Monday, December 18, 2006

A Carnival Of Hijacked Holidays, IV - Christmas Edition

Welcome to the fourth edition of A Carnival Of Hijacked Holidays!

I'm just out-and-out thrilled with the submissions to the carnival for this edition. Not only is it a record for quantity (25 pieces and how appropriate is that for a Christmas edition?) but the quality is superb, also. Good job, folks!

In a not-so-subtle paen to A Christmas Carol, to which this blog owes its title, I'm going to present the submissions categorized by Past (as in Past Holidays), then Present(s), and then Future.


Jon Swift is a brilliant satirist. Or is he? In any case, Jon Swift gives us No Pardon for the Thanksgiving Turkey posted at Jon Swift, saying, "Most people emphasize the insipid and sentimental aspects of the origins of Thanksgiving, which is based on how the Wampanoag Indians helped the Pilgrims survive a difficult winter in the New World." None of that for Jon. He says that the President should... well, I don't want to spoil it. You should go there and find out. After all, that's the entire purpose of a carnival, isn't it? Yes, it is.

Next up we have Gavin, who presents us with the wholly objectionable Pilgrims & Indians: The Story of Thanksgiving posted at Reverend Qelqoth's Journal. If you have any morals whatsoever, you will find this piece to be filthy, disgusting, revolting, unsavory, inexcusable and a pox upon our consciousness as a whole. Since I have few morals, I found it entertaining. Your mileage may vary tremendously.

The wonderfully-named Sarakastic presents Who says I'm not grateful? posted at Sarakastic, saying, "I know it's almost Christmas, but I'm still angry about Thanksgiving." Many people are, my friend, so don't be ashamed to keep spewing the bile. As a matter of fact, we encourage that sort of thing here at Bah! Humbug!

Kate Baggott presents Two Days to Mark on Your Calendar posted at Babylune, saying, "National Child Day and Buy Nothing Day. They are connected." Holiday conspiracy theories! Yes! No, actually it's good parenting advice concerning teaching your children the value of money.

The lovely Peace Moonbeam presents Moonbeam Family Christmas posted at The Peace Moonbeam Chronicles, saying, "From last Christmas", and since it's from last Christmas, it gets listed here in "PAST". Good stuff, though, no matter when it's from.


What better way to start the PRESENT(S) section than with a few articles concerning what NOT to buy?

As a matter fact, the first piece, from Jennifer Miner is actually entitled What Not to Buy for Christmas: This holiday season's worst gift ideas. posted at What Not to Buy for Christmas.

Jennifer then follows up with The Jack Spade Frog Dissection Kit: Of the bad holiday gift ideas, this one is in a category of its own posted at The Jack Spade Frog Dissection Kit. Yuck!

Linda Freedman is an actual real-life therapist! Boy, lots of folks who submit to this carnival sure could use her help! She presents Holiday Post # 1- Bananas and Video Games posted at Everyone needs therapy? Lessons from a family therapist, saying, "Thanksgiving is SUPPOSED to be a happy holiday, but for many it kicks off the season with thoughts of, Oh, No, Where will I get the money to pay for all of the gifts I have to buy! Docs like me see so much of the holiday blues that I wrote this post to make a few alternative suggestions to spending money that you don't have." And, believe me, we thank you, Linda!

And here's some more good stuff from Linda! Take The Gift, Just Take It!

If you must buy something, then you should take along a bright and tenacious helper. That's what Magazine Man did. In his In Which The Brownie Use Her Powers For Good, he tells of a shopping expedition with his daughter. This man is, by the way, The Best Writer On The Internet. It says so on my other blog, so it must be true!

Daniel Brenton presents The Meaning of Existence (and all that): The Odd Little Universe of Daniel Brenton » Blog Archive » Whoever Dies with the Most Toys Wins posted at The Meaning of Existence.

Daniel, in explanation, said:

"Mr. 'dog --

Thanks for hosting a focus on "Hijacked Holidays." I have come to resent the mercantile expectations of Christmas, and to some extent Halloween, and will go so far as to include the onerous ritual of birthday gift giving. (I frankly don't enjoy being on the receiving end of this kind of societal obligation, because I don't care to be on the other end. If I want to give someone something, I just do it -- I don't need to be dictated to by a calendar.

(Yes, I have authority issues.)

I offer you my observations on what is probably the driving force behind all of this mindlessness, the attitude of "Whoever Dies with the Most Toys Wins."

For someone with authority issues, he sure gave me more respect than I deserve! Mr. Dog, indeed. Thanks, Daniel!

Sam presents Shopping Hijinx and Stunts. Shopping Can Be Funny. Surfer Sam posted at Surfer Sam and Friends. And hilarity will ensue!

And who delivers the presents? Why, Santa Claus, of course! Except some folks may not want him to do so. For instance, Rob Sharp presents Would you let this man into your home? posted at The Sharpener, saying, "Is Santa a leftie?"

Well, if you don't let Santa in the house, then you have to go out and get the stuff yourself, right? Maybe so, but Silicon Valley Blogger wonders Are Black Friday Bargains Worth It? posted at The Digerati Life.

And then, if you never want to have to bother with presents again, michelle presents Jewelry That Helps Say " I HATE You" posted at

Finally, if you've received a certain type of gift and you don't know what to do with it, then some clown named Suldog presents Suldog's Home For Wayward Fruitcakes posted at Suldog-O-Rama.


Here's hoping you've already had your Christmas Party at work, and that you didn't impregnate someone or stab the boss or anything like that. However, if your party is yet to come? Here are two articles which may help you.

