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  • mistermuse 12:02 am on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2016 election, , Christmas, , Individual 1, Mueller investigation, President Humbug, , The Grinch,   


    Humbug: a willfully false, deceptive, or insincere person. –Miriam-Webster dictionary

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    As my faithful followers know, from time to time I’ve posted a post (or commented a comment) critical of our Charlatan-in-Chief, Donaldo el Trumpo, aka The Grinch who stole Truth (if not the 2016 election). In the spirit of Christmas season, Dec. 21 seems an appropriate day to atone for the profusion of impertinence heaped upon Individual-1*, a day when everything I’ve said about him can be reduced to one essence-capturing word:

    But why, Individual-1* may wonder, is December 21 “an appropriate day” to sum up the grossly inappropriate in one word? Because, Your Lordship/t, it’s HUMBUG DAY….your own very special (be)little day. And so, for every heartless, “false, deceptive, or insincere” thing you’ve ever said or done, I wish you a Hearty Humbug, for verily thou art a HUMBUG.

    • calmkate 2:21 am on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      you know he’s brought your country down quicker and more effectively than any war, invasion or even nuclear bomb … he’s roasted you all live from the inside … how can any person let alone nation have any respect for such a moron yet still he’s allowed ultimate power?!? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 9:48 am on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Among other reasons, Kate: he panders to and continuously stirs up his base of rabid supporters, bullies anyone who dares have even the slightest issue with anything he says or does, and surrounds himself with enablers who shamelessly defend him and excuse every twisted tweet and malicious move he makes. I’m afraid the moral backbone of this country is showing signs of shriveling to meaninglessness.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Carmen 7:08 am on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I suspect you’re getting tired of saying, “What next?” 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:55 am on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Carmen, the only “What next” I want to see is Trump impeached and/or indicted….and that can’t happen soon enough. If we have to wait two more years for him to be voted out of office, I shudder to think what this country (and the world) are going to look like.


        • Carmen 10:00 am on December 21, 2018 Permalink

          I think his orange hair will match his jumpsuit . . . is that too much to hope for? The million dollar question, however, is this: “What have the Russians got on him?”

          Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:18 am on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        No doubt Mueller has the answer to your “Russians” question, Carmen….and unless Trump’s ‘acting’ Attorney General (& Mueller overseer) succeeds in squelching Mueller’s report, we should have the answer to that question within a matter of (several) months.


    • GP Cox 9:02 am on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:07 am on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Santa looks a bit wary as he looks out from where he landed. If he’s delivering a sack of coal for The Donald, I don’t blame him! 😦

        On a happier note, I ‘m sure Santa has nothing but good things for you for Christmas, GP, so have a merry one! 🙂


    • Ricardo 2:44 pm on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      “This last week was the worst week of Trump’s Presidency yet.” Am I just imagining that I read this every week?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:26 pm on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Now it’s not just getting worse by the week, but by the day. But give The Donald his due — he’s making the sacrifice of postponing his Mar-a-Lago vacation because of the pending government shutdown, which he said yesterday he’d be “proud” to own (of course, today he changed his tune and blames it on the Democrats). What a guy!


    • Silver Screenings 4:41 pm on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      This has nothing to do with your post, but I’m currently reading “A Christmas Carol” for the first time, and am enjoying Dickens’s use of language very much – especially the word Humbug.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 6:29 pm on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Glad to find a kindred spirit in this very difficult time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:35 pm on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Elizabeth. One of the most difficult things to stomach is that hardly a day goes by that Trump doesn’t disparage Mueller with impunity, and Mueller can’t defend himself because, as an honorable man, he’s bound by professional ethics. Hopefully the day is soon coming when Individual-1 will have to defend himself from Mueller’s findings, and then we’ll see how honorable TRUMP is.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Elizabeth 9:16 pm on December 24, 2018 Permalink

          I am so grateful that Mueller acts with the dignity we used to expect from leaders.

          Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 8:00 am on December 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      A sheep would say, “Baa humbug”. A Spanish speaker? “Los insecto engañoso” Take THAT, Bob Crachit…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine Haustein 1:08 pm on December 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I recently met someone who works in Las Vegas who says he’s even meaner and more stingy in person than the media makes him out to be.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:43 pm on December 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        That doesn’t surprise me — he is what he is, IN SPADES (that’s an old expression which seems appropriate, given the Las Vegas context) 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • RMW 2:47 pm on December 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Of course, like everybody else, I am aware of the phrase “Bah Humbug” but really had never given much thought to the actual definition. Growing up I was more in tune with the British word meaning a hard striped candy! So from now on when I utter “Bah Humbug,” which I do every Christmas, it will have a whole new connotation!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 4:16 pm on December 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        “Humbug” is such an interesting word that I tried to research its origin, but its origin is unclear. Dickens is of course most famously associated with it (in the person of Ebenezer Scrooge), but apparently it pre-dates him. Of course, I pre-date Dickens as well, but at my age, who can remember such things? 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 1:00 am on December 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christmas, , , , Villia, Violetta, Virginia,   

    TO V OR NOT TO V…. 

