The mystery of what switched off the heating has finally been solved! It's a ‪‎miracle‬!

Santa's Last Stand, Part 3

Santa’s Last Stand (Part Three)

Part Two here.

Me Ma didn’t answer him. She’s still asleep, you could tell by her breathin’. I couldn’t believe that Santy knew me Ma, but when I think about it now, a lot of men know me Ma. I’s very quiet then as he stood up straight again. Then I think he must’ve seen me in the corner of his eye, lookin’ at him from the door, but he didn’t say nothin’ to me. He started actin’ more like Santy, playin’ it up for me.
Ho ho ho, he says, in a deep voice. I think he puts on an act for the kids most of the time. He reached into his sack and then I could see it comin’ out in his hand. Blood Lust 2! He put it down beside the Christmas tree and says ho ho ho again. I’s very quiet then. He reached into his sack and he pulled out a Steven Gerrard Liverpool jersey! Number 17, his old number. Gerrard’s me favourite player but there’s all these stories goin’ round about him movin’ to the Blues. I hope he stays at Anfield. He says he doesn’t want to move. He likes bein’ captain too much. But if he does move to the Blues he’s a Judas and I won’t like him any more. Santy stopped bendin’ down at the Christmas tree and went over to the mantelpiece where the can of Dutch Gold was waitin’ for him. I turned round and creeped back out the door. I snuck back very quietly to the stairs. I heard the hiss of Santy openin’ his can. I’s goin’ to get as much off Santy as I could for Christmas. I snatched the axe off the wall and I peeped in and seen Santy holdin’ his head back as he drank the Dutch Gold, his throat bobbin’ in and out, in and out, as he swallowed mouthful after mouthful. Now’s me chance to strike, I says to meself. I ran at him and swang the axe and Santy didn’t know what hit him. He let a roar out of him as the axe struck the back of his head and his hat came off a little bit but stayed on his head because the axe stuck the hat to his head, and there was dark hair there instead of white hair. There was a spurt of blood and a spray of beer burst out of his mouth and then he fell forward and the Dutch Gold rolled across the carpet, goin’ glug glug glug and Santy was makin’ a gurglin’ noise as he lay on the carpet. I picked up the sack and looked in to see all the toys and I pulled the first box out and it was a shoebox but there was nothin’ in it. I checked another box and it was empty too. There was old newspapers wrapped up into big balls in the sack too.
Who’d want an empty shoebox and an old newspaper for Christmas? I says to meself. I made so much noise rummagin’ in his sack and Santy was gurglin’ so loud that we woke me Ma up. She looked around the room in a bit of a daze, with her eyes half shut, and then she saw Santy lyin’ there next to the tree with all the blood and her eyes opened really wide and she let a scream out of her and she stood up and screamed again, and she put her hands on her forehead and looked at me and she screams Oh Jaysus Jim what have you done? And I tried to make her see that there’s nothin’ to worry about because Santy is only make-believe and he’s not real and anyway, but she just kept screamin’ and cryin’ at me, not makin’ any sense because she was in a fit of hysterics, bawlin’ her eyes out and bawlin’ at me.

The End

Santa's Last Stand Part Two

Santa’s Last Stand (Part Two)

Part One here.

