Monday, July 18, 2011

"Sell Crazy Someplace Else..."

"...we're all stocked up here."* Fair warning: I'm going to start posting discussions and links to information to counter the dangerous and self-defeating assertions of my Republican and other right-wing and "libertarian" friends -- not to try to convince them, they're too committed to their unfortunate and false-to-fact belief systems -- but to try to give heart to those with more sensible views, and perhaps even help (in a very small way) to mobilize a few from among the great majority of Americans who are moderate and liberal... (which is not a dirty word as some would try to have it, but instead a proud tradition that has served this country and its people well).

* Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks, "As Good as It Gets," 1997.

The Marching Morons

Seems to me that for every quantum leap that personal technology takes, we must accept a corresponding erosion in the quality of the experience the technology offers. Have you made a phone call lately? No matter which of the new platforms you're on, most calls are plagued with distortion, static and drop-outs -- and this has become the accepted norm. When once in a while I get a call from someone using a wired land-line phone and I answer it on my 1930s-vintage Bell South set, the clarity and tone are just remarkable. Our new flat-screen non-plasma bedroom TV can only be viewed from almost directly ahead, on plane; makes watching from bed dismaying instead of enjoyable. We watched a DVD of the last Harry Potter movie last night on the big 52" plasma set in the living room. It was so dark as to be almost unwatchable, darker than we remembered it being the theater -- because it had to be filmed at low light to make the 3-D effects work, and to hell with what it looks like in 2-D? The more I see, the more I believe that Kornbluth got it all too right in "The Marching Morons."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Shit Happens

There are things that, until yesterday, I did not know about a septic system. The septic system here at Tottering-on-the-Brink is an old-fashioned dry-well setup -- no tank, no leach fields, just a pipe that runs out to a large, rock-lined hole in the ground with a sturdy pressure-treated lumber cover overtopped with sod. Last fall an inspection/pumping hatch, like a small manhole cover, was installed to make servicing and troubleshooting easier. On Wednesday I had opened the hatch to see what was happening in there, and found it full to near the top. Not knowing that this was a normal condition, and that the salient concern is the depth of the "solids" at the bottom, not the height of the more-or-less liquid waste in the well, I called and asked for a pump-out. The driver arrived yesterday, opened the well hatch, connected two lengths of four-inch hose together, fished one end into the well, attached the other end to the truck, and started the big high-speed pump.

The way we later reconstructed it, the driver and me, was like this.

Not knowing that the well was full of mostly-liquid, the driver had diligently fished his hose down to the bottom. Because ours is not a tank, but a well, the hose encountered muddy soil and rocks. The pump obligingly sucked mud and rocks up into the hose. I had retrieved my checkbook from the house and was walking from the truck to the well, to ask the driver a question. As I reached the juncture of the two hoses, so did the rocks and mud and effluent. They stuck momentarily there, briefly increasing the pressure on the joint, well beyond its capacity to remain sealed. A small seam opened between the hose sections, and, at about a million miles per hour, a thin stream of waste water, urine and liquefied feces sprayed out of that seam. Sort of like a jet from one of those rotating lawn sprinklers.

It hit me on my left side. There was shit in my hair, on my glasses, in my ear, down my arm, soaking my T-shirt, Jeans shorts, socks and sneakers. The driver seemed too genuinely shocked and dismayed to think of laughing, and probably would have suppressed it anyway in what I imagine was his horror that I might try to get him fired. "Hey," I told him, "shit happens," and we went over the incident and figured out what had gone wrong. These things only need to be pumped every three to five years, he told me, unless you get symptoms (smells or a backup). I did not know that. I thanked him for the explanation as something dripped from the ends of my hair down the back of my neck and under my shirt.

My checkbook, having been in my right hand, had been spared; I was able to write the check for the $172.00 that this lesson cost.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Feeling Good

Ada has her surgery this morning, takes about an hour, spends an hour in recovery, then is brought right up to the same-day surgery intake/discharge area and starts to badger them into letting her go home NOW. Two middle-aged women, nurses, and an older male phlebotomist in the room; one nurse asks Ada how she feels. "I feel good," Ada says, then starts to sing, "Da da dada dada dum! I knew that I would now." The nurses and phlebotomist start singing along with her, Ada's seat-dancing in the hospital recliner, still hooked up to an I.V., the three hospital staffers dancing around her and continuing to sing along, "Da da dada dada DUM! I fee-eel NICE, da da dada dum! Like sugar and spice now!" I say, what the hell is this, an episode of 'Scrubs'? But they all keep going for a couple more choruses and then they're all laughing and high-fiving with the patient. Ada's home now, needless to say, still singing every now and then. She feels good.

