 2010 has been filled with many blessings for yours truly. Mrs. Tony C and I added to our family with little baby Eden this month. The teenager started high school and is doing quite well, and the 3-year old known affectionately as the Crazy Tomato in our home has made the transition from toddler to pre-schooler with great ease. Sure, chaos reigns most of the time at our house that sits at the top of the hill...but I love every minute and can't imagine things any other way.

My Sunday School class at church as been a tremendous blessing too along with playing worship music with the Praise Team. There's a closeness with my church family like never before...and that's not saying we weren't close in previous years because we were.

Near the top of the list of blessings would have to be reconnecting with a number of significant people from my past through Facebook...especially former Marines. Thanks to the photo archives of one such Marine named Joel Haase, I've been able to relive moments and places I thought were long forgotten. It has been a highlight in a banner year of highlights for me.

Marines in BSSG-1, Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station, Hawaii (1989 or so)

Nostalgia is a funny thing. Marketing professionals have known for quite some time it can be a powerful selling tool. Fortunes have been made on eBay from buyers trying to recapture a moment from years past by buying trinkets from collectors with foresight (and a lot of extra storage space). Facebook is revolutionizing the concept of reconnecting with the past, and I for one applaud the effort.

As I've browsed through photos and chatted with old comrades, I stepped into a metaphoric time machine that instantly transported me back over 2 decades to a time when my trouser waist size was much closer to my inseam length and running 3 miles took less time than conjuring the words for this post. A time when the major stresses in life were less about keeping what you have and more about getting what you want.

I've decided for my first few post in 2011 to share a few of those memories with you. I hope you don't mind...actually, I hope you really enjoy them. Nothing heavy. Just a few fond and mostly funny moments from a place most consider a paradise...that I once called home.

Happy New Year and Aloha to each of you, and may God bless your 2011 in a mighty way.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Are we there yet?

I sincerely hope each of you had a wonderfully blessed Christmas, and as we scream toward the dawn of a new year, I have to do one of those annoying looks back at the year that was on Tony C Today.

Why…you ask? Because apparently that’s what we do in our society at this point on the calendar each and every year. News. Sports. Fashion. Entertainment. Trends. Pish Posh. It seems that all matters and categories of any minuscule interest deserve some form of reflection as the year in keeping with the mainstream, here we go…

2010 started on a fairly negative note for most of my posting, as I seemed to rip into every one and every thing in the month of January…including Mrs.Tony C. Poor judgment seemed to abound in the month of long darkness (which I also posted about come to think of it).

The Month of Love brought back a little of the old Tony C Today with a few post on politics. There was also one on religion that gave a little peek into the dynamic of my marriage. Politics, religion and Mrs. Tony C again…I’m seeing a disturbing trend early last year.

March, April and May had me on a soapbox about mainly the Tea Party issues, and our tendency in this country to stick our head in the sand when it comes to our Nation’s history. I also managed to kick off a campaign against Comedy Central who felt the need to develop a sacrilegious cartoon about Jesus. Luckily, a number of other more prominent sources did the same, and the network decided not to move forward with the show…at this time. That’s okay. We’ll still be here when they decide to move forward again on nonsense pertaining to the Lord of all.

June saw a first on Tony C Today as my blog went video. The first vlog (video blog) was quite challenging but also proved to be quite entertaining thanks to the impromptu appearance of my beloved. Thank goodness she’s far better looking than me. The vlog didn’t go viral on YouTube or anything because apparently no one cares that I prefer boxers over briefs. To date, it has been the first and only vlog posted (I really need an Apple).

July, August and September were slow months with only 12 posts during that time span. I must have been on a delayed teacher’s schedule and took most of the summer off. I did manage a post that stirred interest and several comments concerning the flight attendant that went haywire and abandoned plane before take off. The associated video was a hoot.

Most of October was a Best of Tony C series, although I did post a zinger in the direction of fuddy-dudders who raise a big stink about Halloween. Funny thing Facebook Friend list seemed to decrease by a few after that one (sorry know me).

November was a record month for Tony C Today! There seems to be a keen interest in the inner workings of the male mind as delivery day approaches for his pregnant spouse. Well okay...I also posted about breastfeeding and boobs taking my unique hits number well into new territory. As a matter of fact, that particular post is steadily climbing towards 1000 hits which way more than doubles any previous post...leaving me to conclude either there are some really disappointed people Googling ‘boobs’... or sex actually does sell.

Not to mention Mrs.Tony C was quite perturbed when the delivery room discussion with our obstetrician centered on the recent blog post and not the task at hand. At least, my mind was off what was really going on between the stirrups at the time, and I wasn't face-down on the floor.

That brings us to December with a few scattered post among all the festive celebrating. I managed to reach the 200 blog post plateau this year and also attract quite a few more readers (hello ladies in Charleston). Not a lot of you comment…and that’s perfectly okay. I do enjoy reading your feedback in the Comments sections or on Facebook, but much more than that, I enjoy discussing a post or series with you in person or in an email.