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Office Party Follies posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog, saying, "If you have to attend a holiday office party with your spouse or significant other, this contract may come in handy."

Then, Stefan presents How To Survive A Christmas Party posted at German Impressions.

What if you just want to survive, period? Then the following may prove helpful to you.

Maria Yu presents Loneliness and Solitude posted at Life. A lovely little piece concerning being in unfamiliar surroundings amidst people who don't appear to be too friendly.

Kenton Whitman presents A Zen Helper for Christmas posted at -- Zen-Inspired Self Development. Interesting way to look at things. As you may know, I'm one of those who will not go quietly into that good night - as a matter of fact, this entire blog started as a response to the too-damned-early advertisements and store displays. Perhaps Mr. Whitman has a better way to deal with it?


On my side in this argument, more or less (not moral-less), we find Gen, who supplies us with Calvinism, Materialism & The Temporal vs The Eternal posted at Real Clear Religion.

History lessons never hurt and sometimes they're even helpful. So let's all go to visit David Parker who presents Born on Christmas Day posted at Another History Blog, saying, "This is a new blog (my first), just a week old!" Of course, David, if you'd waited until the 25th to start your blog, then... well, actually I don't have anything tremendously witty to end that thought with - as if I ever do, really - but there's probably something clever floating around in your head, so feel free to keep thinking it.

A story concerning the ridiculous lengths to which we've gone in order to be politically correct may be found via Richard who graces us with Religious Symbols and Holidays posted at Shadowscope.

Why is everybody so easily offended these days? Take a chill pill, folks.

If your supply of chill pills is short - and whose isn't - maybe Nurse Hilary can help you out. Mother Jones RN presents Let Nurse Hilary Help You Beat the Holiday Blues posted at Nurse Ratched's Place.

Dana presents The War on Christmas posted at Principled Discovery, saying, "Not entirely sure if this fits or not...let me know if not and I'll do something more relevant. I haven't done much with the holidays, but am contemplating a post about evil elves, so if that would fit better, I'll email it and you can substitute."

Well, as I told Dana, it's all good. Sure would like to see that "evil elves" piece, though.

Oh, wait a minute! Here it is!

(Those of you who just couldn't resist counting, to see if there really were 25 articles, now know that there were 26. Oh, well. That's what you get for being a nitpicker.)

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition using our carnival submission form.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Solomon The Milkman

What with the first night of Hanukkah coming up this weekend, I thought it might be a good opportunity to tell you about my Jewish roots.

My grandfather Sullivan was a milkman for H. P. Hood for many years. He told this story, which took place during the days when he did his route on a horse-drawn wagon.

His route travelled through the Mattapan section of Boston, which at that time was almost exclusively populated by Jewish families. Now, some of the people to whom he delivered milk thought he was Jewish. They thought his name was Solomon, not Sullivan.

I'm not positively sure how this assumption came about, but it's not a stretch to imagine what might have happened. Someone in the neighborhood probably asked what his name was and he (or, more likely, one of his customers with perhaps an Eastern European accent) said, "Sullivan", and whoever had asked the question, with the idea already in mind that he might be Jewish, heard "Solomon". That person told someone else, and so on.

It was possible. My grandfather didn't have the map of Ireland on his face like I do. He could have passed. Since he delivered milk in a Jewish neighborhood, his customers might naturally have assumed that he was Jewish, too. I don't suppose he would have had any reason to disabuse them of this notion. He probably figured it wouldn't hurt business to let them keep on thinking it.

Anyway, one day while he was doing his route, some of the older Jewish men called for him to come down off of his wagon so that he could help them meet the required numbers for a minyan; that is, so that they could have enough for prayer service, which required at least 10 men.

They yelled to him, "Solomon! We need another for a minyan! You got time maybe?"

My grandfather was sharp enough to know what they were talking about. He had been delivering milk in that neighborhood for some time, so he was familiar with words and phrases and customs that an Irishman might otherwise not be expected to know. The question was, what should he tell these men? Should he spill the beans and let them know that he wasn't really named Solomon, but Sullivan? That he wasn't Jewish, but Catholic, and that his ancestry was Irish and French?

Well, my grandfather figured it this way: Who did it hurt if he helped them out? As long as they thought he was Jewish, God wouldn't be mad at them for including an Irishman in their prayer service, and he also figured that God would probably look kindly on him for doing the old Jews a mitzvah. So, my grandfather parked the wagon and made the minyan for them.

He faked his way through by following the lead of the others. Having attended Catholic mass for many years, he knew he could probably get by with indistinct mumbling as long as he did the right body motions, so he kept his voice low and bowed when they did and so forth. Afterwards, the old men thanked him and he got back on his wagon and finished his route. Of course, from that day forward there was little doubt along Blue Hill Avenue that Tom Sullivan (that is, Solomon The Milkman) was Jewish - and a fairly devout Jew, at that.

Therefore, if someone calls me "Solly", instead of "Sully", I won't complain. My grandfather wasn't really a Jew, but he played one on his milk route.

Happy Hanukkah!

P.S. Keeping up my end of the family tradition, I've been invited to dinner Friday night with my Jewish friends Matt and Stu Stone and Freddy Goodman. I'll say the blessing, if they want.

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh. (Amein)

(Of course, I may be getting ahead of myself. Maybe I'm just the Shabbos Goy.)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Suldog's Home For Wayward Fruitcakes

[Those of you who have visited my other blog - Suldog-O-Rama - may recognize this piece. It is from last year during December. As a matter of fact, I should probably give you a general warning: the longer you go there, the more often you'll find out just how lazy a bugger I am. As long as nobody shoots me or anything, I'll just keep reprinting the same stuff, over and over.

