Monday, December 29, 2008


So here we are, midway through the holiday season, and I’ve realized that many people on my list of to-be-gifted have not received their flashy-paper-wrapped mystery bundles. Being the Scroogey person you all know me to be, I’ve decided that this year’s gift will be cheaper than coal, but hopefully give you just as warm an all-over feeling…I’m updating my blog!

Merry Giftmas!

Let’s begin with a holiday season montage of highlights.

That’ll be $50.00
Giftmas is a time to be with family, getting the things you want that family to give you. Due to several mis-giftings in the past, my family instituted a new Giftmas policy: buy what you want and save the receipts, you will be reimbursed. Thanks to this new and highly efficient means of not knowing my family’s whims, Mom got the yoga mat and bathrobe she apparently always wanted. I love you, Mom!

The Grapes of Wrath
I’ve never liked grapes. At an early age, I developed a deep skepticism of ovular fruits. It’s their pack-mentality; fruits which travel in hordes should not be trusted, they’re plotting something. Of course, don’t forget they can be turned into raisins and inserted into cookies where chocolate chips should go. That’s my biggest beef with the grape, it was in my Giftmas cookies this year. How? I don’t know.

Linton, North Dakota?!
I won’t even pretend anyone has heard of Linton, ND. If- for some unfortunate Trivial Pursuit reason- you know where Linton is, now is the time to sit on your hands and keep that information to yourself… blurting out any Linton factoids at this time will only cost you “cool points” or whatever imaginary currency you and your friends exchange. If you don’t exchange any such monopoly money, you’re that much cooler. So please, people, do not turn to whoever is nearby you and say “Linton? Isn’t that where Phyllis Wolverton was from? You know, the contralto, trained under the world renowned Madam Schumann-Heinck who became the director of the Linton High School Glee Club while teaching English and History.” Also please avoid admitting knowledge of Charles Patterson- Linton’s hotel mogul (owner of the one hotel (now a motel) in Linton)- who, in 1906, went to Minneapolis, MN and bought Linton’s first automobile, drove it back to Linton, and almost as soon as he entered city limits, got in the first Linton automobile accident when he crashed into the city’s prized bull on Broadway. It should be noted he was speeding- a full 2 mph over the city limit of 8. Authorities believe he was drunk. (Please see if for some reason you think I made any of this up) Why bring up Linton? Well, it proved to be the powder-keg igniting topic on my flight into the heart of NoDak.
For Giftmas this year, my family decided to celebrate in Bismarck, ND with my grandparents. Not wanting to spend 7 hours on cruise control, staring ahead blankly at scenery that can only be described as “blank,” I opted to fly instead. Since I expected a MSP airport filled with roving tribes of Home Alone-esque families waging war on one another over who was first at the Cinn-a-bon counter, I arrived a bit early, in as complete of riot gear as I expected the airport authorities would permit without pulling me aside into the little clear cubicle where they demand to see your underwear’s elastic and ask you if you have latex allergies. There was almost no one there. Economic Depression: 1. Holiday Hassles: 0.
Gate A14. That was my destination. Sounds front-of-the-airport enough that a person might be a tad surprised to discover the actual location of aforementioned A14 is at the absolute end of the last terminal. There is an outer boundary of the MSP airport, and I found it; no food court, no Starbucks, not even a vending machine filled with carby delights. This A14 is where Linton, ND becomes relevant, not because it is in Linton, but because that is where a tired british man who just wanted to be left in peace met Earl; as Lintonish a Lintonite as there ever was.
Earl is somewhere in his 30s or a very unhealthy 20-something. He was D-R-U-N-K on the plane, the type of drunk that needs to be spelled out in capital letters, each one accompanied by a little drunk hiccup. Drunk. Earl sat across the aisle from me (I was seated next to the much-too-large-for-his-seat-where’d-the-armrest-go? guy.) next to the window. Next to him sat a very well-dressed and tired-appearing gentlemen. Wolf Blitzer beard, Burberry eye glasses; a real dapper bloke. When Earl introduced himself, the man seated next to him made two fatal mistakes: 1.) He answered Earl’s “where-er-oo-eaded?” with “Linton, North Dakota” and 2.) He used a genuine British accent.
Earl’s droopy eyes lit up “LINTON, NORTH DAKOTA? S***, I’M FROM LINTON, NORTH DAKOTA YOU BETTER GO TO THE GREEN LANTERN YOU EVER BEEN TO THE GREEN LANTERN I LOVE THE GREEN LANTERN!” This proceeded until our unfortunate British friend demanded Earl leave him alone. A few curses were exchanged before our flight attended moved Earl to the back of the plane (where the awful swears wafted forward on a bed of boozey breath) and served the complimentary sodas. Ah, Northwest. How your commitment to quality inspires us all.

Tucker Max
I received the gift of Tom this year. Yep, one whole week of finding little Tom waiting at home for me by the front door jumping up and down with eager anticipation of the walks I will take him on every day so he can sniff the sniffables and stretch his little legs. Tom is well-known around these parts for his natural charm, political correctness, sunny disposition, and not-naked-at-inappropriate-times-ness. Having a Tom is a wonderful experience, but sometimes Toms can be bad. If a Tom is especially bad, consider Tommy Obedience School (TOS).
Take today, for example. I arrived home to discover Tom cleaning my house. Good, Tom. Then, he told me stories about his first night here. Bad, Tom, Bad! No Treat for you! Tom next made dinner; trout with prosciutto and butter sauce. Good, Tom. Then he recommended a movie to us Good, Tom. More goods than bads…the newspaper can be unrolled. But I’m watching you, Tom.