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Santa is a Creep

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Just because he looks jolly doesn't mean Santa can't have a dirty streak.

Santa Claus

Brett Berk: I spent the Thanksgiving holiday down south with my boyfriend's family. This included our three nieces, all between the ages of 7 and 10. We managed to avoid one scourge of the holiday season -- taking the girls to see Twilight: New Moon. But this left us holding the (turkey) bag for other joyous festivities, namely, taking the kids downtown to go ice skating at a rink set up in a bland corporate plaza between two unremarkable skyscrapers.

This wasn't so bad. It was a sunny day, the ice wasn't too crowded, and the tweenieces delighted in sliding around. Best of all, I managed to beg off donning skates at all, shirking the responsibility onto the blood relative, my partner. Fortunately, ice skating hurts. And even though all three of the young ladies are extremely sporty -- between them, they kayak, play soccer, rock climb, and train for gymnastics -- it wasn't long before they were complaining of sore ankles. Unfortunately, they managed to hobble off the rink just as my least favorite part of Xmas approached: Santa.

Actually, it wasn't just Santa. It was a pair of Santas (Santi? Santum?), both of who wore black boots, pointy caps, and realistic beards that they obviously spent the rest of the year growing and (haphazardly) grooming. One of them had a "Mrs. Claus" with him -- though she looked more like a cast-off Druidic Priestess, with her hauntingly vacant blue eyes, green hooded cape, and a strange stuffed animal that resembled a beagle in a beaver-fur stole. The other Santa was hanging stag (and I don't mean with one of the reindeer).

Those of you who know me know that I tend to downplay our national mania for "stranger danger," reminding people that the negative incidents we associate with this perceived risk have actually remained steady or diminished over the past 30 years (they simply seem more prevalent because of the echo chamber of our always-on modern media), and almost universally occur at the hands of someone in the child's family. However, that doesn't mean that I condone placing your young offspring on the lap of any fat man in a piebald red suit just because it's December.

Yet, oddly, this is just what people did. These weren't official Santas, vetted or cleared in the fashion of even the lowest-rent department store Saint Nick. It's possible these guys weren't even sober (one of them seemed to be tottering). I campaigned against letting the girls get their picture taken on the chubby old dude's knee, but he was giving away candy canes, so my protests fell on deaf ears (also, the nieces' parents were present, and encouraging of contact).

But on our way back to the car, I spotted one of the Santa's cars -- a run-down van with a homemade I Am Santa magnet stuck to the hood, featuring his scary grimace, and listing a "sleigh-mail" address -- in the parking garage. Instead of stoking their fears (it was a VAN, for god's sake; had they never read the basic child molester profile?) my relatives took comfort in this. "It looks legit," my sister-in-law said. I pointed out that a) anyone can acquire an email address with the word Santa in it; this is not a privilege reserved for "real" Santas b) anyone can dress up in a fuzzy scarlet get-up, have a picture taken, and have a big (removable) magnet made of it, and c) the whole concept of Santa is still creepy ("Sit on my lap, little boy, and I'll whisper in your ear and give you a sweet."). I was accused of lacking proper holiday spirit.

What do YOU think?



next: Merry Christmas from Octomom!
180 comments so far | Post a comment now
Mack Stehlin August 3, 2010, 9:57 AM

The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

Kristal Burkard August 3, 2010, 2:48 PM

This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

Deb Toczek August 3, 2010, 5:15 PM

The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

Hailey Tacket August 3, 2010, 5:42 PM

I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

Marcella Thane August 3, 2010, 8:26 PM

Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

Christy Revira August 4, 2010, 1:11 AM

This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

Mildred Gealy August 4, 2010, 11:57 AM

The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

Kaye Heynen August 5, 2010, 12:02 AM

I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

Giuseppe Gauer August 5, 2010, 9:47 PM

You realize, I pray there were more blogs and forums like this one, I really take pleasure in this content published here

Lavern Kuehn August 6, 2010, 7:05 AM

The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

Donnell Holder August 6, 2010, 6:25 PM

This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

Stefan Conran August 7, 2010, 2:07 AM

Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

Valerie Lavalley August 8, 2010, 1:28 AM

The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

Ronald Rabasca August 8, 2010, 1:18 PM

Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

Jeffrey Holyfield August 8, 2010, 3:52 PM

The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

Hosea Parkhill August 12, 2010, 8:05 PM

Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

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