I know it’s corny as hell, but I love that old joke about how Canada had so much potential, about how we could have had English government, French culture and American know-how but instead ended up with English know-how, French government and American culture.
I don’t understand why people invest so much of their emotions and self-worth in hockey, or sports for that matter.
That being said — and I know this is blasphemy — but it seems to me that American football is way more interesting than hockey. Admittedly this is based on a very superficial knowledge of either sport, but football seems to have a lot more strategy going for it. In football, you always hear about how important coaches’ playbooks are or whatever. Whereas strategy in hockey revolves around skating in front of the goalie so he can’t see, and discussion of the sport is all about whether or not teams should be allowed to employ specialists whose job is to come up from behind and hit opposing players in the head hard enough to knock them out of the game.
Honestly, every time I hear some hack comedian make a joke about how Canadians are intellectually superior (or whatever) I cringe because I know they have the smarter sport.
I’m partway through Spider-Man: Spider Island and it’s a lot better than I expected. It might be the best Marvel comic I’ve read this year. Certainly it’s better than Wolverine and the X-Men, which had so much potential but so far seems to have squandered most of it.
Spider Island is one of the few event comics that’s actually fun, as opposed to the “world changing event with consequences” event comic that usually forgets about fun.
Also if I was a Spider-Man I’d want to be Scarlet Spider because he is cool and got a bad rap and he wears a mask and a hoody so that’s kind of cool.
You know, there’s a not-that-farfetched alternate universe where Space Jam was real except instead of aliens it was Kim Jong-il trying to kidnap Michael Jordan and getting him to play slave basketball for eternity.
Dude had a well-documented mad dictator boner for Jordan.
My friend Ben taught me that there’s only one true way to play Risk: with a dodgy accent, full of jingoistic fervor for countries you don’t really care about and with patriotic anthems blasting from a nearby laptop at strategic moments. Here are my top picks for anthems to play while playing Risk:
Azerbaijan State Anthem — Really, all of those small central Asian republics have some great national anthems, it’s worth listening to a few here.
America, Fuck Yeah! — On the other hand, America has such a shitty national anthem that it’s better to use this song.
Rule, Britannia! Such a badass song. Use it whenever you’re on a winning streak. God Save The Queen can be used in a pinch, but only if it includes the oft elided verse about crushing those rebellious Scots. Rule, Britannia! Britannia rules the waves! Brittons never never never shall be slaves!
La MarseillaiseIt’s actually a good song, but should only be played during a retreat.
O Canada — when you need to stall for time insist on hearing your own national anthem. Remember: once in English, then again in French. That’s the Canadian way. Stand at attention with a hand over your heart. Bonus points if you shed a tear and blubber something about igloos or hakapiks.
People complain that wishing someone happy holidays is kind of using weasel words,
But if ever there’s a time to use it, it’s right now in this liminal week between Christmas and New Years. I mean, you can’t wish someone a merry Christmas because it’s too late for that now, but it’s also kind of early for a happy new year. Right?
oh man, this holiday family Risk thing is getting intense
We just played from 8pm til 2am. No stopping, no breaks. AND WE DIDN’T EVEN FINISH THE GAME. We took an iphone photo of the board and wrote down our positions and stuff so we can pick up tomorrow. The good news is I have South America and a decent chunk of North America plus a strong foothold in Africa. Brother has Australia and enough of Asia to be a threat. Dad was kicking ass with Europe and a bunch of Africa but the Ukraine is weak and he will fall by my sword. Mom’s pretty much finished and I might even snag her cards.
Dad said he hasn’t been awake this late since he was my age.
I love my family and all that but I AM ABOUT TO CRUSH THEM BENEATH MY BOOT HEEL.
