As you get off the elevator you are greeted by a Christmas Wonderland. Garland strung between giant candy canes lead the way to the conference hall. CyberLethals are dressed like toy soldiers. Several of the Monitors have scenes of a fireplace merrily crackling and the soft sound of Christmas Jazz play from them. All except for the on stage overhead one, which strangely shows a still image of Impish sitting straight up in an easy chair, red and green garland with little bells and ornaments is wrapped round the dragon, holding him securely in place.
The Kraft table is easily 4 times the size of normal, with 2 coffee stations a tea station and 3 different hot chocolate stations each sorting 2 urns and various add ins appropriate to the hot chocolates offered at that particular station. The scent of fresh hot Christmas cookies is almost over powering and the first thing in the door you’re handed a napkin by an attentive CyberLethal because your mouth starts watering at an embarrassing rate.
As soon as the last of you get your hot beverage of choice and make your very difficult cookie selection decisions Lethal steps up to the podium and hoisting his mug shout out:
“Nollaig Shona Duit! Merry Christmas my friends!
Impish wanted very much to be here for this issue, but as you can see,” he gestures to the monitor above him “he’s unfortunately quite tied up with another matter. No worries however ,we will have his annual Christmas address later on in the issue.
Before we get started a housekeeping note. All activity here at DL/LL Digital Media’s HQ and the associated Readership Fun Resort & Spa will cease prompt at noon tomorrow Christmas Eve. We will resume operations Saturday 26 December 2015 with Impish’s regular Saturday issue. This is to allow everyone in our employ including ourselves as much time with our respective families as possible for the holiday. Some of us may be leaving earlier that others as we will be traveling for the holiday and indeed our returns may be slightly later than Saturday morning.
However next weekend the Readership Fun Resort & Spa will be open and in full swing for our annual Bring in the New Year Bacchanal Blowout. The festivities will start promptly at 6 PM on Thursday 31 December and continue thru noon on Sunday January 3rd by which time all must be cleared out or pressed into servitude until such times as all the cleaning and repair work are done as is our custom.
Mean time, it’s a very full issue we have again this week so reload your plates and mugs and let’s fall to it shall we?
What a coincidence! Both Impish and I sport beards and we’re around a lot more than old St Nick!
As you can see Keebler Towers is now completely decked out and those Keebler Elves have been working day and night to turn out batch after batch of hot fresh Christmas cookies. I’ve reached an agreement with Impish finally. He shows up only twice a day, gets to eat the slightly burnt around the edges & broken cookies and doesn’t attempt stealing or intimidating more cookies out of the elves and I don’t turn the towers defenses on him or tell Santa he’s been bad.
I’m forced to agree with Impish on this one, just the other night Molly and I had a light saber duel with a pair of wrapping paper tubes that rapidly degenerated into a bonking session.
Speaking of Impish, there is another more serious issue I need to address regarding him. See tomorrow isn’t just Christmas Eve it’s extra special because it’s also the day we say:
millennia… ah…err… centuries… that is decades ago, Impish’s egg rolled out of the nest and cracked, uh cracked open that is. Since that day he’s been a source of humor and amusement to all who are fortunate enough to come across his path in life.
Please join me in wishing my best buddy Happy Birthday by leaving you wishes in the comments section.
Luke 2:1-20New International Version (NIV)
The Birth of Jesus
2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Personally this Santa’s screen read ‘Amazon’
A new contract for Santa has finally been negotiated….Please read the following carefully…….
I regret to inform you that, effective immediately, I will no longer be able to serve Southern United States on Christmas Eve. Due to the overwhelming current population of the earth, my contract was renegotiated by the North American Fairies and Elves Local 209. I now serve only areas North of the Mason-Dixion Line and Non-secessionist States. As part of the new and better contract I also get longer breaks for milk and cookies so keep that in mind.
However, I’m certain that your children will be in good hands with your local replacement who happens to be my third cousin, Bubba Claus. His side of the family is from the South Pole. He shares my goal of delivering toys to all the good boys and girls; however, there are a few differences between us. Differences such as:
1. There is no danger of a Grinch stealing your presents from Bubba Claus. He has a gun rack on his sleigh and a bumper sticker that reads: “These toys insured by Smith and Wesson.”
2. Instead of milk and cookies, Bubba Claus prefers that children leave an RC cola and pork rinds [or a moon pie] on the fireplace. And Bubba doesn’t smoke a pipe. He dips a little snuff though, so please have an empty spit can handy.
3. Bubba Claus’ sleigh is pulled by floppy-eared, flyin’ coon dogs instead of reindeer. I made the mistake of loaning him a couple of my reindeer one time, and Blitzen now overlooks Bubba’s fireplace.
4. You won’t hear “On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen …” when Bubba Claus arrives. Instead, you’ll hear, “On Earnhardt, on Wallace, on Martin and Labonte. On Rudd, on Jarrett, on Elliott and Petty.”
5. “Ho, ho, ho!” has been replaced by “Yee Haw!” And you also are likely to hear Bubba’s elves respond, “I her’d dat!”
6. As required by Southern highway laws, Bubba Claus’ sleigh does have a Yosemite Sam safety triangle on the back with the words “Back off” The last I heard it also had other decorations on the sleigh back as well. One is Ford or Chevy logo with lights that race through the letters and the other is a caricature of me (Santa Claus) going wee wee on the Tooth Fairy.
7. The usual Christmas movie classics such as “Miracle on 34th Street” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” will not be shown in your negotiated viewing area. Instead, you’ll see “Boss Hogg Saves Christmas” and “Smokey and the Bandit IV” featuring Burt Reynolds as Bubba Claus and dozens of state patrol cars crashing into each other.
8. Bubba Claus doesn’t wear a belt. If I were you, I’d make sure you, the wife, and the kids turn the other way when he bends over to put presents under the tree.
9. And finally, lovely Christmas songs have been sung about me like Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer” and Bing Crosby’s “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” This year songs about Bubba Claus will be played on all the AM radio stations in the South. Those song title will be Mark Chesnutt’s “Bubba Claus Shot the Jukebox” and “Grandma Got Run’d Over by a Reindeer.”
(Member of North American Fairies and Elves Local 209)
The history behind some of your favorite holiday dishes
Julius Caesar and his friends found the British drink in 55 BCE. Europeans brought the tradition to the New World, where it was such a huge hit that the trees Johnny Appleseed was planting were specifically to make cider. In the early 20th century, improved refrigeration allowed us to drink the unfermented juice of apples, which led to Americans calling non-alcoholic juice cider, even though the rest of the English-speaking world only used the word for alcoholic beverages.
According to legend, the original candy cane from 350 years ago was actually an all-white sugar stick that was completely straight. In 1670, a choirmaster at a German cathedral bent the sticks to depict a shepherd’s staff and they were given out to children during a nativity scene. The candy arrived in America during the 19th century and at that point the sugar refining process had gotten to the point where it could be pure white, so food dyes were developed better, which brought about the strong red color.
It’s not really pudding, at least by American standards. The cake, which is filled with figs and topped with brandy, has been an English Christmas dessert since the 1600s. At that time, it was banned by English Puritans because of the large alcohol content. Some people say there was Medieval custom that ruled pudding
could only be made on the 25th Sunday after Trinity Sunday and it was originally made of 13 ingredients to represent Christ and his 12 apostles.
The first known recipe of the dessert is said to be from Greece in 2400 BCE. Several cultures cultivated the formula that eventually worked its way into England, where Queen Elisabeth was credited with decorating the cookies for the first time.
This drink has a festive history as being a favorite amongst British aristocracy. It’s based on a medieval drink called posset, which had milk, eggs, and some form of alcohol like sherry. Again, all of the ingredients were expensive at the time, so it was exclusive to the wealthy. Eventually people in the American colonies were able to harvest ingredients from farms and the drink became popular again. Actually, the drink you sip on now is unique to America thanks to the rum, which really never caught on with the British elite.
Pumpkin goes all the way back to 9000 years ago in Mexico, and was cultivated by Native Americans for centuries. Before modern food preservation methods, pumpkin was roasted or boiled and mixed with pie-like ingredients to make it last longer. It’s thought that the Pilgrims made a similar dish but without the crust.
Whether or not you call it stuffing or dressing, the first mention of stuffing meat with something for extra flavor shows up in a collection of recipes by Apicius. The ancient cook suggested stuffing hares, dormice, chickens, sardines and squid. Eventually the concept of stuffing meat with meat became very popular among the French. Today, most chefs stick to non-meat fillings.
(food kind not the liberal kind)
Cranky old aunts have been keeping this dish alive likely since the Middle Ages, when dried fruits and nuts were really expensive. Because of the price of the ingredients and the time and hassle it took to make, it’s assumed that the holidays were felt to be the best time to splurge a little.
Father Ted and “A Soldier’s Silent Night”
Also known as “A Soldier’s Christmas,” “Merry Christmas My Friend,” “Christmas Soldier,” and “Christmas Night Song,” Father Ted and “A Soldier’s Silent Night” have been blessing soldiers and their families since 2003.
Father Ted Berndt was a priest at Bread of Life Charismatic Episcopal Church in Dousman, Wisconsin, a proud WWII Marine, a Purple Heart recipient, and our Dad.
He was a husband, a father, a priest, a mentor, an entrepreneur, an author, an artist, a friend and
a lover of this great country!
In 2003, Father Ted and his oldest daughter, Ellen Stout, collaborated to record “A Soldier’s Silent Night,” with Dad narrating and Ellen producing. He was proud to complete it in one take, since Dad was a former radio guy in the ’40’s, after the war. Five months after completing the project, Father Ted was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As he was battling that disease, Ellen was honored to accept a national A.I.R. (Achievement in Radio) award from the March of Dimes on her Father’s behalf.
Father Ted lost his battle on March 19th, 2004. All he ever wanted to do was to touch lives… to make a difference. Before he passed, he felt, with this project, he had.
A Soldier’s Silent Night” was played on radio stations across the United States that first Christmas.
Since then, listeners have shared this project, world-wide!
May “A Soldier’s Silent Night” transcend any opinion about this war or any war, and go deeper to foster an appreciation for the sacrifice and courage of our military and their families.
We are honored and blest to share “A Soldier’s Silent Night” with you every Christmas.
Christmas Carols for the Psychiatrically Challenged
- SCHIZOPHRENIA – Do You Hear What I Hear?
- MULTIPLE PERSONALITY – We Three Kings Disoriented Are.
- DEMENTIA – I Think I’ll Be Home For Christmas.
- NARCISSISTIC – Hark The Herald Angels Sing (About Me)
- MANIA – Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and and Office and Town …or Deck the Halls and Spare No Expense!
- PARANOIA – Santa Claus is Coming To Get Me.
- PERSONALITY DISORDER – You Better Watch Out, I’m Gonna Cry, I’m Gonna Pout, then MAYBE I’ll tell you why.
- DEPRESSION – Silent anhedonia, Holy anhedonia. All is calm, All is pretty lonely.
- OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER – Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell… (YOU GET THE IDEA)
- OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE PERSONALITY – The Twelve Days of Christmas (don’t make me repeat that again)
- BORDERLINE PERSONALITY – Thoughts of Roasting in an Open Fire.
- PASSIVE/AGGRESSIVE – Silent Night
What Child is This – Lindsey Stirling
The Winter Solstice
Yesterday marked a major turning point in the annual cycle of the seasons: the winter solstice. It took place at 11:48 p.m. EST on Dec. 21 (0448 GMT Dec. 22). At that moment, the sun reaches its southernmost position in the sky, resulting in the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the longest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere.
The solstice gets its name from the apparent stop (“stice”) in the motion of the sun (“sol”). The earliest astronomers recorded this phenomenon carefully: Monuments like Stonehenge are thought to have been used to mark the extreme positions of the sun in the sky. The December solstice has long marked the beginning of the new year, and it’s mainly because of slippage in our calendar that it now occurs 11 days before the “official” start to the new year, Jan. 1.
The solstice is a day of celebration in many cultures. The Romans knew it as “Saturnalia,” and the early Christians adopted the date of the solstice to mark the birth of Christ, so that they could celebrate without drawing the attention of their Roman masters.
The solstice will fall on Tuesday or Wednesday, because, although the time of the solstice is exactly the same everywhere in the world, because of local time zones, it falls on different days in different places. The exact time of the solstice this year is 0448 UTC on Dec. 22. (UTC, or coordinated universal time, is the basis for all time zones and is used by astronomers and pilots everywhere.)
In England, where the Earth’s prime meridian lies, the solstice will occur at 4:48 a.m. GMT on Wednesday, Dec. 22. Similarly, in other parts of Europe and in Africa, the solstice will occur in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
In North America, we subtract a number of hours from UTC to get our local times. In most of eastern North America, we are on Eastern Standard Time, and subtract 5 hours, so the solstice falls at 11:48 p.m. on the previous day, Tuesday, Dec. 21. The farther west we go in North America, the earlier the solstice occurs in the evening, so that on the Pacific coast, it occurs at 8:48 p.m. PST.
Remember, these are all exactly the same time in the broader scheme of things; local times are just vagaries of the way we handle time around the world.
IRISH CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
Ireland, like most countries, has a number of Christmas traditions that are all of its own. Many of these customs have their root in the time when the Gaelic culture and religion of the country were being suppressed and it is perhaps because of that they have survived into modern times.
THE CANDLE IN THE WINDOW
The placing of a lighted candle in the window of a house on Christmas eve is still practiced today. It has a number of purposes but primarily it was an symbol of welcome to Mary and Joseph as they travelled looking for shelter.
The candle also indicated a safe place for priests to perform mass as, during Penal Times this was not allowed.
A further element of the tradition is that the candle should be lit by the youngest member of the household and only be extinguished by a girl bearing the name ‘Mary’.
THE LADEN TABLE
After evening meal on Christmas eve the kitchen table was again set and on it were placed a loaf of bread filled with caraway seeds and raisins, a pitcher of milk and a large lit candle. The door to the house was left unlatched so that Mary and Joseph, or any wandering traveller, could avail of the welcome.
THE WREN BOY PROCESSION
During Penal Times there was once a plot in a village against the local soldiers. They were surrounded and were about to be ambushed when a group of wrens pecked on their drums and awakened the soldiers. The plot failed and the wren became known as ‘The Devil’s bird’.
On St. Stephens day a procession takes place where a pole with a holly bush is carried from house to house and families dress up in old clothes and with blackened faces. In olden times an actual wren would be killed and placed on top of the pole.
This custom has to a large degree disappeared but the tradition of visiting from house to house on St. Stephens Day has survived and is very much part of Christmas.
The placing of a ring of Holly on doors originated in Ireland as Holly was one of the main plants that flourished at Christmas time and which gave the poor ample means with which to decorate their dwellings.
All decorations are traditionally taken down on Little Christmas (January 6th.) and it is considered to be bad luck to take them down beforehand.
TRADITIONAL GAELIC SALUTATION
The Gaelic greeting for ‘Merry Christmas’ is: ‘Nollaig Shona Duit’……which is pronounced as ‘null-ig hun-a dit’.
Celtic Carol – Lindsey Stirling
Gingerbread House Detroit Style
And now- a few words by our founder and CDIC (Chief Dragon in Chaos)
The screen which has been showing a still of Impish in an easy chair mummified in garland suddenly blinks black a moment then Impish dragon’s face comes up on screen sans garland wrappings and he leans forward toward the microphone and…
Tap! Tap! Tap!
“Is this thing on? Are we recording yet? We are!”
“Okay, so I should start then?”
“Sound guy, you’re ready?”
A grunting affirmative sound can be heard in the background. Along with the sound of someone else’s voice saying, “Get on with it already!”
“Cause sound guy, you don’t look ready. In fact, you look a little bored.” In a louder voice, while looking around, “Can we please get a non-bored looking sound guy in here? Geez, this is a professional operation, isn’t it?”
The picture goes black for a second with a loud beep and comes back on and now it’s Impish Dragon with a Santa hat on. A voice in the background says, “Take 6, rolling.”
“Does this hat look okay? Does it give the right…”
The screen once again goes black with a beep and when we come back on, Impish is now wearing the hat and a velvety red jacket with white trim. Again the voice in the background says, “Impish Dragon Christmas Address Take 9, rolling!”
Impish is leaning to the side talking to the makeup girl who is just going off camera, “I think the jacket was a nice touch, don’t you? Dashing, right? Hey! Where are you going? Come back.”
As the screen goes black again, another voice is saying, “Oh for crying out loud, can someone get Mr. Leprechaun down here to deal with this dragon?”
There is a quick scene that comes up and almost immediately fades back to black, but in the second or two it is on you can see a big, gnarly stick swinging towards Impish’s head, without anyone holding it.
When the screen comes back up again, Impish is sitting straight up in the easy chair he’s been in, red and green garland with little bells and ornaments is wrapped round the dragon, holding him securely in place. It seems about the only thing he can move is his head and mouth. Evidence of a struggle is shown by the claw marks in the chair with some of the stuffing coming out and Impish, despite a thick layer of makeup is also clearly sporting a large red and swollen lump on the side of his head and the beginnings of a black eye.
“Merry Christmas Campers!”
“I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you how much we appreciate all your love and devotion we have received over the last year. Christmas is a time of giving and you have all given us much in the way of comments and feedback on our efforts throughout the year in making life just a little merry and happy for you.”
“Sure, we’ve given you the straight story, too and it hasn’t always been what you would think of as laughable, but we’ve always tried to give you what we think you need.”
“But, during this special season where we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the incredible sacrifice and gift that He has given us, it is timely and appropriate that we thank you, our friends and family, and those of our friends who’ve become like family, for the gift of love you have given us.”
“To my brother Lethal, whom I love with all my heart, I wish you the Merriest of Christmas’ Spirits. And to my own family who are out there watching this right now, I love you all with all that I am. And to my campers and friends who’ve become like family, my heart is yours.”
“May God’s Blessings be upon you and yours and may the spirit of Christmas be with you all year round.”
CUT! FINALLY! Print It! That’s a wrap folks! If we hurry we can still make the issue opening. I hear there is 6 kinds of hot chocolate and over a dozen different cookie types to sample.
Wonder how come I didn’t get an invite? No matter I’ll just poke my head in to make sure the kitchen’s work is up to snuff.
OK you can cut me loose now. Someone? Anyone? Ha-ha ok very funny, now cut me loose!
Guys? Where is everyone? This isn’t funny! Lethal? LETHAL!!!
The screen fades out.
“More Hot Chocolate & Cookies anyone?”