(This goes for the "new" pieces, too. I'll recycle jokes enough times to get an award from The Sierra Club. However, I digress.)

Be that as it may - and it usually is - here is my heartfelt plea, from last year, for fruitcake clemency.]


I am about to make an extremely shocking admission, even for a reprobate like me. You should probably be sitting down. You might even wish to take a medicinal belt beforehand, so that the enormity of this truth I'm about to tell you doesn't send you into immediate cardiac arrest.

Are you ready? OK, here goes.

I love fruitcake.

There, I said it. It's not something that very many people would admit to these days, what with the unabashed fruitcake bashing that goes on every Christmas season, but I've never been very reticent about bringing up my peculiarities, so there it is. Little fluorescent green pieces of unidentified fruit? Love 'em. Cake with the approximate equal weight to lead? Bring it on! Cherries of a red hue unfound in any part or portion of nature? I plain cannot get enough.

I realize this makes me one of an extremely tiny minority these days. Most folks seem to have no better use for fruitcakes than to launch them with catapults or other such desecrations. At best, they are used as doorstops or perhaps something with which to whack an intruder over the head.

I, on the other hand, like to eat them.

Say what you will about my tastes, or lack thereof, I just love fruitcake and it pains me every time somebody makes the blanket assertion that nobody eats them. Saying something like that makes it just that much harder for me to find one when I want one, and makes it damned near impossible to get one as a present (which I very much appreciate, by the way.) It seems that almost nobody is willing to risk incurring the wrath of the snarky jokesters who have made "fruitcake" some sort of holiday swear word.

MY WIFE used to make a really great fruitcake, but she hasn't for a few years now. This is because she lost her recipe. Oh, the tears I've shed! That was my best shot at getting fruitcake for Christmas, without having to actually buy one. My sister-in-law gave me one a couple of years ago and that was nice.

Look, if you have fruitcake that you want to get rid of, please don't hurl it into space or relegate it to anonymous doorstop duty. Send it to ME. I'd love to give it a nice home (in my belly) and I will sing your praises should you send me one. Here's an address, and you can feel free to forward it:

Suldog's Home For Wayward Fruitcakes
93 Winsor Avenue
Watertown, MA 02472

No joke - send it! Believe me, you'll build up whole bunches of karma points if you do.

[2006 addendum: I have already received one fruitcake this holiday season. It came from my Uncle Jim - which, by the way, sounds like the title of a really campy horror flick. However, as delicious as it looks, it will not be enough. More! I need more fruitcakes! Send them, NOW! And I thank you.)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Carnival Of Hijacked Holidays, III

Welcome to the third edition of A Carnival Of Hijacked Holidays. I've decided to do two semi-interesting things this time around.

1) I'm going to print EVERYTHING I've received since the inception of this carnival. Therefore, some of the articles will have already appeared in #'s 1 & 2. I think this is a nice way to pay back the folks who have been here from the start.

2) To save time, I'm using a pre-formatted block of html. If this results in something be featured with an incorrect title or with a bad link, my apologies.

So, to sum up? Some new things, some old things, I'm in a hurry and giving you short shrift because Thanksgiving is coming up fast and I have to go harvest my squash.

Before I go, though, a great big fat "Screw You!" to Target. You begin advertising Christmas sales and merchandise weeks before Thanksgiving, therefore cashing in on Christmas for your own greed, but you ban the Salvation Army from your places? I will never shop at Target again and I assume that anyone else with a heart will also never set foot in your crappy stores from here on out.

(The following descriptions, if any, are from the authors.)


Jennifer Miner presents Spend Money this Halloween: Don't settle for cheap costumes and candy; have an upscale Halloween! posted at Spend Money this Halloween, saying, "A satirical take on the commercialization of a childrens' holiday."

Nehring presents Nehring The Edge: SURVIVING CHRISTMAS (2004) movie reviews posted at Nehring The Edge, saying, "Having this film in your DVD collection is akin to wearing an “I’m With Stupid” t-shirt with the arrow pointing upward."

Eli Liechty presents LuckyFork - Share Recipies, Nutrition Tips, and Restaurant Deals posted at Fact: Your Halloween Candy Has Insects In It.

Wenchypoo presents Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket: Why We Skip the Holidays Altogether posted at Mental Wastebasket, saying, "An old article for a new carnival."

Linda Freedman presents Yom Kippur posted at Everyone needs therapy? Lessons from a family therapist, saying, "The Jewish holidays are in October this year. This post is about a moving experience with a Holocaust survivor in the synagogue on the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, the 25 hour fast that seals our fate for the coming year. It may be different for readers, but should gratify that piece inside that believes in the human spirit."

michelle presents 13 Haunted Houses That Will Make You Wet Your Pants | American Inventor Spot posted at

Abu Sahajj presents Halloween: American Culture; Pagan Origins posted at Wa Salaam.

Reb Chaim HaQoton presents Friday the Thirteenth posted at Reb Chaim HaQoton.

Jennie Weber presents Screwy Halloween posted at Jennie's Rambles, saying, "Halloween"

Tim Abbott presents "What a Guy!" posted at Walking the Berkshires.

And, finally, some guy named Suldog wrote a piece of trash entitled Two Rants. The second rant appears to be the diseased ravings of someone from the permanently malcontented political fringe, but the first part fits here.

(For a nicer take on things, here's The Best Day Of The Year!)


