Posts tagged “Christmas

Carol of the Bean

…and when they had opened their treasures,
they presented unto him gifts of Gold, Frankenstein, and Murder


The Wanton Moppet in a Pom-Pom Hat

Every December, Sister Madly’s mother would spend a week baking up to 40 loaves of bread while listening to Lawrence Welk and the Mexicali Brass. A young Sister Madly would then reluctantly deliver half of this bounty with her elder sister, Tallulah, to neighbors they hardly knew- many of whom lived far beyond the acceptable distance of ‘neighbor’- while dragging a red wagon through several feet of snow.

But this tradition was not limited to neighbors.

While no child looks forward to a school day, no morning was as dreaded as the day before Winter Break, when Mother Madly handed over a loaf of bread as a gift to the bus driver. When Sister Madly first heard the term “cruel and unusual punishment,” this scenario is what came to mind.


However, the argument of which Madly Sibling (the elder Tallulah or the most magnificent Sister Madly) was to give said Bread to the Bus Diver was beans compared to the argument of whom would carry the Bottle of Champagne the following day.

The Darrow’s, you see, lived 4-doors down (Sister Madly used to play- most discreetly, of course- in the weird tar-pit thing behind their house.) And every year, the Darrow’s would gift the Madly girls a bottle of cheap Champagne in return for the annual Loaf of Bread.

For Sister Madly, this was much worse than the whole Bus Driver thing; people might actually think the Champagne belonged to her. They might think that she, a wanton, 5 year-old Moppet, had wasted every cent of her allowance on its purchase, and there was no way that she could prove otherwise. And the Champagne didn’t even come in a proper paper bag, which is how it was consumed by the Elite on the streets; no, Sister Madly’s bottle had a shiny, red bow tape to it.


Then came the horrifying thought: what if her own Mother thought that Sister Madly bought the wine for herself? Her parents had stopped drinking some years before, and the bar in the basement now held a bizarre assortment of Care Bears and Cabbage Parch Kids… if a bottle of Champagne should appear within their midst, it would bring no end of trouble….

But there was no time for this worry, as one such delivery spree found a pom-pommed Sister Madly hauling 3 Loaves of Bread all by her lonesome. Tallulah had been forgiven of all delivery obligations that evening after befriending a classmate who had the cheeky audacity to be born on that particular date some years before, and who wanted to celebrate the fact with something called a “party.”

Even at the tender age of 5, Sister Madly had anti-social tendencies; she had absolutely no desire to knock on the doors of her Bread-less Neighbors, and succumbed to a magnificent tantrum somewhere between her front door and her Neighbor’s driveway. After spending an eternity (i.e., 2-3 minutes) fussing about, Sister Madly utilized her Red Wagon in such a way that allowed her to slide the Loaf of Bread into the oversized mailbox* without a word to her long-nosed neighbors.

* The other 2 deliveries slid much less easily into their respective mailboxes, but Sister Madly did it anyway. She had grit, that Moppet.

With her mission technically complete, Sister Madly trotted home, confident in the fact that she had rebelled against the unknown universe with her little Red Wagon and a knitted, Pompom Hat.

pointy tree

5 stupid hours of pointy hell later, Sister Madly’s apartment is
finally festive. She will be calling upon one of you next year to set
up this tree for her. She may even buy you a cider for your trouble.

* Re-post from 2014. Or somewhere around there.

Fhtagn Navidad!

Even the Old Ones deserve a little holiday cheer…


Awake ye scary great Old Ones let everything dismay!
Remember great Cthulhu shall rise up from R’lyeh
To kill us all with tentacles if we should go his way!
O’ tidings of madness and woe, madness and woe,
O’ tidings of madness and woe! (and great woe)

In Yuggoth and in Aldebaran the great Old Ones were spawned
Imprisoned by the Elder Gods to wait for long eons!
Enticing humans to release them,
Chanting dreadful songs!
O’ tidings of madness and woe, madness and woe,
O’ tidings of madness and woe! (and great woe)

An Arab said “That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange eons you will find that even death may die”!
The great Old Ones will rule once more
Then all will be destroyed!
O’ tidings of madness and woe, madness and woe,
O’ tidings of madness and woe! (and great woe)

*Repost from 2014

An Intergalactic Light Show

Not very long ago
In a neighborhood relatively nearby…

~ Created by Tom BetGeorge





The Mysterious King of Orient-R

The smile that greeted Sister Madly that December day of yesteryear was one she hoped to never see again, for it was the smile that always preceded something disagreeable. And clearly, this was going to be more disagreeable than simply hauling a wagon through the snow to deliver homemade bread to the neighbors.


