One nice thing about my current workload is the chance to see Times Square at its Christmassy finest. There are lights, trees and blaring Christmas music at every turn, and I’m always reminding myself to stop, look around and soak it all in. And then, when I do, someone bumps into me and calls me a fucker.
Christmastime has also brought out Times Square’s best-ever assortment of costumed hustlers. Half a dozen or more on every street corner, ready to trade Kodak moments for a dollar a pop!
I shouldn’t have to tell you that this isn’t entirely on the up and up. It’s not like Disney strategically placed Mickey and Minnie on the corner of 42nd and 7th in an effort to raise fifty bucks a day. Doesn’t bother me at all. Compared to how aggressive or downright nasty some of the area’s other hustlers can be, these costumed weirdos are a-okay. Read More…
I met the Albino Ferret of Christmas in 1986. One of my then-in-college brothers was home for the holidays, and with him were his two pet ferrets. Thinking back, I have no idea how he got away with dorm room ferrets, but kids never considered the particulars.
One looked like an everyday “normal” ferret, but the other had yellowy-white fur and fiery red eyes. He was the real star. The Albino Ferret of Christmas.
I was told in no uncertain terms to stay away from those ferrets, and my brother scared me more than enough to listen. (To give you some idea: One time, he dropped a glass in the kitchen. I made the mistake of walking into the room while performing a sarcastic golf clap. The results were disastrous. Ever have broken glass scraped across your eye? Trust me, you’re not missing much.)
But even a scary older brother couldn’t keep me away from those ferrets forever.
That Christmas Eve, when all of the adults were upstairs partying, I snuck into his makeshift bedroom for a closer look. The “normal” ferret was doing his thing, but if I only had a minute to be one with the ferrets, I wanted to spend it with the freaky yeti version.
I was young enough to consider those red eyes “frightening” at first, but lo and behold, the Albino Ferret of Christmas acted just like any other ferret. It wouldn’t let me pet its head through the cage bars, but it didn’t spit fire at me, either.
Since it was Christmas Eve, I couldn’t stay with the AF of C for long. Really, it was only for a moment. But I’ve remembered that moment for more than twenty years.
I guess albino ferrets just have a special kind of charisma?
Longtime readers know that I’m a huge fan of the He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special, from 1985. (Officially titled He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special, but that shit’s clunky.)
I watched it on that long ago December night with my older brother, and to this day, we still quote it. I’ve seen it dozens of times since. I’m surely in the minority, but to me, that bizarre Christmas special is just as classic/important/awesome as any other.
Without getting too deep into its story, the special featured every key character from both Masters of the Universe and Princess of Power. (Something that, to the best of my recollection, only otherwise happened when She-Ra was first introduced. Even some of the most rarely seen villains had cameos. +1 for Spikor!)
But the biggest thing fans remember about this special is Skeletor. Drunk with Christmas spirit, the villain “goes good” for a night, almost against his will. It wouldn’t be until the Undertaker stopped Jake Roberts from attacking Macho Man that the world saw a bigger face turn.
If you aren’t a Masters of the Universe fan already, it’s a tough sell. The original series is dated and goofy, and if there’s no nostalgia at play, I guess it isn’t the easiest thing to sit through. Still, you gotta see the Christmas special, at least once. Even if you don’t know who the characters are, so what? Hey, I only wish I was in your shoes. Something tells me that the He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special would be ten times better if you had no freakin’ idea what was going on.
Of course, aside from Skeletor’s momentary heroism, my other big memory is of Horde Prime. Read More…
Today’s painting depicts HONEY BALLS. (And also a candy cane bee.)
Honey Balls are marble-sized bits of fried dough, soaked with honey and topped with colored sprinkles.
My mother brings them to all of our Christmas parties, and she’s been at it for decades. I despise the things, but God help her if she ever stops making them. I may not enjoy eating Honey Balls, but Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a big foil pan of ‘em out on the table, where, over the course of several hours, they will merge together into one unbreakable Super Honey Ball.
I’m not sure why I don’t like them. Honey-soaked fried dough sounds like something that would be really hard to dislike.
If you’re curious, here’s a recipe. Apparently, Honey Balls are an Italian thing. Have to admit, I love my Italian Christmases, but there sure are a lot of associated dishes that do not work for me. (“Hi, here’s a salad. Actually no, it’s a plate of raw fish organs. Wash it down with this wine that tastes like burnt oak and feet.”
On the bright side, Honey Balls are pretty little monsters. They look nice on the table. I think that’s the real point of them. They’re the parsley of Christmas desserts. (Actually, you should eat parsley, but don’t get me started. It’s one of my weird triggers.)
Tell me, strangers and friends. Are there any foods that you consider a must-see at your holiday celebrations, even if you’d personally never eat them?
Also: Dino Drac’s 1st Christmas has been made official, thanks to Jason’s latest killer header (dig that painted dino – and yes, he really was painted) and the unearthing of the old X-E Christmas Jukebox! (Which you’ll have to work to find, but not very hard.)
My schedule for December blows, but I will not let that ruin my favorite time of year. Even if I only have five minutes a day to enjoy the holidays, goddammit, I will! Fa la fuckin’ la.