As always, my sincere thanks to those of you who have submitted articles for inclusion. I hope you'll forgive the haphazard editing this time around. I really am pressed for time.

Remember, anything having to do with a holiday meets the submission guidelines. I prefer serious balls-out rants, but that's only because I am one. Humor, fond reminiscences, photos, and all else holiday-themed are welcome!

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of a carnival of hijacked holidays using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Halloween Story

This story was originally written 13 years ago. Therefore, it is not only a good tale, but also an historical document. Many of the references are now downright archaic, not unlike the author. I think you'll find it enjoyable, anyway.


I'm going to go out trick-or-treating with my nieces and nephews. Problem is, what do I dress up as? Or maybe I shouldn't dress up at all? It's very confusing.

MY WIFE is dressing up as Howard Stern. When she rats out her hair, she actually looks like him to a certain extent, except she's a foot-and-a-half shorter and has boobs, not to mention a more pleasant personality. She suggests that we go as sort of an odd couple and that I dress up as Rush Limbaugh. Trouble is, I don't look anything at all like Rush Limbaugh, so I'd have to do too much explaining about my costume.

If there's anything more annoying on Halloween, than explaining to people what you're supposed to be, then you'll have to tell me what it is because I sure can't think of it. You spend all day fixing up a costume - gathering the odds and ends necessary to make it convincing, and working on your character in front of a mirror, practicing an accent or a funny walk - and you steel yourself for the inevitable staring and fingerpointing from strangers. Then, when you arrive at the party (or whatever it is that you're going to) the first thing out of someone's mouth isn't "Hello!"; it's "What are you supposed to be?", and then you have to explain that you're Rush Limbaugh. This gets one of two responses. Either, "Oh, yeah! Right...", which is totally bogus because you know that this person will stare at you all night as though you were some kind of a nut, and will not so surreptitiously point you out to people as the idiot who thinks he looks like Rush Limbaugh, or "Oh, of course! How could I be so stupid!", which is far worse because now every time that this well-meaning person introduces you to someone else, he or she will feel a need to explain your costume to the person you're now meeting, like, "Bob, this is Jim. He's dressed up as Rush Limbaugh. Isn't it an excellent costume?", to which Bob says, "Oh, yeah! Right..."

The only thing more degrading is to be dressed up in an unrecognizable costume when you're with kids. As a rule, kids will not cut you any slack. They'll tell you right off the bat that you don't look like what you're supposed to be. Or, if you're dressed up as Rush Limbaugh, they probably won't even know what you're supposed to be in the first place. And, even after you tell them, they still won't have any idea what you're talking about. So then you're stuck explaining the concept of Rush Limbaugh - which is no easy task when talking to adults, let alone a six-year old.

Well, in any case, I'm still wrestling with the dilemma of whether to even wear a costume at all. I mean, we're just going to escort the kids around the neighborhood and I probably won't get any candy anyway, so why bother? However, MY WIFE has worked really hard on her Howard Stern outfit, so I can't just leave her in the lurch. She's even gone so far as to make a mocked-up cover of Stern's book, Private Parts, and pasted it onto a copy of the Book Of Mormon which we had lying around (don't ask - that's another story) so now, as a good husband, it's my duty to come up with something at least marginally convincing.

I start looking around the house for something I can convert into a costume. I know, and you know, that I could settle for going to the store and buying a mask, or one of those make-up kits they sell around this time of year that you put on and never quite look like the person on the packaging (you always look more like Eddie Munster on a three-day bender than Dracula) but I can't do that. Too easy. To satisfy my ego, I need something at least a bit more original than that. So, I start thinking. This invariably gets me into trouble, but I do it anyway.

Let's see. I have some old golf clubs in the basement, so I could wear a sweater and some loud pants and go as a golfer. Nah. Who wants to carry around a load of golf clubs all night? Besides, it's not original enough. For the same reason (non-originality) I dismiss dressing up as a clown, although I do have the wardrobe for it. I toy with the idea of going as The Ultimate Politically Incorrect White Guy. I'll wear blackface, fix up my eyes to look slanty, put on a feathered headdress, and sashay around and lisp. I nix that idea, however, because (somewhat ironically) it would present pretty much the same set of problems as if I chose to dress as Rush Limbaugh.

(The kids, of course, would love it. They'd think it was the funniest thing they'd seen since the last time one of their friends spit up milk through his nose. Kids don't care about politically correct, as long as it's funny. And, neither does my father-in-law. However, I digress.)

Now, I've been growing my hair long for the past year. I wear it in a ponytail in back. [Note from the future: I did say I wrote this 12 years ago, right?] So I start thinking about what sort of costume can be constructed around this already-existing prop? And it hits me! Who wore ponytails? The founding fathers of our country, of course. And who better to accompany Howard Stern than Thomas Jefferson? Free speech, and all that.

I find that it's relatively easy to put together a Thomas Jefferson costume. You just wear white knee socks outside of your pants so that they look like knickers. In strategic places, you attach a bit of lace to a white shirt. You throw on a pair of loafers and there you go. Instant Jefferson! I do up my ponytail in a ribbon, after plastering my hair down with about a gallon of hair spray, and we're on our way.