But it ended up being much more ghastly than anything the 8 year-old could have imagined.

It was the Living Nativity.

What made this so disagreeable was that she was living in Michigan at the time- the ideal place to have an outdoor Nativity in the dead of winter; absolutely ideal.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Great Lakes Region in the middle of December, allow Sister Madly to provide you with a brief synopsis:


…as opposed to where she lives now:


It was after a proper period of sulking (and a lecture from her parents) that Sister Madly decided to see this unsolicited obligation as the opportunity to flaunt her most excellent theatrical abilities- after all, who knew what Hollywood guru would be in attendance that night? Her dread was further mollified by the news that she was not to be a shepherd boy as was first thought, but rather, a King.


But this was no ordinary Christmas Pageant: there were no lines, indeed no speaking of any kind, not even a song- which was most fortunate for those within earshot, as Sister Madly cannot carry a tune with a forklift.* In fact, there was nothing required of her but to stand perfectly still, and be completely silent. While this ventured dangerously close to mime territory, Sister Madly refused to cross that savage boundary and decided to convey kingly majesty through her presence alone, just as any brilliant thespian would.

* She is not licensed to drive a forklift, either.

So on the appointed evening, Sister Madly, along with her parents and Tallulah (all of whom were, no doubt, plotting to steal her spotlight) found themselves at the First Church of the Middle of Nowhere. There was no sign of the Hollywood Guru, but he most likely wanted to be inconspicuous and hid the Rolls Royce.


Now Sister Madly knew better than to expect Broadway quality costumes from a country church, but even her simple expectations proved to be too high. The King’s costume wasn’t so much pulled over her neon, insanely-puffy winter coat (which glowed sweetly beneath the blue fabric like a cartoon x-ray) as Sister Madly was stuffed inside of it. And she had to wear the puffy coat- not for any sensible reason, like the weather, but because it made the robe fit more snugly as the costume was meant for an adult, not an child.

A child… Sister Madly was seriously offended at being lumped into a demographic to which she actually belonged- an indignation that was further provoked when she was told that she would be standing on a milk crate because she was too short. Of all the nerve…


While the other Kings wore winter coats as well, they had nowhere near the puffability as her neon monstrosity. Sister Madly was almost perfectly round, and moved with all the grace and speed of an imbalanced washing machine. She looked less like a king and more like Violet the Blueberry in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

It was as terrifying as it was magnificent to behold.

But Sister Madly reminded herself that this wasn’t just a still-life production centered around the Baby Jesus- who was noticeably absent from the Manger- it was an epic tale about a Mysterious King of Orient-R. And Sister Madly, with her plastic jewelry and her arms sticking straight out at her sides, she was that King, chosen to bear the hallowed gift of Murder-


Myrrh? What in tarnation is myrrh?

“It’s a burial spice.”

…because the person’s been murdered?

“Because the person is dead.”

Where does murder fit in?

“It doesn’t.”



So no murder, then. Just gold and something called myrrh…

Wait- what about about Frankenstein? Sister Madly’s wrong about that too, isn’t she? It’s actually Frank-and-Beans?

“Frankincense. Also a spice.”

And just like that, a piece of her childhood slipped away. Gone, now, were the days of Gold, Frankenstein, and Murder; gone was the mysterious land of Orient-R. Sister Madly wasn’t a King, nor royalty of any sort; she was just an 8 year-old moppet in a puffy coat, standing on a milk crate in the midst of a Nativity that sadly lacked a Baby Jesus.

There had better be cocoa afterwards.

