Minty the Candy Cane – Obsessed!

This is probably hitting the web in a far more professional fashion than I am posting here but a new phenomenon has taken over my household and he is called Minty the Candy Cane Who Fell on the Ground.

This comes from my beloved show Conan (because who else could come up with this?) and my boyfriend and I literally sang it in the car on the way to school and work the entire way.

If you don’t have time to watch Conan because you’re just too darn busy, the below clip is all you need to get hooked. Be forewarned: you may never get this song out of your head. Conan and Andy can’t!

Our favorite part is when Conan sings “for just a moment or two!” at the very end. That’s what I’ve been going around saying alllll daaaaay. Also, it’s like adding “in bed” to a Chinese fortune. You can tack it on to pretty much anything anybody says.

Person 1: I have to get some sleep.

Person 2: [singing] ….for just a moment or two!

It’s still up in the air whether the lyrics are “covered in poo” or “covered in goo,” but either way, it fits. It’s the new Christmas hit! Won’t you sing along with me?

for just a moment or two!

An Exception to Every Rule

Some time ago, I realized that despite my usual cheerful demeanor, I do possess one grinchy part of my persona.

I really hate it when people whistle.

There is just something about the loud, piercing sound of it, even when someone is really, really good at it, that I cannot abide. I discovered that the cacophony sound made me want to stamp my feet and scream, “STOP IT!” at the top of my lungs; I made said discovery when I was in college and there was a guy in my class who was an excellent whistler. He could probably whistle Beethoven’s symphonies and make a decent living from the proceeds of an album.

My senior year, I lived in a series of dorms that were over a foot bridge and so were removed from the majority of the rest of campus. Apparently he lived there, also, as I could hear his whistling through my open window on many a day or night. I would seriously grind my teeth until he stopped or I could no longer hear him. Thank God I didn’t have to room with someone who did that all the time. There might have been a murder at my university.

This seething rage against the sound of anybody whistling shrilly and loudly has stuck with me. I have forbade my dearest other half from doing it. Thankfully he didn’t protest much, although he does like to tease me about it.

And yet.

As with all rules, there is at least one exception. Let me preface it by saying that there is a Christmas album that exists that is one of my all-time favorites. We had it on an actual record album when I was a kid. It’s called A Music Box Christmas. You can sample and even buy all of the songs from it on Amazon. It is seriously not Christmas until I listen to every song, start to finish, in their entirety. Generally I decorate my tree to it.

I have met all of two people in my life who don’t like the music. While I do my best to withhold judgment, it completely baffles me. If you like instrumental music and you like old-fashioned Christmas music/hymns, you will enjoy – and even rave about – A Music Box Christmas. It is an imperative staple for me during the holidays.

Back to the exception. My father has always, and still does, managed to whistle in harmony with the carols of this album. I find it endearing and actually miss it when I don’t spend the holidays with him. He is one of those people who can whistle through his teeth, which is a skill I definitely did not inherit from him. For whatever reason on this earth, that whistling is lovely, in tune, and the only time throughout the year or in my life that I welcome the sound.

Aren’t people strange creatures?

I don’t have an explanation but I know that unless you are my father,  it is Christmastime, and A Music Box Christmas is on, you are not welcome to come within any physical distance of me and be whistling. Or there will be consequences.

Do you hate whistling? What drives you absolutely crazy?

From Sprigs to Colossal Displays

I wonder if the Pagans from hundreds of years ago could have ever anticipated the extreme lengths to which people in the future would go to celebrate the Winter Solstice, now incorporated into the massive holiday we now know as Christmas.

Certainly there would have been feasting and music, which are more than prevalent today. I personally have an extensive Christmas music collection and I have asked for a multitude of new albums this year. (Julie Andrews singing Christmas carols? Yes, please.)

This is sprigs + lights. And it’s stunning!

Since I am not even going into the consumerism aspect of Christmas (i.e., gift giving and shopping), I’m mainly focusing on the lights and decorations aspect.

Obviously there are people for whom Christmas is just another day (I do not refer to the religions that do not celebrate Christmas) and they could care less about decorations or being jolly or any kind of “spirit” associated with the season, unless of course they prefer the alcoholic kind. (And many do.)