To be honest with you, that’s why I write. There’s no danger any information presented here will ever qualify for an educational award or Pulitzer. I just enjoy sharing ideas from my humble, Christian perspective. I don’t blog to make people mad, encourage civil rebellion or declare my own piousness...I write to share, and I love to hear your thoughts on the plethora of subject matters covered here too.

If along the way I can make you chuckle, inspire a warm feeling or provoke a little deeper thought on a topic…well, I’m very thankful you take the time to read. May God bless each of you in a mighty way during 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 all my cultural knowledge comes from Looney Tunes.

The Nordic fat lady has sung...

Alas, it's time again for me to cry pitifully about the plight of my beloved Minnesota Vikings. Don't act surprised either just because it comes a bit earlier this year than the previous two.

Like the tragic tale of Wagner's famous opera Der Ring des Nibelungen, the Vikings' season has been a really, really, really long series of drama and more drama. With two games still to go and the guys in purple eliminated from not only the playoffs but at least the chance of a .500 season, most fans will be glad to finally put this one in the books.

I don't think it's completely fair and just to compare Brett Favre to the Nordic demigod Siegfried from Wagner's tale because it shines a far too compelling and complimentary light on the signal caller...but now comparing Favre to, say, Elmer Fudd playing Siegfried is a completely different matter. I can easily picture #4 standing on that rock in the opening scene of the classic cartoon What's Opera, Doc? in the metaphoric shadow of, not Thor, but the storied career that looms over him wherever he may be. The crashing storm points to the many troubles that were in store for the Vikings as Favre/Fudd stops and proclaims to the audience/fans 'Be vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Sewper Bwole wings.'

The beleaguered and misunderstood (eye roll) former head coach, Brad Childress, fits the bill of Bwunhilde...I mean Brünnhilde...riding the enormously fat horse played fittingly by Vikings' owner Ziggy Wilf.

But this is where the similarities between opera, cartoon and reality part ways. Even though it's Favre/Fudd who calls lightening to rain down the fatal blow on faux heroine Childress/Bugs Bunny (Packers 31 - Vikings 3), alas... there is no magic kiss to rescue the fair maiden for a happily ever after finale as in Wagner's opera. Just like the Merrie Melodies, Childress/Bugs is terminated.

Coincidentally, What's Opera, Doc is only one of four Looney Tunes where Elmer Fudd gets the best of Bugs Bunny. The comparison is kinda creeping when you thing about it.

I've never sat and never plan to sit through the 15-hour epic opera by Wagner. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is as close as I'll ever come to the famous tale's story line on that scale (and I don't care what he says, Tolkien plagiarized!). Much like the Vikings' season this's just way too long for me.

But now I could watch Elmer and Bugs' version at least once a day. No problem.

As a long-time Vikings fan, I was glad to see Childress go this year, seen way more of Favre than I ever really wanted (thanks sexting and ego), and watched a very promising season go up in flames. I'm beginning to seriously empathize with Chicago Cub and Cleveland (in every sport) fans. Maybe sports is more epic poetry than epic which case you can just call me Dante.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Can we agree to disagree? It's my Top 5 Christmas movie scenes.

What's the holiday season without a list...well, a list or several of them?

I confess to loving both Christmas-themed movies and television shows. Call it nostalgic, sappy, cliché, or idealistic...I really don't care what image it produces to make such a confession. There are several shows and movies that immediately spring to mind when I think of this festive season.

Of course, I'm from a generation that saw A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman chase The Wizard of Oz from being the annual premier kick- off entertainment to the holiday season. But then again, the season then didn't actually start until after Thanksgiving either...

While I still have some very fond memories of the now, ahem, vintage television shows of my youth (wow that hurt), the Christmas-themed movie has moved to the forefront of my pop culture association with all that's merry, jolly and ho-ho-ho.

Keeping things on the lighter side as we often try to do, I would like to share my Top 5 favorite Christmas movie scenes. Nothing heavy from It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle of 34th Street...both great films...just not my preferred genre. I'm still a big ol' kid at heart and tend to drift to the sophomoric humor found in these five movies. I'm not saying each is necessarily the best scene from the films...just my favorite/most memorable and why:

#5 Scrooged (1988)- Classic Bill Murray! I'm not sure anyone else could have pulled off the role of Francis Xavier Cross with the success Murray did in this Dickens' knock-off. There are a number of classic lines and scenes (I've never liked a girl enough to give her 12 sharp knives.), but my pick is the scene where Eliot Loudermilk, played to perfection by Bob Goldthwait, finally has Cross cornered for the kill only to be bamboozled by his prey's sudden change of heart. Hello, rabbit!
I love that Looney Tunes reference.

