Tuesday, December 28, 2010

COLUMN: Thanks

Ah, yes, Thanksgiving. The time of year when we put aside our hardships and take stock in what really matters in life -- basketball tournaments and the life-endangering over-consumption of turkey. Ergo, I spend this week's column space giving thanks:

• to TBS, for bringing back our beloved Coco, the true king of late night. And thanks to Andy Richter for sticking around and being the best sidekick on TV.

• to my new house*. (*Subject to change after first snowfall and inaugural snow shoveling session. Which reminds me, how does one of these shovels work? I've got one in my garage, but I've yet to find the "on" switch...)

• to Harmonix, the makers of Rock Band 3, the sequel to the sequel of the best video game ever and the greatest waste of time I've ever encountered in my life. The bad news is that I'm only ranked #113th in the world right now, so I've got a lot of work ahead of me. The really bad news is that sales of rhythm-based music games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero are nosediving right now, which I can't understand. I mean, what marketing campaign makes kids rush out and buy video games better than whole-hearted endorsements from chubby middle-aged newspaper columnists old enough to be their dad?

• to Starbucks, the official fuel of Shane Brown.

• to NASCAR drivers Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, for giving me two people in the world to unabashedly hate for little to no discernable reason whatsoever. And yes, I realize that this skewed logic also serves as an argument toward the entertainment value and mass appeal of professional wrestling, for which I am very, very sorry.

• to my dad, for spending a better part of this year as my live-in handyman and remodeler, and my mom, for putting up with it.

• to the staff, lower management, and regulars of 2nd Ave. in the Rock Island District, for a decade of the best weekends of my life. I miss that DJ booth like crazy.

• to the kids at Club Energy, where I've been freelance DJing of late, for making me realize that I am super totally uncool. Note to all aspiring club DJ's out there: If you think (as I do) that you know anything and everything about music, try keeping a pack of 16-year-olds happy for four hours and you'll rapidly realize that, to them, your usual playlist is about as hip as a Michael Bolton record.

• to the divine Miss Amy Gritton, for accepting the role of my girlfriend without reading the fine print that says her worst moments of the week can, and very likely will, be written up in detail for the amusement of 100,000+ readers every Sunday. Love you, honey!

• to "Ghost Hunters," "Destination Truth," "Ghost Adventures," and "Paranormal State," for finding umpteen-hundred different ways to entertain me with the sentences, "Wait, did you HEAR that? WHAT WAS THAT?" I vote that we need an all-paranormal network of 24-7 ghost hunts!

• to Netflix Instant Viewing, for allowing me to watch all of the above shows because I'm too busy writing columns like this when they're actually on.

• to the tiny crack in the sidewalk of the 700 block of 15th Street in Rock Island, for tearing out all the ligaments in my left foot and allowing me a perfectly good excuse to spend most of the summer sitting on the couch doing absolutely nothing. Plus the unsightly orthopedic walking boot I was strapped to for two months scored some MAJOR sympathy points from friends, family, and strangers alike.

• to tough actin' Tinactin, because when you're strapped to an orthopedic walking boot for two months, athlete's foot gets real, people. 'Nuff said.

• to the giant carnivorous feral monster cats who live and/or patrol in the yard next door, for making my rotund-bellied feline companions look wee and skinny in comparison. Just please don't eat them.

• to Louis Goldenberg, for inventing the first electric washer. For the first time in my life, I now have one of my very own in my basement. I would kiss your feet, Mr. Goldenberg, were they not all presumably deceased and decaying. I can now erase the word "laundromat" from my vocabulary and never again have to worry about getting Neighbor Cooties on my delicates. Next step: learning how to use it.

• to Wikipedia, for making it really easy to hop online and look up who invented the electric washer so that my readers think I'm all smart and stuff.

• and, of course, to all of you -- for reading my column, for stopping me on the street to share a laugh, and for writing my paycheck. I am humbled and thankful to have such an awesome opportunity to invade your lives every Sunday, and your readership means the world to me. Now get back to work - you've only got four more days to practice your binge eating.

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