Maxed Out 

Making the most of Christmas

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S'no time like the holidays. Let no hall be undecked and all tidings be cheered. The snow has arrived to redeem our battered collective psyche and rejuvenate our spirit; happy tourist are repopulating the village, and all is right with the world.

Almost. Before I segue into ho, ho, holy Christmas spirit, let me just make one small comment on Monday evening's budget open house. Way to go, Whistleratics. If the glib comments following the previous budget dog and pony show - I believe an accurate paraphrase might be along the lines of, "No one came; no one must care." - there can be no doubt in the minds of the tenuously sitting councillors and besieged staff that people do, in fact, care. They care so much they stuffed the building, drained the coffee pot and left those in charge with an unmistakable message about what an inadequate job they are doing managing the town's finances. Pity the mayor was absent but hopefully senior staff gave him an accurate account of the displeasure shown by so many.

Unfortunate timing though. I'm not certain why we have to add budget stress to the already stressful holiday time of year. But even though the crowd was lathered up, it was a jolly group. Jolly and stressed. Kinda gives you an added insight into the mass hysteria that might just lead large segments of the population into that whole donning gay apparel scene, doesn't it?

Do you realize at this point in history, with the actual meaning and etymology of the word gay lost in the vortex of popular culture, there is a whole generation of children who've grown up very, very confused about whether they really should be decking halls with boughs of holly or trolling ancient Yuletide carols... whatever the heck that means. And if they do, whether they should be wearing exclusively Tommy H or perhaps something kinkier? Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Come to think of it, there has always been, at least for me, a lot of unsettling imagery in Christmas carols. All through December, in Grade 4 geography, I furtively scoured every map of the ancient world I could get my hands on looking for Orient Are. Or was that Orient Our? Couldn't be sure. Never found it though and it made me a little uneasy.

Way less uneasy than the discomfort I felt about the idea of giant snowmen suddenly coming to life. Being a fan of old monster movies, I think I had trouble separating the notion of an animate snowman with fired-up coal eyes from Frankenstein. I didn't think any good could come from manmade things suddenly springing to life, even if they eventually melted into a puddle.

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