So do I.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

St. Vincent's Colleagues Please Note

St. Vincent's colleagues please note: I've been approached by a group of former SVCMC non-union co-workers interested in protecting our interests through the bankruptcy process. Other interest groups, including our union-represented colleagues, will be represented in bankruptcy court . Go to to learn more. Note that joining does not obligate us to any cost, and your participation will not be made public. PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH ALL OUR NON-UNION CO-WORKERS.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Actually," it says here, "for the purpose of simplicity I am leaving out a few subtle differences."

So a recent conversation in other precincts reminded me that I have long held the idea that it would be a good and right thing to learn a little Gaelic, me being of mostly Irish descent, and that it would be nice, for a start perhaps, to learn at least to pronounce the words I occasionally see in that language.


By Googling "irish gaelic pronunciation guide" I came upon "A Beginner's Guide to Irish Gaelic Pronunciation" at, which is nicely written and unpretentious and encouraging ("Never again need you feel uneasy when confronting words like bhfuil or Maedhbh!"), and seems genuinely to want to make a complex subject amenable to even the meanest understanding, but which reveals that comprehending Irish pronunciation is not going to be a simple matter of learning a few rules -- as, say, in Spanish, that lovely language so welcoming of the newcomer -- but rather will require actual brain-engaged study. I hate it when that happens.

Vowels come in "slender," "broad" and "glide" varieties, which govern the "slender" or "broad" pronunciation of consonants, which by the way apparently can be of the plain old, or of the "aspirated," or of the "eclipsed" varieties. Then again, "There are a few exceptions to these rules. Broad dh or gh in the middle of a word is usually pronounced "y", such as fadhb "fibe" ("problem"). Sometimes broad bh or mh ("w") can result in a combination which is hard to say, like mo bhróga ("my shoes"). In that case, a "v" sound is used instead. Also, sometimes a "v" sound occurs when bh or mh is at the end of a word, such as creidimh "krej-iv" ("belief")." And don't even get me started on "double consonants."

Only at the very end does a bit of a wry acknowledgment of the complexity of the task sneak in... "So by looking back at our first examples, we see an bhfuil (the verb "to be" in the present tense question form), the bh eclipses the f, and the u is just a glide vowel making the bh broad, so we say "an will". For Maedhbh (a legendary queen), ae diphthong is pronounced "ay", a slender dh is a "y", a slender bh is a "v", so we say "Mayv". Simple, isn't it?"

Simple? Ah, sure, not atall atall.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Locksmith

The Locksmith
© Stephen E. Phelps, Jr. 2009

This story may not seem at first like it has anything to do with Christmas, but read on...

