Friday, December 30, 2011

Family of Writers

I've gotten a lot of compliments on this blog, which is cool, because I don't write to hear people say nice thing about me. I just write because I have a lot to say and generally only a toddler to say them to. She's smarter than I give her credit for, but I suspect there's still a lot that I say that she doesn't quite understand.

I really enjoy writing in my blog when I get a chance. I never know exactly who reads it and I don't hardly ever plan what I'm going to say before I say it. It's just my creative outlet for anyone who dares enter my wild mind.

I have come across the phenomena that men don't blog (Matt Semanek, you are the exception, and you don't even blog that much). There's something about it that just screams "female" for some reason. Maybe it's because most of the guys I know have noticed that it is trendy among stay-at-home-moms to blog and brag about their babies, so in order to stay tough, they stay away from blogging in general.

Not my husband. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Brandon Strother, fellow blogger.

He wouldn't put it that way, but he's discovered a manly way to blog, and it makes me happy. Now we're a family of writers! He has been accepted as a columnist for Bleacher Report, a sports reporting website. Just amateur writings, but his stuff actually counts as being published. Technically, the articles he writes are more credible than my blog. I base all of this on what an English teacher would take as acceptable citations in a bibliography or works cited. A published internet article on a legitimate sports website definitely trumps a mom's blog on the free google website. Darn.

Anyway, if you're interested in sports feel free to visit bleacherreport.com and read some of my sportscaster husband's articles. Here's the link that will take you to his first published article.

Anyone want to start a pool on how long it will take Brooklyn to start writing her own thoughts on the internet? So far they'd probably go something like this:

"Daddy. Night night. Go. All done."

Wow. My family is talented beyond what my words can express.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top Ten Christmas Movies

In principle I'm almost always against sequels. And I have a very definitive theory on sequels vs. trilogies or sagas. For example, I'm perfectly fine saying that LOTR: Return of the King is the best of the Lord of the Rings movies because it is the 3rd of a trilogy. The Lord of the Rings books were written together as one story and then divided up into three movies to fit Hollywood. Same thing goes for Harry Potter. Seven books, eight movies (because the seventh book is just THAT good). But take the Matrix, for example. The first movie was phenomenal. It stood alone and answered every question it asked. It tied up all the loose ends and was nearly perfect in all aspects. Hollywood (my gut says Bruckheimer, but don't quote me on it) says "Wow, that made lots of money. Let's make more!" and the next two were embarrassments to the first, pretending that all that made sense in the first movie was just a facade and there was really much more to it that wasn't explained yet. Yeah, yeah. You're just banking off what you did to begin with. Same goes for Jurassic Park (the 1st of which is one of my all time favorite films), Austin Powers (crude, yes, but hilarious nonetheless), Mission Impossible and Pirates of the Caribbean. With almost every one of these "sequel" movies, I love the first one and nothing past it.

I can think of two exceptions: The Godfather (called a trilogy but really isn't, in my definition...still some of the best movies of all time) and Home Alone. They made 3 or 4 but the ones without Macauley Culkin don't count. Tonight Brandon and I watched our newest Christmas movie, "Home Alone 2". Newest as in the one we bought most recently. $5 at Target was just something I could not pass up, so I said goodbye to my VHS copy and splurged.

Will Home Alone 2 outrank its predecessor on my Top Ten Christmas Movies list? Let's see!

Honorable Mention: "Die Hard" directed by John McTiernan and starring Bruce Willis as John McClane. It's the best Christmas movie that isn't really a Christmas movie, though I know some men who will argue to no end that it is. Hence, honorable mention. Because I absolutely LOVE the first Die Hard. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th? Well... I don't ignore them, but they certainly are on a level of ridiculousness way beyond the 1988 movie.

Another HM to "Joyeux Noel", which is the best foreign Christmas film out there. If I'd seen it more than once it may be on my real list, so we'll see next year. It's a great film based on the true story of how two side of a war quit fighting on Christmas Eve. Beautiful, even for a French film.

