Friday Favorite Halloween Costumes

‘Tis Samhain Eve. All Hallows Eve, for you Christians in the audience (and I know you’re there because one of the smarmy variety came by to troll and is getting thoroughly trounced by my beloved heathens – my dear Catholic heart sister NP should be along soon to administer the coup de grace). Halloween ranks among my favorite holidays for two major reasons:

  1. Loot.
  2. Costumes.

I’m a little too old for the loot. Besides, I learned the dangers of doing so when you’re no longer knee-high to a short beaver when my ex came back traumatized from a raid on the neighborhood many years ago. He and his brother, both too young to drink and too young-at-heart to give up on traipsing the neighborhood with a sack, had decided to go as Batman and Robin. Why the taller of the two decided to be the sidekick, I’ll never know. But I remember clearly the difficulties involved in finding a leotard that will fit a six-foot-two twenty-something male.

I won’t paint you the entire horrifying picture, but merely sketch: it was tight. As in, form-fitting. As in, he didn’t need a rolled-up sock to enhance a certain portion of his anatomy.

Out the door I sent him, and received his traumatized self back at the house a few hours later. It seems that a certain mightily drunk lady had been sitting on her porch handing out candy. Her eyes zeroed right in on his naughty bits, and she said, in the presence of all of his friends and a few random children, “My, you’re the biggest superhero I’ve ever seen!”

He didn’t go trick-or-treating the following year. I have no idea why. I’m sure receiving a Valentine of Robin swinging through the city, inscribed with “To the biggest superhero I know,” from one of the witnesses that February had absolutely nothing to do with it.

So the loot is a fond memory, but the costumes are something I still enjoy tremendously. My friends and I often make a huge production out of it.

When Justin wasn’t going to be at work one Halloween, we went through considerable effort the night before setting him up as the Invisible Man. We suspended a fedora from the ceiling, glasses from the fedora, and perched a stuffed suit in his chair, with detached gloves on the keyboard. I printed a Claude Raines nameplate to slide over his own. That “costume” earned guided tours from the call center manager.

We blew that out of the water a couple years later when we spent months preparing Eric to be an English gentleman in a gig. We created a horse, made the harness from scratch, and suspended it from poles from his wheelchair. The wheelchair itself got a thorough renovation, complete with a pole with a lantern. Eric decked out in a morning coat and top hat. I wish I had the pics scanned in – it was a total sensation. He tried to top that with Professor X once, but even though he went so far as to shave his head, it just didn’t have the same cachet as him driving that horse-and-carriage on the grand tour through our building.

Wish he’d done that the same year my friend and I spent six hours bleaching white streaks into our hair to do Rogue.

I myself have, many a year now, done my best Captain Jack Sparrow. And you must keep in mind, this was before they sold the accessories. I had to make his ornaments from scratch. Even have the goatee with its beads. A seamstress friend made the pirate shirt. A little spirit gum, a little hair snipped from a wizard’s beard, and hey presto. That costume had every Johnny Depp fan in the call center wanting to kiss me, and was even a hit with a strange female at the grocery store, who sidled up to me while I was buying (what else?) rum.

She slipped an arm around me, and said in her best seductive voice, “Hi.”

I looked into her eyes, and grinned.

She paused. Her arm stiffened. She took a good look at the facial structure beneath the beard, stammered “I’m sorry!” and fled.

How I love Halloween.

This Samhain Eve, I shall be attending the Rocky Horror Picture Show, dressed as Neil Gaiman’s Death. She’s a cute perky Gothic chick whom you see twice in your life: once when you’re born, and once when you die. When I walked into my friend’s dorm room, his previously absent roommate turned around and exclaimed, in all seriousness, “Hey – haven’t I seen you somewhere before?”


That’s why I love this holiday. So many opportunities to play, for just one night be someone we’d like to be, a figment, a fantasy. So many chances for unintentional hilarity. And when else would you see Captain Jack and Brian do the Peanut Butter Jelly Dance?

Revel, my darlings, and return to tell the tales.

(Tip o’ the shot glass to Woozle once again, who created that brilliant LOL Pirate pic at the head of this post. It is made of awesome!)

Friday Favorite Halloween Costumes

Friday Favorite Grandmother Memories

Obama’s grandmother may not make it to Election Day. He’s spending the next couple of days with her, and then sacrificing their last precious moments together so that America has a fighting chance at a future.

“We’re all praying and we hope she does, but one of the things I want to make sure of is I had a chance to sit down with her and to talk to her. She’s still alert and she’s still got all her faculties. And I want to make sure that I don’t miss that opportunity,” he said.


