Wednesday, December 26, 2007

We Are Tagged, and Tom Seems to be Away

by Ken Houghton

UPDATE: Let's do this the easy way. Please feel free to Tag YOURSELF, and note it in comments.

Cactus at AngryBear tries to get into the holiday season by continuing a meme. The problem is that he does it so well that my usual answers would seem pale imitations. So I'll try to play this straight.

1. Wrapping or gift bags? Gift bags are even more suboptimal use of resources than wrapping paper, plus they cost significantly more.

2. Real or artificial tree? Artificial trees are a far superior use of resources, plus they are reused and therefore economically efficient, even including the nominal storage cost. My personal preference for the Silver trees with the light from below with the tri-color (none of them green) filter shining up from below has been vetoed for the past several years.

3. When do you put up the tree? I don't; it goes up whenever Shira finds it in the attic (q.v. storage costs, above) and decides it needs to be on display. The relationship of this timing and the persistent requests of small children is left as an exercise to the reader.

4. When do you take the tree down? As soon as possible. I presume it will be down before Pesach this year.

5. Do you like egg nog? No, I'm human. And rather lactose-intolerant anyway.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Probably a bicycle, certainly not for Xmas.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Uh, no. What does that have to do with celebrating the Solstice anyway?

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? The day off, since consultants don't get paid.

9. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, of course. Have to keep Tom's consulting business going.

10. Favorite Christmas Movie? Anything other than Sophie Marceau is not Enough.

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I don't, though I did have a few years of sending holiday cards out annually on December 28th.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? This is a family blog, so let's just leave the answer at "Food, Glorious Food!" Or, in honor of a Season One Torchwood episode, bananas.

(FYI to cactus: Pomegranates were still available at Costco in NJ a few weeks ago.)

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Whatever. Probably colored, since the tree is small.

14. Favorite Christmas song(s)? Robert Earl Keen's "Merry Xmas from the Family," which appears to now be available as a book and CD set.

If it has to be a "traditional" carol, then "I Saw Three Ships," since the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria arriving at landlocked Bethlehem must have been quite a sight.

15. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I married into what is now a 20-year tradition of a party for "Jews and Orphans" on 25 December. So while I might prefer to travel, I cannot and stay married.

16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? No, and not just because the bit players and taxi squad are never named. By the way, now-F&SF editor Gordon van Gelder's first professional story sale was "Santa's Tenth Reindeer." Gordon was a teenager at the time.

17. Angel on the tree top or a star? I am told that Shira put a Star of David on top. The Eldest put an angel on top of that, so I suppose the answer is both. (The angel, in the TMI category, is as large as the tree itself.)

18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning? Shira's birthday is December 27th. I really need to go shopping.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? End of Year donation solicitations to those of us not independently wealthy enough to have an equivalent of the Samwick Family Fund.

20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color? See above answers, especially to questions 3, 13, and 17.

21. What do you leave for Santa? Nothing; I tried to file a restraining order, but couldn't get Shira to co-sign it.

22. Least favorite holiday song? If I can only pick one, I would follow the crowd and select "Last Christmas." But in trying to find the appropriate blog link, this one made it clear that, as with greasy, tasteless, potato chip, no one should pick just one. (Though I like The Kink's "Father Christmas," which at least captures the spirit of the season appropriately.)

23. Favorite ornament? Ornaments impede gas mileage, so I really don't have one. The discussion of the BMW ornament in Sean Connery's last great movie indicates some incidental value to them.

24. Family tradition? Good song, but I prefer the work of the Hanks on either side of Bocephus.

25. Ever been to Midnight Mass or late-night Christmas Eve services? Usually during a pub-crawl.

Tom will tag people when he gets back.

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They had pomegranates here a few weeks ago too. But no more.
The survey left off one obvious question. See here.
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