Blathr Wayne Lorentz

What is Blathr?
Showing blathrs with the tag “🎄.”

Thatʼs the spirit!

Wednesday, December 27th, 2023 Alive 19,237 days

A graph showing Christmas cards sent and received each year from 2004 to 2023

For reasons of anal-retentiveness, I keep a record of the number of Christmas cards we send and receive each year. This year felt particularly bleak, so I put the numbers into a spreadsheet to see if that was true. It was not.

While this was a record year for the number of Christmas cards we sent, and the fewest weʼve ever received, the number received isnʼt all that far off the yearly average. Considering how many of our regular Christmas card penpals have died in recent years, thatʼs not too bad.

A graph showing the ratio of Christmas cards sent to Christmas cards received each year from 2004 to 2023

However, the numbers also show that weʼre putting more effort into Christmas cards than ever. These days we have to send eight Christmas cards for every one card received. It used to be closer to four; and some years less than three. But maybe the mailman will deliver some stragglers this week, and things will balance out.

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You canʼt unsee it

Saturday, December 16th, 2023 Alive 19,226 days

Marauding mimes descend on the Midwest in this clip from the film A Christmas Story

Like millions of Americans, I watch A Christmas Story once a year. But it wasnʼt until today that I realized that when Ralph fantasizes about being Red Ryder, heʼs defending his home from a gang of mimes.

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♫ The stars at night are big and bright… ♫

Monday, November 20th, 2023 Alive 19,200 days

Main Street Christmas lights

Houstonʼs Main Street Christmas lights look great at night. The problem is that during the day, they look like the city just survived a bomb blast.

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That would be “No L”

Tuesday, December 20th, 2022 Alive 18,865 days

“NOEL” on Main Street Square, Houston

Anywhere else, this would be a Christmas decoration. But since this is Houston, itʼs probably a protest against mass transit.

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Monday, December 19th, 2022 Alive 18,864 days

A faceless gingerbread man

The bakery down the street serves a mean Turkish coffee, but I didn't expect a 15th-century Ottoman invasion to remove the faces from all of the gingerbread men.

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Liberty is for dowagers

Friday, December 2nd, 2022 Alive 18,847 days

A Fortnum and Mason Advent calendar and a Liberty Advent calendar

Darcie and I may disagree about which is the better British department store, but we can agree that Advent calendars are an essential part of the season.

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Friday, November 4th, 2022 Alive 18,819 days

Christmas lights on Main Street in Houston

November 4th, and the Christmas lights are up on Main Street.

Iʼm O.K. with that.

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Tuesday, September 27th, 2022 Alive 18,781 days

A package of H.E.B. Holiday Stuffing potato chips

An object can be both well done, and not good at the same time. To wit: “Holiday Stuffing” favor potato chips from H.E.B.

The San Antonio supermarket chain has leapfrogged pumpkin spice season and landed firmly in the fuzzy, nostalgic quagmire of Thanksmas season.

Opening the bag, I took my usual deep breath of snackmosphere to preview what was ahead, and I nearly gagged. It really does smell very much like Stove-Top stuffing. It also tastes more like stuffing than a lot of brandsʼ actual boxed stuffing does these days.

So H.E.B. gets an A+ for execution, because when someone said “make stuffing-flavored potato chips,” someone else made it happen. But as food goes, itʼs just not good, because when you eat it, you expect one thing and get another.

Iʼll still finish the bag, though. And let the “Holiday” term slide because stuffing is traditional for both Christmas and Thanksgiving.

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Burning calories

Sunday, November 21st, 2021 Alive 18,471 days

The non-burned cookies

I made cookies today. Truthfully, I made about 40 cookies today, but these are the six that donʼt look awful.

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It says so on the box

Saturday, January 9th, 2021 Alive 18,155 days

A fragile box

A box arrived for my wife today. Itʼs marked fra-gee-lay. It must be Italian.

I wonder if Italians are sick of that joke.

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Almost forgot Jesusʼ birthday

Thursday, December 31st, 2020 Alive 18,146 days

I just got a Christmas card in the mail from the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. It was postmarked December 23. I guess Christmas just kind of snuck up on the Archdiocese of Denver!

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Monday, December 28th, 2020 Alive 18,143 days

Based on the junk mail that comes in, the lady who used to live in this apartment was some kind of interior designer. She must have been a pretty high-end one because sheʼs constantly getting solicitations from companies trying to get her business. Last week, UPS delivered three boxes of candy from a lighting company trying to score her business.

I donʼt know if the lights are any good, but the candy was excellent.

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Ho ho, hmmm

Sunday, December 27th, 2020 Alive 18,142 days

I think the Santa side of Christmas deserves more examination.

We have created an entire season around parents giving gifts to their children, and then letting someone else take the credit.

Itʼs a billion-dollar illustration of the selflessness of parenting.

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Cheap date

Saturday, December 26th, 2020 Alive 18,141 days

Annie in a box

“Thank you for the box. Itʼs just what I wanted.”

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Ordinary, but elusive

Sunday, December 13th, 2020 Alive 18,128 days

Christmas Blend from Starbucks

Todayʼs coffee is Starbucks Christmas Blend. Not to be confused with Holiday Blend.

Holiday Blend is much more widely distributed than Christmas Blend. When I lived in Seattle, you couldnʼt find it at all. Here, itʼs available if you hunt for it, and I managed to get this one delivered.

Itʼs good. Iʼm not sure what makes it Christmassy. It doesnʼt taste of peppermint or elves or anything. Itʼs heavier than Blonde, but not going to mug you in an alley like Italian Roast. Itʼs just a shade darker than Pike Place, in my estimation. Itʼs a good coffee since I like my coffee the way I like my women: ordinary, but elusive.

