Santa is Dead! Long Live Santa!


Our next-door neighbor Todd is an event producer, marching-band choreographer, and parade producer. His many roles intersect, and so do the resources at his command: at the climax of last year’s Thanksgiving day parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus were escorted up the wide granite stairs of the Philadelphia Art Museum by a double file of glittery Roman centurions. The centurions, complete with five-foot feathered and spiked helmets, were borrowed from West Chester University’s “Glory of Rome” halftime show, and I believe they were merely added to fill out the procession. The martial pomp gave Santa’s arrival an unmistakably triumphalist flair, however. This was no jolly, freelance elf arriving unannounced on the rooftop, but a conquering hero marching in force, an imperial mascot for an imperial time.

Earthly power fades, however, and cobwebs grow fastest on laurel and holly alike. Turn on the radio at noon on Christmas day, and you’ll hear the coup announced in shrieking tones: “Santa didn’t get what you want this year? Visit our after-holiday half-price sale!” “Elf let you down?” “Got the post-Christmas blues?” “Now that the holidays are over, switch to carrot sticks! Work off those unwanted pounds!” After an extended coronation, red-faced elves are immediately out. Cold blue colors and lean, cheerless models in spandex are in, marching their penitence on an aluminum diamondplate floor for a low introductory rate.

Nowhere is this cruel ouster more evident than on Todd’s front lawn, where since November Santa’s disembodied head — a relic of some Fifties float — has sat, surrounded by a guard of seven-foot wooden soldiers. Before Christmas, the giant disembodied head merely seemed odd, but after the holiday it fits. Santa Claus is our king Kerkyon, a sacrificial ruler raised high in an orgy of ceremonial pomp, then swiftly decapitated at the climax of festivities. Unlike Kerkyon, however, Santa will be resurrected at the break of dawn next Halloween.

The mild, apologetic look on Santa’s face makes it clear that he’s an unsuspecting party to this deep and bloody mystery. Santa suspects no Salome, bears no grudge, and (I’m sure) isn’t aware of each year’s Christmas-afternoon coup d’etat mustering in the rustle of wrapping paper. Santa is an unassuming emperor, and — unlike earthly rulers — he’ll be just the same no matter what pedestal we find to hoist him on next year.

The king is dead! Long live the king!

Santa is Dead! Long Live Santa!

Friday and Saturday were








Friday and Saturday were snowy (duh); Sunday dawned fine. In fact, the weather was beautiful on Sunday, and all the roads were filled with christmas trees. At the intersection of routes 100 and 113, three black minivans rolled by in line, each with a green tree lashed to the top.

Kate and I spent the day christmas shopping and comparing gifting styles, working out the stylistic compromise that will eventually become engraved in stone in our kids memories as THE ONLY RIGHT WAY TO DO THINGS and that will have to be carefully negotiated with their spouse(s), assuming they celebrate Christmas and not Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Robonikah.

I made one of those things where you stick a million whole cloves into an orange, and make a little fruit Death Star; it smells good, and the pain in the tips of your fingers makes you feel like you’ve Done Your Bit for the holidays. Kate’s knitting another baby sweater, and we bought a laser pointer for the cat. I swear, I’ve never had this much power over the cat’s attention before — it’s like having a cat remote control. I hope that he’s enjoying himself tearing up and down the hallway after the little red dot. It’s either that, or he’s frantic that he’s going to lose his job over this unkillable little bug. I hope it’s the former.

Friday and Saturday were

NPR: PWNED! My friend and

NPR: PWNED!


My friend and ex-colleague Kieran Downes just emailed to say that a track from his CD is featured on NPR’s “Open Mic” program. Go listen to the track from his CD “A Movie About Drug Dealers”, and give it a high rating. Remember: Kieran is studying the history of nuclear weapons at MIT now, so a vote for him is a vote for Buckaroo Banzai.

Album trivia: The album is the story of an enthusiastic rookie who’s thrust over his head in a seedy world of drugs, crime, fast cars, and knitted sherpa hats. Kieran researched this progression (minus the drugs, crime, and fast cars) through the alter-ego he developed for last year’s Mustaches for Kids event. See the progression? See it? Now you’ve got some tidbits to share with indie-rock nerds when Kieran hits it big.

NPR: PWNED! My friend and

  The 18th Running



 
The 18th Running of the Turkey Pro National

 
Kate’s dad had his motorcyle rally on Sunday: the 2003 Turkey Pro National. That’s the four-foot Slow Race trophy pictured at right, which is the blessing (and curse) bestowed on the lucky winner.

See the whole thing here! Included: futuristic Ecomobiles! Motorcycles containing V8 automobile engines! Flame-shooting Tiger Cubs! Also, at no extra cost, the secret volcano lair of a famous Chester county bike guru.

See more >>

  The 18th Running