There's so much to say about this year's Christmas Shebangabang, but I'll have to give you the short and sweet for now, as I am writing on borrowed time. My laptop, you see, on which I depend for nearly everything, has decided that it's forgotten how to start up, and whenever the hard-disk gives itself a How's-Your-Father it spits out "fatal disk errors." I've been assured my data are retrievable, but I was also assured that George Bush Jr. would never be president and that Iomega stock would top out at 40. So I won't be sleeping soundly for a while.
The foremost topic of conversation is that Robert's conversion to the dark side is now complete. He now sits at the feet of the emperor in a brand-new #13 Yankees home jersey, which he would wear in the bathtub if we let him. He knows where it is at all times, and some internal alarm goes off whenever either of the RetardoCats gets anywhere near it, lest they sully it with their shedding. I wish that were all, but it were not, and the shot I have of my child wearing a Yankee jersey and Yankee batting gloves and brandishing a Yankee bat is enough to make a grown man cry.
(Wait. The Boston Red Sox have won two Series since the Yankee dynasty ended seven years ago. Never mind.)
Speaking of RetardoCats, the other big hit with the Berts is an unassuming pair of remote-control cars. They're the size of your basic Matchbox and need recharging every 45 seconds, but when they're working they're absolutely excellent for tormenting felines who will Never. Stop. Chasing. They're so intent that even with four broken limbs they'd find a way to hump their bodies across the floor to catch the strange little robo-vermin.
I hope your family celebrations were happy and healthy, and many thanks to those of you who e-mailed about Laid-Off Granddad. The blood thinners are working, and his leg no longer resembles a big, fat leg of mutton. He still cannot shave, however, lest he cut himself and die clotlessly, so I'm growing a sympathy beard until he can resume his clean-cut, clean-shaven lifestyle. This is the sort of thing I wish I could explain to people as they hurry their children past me on the street.