    To V or not to V….  Verily, I wouldst
    say, That is the question; methinks I shouldst
    look for those old V gals wherever I couldst.

    From what I’ve heard, there were at least three….
    including one who’s as inViolate as she can be.
    Now I remember “My Song” — will she hear me?

    This time of year, many newspapers reprint an editorial which appeared in the New York Sun on Sept. 21, 1897 — an editorial which famously responded “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” to a letter written to the paper by eight year old Virginia O’Hanlon. Today I would further respond to Virginia that not only is there a Santa Claus, but Santa assures me that, just as in those indelible childhood days, he is coming back to wherever is home on the night before Christmas — and this time he hopes to stay, if only in spirit:

    As for #3: They say it ain’t over until the fat lady sings. Far be it from me to say any such things.

    None-the-less, and in any case, it’s over.

    • arekhill1 1:06 am on December 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 10:13 am on December 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Muse, look what I found and unlike my last discovery this is actually a good one with the Mills Brothers no less.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:13 am on December 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Great find, Don. I looked through each of my 17 Mills Brothers LP albums and don’t see this song on any of them. I also have many more of their 78s in my collection, but don’t recall this song there either, though I do have a vague recollection of hearing it years ago.

        Well done (by The Mills Bros. AND you)!


  • mistermuse 12:16 am on December 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christmas, , , , , Muppet Christmas Carol, ,   


    I hear that Dec. 25 is Christmas, so I’m departing from my every-five-days schedule to post a day early. For this post, I thought I’d make a little game out of several of my favorite Christmas lines from song and film. It’s simple enough: below are the lines; you name the song or film from whence they came. If you’ve been good, attentive little girls and boys, you should get all of them right; otherwise, I’ll tell Santa you’ve been naughty. However, if you’re a big, grown-up girl, I’ll let him know — ere he shows up down your chimney tonight bearing gifts — that you plan to behave yourself (unless you have other ideas).

     1. He’s making a list. Checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.

    2. Christmas Eve’ll find me where the love light gleams. [SONG TITLE] if only in my dreams.

    3. SCROOGE: “Let us deal with the eviction notices for tomorrow, Mr. Cratchit.”
    KERMIT: “Uh, tomorrow’s Christmas, Sir.”
    SCROOGE: “Very well. You may gift wrap them.”

    4. You can’t fool me – there ain’t no Sanity Clause.

    5. Although it’s been said, many times, many ways….Merry Christmas to you.

    Now for the answers:




    Chico Marx to Groucho in A NIGHT AT THE OPERA


    You say you answered them all correctly, and you want to know what you get? BAH HUMBUG, that’s what! Nonetheless….


    • ladysighs 5:59 am on December 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Three out of five……ain’t bad. Merry Christmas! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • carmen 7:02 am on December 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Always learn something from your blog posts! Merry Christmas to you AND ladysighs! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:29 am on December 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, girls, and Merry Christmas to two of my favorite ladies (WordPress ladies, that is – I wouldn’t want to give the impression that I have a harem). 🙂 🙂


      • carmen 7:29 am on December 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Whyever NOT?? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 8:13 am on December 24, 2015 Permalink

          Caremn, you got me there – after all, I am very broad minded (I don’t mean to ignore you guys, but it’s a lot more fun to tease broads – I mean, lovely ladies).

          Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 11:12 am on December 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Ho, ho, ho to all, and to all a good night, or day.


    • Don Frankel 4:01 pm on December 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I got 4 out of 5. I could have lied and said I got them all but then Richard the IVth, set the standard when he admitted to not getting a single one right on my quiz.


    • Don Frankel 4:09 pm on December 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Ooops I almost forgot. Merry Christmas Muse.


    • mistermuse 5:26 pm on December 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You got 4 out of 5? Now you got me wondering which one you missed. I KNOW it wasn’t #4, and I don’t think it was #1, 2 or 3, so I’m guessing #5. In any case, Don, I echo Merry Christmas to you (although it’s been said many times, many ways).


    • Leyla 2:36 pm on December 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Merry Christmas 🙂


    • mistermuse 3:06 pm on December 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Leyla. May you picture dandelions as flowers, and may your dreams flower all the days of your life.


  • mistermuse 12:01 am on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christmas, Christmas song, , , , , , tongue twister, wish list   


    Mary Christmas is her name.
    Merry Christmas is her game.
    So, Merry Christmas, Mary Christmas!
    Merry, the way you made your list less
    The merry day you lined off your wish list
    The last name that you became
    When you married Mister Christmas.