Obama said his grandmother has been inundated with phone calls, e-mails and flowers from strangers.

“And so maybe she is getting a sense of, of long-deserved recognition at — toward the end of her life,” Obama told ABC.

I’m picturing here there, surrounded by flowers, sitting with her grandson, and I can imagine her pride in him. I’m not sure if she realizes just how much of this epic moment in American history is due to her. Grandmothers don’t often take the credit they deserve. They’re too busy adoring their grandkids.

Without Madelyn Dunham, Barack Obama wouldn’t be the man he is today. He may not have had the compassion, judgement, wisdom and vision to become the president America needs. I can never thank her enough for the hope she’s given us.

So I want to take this moment to celebrate grandmothers. I want them to know just how cherished they are.

I wouldn’t even remember my paternal grandmother if my parents hadn’t hauled me back to Indiana just before she died. At six, I didn’t understand that breast cancer was eating her alive. She seemed eternal to me. She made me fearless.

Her arm was a huge, swollen red mass – she jokingly called it an elephant’s leg. She suffered extreme hot flashes. But she smiled through all of that pain and discomfort. She lavished affection on me, making me feel like I was the precise center of the universe. I remember her grace in those last weeks. I remember her strength. I remember doing dishes with her (not that I was much help!), marveling at the ceramics she’d made, beautiful teapots and cups painted with cheery colors and forget-me-nots. She seemed like the archetypical grandma, and I was in love.

The clearest memory I have of those magical weeks was the afternoon when she was bedridden. When I was sick, my mom read me stories, so of course I’d do the same for her. I plopped myself down on an old wooden chair by her bed, and labored through some silly story in one of my schoolbooks. She listened with rapt attention, as if those simple sentences were the greatest works in the English language, and I the most eloquent reader of them all.

Midway through the story, one of the family members barged in to ask a question. My grandmother reared up on an elbow. Her “SHHH!” rebounded off the walls. “Dana’s reading to me!”

Oh, how proud I felt! Nothing on earth meant more to her than having her granddaughter reading to her. No one was more important than a six year-old girl with a book in hand. I really am a good reader, I realized! The family member backed out with a grin, and I finished reading the whole book, feeling that I was doing something unique and incredibly special, reassured in my skill.

I already had a strong love of books, but that moment is what etched into my soul forever the power of stories. On that day, I became a storyteller.

Memories of my maternal grandmother aren’t so concentrated. We had many more years together. We lived too far apart to be close in a daily sort of way, but no time or distance mattered. Neither did forwarning. One night, my parents and I were lazing in front of the TV when the front door flew open. For a wild instant, as we scrambled to our feet and the dogs barked, we thought we were being robbed. But no – it was just my grandma, barging through the door with a pillow and a bag, marching triumphantly into the house. She and my grandfather had decided to drive half a continent just to surprise us. The shock and joy at her successful trick delighted her.

She had a laugh that made me glow. I remember standing on our back porch with her, gazing at the mountains that reared up over the forest beyond our back yard. “Grandma, how can you live in a place where you can’t look at mountains every day?” I demanded suddenly. She just laughed, and tried to tell me that Indiana had its own beauties, but all I could hear was that half-sigh, half-chuckle, beaming deep in my being like a personal sun.

She never did convince me Indiana was better than Arizona. She did, however, introduce me to the glories of shopping. She bought me my first silk scarf, which was the most exotic thing I could ever imagine. I thought only sultans and princesses in distant lands got silk. To this day, whenever I buy something woven from silk, I remember that square of brilliantly-colored material that she placed in my hands.

One of the last times I saw her was when she placed another exotic item in my hand: a sparkler. We were in her back yard in Indiana in late August, and the relations had been out buying fireworks. I was sixteen, and I’d never held one before. They’re illegal in Arizona – light a sparkler, and the whole state could go up in flames. I remember her standing on the porch, handing sparklers to grandkids and sending us out to draw designs in the air with silver fire. There’s nothing quite like a grandmother’s contented expression when she’s watching a yard full of grandkids having the time of their young lives.

My grandmothers gave me a sense of wonder, and a center of hope and love that I’ve carried with me through a lifetime. Those memories of them are among the most precious I have.

Grandmothers are unique. We’re lucky to have them.

Friday Favorite Grandmother Memories

Friday Favorite Funny Political Videos

This week has been an absolute treasure trove of political wit. Kick back, pour your favorite beverage, and enjoy!