Me Grandda was in the army, and he used to chop down trees in Wicklow and Wexford. He kept his axe and he gave it to me Da and Da hanged it on the wall. That was ages ago, before Da went away. The dwarf’s axe is much fancier. It’s got jewels on it and everythin’. When you use it in the Old West you can throw it coz the others have revolvers but you can’t throw it any other time. It’s a great way of killin’ Mad Dog McClellan coz the blood spurts out the top of his head when you do. Me Ma had a surprise for me on Christmas Eve. We’ll stay up and wait for Santy, she says. So she got a can of Dutch Gold out of the fridge and left it on the mantelpiece for Santy and she had her wine while we waited and we watched Santa Claus the Movie.
I’s very excited waitin’ up for him, but the movie kept me mind off things. After the film, it was dark and I looked over and Ma was asleep on the couch. But I looked at her more closely and her eyes were a little bit open and I thought she’s lookin’ at me. I put me hand in front of her face and waved and her eyes didn’t follow me hand. There was some spit dribblin’ down her chin from the corner of her mouth an’ anyway. So she was asleep. Now’s me chance to play Blood Lust, I says to meself. So I snuck up to me room and I got Blood Lust 1 and brought it back down to play it. I’s quiet as a mouse because I didn’t want to wake Ma. And then I seen him before I came back into the living room.
Standin’ at the fireplace. Old Mr Nicholas his very self. With a big brown sack over his shoulder burstin’ with toys. Dressed in his red suit with a big black belt an’ his beard as white as cotton wool. I was rooted to the spot with the excitement and I didn’t say a word. He was standin’ near me Ma. He bent over so his lips were near her ear. Barbara, he whispers, Barbara, where’s Jimmy?

Go to Santa's Last Stand, Part 3.

A Ghastly Festive Tale...

Santa’s Last Stand (Part One)

I scored me second goal at football practice one evenin’ when I looked in the sky on the other side of the goal and there was Santy’s sledge, trailin’ sparks of magic behind it. It flashed by very quick, an’ I’s the only one who seen it before it vanished. I couldn’t see Santy hisself, or his reindeers, it was too far away. But the coach says it was Santy. I says why is it Santy when it’s not Christmas yet? He says Santy has to collect the toys hisself from all over the world before Christmas. There are some toys like the normal toys we have in Ireland that the elves make but there are other toys made from goat-hair and that, that he has to get for the other kids. That’s what the coach says. So he collects the toys for the kids in Mongo Bongo but he makes the others. But that wasn’t the last I seen of Santy. After I scored me second goal we finished up. I’m the best striker on the team and nearly the best goalie. But when the real match comes, sometimes I don’t play as good. There are too many people lookin’ at me, makin’ me nervy. In the real match when the ball comes I kick it away straight up the field instead of takin’ it up a bit meself or whatever. That’s why I’m not a striker when we play the real matches. I don’t want the onus. That’s what me Da used to say. I don’t want the onus on me of messin’ it up. I know it’s people lookin’ at me coz I’m the same with me video games. I’m really good at Premier League Soccer and Blood Lust when I’m on me own but when there’s someone lookin’ at me I don’t do as good. I wanted Blood Lust 2 for Christmas. That game is ace. The animation is rapid. Me mate Darren has it. It’s got Dr Leonardo Pollack and Aurora Silvas in it just like Blood Lust 1, but this time you can play Hitler in World War 2 and Professor Moriarty when you’re in the nineteenth century and Vlad the Impaler when you’re in the Middle Ages. They can all help you. But you can’t travel with the villains. And you can call more weapons.
And all the people have their own skills. So it’s much better than Blood Lust 1. Darren traded in Blood Lust 1 and Premier League Soccer for Blood Lust 2. There’s a bit in Blood Lust 2 in the labyrinth where you have to slay the ogre Aijus Mite-Eetyoo. The next level is the Middle Ages but there’s cheats to get you straight to World War 2. If you use the battleaxe that you get from the dwarf when you’re slayin’ Aijus Mite-Eetyoo and you hit him just the right way then you go straight to World War 2 and you get all the weapons. The axe is a fancy axe. It’s not like the axe we have.

Read Santa's Last Stand, Part Two here.

The Thirteenth Step: Zombie Recovery by Michele W. Miller Review

Book review: The Thirteenth Step: Zombie Recovery

Audiobooks also available here (UK) and at the presence here (US).

The humor is subtly satirical, the horror starkly brutal, and the writing impresses. If we're to judge a book by its cover, the novel's title plays with the concept of Twelve Step recovery and the negative associations of the number thirteen. That's a great start.

There are any number of rules to writing.