The first problem encountered by any adult who has dressed up for Halloween is this: "How do I get from the house to my car without the neighbors seeing me?" This doesn't bother MY WIFE at all, because she doesn't care what the neighbors think. It normally wouldn't bother me, either, except I'm not sure our neighbors would know the real Thomas Jefferson if he walked down our street, so I don't want them to think I've just suddenly gone fey, what with the knickers and ruffed shirt and the bow in my hair. So, I try to get to our car as quickly and with as little fanfare as possible. MY WIFE, of course, thinks this is ridiculous. With a little bit of the real Howard Stern creeping into her personality, she yells, "Look everybody! It's Jim Sullivan in a costume! Look! Look!" Thoroughly embarrassed (she loves to see me blush, which I do readily) I start the car and then we're finally on the road, where nobody can get a really good look at me, thank you.

Except: We need gas.

MY WIFE, reverting to her usual self (that is, thoughtful and nice) offers to go into the store and buy the gas herself (it's one of those pay-before-you-pump self-serve places), but she doesn't know how to operate the pump, so I'm going to have to do that myself. Swell. I decide that I can rearrange part of my costume to be not overly-conspicuous. I put on a hat and a jacket. That takes care of most of the top of me, but the bottom half is much tougher. I roll down the knee-socks, untuck my pants legs, and now I don't look too bad, except that with the kind of jacket I'm wearing and the white socks with black shoes, I now look like Cliff Claven. While pumping the gas, I try to decide which is more humiliating - looking like a postal nerd, or looking like I just came running full-tilt out of the closet. I decide that I've had more experience in my life looking like a nerd than a refugee from an Adam Ant album, so pumping the gas doesn't offer me any sort of humiliation that I haven't handled up until now, so it's OK.

The gas is pumped. I get in the car and re-arrange myself back into a reasonable facsimile of a 1700's plantation owner (which, I just realize, may be even more politically incorrect than a blackfaced, slanty-eyed, lisping Native American) and we're back on the road to Duxbury.


The rest of the trip down to my in-laws is uneventful.

As we're pulling into the driveway, we're immediately greeted by our nieces; a four-year old named Alyssa and a six-year old named Caitlyn. Being an aunt and uncle without children of our own, and therefore allowed to act like children ourselves (at least part of the time) we are, of course, beloved. They have been awaiting our arrival for some time now and they no sooner saw our car than they were running to meet it.

Their Aunt, MY WIFE, dressed as Howard Stern doesn't seem to faze them. I am another story, however. Alyssa just sort of stares at me, with her big smile frozen in place. She knows that this is a joke of some sort, and she's not quite sure what, but she's willing to wait for the punch line. Caitlyn, on the other hand, being much more worldly (she is six, after all) recognizes the joke immediately. She knows that Uncle Jimmy is dressed for Halloween. She doesn't know what he's dressed as, but it is funny, so she rolls her eyes (an expression she utilizes so often it has come to be known among the family as "Caitlyn eyes") and laughs.

I tell them that I'm Thomas Jefferson. This brings two puzzled expressions. I ask them if they know who Thomas Jefferson is. Caitlyn kind of nods her head, while Alyssa, bless her little heart, says that I look like a president. Thus fortified with confidence in my disguise, I proceed with MY WIFE and the girls to the house.

On the way, we're informed of the fact that Caitlyn is going to be a witch and Alyssa a devil. I ask them if they know who MY WIFE is supposed to be. "A Chinese lady?", asks Alyssa, since as part of her Howard Stern outfit, MY WIFE has chosen to wear a long, flowing robe with embroidery, a bit similar to the robe that Stern wears (somewhat) on the cover of his book. I find it gratifying to know that I look more like a president, to a four-year old, than MY WIFE looks like a geeky shock-jock. Actually, I find it not so much gratifying that I look like a president as I do that MY WIFE looks more like a woman than she does Howard Stern, no matter how much work she put into her costume.

As we enter the house, and exchange pleasantries with various relatives, I find out something curious concerning the American psyche. Each person I greet sees me as a different character from the revolution. I am variously mistaken for Benjamin Franklin, Nathan Hale, George Washington, and Samuel Adams. I guess everybody has his or her favorite. Mine just happens to be Jefferson.

When MY WIFE announces that she's Howard Stern, there's general acceptance all around, and everybody immediately gets the connection between the two of us (the free speech bit) and nobody (as of yet, anyway) says the dreaded, "Oh, yeah! Right...", which is why I like my in-laws so much. A little bit of lunacy will not make you an outcast in the Purin household. As a matter of fact, it may help to endear you to them.

Now we're awaiting the imminent arrival of MY WIFE's eldest sister, Luann; her husband, Charlie; and their two sons (our nephews) Michael and Joey. Michael is almost 11, and just starting to enter that phase in life where he must act cool, so sometimes he acts a bit snotty these days. He's generally a real nice kid, though, and if you find some common ground (Beavis & Butthead, baseball cards) he'll still treat you like an equal. This year, he's wearing a costume of his own devising which will give the illusion of carrying his own head in his hands. His Uncle John (MY WIFE's kid brother, and an inventive sort, himself) has helped him with this rig which, as it turns out, is really quite convincing. Joey, my Godson, is about two, and although he doesn't know it yet, he will be going as a ghost. This will be accomplished by draping a sheet of some sort over his head, while his mom and dad wheel him from house to house in a stroller - kind of like Casper on wheels.

We hear their car pull up, so MY WIFE and I decide to meet them at the door, seeing as we're the only ones in costume thus far (and the only adults who will be, for that matter.) Michael, being in the stage of life he is, just gives me the "Caitlyn eyes" as he walks by. Luann, ever-polite (but not so strong on her American history) says, "Oh, it's a... doorman?" When I inform her that I'm Thomas Jefferson, Charlie - who had been following close behind - says, "Jim, how long have you had these delusions?" Joey just smiles. When MY WIFE announces that she's Howard Stern, Michael says, "Oh, yeah! Right... NOT!!!", which is about what we expected from him.

