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Tuesday, 08 February

Saturday night was the big extravaganza: the celebration for the in-laws' 40th anniversary (coinciding as well with father-in-law's sixtieth birthday). Laboriously set up by the wife, it was a gathering of nearly twenty people, consisting of family, friends, in-laws to be (the wife's brother is engaged), uninvited friends, a flurry of small bats, and, for some reason, Eric Roberts.

While not strictly a surprise party--that would have been a bit much to pull off--the in-laws were certainly surprised at the turnout. They hadn't seen some of the guests in a long time, and in certain puzzling cases, ever; but they delightedly chatted with everyone in attendance, expressing their happiness at seeing . . . who are you again? "Eric Roberts! Remember Star 80? By the way, this is excellent cheese."

I must give props to our main waiter, who handled every request with swiftness and aplomb, save for one: he balked at our request for 20 separate checks, for some reason having to do with brittle wristbones or some such, so we gamely acceded to having just three checks for our three tables. This led to fiercely worded reminders to all in attendance (minus of course the in-laws) that, apart from the appetizers we provided, anything else anyone drank, touched, ruined, farted into or paid to go home with was their responsibility to cough up dough for. (Look, we would have loved to pay for 20 peoples' dinner and drinks, but we are but poor peasant folk, and we also really need a new duvet cover and stuff.)

(Eric Roberts was pissed, and stole away unnoticed during a toast, leaving us to deal with his order of chili fries and nine Manhattans.)

The evening was very nice, and Maw In-Law got to sing "their" song as accompanied by the bar's pianist; Paw In-Law, never known for being a stoic, gave a lovely speech that ran to four pages, including (believe your eyes, here) the recitation of the entire set of lyrics from a Celine Dion song. It was really charmingly corny, and I mean that in the best possible way, because he clearly meant every word he said. Then they exchanged ruby-studded rings, or they would have, had we not had to confiscate them to pay for Eric Roberts' ducked order, to say nothing of the guano damage caused by the small, excitable swarm of bats. (I wondered if that was a bad idea.) The in-laws got a little teary when they saw the waitstaff excitedly examining the bejeweled rings and biting critically into the golden bands, but were pacified when the wife and I promised to take them shopping for pants sometime soon.

Sunday was, of course, the Super Bowl, and so much gets written about it that I don't really need to get into it much. A couple of the fellows came over to watch, and there were Bloody Marys (and mine are acknowledged as the Finest in the World, goddammit), a daunting spread of chips 'n dip 'n something else my friend C. brought over called Mexican Meatballs, which were actually really good . . . for fifteen minutes, and then they all got cold and looked like malevolent shrunken heads. (C. took the leftover meatballs home, including the one that fell on the kitchen floor. He gave it a rinse in the sink before popping it in the bag, causing me to think that it looked like a malevolent shrunken meatball head left out in the rain, causing me to then think of "MacArthur Park" as done by Primus, and by then I just needed a fucking nap.)

Anyway, as has been widely noted, the Super Bowl itself was phenomenally boring, particularly the razzle-free-non-dazzle of that miserable first half. Confronted at halftime with alleged entertainment provided by the man who embodies everything about the NFL, Paul McCartney, we fled for other pastures, and found it in Animal Planet's weirdly brilliant $50-dollar budget competition, the Puppy Bowl. For three hours, Animal Planet just shoved five or six puppies into a fake tiny football field littered with toys and let them fuck around. PUPPIES! we screamed. It was just adorable. They yapped and bit each other's asses and gnawed on toys. I kind of wished that the Super Bowl would adopt Puppy Bowl rules and show Tedy Bruschi gnawing on Donovan McNabb's ass in a pileup, but not for very long. The evil shrunken meatfaces were glaring at me again, and I was getting unnerved. Probably time to put down the Bloody Mary. We flipped back to Paul McCartney to make sure we weren't missing anything too funny, but he was just pounding away listlessly on his piano while slowly being eaten by the gloaming that was encroaching onto the stage. "Get back!" he screamed, as he was devoured by the Jacksonville night. "Get back to where you once belonged!" We switched back to puppies right as he was being consumed by unheeding Langoliers.

Even the celebrated ads were all terrible. I'll only mention two, for they were the only ones to elicit vocal responses from myself and the fellows. One was the clear winner, the AmeriQuest ad featuring the guy who appeared to be slaughtering his cat in the kitchen, which wins my all-time best award for an ad featuring a guy apparently slaughtering his cat in a kitchen. A close second was the ad for, which showed an alarmingly buxom woman falling out of her top and gyrating in front of congress, which brought cheers from the room (well, me) mainly for being so unapologetically salacious and appallingly puerile that I had to give it points. It was like including a clip from "Beavis and Butthead" right in the middle of an "Upstairs, Downstairs" marathon.

So it was a pretty full weekend. (I passed on talking about Bronko's funeral, which was Friday, for what I hope are obvious reasons.) Next weekend should be a lot lighter, except I guess there's Valentine's Day to deal with, and the obligatory romantic dinner. I wonder if C. still has those meatballs.

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


The Slaughtering the Bad Kitty Ameriquest Ad is also my all time favorite.

Comment number: 005496   Posted by: JudyU on February 8, 2005 07:23 AM from IP:

You can see it here if ya wanna. -->

I was dying to see if they'd have a McCartney wardrobe malfunction, just as a kind of FOCK YOU to the network sensors but.. meh. At least could joke about it.

Maybe next year.. next year the debauchery shall return..

Comment number: 005497   Posted by: Melissa on February 8, 2005 01:41 PM from IP:

i also liked the formulaic fedex ad.

Comment number: 005498   Posted by: kirsten on February 8, 2005 02:12 PM from IP:

Screw the Super Bowl. We had a Puppy Bowl party. And it was awesome.

Comment number: 005499   Posted by: CG on February 8, 2005 06:29 PM from IP:

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