In Brooklyn, they refer to guys like me, constantly griping about how much we hate freaking Xmas, as “a hump.”
With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred. The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx. … Meanwhile, the author is up to his usual business. Characters stop what they’re doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically. Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur. If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. –Thomas Pychon, dust-jacket blurb for Against the Day.
It don’t make sense,
The chica chica boom chic!
But it’s imMENSE,
The chica chica boom chic!
And now, a musical interlude from our (purely fictional) NMM(-TV)SNB(B)CNN(P)BS infotainment division: An Xmas samba-enredo for Roberto Carlos to croon through his dentures in English as she is spoke.
With apologies to Thomas Pynchon.
Oh, when you swap your hemispheres
And comes that special time of year
When Santa Claus he comes to town
And guides ballistic reindeer down
You will …
Find you miss that Xmas chill!
‘Cause Xmastime in old Brazil
Just doesn’t have the same old thrill
Of wading deep in frozen slush
Or telling your sled-dogs to mush
On the other hand it’s fine …
For getting in some suntan time
[unless the rain begins to chime
and your saudosa maloca sinks into the slime]
The girl from Ipanema
Gets a job working the mall
Dressed like an elf
she herds the selfish
Mob of greedy brats
Toward their Paraguayan Garfield Cat
Fresh off the Santos steamer:
The pouters and the screamers.
And it drives her up the wall
When you see your folks in Ubatuba
don’t forget to make some icy Cubas:
Way down here, Noel is hot!
And they drink guaraná (“champagne” or Kwat)
And there’s not a conifer in sight
To light so bright on Xmas night
When you carol at the midnight rite
And the weather’s a different kind of fright
And that’s my plight, and yet, despite
All this …
mas to yoooooooooou
[Sing first two bars of “White Christmas,” with ginga and a sardonic smile, while the malandro at the next table there at your corner boteco shakes a box of matches, or, better yet, a pandeiro if he’s got one.]
Lately, we have discovered an alternative brand of guaraná from Minalba that we like a lot.
Coca-Cola’s Kwat — is the brand name meant to evoke the narcotic khat they chew in the Horn of Africa? — is just too damned sweet and corn-syrupy.
It is sort of like the difference between (1) industrialized, artificially flavored root beer or ginger ale and (2) the good kind, with lots of natural, old-fashioned sasparilla or ginger-root flavor.
Drink with ice and an orange slice. So nice.
Xmas 2.0, Futurama Style