Coping: The “Christmas Wrapping” Hoax

Status is no longer in style.

We saw it last year on one of our casino jaunts, the one up to Choctaw to see the Commodores in concert. Oh, and take some money home, too…

While there, a FEW women were dressed to the 9’s (including Elaine who looks like a million bucks). But the majority were dressed in clothes that you’d see going to Safeway, Kroger’s, or any other supermarket. Or slopping the pigs or cutting firewood.

Out on the casino floor, it was even worse. People’s uniform on weekend mornings was generally sweats and loafers for the guys, and only one in a hundred on the female side looked like they could even “spel stile”, if’n you follow.

This has what, exactly, to do with Christmas Gift Wrapping?”

I was just getting to that.

My earliest encounter with alternative gift wrapping came about age 14 when my little sister started wrapping gifts (for all occasions) in last week’s comic section from the newspaper.

You see she, too, is endowed with a Large Ure Brain (a LUB) and these things have an amazing ability to GENERALIZE.

She was not just an “early adopter” of the Wrapping Revolution but one of the “early generals” who led the revolution against frivolous paper that sometimes cost more than the gift inside.

The funnies were easy to cut, you didn’t have to match up patterns (I cursed those until my sister showed me the way with funny papers), and they provided the “wrapping impaired” (many males) a way around the drudgery of waiting in line to have someone else do the wrapping. That saved money which we then turned into….Wait! Did I drift off point? Sorry.

The LUB generalization is as follows:

“Spendy Wrapping”      “Funny Papers”

1.It is paper                      Yep, sure is.

2.Brightly colored            See Peanuts

3.Costs a butt-load           25-cents in the day

4.Shows conformance       Whazzat ?

5.Hides the gift inside Use Superman

If the idea of wrapping a gift in Superman’s Sunday comics requires explanation, you’ve either already been exposed to too much Kryptonite, or you will make a hell of a poker player. Or, you could be a traffic cop with no sense of humor… Superman, X-ray vision, kryptonite…GET IT??? Sheesh.

I STILL haven’t found anything Elaine wants (and doesn’t have two or three of) but if I do, the current “wrapping in fashion” here is Bubblewrap or the Amazon delivery box.

This is wrap with no additional effort. It’s something related to paper in function. Zero work. Zero cost.

Confession: Have I ever thought about having Amazon do a gift wrap? Well, yes, but I have thought about running for Congress, too. Doesn’t mean I’m going to do either, though…

On the way to the doctor’s office I spied a couple of store windows with trees and boxes with glittery wrapping.

“Hmmm….” Was there anything in them? Likely not. (Praise the Lord, we near the point…)

No, as the last number of presidential elections up until this one have demonstrated I think, that Americans have a really strange habit of making decisions based on the “outside” of things. Appearance.

What really matters around here, though, is the inside of things.

So we will raise a toast this afternoon (at the red wine hour) to the Death of Wrapping Paper.

Metaphorically, are we returning to core concepts and content — looking past the marketing veneer and superficial patina?


While we’re at it, maybe we could get back to being the One Nation under (you-know-who) again, too.

Dark Side of “Hunter’s Rights” II

New adventures in the case of the Elmwood Yeller. (Not to be confused with Old Yeller.)

In our last installment, you’ll recall the local game warden, after being hounded for nine months by the person my buddy up the street yelled at for stray bullets coming over his property, filed a misdemeanor complaint.

Our friend dutifully appeared at the Courthouse last month where he was finger-printed and told to come back in January.

Apparently, all that happens at the next court appearance is he will say “Present!” and that will be the extent of it. Then a trial will be held.

Our friend’s attorney says it’s the damnedest thing he’s ever seen: A complaint filed 9-MONTHS after a purported event. Multiple contacts between the complainant and the GW, and finally a misdemeanor ticket.

Never to shirk our civic duty, we have launched the Elmwood Yeller Defense Fund and tossed $100 in the kitty as seed money. Maybe I can book him on Good Morning America which as everyone knows is a suburb of Texas.

