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 [ BACK]  [NEXT]                       Issue #019 - 12/22/1996


Yes, Virginia...

Merry Christmas, ALL!
     Well, Christmas is almost here, and I have enjoyed hearing
from so many of you with pieces and suggestions for Funnies.  I
also got some advice from my brother-in-law about dealing with
the stress of the holidays.  Peter is in the US Army in Germany,
and his suggestion is:  "I equate Christmas with a combat
fighting position.  You're never ready.  You just keep working on
it and improving your position until it is OBE (Army talk for
'overcome by events')."  I like it - good suggestion.  Now if you
could include some good combat techniques for dealing with the
after-Christmas sales, Peter, we'd really have something!
     Ho-Ho-Holiday thanks go out this week to Dale Frederickson,
Howard Lesniak, Kerry Miller, Beth Butler, Caterina Sukup, Bob
Martens and Peter Adler.  Now off to see if we can find those
'Tickle Me Elmo' dolls for the little kids...  Have a great week
and a fun Christmas!
     Joys of the Holiday to All of you!

P.S.  Special Thanks to Tom Brinck for permission to quote from 
his Christmas Haiku.
MICROSOFT Acquires Christmas 
by Robert Reiser 
NORTH POLE (API) - MICROSOFT announced an agreement with Santa
Claus Industries to acquire Christmas at a press conference held
via satellite from Santa's summer estate somewhere in the
southern hemisphere.  In the deal, Microsoft would gain exclusive
rights to Christmas, Reindeer, and other unspecified inventions. 
In addition, Microsoft will gain access to millions of households
through the Santa Sleigh. 
The announcement also included a notice that beginning Jan 1,
1997, Christmas and the Reindeer names would be copyrighted by
Microsoft.  Microsoft stated its commitment to "all who have made
Christmas great," and vowed to "make licensing of the Christmas
and Reindeer names available to all."  It is  believed that the
guidelines for licensing these names, due before Halloween, will
be very strict. 
When asked "Why buy Christmas?" Bill Gates replied "Microsoft has
been working on a more efficient delivery mechanism for all of
our products for some time, but recognized that the Santa Sleigh
has some immediate benefits.  We'll use it first for the release
of Windows95 and Office 95 upgrade products."
Microsoft also announced that Windows95 users who sign up with MS
Network will get sneak previews of Christmas[97] as early as
November first.  Some industry analysts believe that Microsoft's
schedule is far too ambitious and may slip into the first half of
1998.  Industry watchers suggest that with Microsoft controlling
Christmas, we may see it move to May or June, which are much
slower months for retailers.   This may serve to even out the
economy over the year." 

Christmas Haiku                                                   
she stares...and the man
     in red and white winks. she hides
     behind her mother.

     Tuburaname mitumetenigeru hahanosena
          (translated by Tokoroten)

the child throws tinsel
     carelessly, on the back side
     of the Christmas tree
as children rip open
     presents...mother folds wrapping
     paper carefully

                              Christmas Haiku (C) 1995 Tom Brinck.
                                      Used by permission.

Holiday \S/T\R/E\S/S\ Getting to You?
   You Know You're Too Stressed If...

 - Relatives that have been dead for years come visit you and
   suggest that you should get some rest.

 - You can achieve a "Runners High" by blinking your eyes.

 - You say the same sentence over and over again, not realizing
   that you have said it before.

 - Trees begin chasing you.

 - You can see individual air molecules vibrating.

 - You ask the drive-thru attendant if you can get your order to

 - Your heart beats in 7/8 time.

 - It appears that people are speaking to you in binary code.

 - Antacid tablets become your sole source of nutrition.

 - Talking to yourself is no longer a problem.  You do however
   become worried when you not only argue with yourself and lose.

 - Teddy bears begin to bully you for milk and cookies.

 - You have an irresistible urge to bite the noses of the people
   you are talking to.

 - You say the same sentence over and over again, not realizing
   that you have said it before...


Christmas like a day at the office:
You do all the work, and the fat guy in the suit gets all the


[Note: I sent this to many of you last year, before Sunday
Funnies began as a regular item.  It still seems like the best
kind of Sunday Funnies Christmas card...]

