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Medium Large Comic: The Island of Misfit Toys Edition

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 30, 2011

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, it’s time to visit everybody’s favorite result of a psychiatric hospital’s activity program that went horrible awry, The Island of Misfit Toys.

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Medium Large Comic: The Grinch Special Edition

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 29, 2011

There’s no denying it anymore. It’s holiday time. So make the best of it with Angry Santa Elf on Twitter!

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O Christmas Tree, My Parents’ Christmas Tree

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 28, 2011

This weekend I was over to my parent’s house (and my childhood home) to help set up their Christmas tree (and extend the “Thanksgiving with family” period into marathon-like proportions). Although it wasn’t the same color-coded tree kit I grew up with (the Marciuliano folk often chose their evergreens from an artificial forest), the ornaments were the very ones I hung as a child, a teen, a college student and a visiting sporadically-employed adult.

The sheer familarity resulted in a bittersweet process, not only because the decorations recalled a time when the entire family was around to put the tree together (then gather in front of the RCA hearth and warming glow of a Rankin-Bass special) but also each ornament captured a particular Christmas or rite of passage that seems sadly to grow dimmer and dimmer until you hold the very material of those memories right in your hands.

So with your kind permission I would like to review a small sampling of these very ornaments, each their own holiday madeline cookie evoking a stream of self (indulgent) consciousness. Let’s start with clearly the most prized and esteemed festive bibelot of them all…

Yes, your eyes do not lie. That is indeed an exquisite egg carton compartment, delicately turned on its base and brought to perfection with a mere wash of vermilion, a dab of glitter and a pipe cleaner curved so faultlessly yet so effortlessly that one cannot help but wonder if this was brought to life not by a skilled artisan but by the very Son of God himself! Or you may think it’s the handiwork of a kindergarten student circa 1972, devised as a time-killer project by one Mrs. Sharf (who all the students quickly dubbed Mrs. Shark and despite in my mind having the menacing mien and temperment of a Margaret Hamilton was probably no more than 30 and simply slowly going insane spending the majority of her waking hours tending to 20 kids whose biggest accomplishment was almost getting their snowpants off before peeing). Either way, the fact that my parents have managed to keep this ornament in perfect condition (not to mention keep it all) is touching and telling to say the least.

The next holiday bauble may seem at first glance to be simply one of many cartoon-related decorations that nowadays festoon store shelves…

But back in the late 70’s and early 80’s my brother, my mom and I were quite the Ziggy fans (I was quite the fan of most comics back then, devouring every strip in the New York Daily News Sunday supplement from Little Orphan Annie to Peanuts to Dick Tracy to such now-forgotten selections as Dondi, Motley’s Crew and Herman). When my mom saw the above ornament in our local supermarket, she not only knew it was the ideal addition to our tree but the start of a family tradition (rightfully believing that the year “1982” indicated this ornament was the first of an annual release). My mom bought two variations, one for Marcello and one for me, and promised to buy two new ones every year from then on out. Alas, although my mom looked high and low come 1983, there was no “second in the series” to be found, bringing to a quiet yet swift end what was hoped to be an ongoing, multigenrational family collection.

Now on the whole Marciulianos like to make more often than buy, and both my parents created numerous decorations for our tree, from the rather ornate…

To the comfortingly homespun:

But around 1973, they decided to start mixing it up…with mixed results. It began innocently enough during a trip to my cousins’ house in Cherry Hil when my family stopped at a small arts & craft store and picked up a collection of wooden, paint-by-numbers Christmas ornaments for a fun-filled, squeaky clean family project. Unfortunately, even though we all managed to say within the lines, the end result of our efforts was a psychotropic phantasmagoria that looked less likely to adorn a Christmas tree and more fitting perched on the shoulder of a piper at the gates of dawn…

Or starring as a “living credenza” character in Yellow Submarine

This was followed in the mid-to-late 1970’s by what would soon be dubbed my mom’s “Bob Mackie” or “A Cher Christmas” phase, featuring cloth ornaments with more sequins than a Taiwanese drag queen and often in the shapes of such holiday standards as “American Shimmer Indian”…

Let us get a closer gander at the ornament’s sheer volume of “pizzazz,” shall we? Note how every pore of this proud native seems to say–if not scream–that he is going to boogie-oogie-oogie until he just can’t snort coke off the sternum of Bianca Jagger no more…

That happy fellow was soon joined by the traditional Christmas Peacock…

The customary Christmas Glitter Gator…

And something that is either a shiny holiday heart with bow or a sparkling beefsteak tomato.