And don't ask why "White Christmas" isn't on the list. I've only seen it once, in pieces, so I can't judge it objectively. Again, maybe next year.

TRACEY STROTHER'S TOP TEN CHRISTMAS MOVIES!!

10. "Home Alone" directed by Chris Columbus, starring Macauley Culkin. Clever concept, lots of beating up of bad guys, an adorable main character, beautiful music. What more can you ask for?



9. "Charlie Brown Christmas" directed by Bill Melendez and starring the adorable Peanuts characters. It's the only mainstream Christmas movie that openly discusses that Jesus is the reason for the holiday we call Christmas. Linus recites from the book of Luke when he tells Charlie Brown "That's what Christmas is all about". Totally goes against all commercialism of the season and gets down to the basics of why we started celebrating in the first place. 



8. "Home Alone 2", see above. I realized while watching this one tonight that this film began my love affair with NYC. We also realized that Harry should have died 6 times and Marv 11 times in the film from the beatings they receive. Not to mention broken bones, concussions, poisonings, internal bleeding, etc. It beats the original in my book because of how stinkin' hilarious it is. I don't laugh more at any scene of a movie than when Marv gets electrocuted and turns into a skeleton. Lindsay, you know what I'm talking about. How many times did we rewind the tape so we could watch that over and over again?


7. "Scrooged" directed by Richard Donner, starring Bill Murray. <--- Saying that should be a thumbs up already, and his take on a modern day Ebenezer Scrooge as a TV producer is hilarious. Plus there's a pretty nice pep talk speech at the end that makes me teary-eyed a little. 


6. "Miracle on 34th Street" directed by George Seaton, and I say starring Natalie Wood! What would the movie be without sweet Susan? It's the movie we all watch when we want to believe that Santa Claus IS real, the film of the holiday season that gives us chills when she gets what she wants for Christmas :) And don't try to be all new school and rent the 1990's version with that cute girl from Mrs. Doubtfire. NOT the same movie. Not as good mum, not as good. And don't watch the old version amped up in color either. That's cheating. Not cool.


5. "Elf" directed by Jon Favreau (who plays the doctor who tells Walter that Buddy IS in fact his son) and starring Will Ferrell. If you need one movie to make you feel like a kid again, to wipe away all your adult drama and trouble, "Elf" is it. It is the ultimate reminder to stay young, play, and not take life so seriously. It's like "Peter Pan" on crack for Christmastime. 


4. "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" directed by Jeremiah Chechik and starring Chevy Chase. (You serious, Clark?) The National Lampoon's club didn't used to only make college fraternity and booby movies y'all. Back when Pierce Hawthorne, excuse me, Chevy Chase, starred in them, they were hil-arious. One of the funniest and most quoted Christmas movies of all time, hands down.


3. "Muppet Christmas Carol" directed by Brian Henson and starring THE MUPPETS. And Michael Caine. I could easily move this up a spot, and sometimes am tempted to place it at number one, especially right after I watch it. The Jim Henson studio has brought so much imagination, creativity and humor into the world through the Muppets and the Sesame Street characters. I can't really imagine my life without them... sounds weird, right? Who would have taught me to count if there was no "Count"? Thanks to the Hensons we have an amazing Dickens adaptation complete with original songs and tons of fun. And Caine is the best Scrooge. Ever. No arguments. Case closed.


2. "A Christmas Story" directed by Bob Clark and starring Peter Billingsley (though Jean Shepherd was his voice). Is there any part of "A Christmas Story" that you do not laugh at? I watch the movie and as every new scene I crack up just anticipating what is to come. I have three ornaments relating to this film on my Christmas tree. Three! (Sheriff Ralphie, "I can't put my arms down" Randy, and the leg lamp!) It is such a Christmas institution that for years TBS and TNT have played it on loop back to back to back to back to... (you get it) for 24 hours straight. And what's even crazier than that is that we watch it all day long! What other movie can you watch all day and not get tired of it? It reminds us of what we were all like on Christmas as kids, and as far as the whole Santa aspect of Christmas goes, its good to be a kid.


