Seasonal Offerings


Twas the night before Christmas

'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the annual
yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence, kinetic
activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this potential,
including that species of domestic rodent known as Mus Musculus. Hosiery
was meticulously suspended from the forward edge of the wood-burning caloric
apparatus, pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure regarding in imminent
visitation from an eccentric philanthropist among whose folkloric
appelations is the honorific title of St. Nicholas.

The prepubescent siblings, comfortably esconced in their respective
accomodations of repose, were experiencing subconscious visual
hallucinations of variegated fruit confections moving rhythmically through
their cerebrums. My conjugal partner and I, attired in our nocturnal head
coverings, were about to take slumbrous advantage of the hibernal darkness
when upon the avenaceous exterior ortion of the grounds there ascended such
a cacophony of dissonance that I felt compelled to areise with alacrity from
my place of repose for the purpose of ascertaining the precise source

Hastening to the casement, I forthwith opened the barriers sealing this
fenestration, noticing thereupon that the lunar brilliance without reflected
as it was on the surface of a recent crystalline precipitation might be said
to rival that of the solar aeridian itself -- thus permitting my incredulous
optical sensory organs to behold a miniature airborne runnered conveyance
drawn by eight diminutive specimens of the genus Rangifer, piloted by a
miniscule, aged chauffer so ebullient and nimble that it became instantly
apparent to me that he was indeed our anticipated caller. With his ungulate
motive power travelling at what may possibly have been more vertiginous
velocity than patriotic alar predators, he voceferated loudly, expelled
breath musically through contracted labia, and addressed each of the octet
by his or her respective cognomen -- "Now Dasher, now al. --
guiding them to the uppermost exterior level of our abode, through which
structure I could readily distinguish the concatenations of each of the
thirty-two cloven pedal extremities.

As I retracted my cranium from its erstwhile location and was performing a
180 degree pivot, our distinguished visitant achieved, with utmost celerity
and via a downward leap, entry by way of the smoke passage. He was clad
entirely in animal pelts soiled by the the ebony residue from the oxidations
of carboniferous fuels which had accumulated on the walls thereof. His
resemblance to a street vendor I attributed largely to the plethora of
assorted playthings which he bore dorsally in a commodious cloth receptacle.

His orbs were scintillant with reflected luminosity, while his submaxillary
dermal indentations gave every evidence of engaging amiability. The
capillaries of his molar regions and nasal appurtenance were engorged with
blood which suffused the subcutaneous layers, the former approximating the
coloration of Albien's floral emblem, the latter that of the Prunus avium,
or sweet cherry. His amusing sub and subralabials resembled nothing so much
as a common loopknot, and their ambient hirsute facial adornment appeared
like small, tabular and columnar crystals of frozen water.

Clenched firmly between his incisors was a smokingpiece whose gray fumes,
forming a tenuous ellipse about his occiput, were suggestive of a decorative
seasonal cirlet of holly. His visage was wider than it was high, and when
he waxed audibly mirthful, his corpulent abdominal region undulated in the
manner of impectinated fruit syrup in a hemispherical container. He was, in
short, neither more nor less than an obese, jocund, multigenarian gnome, the
optical perception of whom rendered me visibly frolicsome despite every
effort to refrain from so being. By rapidly lowering and then elevating one
eyelid and rotating his head slightly to one side, he indicated that
trepidation on my part was groundless.

Without utterance and without dispatch, he commenced filling the
afore-mentioned hosiery with articles of merchandise extracted from his
afore-mentioned hosiery with articles of merchandise extracted from his
afore-mentioned previously dorsally transported cloth receptacle. Upon
completion of this task, he executed an abrupt about-face, placed a single
manual digit in lateral justaposition to his olfactory organ, inclined his
cranium forward in a gesture of leave-taking, and forthwith effected his
egress by renegotiating (in reverse) the smoke passage. he then propelled
himself in a short vector onto his conveyance, directed a musical expulsion
of air through his contracted oral sphincter to the antlered quadrupeds of
burden, and proceeded to soar aloft in a movement hitherto observable
chiefly among the seed-bearing portions of a common weed. But I overheard
his parting exclamation, audible immediately prior to his vehiculation
beyond the limits of visibility: "Ecstatic yuletide to the planetary
constituency, and to that selfsame assemblage, my sincerest wishes for a
salubriously beneficial and gratifyingly pleasureable period between sunset
and dawn!"

The Universal Greeting

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit our best wishes for an
environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive,
gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within
the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or
secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular
persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice
religious or secular traditions at all . . .

. . and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically
uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar
year 2000, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other
cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not
to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is
the only "AMERICA" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the
race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of
computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

(By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting
is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with
no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher
to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is
void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the
wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual
application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance
of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is
limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole
discretion of the wisher.)


The recent announcement that Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the
early reindeer retirement package has triggered a good deal of concern about
whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions at
the North Pole.

Streamlining is due to the North Pole's loss of dominance of this season's
gift distribution business. Home shopping channels, the Internet, and mail
order catalogs have diminished Santa's market share. He could not sit idly
by and permit further erosion of the profit picture.

