I'm not happy to make mistakes, but this week there's an upside. There wasn't a whole H-E-double-hockey-sticks of a lot going on to write about, so the correction fills space. In fact, this is a good opportunity to atone for some of my other recent mistakes. I'm sorry to my dogs for not filling up the water bowl this morning and leaving you thirsty for several hours. Sorry, Dad, for not calling you back last week. Sorry, Tina, for hitting you and being unfaithful. No, wait -- that's Ike Turner's mistake, not mine.
Merry Christmas: Other than writing special sub-par holiday-themed columns, my new favorite Christmas tradition is a trip to Dad's Garage to see Chick & Boozy's Christmas variety show. This year's was titled Chick And Boozy: Christmas Around the World. Chick Starley is a washed up B-action movie star played by Chris Blair. Boozy is an alcoholic puppet imp puppeteered by Lucky Yates. (Is puppetered a real verb?)
Anyway, it's a holiday show in the spirit of the old Bob Hope Christmas specials -- except it's actually funny. This year's version opened with Christmas ninjas attacking and kidnapping Santa Claus, played by Dad's Garage Creative Director Sean Daniels. Chick and Boozy had to rescue Santa to save Christmas.
Traveling in a convertible submarine, C&B venture to the bottom of the sea, as well as Detroit, Paris and Helen, Ga. The stop in Helen featured one of the show's highlights, a hilarious "fundraiser" fashion show for a Baptist church in Ringgold. The "fashions" are Christmas-themed sweatshirts decorated with paint, glitter and cotton balls. The designer and announcer of the show is a middle-aged Ringgold native played by Mary Kraft. At one point, she noted that because of her fear of terrorism, she plans on avoiding big cities -- like Dalton.
Another highlight is a celebrity version of the old game show "Match Game." Fake-sponsored by El Azteca (the host plugged it as fine Mexican food with "a slight chance of death"), the show's celebrity panel included Chick, Admiral Akbar, Anna Nicole Smith, Pink and, inexplicably, a giant rabbit. The grand prize was $200 worth of gift certificates to Del Taco.
I don't know the name of the guy who played Pink, but I'd like to mention that he had my favorite line of the evening. In a skit during the TheatreSports improv show that followed Chick & Boozy, he was one of the improvisers asked to name famous TV dads. He responded first with, "My Two." Genius.
Merry Christmas: The city's big Christmas display is Centennial Olympic Park's Holiday in Lights. And while its boast about having "thousands" of lights is rather meaningless when you consider that each $2 pack of Christmas lights on sale at Kroger has 100 bulbs, it's still a lovely place for a holiday stroll. The show's centerpiece is an enormous Christmas tree adjacent to the park's bidet-like fountains. There are no gifts under it. I checked. The "lights" part of the show is scattered around the park, as traditional and bizarre holiday scenes are depicted in giant lights. There are nutcrackers, snowflakes and a white light display of God blowing air. My favorite is the one that looks like two kids molesting a snowman.
I'd like to say a special holiday "thank you" to the man who approached me for 50 cents as I returned to my car from the park. He claims he deserved it because he "looked after" the car. With so many helpful community-minded people wandering the streets of downtown, it's a wonder more families don't feel comfortable walking there at night.
Merry Christmas: The best (translation: gaudiest) neighborhood light show I came across this year is the one on Midtown's Monroe Drive a block north of 10th Street. Spanning two front yards, the show features thousands of lights, just like Centennial Olympic Park. Unlike the park, it features plastic penguins wearing hats and scarves. I know I complained about this last year, but putting hats and scarves on penguins to drive home winter symbolism is a sad reminder of how dumbed-down our culture is becoming. If penguins alone don't visually symbolize cold weather without the help of winter clothes, what does that say about our intelligence? Perhaps all nativity scenes should now be labeled with a big sign reading, "Nativity Scene," and the baby Jesus should sport a T-shirt with "Young Lord and Savior" on it.
Feliz Navidad: It's always hard to write about bands that play instrumental music because writers usually resort to writing about a song's lyrical subject matter. One exception is Los Straitjackets, who are kind enough to provide easily described visuals. The band plays instrumental surf rock. If you're not sure what that is, think Pulp Fiction.
The band's Dec. 20 show at the Echo Lounge was a Christmas pageant of sorts -- featuring instrumental versions of holiday classics and a scantily clad female dance troupe called the Pontani Sisters. Like the Righteous Brothers and the Thompson Twins, I suspect that the three Pontani Sisters aren't actually siblings. But they do have great genes and excellent health in common. Dancing for every third song or so, each of their routines was followed by hoots, declarations of love and at least one marriage proposal. No word on whether they accepted.