1. "It's a Wonderful Life" directed by Frank Capra, starring the one and only James Stewart, love of my life had I lived in the 40's. It's so easily the best Christmas movie ever that I started my list here and placed my nine other favorites in the remaining spots. It reminds me of Silence of the Lambs in a way (hear me out). Did you know the character of Hannibal Lecter is only on screen for 16 minutes of the entire film? And yet they gave Anthony Hopkins the Oscar for Best Actor because of what his time on screen meant. "It's a Wonderful Life" is THE quintessential Christmas movie, even though only about 1/4 of the movie occurs around Christmastime. If you're not crying when George Bailey, through tears, pleads with God, "I want to live again!" and then cheering when he cries for joy that "my mouf's bleedin!", then something's wrong with you. If you've never seen it, watch it immediately and your life will be changed. And then go watch the Saturday Night Live "Lost Ending" sketch. It's almost as good as the real film :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Top Ten Christmas Songs

It's one week from Christmas and just like every year, I find the time running out too quickly, leaving me very little time to listen to my favorite holiday jingles and jams. Nevermind that I have two radio stations on my dial that are playing continuous Christmas music until 12/26, I still want more. And when I want the best Christmas music, here's what I listen to. Without further ado,

Tracey Strother's Top Ten Christmas Songs!!!

Ok, I do have some further ado. This is not at all an easy list to create. Just picking and choosing from my iTunes I gathered 27, so I had to cut them down with tears in my eyes. Not really. I just said that for dramatic effect.

Also, I'd like to mention a couple of Honorable... um, Mentions.
First off, "Santa Claus is Back in Town" by The King... Elvis Presley. Talk about a suh-weeeeet blues song. It's a jam, but it's new to me, so I can't very well stick it in my Top 10 right away. Maybe next year, King. 

Next, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". Love the song. Love it when almost anyone sings it (sans Rascal Flatts... ick) and love it even more when no one sings it. Manheim Steamroller does a fair job on it, as does Celtic Christmas. There's one really jammin' version with big heavy bells that I love but don't have. Anyone know it?

Also, I completely love the song "Merry Christmas, Darling", but the Carpenters are so dorky that I can't stand listening to it. If anyone has a good version not by them, let me know. I spend my time singing it acapella around my house because I just want to throw up at their constant cheerfulness. The Carpenters were like precursors to Barney, and also what I think of every time I see Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer's SNL skit with the middle school choir directors.

Lastly, I'm putting "Linus and Lucy", because as great of a song as it is, it really isn't a Christmas song. It happened to be featured on the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon, but it was on other Charlie Brown cartoons too, so there.

Let's try to introduce this again:

Tracey Strother's Top Ten Christmas Songs!!!

12. What, did I say Top 10? Oops. "(It Must Have Been) Ol' Santa Claus" by Harry Connick Jr. A really fun, happy, jazzy and poppy Christmas tune. I am baffled as to why it didn't become an instant Christmas classic ala Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You". Happy Ho Ho Ho to you!

11. "Happy Christmas (War is Over)"- John Lennon. Maybe it's just my devotion to the Beatles, and my fascination with Lennon in particular, but there just seems to be fewer songs that are sweeter than this simple ballad to have peace at Christmastime.

10. "Run Run Rudolph" by Chuck Berry. One of the only Christmas songs ever known to actually rock someone's socks off. Seriously. I was dancing around the room to it the other day and my socks came off in a fit of joy. 


9. "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" by Johnny Mathis. If not for Home Alone 2, I probably would think this song is silly or annoying. Instead, I imagine Rob Schneider telling Macauley Culkin to enjoy his "very own: cheese pizza" and smile. 


8. "Winter Wonderland" by Jason Mraz. I love all things Mraz, and his distinct and unique cover of this Christmas classic is but one example of why.