But for some decorating is a custom, nay a compulsion, that must be carried out each year and it must beat out last year’s effort. Remember all the episodes of Home Improvement where Tim had to outdo his neighbor for the holiday lights/display contest? (Remember how torn up Charlie Brown is about Snoopy going for the lights and display contest? Ha, managed to get in a Peanuts reference.)

Take this guy, for example (this is in Boston):

Clark Griswold, do you see this?

I have no idea how this guy’s neighbors sleep. It sure is pretty, though.

Then there’s the unveiling of the tree at Rockefeller Center. It’s a huge event that draws the millions in NYC plus the tourists who are there to see….an enormous tree strewn with lights. The concept seems simple but what it all boils down to is that we’re all attracted to pretty, shiny, sparkly things like moths to a flame.

Having grown up in St. Louis, I was fortunate to experience the Winter Wonderland display at Tilles Park. Since words can not accurately describe how elaborate this scene is, I’m going to link you to the video they have about what it takes to put this show together. This year is the 25th anniversary of young and old alike flocking to stare at the pretty lights in celebration of our nation’s biggest holiday.

Do you decorate for the holidays? Have you put up your tree yet? (We have…) What are your annual holiday traditions that you can’t live without?

The Season of Coco/a

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for both Coco and cocoa; one being a person, although not Chanel. Side note: don’t Google Image “Coco” if you’re trying to find Conan O’Brien. Learned that the hard way.

As I was saying, I am a huge fan of the brilliant Conan O’Brien. The other is actual cocoa, but more specifically, hot chocolate.

First things first.

I can’t state enough how happy I am to see the return of Conan to television, where he belongs. When he left NBC, there was this vacuous feeling from his absence. He did me a real solid by returning to television as soon as he could. Thanks, man.

As most people in the given universe are aware of by now, he earned the nickname “Coco,” bestowed upon him by Tom Hanks – and it stuck but good. He probably hates it but it made him even more recognizable, if that is at all possible.

His humor is a breath of fresh air to what I consider the stale, flaccid format of late-night television. He’s a big goofball but he makes it sharp and witty. Plus, the guy’s got heart.

He’s not on nearly as late as he used to be but if I were still living in New York, even his coming on at 11pm is earlier than when he was broadcasting after most people were asleep. I don’t have to worry about staying up, though, since I can DVR the comedy and watch it the next morning or after work.

His incessant mocking of TBS is hysterical. One long-running joke is this whole bit about the Conan Blimp. I also adore that Andy is back and in my opinion, better than ever. There seems to be a more relaxed format to the show now, where Conan and Andy can take more liberties with improv and Conan can do what he does best, which is take a joke, make fun of it, then drag it out (à la Family Guy). Love! Andy even acknowledges this point in this article, stating, “You know what, let’s just have some fun. Let’s just do a show now that we’re not replacing anybody. We’re not replacing David Letterman. We’re not replacing Jay Leno. We’re just startin’ up a show from scratch, which we’ve never gotten to do before. There’s no precedent. There’s no shoes to fill. We just get to do what we want.”

Amen. I have no doubt that Conan will succeed, even if we have trouble finding the actual channel on which it resides.

What’s just as good, if not better, than Coco? Cocoa. Especially hot cocoa, as seen by this delectable cup. Or watching Coco whilst drinking hot cocoa. Mmmmmm. There’s a thought. (Yep, that’s my idea of a good fantasy right there. Conan would do a great job of making fun of that.)

I personally make kickass hot chocolate and in college, we would put Bailey’s in it, dubbing it “adult hot chocolate.” There’s one recipe there, should you care to be adventurous.

However, THE BEST hot chocolate I’ve ever had in my life was at Angelina in Paris. Yes, you’d have to go to Paris to drink it but it is hands down the best stuff you will ever drink. It’s served with ice water to help you counteract its richness and costs over 6 Euros per person (at least it did in 2004). It is a creamier version of a melted chocolate bar in a cup, topped with homemade chantilly (a.k.a, whipped cream) and makes you full for hours. Delectable.

If I could have that while watching Conan, I’d have the best of both worlds. Coco/a bliss.

Now that I’m making myself salivate…I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving, with or without coco/a. Preferably with.

