Sunday, December 21, 2008

And To All A Good Night...

Dear Friends,

To the many readers of "Are We Having Fun Yet" we leave you with these holiday wishes. The editors will return next year to delight and entertain yet again!

2008, a year to abhor

foreclosures, layoffs, recession and war

death & destruction, disaster galore

financial distress, jobs sent offshore

but still there is hope, beauty and love

and faith in the cosmic power above

believe in the future and happier times

the best will come yet in 2009

Keep the faith Baby!

Wishing you joy and peace this holiday season!

Copyright 2008

All rights reserved

No part can be reprinted or reused in any way without express written permission from the author

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Very Democratic Holiday

(sung to the tune of
Santa Claus is Coming to Town)

Oh! you better watch out

You better not lie

You better not doubt

I’m telling you why

Democrats are going to town

They’ve got a hit list

They’re rolling the dice

Gonna get rid of lobby and vice

Democrats are going to town

They know big biz is scheming

They know when deals are fake

They know which loans are bad or good

With Lehman on the make

So… you better watch out. You better not lie

You better not doubt, I’m telling you why

Democrats are going to town.

Little reforms, Insider chums

Booty lawsuits- go after those bums

Democrats are going to town

Business Exec’s that sob boohoo

Repo Ferarris and Limo cars too

Democrats are going to town

The magnates all live in playland

They’ll get a penalty

They’re gonna spend 5 to 10 in a penitentiary

Oh… You better watch out, you better not lie

You better not doubt, I’m telling you why

Democrats are going to town.

Copyright 2008

All rights reserved

No part can be reprinted or reused in any way without express written permission from the author

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Republican Holiday Party

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the House
Right wingers are slurring, Obama’s a louse

The mocking begun, intending to sc
In hopes their disgust
would soon be laid bare

Lobbyists all smug in their states crimson Red

Plotting escape from the dems they all dread

In shock disbelief from their election night zap
They’d just settled plans to get cong
ress back

With Palin long gone, arose the mad hatter
It’s dirty Dick
Cheney, full of mad blather

Away to the Veeper’s top secret stash
Tore open his checkbook
, filled with GOP cash

There’s no time to rest, there are rumors to sow
With swift boat veterans, it’s on with the show

When what to my plundering eyes should appear
But tiny Karl Rove's, vendetta and fear

A political genius, at old party tricks
He knew right away, to get in his licks

Fast and illegal Rove’s couriers came
And he whistled and shouted and loudly proclaimed

Now Romney, Now Rumsfeld, Now Rudy and Jindal
On Crist, On Pawlenty, On Libby and McConnell

So up to the House-top conservatives flew
For a ruthless payback, that's long overdue

They’re plan, it was shocking, they needed a jerk
Lieberman helped with his own dirty work

Liberal dems they need to dispose
Hillary, Kerry, Teddy must go

Rumors, innuendo, to make them all bristle
Conservatives took aim at the lard and the gristle

And I heard them exclaim, to Ann Coulter's delight
Wait till 2012, when we're back for a fight!

(Up next: The Democrats respond)

Copyright 2008

All rights reserved

No part can be reprinted or reused in any way without express written permission from the author

Monday, December 8, 2008


This year, it’s the Christmas Tree from hell. At least, it sure seems that way. This drama begins a few days ago when Trina and I go in search of the Holy Grail. The perfect tree. I grew up in a family where every December, the men put on their woolies and trekked out into the deep woods in search of a trophy tree. We’d trudge through the snow, braving the icy cold, armed with saws, axes and assorted implements of destruction. Frasier Fir, Blue Spruce, Scotch Pine, we knew our wily prey. Sometimes it took all day to find that perfectly-shaped tree. No Charlie Brown Christmas Trees allowed. We never, ever, came home empty handed.

