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by David Todd McCarty | Saturday, December 19, 2015

 

 

Christmas Presents.

I love packaging, which is why I used to like wrapping presents so much. I would spend hours and hours wrapping each present by hand (how else would you wrap them?), using brown paper and twine, raffia bows and handwritten notes. I hung tags from them and decorated the outside.

I think it was my first Christmas with the woman who was to become my wife and her three children, I had spent a lot of time, thought and money buying presents that year.

I don’t think I went overboard on the kids. I got them each a few nice things, but I wasn’t trying to win them over or anything, and they were all pretty young. I was, however, trying to impress the girlfriend.

I meticulously wrapped each gift with brown kraft paper. Then I hand-wrote a small card for each gift, explaining why I thought it was a good gift. Each card was enclosed in a handmade envelope. The package was then wrapped in a raffia bow and the envelope hung from the twine.

What can I say, I was in love. It was one of my best Christmases ever.

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, December 17, 2015

 

Christmas Decorating.

I’ve already covered Christmas Tree decorations, so I won’t be covering that here. If you missed it, go back to Part One and start over. Stop skipping around. These are rules, not suggestions.

Today I want to talk about decorating for Christmas. This is something that I accept as a very personal matter, so I’m much more loose about this aspect of Christmas. To each his own, as they say. I don’t care much how you decide to decorate your home for Christmas. This is how I choose to decorate mine. I’ll go ahead and just say for the record, before my wife Jane jumps in here, that I don’t do any of the decorating, so this is more of a theoretical discussion. I will also go on record saying that Jane does a wonderful job and we share a common aesthetic, so it’s all good.

Now that we no longer have kids living in the house, we’ve more or less dispensed with the childlike, tackier decorations usually associated with young children. For instance, if we were to have a Santa, he’d be a whimsical, folk art Santa, as opposed to a cartoon Santa. That sort of thing.

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, December 15, 2015

 

Christmas Music Is Awesome.

There are a lot of things I hate. There is a lot of music I hate. But I love Christmas Music.

Sometimes, when I’m in my car alone, even in the middle of the summer, my iPhone will kick out a Christmas jam, and I just let it go. You know why? Because I love Christmas music.

My wife will tolerate certain types of Christmas music only. And I’m not allowed to start before Thanksgiving and I rarely make it past Christmas Day. I don’t even get until New Year’s Day. There have been years when the decorations are in the attic and tree is at the curb by New Year’s Day. If you don’t want to find yourself out there on the curb, lonely with the disheveled Christmas Tree, you learn to turn off the music.

But in my car, all alone, I start in October. I’m not usually the instigator. There is a local radio station near my home that I swear has started on October 15, the past two years in a row.

Normally, I’d probably wait until after Halloween, but I hate Halloween and there are absolutely zero good Halloween songs. So why not a Christmas Carol or two?

Christmas Carols can be divided into three categories: Classics, Novelty, and Modern.

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by David Todd McCarty | Monday, December 14, 2015

I fucking love Christmas. I do. I love everything about it. The carols, the decorations, the weather, the movies and tv shows, giving gifts, the food, hell—sometimes—even the Church service. But I’m a traditionalist. And by that I mean, I like Christmas the way it was when I was a kid. I like an old fashioned Christmas with all the trimmings. Let me explain.

There are rules, so let me start with rule number one.

 

The Christmas Tree.

A fake Christmas tree has about as much likelihood of making you happy as that fake fireplace on your TV has of keeping you warm. You might as well be that uppity couple who live next door to the Griswolds, Todd and Margot, who live in an antiseptic, plastic existence and who appreciate nothing about the spirit of Christmas.

And I don’t want to hear that you’re allergic. Get behind me Grinch!

There’s a lot that goes into a Christmas Tree. For starters it is so much more than its shape. It’s the smell, the way your hands are sticky after putting it up, and even the mess. You have to water them, even though it doesn’t seem to do much good and your pets think it’s their personal water bowl for the season no matter how much you yell at them. They shed like a nervous Chow and when you’re done with them they all look like a plucked chicken. But that’s not the point.

The effort is half the experience when it comes to a Christmas Tree, so first, you have to go buy your tree.

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by David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I wrote the following piece almost ten years ago. It says as much about who I was then as it does about the changes in the world since then.


I was raised with the firm belief that honesty was a thing to be valued. Telling the truth was the most important thing a man could do. It was, in fact, what separated the good people from the bad, the honorable from the dishonorable. But over the course of the last 38 years, I’ve begun to change my mind.

The truth, I have discovered, is highly overrated.

When you’re young, it’s acceptable to tell an inappropriate truth. Sometimes, it’s even considered cute.

“What’s wrong with your face,” you may ask a severely burned man at the bank.

The question “Are you a man or a woman?” is directed at the unfortunate looking person in the checkout lane at the grocery store.

