2007 Christmas Letter

Welcome Humanoid—I, Ertok the Evil Alien Overlord, have been assigned the process of downloading and summarizing recent memories from unit 5d-301, also known as Omar. On a side note, he didn’t seem to enjoy the memory nasal probe. None of them do, which is strange considering how much recreational time these humans spend on digitally probing their own nasal cavities. Sure, the NP-5000 penetrates slightly deeper and contains various sharp, pointy objects similar to a Swiss Army Knife, but otherwise the processes are identical. And really, why am I stuck on this remote planet monitoring meaningless humans anyway? Just because I drank a bit too much space ale last holiday and vaporized the arm of the Assistant Regional Supervisor of Remote Planet Observations? His two other arms remain intact, so as long as he doesn’t plan on a career in professional hyper-circuit-plasma-ball, he should be fine. And trust me, he doesn’t have anywhere near the upper thorax for it anyways. But I digress– commencing download.

What’s going on? Where am I? Where is that voice coming from? I have to think about what I did this year? Why does it feel like someone crammed a Swiss Army Knife up my nose? It’s extracting my memories and digitally recording them—GREAT!

I spent a considerable amount of time getting my team ready for the annual Boulder Kinetics race. By team I mean myself, Katherine, and the sprawling mass of Styrofoam, random bicycle parts, and strategically placed duct tape that calls itself home in the two car garage of my house. As many alert readers recall, my first attempt at the kinetics race ended about 5 feet into the Boulder reservoir. This year I actually completed roughly 70 percent of the race. Three things kept me from finishing the race: 1) the paddle mechanism was too deep in the water, 2) I wasn’t exactly in peak physical form, and 3) a previously unknown sea monster was covertly attaching itself to my craft during the water portions of the race, thereby significantly increasing my coefficient of drag. Obviously, I need to spend more time on the last issue.

A few weeks after wrapping up the loose ends at Kinetics, Katherine and I decided to spice up our lives a bit by getting a dog. We discussed our dog needs, looked around at the local animal shelters, and finally decided to adopt Maury—a six month old black lab mix that was too scared to let anyone else play with him. They warned us Maury was what they called a “high energy” animal. I think a better way to describe his situation is to say he smokes crack several times a day. (Side note—our attempts to take a cute picture of Maury holding a crack pipe in his front paws were unsuccessful.) To go along with his high energy, Maury has a perpetual appetite. We feed him twice a day, and he thinks that every meal has barely managed to save him from starvation. Maury also has “jaws of death” teeth. Much like firefighters use the “jaws of life” to open up damaged vehicles, Maury’s teeth are very effective at ripping apart any type of dog toy we throw at him, regardless of any “indestructible” rating on the label. Despite his very active lifestyle, we have found that making him fetch his dog toy down one and a half flights of stairs fifteen to twenty times in a row will somewhat wear him out.

We spent a lot of effort this year deciding where to go for a vacation in November. After shooting down almost all of Katherine’s ideas, I finally agreed on a Caribbean cruise. My main objection, obviously, was that I couldn’t hone my bowling skills while sailing to the Grand Caymans. Thanks to Norwegian Cruise Lines this is no longer a problem. The Pearl, one of their newest and largest ships, is equipped with just about every possible leisure activity known to man—including a fully equipped four lane bowling alley. We flew to into Miami, got on board the ship, and spent five days getting spoiled with great food and entertainment. The highlight of the Grand Caymans was going on a snorkeling excursion where we found ourselves up close and personal with a friendly group of stingrays. On the ship we got to see Second City—a Chicago based comedy improvisation group—on several nights of the cruise.

I can’t, in good faith, write this letter without mentioning the worst crisis this country has been forced to deal with since the Monica Lewinski ordeal. Yes, I’m talking about the ongoing Writers Guild strike. Whose life hasn’t been radically altered now that new movies and television shows have been indefinitely put on hold? Several of my own personal creative ideas will have to wait until the strike is over to see the light of day. Here are a few gems from my computer’s hard drive:

Saturday Night Live News Story: …and now for a special report on Senator Larry Craig, we present Tobias Fünke….

OK, this might need a bit of an explanation here just in case a) you don’t watch as much TV as I do or b) you are from the far, far, future, (perhaps an alien species too far advanced for us to understand) taking a bit of a look-see at our Inter-Web and none of this makes any sense. Actor (adult humanoid) David Cross played Tobias Fünke on the regrettably short lived TV show (primitive two dimensional serial image and sound display device) “Arrested Development” who was, much like the Senator (regrettable evil needed to keep social order), in deep denial about his homosexuality (eww, if it involves old men, hot if it involves attractive college-aged women).

House: Special Billing Unit

Doctor House addressing a group of twenty accountants waiting patiently in the large classroom: “OK, team—my REAL team has, for this fiscal year, seen fifteen patients, saved eleven of them (eventually), and been forced to defend itself in five malpractice lawsuits. Strangely enough, it appears that most of our patients don’t have any insurance to pay for the extensive battery of tests we run with our revolutionary shotgun approach to diagnosis. In order to keep this facility financially solvent, you will find new, creative, and possibly ethical ways to make these deadbeats pay their bills.”

So that about wraps it up for the year. And as the snowy weather moves in, here are a few things to consider: wear dry socks, put on plenty of Chapstick, and always remember that the dog can jump the fence in the front yard if he is standing on top of two feet of snow.

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RATS!

State and federal wildlife biologists are teaming up to eliminate rats who have, for the past 200 years, overrun a large Alaskan island uninhabited by humans. The island, known to locals as “Rat Island,” will face a multi-pronged attack that will include the use of a blood thinners to make the rats bleed to death. One official close to the operation commented, “I’m sure we can get people to live there when we can change the name from ‘Rat Island’ to ‘Dead Rat Island.'”