(click to enlarge)


Santa: Thank you, Pauly and Bird. You have done well. Actually, for a crow and a dog, you've done peculiarly well. I appreciate that you kept my magic wand in one piece. You will be rewarded at a later date.

Bird: Caw, caw caw caw caw.

Santa: Is that so? Well, I'm not surprised. I don't think Mare Winningham made my good list once in her miserable life. This year, though...this year, she'll be receiving something a whole lot worse than coal.

Pauly: Arf?

Santa: That's right, Pauly. Santa's 'bout to open a can whoop ass -- North Po' style.

Mark: Santa??? Santa is that you?!!

Santa: You are correct, Mark. Tis I. Santa Claus.

Mark: Holy fuck, you're like twice as tall as I ever imagined!

Santa: It's the shoes. I see you're all tied up. Was this some kind of romance thing, or should we untie you?

Mark: PLEASE untie me! I can barely breathe!

Santa: You exaggerate, but I'll untie you anyway.

Santa: ...and suffice to say, those knots were a real bitch to get undone.

Mark: Believe me Santa, I appreciate the effort. Those ropes totally cut off my circulation. But what about Mista Snowman? Mare trapped him in the world's biggest microwave and zapped him down to this!

Santa: I might be able to help, but it'll count as your Christmas present. What's it going to be -- Mista Snowman or the Nintendo?

Mark: Ah fuck, Santa. Can't I have both?

Santa: Not unless you split into two people by some matter of fission. Make your decision.

Mark: Okay, bring the damn snowman back. I can get a Nintendo next year, I guess.


Mark: Mista Snowman! Santa really did it! He brought you back to life!

Mista: I feel better than ever, Mark! Did I miss anything good?

Mark: Not really. I've been tied up all week, and my sister tricked me into drinking some of you.

Mista: That's okay, I'm sure I'll put the weight back on when we have Christmas dinner.

Mark: Who's cooking that, anyway?

Mista: Well, you know how I react to stoves...

Mista: Santa, I can't thank you enough. Being alive again is the best Christmas present ever.

Santa: Hey, don't mention it. I'm Santa Claus. It's what I do.

Mista: Wanna trade hats?

Santa: Uh, no thanks. A Santa Claus suit with a top hat? I don't want any passersby throwing change in my coffee.

Santa: Well well well! What's this we have here?

Killer: Hey, Santa. Longtime no whip. Meet Mare Winningham -- she's the bitch responsible for almost ruining Christmas.

Santa: Good work, Killer Reindeer. I'm pleasantly surprised that you had enough restraint to avoid eating her.

Killer: First time for everything, right?

Santa: So, Mare Winningham. We meet at last. I'm Santa Claus. You've been a naughty little girl, haven't you?

Mare: Blow it out your ass, fatso. Listen, I don't need a lecture. I'm proud of who I am. I'm proud of what I've done, and of all the murders I've committed. I'm not sorry. Just step back, drop your trousers, and fuck that reindeer. Get away from me.

Santa: Is she serious?

Killer: I'm afraid so, Santa. I think she's bought into all that Hallmark bullshit. She thinks we're like...terminally angelic or something.

Santa: Well, she'll have to learn the hard way. I see you've tied her up?

Killer: Yep. Took forever, too. Ever try tying knots using hooves?

Santa: Do me a favor -- go search around for some thicker rope. It's time to teach Mare the true meaning of Christmas...


Ahem. No wait -- Amen.

Okay, so it's Christmas Eve. 3 PM. We've gotta be at my sister's house by 6, and I haven't even started the two tons of stuffed mushrooms I was charged with cooking. And yet, here I am, still writing away on this damn calendar.

A smarter, more organized person would've thought to put these entries together before the holiday, but if I have any trademarks, it's being dumb and completely disorganized. Go me. Oh well, at least you'll get the "live feel" with this one. It's really Christmas Eve, and I'm really running late.

No commercial downloads today, sowwee. You'll just have to deal. Hope I haven't ruined the season for everyone. Instead, I wanted to do something a bit different. We've still got one more entry left after this, and from the looks of my kitchen, way too much Christmas crap to ever cover on time. I'll think of something.

For today, though, I wanted to show you this creepy half-live manger I've been going to since, well, forever. The church throws this soiree every year, just a few blocks from me, where children and adults alike can come witness the birth of Jesus as told by a bunch of poorly crafted statues and animals lent from the zoo...

There's the manger. Sorta works a Solid Gold motif into the usual religious flair. Baby Jesus hasn't arrived yet -- they save that for midnight. Fortunately, they don't charge tickets for the event. Come 12 o'clock, all in the audience get a free show as one of the church personnel waddles through the horde of llamas and goats with the scariest looking little Jesus statue you ever did see. If they did this sorta shit at the actual church sessions, I'd be going a whole lot more often.

Proud Mary keep on burnin'!

There's the llama. There were others present when we made this excursion, and I was faced with a shameful situation. Upon seeing the llama, I knew what it was. A llama. Still, for reasons I'll never know, I turned to my girlfriend, and in a voice much louder than I typically speak in, carelessly blurted out "hey look at that camel!"

Everyone turned to me, and I could see it in their eyes. People live to correct other people, and everyone at the damn manger was just dying to tell me it was a llama. But, they didn't. They just sorta frowned and went about their business. This is the advantage of having a scary haircut that makes you look like a drug addict. Nobody corrects you when you mistake a llama for a camel. They just figure that it's the least of your problems. I think I'd like to thank Jesus for that.

Man, you know something's wrong with the world when the decorations on my front lawn far outclass what the damn church puts out. Where's the style, where's the care? God's probably rolling around in his grave.

Look, animals!!

Look, another animal!

There's six of whatever those kid statues are meant to represent. Whenever there's six in a group, you just know it has to have a rogue member. I think the fourth from the left must be it. She just has this streak of rebellion written all over her face. After the church closes its doors, I bet she heads down to the beach and sings incantations to the trees while dancing in circles around seashells. And God's going to punish her for that. Severely. With wrath. Like he should.

For about as many years as I've been visiting this manger, there's never once been a time when someone didn't call that damn thing "Dominick the Donkey." You know, like the song. And they always think they're the first ones to have ever said it, eagerly awaiting mass applause and well-wishes from everyone around 'em. Well, it happened again this year. Some older schmuck took the honors, and even went as far as singing the entire stupid song in a fit of what I like to call "please kill this man he has no reason to be alive syndrome." I guess that's all I have to say.

I've gotta go get less dirty, make 35,000 stuffed mushrooms, make sure the gifts are wrapped, and kill my girlfriend for not doing it for me. I hope you've enjoyed all the work I've done on the calendar this year -- and make no mistake, it was a lot of work. Probably doesn't look like it, but yeah.

Big thanks to everyone who's kept checking each day...hope you all have a great Christmas, a happy new year, and a church manger full of camels llamas. I LOVE YOU! THERE, I DONE SAID IT!

I'll be back tomorrow with the conclusion of our tale. That is, unless I get something really cool to play with for Christmas. Then you'll have to wait till I get bored. Bye!

- Matt (12/24/03)