After a nice dinner, and while the kids are getting into their costumes, talk about Thomas Jefferson, Howard Stern, and freedom of speech leads my father-in-law into a joke.

(You've got to understand - just about anything leads my father-in-law into a joke. He's got an ample supply and, notwithstanding the jeers and sour faces he sometimes receives from his immediate family, I think they're usually pretty good. Then again, I'm a relatively new relative. Maybe after hearing them for thirty or forty years, I'll have a different opinion.)

Anyway, it's a fairly new joke for him. He asks, "Why won't they be celebrating Halloween and Thanksgiving in Arkansas this year?" When no one replies, he answers, "Because the witch left town and took the turkey with her!" This is fairly clever, so I get a chuckle. Most of the rest of the family (probably staunch democrats) just groan.

(Being the only Libertarian in the room - as is usually the case - I'm free to laugh at Democrats, Republicans, Prohibitionists, Anabaptists, and all manner of fringe lunatics, equally and indiscriminately. If it had been a joke about there not being any Channukah in Washington this year, since they sent the Bush back to Texas, I would have laughed at that, too - though not as hard, since it's nowhere near as good a joke. However, I digress, again.)

By this time, the kids are all in costume, and Michael's really is interesting to look at. He does look like someone with his head cut off carrying it in his own hands. When someone asks him how he'll collect candy, since he doesn't have the use of his arms to hold a bag, he explains that the top part of the costume is empty and he'll ask people to stuff candy down into his headless throat.

Caitlyn, ever the glamour-puss, is continually fussing with her witch's hat, trying to get it just so. Alyssa is waving her spear-shaped tail and shouting, "I'm the Queen of the Devils!" Only Joey isn't happy. For one thing, he hates having stuff on his head. If you try to put a hat on him, he'll throw it off in an instant. So he's not too thrilled with having a sheet over his head. It's also a cold and rainy sort of night, so the poor little guy has the shivers. It looks like it'll be a short night for Casper the rolling ghost.

I have a cup of coffee that I want to take with me, so I ask my father-in-law if I can borrow one of his beer steins. It just wouldn't be right for Thomas Jefferson to walk around with a Dunkin' Donuts mug. The best one he can come up with for me to stay in character is a plain clay mug, with something to the effect of "Munich - Octoberfest" on one side of it. He says that, as long as I keep that side turned towards me, it should work. John, fairly apolitical, says, "Beer Putsch; Revolution; it's all the same..."

As we make our rounds, I find out about the power of advertising. With the addition of the stein, everyone immediately takes me to be Samuel Adams. I correct the first person who thinks so, but then I decide that I might as well let it go. I mean, if what you're doing is a success, why argue that it's not?

Nobody (at least out loud) ventures a guess as to who or what MY WIFE might be. Everybody thinks that Michael's costume is inventive, but they're all a little nonplussed at having to stick their hands down his throat to give him his treats. Caitlyn's worst moment is when we all arrive at the house of a boy in her school who allegedly likes her. When this boy answers the door, Caitlyn kind of slinks into the background, but Michael being Michael says, "She likes you!" The resultant "Caitlyn eyes" can be seen even in the dark. Alyssa, the Queen of the Devils, is as she usually is - happy and oblivious. The addition of getting a bunch of free candy just makes her more so. Unfortunately, Joey/Casper is an early dropout, taken home by his father after only two or three stops.

I didn't get any candy. I did have a tube of toothpaste, which the town dentist had handed out along with his candy treats and which one of the kids had dropped, but that's hardly the same thing. When we got back to the house, though, Caitlyn gave me a Chunky, while the Queen of the Devils gave Howard Stern a Kit-Kat. Kids tend to guard their Halloween booty very jealously, so this was sweet of them. No doubt Michael would have given us something, too, but he couldn't reach up into his own neck to get anything for us (he couldn't take his costume off yet, as he still had another round of trick-or-treating to go, around his other grandmother's neighborhood.) Just seeing Joey so damned happy to get the sheet off of his head was treat enough from him.

Sometimes, as adults, we tend to forget how important Halloween is to kids. Sure, there are some of us, like MY WIFE and myself, who dress up in costume and join in, accompanying kids door-to-door, and there are others who attend parties and such, but none of us are celebrating the same thing that the kids are. Basically, it's an impossibility. They're celebrating being kids, although not consciously, of course. And consciously or unconsciously, we can't get there, really, although sometimes we can get close on a night like this.

Ah, well. You'll excuse me now, please. I'm going to kiss Howard Stern and I'd like some privacy.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The 2nd Carnival Of Hijacked Holidays!

Don't bother clicking to order. I stole the image from an e-mail I received.

Well, since it was sent to me, I guess I didn't really steal it. The bear's name is Halloween Herman. Cute son of a gun. However, since his picture arrived in my e-mail during the month of September, he should ROT IN TEDDY HELL!!! Fie on you, Herman, and a pox and a curse on your marketers for sending you to me so far in advance of the holiday you represent!

Aw, geez. What kind of heartless jerk would condemn a lovely bear like Herman to the fires of eternal damnation just because he showed up a little bit early? I mean, he really is cute, isn't he? And he seems to be a bargain, too. Just $9.95 and you can personalize him with the name of your child.

Oh, alright, Herman. You're forgiven. You can come back from Hell now.

Oooooops! Too late. Oh, well. Here's the 2nd edition of A Carnival Of Hijacked Holidays anyway!

