Posts Tagged ‘Birthdays’

They Say It’s Your Birthday

December 10, 2019

How pathetic is it to have the local bakery do up a birthday cake for yourself and then have it delivered “anonymously” to you at your office while you’re at lunch? I mean, you know full well that your co-workers will see it and throw an impromptu party for you when you get back. And you can, of course, feign ignorance. “How did you ever find out?” “Oh, I didn’t want a fuss!” The best thing is, since it’s all last minute, they won’t even have time to get you a card so they’ll have a quick whip ‘round and put some cash in an envelope. Sweet! But, um, like I said – just how pathetic is that?

Well. How pathetic is it when you do this but it’s not really your birthday – you just need some spare cash? Um … I’m asking hypothetically, of course. For a friend.

Movie Rebuff

October 22, 2019

It was summer of 1989 and I’m at my friend Eric’s birthday party. I liked Eric; he had a hot mom. And so, for his birthday, his hot mom took about a half dozen of us kids out for pizza and a movie. I wanted to see Ghostbusters II because that first one was so awesome (at the very least, maybe that new Batman thing people were talking about) … only I got overruled and outvoted and we ended up seeing Troop Beverly Hills at the dollar cinema, an experience I only barely survived by rooting for the Red Feathers, the rival scout group.

Seriously! Troop Beverly Hills! How awful is that!

Eric’s hot mom didn’t even sit with us.



October 5, 2019

For about four years in the 1980s, my family would only exchange potato-based foods for one another’s birthdays. Potato salad, potato chips, mashed potatoes, potato bread, hash browns, latkes, tater tots, baked potatoes, Russet potatoes, red potatoes, white potatoes, purple potatoes, yellow potatoes, Idaho potatoes, new potatoes. No clothes, no jewelry, no toys, no gift certificates, just potatoes and potato foodstuffs. I never knew why and no one ever questioned this practice. All I remember is that we stopped about the same time Reagan left office. I don’t know if it was a coincidence or not.

Different varieties of potatoes, isolated on white background.

Tales From My Screwed-Up Childhood #24

March 11, 2019

For some reason, I recall my 12th birthday party. It was a sleepover. We watched scary B movies on TV, ate food picked up from the nearby Pizza Inn, played a lame “truth or dare” (an innocent, pre-pubescent kind wherein the dares were along the lines of “spray a Waterpik® up your nose”) and threw rocks into the swimming pool of my apartment complex. We also did one of those horribly stupid acts, the type that can only be committed by junior high school boys.

When the first of us fell asleep, the rest of us placed a half-eaten lime popsicle in his exposed butt crack. It melted, of course, so that, come morning, this kid had a sticky green fruity residue up his rear. I forget the guy’s name but I have always felt really, really sorry about this. So if this ever happened to you – or to anyone you know – please accept my sincere apologies. I’d claim mob mentality but, truth is, I thought it was kind of funny at the time.

I still do, a little … but that doesn’t mean I can’t have qualms, as well. Right?

Somebody Save Me

September 10, 2018

Supposedly, as it was told, Superman was born on February 29th. At least that was the pat response that DC Comics and staff would give when queried as to the date of the Man of Steel’s birth either by mail or at comic book conventions or cocktail parties. Me, I always found that explanation to be a bit glib. Born on leap day? As if that explained the comic book contrivance of aging at a slower rate than the readership. If so, what about Batman? Or Wonder Woman? Or Julius Schwartz? And was the 29th supposed to be the day he was born on Krypton or the date he arrived on Earth and was adopted by the Kents? The apathetic answer, designed to quiet fanboys, disturbed me greatly as a young collector. But, to be honest, what really disturbs me the most about this whole Superman’s birthday commotion was how much time I spent obsessing over that particular piece of four-color minutiae when I was a teenager!

Yep, I didn’t date much in high school.


Stank You Very Much

May 8, 2018

My Aunt Jennie had really nasty halitosis. And when she blew out her birthday candles, she’d imbue the cake with her – er, essence. She couldn’t understand why no one wanted seconds. And nobody had the heart to tell the old dear it was because, thanks to whatever had crawled up and died in her mouth, the lemon-iced sheet cake now tasted like complete ass.

