Mightier Than The Pen

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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas

Lords-A-Leaping Shortage Sparks Holiday Shopping Scare

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Sith lords a leapingNew York (AP) – Retailers are warning that a serious backlog of orders for lords-a-leaping and other high-demand Christmas goods is threatening the robustness of a crucial shopping season and caused a series of near-stampedes as dozens of would-be consumers rushed to retail outlets to obtain the coveted gift items. Several online merchants also reported server volume trouble that caused at least three major sites to crash.

Major brick-and-mortar retailers and online merchants began noticing early Friday that they were having trouble fulfilling orders for the perennial gift item, with some stores, such as Macy’s and Wal-Mart, placing placards at their entrances to inform customers of Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Thag

December 1, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Early Hanukkah Causes Confusion Among Assimilated Jews

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Black FridayNewport News, Virginia (AP) – The relatively early occurrence of Hanukkah this year has sown perplexity among assimilated American Jews, who have become accustomed to combining or confusing the holiday’s practices with those of Christmas and not Thanksgiving. The first day of Hanukkah comes out this Thursday, which is also Thanksgiving.

The lunar Jewish calendar has a typical year lasting approximately 354 days, making it 11 days shorter than the solar year. A complicated cycle of leap years Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

November 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Jews Unsure Why Everyone Else Still Looking Forward to ‘Holidays’

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‘Hanukkah is over,’ they say.

North Miami Beach, FL (AP) – With the eight-day festival of Hanukkah concluded this past Sunday evening, Jews are puzzled by other people’s continued anticipation of a holiday, apparently some time next week.

“I like a never-ending celebration as much as the next guy, but it’s over, you know?” says Coral Gables resident Michelle Borofsky, 45. “It’s like the two-month buildup isn’t enough, and half the world refuses to accept that Hanukkah has come and gone. Can we just get on with normal life now?”

A stained glass window in a cathedral, apparently showing a woman preparing to light Sabbath candles.

A stained glass window in a cathedral, apparently showing a woman preparing to light Sabbath candles.

Borofsky’s husband Eli, 47, echoes her confusion. “There’s a lot about people I don’t understand, but this one has me completely perplexed,” he says with a shake of the head. “I can handle stores marking Hanukkah with all those pagan trees and poinsettias – I mean, they can’t be expected to know all the details about a minor Jewish holiday. I can even handle all that weird music they play incessantly once Thanksgiving comes around. But come on. It’s already the sixth of Tevet. The next holiday of note is almost two months away,” he said, referring to Purim.

Jews’ collective bafflement over the continuing festivities makes them uncomfortable, says sociologist Anna Philactic. “After centuries of persecution in Europe, American Jewry is deeply appreciative of the welcoming, nurturing environment they found in the United States,” she explains. “They love seeing all the houses and businesses lit up in honor of the Jewish Festival of Lights. Heck, Jews would be fine if they were simply left alone, so that outpouring of love and solidarity from gentiles is wonderful, not to mention everyone emulating Jewish gift-giving this time of year. But when the celebration continues far beyond the appropriate dates, that makes Jews a little insecure about what’s really going on, and about how excited everyone else is for something that’s over and done with.”

Jews everywhere are struggling to explain the prevalence of decorated fir trees. Some attribute them to the Jewish Arbor Day, known as Tu Bishvat, known as the New Year for Trees in Jewish lore.  Adding to the confusion is the occasional scene on people’s lawns featuring an infant and several adoring grown-ups, apparently in a barn, an obviously agricultural setting that supports the association with Tu Bishvat. However, Tu Bishvat is still more than a month away, and it remains obscure even to most Jews, let alone to non-Jews.

Jewish SantaA red-suited, bearded, jolly figure appears everywhere; Jews attribute that to Hanukkah’s message of struggle against the materialistic, consumerism-driven world view represented by the nation of Edom, whose name means ‘The Red One.’ The man’s flowing white beard is an obvious nod at the traditional Rabbinic appearance, and his use of a kosher species of draft animals to pull his vehicle is an added bonus.

With all the warmth that American society shows the Jewish community, Jews feel reluctant to correct the apparent misperception that the holiday is still in force. “It’s a really good feeling to be this celebrated, it’s a real honoring of our traditions,” says Rabbi Yudah Mann of Congregation Shakketz T’shaktzennu in Seattle. “But we Jews have a collective wariness of speaking out directly against the host culture’s practices, so we’re naturally a bit shy about pointing out the error.”

“But it’s probably harmless, so we’ll probably let it go. It most likely heralds the advent of a much more peaceful era in Jewish relations with our neighbors.”