(By the way, I'm absolutely thrilled with the progress of this carnival. There was a 100% increase in submissions for this edition! That's right - four this time, as opposed to the two I received for the first one. I suppose it might help matters if I were to update this blog more often than once a month, but since I have an actual paying job and another blog that I update almost daily - PLUG! - as well as being a hideously lazy old geezer - that's not likely to happen anytime soon.)

Here are this month's submissions:

Linda Freedman presents Yom Kippur posted at Everyone needs therapy? Lessons from a family therapist.

This is a lovely, and loving, tale; well-written and touching. I enjoyed it immensely and you will, too.

Jennifer Miner sends in Spend Money this Halloween: Don't settle for cheap costumes and candy; have an upscale Halloween!

Good read. And not only do you get that one, but at the end of it you get links to three more Halloween writings from Jennifer. Woo Hoo! Pass the candy corn!

Eli Liechty presents LuckyFork - Share Recipies, Nutrition Tips, and Restaurant Deals posted at Fact: Your Halloween Candy Has Insects In It.

Well, YUCK!

(Be sure to click onto page two for more.)

Hey, remember what I said above about passing the candy corn? Never mind.

Nehring presents Nehring The Edge: SURVIVING CHRISTMAS (2004) movie reviews posted at Nehring The Edge.

Nehring is rather harsh on Ben Affleck. As a matter of fact, Ben Affleck would be appalled if he came here and clicked over to there. But, what chance is there of that, really? Like Ben Affleck will be reading anything I wrote... What, does he think he's too good for my blog? Screw you, Ben Affleck!

And that will do it for this edition. Thank you for your submissions, and thank you for reading.

While you're here, I'd like to remind you about the point of this blog. It is a platform for saying whatever you want to say concerning a holiday. It can be a complaint or it can be a nice story or anything else that's on your mind. I originally started this as a place to post complaints about advertisements that come way too early for the holiday they want to sell you stuff for. So, got a gripe? Put it here. I won't censor. I might make a snarky comment or two, but that's the price you pay for fame.

See you next time!

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Carnival Of Hijacked Holidays

IF you were sent here in hopes of finding the latest (10/20/2006) edition, then Blog Carnival sent you to the wrong place. This is the FIRST edition. Go here for the SECOND edition. Thank You!

Welcome to the inaugural Carnival Of Hijacked Holidays!

I recently requested that people send me their essays, musings, rants or whatever else they had to say concerning holidays. It didn't have to be about any specific holiday, nor did it have to be pro or con. As long as the main subject matter was a holiday of one sort or another, the submission would qualify for inclusion.

I can't say that I'm pleased with the quantity of submissions - two. I can say, unequivocally, that I am very pleased with the quality of the submissions. My hope is that the quality will remain at this high level, with a concomitant rise in quantity.

Without any further ado, here are the wonderful submissions.

Leading off - that is, the very first entry received and thus assured a place in... some historical thingamajiggy - is Jon Swift with his Not Letting The Terrorists Win. Mr. Swift postulates that giving people September 11th off, so that they might shop, would be the perfect way to send a message to the terrorists that they can't change our way of life.

(In keeping with Mr. Swift's general take on things, I have included his portrait to the right. From now on, you're on your own in determining why I have positioned folk's pictures/artwork/hieroglyphics where I have. I assume that since you're here, you're intelligent and will be able to do so with only this one hint.)

The second - and last - entry for this wonderful but abbreviated carnival comes from Tim Abbott of Walking The Berkshires. His entry is entitled James Tinker On Fast Day.

Unfortunately - for a lazy bugger such as myself - Mr. Abbott's political leanings are not as readily obvious, so I've assigned him a center position. If he would have rather been on the fringe, I apologize.

And that's about it. I'm going to run another edition at some point, but I'll probably wait until I have enough submissions to populate it more fully than this one. In other words, at least three.

See you then!

P.S. You may have been wondering why there is a picture of assorted sausages and cheese at the top of this page. I went to Google Images and entered "Holiday Carnival". This was the first thing that came up. I figured that this is a pretty cheesy carnival thus far, but the submissions are meaty, so why not go with it?

By the way, the image comes from The Wisconsin Cheeseman. I am not averse to payola, if he is reading this...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Coming Attractions

Coming soon to a website near you!

(This one, as a matter of fact, and what could be closer?)

*A Festival Of Hijacked Holidays*

Got a gripe with retailers or other merchandisers concerning a holiday? Got a gripe in general about holidays? Send your submissions and I'll print them here. Everything submitted will be printed!

(With appropriate commentary by yours truly, of course.)

Mark your calendars!

(I haven't told you a date yet. Mark 'em anyway. Just pick a date to be here and we'll see what happens.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Latest Execrable Sightings

Courtesy of Universal Hub, we have the following evidence that the Roche Bros. store in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, has lost all concept of what month it is.

That's pronounced "Roach Brothers", by the way, which is a good thing to keep in mind considering that, should you buy any of this candy during the actual week of Halloween, it may well have been sitting on the shelves for 9 weeks by that time.

From StopIt! over at Parental Advisory we have the following:

"I would like to say that a co-worker of mine was singing a Christmas carol this morning. Then she went so far as to say, "Hey, Christmas is only 4 months away."

If she keeps this up, I'm going to have to string her up with Christmas lights-and I won't care how far away the Holiday is.

Which, as I said in the comments section previously, is exactly the sort of irrational venom I was hoping for. Keep up the good work!