Dad Man Balking

April 16, 2018

My old man absolutely hated birthdays and refused to celebrate his under any circumstances. Once I made the mistake of baking him a birthday cake and presenting it to him after dinner. He wasn’t the least bit thankful or happy. In fact, he threw the cake against the wall and locked me in an old freezer we had out in the garage for two days.

To this day, I can’t eat angel food without balling up into the fetal position and crying.


Tales From My Screwed-Up Childhood #8

February 5, 2018

When booking entertainment for your child’s birthday party, do you go clown or magician? Maybe you could get a comic magician or a clown that does a few card tricks, but really it’s a basic choice that even the best of parents have lost sleep over – clown or magician? Clown or magician? Or, hell, you could do what my parents did and pay a homeless guy five bucks to make balloon animals and pull a rabbit out of his hat. Only he didn’t have a hat. And that was no rabbit!


Broadcasting Recall

September 24, 2017

It was 1954, television’s golden age, and I was working as assistant to the lead property master at the now-defunct Dumont network. Aside from Captain Video and Studio 57, our main project was a fledgling game show called Blow Out The Candles. The premise was pretty elementary: three contestants vied for the chance to have their very own birthday party, complete with cake and ice cream. The questions were pretty simplistic (“Who created the cartoon character Mickey Mouse?”), but it was a bona fide hit for three weeks during the summer. 

One night, however, the lead prop guy, Buster “Crabby” Stunton, got stinkin’ blind drunk and fell onto the birthday cake we were gonna use in the prize sequence. Well, we didn’t have any others baked and the studio chef had already clocked out for the day and all nearby bakeries were closed. So, we made up our own, a “faux” cake, out of plywood and caulk and painted it with white chrome matte. It looked beautiful and no one would have been the wiser had not the emcee, on a spur of the moment lark, tried to take a bite right out of the upper tier. He broke two teeth. On live television.

Crabby and I got our heads handed to us by the producers and we never worked network television again. Last I heard, Crabby lived in a tent Phoenix where he spends his days taking pot shots at iguana with a pellet gun. Compared to my lot, that’s a bloody paradise.

Celebrity Dissonance

December 19, 2016

I was perusing for a side project and noticed that if you click on a date you can see all the folks in the Internet Movie Database born on that particular date. Neat enough but more interesting to note is that the names are all ranked according to some sort of popularity matrix called STARmeter. Now, I’ve no idea what the criteria STARmeter uses but I assume it’s along the lines of name recognition, star power, credits, etc. Most of the time, the rankings seem obvious. (For example, were they born on the same day, Bill Murray would be ranked higher than Bill Maher and both would be ranked higher than veteran actor Bill Macy.)

Sometimes, however, the rankings are more inscrutable.

Take the stars born on December 24, for instance. I won’t really get into the subjective nature of fame but I would point out that Ryan Seacrest is ranked at #22. Is that the correct ranking for someone of his stature? Probably not. He was the host of that television blockbuster American Idol for years. He’s executive producer of lots of shows, including the mega-hit Keeping Up With The Kardashians. He’s even conquered radio with a syndicated show and American Top 40 hosting duties. Given all of that, I’d day he’s pretty famous. Personally, if he dropped off the face of the planet tomorrow, I wouldn’t miss him but I acknowledge that he’s a major star and probably a household name. Regardless, STARmeter ranked him  at #22 for those born on December 24.

The major problem with that ranking? The dog from Frasier was ranked #21. Yep, Moose – the dog that played Eddie on the Cheers spin-off – is one notch higher on the STARmetter, one rung up and over Ryan Seacrest.


What the hell, imdb?!?! Not only does Moose have only four credits to his name (Frasier, My Dog Skip and guest roles on two TV shows) but the canine hasn’t worked in ten years because he died in 2006! 

Yes, Ryan Seacrest is ranked lower than a dog that’s “been living on a farm upstate” since before there was Twitter.

What does all this mean? For you and me: nothing (unless you get off on schadenfreude). But for Ryan Seacrest – wow, that’s gotta be a pretty low blow. I mean, armed with this ego-crushing data, I think it’s amazing he can muster the willpower to get out of bed in the morning. Yet assuming he does, there are three ways he can deal with it…

1) Laugh it off and chalk it up to the vagaries of fate.

2) Raise his profile in hopes of increasing his ranking.

3) Punch his agent and/or publicist right square in the face.

Me, I know which one I’d choose.