Even the cable repairman might be greeted at the door with the news, “My Mommy isn’t wearing any panties.”

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, December 1, 2015

There is nothing funnier in the world than seeing a grown man pretending to be a professional athlete. You’ve seen them. Pushing 40. Beginnings of a pot belly. Wearing the jersey with someone else’s name on the back. Like any minute they’re going to get the call, “Jimmy, we need you!”

The reality is that fans of the Big Four: Football, Baseball, Basketball and Hockey are the least offensive. Generally, they simply wear a jersey, albeit with no pads or helmet. Even run of the mill fans wear a hat, t-shirt or jacket emblazoned with the logo. That’s pretty normal the world over.

But the jerseys are still funny to me. “Look at me” wearing someone else’s uniform, only fat, slow, old, wearing penny loafers and khakis.

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by David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, November 25, 2015

There’s no better feeling in the world than walking out of a proper barbershop having just had a wonderful experience and looking and feeling your best. It’s transcendent. It’s a wonderful experience—when done right anyway.

The problem, for me, is I hate taking the time necessary to get a haircut, let alone a shave. I have to stop what I’m doing, drive to the barber, potentially wait as much as an hour or more, just for the opportunity to get my 20 minute haircut. I don’t enjoy the community of hanging around in a barbershop shooting the shit and arguing about nonsense. It’s not my style.

Even with the resurgence of vintage culture brought about by the hipster scene, it’s increasingly difficult to find a decent barbershop, especially outside of major urban areas. In 2011, it was the fastest growing business in America, and there has been a resurgence in barbershops for men. But I fear that it was just a trend and when the hipster grooming thing ends, so will the interest in barbering.

It was such a big trend, that traditional salons were getting into the mix, putting in barbershops to compete for the male customer. But I’ve found it’s not really the same thing.

Let me quickly walk you through what a proper Barbershop looks like to me.

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by David Todd McCarty | Friday, November 20, 2015

We have a saying in the McCarty family: Often wrong, but never in doubt.  No one has ever accused a McCarty of not having a strong opinion. Even in the face of insurmountable odds, we’re sure we’re going the right way, have the right tools for the job, and understand clearly how to achieve the goal at hand. That’s not to say we haven’t ended up at the bottom of a cliff, or on the wrong side of the barrel of a gun in the course of our efforts.

But we’re confident, not stupid. We realize we get it wrong as often as we get it right, but that doesn’t stop us from believing wholeheartedly in our vision of success. Which is to say, I come by it honestly, and I’m aware of my limitations in rare moments of reflection.

We’re an old Irish clan, so it should come as no big surprise that we have big ideas and strong opinions. We come from an island of Kings. Kingdoms with no power and no wealth. Pride is what we had instead of land and riches.

My family, originally known as the Mac Cárthaigh clan comes from County Cork, which is one of the oldest clans in Ireland. The motto on our coat of arms is, “Nothing is Difficult to the Brave and Faithful.” That’s pretty cocky if you ask me.

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, November 19, 2015

We love lists in this country. We like to make them. We like to read them. If this wasn’t true click-farms like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post wouldn’t post so damn many of them. The lists don’t actually have to be that good because it’s all about the headline. If you click on the headline, they get paid. They don’t really give a shit if you read it or not. Actually that’s not true. They want you to forward to a friend with the phrase, “I can’t stop laughing.”

These are a small sample I found on just one page of BuzzFeed. These are all real.

24 Things That Happen Every Time You Get Drunk.
11 Reasons Why Christmas Is Actually The Scariest Holiday
24 Reasons Why Netflix Is The Most Important Thing In Your Life.
14 Celebrity Names You ALWAYS Have To Google.
11 Signs You’re At A Filipino Party.

Apparently Top Tens were so 2007 and they wanted to appeal to those wacky millennials with their offbeat sense of humor and fancy shoes. So they tend to mix it up a bit.

Eleven seems to be a big number for lists. That makes sense I guess. It’s basically a Top Ten with an extra one thrown in. Maybe a Spinal Tap reference. They go to eleven.  But that seems too retro for the current crop of hipsters. Or has it gotten old enough to be cool? I’m not sure. Eleven is a funny number, though. Just ask the Scottish [WATCH VIDEO].

Twenty-four also seemed to come up quite a bit but that seemed more of a mystery to me. Is it a Jack Bauer reference? The number hours in a day? Simply an overachieving writer? It’s hard to know what evil machinations reside in the minds of BuzzFeed editors.

So, I decided to come with my own list. I can’t really speak intelligently about the current crop of celebrities and I’m not all that hip on the latest pop culture references, so I stayed away from any of that. They say to write what you know, so as far as I can tell, these are:

THE 11 WORST PEOPLE IN AMERICA

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