Friday, December 25, 2009

Not Your Usual Fluffy Christmas Rhyme


'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the shop
Nothing was stirring, you could hear a pin drop.
The sleigh was not ready, the toys were not packed,
Santa was fuming and quite lacking in tact.

"Pip!" he called out to the foreman on duty,
Where is your crew? And don't act so snooty!
Pip's feelings were hurt, but he wondered the same
Were they lost? Had they left? Were they playing a game?

"Never mind!" thundered Santa, while grabbing his sack,
"We'll do it ourselves: There are toys in the back."
So into the warehouse like madmen they flew.
Santa and Pip had much packing to do.

And then, down a corridor seldom in use,
They heard something like an hysterical goose.
But no, there were words in that hideous shriek,
It was music: now Santa was prone to critique.

Santa strode to the source of that hideous din,
Closely followed by Pip, who beheld with chagrin:
Three elves and four bottles and, there on a chair,
A boom box whose music was filling the air.

Santa stood for a moment, transfixed by the sight
Then he bellowed so loudly that Pip shook with fright.
"You! Chuckles! And Bubbles! And you, mister Suds!"
Why are you carousing while in your work duds?"

The fate of that threesome Pip would not relate,
Except to recall that the hour was late:
And Santa was anxious to fly in his sleigh,
And dealt with loose ends on the following day.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Dubious Tale of Aunt Abigail's Christmas Cake

The Christmas Cake is a particular sort of fruitcake, made especially for the holiday season. Comprised, I'm told, of: currants;, sultanas; candied cherries; plus enough butter and brown sugar to make your arteries harden, just looking at it. And, perhaps to make certain that no calorie-free void remains, syrup.

Prepared in the traditional manner, a "healthy Christmas cake" is an oxymoron: a contradiction in concepts. The entire point of baking a Christmas cake is to create a sumptuous and durable treat which, if necessary, can serve as a doorstop.

Which reminds me of Aunt Abigail's Christmas cake, baked not long after Disneyland opened.

Aunt Abigail mailed the massive fruitcake to her nephew's family, who had recently moved to California.

The nephew was touched by Aunt Abigail's kindness. He was also touched by the kind gift sent his family by his wife's Aunt Waverly: another fruitcake. Aunt Waverly's Christmas cake was tasted by the family. Aunt Abigail's was saved "for later."

"Later" stretched on, as weeks and months passed by. Around November of the next year, Aunt Waverly's cake had not been finished. The nephew weighed his options: and decided to give Aunt Abigail's fruitcake to a cousin's family.

And so the travels of Aunt Abigail's fruitcake began. Each year the mass of preserved fruits and nuts found itself in a new home: where it was admired; set aside "for later;" and ultimately sent forth to continue its journey.

Who knows? This year Aunt Abigail's fruitcake may arrive at your home.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Howard Leland and the SPCD

Someone wanting to drift anonymously through life shouldn't live in a small town. It's like the old joke says: "If you can't remember what you did today, ask someone - they'll know."

So, it was a bit of a surprise to be when I learned that Howard Leland, someone I've known for years, is a long-time member of the SPCD.

I made the discovery, talking about the news with him last week. I mentioned an article about plate tectonics, which led to Howard Leland explaining a few things to me.

For years now, America has been drifting away from Europe. Literally. At a rate of 2 point five centimeters a year. That doesn't sound like much, but it adds up. The Atlantic is a dozen feet wider now than it was back in 1866 when the first trans-Atlantic cable was completed.

Obviously, Mr. Leland said, there has been a great deal of needless expense: repairing and replacing cables as North America moved west.

It's more than cables, of course. As North America and others drift recklessly around, their movement causes earthquakes, volcanic eruptions: and even, as mountains grow and oceans change shape, climate change.

The SPCD, or Society for the Prevention of Continental Drift, wants to change all that. They've sent petitions to Congress, and are raising funds for a national advertising campaign.

Mr. Leland was disappointed when I didn't sign the SPCD petition. As a sort of recompense, I thought I'd alert my readers to the perils of continental drift.

Howard Leland: It All Began With Butterflies

The full list of columns featuring Howard Leland, one of Loonfoot Falls' more earnest citizens, has been moved to "".

Here's where Howard first appeared:

Friday, December 4, 2009

The True Meaning of Christmas, Robot Dinosaurs, Designated Drivers and Julekaga

It's Friday again. Time for me to come up with another 250 words for this column.

There really hasn't been all that much going on in Loonfoot Falls, apart from people going half-crazy, trying to get ready for Christmas. Which, now that I think of it, should be good for twenty dozen words plus ten.

Of course, there's that tired old "and the true meaning of Christmas is" thing: generally something about feeling all warm and fuzzy all over. Sort of like my cousin George. He's the one who looks like he's wearing a sweater, when he takes off his shirt.

Or, there's being indignant about the crass commercialization of Christmas. Problem is, I really like seeing row after row of glittering ornaments on the store shelves, and suspect that most people do. Hey, somebody's buying that stuff. I don't do "indignant" all that well, anyway.

Then there are those weird robot-dinosaur toys. You've seen the ads. They don't exactly have artificial intelligence, but they move around. And one squirts water. The kids would love them: but I'm not so sure about the parents.

Of course, I could jump ahead and do a public service message about having a designated driver if you're out making an idiot of yourself on New Year's Eve. That's actually a good idea. The designated driver part, I mean.

Or, I could write about Julekake: pronounced "yuleh-kaga," for those of you who don't live near Norvegians, don't cha know. But I've run out of room.
("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

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