I don’t think I ever told you this, but once upon a time there was a man who loved to eat fish of every kind, and he never tired of sampling new kinds and varieties of fish, or new recipes for preparing fish, or new variations on those recipes. And so one day it came to pass that he found that he had sampled every kind and variety of fish that his native land had to offer, and every method of preparation also had he tried, until the fish markets and chefs and short-order cooks and indeed the housewives (and even those amiable sluts who hired out to cook) of his native land could dream up no new kind or variety or method of preparation of fish that he had not yet tried. Yet his appetite for new fish-eating experiences was not satisfied, and while he never minded repeating the joys of eating his favorite fish dishes, he longed for something more. And so it further came to pass that one day he made up his mind to travel to another country that he had heard of from a traveler, a country where, it was said (though the traveler, being a lapsed Catholic and having sworn a vow never to eat another bite of seafood because his mother had made the Fridays of his youth a living hell by forcing him to eat the slimy creatures, much against his will, could not attest to this of personal knowledge, and yet as to its veracity he believed it to be true) where it was said, as I say, that there were to be found still newer and more wonderful kinds and varieties of fish, and in addition cooks and chefs by the dozen and the score and the hundred and even the thousand of whom it was also said that they could prepare these kinds and varieties of fish in ways wonderful to behold, and exquisite to the taste, and novel to the palate, however jaded. And so the man who loved to eat fish traveled to this land, not forgetting not to leave home without his American Express card, and began to sample with renewed joy and vigor the new and wondrous kinds and varieties of fishes and methods of preparation of fishes that were to be found in that place, and for many and many an hour and day and week and month and year, just a really goddam long-assed extended period of time, let me tell you, he was happy in his heart, and his mouth watered and was fulfilled, watered and was fulfilled, watered and was fulfilled, over and over, time after time, and he knew bliss. Temporarily. Because eventually there came a day, that fateful day, rue the day, baby, when he had exhausted all the fishy culinary pleasures of that place, and he wiped his mouth and took a deep breath and belched a good long smelly one and looked about himself and said to himself, OK, self, don’t panic, just decide – where to now? And in that manner, restlessly, and questing, ever questing, for the ensuing main span of the prime of his life he traveled the wide world over, circling the globe, traveling by sea and land and over mountain and desert and through forest and jungle and across field and stream, real ones, not the magazine, from land to land did he roam, ever seeking new experiences in the eating-fish line, and finding and trying thousands upon thousands upon thousands of fishes big and small, short and tall, happy and sad, good and bad, until he had worked his way up and down the taxonomy, I mean the phyla, or phydra, or whatever you call it, shut up, that’s not the point of the story, what is the point of the story is that he tried like a real lot of freaking fish, just about every kind you can think of and a lot you probably can’t, just ever so much fish. Ever so much. Strangely, though, in all his travels through all these lands, through all the restaurants and kitchens and fish fries and barbecues and clam bakes and picnics and delicatessens with appetizing, the man had never once been offered to eat of lox. You are amazed, I know, but this is true. Never once any lox. Now stranger things have happened – admit it – impossible things, things almost incapable of being imagined, horrible things, like for example, I mean, well... two words: Sarah Palin. Enough said? You have to admit of the possibility of the unimaginable, and of coincidence, and I’m telling you the son of a bitch never had any goddam lox. But then one day in his fiftieth year this all changed, all changed, and it’s hard to say if the change was for the better or if it was for the worse, you’ll have to decide for yourself when you hear the rest of the story, because on account of on that day for the first time in his life someone set a plate of lox in front of the man, and he picked up his fork – and thinking to himself, what’s this, I wonder? – he brought a forkful of the lox to his mouth and closed his lips behind it and as it dissolved on his tongue and its essence filled his being and its bouquet filled his mind he stood up from his chair so quickly that it overset but never did he notice because he was in ecstasy, pure and simple ecstasy, it was the crowning moment of his life, I swear to God, he found that he could smile and laugh and blaze with joy all without opening his mouth or losing a millisecond of the transcendent experience of his first mouthful of lox. Glorious lox. And ultimately he swallowed it, and he felt it renew his soul and strengthen his bones and galvanize his sinews, and he planted his feet wide on the good earth and he threw back his head and extended his arms to embrace the whole world and he said, wow, this shit is REALLY good. What is it? And when they told him lox, it’s lox, ain’t you never had lox before, and he said, no, never, and they went through the whole thing again about them not believing him and him saying it must have been a coincidence and them scoffing until it occurred to him to mention Sarah Palin, like I did a few minutes