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Saturday, December 5th, 2020 Alive 18,120 days

A screenshot of Appleʼs Home app

How does Appleʼs Home app not have a Christmas tree icon?

That seems like a pretty basic thing for a remote-controlled light switch.

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Real rules

Friday, December 4th, 2020 Alive 18,119 days

Annie showing zero interest in the Christmas tree

I got a Christmas tree.

When we lived in apartments in Chicago and Houston and Seattle and elsewhere, we always had real trees. Then when we moved into the big house here, we always had fake trees. Counterintuitive. Now that weʼre in an apartment again, I went real once more.

Darcie sent a picture of the tree to her sister, and sheʼs convinced itʼs fake. Itʼs sad when people are so used to fake things they think the real thing is inferior. Iʼm guilty of that, too. Banana-flavored ice pops tastes way better than actual bananas.

Annie shows zero interest in the Christmas tree. While I appreciate the lack of mischief, she really is a poor cat.

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Thursday, January 10th, 2019 Alive 17,425 days

The gift shop at China Ranch

I sent my mom something from this place last month. She said it was the best Christmas present she ever received.

I guess I wasted six hours of my life with all that macaroni and Elmerʼs glue back in 1975.

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Thursday, December 27th, 2018 Alive 17,411 days

If youʼre not sure when itʼs OK to take down the Christmas decorations, choose from one of the following:

  • January 6: The Epiphany
  • January 13: Baptism of Jesus
  • February 2: Candlemas
  • Tomorrow: Close enough
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Tuesday, December 25th, 2018 Alive 17,409 days

Honey, have you checked out shitters?
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Monday, December 24th, 2018 Alive 17,408 days

Ralphieʼs dad pointing out a mundang noodle

Closed captioning makes Ralphieʼs dadʼs swearing really awesome.

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Sunday, December 23rd, 2018 Alive 17,407 days

Cleaning the litter box is a lot more festive this time of year, what with all the butt nuggets threaded together with tinsel missing from the tree like the worst Christmas train ever.

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Sunday, December 23rd, 2018 Alive 17,407 days

Candy for three holidays from now

Santa hasnʼt come yet, but already the supermarket is loaded up for Valentineʼs Day.

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Sunday, December 23rd, 2018 Alive 17,407 days

A message from Clark County, Nevada

If the local government encourages you to take your family to one of the county shooting ranges on Christmas Eve and discharge firearms to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you may live in Nevada.

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Friday, December 21st, 2018 Alive 17,405 days

The Bali Hai golf club

The view from the office Christmas party. Thatʼs not snow. Itʼs sand.

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Saturday, December 15th, 2018 Alive 17,399 days

Henri licking his chops

What a cat with a tummy full of tinsel looks like.

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Saturday, December 15th, 2018 Alive 17,399 days

Itʼs just not Christmas until the first cat barfs up a ball of tinsel.

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Thursday, December 13th, 2018 Alive 17,397 days

A seasonal sack of grub

Iʼm not suggesting that In-N-Out Burger put “Merry Christmas” on its bags to imply that Double Doubles are a good Christmas gift. But Iʼve gotten worse presents.

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Saturday, December 8th, 2018 Alive 17,392 days

Totally not a scratching post

Santa dropped off a present for the Annie and Henri today. Hopefully they donʼt figure out what it is.

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Saturday, December 8th, 2018 Alive 17,392 days

A Christmas greeting from

I received this e-mail from my registrar in Austria. You can tell itʼs not an American company, because itʼs not afraid to say “Christmas.”

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Friday, December 7th, 2018 Alive 17,391 days

A damaged package

Not to be outdone by the Amazon delivery guys who throw my packages over the gate, UPS appears to have actually run over my wifeʼs Christmas present before handing it over to the Postal Service for the last-mile delivery.

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Thursday, December 6th, 2018 Alive 17,390 days

Pickle, rotisserie chicken, and macaroni and cheese-flavored candy canes

I predict this will be the last year my office does Secret Santa.

Youʼre welcome.

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Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 Alive 17,389 days

A cartoon sleigh loaded with oversized bobbers

According to my Advent calendar, the Son Of God got fishing tackle today. Nice bobbers, Baby Jesus!

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Tuesday, December 4th, 2018 Alive 17,388 days

A Nevada Blind Childrenʼs Foundation Christmas tree

Today I learned that blind children are better at decorating Christmas trees than I am.

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Tuesday, December 4th, 2018 Alive 17,388 days

A Hooters Christmas Tree

If your neighborhood Christmas tree display has a tree from the Hooters Casino, you might live in Las Vegas.

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Sunday, December 2nd, 2018 Alive 17,386 days

I find it curious that the Palestinian prime minister can take part in the annual lighting of the Christmas tree ceremony at Manger Square in Bethlehem; but in America, where we supposedly have the freedom to speak our minds, many people are afraid to even say the word “Christmas” for fear of losing their jobs.

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Sunday, November 25th, 2018 Alive 17,379 days

A decorated Mary garden

Itʼs Christmas at Our Lady of the Missing Hands Succulent Garden and Decorative Electrical Hazard.

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Sunday, November 25th, 2018 Alive 17,379 days

Many candles and one cat

Henri canʼt decide if Iʼm decorating for Christmas, or filming a Police music video.

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Monday, November 12th, 2018 Alive 17,366 days

The holly and the ivy

My dry cleaner has an entire wall of holly. Hopefully the H.O.A. doesnʼt nail her for decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving.

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Donʼt be a prick

Friday, November 9th, 2018 Alive 17,363 days

The Ethel M Cactus Garden

I wish I could decorate the cacti in my garden like this, but I just donʼt have the gloves for it.

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Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 Alive 17,360 days

My desk

Christmas in the cubicle.

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