    And now you’ve heard the gospel of how Christmas, Mister,
    Made Maid Mary’s Merry Little Christmas….a tongue twister.


    • ladysighs 6:59 am on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I said the twister twice. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:46 am on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The title is the real twister. It was on the tip of my tongue before it came tripping to my mind. 🙂


    • Don Frankel 5:23 pm on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I couldn’t even say it once. But I think we need a little music.


    • mistermuse 6:00 pm on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I actually considered Sinatra’s rendition of MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS but decided on Judy Garland’s because it’s the scene from the film MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS with little Margaret O’Brien, a film I like a lot….as I do the song. But you can’t go wrong with either version.


    • arekhill1 3:21 pm on December 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Have yourself a merry Christmas, Sr. Muse. Or Chrismakwanzzakuh, or Festivus, however it pleases you.


    • mistermuse 9:10 pm on December 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Likewise, man….and may all your satire be a satori of sartorial splendor (or words to that effect).


  • mistermuse 11:50 am on December 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: American Experience, Believe It or Not, Billy Martin, born on Christmas day, , , Christmas, Clara Barton, , , , James Brown, Kid Ory, Robert Ripley,   


    Yesterday may have been Christmas, but heaven only knows the exact date of Christ’s birth (Christmas wasn’t celebrated on December 25 until the 4th century A.D.). So, here it is the day after Christmas, which is a lull of a day following as full of a day as there is all year, and I’ve decided to find out who (of note) actually was born on December 25. Why? Not why they were born on that day (presumably, something naughty and nice happened one night nine months previously), but — why do I bother? Because inquiring minds want to know, that’s why….and my readers, being wise men and women, have inquiring minds (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt).

    Believe It or Not, Robert Ripley was born on Christmas day (in 1890). If you’re a lover of trivia, you can thank Robert Ripley for making it a popular pursuit even before you were born. Ripley was a cartoonist and amateur anthropologist who created Believe It or Not! as a panel series in Randolph Hearst’s King Features Syndicate in 1929. A year later, Ripley famously expanded into other media, including radio and short films such as this 1930 Vitaphone curio (it’s a hoot!):

    Can’t get enough of his wonderful stuff? Then tune in January 6th to the PBS series American Experience (here’s a half-minute preview):

    Ripley was voted the most popular man in America by the New York Times in the 1930s, a decade in which he opened (in six cities) museums called Odditoriums. He died 1n 1949 and is buried, appropriately enough, in Oddfellows Lawn Cemetery, Santa Rosa, CA.

    Other notables who were born on Christmas day include Clara Barton, American Red Cross founder (1821); Kid Ory, legendary early New Orleans jazzman (1886); Humphrey (we’ll always have Casablanca) Bogart (1899); and Cab Calloway, jazz band leader (1907).

    And while we’re at it, since Christmas both giveth and taketh away, here are some notable December 25th deaths: Charlie Chaplin (died 1977); two Martins, Billy (1989) and Dean (1995); and the Godfather of Soul, James Brown (2006).

    And with that, I believe I’ll call it a day.


    • Joseph Nebus 2:12 pm on December 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, I thought Jack Benny was also a Christmas baby but, of course, his was Valentine’s Day. I should’ve remembered that.


      • mistermuse 3:11 pm on December 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Sometimes sources don’t agree on such things.. The first site I checked in researching Dec. 25 birthdays had Isaac Newton born on Dec. 25, 1642; another had Jan 4, 1643….so I checked more sites, and continued to find the same discrepancy. Not knowing which to believe, I didn’t include him in this posting.


    • arekhill1 2:14 pm on December 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I remember knowing a kid in my extreme youth who was born on Christmas Day. He was regarded by we contemporaries with pity and horror, because he only got presents once a year. Sure, his parents pretended to give him gifts for both the holiday and his b-day, but he, (and we) were always sure he got short-shrifted.


      • mistermuse 4:19 pm on December 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Another problematic day to be born on might be April Fool’s Day (you get presents, but you’d better open them with caution).


    • ladysighs 2:27 pm on December 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I liked the video of Believe It or Not…..especially the girl who could speak fast. 🙂


      • mistermuse 4:21 pm on December 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        My wife doesn’t speak fast, but I still can’t get a word in edgewise – hahahaha (just kidding, dear).


    • Don Frankel 3:37 pm on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Okay I don’t believe it. What are they going to do? I mean what is the not here?

      I loved this stuff as a kid. They have a Ripley’s in Times Square.


    • mistermuse 4:38 pm on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Lucky for you, Ripley’s isn’t a fundamentalist religion – not believing it would be a hell of a bad way to go.
      Very interesting that they have a Ripley’s in Times Square. Not that I’ll ever see it, but I hope it’s not a fast food joint.