Okay, so we really just went to a tree farm at the end of the street. But we did cut the tree down with our own hands and hauled it to the car like manly men. We lashed it to the roof like freshly-killed game. And as we drove home (with our hands and feet jammed into the heat vents) everyone could see that we’d bagged our quarry. They envied our prowess and the trophy tree that was now ours. Of course, the women folk also went along to make sure we didn’t bring home a tree that was:

a) too big

b) too scraggly

c) too homely

d) too thick

e) too tall

f) ewwwwww!

g) all of the above

Trina grew up in a house where the tree came out of a box. All shiny and pre-loaded with tinsel-trimmed sparkly lights. She’s not wild about live trees in general. She’s less thrilled about the whole process of hunting for a live tree. I think she gets a little woozy at the sight of sap. It usually takes a lot of begging and pleading. But Trina always indulges my hunter-gatherer instincts.

This time, we drive 60 miles to the hinterlands of central Pennsylvania. In part, because Harrisburg is prime territory for perfect trees. And partly, because there’s a Mega-Christmas Tree Farm perched right beside the turnpike. So it wasn’t too hard to find. We stealthily maneuver our car into the parking lot, careful to stay downwind to keep from spooking the trees. Of course, there are 150 other cars already in the parking lot. So the element of surprise appears lost. There’s a friendly yellow lab who wants his belly rubbed. There’s the faint scent of hot chocolate, extra sweet. There are garlands & wreaths & ribbons. And horses hitched to wagons, ready to ferry us Christmas Tree hunters to the promised land. This, I tell Trina, is perfect Christmas Tree territory. Until we see the prices. $9.50 a foot. $12.50 a foot if we wimp out and buy a pre-cut?

Back in the car, the hunt resumes. We drive through Lancaster County. The fields are freshly turned, the thick brown loam stretching into the distance. The Amish are out in force. Buggys everywhere. I wonder, do the Amish put up Christmas trees? And if so, do they hunt them down or just take the buggy over there to the Mega-Christmas Tree Farm? Trina rolls her eyes. Stopping at a convenience store, I slip a clerk some extra cash. She slyly gives me directions to the local Christmas Tree hunting ground. We quickly drive there, our hearts pounding. It’s a small Christmas Tree farm. A modest home is set in the middle of this Arboreal Nirvana. “How much?” I inquire. The woman in charge eyes me over. “20 bucks, for any tree you can catch.” We shake on it. “Deal”. Trina and I take a saw and begin to prowl. I’m ready to pounce. But time and again, Trina says, “too little”, “too scrawny”, too many needles”. Yada Yada Yada. An hour later we leave sans tree. But you should have seen the one that got away.

The minutes pass by, then hours. Darkness begins to fill the sky. We are lost. Almost magically, we find a highway. Civilization at last! And right there is a huge sign, pointing back into the wasteland we’ve just left. “Christmas Trees” it says. Undaunted, we turn back, following the jagged spore of Christmas Tree Farm signs. Until, suddenly, there they are. Christmas trees stretching out into the twilight. They charge $7.50 a foot. It’s too much. But I…Must…. Have…. A … Tree. In moments we have found it. The perfect Christmas tree. Just as I place my saw blade to its pulsing trunk, Trina shrieks “STOP”. “Are you kidding me?” “No”, she says, “this tree is already tagged. I shudder. Some other Christmas Tree hunter has beaten us to the spot. Murphy is the name on the tag attached to an upper limb. Murphy’s Law indeed. Trina and I go on. Finally we find a tree. Not quite perfect. But close enough. The girl at the exit says our tree measures seven feet. She even counts the foot-long scrawny twiglet sticking out of the top. I hand her my credit card. “Oh”, she says, “there’s a four-percent fee to use credit”. I’m beginning to tremble. I pay cash instead. $55.65. I could have gotten it cheaper at the MegaTree Farm six-hours ago…

Back at home, we resurrect the tree in our foyer. It fits “perfectly”. Lights, ornaments, ribbons. It’s majestic. We gaily wrap Christmas presents and gently place them next to the tree. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

The next day, as I add water to the tree stand, our tree unexpectedly lurches forward. It’s still alive! Putting my hands up in self-defense, I wrestle the tree to the ground, ornaments flying in all direction. Two gallons of water cascade across the floor, swamping our presents. So there I stand, maniacally ripping open gifts in a desperate race to save them before they’re soaked through. I am successful. But now, we must re-wrap everything. We mop the floor. We place the tree back in its stand. And we lash it to the walls with 15 gauge wire. Subdued, the tree knows it’s going nowhere.