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Written by Thag

December 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Misinformed Racists up in Arms over ‘Black’ Friday, Monday

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Boise, Idaho (Reuters) – The Aryan Secession Society (ASS) held a demonstration today in downtown Boise to protest the observance of Black Friday and Black Monday. Thirty-five ASS members held aloft placards proclaiming the United States a “White Christian Nation,” and chanting slogans to the effect that people of African descent do not deserve such a national holiday, let alone two.

The popularly accepted etymology of the terms has them referring to the kickoff of the post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas shopping season, when retailers anticipate seeing the red-ink deficit numbers turn to black-ink positive balances in their ledgers. To ASS people, however, any mention of the term “black” in a non-negative context threatens the perception of the world they wish to maintain.

In fact the term began in Philadelphia in the mid-twentieth century in reference to post-Thanksgiving pedestrian crowds, but ASS will hear none of it. “If it’s black, send it back!” read a sign, meaning back to Africa, where blacks, and humanity itself, originated.

“Keep Christmas White!” shouted Anthony LaRouche, who had brought along his four-year-old daughter Eva. “We’re not going to stand here and let some Kenyan turn our calendar into some set of perverted African pagan cannibal festivals,” he explained, betraying monumental ignorance of current events, history, anthropology and basic common sense. When informed that the term preceded Barack Obama’s presidency by several decades and had nothing to do with race, LaRouche called it “that much more insidious, because everyone thinks it’s innocuous.”

ASS founder and Director Skidd Marx exhorted his followers with a megaphone and haranguing passers-by to sign a petition calling for a repeal of the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth Amendments to the Constitution, a measure that they believe would revoke the citizenship of blacks, deny them the right to vote and restore them to slave status. The Amendments were ratified in the 1860’s and have long been a matter of national consensus.

“This nation could have been great, but it lost its way and now honors the wrong people!” Marx told the assembled crowd. “No more blacks in November! That’s all you need to remember!” The attendees took up the chant, making it all the way through five times before losing steam and waiting for Marx to say more.

Marx said he considered the gathering a success, especially in terms of numbers, as the organization has struggled to attract membership and attendance. “Our problem is our name – we don’t really have the name recognition of, say, a Ku Klux Klan or Aryan Nation,” he said. “But this time around we asked our members to bring along any family that might be staying with them for Thanksgiving, and that upped the numbers by at least ten.” Last year’s rally was canceled on account of rain.

Boise residents misunderstood the intent of the demonstration, thinking that the banners reading “ASS” were related to some election campaign, even though election campaign season ended weeks ago. “Isn’t that some environmental group?” asked Joe Whitaker, 38, a pharmacist visiting from Ketchum. “Americans for Safer Sewage or something like that?”

“What a dumb name,” he said, shaking his head as he walked away, holding this month’s issue of Ebony.

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Written by Thag

November 25, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I Promise THIS Time Will Be Different, Sisyphus

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Written by Thag

April 19, 2012 at 12:03 am

Ask a Disillusioned Santa Claus

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Dear Disillusioned Santa Claus:

My son never does his homework. He’s already ten years old, and nothing we say or do gets him to complete his work for any length of time. We’ve tried rewards, punishments and everything in between, to no avail. What works one day fails the next. What are we to do?

At Wit’s End in Secaucus

Dear Wit’s End:

I assume you’ve already tried warning him that Santa does not look favorably upon children who neglect their school work. However, given his age, he’s about as likely to retain a belief in Santa as he is to know nothing about sex. Oh, you didn’t realize that, did you? Were you under the impression that anyone over the age of eight in this interconnected age is still ignorant of the basics? Oh, dear. It appears Junior is not the only one in Secaucus with some maturing to do.

In any case, I recommend Catholic school. There’s no better way to straighten a kid out and scar him for life at the same time than making the consequences of a missed assignment be spending an afternoon alone with Father Flanagan in his office. You know, the Father Flanagan who gets quietly reassigned to new places every now and then.

Dear Disillusioned Santa Claus:

Are tips mandatory all of a sudden? I had always thought that tips for waiters were contingent on courteous, capable service, but more and more, the providers of these services seem to consider tips an entitlement. Have the standards changed, or are there just more rude people around?

Bewildered in Denver

Dear Bewildered:

I have a suggestion that might change your perspective. Try playing Santa one day at a shopping mall during December. The physical abuse, decibel level and ceaseless Christmas music would be enough to drive a saint to murder – and waiters have to deal with more than that: picky, rude customers; messy children; impatient management; ill-informed kitchen staff; and hourly wages that would make an illegal immigrant cringe, just to name a few. Don’t blame the poor bastards for not achieving satisfactory results.