We begin with an important Public Service Announcement. Just as it’s important for parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of drugs, it’s vital that kids talk to their parents about the dangers of McCain:

A McCain-Free America starts at home.

Recently, 20/20 aired a program odiously questioning whether young people should vote. After cherry-picking responses to maximize the appearance of youth ignorance, John Stossel in his infinite determined that young adults are just too dumb to vote and should stay home.

Note to John Stossel: it might be best not to go there, lest ye be PWND:

Stossel should be sentenced to weeks of having to watch that one on a loop.

I know the economy’s been much on our minds lately. It’s all because of the Pirates of Wall Street:

Aye, I’ll drink to that!

McCain’s private diary found its way onto YouTube. If you ever wanted to know how he really feels about Sarah Palin, wonder no more:

Just as I suspected.

And, finally, let us be under no illusions as to what John Cleese thinks of Sarah Palin:

He’s so right. So blazingly, scathingly, hilariously right. I have loved this man since high school. Every year, I love him a little more.

I’d like to raise a toast to our fucked-up political landscape, which has proven such a rich source of material for satire, parody and snark. Cheers!

Friday Favorite Funny Political Videos

Friday Favorite Garden

One of the most exciting things about moving to Seattle was the Japanese Garden at the Washington Arboretum.

I used to have a fascination for English gardens. There was a great one surrounding a house in Prescott that I used to drive by on my way home. There’s just something about those that make you want to put on your best English summer suit and sit at a table sipping tea and nibbling scones: staid, and relaxing, and full of flowers. I loved that garden. I wanted one.

This was before I fell hard for Japan. When I saw my first picture of a Japanese garden, all thoughts of English gardens got defenestrated.

Problem is, it’s a lot easier to find an English garden than a Japanese one in Arizona.

Japanese gardens suit every one of my personality quirks. They have a delightfully deceptive simplicity. They say a lot with very little. They contain a lot of hidden places, sidetrack you with mysteries, and invite you to step off the beaten path and just enjoy the moment you’re in. They accomplish with rocks and plants what a great writer accomplishes with well-placed words and themes.

If you get a chance, you might want to wander among the pine trees pruned to evoke clouds, or take a side-trip down a trail that symbolizes a mountainside.

Linger under a wisteria-draped bower and gaze out over the mirror-smooth pond, or sit on the old wooden bridge watching carp laze about beneath you.

At the end of your journey, put off your shoes and settle in for a tea ceremony. It’s more than just a cuppa, you know: this is art.

This is the place I feel the most restored. What’s yours?

Friday Favorite Garden

Friday Favorite Banned Books

In honor of Banned Books Week, let’s talk about some of our favorite banned books, shall we, my darlings?

I grabbed my short list from the Wikipedia List of Most Commonly Challenged Books in the U.S. If any of you have lists from other countries, let us know in comments. Censorship is a worldwide problem. It grows like a weed, and, like a weed, needs to be pulled up and stopped before it can take deep root.

1984 by George Orwell. This wasn’t a comfortable book. Reading it felt like being bludgeoned to death by blank-faced lackeys of a dictator, and I went through a few weeks of numb fog afterward, jumping at Newspeak shadows. It brought on a mild form of PTSD. But it was one of the most valuable books I’ve ever read, and rings all too true during this Rise of American Totalitarianism.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. This book grabbed me by the shirt-front and yanked me in from the opening lines. “It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him.” I can see why it would be banned for strictly medical reasons: I nearly developed a hernia from laughing so hard. I’ve never read anything else that captured the insanity of war quite so well. Brilliant!

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Yes. I admit it. I’m a Harry Potter addict. My friend Justin forced the first book on me. I’d had absolutely no intention of reading a bloody kid’s book about a boy wizard, for fuck’s sake. Immediately upon finishing it, though, I was digging my crappy old Tempo out of the snow at four in the morning and forcing the poor beast to navigate icy streets to our 24-hour Wal-Mart to buy as many of the rest as were available. I adore her way with words. I love her characters. I think the magic is awesome, and I find it simply delightful that she’s persuaded a plethora of kids to read books bigger than they are. Every life needs some magic. She delivers.

How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell. I read this as a kid, delightfully grossed out by the whole concept of eating worms. I took away a few lessons from it that have proved valuable throughout my life: never make a bet you wouldn’t mind losing, never be afraid to try something new as long as it’s properly cooked, and worms are a good source of protein.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. I read this in a single night in college. I’d never been one much for social justice, activism, unions and all that, but after suffering vicariously through the lives of those brutalized characters, I became a firm believer in all of the above, together with a healthy dose of government regulation. This book raised my consciousness more than just about anything else I’d ever read to that date. And it very nearly turned me into a vegan. I can tell you this: I’ll never see a sausage the same way ever again.