The point is, he was not interfering with hunting. He was attempting to interfere with bullets flying over his property and in the vicinity of his home.

Still, the complainant may have deep pockets and be out for revenge…and I know there’s a term for that which we will get to if my friend files the HUGE PERSONAL LAWSUIT against the complainant and the County for malicious prosecution.

Then there’s the Federal case, too.

Still, it’s like Pappy advised: The first victim of any legal proceeding is justice.

We will endeavor to keep you posted on how this works out. Look for a GoFundMe page for the Elmwood Yeller Defense Project. Cookie cutter versions of the same law have already been found unconstitutional…and since there are no witnesses, oh boy.

Who knows about Texas, though? We are a different land, unto ourselves around here. Although in fairness, the laws are evenly applied every-other day.

Makings of a TV Drama, for sure. Fictional, at least to a point. Starring a rich Bambi-stalker getting ticked at being called out by a retired former sworn law enforcement officer. Yessir, lots of media angles to this, for sure.

Cue the theme from Johnny Yuma, would you?

What? Another version? “Panther quick and leather tough”? Zeus the Cat insists we move on.


(With apologies to David Bowie), we are off on another round of changes around here.

That “social media connector” has died.  Got in the way of fast page loading times.

Ditto the pop-up that was pitching our subscription service.  For similar reasons.

The quest for the fastest pages on the ‘net continues this weekend, so you may catch an occasional “Maintenance Mode” screen as we get after it with a cutting torch again.,

George’s Healthcare Report

My doctor isn’t giving out compliments, exactly, but I seem to be moving in the right direction with the Oatmeal Diet, converting myself to red wine (which you can only do so much of, so sayeth the book of UB40), and generally eating less beef. (Don’t have a cow, man…)

From the last visit (3 months) down 9 pounds, and from last year down 13.

More important, the top number of the BP which was 172 last time in (I get “white coat syndrome” and I was flying that day and, and, and…) was down to 140 over 88. At mid-morning, no less.

So the Oatmeal continues.

I treated myself to Chinese food about 11:30, but I also quit eating about 5. Reason?

That other diet – the one that says eat all you want – just do all your eating in a 6-hour window. The rest of the time, your body will have to work of stored reserves and that means going into fat-burning mode.

Doctor’s staff also mentioned the danger of losing too much, too fast. “You will get skin hanging off you and it looks terrible.”

Oh. Check. Slower, then.

Seems like 3-5 pounds a month, then to keep the loose skin taut. Works for me. Go warn the cow.

Other key learning point (which is why I’m sharing all this): Turns out about 12-17 points of my top number is due to? Coffee!

With no coffee my 5:30 AM BP was 120/80 pulse 57. WITH coffee it runs 132-137/78 pulse 65.

Remember, we have this “Our body is a powered chemistry set” outlook on things. So this is not medical advice. Just kicking it around the science lab… where the Bunsen has just gone under Mrs. Olsen’s finest.

Check Your Pipes

No, not your PSA numbers…the water pipes. After the Doc’s place, the Chinese joint, and a grocery store run, the balance of Thursday afternoon was prepping for “the big cold” that came through last night.

Remember? This is the day I was going to take the Beechcrate up because it flies so good when the air is cold (and thus “thicker” for the prop to bite into, and wings hold more and…).

But now that I study the situation from the warmth of the office this morning – hot coffee and all – I’ve decided that since we’re planning to sell the plane, who cares about another 150-feet per minute on climb-out?

What’s more, who wants to crawl around on the hangar floor to top off tires, drain fuel, pre-flight in the cold….wait. I think I talked myself out of it 10-minutes back.

– 30 – 73 and AR

And just so you know it’s Friday:

–30– has been traditionally used by journalists to indicate the end of a story. It is commonly found at the end of a press release. There are many theories about how the usage came into being,[1][2] e.g. from that number’s use in the 92 Code of telegraphic shorthand to signify the end of a transmission in the American Civil War era.