7. "Let it Snow" by Dean Martin. I really can't get too much of the Rat Pack. Ole Blue Eyes will be seen shortly.

6. "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby. Some will be upset that this isn't higher, and as much as I love me some Bing, I've got some special Christmas favorites that just do it for me a bit more than this. (On a personal note, I don't have this on my iTunes either. Anyone willing to help a girl out?)

5.  "Carol of the Bells". Doesn't matter who sings it, as long as they do it well. Gorgeous and haunting at the same time. Could be a Halloween song... ha, ha, ha...

4. "What Christmas Means to Me" by Stevie Wonder.  Like I said before, I like fun Christmas music. I cannot help but jump up and dance when this one comes on.

3. "The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts Roasting...). There are two really wonderful versions of this song. The first is one of, or maybe THE oldest and still probably the best: Mel Torme. So smooth, that man's voice! Soothing, soft and beautiful. The song is like a lullaby when he sings it. There's also an upbeat jazzy version sung by Stevie Wonder (I like that guy!) and India Arie. Thanks, Bath and Body Works, for putting that on your mix cd's a few years ago! Totally different styles but both excellent holiday favorites.

2. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by Frank Sinatra. Christmas without Frank just isn't Christmas at all, is it?

1. "Oh, Holy Night" by N Sync. Call this blasphemy if you like, putting a 90's/early 2000's boy band in front of Frank Sinatra, but I kid you not, this acapella arrangement is one of the most beautiful I've ever heard and without a doubt in my mind the Christmas song I sing the most around the house. "Have Yourself..." had been listed as my favorite for years and years now, but the times they are a-changin'. Plus, how can you say no to these dorky faces?



Let the debate and "You left out"s begin.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Out With the Old

A couple of weeks ago we noticed that there were a TON of movies that Netflix is getting rid of on January 1st of the new year. Out with the old and in with the new, I guess. I've spoken highly of Netflix in the past and will continue to do so, but man... I'm not going to be able to watch all of the soon-to-be-gone films AND all of my favorite Christmas movies.

So I'm recruiting all of my blog readers for some help at this time of year. I do have a lot of time on my hands, but not an infinite amount. Which movies from these two lists do you recommend I put atop my priority list?

Christmas Films:
A Christmas Story
Ernest Saves Christmas
Scrooged
Miracle on 34th Street
It's a Wonderful Life
The Bishop's Wife
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
SNL Christmas

Elf
Home Alone
Home Alone 2


(No worries, I've already watched Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause, Rudolph and the Charlie Brown Christmas. Didn't just forget them off my list).

Netflix Departures:
Confederate States of America
Reversal of Fortune
The Left Handed Gun

City Hall
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Mad Max
A Very Long Engagement
Cobb
Spirit of St. Louis
Nights of Cabiria
Strictly Ballroom
Before Sunset
Before Sunrise
Rio Bravo
Blackboard Jungle
Dreams
Diner
Michael Collins
My Left Foot
Asphalt Jungle
Enter the Dragon
Four Rooms
Hudsucker Proxy
Grumpier Old Men
March of the Penguins
Cruising
Cook, Thief, Wife, Lover
Combat Shock
Cop Land
Space Cowboys
Auntie Mamie
Weird Science
Sex and the Single Girl
Howards End
Snow White: A Tale of Terror
American President
My Fellow Americans
Jackie Brown

I'm open to any and all suggestions on how to spend my lazy time this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Personality Assessment Inventory

We've all taken surveys and questionnaires like these before. You know, the ones that ask the same thing over and over with a slight change in the wording or order in the sentence? The ones that have 300 questions and you answer with "True, Mostly True, Sometimes True or Never True" and are supposed to help decode what you would be good with in life or as a career?

I finally got to go to the doctor yesterday to get re-evaluated for the anxiety/depression medication I've talked about on here. The psychologist suggested I take one of these "Personality Assessment Inventory" response booklets and answer 344 questions that will maybe give him some clue as to whether or not I need to stay on my current meds or not. Why not? Shouldn't take long, right?