     Until you were 7 or 8 years old, you knew there was a Santa
Claus.  Then, before another Christmas, some cynical child told
you that you were silly to believe in such childish things. 
Stunned with adult reality, you had to face the possibility that
Santa was a make-believe, a myth, a wish, and no more. A moment
of terrible truth for a small child.  You wavered, trying to
cling to the past before being torn into the grown-up world.
     One bleak autumn day in 1897, a little New York girl named
Virginia O'Hanlon came up against this disillusionment. In
desperation, she went to her father for the final word. Her
father, Dr. Phillip F. O'Hanlon, a consulting surgeon to the N.Y.
Police Department, was too wise to tackle the question alone. As
Virginia recalled her search for truth 36 years later:
     "Quite naturally, I believed in Santa Claus, for he had
never disappointed me.  But when less fortunate little boys and
girls said there wasn't any Santa Claus, I was filled with
doubts.  I asked my father, and he was a little evasive on the
     "It was a habit in our family that whenever any doubts came
up as to how to pronounce a word or some question of historical
fact was in doubt, we wrote to the Question and Answer column in
The New York Sun. Father would always say, `If you see it in The
Sun, it's so,' and that settled the matter.
     "`Well, I'm just going to write The Sun and find out the
real truth,' I said to father.
     "He said, `Go ahead, Virginia. I'm sure The Sun will give
you the right answer, as it always does.'"
     And so, Virginia sat down and wrote her parents' favorite
     Her letter found its way into the hands of a veteran editor,
Francis P. Church.  Son of a Baptist minister, Church had covered
the Civil War for The New York Times and had worked on The New
York Sun for 20 years, at that time working as an anonymous
editorial writer.  Church was a very direct and humorous man and,
with his background, usually got the all of the religion and
theology questions.
     Now, he had in his hands a little girl's letter on a most
controversial matter, and was burdened with the responsibility of
answering it.
     "Is there a Santa Claus?" the childish scrawl in the letter
asked. At once, Church knew that there was no avoiding the
question.  He must answer, and he must answer truthfully.  And so
he turned to his desk, and he began to write his young
correspondent, and what he wrote was to become one of the most
memorable editorials in newspaper history.

     Editorial Page, New York Sun, 1897-
     We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the
     communication below, expressing at the same time our
     great gratification that its faithful author is numbered
     among the friends of The Sun.
     Dear Editor-
          I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say
     there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The
     Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa
                                                Virginia O'Hanlon

          Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have
     been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They
     do not believe except they see. They think that nothing
     can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.
     All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's,
     are little. ln this great universe of ours, man is a mere
     insect, an ant in his intellect as compared with the
     boundless world about him, as measured by the
     intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and
          Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as
     certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and
     you know that they abound and give to your life its
     highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the
     world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary
     as if there were no Virginias.  There would be no
     childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make
     tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment,
     except in sense and sight. The external light with which
     childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
          Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not
     believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men
     to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch
     Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus
     coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa
     Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus.
     The most real things in the world are those that neither
     children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies
     dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof
     that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine
     all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the
          You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes
     the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen
     world which not the strongest man, nor even the united
     strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could
     tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push
     aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural
     beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in
     all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
          No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives and lives
     forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10
     times 10000 years from now, he will continue to make glad
     the heart of childhood.
Aftermath - 
     Francis P. Church's editorial was an immediate sensation,
and became one of the most famous editorials ever written
anywhere in the world.  The New York Sun published it every year
just before  Christmas until the paper went out of business in
     As for the girl, Virginia O'Hanlon, she grew up to get a
Bachelor of Arts degree from Hunter College at the age of 21,
obtained her Master's from Columbia the following year, and in
1912 became a teacher and later a principal, in the New York City
school system. She married, became Virginia Douglas, and had
offspring of her own. After 47 years as an educator, she retired,
living to be 81 years old.  And during all those years she
received a steady stream of mail about her Santa Claus letter.
She replied to all her correspondents by sending them an
attractive printed copy of the Sun editorial.

© 1996 by Bill Becwar. All Rights Reserved.