  • mistermuse 5:41 pm on December 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Christmas, holiday season, ,   


    It’s only (almost) Dec. 6, St. Nicholas Day, but we’ve already received several Christmas cards at our house, including one with a “generic” Christmas letter enclosed. If past be prelude, that was but the first of quite a few such “catch up” letters, which are welcomed by Mrs. Muse and not unwelcomed by Mr. Muse, understanding that who has time to write individualized holiday missives (though that would be nice) to dozens of friends and relatives?

    Thus, we bow to the same exigency, with she doing the initial writing and me doing the editing, which often consumes as much time as the writing, because I don’t take such tasks lightly. This has me thinking, why should we start from scratch every holiday season? It would save both of us a lot of bother to come up with the mother of all generic Christmas letters and be done with it — a glorified form letter, if you will, which would serve the purpose every year, with perhaps a blank space or two here and there to fill in, if one wishes to be specific about something that happened during the year, such as:

    As you may or may not know, (namedied of (diseasein (month). At least, we assume (name) died, because they buried the old fart.

    Need I add, heed should be taken not to send same to the immediate family of the (assumed) deceased, which shouldn’t be a problem, as there are always a few Christmas cards you set aside where you just write a few words without enclosing a letter.

    Of course, no Christmas letter would be complete without recounting your vacation and/or travels during the year. Unfortunately, Mr. & Mrs. Muse don’t get around much any more, so we may have to embellish slightly our trip to the Amish farm market an hour’s drive away:

    This past summer, we ventured to an agrestal land of bearded men and oddly dressed women whose rustic appearance spoke of a time before civilization came to be. We nonetheless managed to befriend them by giving green paper in exchange for some of the fruits (and vegetables) of their labors. However, as we were leaving, a strange-looking, horned animal took an interest in our bounty and began chasing us. Fortunately, we barely beat the ferocious beast back to our car and escaped with our lives.

    Happy holidays.



    • arekhill1 6:02 pm on December 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Is the old goat in your story symbolic, or did you actually need to escape from a caprine attacker?


      • mistermuse 8:23 pm on December 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Actually, it was the buried old fart, back from the dead with horns lent him by the Devil. The old fart never could take a joke.


    • Don Frankel 7:50 pm on December 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I get it. Instead of the two of you getting taken in by the snake you are running away from an old people who sold you the apple and an old goat who’s trying to eat it. The potential allegories abound. Or is it elegies? You know I didn’t get any religious education.

      Anyway you knew this was coming as soon as you mentioned it. It was only a matter of who. Or is it whom?


    • mistermuse 8:44 pm on December 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Don, I knew if anyone would catch my “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” mention, it would be you. Unfortunately, when I click your link, I get “This video does not exist.” So let’s try this:



    • ladysighs 3:27 am on December 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I notice now the Like Button is missing. 😦 So forced to comment. I don’t do many comments on your blog because the only reason for comments is to prove I can write something cleverer than what you wrote in the blog entry. Never happen on your blog. 🙂
      Yes, the yearly Xmas letters are starting. 😦 I think one friend just recycles the same letter every year. How many trips around the world can one make? And it isn’t even a friend sending the letter. It is an acquaintance of an acquaintance.


      • ladysighs 5:49 am on December 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I just noticed……..several hours later………the LIKE button is here. 🙂


        • mistermuse 7:51 am on December 6, 2014 Permalink

          Thanks for the comment(s). The Like button is still missing, at least on my screen. I don’t know if WordPress did it or the butler did it (or maybe I did something inadvertently to make it disappear). I’m not computer-savvy enough to solve the mystery, so I’ll be looking for help. HELP!!!


    • Michaeline Montezinos 5:52 am on December 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      mistermuse and Don Frankel, your blog and Don’s comment have cause me to look up 4 new words in the dictionary. Good to do as I like to improve my vocabulary. However, Don, You must be thinking April Fool’s Day instead ofthe yearly holida letter. I did try the video of Nat King Cole singing “Don’t Get Around Any More.” Muse did post another link to that song. Thanks and I wil listen soon. I will listen to that voice singing my tune now as I am often stuck here at home.
      I did get a few holiday letters over the years. They are nice to receive from friends but I feel the urge to write one back. That upsets me since I am not proficient at that sort of commentary. I would end up writing a letter instead of just signing our names.
      Also, I used to get about 30 + cards for the season from family and folks I thought were friends. The number has dwindeled down to a precious few, thankfully. My hands can only write so much before Mr. Arthritis conquers my ability. Last year I only got about 9 cards and I think it silly and wasteful to buy a whole box of holidays cards that all are the same. Much like copying the Xmas letter without the printer. I did hand write one letter and tried to insert each name in the “Dear So and So” blank but ending up changing the details in the letter. That was a Humbug moment and a waste of time. Calling old farts and hags like me and mine. Do not waste your time; just use the dozen free cards I get every year from my charity and be done with it. Ho! Ho! Ho!