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. Another college book. I did my book report on it for my Islamic Civilization class. Honestly, I don’t remember all that much of the book itself, aside from liking it. What was most important was the fact that this book had sparked such outrage that it almost got its author killed. It was my first true introduction to the extremes of religious intolerance. And it got me in to reading other writers on Islamic themes, whom I’ve loved. There are incredible writers emerging from the Muslim world, incredible writers in their past, and none of them deserve death for what they’ve penned. Salman Rushdie remains one of my heroes to this day.

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume. Heart-wrenching. So many parts of this book have stayed with me, from that innocent night under the trees in the back yard when young love was blooming, only to be rudely interrupted by news that the main character’s father had been shot, to her mother breaking her toes by kicking a wall in a paroxym of grief, to singing “I Cain’t Say No” in the school play. “A tiger’s eye for my Tiger Eyes.” So many beautiful moments in this book. It’s given me a lot of strength throughout the years.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This was our sophomore lit required reading, and I can’t begin to describe the relief after having to suffer through The Oxbow Incident in freshman lit. (The insult added to injury was seeing them unpack boxes of Farenheit 451, the new freshman required reading, right after I’d gratefully abandoned that other pile of shit. Barstards!) I didn’t think I’d like this one any better, but a few pages in, I got hooked and finished it in a day. Scout and her father’s brave stand against racial injustice in the deep South captivated me. I found myself pulled into a world I’d never suspected existed. It taught me to overcome my fear of “otherness” – not that a lifetime living among African Americans, Native Americans, Mexican Americans and other sundry folk hadn’t taught me that skin color is no more important than hair color, but there are still plenty of other differences. I think this book is why I wasn’t afraid to plunge into other cultures and get to know people with very strange customs. And it made me passionate about fairness and justice.

All of these books enriched my life in some way. All of them showed me the world through different eyes, and made me question basic assumptions. They reinforced my passion for the written word. Books allow us to experience lives we haven’t led. They open us wide to the world. They can change our perspectives, and make us better human beings.

Which is probably why so many of them end up being challenged by those who would rather we keep our eyes and minds firmly closed.

Fuck that. I’m going to grab myself another banned book. Point me to your favorites and join me in some freedom, my darlings.

Friday Favorite Banned Books

Friday Favorite Restaurants

Fuck the chain restaurants. Gimme local.

I love those independent, locally owned and operated places that kick the giant’s asses. The ones that you discover by accident, or through a friend, or just because it was on the way and smelled too inviting to pass up.

There are four in particular that, if I could arrange the world to my liking, I’d plunk down right next to my house. Or possibly live in….

Taj Mahal, Prescott, Arizona: I’ve been going to this one since my college days. It’s one of the few things I was grateful to my vegan ex boyfriend for – I’d never even considered Indian cuisine until he dragged me in for dinner. Instant addiction. I ended up there for the champagne brunch regularly on Sundays the whole time I lived in Prescott, and it’s the first place I hit whenever I’m in town. They make a great chicken tikka masala, but their butter chicken is absolutely to die for. I never walk out of Taj Mahal: I waddle, stuffed to the gills with some of the best Indian food this side of India.

Pita Jungle, Tempe, Arizona: Another thing I can thank the ex for. He discovered this hip little college town joint and convinced me to yet again expand my culinary horizons. It’s a loud, bohemian little place that serves some of the best Mediterranean food ever cooked. Their shawarma weighs nearly a pound: a thick pita stuffed full of rotisserie chicken, onions, lettuce, and pickles, finished off with the best garlic sauce in the known universe. Add a side of garlic new potatoes and a slice of baklava for dessert, and this is another place I have to loosen the belt for. Ye gods. It’s the only thing I’m looking forward to when I go back to the Valley next week, aside from friends and family.

Pike Place Chowder, Seattle, Washington: Located right by Pike Place Market, this place doesn’t look like much. It tastes like a billion dollars. I’m an inveterate chowder hater – I’ve never been a soup person to begin with, and chowder was one of my least favorites. I tagged along with a couple of visiting friends who are chowder fanatics, and got suckerpunched by the seared scallop chowder. Seared fucking scallops! They serve it up in a sourdough bread bowl, and it’s one of those flavors I dream of on a regular basis.