#4 Home Alone (1990)- I have to admit, I didn't care for this movie much when it was released. But then again, I was also quite full of myself back in 1990 too...I'm just saying. Glad that's over and reality reestablished because this is a heck of a funny movie!
My favorite scene(s) are definitely in the battle. Between Joe Pesci's facial expressions and Daniel Stern's physical comedy, the battle scene plays out like a modernized version of The Three Stooges...minus a dude of course.
Never gets old to me.

#3 Elf (2003)-Will Ferrell is a comic genius. I've actually laughed until I've cried in more than one of his movies. This Christmas film became an instant classic with so many memorable lines there are website dedicated to them. When I think of this movies, it's a toss up between the 'Santa's coming!' and the 'He's an angry elf' scenes as to my favorite.
Since I need to pick one, I'm going with the scene where Buddy is completely oblivious to insulting the famous writer Miles Finch whom he mistakes for a wayward elf.
I just wonder how many takes that scene required before everyone could play it straight...

#2 A Christmas Story (1983)- Yes, I know. We've all been bombarded to the point of saturation with this Christmas staple (thanks TBS). But come on! There are so many iconic moments in this movie that picking a favorite scene is akin to picking a favorite flavor at Baskin Robbins. The lamp, you'll shoot your eye out, the pink bunny costume, triple dog dare you, the Bumpuses' dogs, Fwa-ra-ra-ra-ra, furnace battles...the list is endless!
The most memorable line for me though is while Ralphie's being interrogated about where he heard the queen-mother of dirty words he let slip out earlier, we hear in narration... "I had heard that word at least ten times a day from my old man. He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master." Priceless!
The follow up scene where Schwartz gets the blame by telephone then the thrashing of his life by his mother is also cinema gold.

#1 Christmas Vacation (1989) - An annual tradition at my home. The quintessential Christmas movie. It delicately makes fun of all we've allowed Christmas to become while trying to maintain a ruse of what we think it should be.
I've watched this movie so many times I can nearly quote the script verbatim, yet it never fails to make me laugh. There's a little Clark Griswold in all of us that tries so darn hard to make the holiday season perfect each and every year.
With so many scenes that stand out in this movie (there are t-shirt lines dedicated to many of them), I had to just close my eyes and let the first thing come to mind...SQUIRREL!!!
I bust a gut every time when Eddie's wife declares he don't eat them anymore because of his cholesterol. I'm laughing now...

So, it may not be your top scenes or even your top 5 movies with Christmas themes, but isn't differences what makes the world go around? Okay, it's actually gravity...but you get my point!

Share with us your favorite Christmas movie scene or line. Let's get this place really spinning!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mommy, me and baby makes...five?!

The 'Third day at hospital' look- Mrs. Tony C wears it so much better...and she just delivered a human being!

So, our little bundle of joy arrived last Thursday morning at 8:08 am coming in an ounce shy of six pounds and half and inch short of 20. She's a little tiny dancer. Dad couldn't be prouder if he'd push her through his own...well...let's not get carried away crazy here.

Almost a week later, I still stand in complete awe of a Divine design that produces such a glorious moment called child birth. As I stated in my last post, my role was minuscule. I managed the wet wash cloth, camera and thick skin. Ice chips weren't necessary...but I had it covered none the less. The delivery staff were nothing short of amazing. A well-oiled machine that made this former Marine officer beam with glee at the management of organized chaos that occurs when another number is added to the roll of the human population.

Oh yes...and it's a most beautiful concert.

Maestro, aka, Dr. B was unflappable. While the subject of recent post have involved the OB/GYN experience for yours truly as a bull in a china shop, the calming effect of Dr. B sharing a fly fishing story involving his own son while I chewed scissors through a cord both a part of my new daughter's body as well as her mother's should go down in bedside manner lore. The situation was potential for the medical school instructional film series. Had my mind focused for even a brief moment on the task I was actually two of the most important people in my life...or my eyes wondered to where the cord went on either end...someone would have been using the cold wash cloth on me.

I'm not sure my HMO would have covered that either.

Look. I'm no stranger to bloody situations, or weak-kneed, or even fainthearted. I pulled a guy's molar once with a pair of pliers and gauze pads (no, he didn't owe me money...he actually wanted it pulled). I've lanced boils and blisters with a flame-sterilized K-bar (now we're talking pus). I've recovered a severed finger to hopefully be reattached! Hey...I'm no girly-man people!

Sorry. I guess Marines and former Marines just get a little defensive if we come across a bit squeamish or weak. It's a natural reaction. Some brainwashing...I mean, training...last a lifetime. Besides, 'cutting the cord' has a completely different meaning/context in our field manual. But we won't discuss that here because some of you might be a little squeamish...

Thanks Dr. B for helping me save face by not ending up on my face...oh, and kudos for helping bring my little tiny dancer into the world. To use a fishing phrase...she's a keeper.