    • mistermuse 11:05 am on December 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      As you may have discovered by now, Michaeline, my link to “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” is not by Nat King Cole, but by the Ink Spots, my favorite vocal group of the late 1930s-early 40s. Music trivia buffs of that era may be interested to know that the song was composed by Duke Ellington as “Never no Lament.” Lyricist Bob Russell later added words and it became a big hit in 1942 as “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.”


    • literaryeyes 1:24 pm on December 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You are much more patient than I with these letters. We get one every year from a relative who apparently has the most exciting anf HAPPY life. It makes me wonder what she’s imbibing or smoking. And can she send me some for Christmas? Grinchly, MC


    • mistermuse 3:46 pm on December 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      If it were up to me, at our age, we’d give up sending an annual Christmas letter. But Mrs. Muse has a lot more relatives than I, so that’s that….and as long as it’s gotta go, it might as well go not smelling like crap (if you’ll pardon the expression).


  • mistermuse 6:31 am on October 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: boys, children's books, Christmas, , , library, , ,   


    My kids haven’t been kids for many a decade. I, on the other hand, have almost decayed, but am still a kid. The old saying must be true that you can’t take the boy out of the man….at least, I think it’s an old saying. My memory isn’t as good as it used to was.

    Anyway, what prompted the foregoing musing was a Children’s Books catalog I got in the mail the other day. Why the sender thought a V.A.P. (Very Ancient Person) might be a potential buyer of young children’s books, I can’t say — but upon perusing the catalog’s oft-amusing titles, I must admit I’m tempted. What young-at-heart reader wouldn’t be thrilled at the thought of receiving any of these books (words in italics quoted from book description):

    ME HUNGRY! by Jeremy Tankard (sounds like he might be thirsty, too) — Book begins with a cave boy saying, “Me hungry!” Ignored by his family (“Me busy!”), he suddenly is inspired to hunt. But rabbit hides, and porcupine is too sharp, and tiger is too mean.
    And you think you’ve got trouble.

    DUCK IN THE TRUCK by Jez Alborough — While driving home, Duck gets his truck stuck in the muck.
    Does duck have the pluck to buck such yuck? Or is duck schmuck-out-of-luck?

    I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS by Michael Morpurgo — Eight-year old Tomas Porec hated school, hated reading, and hated stories, until the unicorn came to the library.
    Why not? According to Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell of Answers In Genesis, the absence of a unicorn (mentioned in Job 39:9-12) in the modern world “should not cause us to doubt its past existence.” Tomas Porce was probably in a very old library in the very old days.

    SANTA RETIRES by David Biedrzycki — Things up north are going south. “Sacks are getting bigger. Chimneys are getting smaller. And you never know what the weather will throw at you.” So Santa announces that he means to retire.
    Say it isn’t so, Santa! Will Santa go the way of the unicorn? Come back, Santa!

    There are more fascinating titles such as THE GREAT FAIRY TALE DISASTER and CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, but I’m already overwrought just thinking about the books I’ve already covered and wondering how they’ll turn out. Maybe you could order me one or two for Christmas. Hopefully Santa will change his mind and deliver them like a good old boy.


    • arekhill1 9:15 am on October 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m thinking of writing a children’s book myself, “Heather has Three Mommies and an Uncle Who Never Wears Pants” about life in a big, polygamous and polyamorous family. I don’t know if I can get it done by Christmas, though.


    • mistermuse 10:00 am on October 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I hope you can get it done by Christmas, Ricardo. If anything can convince Santa not to retire, that should do the trick.


    • Don Frankel 8:47 am on October 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Someone could send Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to Cave Boy and the Unicorn to the guy who’s truck got stuck.

      I like Richard the IVth’s book though. I mean someone has to write the first great novel about polyamorous love.


    • mistermuse 10:50 am on October 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      If anyone can send Meatballs and Unicorns to those in need, surely it’s Santa. All the more reason for the old boy to stay on the job until he and Mrs. Claus start making babies and raise a successor.


  • mistermuse 7:35 pm on December 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christmas, Christmas fiction, Ohio Christmas story   


    People instinctively think that what life is all about is some sort of complicated, incomprehensible thing…. I think a happy life is just about love — that’s it.
    –Ben Nunery, graphic artist, Cincinnati

    Thirty years ago, A CHRISTMAS STORY in film told of a nine year old boy named Ralphie growing up in 1940s Cleveland, wanting but one thing for Christmas: a Red Ryder BB gun. But there are other bygone Ohio Christmas stories to be told — stories from a parental perspective. This is one such story.


    Five years ago to the day — Tim and Karen Gordon’s first Christmas as man and wife — that’s how long it had been. His and her parents had traveled here to the middle of Ohio to spend the holiday with them for the first and — it turned out — final time. Really, that was the last result they would have expected.

