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Winter Newsletter, 2011

Howdy Folks,

I wrote a very informative newsletter for you. You would have loved it. It explained the entire process of turning a backlisted print book into an ebook. I thought it was so good I wanted Shirl to see it and maybe check to make sure I got the whole process clearly explained. I thought it would really be interesting to readers. Shirl read it and said, "Who would want to read this drivel? I'd rather watch paint dry. It's boring...booooring! Write something happy about the holidays!"

So you won't get an entertaining and informative description about a process I am sure that not one in a hundred readers knows anything about--but maybe would like to (I'll sneak it in next year when she isn't paying attention). Instead, here's some crap about "this most wonderful time of the year."

Well, it may be wonderful for some, but I hate it. Whatever genuine meaning it may have had has been buried in an avalanche of consumer hucksterism years and years ago. (If I start in on "Black Friday," I will gibber.) Take Thanksgiving. Shirl is not happy unless she has a 36 pound turkey to bake and a houseful of family and friends to stuff it down. Everybody must indulge in the Ritual of Gluttony and inhale more food in one meal than they would normally consume in a week. Of course, wine and booze goes along with this so the guests wind up as basted as the turkey, which by the way reached its grotesque size (think of a small ostrich) because it was stuffed with growth hormones.

Now, you know who truly has the happy Thanksgiving? The cabal of factory poultry farms, the industry lobbyists, and the congressmen in whose districts and states the huge farms are located. Com'on, the Pilgrims didn't eat Honeysuckle Whites. They hunted. They stalked through the forest tracking wild cheese burgers. And the Indians didn't bring pumpkin pie to the feast they brought freshly harvested catsup, mustard, kosher pickles, and maybe a few fries. Wow! Doesn't anyone read history anymore?

Then, right after Thanksgiving comes prep for Christmas. Shirl drags our son Matt and me to the Christmas tree lot at her church to pick out a 25 foot tree that we will have to saw in half to get it to fit in the dining room. It always rains on this 1st weekend of December and Matt and I, with our collars turned up against a soggy freezing wind, stand in a puddle while Shirl flits from tree to tree like a deranged Sugar Plum Fairy on a sugar high or maybe some other white stuff. Matt and I have suggested that perhaps Shirl could make do with a small tree now that he is a grown man living in his own digs. How duuuuumb is that! So my son and I drag this forest home and spend a couple of days helping Sugar Plum decorate it. When it is done, it bares no resemblance to a tree. It looks like a bordello beacon. We have suggested to Sugar that since you can't see the tree anyway, maybe an artificial tree might serve as well? Only a tradition-hating idiooooot would suggest such a thing! At his point, Matt, who isn't much of a drinker. begins to. Oh yes, the balsamic monstrosity illuminates the living room for six weeks--during which time, I am be forced to slam the door on a series of drunken sailors. And who benefits from this "tradition"? The huge factory tree farms and the usual parasites.

Well, I could go on with the rest of the "Season," but this missive would turn from newsletter to news magazine. Besides, for those who love Christmas, I would not want to offend your religious sensibilities. Never mind that mine have been offended, trampled upon, abused, kicked, knifed, shot by Christians who have hijacked the Winter Solstice. I am one of the last of the Druids. Not even commercial hucksterism has saved my holiday.

But last year, I tried. We have a huge old oak on the steep slope in back of the thane hall. The oak's name is Tuatha. At the Solstice, I was dancing around it, but the slope was too steep and I fell. Shirl was on the deck watching. "The neighbors will see," she cried. "Don't be a cluuuuumsy stoooopid!" Well, it wasn't clumsy stupidity that caused me to fall. I have a bad knee and was suffering a residual wasting effect from Thanksgiving dinner--MTD, Mad Turkey Disease.

This year I have finally given up hope. Druids used to have a purpose. We fought the Roman Legions and sacrificed nubile virgins. Today, the legionaries are gone, or they have opened pizza chains. As for nubile virgins....?


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