Wrong. Not because there are a lot of questions, because they're really fairly easy to answer and all I do is circle an answer choice. It's taking me forever because I keep laughing at some of the questions. The doctor warned me that some of the questions would not apply to me at all. He wasn't kidding. I understand that this is given to a variety of people, and I see questions that refer to alcoholics, drug addicts, schizophrenics, manic-depressives, etc. but some of these were just too bizarre not to share.

These are some of the odd ones that really made my night for some reason. Maybe because I think I'd like to meet the person who would answer "Very True" to them all:

40. My favorite poet is Raymond Kertezc.
90. Sometimes it seems that my thoughts are broadcast so that others can hear them. (Paranoia or schizophrenia maybe...)
120. My favorite sports event on television is the high jump.
249. Sometimes my vision is only in black and white.
266. I will not ride in airplanes.
290. I don't believe there are people who can read minds.
309. I'm the target of a conspiracy (Okay, that's paranoia, but I liked the way it was phrased so I wrote it anyway).
312. I frequently have diarrhea. (Really not sure what that would have to do with your psychological being...)

And my favorite:
280. Most people look forward to a trip to the dentist.

Is there anyone who is going to respond to "Most people look forward to a trip to the dentist" with "Very True"???

Just thought I'd share. We're all crazy, just in different ways.

Who's Raymond Kertezc anyway?

Eddie Murphy

Here's a couple of additional money saving tips I forgot to mention before:

Have your wedding in the winter with a wintry theme. You have no idea how many snowflake ornaments and decorations we have because of it :) For most of you, this tip is too little too late, but for the high schoolers who read my blog, take note!

Don't spend your money on brown packing paper that you can only use for wrapping boxes you're going to ship. It's totally unnecessary, especially if you're like me and have a never-ending supply of Christmas wrapping paper. Take your least favorite (or the one your mom used year in and year out and was finally tired of seeing in her closet) and wrap your shipping boxes inside out with it. Kill two birds with one stone: one less thing to buy, and one more thing you get to consolidate, right Wendi? :)

And now for something completely different.

Eddie Murphy is not funny. He's not. Don't try to tell me he is, because you're wrong. He has an annoying voice, which ruins Shrek for me. He has one character (the Klumps and Nutty Professors are all the same, please tell me you know this). He makes cheap humor at the expense of fart noises, and he just keeps getting worse as the years go on.

I will not hide my contempt for most things Murphy, and I'll defend my case at all costs. But man... when it comes to Christmas and I watch the SNL Christmas special each year, I can't help but applaud at his one piece of brilliance: Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood. So, Mr. Murphy, despite how I change the channel at Beverly Hills Cop and roll my eyes at Daddy Day Care and Norbit, I salute you for giving me one of my favorite holiday sketches of all time.

"Today's letter is the letter X. What starts with the letter X?"

"Chris. Mas. Chris. Mas. Guess what else begins with the letter X?"



"X-Con!"

Merry Christmas, Eddie Murphy. May you revert to 1975 and the most humorous you've ever been. And to all a good night.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"No, I Want a House"

Brandon, Brooklyn and I live in an apartment, as my persistent readers already know. There's a big field to play in right outside our door, it's a gated community, all the neighbors are friendly (now that the murderous drug dealers are gone). We like it- it suits us just fine. For now.

Eventually we would like to have another child. And where would that child go if we were still living in this apartment when he/she would be born? I dunno- you tell me. Seriously. Come over and find me a space to even put up a port-a-crib, because I'm not seeing it.

This is not something that is on the horizon for us or anything, but we are planners, and looking into the future I saw a very tight fit in this little place we've got. And with hardly any 3 bedroom apartments out there that don't cost an arm and two legs, we realized it was time to begin thinking of a house.