Later, as night approaches, I turn on the lights. No lights. They shorted out in the flood. Those pre-packaged tinsel trees are starting to look pretty good.

Copyright 2008

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No part can be reprinted or reused in any way without express written permission from the author

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oh Say, Can You See?

Trina and I have just returned from a visit to California. State Motto: "See what you've been missing". And there's so much not to see. That's because California is constantly covered with fog. And not just any fog.

There was Pea Soup in San Diego. Gray Mist in Malibu. Obnoxious O2 in Oxnard. Hydro Haze in Hermosa. Sea Smoke in San Francisco. Even London Fog at Saks Fifth Avuenue. There is fog everywhere.

We took a trip up the famous Pacific Coast Highway. It was magnificent. Or so we’re told. We didn’t see a thing because an incredibly thick blanket of fog rolled in off the ocean. There were waves crashing, Sea Lions barking, Harbor Seals howling, and Sea Otters ottering. We could hear them all but never got a glimpse. Trina came armed with her MagnaChroma Z280 Camera, and a suitcase crammed with digital photographic gear. But sadly, it never saw the light of day. There was nothing to photograph except that thick goopy sky. We stopped at a gift shop and admired the breathtaking sights by looking at the postcards.

It was more of the same in San Francisco. They get so much fog in San Fran, they have pet names for it, depending on where you live.

The infamous Castro Creeper is known for spreading through the Castro District, choking the locals like roaches caught in a cloud of Raid. We hiked up to Coit Tower, a well-known lookout with spectacular views of The City by The Bay. Well, you couldn't prove it by us. We couldn’t see the Bay, Alcatraz, Chinatown, or anything else. We rode a cable car back to the hotel, zooming through murky streets lined with stores, restaurants and homes. But who knows? Maybe they took us on a tour of the city dump. We were in a fog. Again.

Undaunted, the next morning we drove out to see the legendary Golden Gate Bridge. It was a magnificent sight. At least we imagine it must have been. Somewhere out there, completely hidden in the haze, was that mighty American landmark.

Next stop, Napa Valley. Thin wisps of fog rippled in our wake as we guided our rented Suzuki Sidekick ever Northward. Finally, the Fog broke. We could see! Row after row after row of grape vines. We had discovered a wino’s oasis, an alcohol-based air hole, a break in the dismal California fog bog. We stopped at several famous vineyards and sampled their finest wines. It was a moment of clarity (or was it Claret) in what was otherwise a vacation void of vision. Our time in Napa was a wonderful respite from the hazy horizons that hung over our journey like the specter of gloom. But after several glasses of Napa Valley’s finest grape juice, I realized that everything suddenly looked foggy again. Rats! Too much Vino… At least Trina was our designated driver.

We sped back to San Francisco, anxious to board a plane going anywhere. Anxious to sail above the fog that followed us everywhere. On our way back to the airport, we had to cross the Golden Gate, just as the sun was going down. I know it was sunset because the fog had miraculously lifted.

We could see the bridge, the bay, even Alcatraz. It was a moment to savor. So Trina hauled out her MagnaChroma Z280 and took about 600 photos, snapping away merrily, until the fog rolled back in again. We left before dawn, taking the redeye back home to Pennsylvania. Naturally, our flight was diverted to Richmond. Too foggy to land in Philadelphia

Copyright 2008

All rights reserved

No part can be reprinted or reused in any way without express written permission from the author