Pagliacci Pizza, Kirkland, Washington: This was one of those wonderful discoveries made by poking through the intertoobz in search of something a little better than Papa John’s when we first moved up here and our dishes hadn’t arrived yet. I rely on them to keep me fed and happy most weekends. Their pizza is fantastic – really premium Italian American goodness, with a ton of fresh and exotic ingredients to choose from. Top it off with some sweet cream gelato, locally made, and heaven is at hand, delivered to my door by some of the nicest delivery guys and gals ever. And calling in the order is painless: they’ve hired smart and fun folks who always make me feel like their most cherished customer. As if they weren’t already awesome enough, their pizza boxes are currently printed with voting information.

So there ye go. Just a few of my favorite local establishments. What’re yours?

Friday Favorite Restaurants

Friday Favorite Funny Films

Seeing as how I’m trying to hold on to my sense of humor whilst coughing and sneezing, let’s talk about comedy films.

I myself am a sucker for British comedy, first of all. High school is a blur of Monty Python quotes: my friend Ray had the Black Knight scene from The Holy Grail memorized. He’d launch into it on the slightest provocation:

Passers-by often didn’t understand.

We lived in a sheltered town, one that didn’t have a great amount of experience with teenagers driving by screaming “OH WOT A LOVERLY LITTLE!” at women pushing strollers – until us. And they had no idea how to deal with a bunch of people reenacting the Black Death scene at every opportunity:

Imagine how much more terrorized the town would’ve been if we’d known of Blackadder back then. I mean, we studied MacBeth in British and Western Literature – the comedic potential is incalculable:

Part of the reason why I love British humor is that, silly as it is, it’s still smart. Alanis Morisette would’ve done well to watch this clip before trying to write a song about irony:

Now, at this point, you may be saying, “But, Dana – you said films, and now you’re handing us television. What gives?”

Oh, ye of little faith. There was a film: Blackadder’s Christmas Carol:

It’s got one of the best endings of any film ever, but only if you’ve seen enough of the show to get the full force of the in-joke. Trust me. Go. Rent. Enjoy.

Your turn, my darlings.

Friday Favorite Funny Films

Friday Favorite Sport

Just to be clear, here: I’m no sports fan.

I don’t follow sports. I don’t participate in those sports days at work where you’re supposed to wear your favorite team’s jersey and compete for sports-related prizes. If the talk turns to sports, I immediately tune it out. Dead boring.

But even a disinterested person such as myself has a few favorites.

It may surprise you to learn that Nascar is among them.

My family is old Indiana redneck stock. The Indianapolis 500 was a big deal in my household (no, it’s not Nascar, but it’s a close cousin). During racing season, my dad always had the TV tuned to the races. And we used to watch them together avidly.

My dad, at one point in his life, had wanted to design stock cars for Nascar. He’d even dreamed of becoming a race car driver. One of my earliest memories is being at a go-cart race and sitting on the tailgate of our old blue pickup while my dad raced and my mom bit her nails. A lot of those drivers who were famous back in the ’80s and ’90s were people my dad knew personally.

I didn’t know this until we were watching a race one day, and my dad started laughing at a maneuver A.J. Foyt whipped out. “He pulled that same trick on me in a race once,” he said.

“YOU KNEW A.J. FOYT?” I shouted. “You raced with A.J. Foyt?”

He did indeed. A.J., in fact, was one of the major reasons my dad decided that being a rockstar racer was an impossible dream. A.J. was just too damned good.

So I still have a fondness for a good car race. I understand it on a tactical level, because my dad would explain what the drivers were doing and why. To me, it’s not just a lot of cars going in circles around a track really fast. It’s a nail-biting test of skill, determination, and a little bit o’ luck.

Still. It’s got nothing on my favorite sport: steeplechasing.

I had a dream, once. I wanted to become a steeplechase jockey. The only thing that really stopped me was the fact that you just don’t get the opportunity to steeplechase in this country. We have flat racing. And that wasn’t enough for me – I know it takes a lot of skill to maneuver 1,000+ pounds of excited equine around a track, but it’s a whole different thing when that track has jumps in.

Thirty miles an hour over jumps, people. That’s some seriously intense racing.

I used to take my poor pony out and teach him to jump. I think he enjoyed it – he certainly seemed to have fun making me do the jumping first, to demonstrate – and we’d play the Grand National in slow-motion regularly on weekends. The “jump” was a plywood board about 18 inches high, and my boy’s speed was about equivalent to a geriatric gerbil, but it was still a thrill. There’s nothing quite like the sensation of those muscles under you bunching for a leap. And this is still my dream: if I become a fabulously wealthy author, I shall have my own track, and my own hunters, and I’ll be out there playing Grand National all over again, only this time with better steeds.