Just had the annual yuletide game of Risk with the family and maybe I took it a bit too seriously BUT IT’S KIND OF UPSETTING WHEN YOUR FATHER IS A GODDAMN COWARD NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN WHO WON’T ATTACK YOUR HITLER OF A BROTHER IN GODDAMN ICELAND WHEN HE HAS THE CHANCE. DID YOU HONESTLY THINK HITLER WAS GOING TO KEEP HIS WORD ON CZECHOSLOVAKIA, DAD? JESUS CHRIST. THIS IS WHY GENERAL TOJO HAD TO GO ALL PEARL HARBOR ON YOUR PATHETIC ASS.
[Note: below is my favourite piece of writing about Christmas. More than Dickens Christmas Carol, more than Seuss’ Grinch. It’s kind of long for Tumblr and I’m sorry for taking up your dashboard feed but it really captures how I feel about this holiday.]
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, ‘If you see it in the Sun, it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon, 115 West 95th Street
NO ONE NOTICED, of course, but last year, I did not file a column on Christmas week. This was not because I was too busy with a long schedule of holiday merry-making.
On the contrary: As editor Jeff Koyen can attest, I actually tried to write a column on Christmas last year. I spent three long days reading and rereading the old New York Sun's hideous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” column, and tried to come up with a satisfying counter-argument. The opening was easy enough:
Your little friends are right. There is no Santa Claus. And not only that, but within about five years, you’ll be on your knees in a Port Authority rest room, sucking a stranger’s cock for a dollar…
The column degenerated into a string of obscenities. If I remember correctly, the ending was something like, “Oh, and incidentally, Francis P. Church died in the arms of another man, broke and scorned by his family.” It was a really angry piece of writing. Too angry to be coherent. At the end of the three days, I gave up and asked Koyen for a mulligan. A week later my fangs had retracted, and I was back cheerfully offering my worthless opinions on the political issues of the day.
I hate Christmas. I hate it more than anyone in the world. Put me in a room with the man you think is the world’s biggest Christmas-hater, and within 10 minutes he’ll be shining my shoes. Christmas is the world’s most compelling argument for immediate nuclear attack against the territory of the United States. American Christmas makes heroes of Osama bin Laden, Jim Jones, the Shining Path, the Baader-Meinhofs, Jack the Ripper and the virus that causes AIDS.
It is true that American Christmas has not yet reached the point where it excuses the crimes of the Nazi Party. Still, even the regime of Adolf Hitler was probably too burdened by humanity to dream up an endless loop of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, blared over the speakers in the escalator entrance to Bed Bath and Beyond. We are the first explorers to set foot on this region of hell.
Commercialism is one thing, but it isn’t the commercialism that really defines Christmas in this country. After all, we expect businesses to feverishly hump the leg of every available sentiment in an attempt to sell us their products. That’s their job.
Warner Bros. and Houghton-Mifflin would really be remiss in their responsibilities to their shareholders if, in making their vile, saccharine Tom Hanks adaptation of the totalitarian Christmas tale ThePolar Express, they did not invite every marketing rapist on both coasts to take their turn at the body politic. It would be morally wrong for these companies to pass up the chance to give humanity special Polar Express Brio train sets and figurines, or Polar tees by Evy and Thunder Creek, or special sleepwear by Wormser (Polar PJs for Polar toddlers!), or an exciting array ofPolar Hallmark products (stationery, plush giftware, albums, gift wrap, paper party goods!), or die-cut Polar book sets, or THQ Polar interactive games, or Hasbro Polarpuzzles, or special Kraft and Pepsi Polar tie-ins and Polar Fritos and train-shaped cardboard Polar books (suggested age range for the All Aboard the Polar Expressboard book: “Birth to three years”) for kids too young to move or speak or do anything but recognize primitive shapes.