THEME SONG: King of Wishful Thinking, Go West



A Magical Wonderland of Latent Kisses

When it comes to the general public, the most dangerous plant on the face of the Earth is not a mutated Venus Flytrap, nor is it Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, or a Cactus.

No, it is this thing:


Because those compelled to obey the Mistletoe are never the ones you want to heed the call.

And because you never know where the Mistletoe is going to turn up, like in a Quonset-Hut-turned-Chinese-Bar at the annual gathering of The Creepiest People on the Planet; or at the Blue Moon, where Sister Madly once danced with South American, or at the Professors’ Chanukah/Solstice/Christmas Fusion Party. As to which holiday was being celebrated at said party, that all depended upon to whom that question was directed.

So it was with the usual desperate holiday cheer that the Professors blasted Sister Madly from her lovely, toasty, velvet cocoon of a bed that morning, with a message informing her (or as they insisted, reminding her) of the aforementioned party a mere 30 minutes before Sister Madly was expected to be there- with a smile, hopefully, but that part was negotiable.

Due to the Professors’ unease of her questionable culinary skills- specifically, her penchant for blue mushrooms and purple potatoes- it was determined long before Sister Madly even knew there was a party that she would be in charge of the decorations thus eternally banished from the kitchen. Any and all pre-party snacks were to be slipped to her beneath the door for the duration of the pre-party preparations; those treats that were lost to the cats in the process were regarded as inevitable sacrifices to the cause.*

* That last part made sense to her at the time.

It was also requested that she not set fire to the German Pinwheel thingy this time around.

candle carousel

Thus Sister Madly arrived on the Professors’ doorstep as requested, all big-haired and bleary-eyed, armed with cider, Mistletoe, and not one blue mushroom or purple potato. She even went so far as to tuck away her German Pinwheel Pyromania in the back of her car- out of arm’s reach, surely, but still within the vicinity should the night call for it.

Now there are times in which Sister Madly feels that, amongst the Professors, her presence goes largely unnoticed while her absence is never quite forgiven. Perhaps this is why her unladylike thundering about was overlooked that day as she proceeded to hang Mistletoe in every doorway, in every non-doorway, over every available chair, over the designated snack table (which she quickly removed, as Sister Madly wanted unrestricted access to this location) over the bar, even over the most strategic location in the bathroom.

Her Mistletoe masterpiece, however, was reserved for the basement:

lots of mistletoe

So while the Professors were upstairs blissfully drinking and cooking (but mostly drinking) amongst the cupboards of painted birds, Sister Madly was gleefully transforming the Enchanted Forest of Happy Little Trees below into a Magical Wonderland of Latent Kisses. Yes, shrubbery… shrubbery everywhere.

Why Mistletoe, you may ask. To begin with, one must understand the mistletoe folklore in Western Culture: while a man is permitted to kiss any woman standing beneath the mistletoe, bad luck would befall any woman who refuses his kiss- which is why Sister Madly will be hanging out on the front porch with a case of cider. Alone.

Mistletoe is also associated with fertility- another reason you’ll find Sister Madly out on the front porch with the cider. Alone.

So why mistletoe?


Because everyone deserves a chance to be kissed.

Because everyone deserves a moment of magic.

Because it was quarter to 11 in the morning and a grumpy, sleepy-eyed Sister Madly was in need of holiday decorations pronto.

It was just after 6 when the Professors, with their mulled wine and their wassail and cheese cubes on a stick, first found themselves gazing upon the Magical Wonderland of Latent Kisses, with looks of either awe or utter horror at the fact that, no matter where they stood in that basement, they were within a few inches of a kiss.*

* It was horror, no question about it.

This work of art Sister Madly likes to call A Thousand Kisses Deep.

And that was when the first group of guests began to arrive.

THEME SONG: A Thousand Kisses Deep, Leonard Cohen



Must I Jingle ALL the Way?

Sister Madly has taken to entertaining long, lovely thoughts of the universe, butcher knives and Formica coffee tables in an effort to get the song It Came Upon a Midnight Clear out of her head.


She has the Professors to blame for this: they had embraced the holiday spirit much too early for their own good, singing carols and hanging up twinkling lights long before Thanksgiving materialized. Sister Madly retaliated with a threat to purchase their gifts out of Sky Mall Magazine, which successfully put an end to their musical twaddle.