This terrifies me, to be frank. Renting is all I have ever known. We do own both our cars, but have no car payments. Never have paid a car payment- always paid in full to begin. There's just something about buying a house that is the scariest thing imaginable.

I know the rules- you're supposed to put 20% down as a down payment, buy when interest rates are low and try to persuade the realtors to pay the closing costs for you. Buy in an area with good schools, low taxes and little to no homeowner's association fees. Yeah, yeah, I know all that, but I'm still horrified. And yet I don't want to rent a house. I want something to be my own. I want to be able to paint my walls without having to paint them back when I move out. I want to be able to do what I want to a place and not worry about what the new owners will think (the kitchen cabinet example comes to mind... some of you know what I'm talking about, and I don't care what the apartment complex says- our design is much more functional and we're not changing it).

Anyway, like FDR said in his inaugural address, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. So I have begun the basis of some research and searching for affordable houses in the area. This is a challenge because A)We live off one teacher's salary and B)We don't want to live in the hood. Cheap but safe is hard to come by.

There is a new neighborhood being built off Hwy 36 in Rosenberg just minutes away from where we live now. Brand new houses, from the 100,000's. Say whaaaaat? Something we can afford AND it's brand new? I'm not completely jumping for joy yet because the idea of home ownership is still somewhat ominous to me, but so far so good, right?

Who knows if that's where we'll eventually live. But it is an example; a shining light at the end of the "You-Can't-Afford-It" tunnel. So I am shrugging off my fears and setting a goal: by Christmas next year we want to be living in a house. Will it happen? Don't know. But we're getting stricter on our budget to see what we can do. Brandon asked me if I wanted ice cream the other night.

"No, I want a house".

I said I was craving tacos, so he asks me if I want Taco Bell.

"Yes. But I want a house more, so no."

With a little more saving and a little less spending, we may be able to reach our goal. Instead of telling myself, "You should get a passion tea lemonade from Starbucks today!" I'll be telling myself, "Just keep driving. You want a house".

So that's it. I want a house. I want it so bad I have a floor plan of an affordable one-story as my laptop background. I want a house. And I plan to get one for Christmas 2012. Any advice and words of wisdom are welcome.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Facebook vs. Christmas Cards

We got a Christmas card in the mail the other day from some family members that had a year in pictures that had been printed on a piece of paper, highlighting their favorite moments of 2011. Normally I am against Christmas newsletters because frankly, usually the people who do them are bragging about their for-no-reason-other-than-the-fact-we-have-money-to-blow vacations to Cabo and what not, so sorry, I'm not interested. However, I really liked the pictures of all the neat things and places that our cousins put in their card. Very cute, very informative, to the point and didn't seem like obnoxious braggarts. Brownie points to Aunt Leslie- nice job Buffs!

So Brandon says, "We should do one of these!"

Alarm bells go off in my head because let's face it, I have put enough projects on my plate at this time of year and do not have the time or energy to go find pictures to piece together and print off to tell the story of our year.

He clarifies, "Not this year, but maybe later when we have another kid and are doing vacations and fun things".

Oh, okay. That's better. But still... the anti-newsletter part of me is yelling at the I-love-showing-off-my-child part of me and I'm conflicted.

"People like to see pictures of friends and family! They want to know what we're up to!"

Yeah, I say, that's what Facebook is for.

And so it dawned on me: why am I sending out 70+ Christmas cards? I'm friends with nearly all of these people who are getting a card on Facebook. They have seen recent pictures of me, Brandon, and Brooklyn. A lot of the card getters go to church with us, so they see us every week. I even had to send out a mass message to about 15 people on Facebook, asking for their address so I can send them a Christmas card. Why do they care? Why buy the 4 books of stamps? Why buy or make Christmas cards? Why print photos? All of this adds up and becomes quite a bit of money. Why don't we just put our Christmas card pictures on Facebook and all send e-greetings over the holidays?

Here's the answer:

There's just something about getting a real piece of mail.