The reindeer downsizing was made possible through the purchase of a late
model Japanese sled for the CEO's annual trip. Improved productivity from
Dasher and Dancer--who will retrain at the Harvard Business School--is
anticipated. Reduction in reindeer will also lessen airborne environmental
emissions for which the North Pole has received unfavorable press.

I am pleased to inform you that Rudolph's role will not be disturbed.
Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole. Management denies,
in the strongest possible language, the earlier leak that Rudolph's nose got
that way, not from the cold, but from substance abuse. Calling Rudolph "a
lush who was into the sauce and never did pull his share of the load" was an
unfortunate comment, made by one of Santa's helpers and taken out of context
at a time of year when he is known to be under executive stress.

Today's global challenges require the North Pole to continue to look for
better, more competitive steps. Effective immediately, the following
economic measures are to take place in the "Twelve Days of Christmas"

The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree never turned out to be the
cash crop forecasted. It will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant,
providing considerable savings in maintenance.

The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not
cost-effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not
be condoned. The positions are therefore eliminated.

The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the

The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice mail system, with
a call-waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the birds
have been calling, how often and how long they talked.

The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors.
Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative
implications for institutional investors. Diversification into other
precious metals as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology stocks
appear to be in order.

The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be afforded.
It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day
is an example of the decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go,
and an upgrading in the selection procedure by personnel will assure
management that from now on every goose it obtains will be more productive.

The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times.
Their function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The
current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes and therefore
enhance their outplacement.

As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny
by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought. The
more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility.
Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending,
a-mentoring, or a-mulching.

Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be
phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps.

Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords plus the expense of
international air travel prompted the Compensation Committee to suggest
replacing this group with ten out-of-work Congresspersons. While leaping
ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant because we
expect an oversupply of unemployed Congresspersons this year.

Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the
band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on
new music, and no uniforms will produce savings which will drop right down
to the bottom line.

We can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and
other expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching
deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day,
service levels will be improved.

Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney's association seeking expansion
to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers-a-suing"), action is

Lastly, it is not beyond consideration that deeper cuts may be necessary in
the future to stay competitive. Should that happen, the Board will request
management to scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs is
the most efficient number.


Santa's A She?

I think Santa Claus is a woman....I hate to be the one to defy a sacred myth, but I believe he's a she. Think about it. Christmas is a big, organized, warm, fuzzy, nurturing social deal, and I have a tough time believing a guy could possibly pull it all off!

For starters, the vast majority of men don't even think about selecting gifts until Christmas Eve. Once at the mall, they always seem surprised to find only Ronco products, socket wrench sets, and mood rings left on the shelves. On this count alone, I'm convinced Santa is a woman.

Surely, if he were a man, everyone in the universe would wake up Christmas morning to find a rotating musical Chia Pet under the tree, still in the bag.

Another problem for a he-Santa would be getting there. First of all, there would be no reindeer because they would all be dead, gutted and strapped to the rear bumper of the sleigh amid wide-eyed, desperate claims that buck season had been extended. Blitzen's rack would already be on the way to the taxidermist.

Even if the male Santa DID have reindeer, he'd still have transportation problems because he would inevitably get lost up there in the snow and clouds and then refuse to stop and ask for directions.

Other reasons why Santa can't possibly be a man:

Men can't pack a bag.

Men would rather be dead than caught wearing red velvet.

Men don't answer their mail.

Men would refuse to allow their physique to be described even in jest as anything remotely resembling a "bowlful of jelly."

Men aren't interested in stockings unless somebody's wearing them.

Having to do the Ho Ho Ho thing would seriously inhibit their ability to pick up women.

Finally, being responsible for Christmas would require a commitment.

I can buy the fact that other mythical holiday characters are men.........

Father Time shows up once a year unshaven and looking ominous.

Cupid flies around carrying weapons.

Uncle Sam is a politician who likes to point fingers.


Any one of these individuals could pass the testosterone screening test. But not St. Nick. Not a chance.

"Politically-Cleansed" Twelve Days

"Politically-cleansed" version of that old holiday favorite,
"The Twelve Days of Christmas."

On the 12th day of the Eurocentrically imposed midwinter festival, my Significant Other in a consenting adult, monogamous relationship gave to me,

TWELVE males reclaiming their inner warrior through ritual drumming,

ELEVEN pipers piping (plus the 18-member pit orchestra made up of members in good standing of the Musicians Equity Union as called for in their union contract even though they will not be asked to play a note),

TEN melanin deprived testosterone-poisoned scions of the patriarchal ruling class system leaping,

NINE persons engaged in rhythmic self-expression,

EIGHT economically disadvantaged female persons stealing milk-products from enslaved Bovine-Americans,

SEVEN endangered swans swimming on federally protected wetlands,

SIX enslaved Fowl-Americans producing stolen non-human animal products,

FIVE golden symbols of culturally sanctioned enforced domestic incarceration,

(NOTE: after members of the Animal Liberation Front threatened to throw red paint at my computer, the calling birds, French hens and partridge have been reintroduced to their native habitat. To avoid further Animal-American enslavement, the remaining gift package has been revised.)

FOUR hours of recorded whale songs

THREE deconstructionist poets

TWO Sierra Club calendars printed on recycled processed tree carcasses

AND a Spotted Owl activist chained to an old-growth pear tree