On the third day of Christmas…

Too many Christmas gifts these days are just cash, cards, and certificates  — but I do love getting bookstore certificates. Last night I emptied the Barnes and Noble gift card I’d gotten and came home with three books I’m really looking forward to. Which is a rarity — sometimes I go months without finding a book I’m really excited about reading.

First up, Michael Chabon’s “Gentlemen of the Road”, a swashbuckler he was thinking of calling “Jews with Swords”. It’s even illustrated with those pen-and-ink drawings with a caption from the text, just like in Hardy Boys and other adventure books. Too. Much. Fun.

Then the new book by Iain Banks, “The Steep Approach to Garbadale”. This is Banks in non-genre mode — when he writes SF his name is “Iain M. Banks.” Which makes me think that if Banks really cared for his readers, he would have used the initial for Mainstream and left it out for SF. Ah, too late to change now. I’ve read every book the man’s written, going back to 1984’s “The Wasp Factory”, and if you must know, he’s one of the reasons my son is named Ian.

And then I bought my own copy of a book I’ve read years before, but I very much need to re-read, Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics.” The thing is, it’s not just about comics — it has a lot to say about all storytelling, and maybe some day I’ll blog about that. My son picked up another book in the series, “Making Comics”, and I’ll be reading that too.


My Fully Customizable Holiday Letter to [You]

Nothing says Happy Holidays like one of those mass-produced year-end summary letters from friends and family. But If you’re like me, you have trouble finding the time to write your own generic letter, much less one personalized to every Tom Dick and Mary in your address book.

I was stuck—until I discovered the miracle of Auto-Emotion™!

Thanks to Auto-Emotion’s quick-and-easy web forms, I churn out fully-customizable holiday letters out in a jiffy—and now so can you!

Just print out this handy form, pop it in the mail, and let your recipients do the work for you! It’s a festive project everyone can enjoy, and I guarantee your loved ones will cherish this form-driven letter just as much as that rambling missive you sent last year.


Due to time constraints, I can no longer offer  individual holiday greetings. In the form below, please check the boxes that apply to you, sign the letter with my name, and mail it to yourself. Feel free to include a recent picture of me and/or my family. Thank you. 

Dear Checkbox Friend  Checkbox Relative   Checkbox Creditor   Checkbox Rehab Counselor (check all that apply)

Happy Holidays!

I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to write. The   Checkbox years   Checkbox months just seem to fly by! It  seems like only yesterday that we were gathered around the ol’  Checkbox Christmas tree   Checkbox judge   Checkbox casket.

How is/are the   Checkbox kid(s)  Checkboxpet(s)   Checkbox secretarial staff ? I was saddened to hear about your problems with   Checkbox your health   Checkbox your computer   Checkbox me.  I sure hope you hung on to your Checkboxsense of humor!   Checkbox unused prescriptions!

But seriously, as a person who shares your deep faith in  Checkbox God   Checkbox physics   Checkbox the rule of law, I’m sure  that in no time you’ll pull   Checkbox through   Checkbox out    Checkbox yourself together.  

As for me, this has been one “wacky” year! You probably  Checkbox heard   Checkbox read in my file about some of the issues I’ve been working through, but don’t worry, I’m sure that soon  I’ll be calling you up to Checkbox laugh  about it  Checkbox schedule payment   Checkbox score more Vicodin.

I have to sign off now—so many letters to write!—but  don’t be a stranger. We must get the “old gang” together for that Checkbox lake vacation   Checkbox intervention   Checkbox hearing we’ve always talked  about.   Checkbox Write back   Checkbox contact my attorney  soon.

Checkbox Merry  Christmas!    Checkbox Happy  Hanukkah!  ;  Checkbox 明けましておめでとう!