- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 21, 2008

I don’t mind saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” this time of year because people are celebrating all kinds of different stuff.

Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, winter solstice - it’s a farmers market of holidays out there.

A few people are even trying to celebrate “Festivus,” apparently unaware its celebratory details were invented for an episode of “Seinfeld.” (I’m not too keen on the “Festivus Pole,” but I can get behind the “Airing of Grievances.”)

•••

A news report said an Indian woman has become the world’s oldest mother by giving birth to her first child - at the age of 70.

The newborn child, who appears to be a healthy 20-year-old woman, reportedly said, “Wow, I thought I’d never get out of there!”

Not surprising, fertility drugs were a factor in the septuagenarian’s pregnancy, which makes me wonder why a woman would want to use her Medicare benefits on childbirth.

Also, if she really wanted to have a child, why did she wait until she was 70 to do it? “I was busy” doesn’t quite cut it, you know?

•••

Do you ever space out while driving and arrive at your destination with no memory of how you got there? As if your car knows where you want to go and it just takes you there?

That happens to me a lot. And every time it does, my car thinks I want to be in my neighbor Bill’s living room.

Bill: Space out again behind the wheel, eh?

Me: Yeah. Is that “Cold Case” on the tube?

Bill: Yep. Roll down your window and grab a brew.

Me: You know, this IS where I want to be.

•••

Despite what holiday they say they’re celebrating, most people are doing their Christmas shopping.

That’s because Christmas has cornered the market in shopping. It’s like all the other holidays bow to the power of Christmas.

I just hope it doesn’t go to Christmas’ head - or else it might start a “pay for play” scheme.

•••

Some British churches have removed gender-specific words from traditional Christmas carols. (I am NOT making this up.)

Church of England clergymen have changed the lyrics to make the carols more “inclusive” and “modern” by replacing words such as “king,” “virgin” and “him.” (Guess it’s really hard to find a “king” or “virgin” these days. And being a “him” is just plain wrong.)

Changes at some churches include:

• “The Twelve Days of Christmas” mentions drug addicts, AIDS victims and hoodies.

• “Glory to the newborn King” becomes “Glory to the Christ child, bring.”

•”O come let us adore Him” becomes “O come in adoration.”

You know, nothing gets you in the Christmas spirit like a good old, gender-neutral, watered-down, politically correct holiday carol. Yep, nothing like it.

How about a rousing rendition of “We Three Kings of Orient Are?” Oh, sorry. I meant “We Three Leaders of Unspecific Gender From An Unnamed Asian Community Are.”

The thing is, I’ve always suspected drug use was involved in “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Why would anybody give so many bird gifts? You’ve got to be on something if you think that you can make a gift of eight women milking cows - or goats (the song is suspiciously silent on exactly what is being milked).

And “ten lords a-leaping” and “11 pipers piping?” C’mon, that’s gotta be crack or crystal meth.

•••

A new survey shows that most U.S. parents this year opted to give their children traditional names, like Jacob and Emma, instead of unusual ones, like Fedora and Kidney Bean.

Of course, American celebrity parents opted for strange names. It’s like they’re in some kind of contest to see who can come up with the weirdest name and give their kids’ the most intense sense of alienation.

Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani named their son Zuma Nesta Rock. (You see, they were expecting a girl.)

Pete Wentz and Ashlee Simpson named their son Bronx Mowgli. (That’s because Queens Baloo was already taken.)

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their kid Apple. (I hear that they’ve worked out a deal with Microsoft to name their next kid Vista or Zune.)

A couple of years from now, there’s going to be a kindergarten class with a very odd attendance list.

Is Kumquat Zydeco here?

Has anybody seen Stogie Stubble?

Sit down, Urinary Urgency. It’s not your turn.

•••

Christmas cards have become less festive to reflect our harder economic times.

That’s OK. One of the best Christmas cards I ever got was during a recession.

Printed on a single sheet of heavy bond paper was a picture of an elf with a black eye and a missing tooth. His clothes were old, torn and dirty. His left arm was in a sling, and his right arm was resting on a crutch that was beginning to break.

The message:

“Money’s tight

“Times are hard

“Here’s your freakin’ Xmas card”

Read Carleton Bryant’s daily humor blog at http://washington times.com/weblogs/ out-context/

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