ago to you, and then they settled down and said okay, we’ll buy that maybe it’s just barely possible that you’ve never had lox before, and he said well, there you are, and by the way – is this the only KIND of lox? There was a long pause while they looked at him, blank-faced and suspicious that he might, after all, be having them on, but his obvious shining happiness and eminently apparent good will convinced them that he was indeed an innocent, and then they looked at each other, and all unaware of what they were about to touch off, what they were on the verge of causing, of what they were on the cusp of loosing upon the world, they said, well no, of course it’s not the only kind. There’s LOTS of other kinds. Lots. And the man got a faraway look in his eye and became very still. Bring ’em on, he said. Bring ’em on. And so they did. Every manner and kind and variety of lox from seas near and far did they bring, the lox importers were like freaking NUTS calling their suppliers around the world and tracking down loxes that nobody from there had even HEARD of before, and the man ate on, greedily, implacably, glazed of eye and even drooling a little sometimes if he forgot himself, and becoming happier and happier in his heart while he neglected his personal hygiene and forgot to shave and frankly, I think, made, and I hate to say it, but I think he made a bit of a pig of himself with the goddam lox, but that’s me, forget I said it, I’m not here to judge anyway, never judge someone until you walk a mile in his shoes I always say. (Although even his shoes were filthy, but no, forget I said that, too, I’m wasting time and there’s a story to tell here.) Anyway – and I’m sure you know what I’m going to tell you next, don’t you? Yes, that’s right – next the thing is what happened is that there came an end to it. Nobody could find the man any more new kinds of lox anywhere in the whole world, and he was reduced to marking time with encore appearances of loxes he had known and loved, to idling along in neutral, as it were, new-lox-wise, humming to himself and basically happy – you know? – but no longer as who should say TRANSFIGURED, as he had been when they had been able to keep the new loxes coming. In heaven, he was, it was true. In heaven – but no longer touching the face of God. He grew restive. And, as so often happens when one grows restive, an idea came to him. Hey, he said one day to no one in particular, is there anyone who could be considered The World’s Leading Authority on Lox? Well, the question went around and around, and a few days later, an answer came back: yes, there was someone who could be considered The World’s Leading Authority on Lox. Why do you ask? (One should never ask a question of no one in particular, for this is exactly what you get, some idiot answers you and you have to be nice but isn’t it a pain in the ass trying to get any real information out of the moron while being polite when you want to take him by the throat and say BECAUSE I WANT TO MEET HIM AND ASK HIM ABOUT LOX YOU BUTT-HOLE and throttle him until his ears collide, but you can’t, because he’s the one who knows who The World’s Leading Authority on Lox is.) So, anyway, eventually the man learned the identity and whereabouts of The World’s Leading Authority on Lox, which were respectively, “Some Guy Named Murray”, and “354 Bay View Terrace, Boca Raton, Florida.” So the man traveled to Boca Raton, Florida, a fearsome and perilous journey, and met Murray, and sat him down with him and sayeth, hey, Murray, I have here a list of all the loxes that I have eaten, and I am as you may surmise a real lover of lox, however late in life I came to it, can’t get enough, and I would like to be sure – sure, d’y’hear me? – absolutely sure that I have sampled every kind of lox there is in this wide earth’s noble seas. And Murray studied the list a time and whistled, and said, you have gone about this with great application, my boy, with admirable perspicacity, if I may say so. As I look over this list I don’t see... hmmm, perha- ...ah, no, here ’tis, many would have overlooked this variety, it’s very rare, but not you old boy, not you, you are a dilly, you are a hum-dinger of a lox sampler, and I, Murray, am impressed. See, I scan the list again, I look most carefully to be sure nothing is overlooked, no elision to spoil your quest, I peer most assiduously, I tick it with my pencil here... nope. It is complete. You have eaten of absolutely every lox available. There is no available lox of which you have not eaten. You have surpassed even me myself, and you should be content, for you have done all that a reasonable man could possibly do, and there is no available lox that you have missed. And the man said, Murray, while I appreciate your congratulations, and believe me they mean a lot coming from a man such as yourself, for whom I have the deepest and most abiding respect, even though we’ve only known each other these, what, ten minutes or so, but yet and still I cannot be content in my soul with this outcome, for it is not my goal to have eaten every available lox, but rather to keep finding and eating new loxes, so that ever may my joy and pleasure increase, if you dig where I’m coming from. And Murray glanced down and to one side with a deprecating smile, but said no more. So, and heavily the man did rise and make to leave that place, that 354 Bay View Terrace, Boca Raton, Florida, and it was not until he was in the rental car on his way to the airport and stuck in traffic with a balky air conditioner and a radio that could only seem to tune in to Christian music stations that something, something made him replay Murray’s words to him in his mind, and he heard Murray say, you have eaten of absolutely