Sure, I would have preferred to have gone through life without seeing Danny DeVito naked, but it was a small price to pay to watch the 43-minute Christmas episode of "Itâ€™s Always Sunny in Philadelphia."
In case you havenâ€™t gleaned this from the aforementioned detail of DeVitoâ€™s skin scene, the extended episode takes the already raunchy, already in-poor-taste program to a new level. One scene was so gross I had to turn away. (All Iâ€™m saying is "Poor Santa!")
The script is stuffed with clever writing and the twisted Rankin and Bass-style musical number is extremely entertaining. However, most hardcore "Sunny" fans will agree that although the Christmas episode is amusing and waaaaay more naughty than nice, it doesnâ€™t compete with classic episodes like "Sweet Deeâ€™s Dating A Retarded Person."
But buy it anyway.
"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas" has not aired on television (the show is usually on FX) and is only available on DVD. The show isn't rated and sells on Amazon.com for $16.99.
Recently, someone asked me when my kids would walk to school alone. We only live three blocks from our elementary school, but the answer is still never.
One reason is because we donâ€™t have crossing guards in my neck of the â€˜hood, I mean woods, and I also have general safety concerns.
Donâ€™t get me wrong: Iâ€™m not complaining about this. I recognize where I live is a choice. However, it got me thinking about Milwaukee school kids in general.
I grew up in the Downer Avenue neighborhood, and my sister and I walked to and from school from the time we were in first or second grade. Itâ€™s a cliche to say itâ€™s a different world today than it was 25 years ago, even though itâ€™s true.
So it's almost 2010 and Iâ€™m wondering if there are any neighborhoods left in Milwaukee where parents feel comfortable letting their elementary-school-aged kids walk to and from school? I really hope there are.
This is one of those "why didnâ€™t I think of this?" products. Seriously, itâ€™s a sure-to-please gift for kids and a no brainer for anyone shopping for a youngster who likes to color and / or make forts. (Which they all do, right?)
The Color Me House is an easy-to-assemble cardboard house -- thereâ€™s also a rocket model available -- that kids can decorate with any medium that mom and dad agree to. There are no sharp corners and it has doors and windows that open and close.
The house is 35 inches long by 27.5 inches wide by 48 inches high. The rocket is 65 inches high by 51 inches wide by 32 inches across. Basically, it fits two or three kids, depending on their size.
We set up our Color Me House on Thanksgiving Day, and the kids were so enthralled by it that I got a couple of hours to prepare the big meal. Over the weekend, they spent hours playing in this thing. I even served them lunch inside of it and later let them watch a DVD inside the playhouse on the portable player we usually save for long car trips.
Plus, this product is made from 100 percent recycled cardboard and won numerous "green toy" awards.
Like many Milwaukeeans, I love taking advantage of the fantastic local Mexican dining scene. I enjoy â€˜em all, from the gritty paper plate experience at Conejitoâ€™s, 539 W. Virginia St., to slightly more upscale Latin eateries like Riviera Maya, 2258 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
This weekend, I met friends at a popular near South Side Mexican restaurant and while there, engaged in an interesting conversation with the owner. I mentioned that I was a big fan of the house chips and salsa, and he thanked me graciously but went on to lament the recent spike in the price of tomatoes. He said the pressure to keep prices affordable and the rising cost of all ingredients -- particularly tomatoes -- was forcing him to consider charging his customers for chips and salsa.
He asked me if I thought free chips and salsa were integral to the Mexican dining experience and if he would lose customers if he charged a small fee. Thatâ€™s a tough one, and I told him so.
On the one hand, Conejitoâ€™s does not offer free chips and salsa, and yet on most nights, the place is packed. However, most diners are conditioned to feasting on bottomless baskets of chips and salsa at the majority of other Mexican restaurants in Milwaukee.
My dinner mates and I discussed this topic at great length (which is a tribute to the potency of the margaritas), and basically, we decided that free chips and salsa add a lot of value to the Mexican dining experience.
On our way out, we recommended in lieu of charging for chips and salsa to increase menu prices just a little bit. This way, diners will feel like weâ€™re still getting something for free in this bare-bones economy.
Iâ€™m no Ray Kroc, but this seemed like a reasonable business solution. However, I am still thinking about this today and wondering if free chips and salsa are really that important?