❤ ❤ ❤

2015 Update: I ended up going to Paris during my honeymoon and we definitely hit up Angelina! Below are some photos. Just as blissfully divine as I remembered it.

Angelina 3_Zoe Says Angelina 2_Zoe Says Angelina 1_Zoe Says


Baker’s Dozen: We Know It’s the Holiday Season Because…

1. The day after Halloween, instead of everything being about Thanksgiving, every store went right to Christmas. November is now officially Christmas Part I. Or, Christmas: The Prequel.

2. Despite the warm spell hitting the middle of America currently, Christmas tree lots are sprouting up in a Store Parking Lot Near You.

3. Radio stations have already dedicated certain hours to solely playing Christmas/holiday music.

a) Stores start playing Christmas Muzak exclusively. I have it from a very good source that stores like Sephora were playing Christmas music even before Halloween and that she saw her first holiday ad on October 31.

4. The sheer bulk of our mail has tripled, with stores now advertising TWO Black Fridays or two days equivalent to Black Friday. Plasma TVs for $.49 and other nonsense.

5. Houses and small local businesses start decking out their exteriors with Christmas lights by November 2. These are the same people/establishments who will not take these down until March 3 or Easter.

a) You see ornaments for outrageous prices. I love Hallmark, being the card obsessed woman I am, but their Keepsake Ornament prices simply stagger me.

6. Large department stores put giant bows and wreaths on the outside of their buildings, making them look like it’s one giant gift box.

7. Every major website is adorned with the same type of advertising and promotions as physical stores. Sites like eBay have a counter that tells you how many shopping days are left, giving you that nice pre-holiday ulcer.

a) If you are an email subscriber to anything, you will be receiving early yuletide “secret sale” emails. “HURRY!” they shout.

b) Shipping prices have been slashed to either one dollar, one cent, or free.

8. Folks at work begin surreptitiously using all their free time to shop online. Postal workers, UPS men and the FedEx guy all start looking stressed when they enter places of business. The front area of every office looks like this:

These were all just for me today. Seriously.

9. Food, if it’s not already a constant in your workplace, begins multiplying as if we’re all going to hibernate the day after Christmas. (If only.) Bowls of chocolate, tins of popcorn, plates of cookies, pie, and any other type of holiday confection are all available 10 hours a day, five days a week. Add to this that emails begin circulating about holiday food gatherings.

10. Every single eatery, without exception, releases their holiday packaging. McDonald’s bags are decorated with golden snowflakes, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts will have their new festive holiday cups which contain their Christmas/holiday/yuletide coffee potions drenched in syrups, sprinkles, whipped cream and gooey toppings. Even gas stations have holiday packaging. You can buy a person a gift card to a gas station.

11. Your local and national news coverage, both on television and online, will dedicate (exponentially) segments/articles each week to saving money on travel, avoiding spending pitfalls, losing that holiday weight before it happens, circumventing travel nightmares, and promoting any human interest story that will get a tear or a dollar out of you. It’s already happening. (If you click on that travel link, you’ll see that the date of that article is September 20.)

12. Speaking of dollars…Salvation Army bell ringers line the street corners, clanging their bells incessantly while you try to maneuver the mobs and throngs of people all trying to get into the same stores as you are (mostly to escape the clanging bells).

13. All of the major networks come out with promos that are embedded with jingle bells, singing, etc. Channels like Hallmark, Lifetime and WE advertise their annual holiday made-for-television movie involving people being separated for Christmas and a person or animal joins them together, showing them the true meaning of the holiday spirit. While the movies tell you not to place such high importance on ribbons, tags, boxes or bags, the advertisements tell you that the ONLY things you should be worried about are when you buy your gifts and their accompanying, ribbons, tags, boxes and bags. HURRY UP, ALREADY!

a) Holiday specials now air in November. Check it.

These are only the thirteen that I could come up with and it’s November 15. If you buy into all the hype, you’re rushing off to start making those lists and checking them twice!

Author’s Note: Me, I love Christmas. Love, love, love it. I started listening to my Christmas music over the weekend. It was inspired by the fact that according to the stores and Everywhere in the United States, I should be fully immersed in the Christmas season already. So I thought, screw it, and the lilting voices of Bing and Nat and Perry and Johnny and all the rest of them filled my living room.