Michele W. Miller smashes two of them brilliantly in the opening chapters of her novel, The Thirteenth Step: Zombie Recovery. For a start, Pixar's fourth rule of their 22 is as follows:

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

Miller opens her novel at a New York lottery winners' press conference. Although not quite in the middle of things - as Homer would advise - the norm here is already not the everyday. A syndicate of tax auditors winning the lottery is exceptional.

Another rule is to make your characters memorable. Miller introduces a number of characters in a wonderfully original manner: Through the use of mnemonics employed by another character so that he remembers the winners' names. Jim is slim, so he's Slim Jim, and so forth. Great stuff, we're thinking. Miller is doing our work for us.

Set-up complete, Miller kills them off like they're nameless, expendable stormtroopers, as a zombie apocalypse rains hell on the press conference. The realism of the events - and the surrealism of the zombie attack - are both terrifically handled.

Not-entirely-likable social observations before the attack - made by the lottery's public representative - are given greater weight with the ways in which some of the victims meet their ends.

I highly recommend the audiobook. It's the first full novel I've given a go (other than books that pre-date the digital age). I feared I wouldn't be able to devote my attention to it, but I am surprised at how easy it is to follow. It is more than ably narrated by Gabrielle deCuir.

Super stuff. Buy the book on Amazon here.

FONY Studio Exec Aimee Paschendale reaches out to World Famous Civil Rights Leaders

Kim Ju-On: The Grudge 2 bares his fangs
In a move of unparallelled brilliance, cyber-terrorists working for North Korea's Kim Ju-On: The Grudge 2 have hacked into the FONY Network Entertainment Network's network's network's network, to leak a series of emails that characterize studio executive Aimee Paschendale and movie producer Scrote Rudder as racist, snarky and inappropriate. In one email exchange between people and other people, with the subject SNORKLER WANTS TOM FUCKEN CRUISE, Aimee Paschendale describes Oscar-nominated actor Leonardo theDaVinciCode as "despicable" in turning down a jobs offer.

Michael Airbender was discussed for jobs, but screenplay scribe Aaron Snorkler said he had never heard of Michael Airbender. Aaron Snorkler wanted Tom Cruise for jobs.

In another thread of emails, Aimee Paschendale asked Scrote Rudder what she would discuss when she met President Obama at a fundraising breakfast at Jeffrey Katzenburger's house. Katzenburger is the K in Spielgurb, Katzenburger and Geffin of SKG fame.

"Will I ask him if he liked Django?" she asks, to which Scrote responds:

"12 years."

The pair go on to list 7,531 films that feature Black actors in the subsequent exchange.

Aimee Paschendale has reached out to world famous civil rights leaders Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. However, as these details emerged, they suggest that lessons have not been learned.
President Obama: Disappointed.

As one Internet wiseacre tweeted: "I didn't know you could do that. Aren't those guys busy right now, with all the real shit going on? More importantly, can I do that? I'm borderline racist myself. If I had Don King and Michael Dukakis on my speed dial, I'd be reaching out to them too!"

Unfortunately, the two-part tweet fell deadborn from the press.

Politics Letters Page

In the first of our series of Politics Letters Pages, we have chosen the cream of the crop of correspondence from our hundreds of daily readers on the subject of - you guessed it - letters!

Dear Editor,

I didn't even know they had held an election in Afghanistan till I saw new Afghan president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on television last night. I often have a headache thinking that I have to study up on new leaders in the world. Luckily, however, ca plus meme change, il fait pleut c'est meme chose.
We have new president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai above.
And lo and behold! We have former president, Afghanistani Hamid Karzai below!
It is very generous of the people of Afghanistan to elect a lookalike as they continue their long transition to internationally-sanctioned rule.

Not only this, but "Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai" sounds the exact same as "Afghanistani Hamid Karzai", at least to my eye! Luckily, I can still mumble "Hamid Karzai" in conversation without fear of being thought out-of-date - and mumbling is one thing I'm good at.

Not to steal focus from anything else that's going on in the world, but I wonder what your other readers think?

Yours sincerely,

Bill Cosby