December 30th, 2007

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Being truly wise, the wise men knew enough to shop after christmas

So last night was the annual holiday party at the casa de dos Bills. It's something they do every year and they go out of their way to have it catered which can't be an insignificant expense. The guest list seems to grow year from year and there are always new faces in one form or another.

This time around I got to meet a few more friends of the family (Bill S's) who included a little person, his little person wife, and their average-sized son. I'm putting average in italics because I have this tendancy to use the word 'normal' instead and actually did it once while talking to the guy about the genetics of little person-dom, something he quickly corrected. I'd never really had a huge amount of interest in the topic but was fasinated to discover that it's actually a dominant trait apparently. Only the heterozygous individuals survive so when any two little people have a kid, it's 2/3's likely to be a little person too and 1/3 likely to be average sized. I had always assumed because it was generally rare that it was a recessive trait. It turns out that a lot of them are also just spot mutations, which I guess only makes sense from the whole heterozygous thing.

As an aside, I find something incredibly belittling about the term 'little people'. I know it's what they apparently prefer and I guess it has to be better than dwarf or munchkin or leprechaun, but you'd think that they could come up with something better than little people. It makes them sound a bit like magical wee folk and you can't say that the world 'little' dosen't have an infantilizing ring to it. Maybe we could just call them short people or something.

Oh well, that whole thing aside, the only other thing I did was play Rock Band. I had realized at Matt and Joyce's Christmas get together that the drums were never going to be my thing. I tended to struggle even on easy. So this time around I gave the guitar a whirl and found I really liked it. I was competant enough to play on medium without getting boo'ed off the stage and usually managed a score in the high 80's. Not fantastic for sure, but not bad for a first night's try. There was something thrilling about playing the actual melody of a song, note for note. Of course, there were a few times I ended up flubbing those parts so badly that the song essentially had no melody for a bit. It always took a while for me to feel the beat of the song. As far as timing, I end up playing more on instinct than watching exactly when those colored bars hit bottom. In fact, when I had to rely just on the colored bars, that's when I usually ended up having issues.

We also ended up exchanging some christmas presents at the party. Frankly, this is part of the party that always causes me some amount of angst each year. I don't much like holiday shoping in general and I really don't like the fact that so many people end up showing up to this thing and there's this differing levels of friendship thing. It makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable when I see someone not get anything to get something and not give anything to someone or vice versa. I'm sure most other people don't even spend much time thinking about it, but it's something that I end up pondering. So this year, basically I just decided to load a pillow case with whozits. I bought a case of those bigass solid Hershey's kisses, a few tins of some fancy schmancy truffle whozits, and $75 worth of gift cards in $15 incredments. I then proceeded to toss the items about, hitting at the very least the major individuals and then anyone who didn't seem to have gotten much or anything. Lori ended up doing practically the same thing but went all gift cards. She was telling me she ended up picking up 15 of them from Target just to make sure that she had every possible person on the darn invite list covered. I have no clue what denomination is on the card, but that had to have been a pretty pricey endevor overall.

The only non-generic item I picked up was from Randy, who continued the tradition. This is the third christmas in a row where he's gotten me musical CD's. This time around it was Evita and the movie version of Sweeny Todd. I'm pretty excited about the later since it's one of those that I've always meant to get around to listening to. In fact, I'd love to get a group together to actually catch it in theaters. Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and a musical about killing people and baking them into pies. What is there not to like? Bob also came along with Randy and I got a chance to have a good talk with him as the night wore on. It's a shame that I don't get to see more of them in general, but Bob has no interest in gaming and generally avoids those events and even Randy dosen't pop down as often anymore. Shame really.

I ended up taking some pictures but they're still in the camera. I'll try to find some time to upload and resize them in the next day or two and pop them up.
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Tickets to die for

Girl wins concert tickets with essay faking dad's death in Iraq

GARLAND, Texas (AP) -- An essay that won a 6-year-old girl four tickets to a Hannah Montana concert began with the powerful line: "My daddy died this year in Iraq."

While gripping, it wasn't true -- and now the girl may lose her tickets after her mom acknowledged to contest organizers it was all a lie.

The sponsor of the contest was Club Libby Lu, a Chicago-based store that sells clothes, accessories and games intended for young girls.

The saga began Friday with company officials surprising the girl at a Club Libby Lu at a mall in suburban Garland, northeast of Dallas. The girl won a makeover that included a blonde Hannah Montana wig, as well as the grand prize: airfare for four to Albany, New York, and four tickets to the sold-out Hannah Montana concert on January 9.

The mother had told company officials that the girl's father died April 17 in a roadside bombing in Iraq, company spokeswoman Robyn Caulfield said.

"We did the essay and that's what we did to win," Priscilla Ceballos, the mother, said in an interview with Dallas TV station KDFW. "We did whatever we could do to win."

She had identified the soldier as Sgt. Jonathon Menjivar, but the Department of Defense has no record of anyone with that name dying in Iraq. Caulfield said the mother has admitted to the deception.

Pffft. When PR stunts go wrong. Film at 11.

You have got to be some clueless bitch to give such an easily verifiable lie a whirl in something like this. Ecspecially at christmas time. You can't expect news organizations not to have pounced on something like this as a human interest story given how much hype there's been over this Hannah Montana thing and with the whole holiday christmas wish angle to boot. Chances are they called over to the DoD just to get some details to add to their fluff piece and immediately found out that no such soldier existed.

The mom called down the lightning and now her ass is frying. I saw a CNN clip earlier today with some reporter chasing after her continually asking questions about whether she thought it was right to lie about such a thing. In other followup print pieces there have been quotes from this woman's neighbors, all expressing shock and disgust, which means the news vans must be swarming around her house. Hell, at this point the little girl probably wishes mommy was killed in Iraq. This way she could get the Hannah Montana tickets and lose 150 lbs of shameful dead weight.

And in the end, it all came to naught anyway.

"After awarding the grand prize, we unfortunately learned that the statements made in the essay were untrue," she said in the statement. "Club Libby Lu greatly values honestly and integrity. In order to uphold these values, we have decided to withdraw the award initially given to the Ceballos family."

And that's the way the cookie crumbles.

She's just lucky she's not getting charged with fraud or something along those lines.