Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Or, How Snow White & Friends Sent Santa Packing!

It seems that we can longer languish in the reveries of "Christmas" anymore. Secular is safe, while what was once sacred is scoffed.

"Christmas" is "persona non grata"... unless it comes packaged ...with lotsa ka-ching and consumer clatta!

"Christmas" has been replaced by non-threatening "happy holiday" greetings, profitable "holiday" gift cards, and a new medical disease called the "Ho-Ho-Ho Hum" syndrome (I'll let you figure that one out).

Gone are the days when we can enjoy such pleasures as "Christmas" carols, "Christmas" crackers or heaven forbid even "Christmas" trees, without a knock at the door from a politically-correct enforcement officer dressed in an bright blue suit with gold braid, a matching hat, not to mention a permanent smile and perplexing frown on his face.

Although I cannot take credit for the witty work below, I thought I would pass it along to all those who still believe in a reindeer named Rudolph, St. Nick (aka Santa Claus/Kris Kringle), jingling bells of comfort and joy a mouth-watering slice of home-made, hot minced pie.


'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?

His workers no longer would answer to "Elves,"
"Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves.

And labour conditions at the North Pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.

So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.

And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.

Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur-trimmed red suit was called "Unenlightened."

And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose .

And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.

So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she'd enough of this life,

Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.

And as for the gifts, why, he'd ne'er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.

Nothing that clamoured or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.

Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's war-like or non-pacific.

No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.

And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football...someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passé;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, dishevelled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you've got to be careful with that word today.

His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;

Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere...even you.

So here is that gift, its price beyond worth...
"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."


Sunday, December 12, 2004


Or, the merits of being an accidental tourist in one's own town

By Theolonius McTavish, a vanquished vassal in the Court of the Quipping Queen and a casual collector of odd names, (an onomastics buff, if you please)

“God’s Country” may be Ontario. But, Canada's most western province, "Beautiful British Columbia", or more precisely its capital city Victoria, certainly takes the cake for being the best “Quirky Queendom” indeed.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this "Shang-ri-la" situated somewhere in the fog, the mist, or what some have euphemistically called, 'the light-headed vapours of Lotusland'. Now if only we could only eliminate the wretched rain, the damned seagulls and the rancorous debates about off-leash dog parks ... life here would be, dare I say, great!

Rather than complain or kvetch, (which is easy to do since islanders consider this a recreational sport), I decided to run a marathon. Not wanting to over exert myself, I instead chose to let my fingers do the walking through the first 100 pages of the Greater Victoria Phone Directory.

Now if you want to get some idea about the curious folks who live and work in this rather quaint colonial outpost, just take a peek at this marvellous 517-page piece of prose.

This is not your average town. For one thing, being on the tip of a rather big island across the pond from the bustling, grid-lock burbs of Vancouver and Seattle makes getting here a challenge.

And no, the folks here don't want anyone building a bridge over the pond thank you. Then more whacko tourists would inundate their pristine land of home-grown nuts and fruitcakes. Even more of a concern is the potential for calamity and havoc that such a discombobulated deluge could cause among the many wicked wenches and witty witches (who wear their pentagrams openly without anyone batting an eye in Beacon Hill Park). Of course, all this messy hullabaloo would probably be a boon for businesses such as "Chaos Photography", "Classy Claws" and the "Compassionate Resource Warehouse".

To appreciate what makes this place hum along, all one has to do is figure out what makes this city tick or talk, as the case may be.

"The Garden City Capital of Canada", Victoria is home to “Better Gnomes and Gardens” and the “Celtic Tree Service”. From all accounts, they appear to be doing a bang up job of creating public awareness about the need to protect biodiversity -- especially how to grow magic mushrooms, prune rose bushes, and harvest old-growth forests without harming at-risk pixies.

And, thank goodness governments at all levels are working collaboratively with all wilderness stakeholders to implement a harmonious interspecies communication strategy and to build affordable, safe, transition shelters for marginalized trolls, behavior-challenged leprechauns and homeless hobgoblins.