From good friend, Stu, proprietor of Stu News And Photos:

"I am not making this up: In yesterdays mail we received a catalog from Landmark Collection which features "Personalized Holiday Cards". Leslie and I laughed at how early it came, and look how great the timing is with your new blog, which I think is genius!"

Thank you, Stu! I humbly accept your approbation.

The wonderful Sharfa, from Sharfa's Space had the following to say:

"Shit Suldog - you're going to be very busy come HALLOWEEN! That's when it seems to start nowadays. It's an effective tactic to brainwash the kids and convince them they can't live without the next best thing. That way they have 2 months or more to wear down their parents. Parents will buy said 'next best thing' just to get the kid to shut up.

It's not right. I'm with ya on this one!

Even though my first name is not actually "Shit", I certainly am grateful to have you with me on this, Sharfa. Thanks!

The utterly magnificent Thimbelle, who writes of life with The Twinkie and The Wrench over at Creeping Towards Normal says:

"Oh, the shelves were still warm from the School Supplies at our local W-M when...

...they were swept clean, only to be replenished with THANKSGIVING decorations, tableware, paper supplies, etc.

Date: 08/21/06 Time: 7:03 pm

Humbug, indeed!

Of course, I'm assuming that W-M stands for Wal-Mart. Even if it doesn't, we'll pretend that it does and send out a general curse upon them.

My Mom, who has no website for me to plug, contributes:

"How about the Rockettes dancing to Christmas music in their little red velvet costumes and Santa hats on the Today Show this morning (8/23)? They were letting everyone know that tickets go on sale tomorrow for their annual Christmas show."

Just because you're beautiful and have great legs, you think you can dance all over our traditions? I hope you all gain three pounds and have to have your costumes let out.

And Anonymous, who later turns out to be Christine in West Roxbury, had the following sighting - and righteous reaction:

"TJ MAXX in Dedham has had Christmas stuff in for the last 2-3 weeks......I walked out of the housewares area pronto....

Christine in West Roxbury

Thank you, Anonymous Christine!

And now I would like to propose a business deal. Well, not really a business deal, as that would involve an actual exchange of money. More of an offer for you to do something for me and receive nothing in return. That is, if your idea of "nothing" is the voluminous thanks of your fellow men and women who are sick and tired of having their holidays hijacked! Hah! That's hardly "nothing" in my book!

Obviously, I'm somewhat limited in my own reporting abilities. This is not only because of my overt lack of journalistic skills, but also because I'm way over here on the east coast of the United States and tucked up into a northerly corner on top of it. What about you and yours, residing somewhere out in the vast quantity of somewhere else which comprises the great majority of otherwhere? Surely you want to let your friends and neighbors know about the egregious greediness of your local merchants. There is little doubt you wish to make known the outrageous usurpation of jollity and frovility happening in your neck of the woods. Why not become a roving correspondent for Bah! Humbug! and if that's too hectic, you can be a sedentary correspondent.

What I'm trying to say, in my lovably verbose way, is that I need you! I want you! I can't live without you! Say you'll be mine and I'll give you a by-line.

(I might even add you to my Christmas Card list, but since this is August 28th? It's totally going against the spirit of this site to mention that, so consider it left unsaid.)

In any case, if you'd like to be the (fill in your town, city, state, country, galaxy here) correspondent for Bah! Humbug!, then drop me a line at and I'll get to work immediately on stealing your identi... on hooking you up.

All seriousness aside, if you send me a report of horribly early merchandising, I'll post it here and put up whatever sort of link you'd like. Or, if you wish to remain anonymous, I'll take the heat. If you have photos - or other visual proof - of a transgression against taste, all the better.

Until next time, remember that the next legal holiday is Labor Day. In the true spirit of that great memorial to the U.S. worker, feel free to do nothing until after it passes.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bah! Humbug!

(Just a quick 'Thank You!' to all who have responded thus far. I'll be posting something else here soon, I hope. Keep 'em coming, please.)

Welcome to Bah! Humbug!

I love Christmas. I love holidays in general. However, would you like to know what I hate with a passion? Doesn't matter; I'm going to tell you anyway.


Since the most egregious offenders are usually those advertising Christmas-related items, I chose Scrooge's fitting epithet as the blog's name.

This site is dedicated to costing those retailers business, unless they reform their noxious habits.

Every time I see someone advertising a holiday specific item more than four weeks (28 days) in advance of the holiday, I will report it here. Anytime a retailer advertises a holiday prior to the previous major holiday having happened, same thing. For instance, Christmas ads before Thanksgiving.

I welcome you to do the same, by e-mailing me at and telling me all about the offensive ad or retailer. I will post all of your submissions here.

My fervent hope is that, when you see someone reported here as having made your holiday a bit less jolly by overemphasizing the commercial aspects, you will boycott that advertiser or retailer.

You may also, of course, come to an advertiser's defense. It is a free country, more-or-less, and I welcome opposing viewpoints.

To begin this exercise, let me point out that it is now August 16th, 2006. And, as pointed out at Universal Hub, the Brooks Pharmacy on Washington Street in Roslindale, Massachusetts, has started hawking Halloween candy. Fie! Fie, I say! And a pox - one incurable by all of the hideous ungents and ointments available in your odious store - upon Brooks Pharmacy!

More as it occurs.

(By the way, I heartily endorse A Charlie Brown Christmas. I chose the graphic not because it represents the worst of the season, but rather the best.)

(Of course, Snoopy's decorating of his doghouse, in order to win a competition, was an excellent example of what I'm trying to stamp out.)