We gentlemen of 40-meter Morse (and members of the Morse Preservation Society) say 73 (which means best regards…there is no additional “S” on the end of 73 (73’s) because that would be best regards’s.

And AR run together (Morse .-.-.) means End of Transmission. CL run together (Morse -.-..-..) means closing the station down.

And now you know the rest of the story.

Huh? You mean: Write when you get to 30?

Uh…come back Monday for additional therapy.

17 thoughts on “Coping: The “Christmas Wrapping” Hoax”

  1. George,

    I agree with your thinking on the gift wrapping, but allow me to introduce you to the next level…gift bags. I am completely wrapping paper impaired so the bags make it even easier. You drop the gift into the appropriately sized bag, add some tape and tag and done. The real beauty of this? It’s a renewable resource! The bags just make the exchange circuit back and forth around the family at various holidays. You get a gift and you keep the bag…there’s no mess, little waste, it goes into storage and out it comes when needed. You’re welcome.


    • Gift bags are the LAZY way out. I’m surprised you even take the time to shop for someone instead of just grabbing a gift card at a checkout counter. Gift bags AND cards are totally impersonal and are the bastion of people lacking any creativity/imagination. WANT PROOF? This year, just wrap ONE single gift nicely in paper and ribbon and watch the recipient’s reaction as they unwrap it. I’ll just bet they do so very SLOWLY to savor the moment and the care with which that gift was given.

      • While I actually learned to open gifts slowly and carefully, preserving the paper, virtually everyone I know, including all kids, rip the wrapping off in shreds. It’s actually quite sad, like gulping food instead of savoring each bite.

        I try to preserve paper and gift bags, but along with everything else, they get lost over the year and I end up buying new.

        For the wrapping impaired, I might just suggest spray paint over the Amazon package and a tag.

  2. Sorry, George:

    You’re waaay off-base this frosty AM.

    1. Choctaw OK isn’t exactly a barometer of good taste or high-society, but you are correct that you experience exemplifies a disturbing national trend. You see, status isn’t out of style but SELF-RESPECT certainly is. That’s why you see people shuffling around a WalMart wearing pajamas wrapped in a ratty blanket, or sitting in a church pew at a wedding or funeral in yesterday’s shirt. Personally, I largely blame the universal over-medication of the populace which has only created a huge defeatist attitude. This is just one aspect that Trump hopes to counteract, no easy feat even is he was a Messiah.

    2. Christmas gift-wrapping isn’t just about presentation. Again, respect is involved. I’m reminded of the old slogan of Hallmark: “When you care enough to send the very best.” Key words: “CARE ENOUGH.” THe whole purpose of gifting isn’t about the cost or contents but rather that cliched “thought that counts” – that you will expend some extra time/attention on the recipient solely to bring them joy. Then, to enhance their experience you make just a little more effort to turn the mini-event into something really special by wrapping it as attractively as possible – if possible, in a style that personally appeals to them… and, it doesn’t always hafve to be elaborate or expensive. I’ve wrapped gifts before in plain brown paper, tied with sisal twine, embellished with a sprig of live Holly form my patio and made a huge impression; I’ve also spent large by wrapping smaller offering in thin sheet Copper that I hand-stamped with a favorite icon. But the point is, you do it not only to make someone happy – but also to show how much you love or respect them. And, just like the business counterpart it’s in this that your social model is most flawed: Zero cost usually equates to zero return. Like that ragamuffin shuffling along aisle 16 in their slippers it also generates zero respect. Self or otherwise.

    • It’s actually that ‘elephant in the room’ no one wants to mention called POVERTY! There are those of us struggling to get by, but we’ll be DAMNED if we’ll get on any government ‘assistance’! What self respect can someone have when they cannot adequately provide for their family? Combine that with government pushing the prescription of ‘mood stabilizing’ narcotics, and you get what you see these days. The deliberate destruction of U.S. society.