Socially-conscious folks will no doubt applaud the efforts of “Affordable Sunshine Counselling” who offer a friendly smile, a helping hand, and a warm seat to jollyless green giants who say their needs have been forgotten by the politicians, the media, and scientific researchers. Apparently the latter have done precious little to stem the tide of a growing inclement global warming trend. As a result, there are far too many puddles in paradise, oodles of unwanted cats and dogs raining on everyone's parade, not to mention collateral damage caused by a miffed 'Mother Nature' who seems to enjoy smashing to smithereens the Brobdingnagian boys' vital cash crop of B.C.'s best bud planted beneath the old-growth rainforest canopy.

And speaking of pixies plus a plethora of perambulating people and their pets, this place has some rather odd services. Their names alone leave a lot to the imagination, in the absence of a more informative white page listing. “All Dog’d Out” (is this a massage parlor for pet owners?), “A Stable Way of Life” (quite possibly it's a born-again riding academy for spiritual seekers, although who knows), and “Bow-Wow Parts BC” (is this where all those who are barking up the wrong tree might end up if they’re not careful?)

Now if being a glutton strikes your fancy, there's always “Babe’s Honey Farm” (where Queen Bees and Sugar-Daddies get in free…just kidding). For fun, you might appreciate the talents of “Chef on the Run”. (She’s probably the PMS patty-cake or post-menopausal pie lady who’s sprinting after three visually-impaired mice, to cut off their tails with a carving knife ... need I say more). To settle your jangled nerves after the last caper, you may want to drop by the “Big Moo Ice-Cream Company” in Sidney (where maybe they’ll tell you why ‘brown cows’ don’t fly in this neck of the woods).

While we’re on the subject of paradiddles, methinks that the “Bean Bandit’s Café” and “Blue Angel Towing” might share something in common – a penchant for vulgar winds and the science of ‘flatology’.

Getting down to business means you could run into “Broomcloset Marketing” (who know that neither suck-it-up nor swiffer strategies really work). Want some pizzazz, then why not contact the “Chimera Consulting Group”. (They'll either knock your socks off with their munificent magic tricks or else dazzle you with their fire-breathing she-monster slaying tactics). If you're not impressed with their bag of goodies, then give “Caduceus Management Limited” a chance to show you what they can do. (They probably know a thing or two about taming snakes in the grass, not to mention argumentative asps and vexatious vipers, if you ask them nicely).

Meanwhile over at “Coma Communications”, (where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day), they know the value of grabbing forty winks when they can. Of course since they've never heard of snooze alarm buttons, they’ll probably miss the blow-out mattress and futon sale at Humpty Dumpty's favorite ready-to-assemble furniture store, “The Brick”!

Now if you want stuff moved, you might want to try “Albatross Delivery”, (mariners in the doldrums usually find them a big help). If that doesn't work, try “Calling All Cows Dairy Delivery” (who offer a convenient alternative for those who don’t like milking sacred cows). And those wanting a low-budget night out with the lads, (on the back of a camel in the deserted downtown streets of Victoria after midnight), should give the “Barefoot Nomad Movers” a dingle.

Have an itch you can’t scratch, a funnybone that needs feathering, or an ear that could use a few sweet nothings, don't forget to “Call Tickles & the Clowns” or "Cleopatra's Bedroom".

On the other hand, if biting the dust isn’t your thing, then let “Chew Excavating” do it for you.

And last but not least, when the Orca whales of life get you down by threatening to overturn your dingy and tossing you into the drink ...without your survival suit, your six-pack of suds and your blinking ghetto-blaster ...maybe it's time to try “Adventures with Ex-Stream Fishing Guides”. (At least these has-been hip-waders know the difference between sticklebacks and sea-monsters!)


To order your copy of "The Greater Victoria Phone Directory & Community Information Guide", call 1-800-827-5166.