But no ornament holds a greater place in our family’s heart than the oldest, purchased by my parents for the their very first Christmas tree as husband and wife. The very box for the ornament (still in mint condition) is the epitome of 1963 fashion and fancy (once you discount the curiously almost satanic number code on top), with a description that harkens back to a a time of unbridled optimism when man dreamed of a technological utopia where architecture was sleeker, transporation was faster and kitchens were better for his housebound wife…

That is, until you take out Santa on Stork…

With wings broken, a body held by the merest of fabric tendons and a St. Nick that can perhaps best be described as “bindle-less hobo,” Santa on Stork may appear to be less a relic of the golden “Jet Age” than an all-too powerful reminder to check in regularly on the elderly come the long, winter months. But despite all that (and a tendency to turn to dust upon touch or breeze), this Santa remains perched on his steed a full 44 years later, still ready and willing to careen through the Christmas Eve night air to deliver presents to all good boys and girls or merely slough off feathers, wires and perhaps a foot along the way.

Now over the many years and decades some of the above ornaments have fallen out of favor with our family and failed to make it to the tree (most notably the wooden and beaded). But this Christmas I declared that there would be no benchwarmers. Every ball, every figure, poorly-glued shredded paper thingy would get to shine in the LED light and hang with their brethren on the manufactured branch, from the tradional…

To the traditions sadly cut short…

To the solemn Santas…

And unorthodox Kringles…

The ornaments fashioned in pre-school…

In days of macrame and denim…

Or nights at Studio 54…

The questionable…

The eerie…

And the downright horrifying…

And last but certainly not least, our beloved but not-yet bereaved Jet-Age Santa on Stork, perched ever so carefully on a spray of branches and still prepared for takeoff, bum hip and all.

And so with all the ornaments hung carefully in place (and on every branch possible)…

We all sat down to celebrate with that Rankin-Bass classic, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, complete with the despicable Winter Warlock (“Please, call me Winter”).

And though our family Christmas evergreen may never possess the glitz and grandeur of its nearby big city cousin…

Frankly, I never thought it was a bad little tree.

So to you and yours, may the Christmas bells ring loud and clear this year…

May the stars shine brightly over your home…

May the snow fall gently on your white Christmas…

May we all finally experience some peace on Earth…

And may you receive visits, gifts and joy from the Jet-Age Santa for years and years to come.

With the tree up it’s now time to celebrate the holidays with Angry Santa Elf on Twitter!

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20 Rejected Holiday Albums

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 25, 2011

Every year hundreds of holiday albums are released. Some become hits. Some become classics. And some become the reason record labels go under.

See all the home for the holiday classic albums at Thanks!

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6 Real But Forgotten Holiday Cartoons

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 25, 2011

Some holiday cartoon specials become a magical part of our childhood. Then there are these…

See all the not-so-special specials at Thanks!

Now that you’ve punched someone in the mouth for a $2 waffle maker at Walmart, relax with Angry Santa Elf on Twitter!

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Medium Large Comic: Friday, November 25, 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 25, 2011

Now the holidays can really begin with Angry Santa Elf on Twitter!

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Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 24, 2011

Now the holidays can really begin with Angry Santa Elf on Twitter!

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The Seven Steps to a Happy and Mentally Healthy Thanksgiving with Family

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 23, 2011

Watch the toys and tension mount at Angry Santa Elf on Twitter!

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Things Not to Say at the Family Thanksgiving Table

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 22, 2011

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A Teenager’s Written Account of the Very First Thanksgiving, 1621

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 21, 2011

“The feasting has summarily been concluded and I have repaired to my room, far from relatives most fractious and grievances oft repeated to no avail except to sway Aunt Ecclesianne to dip once more into the sherry and regale even the most unseasoned family member what a total arse they be.

“I had stepped not one manfoot into the repast quarters during the time of preparation when I was immediately struck with comments most thunderous about my unkempt head fur and demeanor quite displeasing. Our family being all well recovered in health and having all things in quantities good and plenty had apparently done little to close their fowl holes for even one damnable moment. Rather, they took to the occasion of my verbal lashing yet again with great practice and flourish, once more rekindling my passion for a native onslaught, great blaze or some warbler of alarming size to finally rid me of these blood fellows.