    They had known that their parents didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye, but even Scrooge would have been more sociable company in that setting. They didn’t know which had been worse: the ill-disguised hostile edge to the conversation before dinner, or the painfully obvious lack of conversation during that first shared Christmas meal. After dinner, both sets of parents had promptly up and left in a huff, and from that point on, it was implicitly understood that neither his nor her mother and father would welcome a return engagement.

    So why did Karen do it? Why, after all this time, suddenly re-invite parents here to Columbus from opposite ends of the state — both literally and figuratively — when it would’ve been much easier to simply continue the practice of the past four years: Tim and Karen spending Christmas one year with his parents in Cleveland, Christmas the next year with her parents in Cincinnati. After all, what had changed? Yes, there was now a grandchild and they were now grandparents, but that only seemed to make them seem older, not mellower.

    In any case, Tim had yielded to her determination on one condition — that several others also be invited to Christmas dinner in order to forestall the confrontation that was bound to re-erupt if decorum didn’t have to be maintained in the presence of outsiders. Thus he wound up inviting his eccentric boss, with whom he  didn’t have much in common, but who was single and without close relatives (and therefore presumably free for the holiday); the invitation was tentatively accepted, contingent upon being back in time from a business trip.

    Karen invited their new next-door neighbors, the Crowleys, whom they had yet to get to know (but at least the Crowleys had given a definite acceptance — that is, until early afternoon, when they called to say their basement was flooded and they didn’t know if they could make it).

    As for Tim’s and Karen’s parents, neither pair was told that the other had also been invited, but both must have had their suspicions — his parents had called yesterday to say snow was forecasted in northern Ohio with possibly hazardous driving conditions, and her mother had called from Cincinnati to say her father wasn’t feeling well. Both situations were presented as “coming if they could, but making no promises.” No wonder Karen’s exasperation reached its limits after the Crowley’s call — how does one prepare Christmas dinner for pick-a-number from none to seven guests? A definite “no” from any or all would’ve been preferable — not to mention, infinetly more considerate.

    What’s the weather like out there, hon?” George Gordon asked his better half. He had just awakened and noticed her standing at the bedroom window looking out at a winter-gray Cleveland sky. “Is it snowing?”

    It felt good to sleep late on Christmas morning (if almost eight-thirty could be considered late). If they were driving to Columbus today, he wouldn’t be able to stay in bed much longer. First breakfast, then church, then —

    “It’s not snowing now, but it snowed overnight — looks like four or five inches on the ground.”

    “Well, we’ll see what the driving’s like when we go to church. On the phone yesterday, Tim said they weren’t predicting anything more than flurries in Columbus.”

    George had mixed emotions about going to Columbus — and not just because of the driving. Naturally, he and Vi wanted to be with their son and daughter-in-law for Christmas, but he couldn’t honestly say the same about Karen’s parents, Harry and Ruth Cain….and he had no doubt that they had also been invited. Oh, he supposed they had their good points. After all, they’d managed to raise a fine daughter — but he had never met two more opinionated — to say the least — people in his life.

    George supposed he should he should get up and shovel the driveway before breakfast, but he couldn’t resist staying in bed a few minutes longer. Perhaps when he retired in a few years, this wouldn’t seem like a luxury, but for now….

    Vi had gone to the kitchen to make coffee. Returning with a cup for him, he sat up as she sat down. He sip-tested his coffee: hot, hot, hot! Getting out of bed, he said, “I might as well shave while this cools.” When he came back, Vi was still sitting next to the bed. Of course, he knew what she was thinking. She would let it be his decision, but he knew she wanted to go.

    “Too bad it didn’t snow four or five feet instead of four or five inches,” he muttered more to himself than to her, but he realized his comment fell flat, just the same.

    “Either that, or didn’t snow at all,” she ventured to add pointedly.

    By the time they left for church, it had started snowing again.

    On Sundays and holidays, Harry always got up before Ruth to read the morning paper. He liked to give it a thorough reading, starting with the business news, front page, sports, and continuing until he had given at least a cursory glance to almost every page.

    On this Christmas morning, it seemed vaguely materialistic to start with the business section, so he turned first to the front page. The once-a-year headline proclaimed PEACE ON EARTH, GOODWILL TO MEN, but the news was the same old disasters/do unto others whatever you could get away with doing — the usual bill of fare from which he had always felt somehow detached….until the morning of a sales trip almost a year ago when he’d overslept, missing the return flight home, and the plane crashed on takeoff with no survivors.

    No one knew of his missed flight, as he’d not been expected back in Cincinnati  until the next day; he had wrapped things up faster than anticipated and decided to surprise Ruth by not calling to tell her he was coming home ahead of time. Having almost been on that plane wasn’t something that needed to be dwelled on, much less expressed. Without saying a word, he’d stayed over until his originally scheduled return and, to this day, had kept it to himself. As far as he was concerned, it was a non-event. End of story. He was in control.

    “Merry Christmas, Harry.”

    He lowered his newspaper to find his bathrobed wife standing there, and allowed himself to realize that they hadn’t really talked in years. He didn’t know why he should think of that now — tuning out when she spoke had inexorably become second nature, like drifting off into sleep over a long period without being conscience of it. It was as if he had become comfortable with….what? Even Christmas had become a ritual, full of trimmings and trappings, signifying nothing. Shakespeare said it — at least the last part — not him.

    “Ruth,” he found himself replying, “I hate to change things at the last minute, but maybe we should reconsider not going to Karen and Tim’s today.”

    A twenty-pound turkey was in the oven and the dining room table was set for nine — nine and a half, if you count their  three year old, who for the first time was old enough (Karen hoped) to sit at the table without a high chair.  Her head told Karen that not all those invited would come, but her heart insisted this was still a day for belief in small miracles….or, at least, their possibility. Her sense of the symbolic — Tim would call it wishful thinking — suggested that if long ago a little child would lead them, why not today?

    Two o’clock. Three. Three thirty. It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas without guests. The house was as quiet as an infant’s nap, and Karen turned on soft Christmas music to fill the void. Tim was nowhere to be seen, as if he might be tempted to say “I told you so” if he appeared.

    Three forty-five. Karen was about to open the oven to check on the progress of the turkey when she heard Tim call from the front door, “I’m going to mail a letter. I’ll be back shortly.”

    What mail could be so important that it had to go out now, she wondered, realizing even as she wondered: there was no mail pick-up today. He just wanted to get out of the house. Well, that was the privilege of being a man — what chance did she have of getting away for a few minutes? OK, maybe she was being childish . Maybe not.

    Tim had hardly been gone when the doorbell rang. Karen composed herself and took a deep breath. Time for the first installment of “Guess who’s coming to dinner?” she thought as she went to the door and opened it.

    It was Tim.

    “I forgot my keys,” he mumbled, and for one wild, improbable moment, she imagined that he was about to spring an elaborately planned surprise and produce, as if by magic wand, a happily reconciled foursome of smiling grandparents; but he was already striding past her toward the telephone in the foyer. As he picked up the phone, he saw her watching him, and paused before dialing.

    “I was just standing out there thinking what wimps we are to take this lying down,” he told her with self-righteous resolve. “I don’t care if they are our parents — does that give them the right to treat us like this? I’m going to call my mom and dad — you can do the same with yours — and if they answer, we’ll know they’re not coming and wish them Merry Christmas. If they don’t answer, they’re probably on their way — and even if they’re not, we won’t be any worse off than we are right now.”

    She was about to protest that calling too soon might only aggravate the situation, but he was probably right. If people won’t meet each other half way, it’s already a lost cause — why prolong the agony? So she simply slumped down into the nearest chair and let silly thoughts dance in her head: Comes Christmas and all through the house, not a creature concurring, not even a spouse. She didn’t need him to prove that Christmas was just another day in the year….she conceded it.

    But he had already begun to dial, and then the doorbell rang again, and all was lost in the blur ofgreetings and hugs, handshakes and kisses.

    Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! And many other words were spoken: joyous words, tenative words, exuberant words, inadequate words. And if at times the laughter seemed just a bit forced and loud, or if occasionally a pause in the conversation seemed a trifle awkward, the moment soon passed. It was, after all, Christmas.

    After dinner, gifts were exchanged, and then someone proposed a Christmas sing-a-long. Outside the frosted window panes, darkness had absorbed the last traces of daylight as voices joined to repeat the sounding joy. Away In A Manger, Jingle Bells, We Three Kings, Deck The Halls, It Came Upon A Midnight Clear — they sang until no one could think of another song.

    In Cleveland, darkness had fallen clear and cold, freezing tracks and footprints left behind in the snow. In Cincinnati, snowless streets and sidewalks left no evidence of those who come and go. In Columbus, Christmas was an ember when Karen sank exhausted into bed next to Tim and received his half-asleep kiss; then, like a simple child, she lay there thinking contented thoughts about people who know nothing is more important than being there for you in something like the silent night.


    • Don Frankel 8:55 am on December 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent rendition of enjoying what is, as opposed what things might or what we think they should be. Hmmmm maybe a little like SWI.


    • arekhill1 10:02 am on December 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Nicely done, Sr. Muse. Ho, ho, ho.


    • mistermuse 10:40 am on December 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      To be honest, although I’ve never posted it before, I wrote this story years ago. I’ve become too cynical since then to write that way now, but I guess it’s not bad for what it is. Anyway, it probably beats watching “Duck Dynasty” (though its millions of viewers might disagree).


