Looks like I have to go clothes shopping ASAP

I mentioned in an earlier post that I signed up for weekly updates from PregnancyWeekly.com to keep up with the progress of my wife's pregnancy.

This week, as usual, the advice is really odd because it's always built around my name.

Here's this week's fun tip:

Hi Howling Mad Jay,

If you don't feel as attractive or fashionable as you'd like during your pregnancy, here are some ways to help make you feel like the beautiful mom-to-be you are:

One word: cleavage
Pregnancy provides the best opportunity you'll ever have to flaunt your increased cleavage, so try wearing scoop-neck t-shirts or sweaters.
 
So there you have it.  It's time for me to start showing off my cleavage.

Christmas is almost here!

I don't think last-minute gift ideas could possibly get any closer to the last minute than this, but I have to throw my wish list out there since there's still some time left for Santa to make the magic happen.

* The pink bunny suit from "A Christmas Story:"  Deep down I think most of us wants to be Ralphie, and what better way to get in touch with your inner Ralphie than to slip into a pink bunny suit?  It's only  $95 at this Web site http://www.costumediscounters.com/cd/prod/120779/i/1/product.web.  It's currently out of stock  but I'm sure Santa can pull some strings to get it under my tree in time for Christmas.

* "Rocky" action figures: I already have Ivan and Ludmilla Drago but I think they're getting a little lonely.  Maybe a Brent Musberger action figure (http://www.mgmstore.com/cat/Rocky/Figures/Rocky-II-Brent-Musberger-Action-Figure.html) or Gazzo action figure (http://www.mgmstore.com/cat/Rocky-II-Gazzo-Bookie-Loan-Shark-Action-Figure.html) would help warm the holidays for lonely Ivan and Ludmilla.  Hard to believe MGMstore.com is selling these things for 50 perecent off!

* Roadhouse, the deluxe edition DVD: What a steal! This American classic is going for just $9.99 at Amazon.com right now (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FI8MPW/dvdtalk).  I know I can see this flick on basic cable any day of the week, but I want the DVD just so I can watch the special feature titled "What Would Dalton Do?"  I guess Swayze's iconic Dalton character is kind of like Jesus for the cooler/bouncer crowd.

* Star Wars deformed plush Yoda:  I kind of thought Yoda was deformed to begin with, but the toy on this Web site (http://www.toynk.com/product/CIC-74141-C/STAR_WARS_SUPER_DEFORMED_PLUSH_YODA.html) takes it one step further by turning him into an odd looking stuffed doll.  To be perfectly honest with you I just think this would be fun to stick in a baby's crib.

* Gremlins Santa Gizmo dancing and singing plush: You have to check out the video of this odd little toy in action at http://www.toynk.com/product/NEC-30593-C/GREMLINS_SANTA_GIZMO_DANCING_SINGING_PLUSH.html.  It really looks like the sort of toy that would come to life at night and eat your eyeballs out of your skull while singing that twisted little song. It's so strange that I have to have it.

So there it is Santa, a down-to-the-wire suggestion list for Christmas.  I'll leave some cookies out on Wednesday night and cross my fingers that you'll do the right thing and make Christmas morning one to remember.

The devil’s in the details and I don’t wanna know

A penny for my thoughts?  Make it a buck and we can talk because I'm a Dollar Tree freak and a buck goes far at my beloved Tree.

There, it's out there now.  I admit. 

There's no use fighting it because it's true: my penny-pinching heart has a monster crush on the Tree.

For those of you who have missed out on this cheapskate's paradise, the Dollar Tree is the store where everything is $1.  You'll never get trapped in line for eternity while someone does a price check at the Tree.

The Contra Costa Times even did a story on how the Tree is a little slice of heaven for those of us who only want to spend a little slice of our shrinking financial pie (http://www.contracostatimes.com/search/ci_10930041?nclick_check=1).

There's never any buyer's remorse at the Tree.  No one ever comes home from the Dollar Tree grimacing over how much they spent.

My office is decorated from wall to wall with Dollar Tree Christmas goodies — also known as "junk" to the rest of you.  And you know what?  My office looks great and my pocketbook does too.

