Happy Christmas Eve to you. I'm not in a particularly pluggy mood after this much wassail, but, if your Yuletide shopping plans have gang agley this year, we do have SteynOnline gift certificates deliverable by email. They make a perfect gift if your loved ones are not ill-disposed toward my oeuvre.
~Today I guest-hosted for Rush on America's Number One radio show. We discussed Trump, ISIS supporters de-ice-ing planes at Minneapolis Airport, the myth of "homeless Jesus", and, of course, camel urine. You can find a few moments from the show here.
~During my interview for France's leading feline website Bonjour Le Chat, I was asked if I'd had any cats before Marvin, the cover star of Feline Groovy, came into my life. Well, yes. I've had cats all my life - friendly house cats and stand-offish barn cats and wild predatory roaming-the-woods cats, all sorts. But here's a cat I often think of round about this time of year, as you'll know if you've heard the Mark Steyn Christmas Show CD.
The very first Christmas show I ever did was with Andy Williams. Years ago, back when I started in radio as a teenage disc-jockey, he was doing a concert tour. And the program director managed to get the publicity people to agree not only to a promotional interview but also a taped holiday special in which Andy would talk about his Christmas shows on TV and play some of his favorite music. So I went along to his hotel with my trusty tape recorder â€“ one of those open-reel machines; I think it was a Uher or something like that. And Andy couldn't have been nicer considering I was a total idiot. And, as is often the way on these occasions, the PR guys hadn't told him he was supposed to be doing a Christmas show and it was early August or something. But once I'd explained it to him he just clicked into Christmas mode instantly. So I hit the record button, and he said, "Hi everybody, this is Andy Williams wishing you all a Merry Christmas", and then he introduced "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year".
So I take the tape back to my dump of a fleapit of a one-room squat, and I'm sitting pretty: I've got the big Andy Williams special. And circa December 23rd I get back from the radio station and I open the front door of my dump and across the other side of the room I see my cute little kitten Elliot. I'd been given this kitten by somebody a few days earlier, cutest little thing, and there's Elliot playing in the chair all tangled up in this ball of string or wool. And I'm thinking, "Aww, isn't that the sweetest thing? Hallmark should use that for a greeting card."
And at that point the thought occurs to me: "Hang on, I don't knit. Why would I have a ball of wool?" And I take two steps into the room and I realize that in fact Elliot the kitten is playing with tape from the spool of The Andy Williams Christmas Show. And I go, "Aaaargh!", and I'm across the room in nothing flat, and I yank the cat off the chair and the Andy Williams Christmas Show tape and hurl him across the room and splat against the wall, and I pick up the mangled mess of tape that once was Andy Williams, and I painstakingly spool it all back on to the reel while Elliot's sitting there looking at me with a big smile on his face that says, "Hey, got any more celebrity specials I can play with?" And then I take the tape back to the studio.
And fortunately it's all there except that very first line: "Hi, everybody, this is Andy Williams wishing you all a Merry Christmas", and then into "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year". The kitten has completely chewed that to shreds. So I go through the tape and I find spots where Andy speaks the same syllables, and I dub them off. This is way before computers or any of that jazz, so I have to copy them on to another reel of tape, and then I splice it all together the old-fashioned way, where you cut it up with razor blades and you stick it all together with splicing tape. And, after several hours of labor, I have successfully reconstruct the opening sentence. And the following day our exclusive Andy Williams Christmas Show begins with Andy saying:
Huh-I e-vuh-ree-uh-buh-o-dee th-is i-is A-nuh-dy Wuh-i-lee-ums wuh-ish-i-nuh-g yuh-oo or-luh a Me-uh-ree Chri-suh-mas.
So I don't think anybody spotted a thing. And Elliot and I enjoyed sitting back and listening to the show that Christmas.
When we revived our Christmas shows a few years back, I had it in mind to get Andy back on to see if he could perform for us live that splendid opening sentence: "Huh-I e-vuh-ree-uh-buh-o-dee..." But he left us three years ago, so sadly he can't. But in the spirit of the season th-is i-is Ma-ar-kuh Stuh-I-yuh-nuh wuh-ish-i-nuh-g yuh-oo or-luh a me-uh-ree Chri-suh-mas.