Friday, December 26, 2008

Arctic Circle Press news release

Dec. 26, North Pole

Santa Claus Enterprises, LLC, has formally approached the incoming Obama administration team for a share of the bailout dollars, or TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) Fund, saying that "Christmas toys for girls and boys" may be endangered next year if access to capital and debt relief is not provided.

Kris Kringle, president and CEO, says "our operation has been a successful model for business success over generations, but when people are cutting back the way they have, we may not be there when the economy recovers without a boost to tide us over."

Mr. Kringle pointed out that they are, in fact, already needing to purchase supplies and materials for the 2009 Christmas season even before January. "Our supply chain is stretched tight, and we don't carry lots of materials inventory through the Christmas season - we're used to cleaning this place out, and then picking right up on Jan. 2 to get ready for next year."

Jimmy Jingle, senior provost of the Ancient & Honorable Order of Workshop, Delivery, and Transport Elves (also known as the "Little Teamsters"), agrees that a capital and credit guarantee is in order. "We think it is very important to maintain confidence in the entire North Pole operation -- there are very few mass gifting and very-special-delivery models out there, and this one, with the active support of parents and grandparents and local retailers, is doing the very best they can. We stand behind, while standing on each others' shoulders, the choices the Old Man has made that led us to this point, and are certain he will lead us into a brighter, more efficient, and new holiday season."

Kringle notes that in his initial contacts with Congress, he has made but sparing use of the fact that, in his words, he "knows who's been naughty and nice." Admitting that the senators and representatives he speaks to are aware of this capacity of his position, Kringle doubts that it has unfairly influenced any of the key committee chairs -- or Mr. Obama.

"President-elect Obama is acutely aware, through his two daughters, of how important continuity is to the Christmas morning surprise from year to year. We hope that no political considerations would end up endangering a smooth transition from one season to the next." Kringle has not spoken to the Chinese government about their possible underwriting of his operation, but he does say "we have talked, and that channel will always be open as long as parents want cheap toys."

As a privately held company, there was no immediate response on Wall Street from the news of the bailout request.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"Christmas" by John Betjeman

The bells of waiting Advent ring,

The Tortoise stove is lit again

And lamp-oil light across the night

Has caught the streaks of winter rain.

In many a stained-glass window sheen

From Crimson Lake to Hooker's Green.

The holly in the windy hedge

And round the Manor House the yew

Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,

The altar, font and arch and pew,

So that villagers can say

"The Church looks nice" on Christmas Day.

Provincial public houses blaze

And Corporation tramcars clang,

On lighted tenements I gaze

Where paper decorations hang,

And bunting in the red Town Hall

Says "Merry Christmas to you all".

And London shops on Christmas Eve

Are strung with silver bells and flowers

As hurrying clerks the City leave

To pigeon-haunted classic towers,

And marbled clouds go scudding by

The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,

And oafish louts remember Mum,

And sleepless children's hearts are glad,

And Christmas morning bells say "Come!"

Even to shining ones who dwell

Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true? and is it true,

This most tremendous tale of all,

Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,

A Baby in an ox's stall?

The Maker of the stars and sea

Become a Child on earth for me?

And is it true? For if it is,

No loving fingers tying strings

Around those tissued fripperies,

The sweet and silly Christmas things,

Bath salts and inexpensive scent

And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,

No carolling in frosty air,

Nor all the steeple-shaking bells

Can with this single Truth compare –

That God was Man in Palestine

And lives to-day in Bread and Wine.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

May Your Heart's Desire Be At the Heart Of Your Christmas!