“While I was instructed vigorously on how I was slicing most unwell the almonds for the greens, my valueless sister arrived, short in wanting to assist in our cooking endeavors but long in attributes of a canine feminine. Rather she took the moment to shine but on herself as was her want, introducing her new swain to relatives no doubt astounded that a woman of such girth and cretinous demeanor could land a man without ammunition or rock most sharp. For his part, the man I readily surmised to be no greater possessed of intellect than the nuts I angrily cleaved. Yet within but a moment our feast had miraculously transformed into a celebration not of our great harvest but rather a fete in honor of two people who could not look less like that of God’s image if their hands were cloven.

“Soon the relations not so immediate arrived, complaining of foot traffic unending and sharing long tales whose points even the great native scouts could not manage to uncover. Grandfather himself directly embarked once more into his yarn of how the very idea for the Frobisher Expedition had been vilely stolen from him, only rather than a ‘Northwest Passage’ Grandfather stated he would have explored for ‘tobacco mermaids.’

Meanwhile, several of the nonmaleperson’s arms groaned heavily from the prepared meat they carried into our dwelling, notwithstanding my mother’s pleas that she was well in capacity to prepare the feast. Said nonmalepersons countered that guests oft like a selection—especially more than one lone pie—and not everyone takes to the singular aridness of my mother’s turkey. This put my mother in a humor most abominable, which my Aunt Benefice sought to allay by stating that this is why they really ought to have held the feast at her house instead.

I asked to be excused, fearing being confined with such persons would soon make me disembowel my feces and utter remarks untoward yet unerring, but even such a simple request was furiously denied. Alas, I was harshly instructed to set the manner of the table alone while all manguests sat before the large fireplace, preparing for an afternoon of watching whose pine cone would blaze in great, colorful glory.

“After what seemed to this author an interminable era wherein I tried to make myself scarce whenever chance allowed—only to be utilized repeatedly as the beast of burden unassisted—the food was brought forth to the banquet surface. I had not one hand on a ladle of potatoes mashed when I was scolded for impertinence and told by my mother to proffer thanks. ‘For what?’ came fast my reply, only to receive a slap wholly sharp on the posterior of my head. Knowing that I had no choice in the endeavor and seeing this as my only moment to speak undeterred, I chose to educate my family most disagreeable with the atrocities they have brought upon not only the initial inhabitants of this land but on this very person.

“‘Oh Lord,’ I commenced with great solemnity, giving not a soupcon of what was to come, ‘We thank you for allowing us to defile your earth with contemptible persons who want only for themselves and care not for their fellow man or creature. We thank you for the ammunition with which to blow asunder more animal than Noah himself could board, even if he dismantled and stored them in containers non-perishing for later utilization. We thank you for the arrival of my sister and her manfriend, whose very countenances surely makes His Lord question His own powers. We thank you for the wisdom of our parental folk, who sought to keep me from enjoying but a seventh a fortnight skiing with peers on Plymouth Inclines, rather imprisoning me here to toil at their unkind will while the most contemptible lot of individuals ever gathered not before a barrister or executioner gorged themselves on appetizers and imbibed great quaffs of ale as if the end were near and you Lord would only welcome the plumpest, most pickled, most execrable vermin to skitter into the gutters of thy kingdom. Amen.’

“Sadly, I was not six words into my oration when great cries and several blood pressures rose from the table, seeking to shout me down only to be met with great failure. Great paternal Uncle Cotton was first to damn my good name, swearing that my absence of piety was no doubt grave indication of my maternal side’s deficient breeding. My mother’s father Cotton was swift to take umbrage at this assertion, declaring that Uncle Cotton could take nourishment from his manmember for as long as he sought to suppose such twaddle. That was when my Aunt Cotton, for reasons still unknown, thought it best to bring up the curious displacement of departed Great Grandmother Cotton’s china most fine, mere days before the reading of her will. My mother, locating great offense in this, took the occasion to mention to the gathered that Aunt Cotton’s daughter Impudence had been seen “plowing the field” with the Reverend Increase’s niece not two days ago. Said daughter, turning crimson as the harvest beet, then summarily countered that her brother Barrett had most recently acquired a stamp of ink fully permanent on his reaping arm, fashioned in the visage of a skull immolated. My detestable sister then wailed fiercely that everyone was churning gray clouds on what she took to be her, and hers alone, special day, whereupon I with tremendous skill hurled an acorn squash at her proboscis. Soon all family took to flinging pies at one another with violent force. And it was at that very moment, when the dining hall sky was thick with mincemeat and butternut, that my Aunt Ecclesianne stood up, swigged from the sherry bottle she no doubt stored most secretly in her garments, and bellowed ‘A pox on you all!’ It was then that we learned that she had the devil’s pneumonia and soon, alas, we would as well.

“I pray this be the last time we visit this holiday.”

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