But not to the music in her head.

There was a time that Sister Madly took these songs for granted, singing along without a thought as to what she was saying. It was upon being stumped by the second line of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear that she began to consider other songs of the season:


What mother wouldn’t be thrilled to have an obnoxious little brat honor her newborn with the gentle whisperings of a snare drum? As much as a young Sister Madly would have loved to recreate this scenario in the neonatal unit at the local hospital, she didn’t see her mother supporting the idea.

Fortunately, Sister Madly has long-since reached the age of majority, so it no longer matters whether or not she has her mother’s approval.

Sister Madly sees nothing wrong with this salutation; even stopping by one’s house to do so is something to be admired depending on the time of day (she, herself, prefers the 1-4AM slot when personally trespassing in the name of generosity.) However, the subsequent demand for figgy pudding in verse two, followed by the refusal to leave until said pudding is obtained in verse three, sheds light on just how ill-equipped she is for this holiday. Apparently, it is standard procedure to procure an arsenal of figgy puddings in the event one is ambushed by a group of caroling bandits.

Should you find yourself singing this tune outside Sister Madly’s door- while properly armed with a machete and some duct tape- the best she can do at the moment is offer you some mystery mince (it might be Alpaca) and half a bottle of Two Towns Nice & Naughty Cider (which she loves and has no intention of sharing with you pudding-demanding degenerates.)

He sees you

Sister Madly can’t even begin to tell you how long that she, as a wide-eyed, little ingénue, thought the Far East was the ever-so mysterious Orient-R. It was only after she came to realize that the gifts were not, in fact, Gold, Frankenstein, and Murder, that she began to entertain the possibility that she was mistaken about other words in the song as well.

Who hasn’t looked upon a severed pig’s head and been inspired to hang up the holly and mistletoe?

Come on, now- Sister Madly can’t be the only one! Why, the very image of this creature with an apple wedged in its mouth triggers that wistful, Sister Madly Smile at the memories of old acquaintances, whose sudden departure from her life was as swift and as clean as their arrival. In fact, Sister Madly, the time has come once again for you to leave them all flowers.

Contrary to popular belief, the problem here is not the cost; the problem here is the horde of birds and human creatures leaping, piping, singing and squawking in Sister Madly’s 300ft² apartment. There’s also the small matter of a pear tree chillin‘ out on the fire escape (which she has 24 hours to remove per the Fire Marshal’s order.) Taking this into account, the grand total of her True Love’s Shopping Extravaganza is:

  • 50 humans
  • 23 birds
  • 5 gold rings
  • 1 fruit-bearing tree

But upon further contemplation, Sister Madly finds this figure to be inaccurate. Take, for instance, the Maid’s A-Milking: should they be a-milking at the time of the gift exchange, it means that the cows were included. This brings the total to:

  • 50 humans
  • 23 birds
  • 8 cows
  • 5 gold rings
  • 1 fruit-bearing tree

Of course, she can’t forget the Geese A-Laying: should they be particularly fertile fowl- with each one laying an egg on the day of their arrival (day 6) up to and including the day Sister Madly sets fire to her apartment (day 12)- the revised total would be:

  • 50 humans
  • 42 eggs
  • 23 birds
  • 8 cows
  • 5 gold rings
  • 1 fruit-bearing tree

…and just in what, exactly, are the 7 Swans A-Swimming?


Sister Madly is already planning a nasty break-up with her True Love- and she hasn’t even met him yet. The fact that she lets this nonsense continue for 12 days shows an inhuman amount of patience, most likely because these gifts* are from her True Love and she wants to give the miscreant every opportunity to explain himself.

As it turns out, staring off into space isn’t as relaxing as she thought it would be.

It came upon a midnight clear…
… but then it went away…

*The 5 golden rings would turn up missing on day 11. It would later be discovered that one of the Leaping Lords had light fingers and was courting Dancing Lady #6. The charges were dropped, as Sister Madly prefers silver when it comes to jewelry. Her True Love should have known this.