Blame Dick Francis for the obsession. He was a steeplechase jockey turned mystery writer, and the way he describes that communion between human and horse is intoxicating. I’ve owned horses. I know what he’s talking about. Becoming one with another creature while doing something just a little bit reckless can be tremendous fun for the both of you.

I love the thunder of hooves over turf, and the sudden silence as rider and horse become airborne. I love watching those bodies merge. I love watching them strain and strive and do their level best to come out ahead. I’ve seen plenty of equine atheletes who glory in their skill. And I love that sparkle in their eyes as they strut off the track. They seem to know they just wowed all those silly humans. They’ll put a little extra prance in their step, a little extra arch to the neck, going by the stands. Glorious show-offs. My pony was the same way. Total ham who loved nothing better than pulling a fast one on us.

A lot of talk takes place about the brutality of horse racing, and make no mistake: it is brutal. Especially steeplechasing, where a lot more horses and jockeys die than in regular old flat racing. A bleeding-heart liberal such as myself should probably not have the passion for it that I do. But I’ve also experienced the love between trainers, jockeys, owners, and horses. I know a lot of good people within the industry are working to minimize the risks and make things as humane as possible. That allows me to enjoy the beauty of it all.

So those are my favorites. How about yours?

Friday Favorite Sport

Friday Favorite Season

Autumn isn’t mine.

The damned leaves are already turning. Whole branches have blushed red or are cowering yellow. When a stiff wind blows, a few premature demisers make their final dive into the pond. And it’s bloody cold already.

That means winter’s coming, with its short, gray days and its icy rain. The rare bit of snow we get here will look pretty dusting the trees, granted – but only so long as I don’t have to drive in it. People in this city lose their minds when there’s a snowflake or two on the road.

And summer’s nice, but some days I feel like I’ve been turning on a rotisserie spit. The days are insufferably long – for a nocturne like me, having only a few hours of night is depressing.

Give me spring, damn it.

I love spring. I love that special shade of green you get with young, vigorous leaves popping out everywhere. Sunlight has an altogether different quality beaming down through newly-verdant trees. All those flowers blooming, all the gorgeous smells, the sensation of sudden life after a dead season – it’s fantastic. Spring invigorates me. Spring makes me feel all bubbly inside, and gets me outside to play.

I’m already looking forward to it. But I know a few of you are probably fanatics for fall, wistful for winter, or suckers for summer. Make your best case in comments.

Friday Favorite Season

Friday Favorite Show

Television is, for the most part, supremely overrated. Back in the days before this blog and a roommate, when I could throw on the boob tube and leave it running in the background, I used to avoid the networks like bubonic plague. Coworkers would come in blathering about Survivor and American Idol. It astonished them when I couldn’t join the conversation because I’d been watching Hot Rocks (geology), Cosmos (I trust I need not explain), or Dirty Jobs (oh, Mike Rowe, how you made me appreciate my suck-ass job!).

But my passion, virtually my religion, was the one-two punch of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

I’m ashamed to admit that I used to watch Daily Show only because Jon Stewart is cute and funny, that I wished they’d lay off the political crap, and that when Colbert Report first started airing, I wasn’t impressed.

Then, in mid-2006, the political stuff started getting really interesting. It started making me angry. I’d known for a long time that Bush was an outrageous fuck-up – even in my apolitical days, one of my friends was too ashamed to admit he’d voted for Bush yet again in 2004 – but the extent of his fuckery hadn’t struck me until I saw it played out night after night on The Daily Show.

Then I started understanding Colbert’s superb satire.

Then I started getting involved.

Because of those shows, I dragged my sorry arse out of bed early on Election Day in November ’06, and voted a straight Democratic ticket. That night at work, my beloved coworkers and I watched the election returns come in, and brought the house down screaming when the Dems swept to victory. It was a huge, powerful moment, made possible because of two fake news shows.

These days, there’s no TV in my room, and it’s too hard to blog and view at the same time. I’m horrifically pressed for time. But I sneak the occasional moment to catch up on Daily Show and Colbert Report. They’re the only shows I’ll watch. They’re the only shows I’ll ever need. And you can thank them for this blog.

Long may they air!

What shows are mustn’t-misses for you?

Friday Favorite Show