  3. George, I forgot to mention in my earlier reply a movie from 1959. Starring Jack webb as an L.A. newspaper Editor, the title was appropriately, “-30-“. Directed by Webb in his typical “just the facts, Ma’am” style it offers a glimpse into the usually very unglamorous world of true news. If you haven’t seen it, by all means check it out. Not out on disc, Amazon has it on streaming video for only $2.99. A nice 90 minutes of familiar territory I’m sure you’d enjoy immensely!

  4. I was a child in the depression and WWII so wrapping paper was reused. After Christmas the paper from the larger package had the edges trimmed and then was ironed. Thus, it became available wrap for a medium size package the next Christmas. It was nice to see the same familiar beautiful paper each year wrapping a smaller and smaller gift.

  5. If I looked like Elaine, I’d enjoy dressing to the 9s as well. Some women can throw together an outfit and look like they spent hours on it. I’m one of those who can spend hours getting dressed and still look like a fashion tragedy. Learned a long time ago to let those who can pull it off be the peacocks. I’m happy enough with clean and decent.

    As to Christmas paper, I’m fine with the 99 Cent Store-Dollar Tree-Dollar General (etc.) offerings. You can get great packages of decorated tissue paper there as well. (I keep a supply at work for gift wrapping emergencies.) Occasionally I splurge on 75 percent off after-Christmas stock. When I find something fancy I like a lot and don’t want to use for a limited life project (e.g., wrapping a present), I use it to cover small storage boxes or magazine containers. Personally, I want to spend my money on what’s inside the paper, not on what’s hiding inside until the big reveal.

    Now, thoughts on gifts for Elaine. You might try a flower bulb of the month subscription (you can search engine for options). She’d have a rotating display of house chi, and then could plant them outside when the bulbs were done blooming. Alternatively, while she may not NEED any art supplies, there are certainly fancy tools/paints she might not ordinarily consider buying for herself that she wouldn’t protest receiving as a gift from her thoughtful spouse. You might also want to consider subscriptions to international art publications (England, Japan, etc.) she could use for research and inspiration (and introduction to some of the aforementioned expensive tools and paints for future gifting options). Best I can offer without observing her more closely. Good luck with your quest.

  6. The 28% of the Venezuelan population that forages the trash for food would be absolutely overjoyed to receive a weeks worth of food if it was was just in a plastic bag. Total cost of that in hard currency would be about $6.

    And then there is the 4.2 million Syrian refugees, the two million Iraqi refugees that are still outside the country, and a million or so Palestinians whose homes have been destroyed.

    I understand the joy of giving to someone you care about, but let’s not forget the bigger picture here.

  7. As a pilot of 40 years I use sectional or world aeronautical charts for wrapping paper. Always starts a conversation on flying, and are unique.

  8. I would like a gift bag, from the webbots and all the other partiers on line,
    them I will give humans a 50/40 chance of surviving next year, due to the 17 at the end of the year
    2017, get it ?

  9. HMMMM: ‘gift-bag shaming’ what a not-so-clever way of avoiding responsiblity for taking the easy way out… for that’s precisely what it is. If you consistently walk only the smooth paved roads of life and studiously avoid gravel or sand, you will easily lose your fgooting when you stay off the fmailiar path.

    And, if that metaphor is too complex for you, I’ll spell it out even more clearly: If you willingly compromise on the little stuff -like using a gift bag/card instead of taking the time/effort to do otherwise- how easy will it be for you to shed ethics or integrity when they really matter? This attitude is sadly indicitive of one of the greatest evils facing contemporary mankind: superficiality. You blithely go through the motions doing only the minimum just to “get by” and in the process drag yourself down to an even lower level while encouraging others to do the same. So be it. Just don’t wring your hands and whine about being short-changed when that paved road becomes comes to a sheer cliff and you topple over the side without warning!

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