As long as I wear blinders and ignore the fact that everything at the Tree was probably made in a Third World sweatshop by some impoverished child  I'm A-OK.  I'm a happy, guilt-free bargain hunter.

As long as I ignore the fact there there's probably lead in at least half the products on the shelves at my local Tree I won't have a problem with any of the food or dinnerware I just bought.

And as long as I ignore the fact that Dollar Tree initially wanted to deny death benefits to the survivors of an employee who was killed while she was working at a Dollar Tree (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/12/09/state/n130532S63.DTL&hw=dollar+tree&sn=001&sc=1000) I can scoop up $1 treasures without any annoying moral dilemmas.

I don't want to know all those messy little details.  I just want to wade through aisle after aisle of $1 goodness.

Where have you gone Vic Mackey?

I can already feel the pain of withdrawal setting in.

This is the first Tuesday night in months where I won’t be able to plop in front of the TV to watch a gritty new episode of “The Shield” and I can tell that I’m going to be a little lost when 10 p.m. rolls around and there’s nothing new to watch on FX.

The night is going to seem a little empty without a furious, morally corrupt Vic Mackey bulling his way through another mess or a bumbling Shane Vendrell digging himself and his doomed family into a deeper hole.

I don’t know where I’m going to turn as a TV viewer for the adrenaline rush and sense of violent, tragic, impending doom that “The Shield” provided every week.

It may be time to cue up the first season of “Sons of Anarchy” on the DVR to see what I’ve been missing. It just might be the shot of violence I need to get over “The Shield.”

* WHATCHU TALKIN’ ‘BOUT?: My wife and I are having our first kid in April and to keep up on the different stages of the pregnancy I signed up for a weekly update from PregnancyWeekly.com. The information is cool but the presentation cracks me up every time because PregnancyWeekly.com just rubber stamp your name all over the weekly e-mail.

Every week I get a little message along the lines of “Hello Joe Blow, as you progress through your second trimester and your belly grows, you may begin to feel less and less comfortable, more swollen, and out of breath more quickly. Remember to always pay attention to how you feel and slow down or take a break if you need. You’ve still got a long way to go in your journey towards motherhood – there’s no need to push yourself to exhaustion!”

If I’m on the journey to motherhood we’ve got some really big problems. I like to leave that kind of stuff to Arnold Schwarzenegger (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110216/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSz4jOGior8).

* DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS: It’s undeniable that the economy is in bad shape and journalists would be among the last people who would argue against that point as newspapers around the nation continue to lay off and buy out scores of newsroom employees.

There are clearly a couple of ways to handle the situation.

One journalist took a buyout which opened the door to what she dubbed “buyout sex” with a former co-worker (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/fashion/23love.html).

A couple of other journalists at another paper passed on buyouts and were promptly banished to the mailroom (http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003892766).

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you take the money and head for the bedroom or pass on the cash and head for the mailroom — the only thing that’s certain is that everyone gets screwed.

A dinner like no other

I never thought I would write something like this, but here it goes: My wife's aunt slipped me the tongue this weekend and I kind of liked it.

Fortunately, it was just beef tongue and it actually tasted pretty good … considering the fact that it's a cow's tongue.

Yeah, that's right.  I got duped into eating beef tongue this weekend.

It all started when my aunt-in-law casually and kindly asked me if I'd like some beef out of one of the serving bowls making the rounds at the dinner table on Saturday night.

Since I'm a die-hard fan of red meat not only did I say yes, I enthusiastically asked for a few slices.  Considering that everything else my in-laws cooked that night tasted great, there was no reason to think the bowl full of sliced beef should be any different, right?

So I dug in, shoving forkfull after forkfull of beef tongue into my mouth, dismissing the laughter of my wife and in-laws as the usual ruckus at a family dinner.

They didn't reveal the fact that I had been punk'd until the end of the meal.  I just love that kind of tongue-in-cheek humor even when it's actually a cow's tongue in my cheek.

I can only hope that I tasted as good to the cow tongue as it tasted to me.