Note: all business names mentioned in this article can be found in the 2004 edition of "The Greater Victoria Phone Directory". Any descriptive commentary is, I can assure you, purely fictional if not quite accidental, considering it was written by a tongue-in-cheek, tippling tourist in his own home town).

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Collected with care, compiled with caution, and cranked out confidently with wild abandon by The Quipping Queen for your sheer amusement and unadulterated delight

As the ho ho ho season rolls around, one is reminded of some very wicked words from a few Wise Men, a smattering of Witty Women, and a handful of Wonky Wunderkins who wish to remain anonymous.

"A Merry Christmas to all my friends except two." (W.C. Fields)

"I am a poor man, but I would gladly give ten shillings to find out who sent me the insulting Christmas card I received this morning." (George and Weedon Grossmith, The Diary of a Nobody, 1894)

"Christmas, that time to of year when people descend into the bunker of the family." (Byron Rogers, Daily Telegraph, 27 December 1993)

"There are some people who want to throw their arms round you simply because it is Christmas; there are other people who want to strangle you simply because it is Christmas." (Robert Lynd, “On Christmas," in The Book of This and That, 1915)

"Ever since Eve gave Adam the apple, there has been a misunderstanding between the sexes about gifts." (Nan Robertson, "On Christmas shopping", New York Times, 28 November 1957)

"George, a camel, stepped on the foot of a Rockette; six sheep came off the elevator as three kings bearing gifts got on; human Christmas trees bumped into eight maids-a-milking at the water cooler and an elf came down with the flu." (William E. Geist, on the day “pandemonium paid a visit backstage” at opening of Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas spectacular. New York Times, 29 November 1986)

"As if being eighty-five or ninety and terrified and talked down to loudly and pushed around in wheelchairs by the staff all day weren’t bad enough, for tonight’s entertainment the local Brownies have come to sing Christmas carols....". (Mary Jo Salter, “Brownie Troop #722 Visits the Nursing Home,” 1994)

"From a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it." (Katharine Whitehorn, “The Office Party,” in Roundabout, 1962)

"At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows."
(William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour ’s Lost. Act i. Sc. 1.)

"Christmas begins about the first of December with an office party and ends when you finally realize what you spent, around April fifteenth of the next year." (P.J. O'Rourke, Modern Manners, 1984)

"For a halo up in heaven
I have never been too keen.
Who needs another gadget
That a fellow has to clean."
(E.Y. Yarburg, The Man who has Everything, 1965)

"What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus?
Answer: Claustrophobic" (Anonymous)


Step 1: Go buy a turkey
Step 2: Take a drink of whiskey (scotch) OR JD
Step 3: Put turkey in the oven
Step 4: Take another 2 drinks of whiskey
Step 5: Set the degree at 375 ovens
Step 6: Take 3 more whiskeys of drink
Step 7: Turn oven the on
Step 8: Take 4 whisks of drinky
Step 9: Turk the bastey
Step 10: Whiskey another bottle of get
Step 11: Stick a turkey in the thermometer
Step 12: Glass yourself a pour of whiskey
Step 13: Bake the whiskey for 4 hours
Step 14: Take the oven out of the turkey
Step 15: Take the oven out of the turkey
Step 16: Floor the turkey up off of the pick
Step 17: Turk the carvey
Step 18: Get yourself another scottle of botch
Step 19: Tet the sable and pour yourself a glass of turkey


And, whatever you do -- never, never, never leave home at this time of year without a copy of the following authoritative sources of seasonal scallywaggery:

  • Twinkle, Twankle and Twunkle by Arthur R. Griffith (an illustrated picture book of model elves) and

  • Flooty Hobbs and the Jiggling, Jolly Gollywobber by J.W. Dixon and Jem Sullivan (for those who need an alternative to the popular symbol of commercialized Christmas Coots -- you know the soot-covered, snickering sort of sprites sporting scarlet red tunics and sitting smugly in those sleighs designed especially for sybaratic seniors of size).