every lox available, there is no available lox that you have missed, you have done all that a reasonable man could possibly do. Available lox? AVAILABLE? And a REASONABLE man? The man was back at Murray’s before you could say and-then-it-came-to-pass-my-ass, and with great intensity and a feeling of immense intellectual power and moral authority he pinned Murray with his gaze and said, okay, buster, what do you know that you ain’t telling me. And I mean spill it. And Murray said, I wondered how long it would take you, and Murray then said, come here and sit down. I’ll tell you – but you’re not gonna like it. And so Murray told him that there had for many years been stories, whispered in back alleys and murmured even in far finer venues, of a lox so exquisite, so rarefied, so fine, so sublime, that every last source of it, and the processes used to nourish and harvest and deliver it to table, had been bought up by a greedy syndicate of wealthy men and women, who kept it in a secret location somewhere in the world, no one knew where, though Murray had his suspicions, and kept it all to themselves so that once a year they could gather in clandestine splendor and eat it and say things like, wow, it’s cool to be so rich that we’re the only persons who can ever, ever eat this magnificent lox, and will you have a trifle more, thank you I believe I will, and laugh and laugh in hugely grating and despicable self-satisfaction. But lately, Murray said, lately there have been darker rumors, far darker indeed – rumors that I wish I did not credit, but which cannot be ignored because of their source and because of certain corroborating signs that only someone like The World’s Leading Authority on Lox, which is me, could have the wit and savvy to put together and to interpret and from which to draw certain inescapable conclusions, which, though speculative in the sense that they are unproved, empirically like, are nevertheless, probably, gospel. And what would they be, the man asked Murray, and Murray told him that the rumors were that the source of this finest lox in the known universe had, despite the enormous care and expenditures of the rich bastards, in fact been wholly depleted through depredation or disease, and that there existed only enough of the fabled lox to feed one more sitting of that ignoble group, which seating, due to understandable difficulties of preservation and the like, was now scheduled for early next year somewhere in the Yukon Territory, weather permitting. You mean there’s still a Yukon Territory, the man asked, but Murray didn’t answer because he had one more bit of news to impart, and it was a beaut. But wait, said Murray, I didn’t tell you the beauty part, which is that I know where that supply of the last of the lox is being kept. And the man said Murray if you do not want me to take you by the throat and throttle you until your ears collide, would you kindly tell me where this lox is being kept, and I mean spill it? And Murray said I’ll tell you – but you’re not gonna like it. And so Murray told him that the last untasted lox in the whole wide world (untasted by the man, anyway) was being kept at a certain place, which he told the man how to find, it doesn’t matter where it is – what, you’re going to go there? Keep your mind on the story, and remember who’s telling and who’s listening, all right? – and also that it didn’t matter if the man went there, though, because the lox was being kept in a safe that was impenetrable, was guaranteed to be impervious to any substance or physical force known to man, and had a combination that was so fiendishly clever, and a locking mechanism that was so incredibly state-of-the-art, all the bells and whistles, I mean a spare-no-expense locking mechanism you’d be proud to own and treasure in your family for generations to come, that no expert on the planet would even bother to take up the challenge of breaking into it, no, they would laugh at you if you asked them to do it, they would say, pah, and, feh, and, go along with ye now, and things like that, and after you were gone they would talk about you and say, did you get a load of that jerk? So, Murray said, now that you know everything that I know, you’re in the same boat as I am. You know everything, but there isn’t diddly squat you can do about it. And that, said the man to Murray, that is where you’re wrong. And so he went him out into the world again, saying, I have but less than a year to go to the place where the lox is being kept – look, I’m not going to tell you where it is, it’s no good you asking over and over, you’ll just piss me off and I won’t finish the story, so knock it off – to go to THAT PLACE, as I say, the man continued to himself after being so rudely interrupted, and to break into that safe, and taste that lox. And as for getting away afterward... well, that didn’t seem so important to him then, especially if there would be no more new lox to experience afterwards. Me myself personally, I think the man was somewhat of a depressive personality, because who thinks like that? That life might not be worth living if there’s no more new lox. But who am I, I’m not a doctor, leave that to the doctors, they’re the ones who know these things. Supposedly. And so the man set off to make a great study, and he visited major centers of learning throughout the world, and consulted with physical gentlemen and ladies in many branches of the sciences, and he made himself an expert on explosives and corrosives and metallurgy and thaumaturgy, and he came to the conclusion that not even a freaking miracle was going to get him into that safe unless he could get through its locking mechanism. So he changed course and he went to the major safe fabricators of the world, and he consulted with experts on both sides of the law on every kind and variety of locking mechanism, and on every kind and variety of skill and technology for defeating those locking mechanisms, and once in a while he’d take a break and sample some new type or kind of fish dish, if one presented itself, but from lox he abstained completely, for as there was nothing new to be had, he was saving himself for the One True Lox, as he had come to think of it, but mostly he just applied himself with dreadful intensity to the task of becoming the safe cracker of the world, and soon he outstripped those who had taught him, and word about him began to spread in the criminal underworld and then into the world of law enforcement, where all eyes watched him so very carefully to see what was the object of his knowledge quest, for it was obvious to them all that he had to be up to something. But they never caught on. And then came the day when he knew that he could do no more to improve himself. He had established to his own satisfaction that he was capable of breaking into any safe ever known to have been invented, even the computer-designed behemoths that guarded the world’s gold reserves in Zurich, and if the safe he was going up against turned out to be unknown, he would just have to pit his wits against its makers and let the devil take the hindmost. He was ready. He made his deliberate way to the secret place – did you say something? I thought not. – and in the dark of a deep night he let himself in, defeating least, then lesser, then great, then incredible security systems, working calmly and steadily and evenly, not even working up a sweat, but careful not to grow overconfident, and after many patient hours he stood in front of the safe of his quest. And then the safe did something that surprised him so he nearly raised an eyebrow. It spoke to him. “Locksmith,” he heard it say, “if you have come this far you are talented indeed.” And then it paused, as if waiting for an answer. I am, he said at last. “You are,” said the voice of the machine. It was deep and loud and might have filled a lesser man with awe. “And yet, Locksmith,” the safe continued, “there is something you do not know.” There are many things I do not know, the man answered. “No need to be pedantic,” the machine advised him, “it’s lost on me – I’m a machine.” Oh, the man said, Okay. Sorry. “Harrumph,” the safe said. “Locksmith, the specific thing about this situation that you do not understand is that there is a fifty-fifty chance that the lox you seek is only a fable, a cruel hoax invented by some guy named Murray who is tired of schmucks interrupting his retirement and asking him stupid questions about lox.” The man thought this over. Ah, he said, but that means there’s a fifty percent chance that you DO harbor the One True Lox. “Admittedly,” answered the safe. “But I must warn you now that if you choose to go on, and if you do defeat my mechanisms, which are not chopped liver and I gotta tell you your easy confidence is woefully misplaced, but that’s your problem, so if you choose to go on, and if you defeat me, and if I do not contain the fabled lox, you will then be faced with your tormentor.” And? Asked the man. “And, Locksmith,” said the machine, “a guy like you with depressive tendencies coming face to face with not only crushing disappointment but also with an oppressor of such obviously overwhelming intellectual parts...” The man had the feeling that the safe would have shrugged, if safes could shrug. He said to the safe, you let me worry about my tendencies and my parts. “Your funeral, Locksmith,” said the safe. “I say no more.” And it fell silent, and, after a decent interval, the man set to work. It was a titanic struggle. It went all through the rest of that night and all through the following day, though the man did not realize it because he was so wrapped up in what he was doing, I’m sure you’ve experienced that, you’re so intent on something you lose all sense of time and everything? But it was a titanic struggle – I said that, didn’t I? Sorry. – and the man knew early on that he was up against a true genius, and that his only chance of winning was to keep his cool and remember everything he had learned and to keep his eyes on the prize and his shoulder to the wheel and his feet on the ground and his nose to the grindstone and go ahead and just, you know, root, hog, or die. And above all else not screw up. Because if he screwed up, it’d be bad, I mean, really freaking bad, a darn shame, an awful pity, a lousy break, a rotten turn of events, just really, really, well – how can I say this nicely? – shitty. It’d suck the big one. You can see that, can’t you? No need to belabor the obvious. Like every titanic struggle, however, this one reached its inevitable conclusion or climax. With a final flourish and a shout of pure triumph, the man grasped the safe’s handle firmly, turned it clockwise through forty-five degrees – and opened the safe!

Only to have his triumph turn to ashes in his mouth as he realized that the safe contained no lox, no lox at all. Only a mirror from which his own haggard self looked back at him. Then the voice of the machine spoke up again. “Do you see your tormentor, Locksmith? Do you know what has victimized you?” Slowly the realization spread over him, cold and pitiless as death. I do, he said, I do. Oh, God help me now! For I do look in the mirror and I do see that I have been tormented by – the Lox Myth.

And so – when you think about it, dear reader – have you.

No, yeah, okay, you’re right, this has had nothing to do with Christmas. But tell the truth, now – did you really want to read another family Christmas letter?

You’re welcome.
Merry Christmas!
Ada & Steve