Yes, shove these and more, along with a special Polar Express train set by Lionel, into every orifice of every child customer. Then, so that he can spend the holiday season enjoying the wonders of unspoiled wilderness, give him and his family a batch of tickets to a special Polar Express promotion on the Grand Canyon railroad, so that everyone can experience the Christmas magic while they stare at the rocks and the river and the sand and whatever the fuck else is out there, in the wilds of Idaho or New Jersey or whatever goddamn state the Grand Canyon is in. Is it too late to bring in a snow machine and a bunch of billboard towers? Who owns the rights to these cliffs?
I have no problem with this kind of thinking, none at all. Believe me, if I worked for Warner Bros., I’d be spinning off a Polar Confessions tv show about arctic wife-swapping and a Polar porn mag called Polar Inches for the yuletide homosexual. No stone would be left unturned.
It would be madness to get upset. Only a lunatic hates a company for selling things. Hate is an emotion that should be reserved for purely emotional transgressions—traitorous passivity, for instance. What I don’t get is why there’s no backlash from the population. Why aren’t more mall Santas beaten to death? Why weren’t there theater shootings when Jim Carrey’s Lemony Snicket movie opened? How is it that year after year passes without a single Abercrombie & Fitch set on fire?
Every year, like clockwork, nativity scenes in dozens of ass-end small American towns are vandalized. I search for these stories every year, because they are the only things that cheer me up in the last week leading up to Christmas. To date, this year’s best came last Monday, at a Catholic church in Knoxville, TN. According to a wire news service:
"Someone cut off the baby’s head and arms and doused the stumps in red paint. The vandal or vandals also threw the baby’s head through a glass door, scrawled an upside-down cross on Mary’s robe and covered her face with paint."
Reading this, it was hard for me not to feel a tremendous kinship with the culprit, and even a hint of professional envy. I’m pretty sure I could have thought up most of those moves, including the upside-down cross, but why cover Mary’s face with paint? Why her face? I have no idea what that means, but I love it.
Most of these nativity desecrations are directed not specifically at Christmas, but at God and religion in general. While this is a noble urge in itself, it really has nothing to do with hating Christmas, an utterly irreligious phenomenon. Jesus has been dead for almost 2000 years—why not throw Kathie Lee Gifford’s head through a glass door?
Besides, the mere fact that we leave the only significant acts of anti-Christmas violence in this country in the hands of a few scattered bands of spiritually confused drunken teenagers says everything you need to know about the adult population in this country. America produces hundreds of thousands of college graduates every year, and not one of them ever does anything to stop Christmas. They just keep entering the workforce, keep dumping giant steel canisters of Holiday Spirit into our reservoirs in the middle of the night on the orders of their bosses, keeping the secret to themselves, never telling their spouses or their children the awful truth about What They Have Done.
So die, Virginia, you little bitch. Die a painful death this Christmas. Die waiting for Santa Claus to come down that chimney. He is not coming. But I am—to eat your corpse.
I say this every December but it is especially poignant this year.
I just can’t enjoy Christmas parades after realizing how much better North Koreans are at marching and parades and shit. I’m not even talking about those stupid “let’s put the People’s Army to pop music” videos. They’re Monday morning marches are better than the best we’ve got.
Honestly all of our high school marching bands should be ashamed of themselves.
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”—Kim Jong-Il (1941-2011)
In the Netherlands and Belgium, Santa Claus is aided by a man in blackface named Zwarte Piete. Zwarte Piete, or Black Peter, used to kidnap bad children and bring them back to Spain, but these days he mostly just gives out candy.
In Africa, Santa Claus is thought to be from Dublin. He is known to wear sunglasses even though there is no need for them in Ireland and it is thought that he gives out presents to feed his massive ego. He is followed by once beautiful sirens who kidnap bad children to get press attention in their homelands.
In Canada, Santa Claus is said to wear red because he was once a justice of the Supreme Court.
In Britain, Santa Claus knows whether you’ve been bad or good by studying hundreds of hours of CCTV footage.
Krampus is a fun and not at all terrifying tradition in some eastern European countries.
Above: the Supreme Court convenes to decide whether you’ve been naughty or nice.