Instead, cook your own goddamn meals at home, and pack a sandwich. It’s consumption-oriented pigs such as you who have made my once-pleasant vocation an absolute nightmare. Want some anthrax in your stocking this year?

Dear Disillusioned Santa Claus:

Please help my brother and me settle an argument. I maintain that Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player ever, and he contends that the title should go to Ted Williams. Who is right?

Waiting in Knoxville

Dear Waiting:

I hate questions such as this one. Where’s the angst? The moral quandary? The emotionally fraught dilemma? You give me nothing to work with. All I get is a lame request to settle a bet. What is wrong with you people? Aren’t brothers supposed to have a dysfunctional relationship? Certainly that’s how it was with me and my brother. The creep.

Oh, and the answer is Ruth, hands down. He was fat and still did well. Like a certain saint I know…

Dear Disillusioned Santa Claus:

My wife of eight years is an alcoholic, only she won’t admit it. She has wine with her dinner whenever we go out, and I sometimes see her sniff her perfume before she puts it on. How can I get her, gently, to realize she has a problem?

Concerned in Dallas

Dear Concerned:

This is a joke, right?

Right?

Christ.

(Oh – sorry about that, old buddy – we’ll talk later, over some Scotch)

OK, I’m going to type this slowly so that even you can understand it: yes, your wife has a problem. That problem has been married to her for eight years. You know what to do.

Confidential to Nervous in Philly: I don’t completely understand what kind of photos and videos you mean – what kind of home movies could possibly be so damaging that you would fear the rest of the family might see them? Please forward them to me so I can more fully grasp what you’re getting at.

Written by Thag

February 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Classic Thag, June 2011: Santa’s Complete Unaccountability

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Originally posted 13 June 2011

Dear Santa,

I know that most of the letters you receive arrive in the weeks prior to Christmas, so this might come as a surprise, as Christmas was two days ago and I’m only writing it now. As you can tell, this is not your typical letter to Santa: not a wish list, and not an attempt at casting ostensibly naughty behavior in a better light. The fact that you visited our house at all this year means that I was, in fact, on the “nice” list.

However, I do feel the need to communicate with you about a previous letter that I did send, the one that contained a detailed list of items I wished to find under the tree this Christmas. Having established that I had earned gifts from you this year, it puzzles me that my wishes seemed so egregiously disregarded. For your convenience, I have included a copy of the list as Attachment A.

As you can see, the list contains twenty-six items, and they appear in order of preference. But of those requested items, not a single one ended up under our tree. I did not receive my first request, a Nintendo Wii. By itself that might not be of major significance, but it causes me consternation in light of the gift delivery to my friend and classmate Gregory Walsh, just up Maple Street from me, who did receive the Wii he had requested from you, while I had to make do with a two-volume dictionary and a world atlas, neither of which, you will note, appeared on my list. In fact the closest thing to a book on my list is number 22, a DVD set of all the Harry Potter movies; I am told they started out as books.

I do not wish to imply that you, personally, are responsible for the error; of course, with many, many millions of households to visit, keeping track of the deliveries by necessity requires delegating responsibility to someone else. Nevertheless, that someone messed up badly, as I received absolutely nothing that I requested. I can understand that actual light sabers are hard to come by (number eleven on the list), but a toy one would have demonstrated that the list was received and processed. The mess-up in this case is so severe that I wonder whether you received my original letter at all. Even though I sent it three times just to be sure.

Yes, I realize that it was not identical all three times; there were additions, a subtraction and clarifications in each of the two latter letters. However, it defies comprehension that not even the obsolete versions of the list found expression in this year’s actual gifts. I certainly did not request a new scarf, but there it was, lying there with an ugly yellow ribbon, the kind of scarf Great Aunt Mildred would make for Uncle Myron. In fact I’d almost thought it was the same one, but for the fact that it doesn’t have the ketchup stains on it, and Uncle Myron showed up later wearing his just to make sure Mildred noticed. Mom made me wear the new scarf, too, for Mildred to see, I guess to make her feel good that Santa approves of her taste enough to copy it.

I realize that there is no superior or supervisor to whom to report this debacle, so I am left with no choice but to appeal to your sense of justice and proper procedure, and to request that this matter be sorted out as soon as possible. Gregory Walsh is going to be absolutely insufferable as soon as we get back to school, so I would appreciate if this can be satisfactorily resolved before Christmas break ends on Monday.

I trust this matter will receive due attention. Should you require more information from me, such as an explanation of the difference between a MiG-31 bomber-interceptor and a MiG-29 air superiority fighter (numbers 13 and 15, respectively), I shall be more than happy to elaborate.

Yours truly,

Jeffrey Halladay

Written by Thag

December 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm