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HOLIDAY HOROSCOPE

Are you in need of constant cosmic reassurance? Do you dial late night psychics in the privacy of your own home? Do you actually believe that some mere mortal can tell the future after shuffling cards, reading tarots or throwing tobacco leaves up into the air? You probably vote every November too, don’t you. Instead try perusing the following batter bowl of star-gazer pastry.

CAPRICORN (December 22 – January 19)

Your birthday will be ignored again this year with all the Christmas hype. Hire a few apostles to bring your situation to light. It worked for another well-known Capricorn. Too much rum will fog up the mistletoe. This can be good or bad depending on the quality of the holiday crop. If you feel out of balance it’s because you are out of balance. Try standing on your head until March. You would be very vulnerable to losing money this month except that you have none to lose. Your goldfish adore you. If you must stuff a stocking with Spam, at least leave it in the can. Santa likes his eggs over easy. In-laws expected over the holidays? Give them your bed and book passage on a flight to South America.

AQUARIUS (January 20 -February 19)

If you insist on fishing for compliments use your best line. Plug in your car since your ruler, Mercury, is expected to go into retrograde tonight. Pay bills only after initial threats are received. Concentrate on what’s important: Find your sweet patootie. Your snow tires could be under a lot of pressure this month. Try a little understanding even if the elves fly off the handle once too often. Yes, Santa Claus…there is a Virginia and you owe about $300 in overdue parking fines there. Planning for the future will simply result in more organized failure as the new moon passes overhead. Take on challenges one schlepp at a time. Screen all fruitcake. Avoid cheap cigars at romantic moments and schlocky Christmas cards altogether. Tonight: Whittle till you puke.

PISCES (February 20 -March 20)

Spawning in the wrong circles could be curtains for little fishy. Stay clear of frying pans and hush puppies till the weather breaks. You are far less attractive than you realize. You may be on a roll but so is the liver pudding. When the spoils of salvage include reindeer jerky get the sleigh taste out of the meat before drying it. When it comes to the American work ethic look to the little man from the North Pole. He works one night a year and is applauded by millions as a hero. Could this concept work for you? If you have been thinking about committing yourself to some kind of cause or campaign why not go the full gambit and commit yourself to an institution. They have kitchens and a place to sleep. Santa Claus is real. You are not. Tonight: Have breakfast in bed.

ARIES (March 21 – April 19)

It is your responsibility to make sure that your love life/relationship/marriage does not become academic/tedious/mundane/. Variety is the answer/key. Tonight why not try apologizing/making up first and fighting later. If a business partner/client is off the wall put him/her/it through the wall at earliest convenience. Use lots of slashes and other odd punctuation throughout the holidays. It will either confuse and/or impress. Christmas shopping can be simplified by purchasing by the case at your friendly, local liquor outlet. If there is an odd bottle or two left over stuff your own stocking. In order to relieve the stress of all this shopping be sure to stop at your local tavern before heading home to pass out and/or wrap your treasures. Note: Drinking to excess has always been an option at family gatherings. Tonight: Take a THC break.

TAURUS (April 20 – May 20)

It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. What matters is that you’re not doing anything. Someone has spilled gourmet coffee on your star chart. Your creativity is at a high point. Today is perfect for making cookies or bombs in the basement. If fiscal worries have you singing the blues try peddling your version with a country twang. People actually buy that kind of garbage. Remember: The first step to solving any problem is to deny it. Limit other vocal arrangements to the shower. Assert yourself this month: You don’t have to sell the daily special to pets. Let them order directly from the menu if they are so smart. Remember: Nobody ever cut themselves chopping electricity or natural gas. Send all creditors small Christmas presents in lieu of cash. Surely they will understand.

GEMINI (May 21 – June 20)

Hibernation is socially acceptable just so long as you brush your teeth afterwards. There are days when nothing goes right no matter how hard you try and other days when everything goes right even though you don’t try at all. Stay in bed till mid-afternoon then check the mail for goodies. If you must count on other people try not using their fingers to do so. Check all brightly wrapped gift baskets for subtle ticking noises. Distinguish between your worst friend and your best enemy. Maybe they are the same person. If the sun is reluctant to shine down on you try adjusting blinders. Many doors will open for you this month letting in little more than an annoying draft. Tonight: Swoon.

CANCER  (June 21 – July 22)

Hate Christmas? You’ve been in excellent company over the years. Hitler disliked the holiday so much that he took Paris. Oliver Cromwell and John Chivington pouted through the entire season while General Sherman wouldn’t even let his men have trees in their tents. The Puritans levied a fine for celebrating the secular holiday. Joe Stalin outlawed mistletoe in the Ukraine because the peasants were turning it into borscht. Charlie Manson wouldn’t buy presents until December 26. We can’t think of any female scrooges this time around. Avoid carolers. Brick up your chimney. Somehow, even with your rotten spirit, the whole event will still cost you money. Enjoy.

LEO (July 23 – August 22)

Changing tires on a tiny sleigh is no easy matter. Give yourself a little credit for what you have already accomplished. A little humor could break the ice with strangers while out angling on the frozen lakes of desperation. Get to know other fruitcakes this holiday season. A overweight elf will fight you for your favorite bar stool. Get to know your limit when eating and drinking by consistently eating and drinking your limit. Separate fantasy from reality and pretty wine bottles from the rest of your trash. Many on your team are posers. Your favorite aunt/uncle is coming for a visit. Keep them away from your favorite husband/wife.

VIRGO (August 23 – September 22)

Satisfy sadistic tendencies by leaving Santa chocolate doughnuts, grapefruit juice and salsa on Christmas Eve. Speak clearly when using other people’s credit cards over the phone. The best time for dieting is next year. The best time for romance was last year. The best offense is a good pretense. Don’t feel bad if your presents were less than expected. Late arrivals in this arena could be the best ones and after all, the mail is slow over the holidays. Without an agenda you could get caught without an agenda. Punch out an elf before retiring for the evening. Tonight: Spend time with reclusive pariahs.

LIBRA (September 23 – October 22)

Maybe Santa Claus doesn’t believe in you either. Buy yourself an expensive Christmas present and tag it “from a secret admirer”. This may generate a bit of jealous lust on the part of your sleepy mate. Do not produce the note in your own handwriting. Offers to play Santa do not necessarily reflect your jolly nature or jovial personality. It’s just hard to find warm bodies out there that are shaped correctly. It’s high time you lost a few pounds since you can’t really walk around wearing the red suit in January. Go Caroling as long as she is paying. Eat more fruitcake.

SCORPIO (October 23 – November 22)

Your competitive nature could get you in hot water over the Christmas season. Let the traditional characters have the limelight for a change. When at the grocery be on the lookout for that rich, seductive stranger in the cereal aisle. Don’t be offended by lewd advice from checkouts or a casual brush back pitch from cartoons on the boxes. Sociopathic tendencies might be a premium in post-holiday soirees. If you wish for something too hard you still might not get it. Spend quality time with your woodpile. Tough decisions await you tomorrow, but hey, it’s still today. Tonight: It’s gonna get dark again.

SAGITTARIUS (November 23 – December 21)

All this targeted good humor and charisma is getting old. Try the scrooge approach and people won’t expect you to be nice for Christmas. In January you can then make up for the dirty business of late December. Open doors, aluminum cans, refrigerators, windows, minds, charge accounts, wallets and champagne carefully through the holiday season. A rare Yuletide lunar eclipse could put you face-down in the fruitcake can of upward mobility. Avoid button-up flies and bees in the bonnet. If bad habits were secure collateral, you could take out a fifteen-year mortgage on a new personality. Get some exercise this afternoon by walking down to the bar for a change.

– General Kashmir Horseshoe, Staff Unitologist

One Christmas Eve

Langston Hughes

First published in 1933

Standing over the hot stove cooking supper, the colored maid, Arcie, was very tired. Between meals today, she had cleaned the whole house for the white family she worked for, getting ready for Christmas tomorrow. Now her back ached and her head felt faint from sheer fatigue. Well, she would be off in a little while, if only the Missus and her children would come on home to dinner. They were out shopping for more things for the tree, which stood all ready, tinsel-hung and lovely in the living room, waiting for its candles to be lighted.

Arcie wished she could afford a tree for Joe. He’d never had one yet, and it’s nice to have such things when you’re little. Joe was five, going on six. Arcie, looking at the roast in the white folks’ oven, wondered how much she could afford to spend tonight on toys. She only got seven dollars a week, and four of that went for her room and the landlady’s daily looking after Joe while Arcie was at work.

“Lord, it’s more’n a notion raisin’ a child,” she thought.

She looked at the clock on the kitchen table. After seven. What made white folks so darned inconsiderate? Why didn’t they come on home here to supper? They knew she wanted to get off before all the stores closed. She wouldn’t have time to buy Joe nothin’ if they didn’t hurry. And her landlady probably wanting to go out and shop, too, and not be bothered with little Joe.

“Dog gone it!” Arcie said to herself. “If I just had my money, I might leave the supper on the stove for ’em. I just got to get to the stores fo’ they close.” But she hadn’t been paid for the week yet. The Missus had promised to pay her Christmas Eve, a day or so ahead of time.

Arcie heard a door slam and talking and laughter in the front of the house. She went in and saw the Missus and her kids shaking snow off their coats.

“Ummm-mm! It’s swell for Christmas Eve,” one of the kids said to Arcie. “It’s snowin’ like the deuce, and mother came near driving through a stop light. Can’t hardly see for the snow. It’s swell!”

“Supper’s ready,” Arcie said. She was thinking how her shoes weren’t very good for walking in snow.

It seemed like the white folks took us long as they could to eat that evening. While Arcie was washing dishes, the Missus came out with her money.

“Arcie,” the Missus said, “I’m so sorry, but would you mind if I just gave you five dollars tonight? The children have made me run short of change, buying presents and all.”

I’d like to have seven,” Arcie said. “I needs it.”

“Well, I just haven’t got seven,” the Missus said. “I didn’t know you’d want all your money before the end of the week, anyhow. I just haven’t got it to spare.”

Arcie took five. Coming out of the hot kitchen, she wrapped up as well as she could and hurried by the house where she roomed to get little Joe. At least he could look at the Christmas trees in the windows downtown.

The landlady, a big light yellow woman, was in a bad humor. She said to Arcie, “I thought you was comin’ home early and get this child. I guess you know I want to go out, too, once in awhile.”

Arcie didn’t say anything for, if she had, she knew the landlady would probably throw it up to her that she wasn’t getting paid to look after a child both night and day.

“Come on, Joe,” Arcie said to her son, “let’s us go in the street.”

“I hears they got a Santa Claus down town,” Joe said, wriggling into his worn little coat. “I wants to see him.”

“Don’t know ’bout that,” his mother said, “but hurry up and get your rubbers on. Stores’ll all be closed directly.”

It was six or eight blocks downtown. They trudged along through the falling snow, both of them a little cold but the snow was pretty! The main street was hung with bright red and blue lights. In front of the City Hall there was a Christmas tree-but it didn’t have no presents on it, only lights. In the store windows there were lots of toys-for sale.

Joe kept on saying, “Mama, I want …”

But mama kept walking ahead. It was nearly ten, when the stores were due to close, and Arcie wanted to get Joe some cheap gloves and something to keep him warm, as well as a toy or two. She thought she might come across a rummage sale where they had children’s clothes. And in the ten-cent store, she could some toys.

“O-oo! Lookee….,” little Joe kept saying and pointing at things in the windows. How warm and pretty the lights were, and the shops, and the electric signs through the snow.

It took Arcie more than a dollar to get Joe’s mittens and things he needed. In the A. & P. Arcie bought a big box of hard candies for 49¢. And then she guided Joe through the crowd on the street until they came to the dime store. Near the ten-cent store they passed a moving picture theater. Joe said he wanted to go in and see the movies.”

Arcie said, “Ump-un! No, child! This ain’t Baltimore where they have shows for colored, too. In these here small towns, they don’t let colored folks in. We can’t go in there.” “Oh,” said little Joe.

In the ten-cent store, there was an awful crowd. Arcie told Joe to stand outside and wait for her. Keeping hold of him in the crowded store would be a job. Besides she didn’t want him to see what toys she was buying. They were to be a surprise from Santa Claus tomorrow.

Little Joe stood outside the ten-cent store in the light, and the snow, and people passing. Gee, Christmas was pretty. All tinsel and stars and cotton. And Santa Claus a-coming from somewhere, dropping things in stockings. And all the people in the streets were carrying things, and the kids looked happy.

But Joe soon got tired of just standing and thinking and waiting in front of the ten-cent store. There were so many things to look at in the other windows. He moved along up the block a little, and then a little more, walking and looking. In fact, he moved until he came to the white folks’ picture show.

In the lobby of the moving picture show, behind the late glass doors, it was all warm and glowing and awful pretty. Joe stood looking in, and as he looked his eyes began to make out, in there blazing beneath holly and colored streamers and the electric stars of the lobby, a marvelous Christmas tree. A group of children and grownups, white, of course, were standing around a big jovial man in red beside the tree. Or was it a man? Little Joe’s eyes opened wide. No, it was not a man at all. It was Santa Claus!

Little Joe pushed open one of the glass doors and ran into the lobby of the white moving picture show. Little Joe went right through the crowd and up to where he could get a good look at Santa Claus. And Santa Claus was giving away gifts, little presents for children, little boxes of animal crackers and stick-candy canes. And behind him on the tree was a big sign (which little Joe didn’t know how to read). It said, to those who understand, MERRY XMAS FROM SANTA CLAUS TO OUR YOUNG PATRONS.

Around the lobby, other signs said, WHEN YOU COME OUT OF THE SNOW STOP WITH YOUR CHILDREN AND SEE OUR SANTA CLAUS. And another announced, GEM THEATRE MAKES Its CUSTOMERS HAPPY – SEE OUR SANTA.

And there was Santa Claus in a red suit and a white beard all sprinkled with tinsel snow. Around him were rattlers and drums and rocking horses that he was not giving away. But the signs on them said (could little Joe have read) that they would be presented from the stage on Christmas Day to the holders of the lucky numbers. Tonight, Santa Claus was only giving away candy, and stick-candy canes, and animal crackers to the kids.

Joe would have liked terribly to have a stick-candy cane. He came a little closer to Santa Claus, until he was right in the front of the crowd, And then Santa Claus saw Joe.

Why is it that lots of white people always grin when they see a Negro child? Santa Claus grinned. Everybody else grinned too, looking at little black Joe-who had no business in the lobby of a white theater. Then Santa Claus stooped down and slyly picked up one of his lucky number rattlers, a great big loud tin-pan rattle such as they use in cabarets. And he shook it fiercely right at Joe. That was funny. The white people laughed, kids and all. But little Joe didn’t laugh. He was scared. To the shaking of the big rattle, he turned and fled out of the warm lobby of the theater, out into the street where the snow was and the people. Frightened by laughter, he had begun to cry. He went looking for his mama. In his head he never thought Santa Claus shook great rattles at children like that – and then laughed.

In the crowd on the street he went the wrong way. He couldn’t find the ten-cent store or his mother. There were too many people, all white people, moving like white shadows in the snow, a world of white people.

It seemed to Joe an awfully long time till he suddenly saw Arcie, dark and worried-looking, cut across the side-walk through all the passing crowd and grab him. Although her arms were full of packages, she still managed with one free hand to shake him until his teeth rattled.

“Why didn’t you stand where I left you?” Arcie demanded loudly. “Tired as I am, I got to run all over the streets in the night lookin’ for you. I’m a great mind to wear you out.”

When little Joe got his breath back, on the way home, he told his mama he had been in the moving picture show.

“But Santa Claus didn’t give me nothin’,” Joe said tearfully. “He made a big noise at me and I runned out.”

“Serves you right,” said Arcie, trudging through the snow. “You had no business in there. I told you to stay where I left you.”

“But I seed Santa Claus in there,” little Joe said, “so I went in.”

“Huh! That wasn’t no Santa Claus,” Arcie explained. “If it was, he wouldn’t a-treated you like that. That’s a theater for white folks – I told you once – and he’s just an old white man.”

“Oh . . . .,” said little Joe.

Ancient Druids Revered Mistletoe Berries

(Crookhaven, Cork, Republic of Ireland) If you’ve ever wandered the woodlands of Ireland you couldn’t help but trip over the mistletoe. It grows everywhere. Surprisingly when all the other green is in hibernation the mistletoe plant continues to produce berries all winter long.

The Druid physician-priests held the berries dear for their medicinal benefits and very likely in prevention of conception. The berries contain high concentrations of progesterone (rhymes with testosterone) that stimulates the libido. We will paraphrase what may have happened next as theorized by Dr. John Lee, author of Natural Progesterone – The Multiple Rolls of a Remarkable Hormone.

Here’s the scenario: For many centuries the Druids sponsored a winter solstice festival that, according to our calendar fell on December 22 or 23. The event, which lasted one week, was meant to keep the sun from disappearing completely from the sky. (The pagans were uptight about things too – especially the sun god taking a powder). The celebration was held so that spring would someday return and the world would not die. Katy, bar the door! Debts were paid, gifts exchanged and feasts presented. In addition a sacred concoction of hot mead laced with mistletoe berries was plentiful. What? No Guinness?

Once the party got started the influence of the warm alcohol and the progesterone helped everyone get quite relaxed, and get to know each other better.

Modern medicine recognizes the fact that menstrual shedding is the result of an abrupt fall of progesterone, which no doubt occurred after the week of Celtic carousing had ended. Therefore, any conception that took place during the week of unrestricted sex would be lost in the induced flow. Besides allowing participants access to primitive sexual license, the solstice party reinforced the perception that festive sex without subsequent responsibility was merely another gift from the gods. Simple enough.

With the start of the new year everything returned to normal. And you thought you’d been to some parties…Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Solstice. Mistletoe berries and mead…

NORTH POLE RESIDENTS HOT UNDER COLLAR

Holiday stress takes its toll

(Prince of Whales Island) It couldn’t have come at a more difficult time. Christmas was in the air; deadlines were nailed on the wall. The holiday crunch was breathing down the necks of elves and reindeer, of Santa himself. That’s probably what did it.

It all started when Red Sayles advertised reindeer on the menu over at the Arctic Cafe. He bragged about fried reindeer, reindeer stew, even escalloped reindeer. It was supposed to be a joke, to lighten things up prior to the madness but it backfired. Lines of reindeer picketed Red’s place, not only disrupting his lucrative trade but also causing a void in the local work force over at the sleigh barn. The word is that Red won’t take down the signs and the herds continue to protest his political insensitivities. He hasn’t sold but little of the featured items either.

Of course, if the Yuletide muscle teams don’t have enough to worry about, their self-imposed leader, Rudolph, is victim to reoccurring ego trips. He has apparently attempted to get his fellow reindeer to pledge allegiance to King Rudolf. He has fashioned a system of whistles and mirrors so as to better show off his nose, and he insists on landing first on each and every roof, so as to be the primary subject of every child’s sleigh viewing.

“It’s bad enough we have to haul the fat boy around all night,” said Prancer, a soft-spoken reindeer, of unidentified gender. “Then we have to listen to Rudolph giving orders. It’s enough to make me go back to work in the tundra fields.”

The reindeer aren’t the only ones upset with the size of Santa.

“Hey, it’s not like we pay first class for sleigh rides,” said Groppo, an elf of low degree, “nor is it a matter of spending the night delivering presents with the old fart. It’s just that he takes up so much room once aboard. There’s no room for presents so we have to follow the main sleigh around with smaller orbiting sleighs. Besides, we spend a lot of time testing his sleigh for safety. It operates great when he’s not bogging things down.”

Many elves insist that Santa doesn’t listen to them.

“Just because we like body piercing and smoke cigarettes (94% of elves smoke at least four packs of cigarettes per day) he turns his back on us. We settled with the tobacco companies. Santa (himself an elf, though a non-smoking one) got his piece of the pie,” continued Groppo.

“You’ve no doubt noticed how television portrays the average American male as an overweight, stupid, football mad, infantile, suburban sheep? Santa passes us off to other cultures in much the same way only he paints us with tobacco juice on our chins, rings in our noses, and a pint in our back pockets. It’s not so, not these days anyway. He thinks he’s the big kahuna, the don, the Norse king. Well, he ain’t. nothin’ but an elf who was in the right place at the right time.”

Other elves say the wedge with Santa has to do with poor test scores.

“Sure our test scores are down from a few years ago but most of us have to keep a second job to survive. I deliver pizzas. My kids work at the car wash. My brother takes tourists for snowmobile rides,” said Rasputin, a skinny elf with a dark beard and beady eyes.

“Most of us can’t even afford a ski pass even though the ski areas are located on public lands,” added a third elf, named Elsie. “We used to sneak on to the lifts disguised as kids but deeper voices and facial hair give us away these days. Even us women.”

– Kashmir Horseshoe

UNDER THE TREE 2018

Live, from the revolving Libido Lounge high atop Pogo City, it’s our annual Christmas Gift Idea Exchange. Featured in this tasteful, yet eccentric catalog are wonderful suggestions for holiday gift giving and receiving. Many are produced by local inventors and available regionally.

SOLAR-POWERED COWBOY HAT – For the cowboy or cowgirl that thinks on his/her feet. Power is stored on sunny days and generated by body heat when the sun goes away. Comes in white, black, brown and hazel. Will not hinder mental capacity for persons who wear hats in bed and to the breakfast table. Safe around cattle and horses. Fits securely to head and will continue to collect energy, whether it is in place or hanging in a pickup. Not suggested for use with coal-fired horse trailers or nuclear cowboy boots. $125 Ralph’s New Age Western stores.

ICE CLIMBING VINE – Just like the one covering the outfield walls at Wrigley Field! Fast-growing, this incredible bit of vegetation will survive in the harshest of climatic conditions. Needing little or no sun the vine crawls its way up any icy surface. It’s a fine gift for the ice climber or botanical enthusiast on the way to the top. Sold by the foot and ankles.

FLAT TIRE IDIOT LIGHT – Finally a useful auto accessory – plugs directly into alternator and is activated by excessive bumping. Perfect for the mindless driver or the person too lazy to check air pressure before a trip. Caution: apparatus will not function if alcohol odor is detected. About $40 installed.

UROLOGIC BOW TIE – The key here is size and the Urologic Bow Tie is purposely out of proportion. It’s so small it makes everything else seem much larger. Microscopic tie clasp and cuff-links sold separately. No implants but minor surgery required. Gift certificates available. St. Roscoe’s Hospital and the Mao Clinic. About $400.

ASSAULT SNOWBOARD – Is there someone on your Christmas list who takes his winter sports seriously? This snowboard is glazed with a mercury-based oleo concoction that assures immediate takeoff. Restraint device attaches directly to the brain for one’s ultimate safety. Stores easily in any large refrigerator unit. Complete with prescribed storm trooper’s footwear, this board is all one needs to carve out a chunk of territory on the slopes. Buy one this year before the feds ban these babies too. For sale at Sub Kulture’s and all Yo Dude Stores. $899.

DANIELLE STEEL COMPANION READER – Do you know someone who has a tough time getting through anything longer than a menu? This reader presents setting, plot, characters and lavish wardrobes in simple, easy to read one-syllable words. From the outside it looks like a regular book, but when it is opened up the larger than life letters jump right out at you as do the full color renditions of significant scenes. Comes with CD or cassette support. In stock at Maggie’s Books. $25.

THY NEIGHBOR’S SILVERWARE – This is not only a very innovative approach to Christmas, but it reeks of subtle frugality. When choosing the proper heist make sure all the stuff matches and is clean. A gift box for the spoons, knives, forks and other pieces can be fashioned from a rectangular jewelry box, which can often be discovered in an upstairs bedroom. As with many of the more creative hands-on Christmas gifts, the silverware concept can vary. Many people prefer to present the utensils in an oak or pine box with a felt liner, while other more utilitarian benefactors simply wrap the merchandise in a swath of linen or just some newspaper and be done with it. Available right next door or down the block. Petty theft guidelines apply.

TIDEWATER GERRYMANDERING WRISTWATCH – Made entirely of tobacco leaves, this low-tar timepiece keeps precise count of hours, minutes and even seconds as eternity slowly passes on some front porch in North Carolina. It operates solely on GOP Standard Time, which is defined as the period after the War Between the States and before civil rights legislation was passed in the Sixties. It’s the perfect gift for the obstinate Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, or for the tobacco executive with those deep, deep pockets. Available at better jewelry stores and tobacco shops. $299.99

HILLBILLY HEAVEN FERTILITY KITE – No self-respecting hilljack should go a-courtin without this gem. Just let out some string and watch her take to the skies. Guaranteed to attract the attention of the opposite sex, as well as water fowl and other game birds. Custom attachment fits right over the family shotgun or can be grounded on bib overall snaps or moonshine stills. No prescription needed. Kite designs come in various shapes and colors. Sold exclusively at all Snuffy Smith Boutiques. $50.

TWINKIE CAR PHONE AND DECORATIVE CANDLE ENGINE HEATER – Security is the name of the game these days and this kit is sure to confuse the car thief or the back seat driver. The phone mounts right to the dash, looking like a discarded Twinkie. The engine heater candle fits right under the oil pan and ignites when the temperatures drop below zero. What a gift for the motor head. Coming in January: The Trash Bag Car Stereo, a disguised audio system that appears to be nothing more than a litter bag. It even has a quart of milk and coffee grinds sticking out of the top for affect. $129.99.

DEMOCRAT BACKBONE JERKY – The ultimate lobbyist’s snack for the holidays comes in a woodsy box or tin. Every month a new batch turns up via the U.S. Mail. All told, the jerky package should last two years. Chow down as you watch elected politicians do nothing about the national debt, welfare and crime despite the sweet talk during the last election. Want to get a turkey out of the White House this holiday season? This could do the trick. Available at all Nelson Mandate Polling Booths and at Packer’s Meats in Lake City. Order before December 23 and receive a miniature Hillary Clinton Doll at no extra cost. $88.99 for two year supply. Slightly more with limited term legislation. What a gift for the petty partisan or the dreamy-eyed incumbent on your list.    

CLOSING TIME COLOGNE – Radiate the seedy side of life. This perfume doesn’t attract much of anything, since the recipient of this gift will smell like a stale, smokey bar. Why spend all that money trying to be somebody? Now you can achieve that loathsome odor right in your own bathroom! Comes in pint or quart for overkill. About $3 in the lotion section of your favorite liquor store. Sorry: No sales over the bar.

PERSONALIZED CRIME BILL – This official government issue comes framed and signed by the very people who are taking care of things down at the Justice Department. Hang it proudly, knowing full well that you and your family are safe. Comes with 9-mm pistol just in case. It’s the ultimate in criminal repellents. $200. Unframed version sells for about 50 cents.

FALSE EYEBROW SET – Most versions are offered at 1/2 price during the Yuletide season. Imagine the fashion statement when you waltz into the room wearing just one eyebrow. Easily installed, this gift comes in a variety of sizes and colors. One fits all the way across the forehead. Another appears to grow from the hairline or nasal passageway. Doubles as a bushy mustache in a pinch. Quasi-Cosmetics. $15.

INVISIBLE WEDDING/ENGAGEMENT RING – Perfect for the man or woman who is not yet ready for a commitment. This simulated gold band reacts to hormonal changes and biological needs by disappearing with the slightest hint of sexual response. Then, after the party is over, it shows back up on the ring finger and everything is all right again. Why let occasional weekend passion ruin a sensible, lasting relationship during the week!

TROUT GRAVY HELPER – This useful gift basket comes with a variety of mixtures including sage trout gravy, salmon egg surprise and garlic endeavor with chives. Not recommended for fish-on-a-stick recipes or flash-boiled kokanee. Just add river water and enjoy perfect gravy every time…especially in camp. Industrial strength potion actually disintegrates bones, scales and head and leaves nothing but a delicious filet. $19.99 for gift set. Sold exclusively at Sporty Sports.

REMOTE-CONTROL EGGPLANT PERUKE – Just like the ones worn by our founding fathers. With this fine addition bad hair days will be a thing of the past. Fits most heads and even stays in place during high winds and other periods of natural disaster or mental anxiety. Made of 100% Canadian eggplant fiber with built-in remote control that keeps locks in place. Resistant to climate change. Organically pleasing too. $300 at Hats are Thats.

ATM CLUB – This handy device keeps crooks at bay while making a cash withdrawal. Fits firmly over ATM machine just like the one on your steering wheel. Endorsed by real policemen and people who dress like them. Detects bad intentions after dark. Most effective when used with large caliber pistol or mace. $75.00. Mail order only.

GEMCO INDUSTRIAL BLENDER – This baby works on pumpkins, squash, melons of all sizes, even basketballs. Stirs, purees, whips, mixes, frappes and liquifies. Makes juice out of anything round. What a party favor or an addition to someone’s culinary collection. Traveling version fits snugly into the average suitcase. Solar model available soon. $17.99 at Ridgway Hardware.

VAMPIRE NIGHT LIGHT – Got a kid on your list who’s afraid of the dark? Buy them this reasonably priced gift and really scare the hell out of them over the holidays. Protruding eyes follow movement and blood drips from the fangs. Plugs easily into any electrical outlet via easy access bat collar. Hums popular Christmas carols in Transylvanian. This stocking stuffer is sure to get someone’s attention.

DUST MITE TERRARIUM AND PERSONALIZED COFFEE CUP – Remind someone on your Christmas list that we are not here alone. Includes millions of busy dust mites in simulated dust particle enclosure. Lid features radioactive microscope certain to detect the behavior of tiny mites at work and at play. The coffee cup displays a large dust mite on both sides and is engraved with the name of the recipient. Give the gift that says you gave a gift this year. $150 at Mighty Mites and all Bugsy’s Boutiques.

MOTRIM MODEM – Just dial the right number and your headache takes a powder. From the people who brought you Target Eye Massage Field Glasses. About $100.

DEAD DICTATORS SING CHRISTMAS TUNES – This wonderful CD represents a tasteful mix of Yuletide favorites. Included are Joe Stalin, Papa Doc Duvalier, Anastasio Somoza, Benito Mussolini, Napoleon and others. You haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed Nikita Krushcev’s rendition of Deck the Halls backed up by the Fidel Castro Memorial Quartet. $16.95 where specialty music is sold. English version slightly higher.

– Kashmir Horseshoe

More “Ain’t No Tommyknockers”

continued from a past embrace

and that’s when they made that final, inevitable stand…right there at the north end of the bar.

“I’ll not be movin’ to accommodate some damn mole of a fairy,” said Seamus, landing one in an unassuming spittoon. “Besides, I have claimed this bar room in the good name of Daniel O’Connell, the uncrowned King of Ireland.”

To the amazement of many in town, Seamus also claimed to be a leprechaun.

And that, according to local liars and their henchmen, is how the whole mess escalated. The folks up Catholic Hill felt obliged to support the chatty little person in green. After all, who had kept the banshee at bay and repaired the shoes of their little children?

“It’s that damn Seamus again, tattled the town drunk, Michael Finnegan, a non-practicing Presbyterian. “They’ll be a fracas if he isn’t stopped.”

The new town marshal, Jim Clark, whose mother hailed from County Wicklow, told Seamus to shut up and go home.

And where was that Dempsey kid tonight?” quipped the leprechaun. “Jack Dempsey at 20 has already had several professional fights on the East Coast. He had recently returned to Telluride for a break from the ring. Right now he was walking through the bar room door as Seamus kept right on talking and sipping from the shots that had been bought for him by the much entertained patrons.

“He’d better stay clear of my bar,” he menaced, “or I’ll bloody his nose for him.”

Then he turned around face-to-face with the boxer.

“Jack, my darlin’ squeaked the wormy Seamus from behind his flood of alcohol. “Come and take a drink with me. Were taking the town back from the Tommyknockers. I was just now speaking of you…”

Leprechauns have been known to protect humans that they like, while causing problems for those that they did not appreciate. Dempsey, having been brought up with the slooa shee, albeit with Mormon influence, was well aware of the power that lurked within the dwarfish stature.

“I’ll pass on drinking dirty dish water with you,” said Dempsey figuring Seamus’ tastes had not improved since the last time the two had locked eyes.

“Oh you’re not drinking whiskey? Buy my friend a lager,” he said to the bartender. “I’ll be running things around here soon and I’d like your blessing. When we rid ourselves of the Tommyknockers the deenee shee can once again go about their sacred business of saving civilization without interference.”

Both of them now took a pull on their drinks, made comments about the dust and the hard work, and then Seamus spoke up.

“So I guess what I’m asking, Jack, is are you for us or against us? We need you with us to pull this off. Otherwise,” he winked in the direction of the men at the bar, “we’re gonna have to rough you up. Now you don’t want to mess up those Sunday go to meetin’ duds you so fondly

– Dermott McGinty

Continued out back come spring