Archive for December, 2008

Rangifer Santacus

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Santa’s reindeer are thought to be a subspecies of the genus Rangifer. How and why this particular subset became genetically different from their free-range cousins is the focus of many scholarly tomes. What is known is that, imbued with magical powers involving flight (and in rare cases, a nose capable of bio-luminescence), they have found a safe haven with an enigmatic fat man who lives in an undisclosed location in the north. That he’s poker buddies with the Generalissimo comes as no surprise to anyone.

According to Wikipedia, the domestic reindeer, commonly seen in Scandinavia, Russia, and Iceland, are known to eat moss, leaves, and grasses, but from time to time are capable of digesting lemmings, eggs, and mushrooms. Females range from 130-370 pounds, and males from 220-700. At a height of nearly six feet (and in some cases more), reindeer have been domesticated for centuries, yielding milk, meat, and hides for clothing. Some have even been used for transportation, though Santa’s herd seems to be one of the few bred specifically for this purpose.

Santa’s current herd is descended from a group of eight reindeer found left on his doorstep in 1823. They spend most of their year in the lap of luxury, dining on fine baked goods and imported tequila. Santa lent us two of his more reliable off-season mounts, a sixty-year-old female named Montezuma’s Revenge and a much older bull named Rudy.


1996 Volvo 850R wagon

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

I tossed him the keys. Looking back, this was a mistake. In fact, pretty much everything about this was a mistake.

“Get in!” the Generalissimo cried. I did as instructed. I vaguely remembered my last test drive with him, which meant I had my seat belt on before I even shut my door.

We’d decided to do the first few tests in cars we had easy access to. The first, obviously, was the Generalissimo’s Lamborghini LM002. The second was in my car, a 1996 Volvo 850R wagon. She had 72,000 miles on the clock and I’d just gotten her back from the dealer after two grand in engine mounts, struts, and sway bar installation. On the upside, she was driving like a dream. Then I gave a crazy man my keys.

He had on his dress uniform, the green one with all the shiny buttons and ribbons and the gold braids hanging from the epaulets. He looked like something out of a bad eighties movie, ready to conquer a neighboring country. He cranked up the Volvo. The turbocharged five cylinder engine wasn’t as smooth as you might expect. Less of a kitten’s purr and more of an adult cat trying to purr while you’re standing on it. Not that I’ve done this before. Not that they can prove.

“Hold on!” he said. He put the gear selector in Drive and dropped the e-brake. I closed my eyes and said a prayer. Not sure if the Big Guy was listening.

Lamborghini LM002

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Welcome to the Generalissimo’s first post. Please, whatever you do, no flash photography.

GEN: Welcome!

WGT: Thanks, I think.

GEN: Safety first!

WGT: (I click my seatbelt) Tell me a little about your car.

GEN: This is a 1991 Lamborghini LM002! I rescued her from a tragic fate at the hands of an evil oil tycoon! He made the classic mistake of giving her to me! Fool!

WGT: Um, okay. What I meant was—

GEN: Hold on! We ride! Ha ha!

WGT: (author crosses himself) Oh sweet Jesus.