‘Better Call Santa,’ or ‘Breaking Bethlehem’

No snow in them thar hills for Christmas.

Father Christmas has done his usual drive-by on us. A few donuts around the cul-de-sac and off he shot into the frosty Duke City suburbs. Couldn’t ID the plate on that rig, but it was probably stolen, so why bother?

Anyway, all the John Laws on this side of town were tied up with some act of misbehavior down on Copper (and no, the irony did not escape us). We saw their Mickey Mouse ears all aglow to the west like some SWAT-team Star of Bethlehem as we turned off Copper onto Tramway, homeward bound following a visit to Herself the Elder’s assisted-living residence.

Earlier, Herself distributed freshly baked molasses cookies to the neighbors in a brazen act of socialism as I contemplated the verities.

Father Christmas,
give us some money.

We walked off our breakfast pancakes with a brisk hike through the foothills — “Merry Christmas!” shouted a happy family from their backyard hot tub, and no, I am not making that up — after which we motored off for the aforementioned holiday chat through HtE’s bedroom window, like family members visiting a jailed relative.

“I know, I know, you didn’t do nothing, habeas corpus and all that, but they still won’t set bail, and that abogado pendejo Saul Goodman won’t return our calls — ‘Better Call Saul’ my ass — so you’re just gonna have to wait a while longer, OK? Next time we’ll bring cigarettes and commissary money, I promise.”

Back at the shack we rang up my sister and her husband in Fort Fun, after which it was my turn in the kitchen barrel. The main dish was a largish Alaskan salmon filet (h/t Matt Wiebe) drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled generously with salt and pepper, and baked at 425° for 10-12 minutes, after which it got a squeeze of fresh lemon. Sides were white asparagus, arroz verde, and a green salad. Fake beer for me, a nice Provençal rosé for Herself.

As we ate we finished our binge-watching of “Breaking Bad,” because nothing says Christmas like an apocalyptic settling of old scores among meth kingpins.

Speaking of holiday entertainment, at some point during the day I gave ear to “Desert Oracle Radio,” a podcast recommended by Adventure Journal magazine. I’ve only listened to two episodes so far, but I’m gonna give it a tentative thumbs-up based on the Christmas show alone, which touches on our beloved Land of Entrapment and a few of its holiday oddities.

Herself thinks Ken Layne sounds like the Motel 6 guy. (“We’ll leave the light on for you.”) I think he sounds like the Motel 6 guy (with a smack habit). Take him for a quick spin around the Mojave and tell us what you think he sounds like.

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17 Responses to “‘Better Call Santa,’ or ‘Breaking Bethlehem’”

  1. Dale Says:

    Maybe you could cook a shiv into cake for HtE, she could break out for the new year and line up with some US Reps and Senators to get the vaccine. Sounds like a future holiday movie pitch.

  2. Dale Says:

    On the first day of Christmas
    my true love left for me
    an undecorated Xmas tree

    On the second day of Christmas
    my true love left for me
    two balls a swinging
    and an undecorated Xmas tree

    On the third day of Christmas
    my true love left for me
    two balls a swinging
    a threat they’ed not be swinging
    and an undecorated Xmas tree

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    The secret boys is to set your sights low. I asked for a hoodie, got one, and I’m wearing it now. Easy sleazy. Don’t forget to tell them the right size. But, I did get a set of Taylor ebony bridge pins with abalone dots, and I didn’t ask for them.

    • Herb from Michigan Says:

      I gotta ask Pat. Full zip or pullover. God Bless old rotator cuffs…mine demand full zips. Watching me take off a pullover sweater is alarming and comical at the same time.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I always aim low. Didn’t ax for nothin’, didn’t get nothin’. Plus I had to pay $50 and pick up the garbage.

  4. SAO' Says:

    What does it mean when you find yourself craving tomorrow’s leftover turkey enchiladas while the fridge is still full of mashed potatoes and stuffing?

    The girls wanted to wish everyone a feliz navida plus one from 8,400 ft.


    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Awwwwww. You got yourself a couple good ones there. And unless the pix deceive me I see at least one is a cartoonist! Happy happy joy joy back to them and to you.

      • SAO' Says:

        Had to homeschool this past spring and fall, and used the Mo Willems lessons hosted by the Lincoln Center for a good month’s worth of art learnin’. The older girl is more mechanical, so her strengths were breaking down the project into distinct geometric shapes. The younger one is the drama queen, more verbal and social/emotional, and she struggled with following steps but could do a lot with facial expressions.

        In the fall they got into Adobe Fresco (iPad) and the Sketch app (mac) and did different versions of our virtual school mascot. Poudre School District—Virtual, PSD-V Bees, so there ya go. They picked one of their bees, made it bigger and smaller, tweaked some colors, and turned it into a swarm.


        Going to work on animation in the spring and maybe submit it to the App Store as an iMessage sticker pack.


        • Shawn Says:

          As someone that they once may have called an engineer, I like to see that the arts and humanities are still added into the mix. STEM is a good thing for the BORG-like competitiveness of the world, but the flavor is in the thought and creation of what we do, not just the calculation and mechanics of it.

          I was discussing a little art with my wise and creative mother this morning (12/27) and then read your comments about your girls. I might have to direct my mom to the Lincoln Center site. She is always fascinated in learning more.

          It’s great to see the art your girls have created. Are they / you interested in space as well? (Apollo 11 sticker). There are some great images on the Astronomy Picture of the Day website that can get the brain “creative thought” synapses firing – Nebulas, clusters, quasars , constellations, etc.

          Here’s to good art and a little engineering to keep it from collapsing.

          • SAO' Says:

            The cool thing about Mom being a graphic designer is, when the kids see a computer, their first thought is, that’s a box of circuits and chips that you use for making art.

          • SAO' Says:

            JPL was a huge resource this past year. So many lesson plans, all hands-on, lots of activities that worked both sides of the brain.

      • SAO' Says:

        “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once one grows up.” – Pablo Picasso

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Art and music programs — and phys ed, in some districts — are on the endangered-species list, aren’t they? We don’t have kids, so I’m not personally hep to the jive here.

          The older of the two little girls next door is quite the artist, and I think it’s still part of the curriculum at her school. As it should be, in all schools. Give the little nippers some tools and a minimum of instruction and then let ’em go nuts. They’ll have the rest of their lives to earn a living.

          And if the job doesn’t have some art in it, well, art might become a hobby that makes all the rest of it bearable.

  5. SAO' Says:

    // Here’s to good art and a little engineering to keep it from collapsing. //

    That’s a great way to put it

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