It's true. Certain things just don't go out of style, and as long as the United States Postal Service is up and running, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be mailing out Christmas cards, no matter how long it takes to make and address them, no matter how often I see the people who are receiving them, and no matter what it costs me to do it. It's the same reason why I won't ever buy a Nook or Kindle or anything like that. I like real books. I like paper. I want the pages. I want a real bookmark. I want to see how worn it gets because I read it over and over and carry it with me on trips. And I want real Christmas cards.

So be prepared- your card and photo are in the mail. I hope to be gracing your refrigerator doors soon, and know that you will be gracing mine. Thanks in advance to the Buffs, Speights and Sherwoods, whose cards I've already gotten.

'Tis the season to do some mailing! The internet is great for social networking and blogging, but let's keep it away from our Christmas cards :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Infamy of National Disasters

In a speech given in 1941 after Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese, Franklin Roosevelt called December 7th, "a day that will live in infamy". Infamy used to be synonymous with notorious; you are famous for something negative and have a stigma attached to you. In the English language however, the prefix in- means "not" or "the opposite of", and I've come to realize that it is in this context that we must view FDR's speech. From a modern perspective, December 7th is not a negative date, it is completely the opposite of famous.

I love calendars. Santa used to bring me a new one every year for Christmas (when that stopped, I let my mom know that was my favorite gift and that she needed to get on the ball with that once again). I have made countless collages out of the pictures that have come out of them and at any one point in time have 6 hanging up all around my house. So tonight as I threw my trash away in the kitchen I noticed that on my Wizard of Oz calendar for December 7th it read "Pearl Harbor Day of Remembrance". Hmm, I thought to myself, I almost forgot to remember Pearl Harbor!

Of all the silly statements. I almost forgot to remember Pearl Harbor. What does that even mean? The truth of the matter is that it means nothing. Pearl Harbor means next to nothing to me. Pearl Harbor is just a bad movie with good looking actors in it. It's the end of "From Here to Eternity". It has much more to do with films than with history or the military for me. This entire thought process is of course ridiculous, but true. I wasn't alive in 1941 and neither were my parents. None of my grandparents were involved in World War II and I have friends who are Japanese. I never saw the tragedies that came from Pearl Harbor and America's involvement in the war from that point on.

All of this got me thinking. Is 9/11 going to be my grandchildren's Pearl Harbor? Are they going to forget to remember that terrible day in history just like I've forgotten one from decades before I was born? Why not? Millions of inventions are going to become popular and grow more technologically advanced by then. Cars may actually fly by the time I have grandkids- who knows. Why wouldn't this piece of history just get stashed away as another boring date to learn for Mr. Strother's US History test?

I think it's fairly easy to say this won't happen for a few reasons. For one, we don't call the terrorist attack the "Twin Towers", but rather refer to it by the date that it occurred. Whenever we talk about the World Trade Center attacks, we call it 9/11. Odds are that for many many years to come, September 11th will be a day that always reminds us the terrorist attacks in New York City 10 years ago if for no other reason because we always say the date when talking about it. Another reason why I tell myself it won't be the same is because of the media's influence. World War II was not broadcast into folk's living rooms the way Vietnam was; people didn't really know or get to experience what war was really like through a camera lens. We do now. We watched the second plane hit the second tower. We witnessed innocent people jump out of the burning buildings to their deaths. We saw the towers fall. And we've seen every piece of the aftermath since.

All eyes were on the 9/11 tragedy then, and the footage is around so that generations to come can have their eyes on it too. The ears of the nation may have been open, absorbing each word FDR had to say on December 7th, 1941, but their eyes had nothing to focus on. We are a visual society, only really being affected by what we can see. We have to remember what it's like to listen, because there is plenty being spoken to us that could teach us a thing or two.

Open your eyes and look around you. Open your ears and be aware. Remember those who died at Pearl Harbor, in World War II and in the senseless 9/11 attacks. They were innocents who didn't choose to be there. Don't let their deaths become infamous in the most modern sense of the world. Just remember.