If you're at a loss for words, then fear not... you can always go on line and find out what's up with Santa these days at or even track the big guy's every move along with those raucous ripsnorting reindeer at

Thursday, December 02, 2004


By Theolonius McTavish, a casual notice board reader and part-time creative loafing consultant to The Quipping Queen (when not engaged in other delicious diversions)


TO: All employees

FROM: The Management

DATE: December 2, 2004

RE: Reducing the Unintended Consequences of Getting into "The Holiday Spirit"

Following recommendations from SHE (our Safety, Health and Enviromental committee), HE (our Helpful Employees Committee) and FUN (the Federation of Undemonstrative Nations), the measures outlined below will be implemented immediately thus ensuring our compliance with guidelines established by FROLIC (the Federal Revelry Ordinance & Leisure Industry Council) designed to reduce the unintended consequences of getting into "The Holiday Spirit".

1. Santa shall be required to wear a red, fire-retardant, loose-fitting suit with white reflector tape accessories, and a red fire helmet at all times while on the premises.

2. Employees shall refrain from testing the seating capacity and weight-bearing strength of any red-suited person in authority requesting subjects sit on his/her lap.

3. All nutcrackers are forbidden on the premises as these items have been found to be a potential security risk and safety hazard in the hands of inadequately trained personnel. (Note: We know who you are. Our infallible process control systems have identified those with far too many frequent flubber points and weak bladders as the cause of most workplace accidents).

4. Fruitcake, shortbread cookies and mince tarts shall be consumed before the expiry date on the packaging and only in designated areas such as parking lots, as it has been determined that crumbs attract undesirable pests including but not limited to cookie monsters, horrible hobgoblins, testy trolls and wicked witches, not to mention placing excess demands on management (drones), non-union, multi-tasking, light-housekeeping office personnel (queen bees) and unionized heavy maintenance staff (worker bees).

5. Snickering-Sybaritic Santas (SSSs) and Red-Nosed Reindeers (RNRs) if found consuming illegal substances on the job shall be escorted immediately off site by the Engaging Enforcement Elves (EEEs), as such conduct has been linked to unhealthy respiration and transpiration of office plants, inexplicable computer network crashes, and causing havoc with the smooth operation of industrial machinery.

6. Employees shall refrain from using paper shredders to make aluminum foil tinsel decorations as this has been found to create an unsightly mess, unnecessary downtime on office equipment, not to mention major power outages preventing the convening of gift-exchange gatherings.

7. Employees shall refrain from toasting marshmallows on radiators, AC power adaptors, or in blast furnaces during break periods as these puckish practices have been found to encourage unsafe food preparation practices, contribute to poor eating habits and, and cause stomach cancer in brownies and boy scouts.

8. Employees shall refrain from 1) composing Yuletide tunes on touch-tone phones, 2) downloading “The Chipmunk Song” as the default ring tone on cellular telephones or 3) installing Christmas carol screen-savers on laptop computers, as these lollygagging practices been found to cause unmitigated stress and partial hearing loss in lab rats, floor personnel, and middle managers alike.

9. Santa's Helpers' togs will be permitted on Casual Fridays provided they comply with the "Corportate Colors and Dress Code Policy". (No spandex shorts, body stockings or birthday suits will be allowed as these have been shown to contribute to embarrassing little workplace accidents at this time of year).

10. All employees shall refrain from requesting that high-carb, cholesterol-rich egg nog be placed in vending machines and shall likewise refrain from uttering anti-social secular greetings or gladless tidings of good cheer such as, “Bah Humbug”, “The Grinch will get you!” or “Santa Sucks", all of which have been found to contribute to an unhealthy diet, loss of team spirit, and result in an altogether unproductive and negative-thinking workplace environment.

And, last but not least, there’s no need to drop banana peels , candy wrappers or prioritized lists of presents in the Company Suggestion Box – thanks to SCROOGES (our Security Camera Records & Online Gathering Evidence System), Santa knows who's been naughty and nice his year.

HO HO HO AND HAVE A HAPPY HOLIDAY From Santa's Saucy Sylphs in the HR Department!!!