    • mistermuse 8:45 am on December 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Merry Christmas & Feliz Navidad, fellow infidels Don(?) and Ricardo!


  • mistermuse 2:20 pm on December 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Christmas, , innocence, , ,   


    I always feel young people are innocent. [They] have a certain beautiful innocence to them that’s touching and remarkable to see. –Woody Allen

    Christmas is for kids. As truisms go, that is one I find especially valid. It seems to me that even if you’re not Christian, it won’t hurt your young children to believe in Santa Claus. They’ll have to contend with the real world soon enough (there could be worse introductions to reality than the day they discover the truth about Santa). So, while they may, let them be innocent and without sin and believe in pure, unalloyed being loved. Isn’t that the idea that Christmas is supposed to represent?

    I may be old, but I’m not too old to remember the thrill of Christmas mornings as a boy in the early 1940s. What did I know of the World War raging a world away, where young men of my age little more than a decade earlier, were now dying like sacrificial lambs because innocence was foreign to the forces of time. Life is short. Life as a young child is short beyond belief, although wishful thinking can extend the warranty indefinetly. I wouldn’t count on it.

    • Ricardo 8:26 pm on December 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      But now that Fox has made Santa’s ethnicity an issue. I think I’ll be penning “I’m Dreaming of a White Santa” shortly, Sr. Muse


    • mistermuse 9:43 pm on December 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I hadn’t heard about the Fox/Santa issue, Ricardo. I’d check it out, but I can’t bear to watch Fox, no matter how much I could use a good laugh. In fact, if I knew Hell consisted of watching Fox News for all eternity, I (and maybe even you) would immediately start being so good that Santa would give me a sleigh ride straight to heaven’s gate when my time comes.


    • Don Frankel 11:01 am on December 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I can’t remember too well but I don’t think I was told that Santa was a real guy just an idea of giving. And yes this is a lot easier to read and you are half linked to SWI so the next time your daughter comes over have her finish the job.


    • mistermuse 12:03 pm on December 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I very much appreciate your suggestion, Don, but after giving it some thought, I probably won’t do that. I realize it would invite more traffic if I did, but at my age and stage of life, I already don’t have enough time for the things that matter to me the most….so, I’d rather just keep it simple, even at the expense of the fame & fortune I believe would surely come my way with a little more push on my part (I also believe in Santa Claus and have deep existential dialogues & exchanges with him, as you can see in my Dec. 16 post).


  • mistermuse 6:45 pm on December 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christmas,   



    If April is the cruelest month,
    Then, what be January?
    If March comes in like a lion,
    How comes in February?

    In the swelt’ring heat of August,
    Who would not rush September?
    What is so rare as June days fair,
    Shivering in November?

    And, pray, what could be so welcome
    As flowers in the month of May….
    Till we behold leaves red and gold
    Fill a fall October day?

    Which month brings “forth,” more than July,
    A day born to remember….
    Save that birth date we celebrate
    On twenty-five December?


    When you’re a kid,
    you come to realize
    there is no Santa Claus.

    When you’re post-adolescent,
    you come to realize
    there is no Cupid.

    When you’re middle-aged,
    you come to realize
    there is no Superman.

    When you’re older than your dreams,
    you come to realize
    there is no moral god.

    I’m sorry, Virginia, but you were
    misled….forget the fat guy
    in red with white beard
    and sack full of goodies.

    But at least there is a you,
    Virginia, to remind old men
    like me that once-upon-a-time
    may be as good as it gets.


    “Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!”
    Come the holidays, that’s all you do hear!
    Enjoy such greetings while ye may….
    Then it’s back to, “Have a nice day.”

    • 2zpoint 12:34 pm on December 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      After reading the parts about no cupid, Santa, or Superman I almost felt dismay but then I realized this truth and now I’ll be on my way…
      We are only limited by our imagination and the willingness to do what needs to be done.
      These things are part of our spirit and dreams, may you see it in your heart to find them again one day.Peace be with you.


    • mistermuse 4:14 pm on December 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I appreciate your thoughtful response, but to say that we are ONLY limited by our imagination & willingness to do what needs to be done is, in my opinion, an oversimplification. Perhaps our most obvious limitation is ignorance, which I would divide into what is possible to know (but don’t) and what is impossible to know. Each of these, of course, can be delved into at length. The former, for example, can be overcome to a greater or lesser extent by education (wherein “the willingness to do what needs to be done” applies), experience (outgrowing the naivete recounted in my poem), and openness to other considerations & possibilities (wherein “our imagination” may come into play. As for what is impossible to know – well, this reply is already getting rather lengthy, so I’ll let that ride for now. Happy holidays!


    • leesis 6:24 am on March 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      what about sunrises? 🙂


    • mistermuse 9:48 am on March 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      and sunsets!!!


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