Just ahead of my TV appearance with Tucker, thank you for all your kind words about this year's Mark Steyn Christmas Show. Among other delights in the course of an hour plus, a great actor, Orson Bean, gave us a Stevie Wonder song ...and a great pop singer, Tal Bachman, turned thespian as the Ghost of Christmas Past. We like to mix it up a little. Lisa Letto says:
This show has done more to put me in a Christmas mood, than I thought possible. Thanks!
But Steyn Club member Lee Phelps is already looking forward to next Christmas:
Wonderful show! Perhaps next year there could be a Florida version. Rush must have some extra space around in Palm Beach. Thanks again for such a delightful Christmas show!
We'll bear that in mind, Lee. There are always certain logistical considerations one disdains at one's peril: For example, we generally like to celebrate diversity with guests from many lands, and, alas, it is easier to guarantee that an American guest will make it into Canada than vice-versa - where the zealots of Homeland Security, after a hard day of letting forty thousand overloaded skiffs cross the Rio Grande, will suddenly decide that a Quebec flautist is the real national-security threat. Still, we shall consider the notion.
Meanwhile, welcome to the second of our Yuletide Tales for Our Time - a brace of Klondike Christmas yarns written four days apart in November 1898 by Jack London. In tonight's story, a Steyn Christmas Show-like agglomeration of diverse nationalities are holed up in the Yukon on Christmas Eve when a stranger arrives at their cabin door. The punch is flowing and the reminiscences soon follow:
'So thet's how me an' the ol' woman got spliced,' said Belden, concluding the exciting tale of his courtship. '"Here we be, Dad," sez she. "An' may yeh be damned," sez he to her, an' then to me, "Jim, yehâ€”yeh git outen them good duds o' yourn; I want a right peart slice o' thet forty acre plowed 'fore dinner." An' then he sort o' sniffled an' kissed her. An' I was thet happyâ€”but he seen me an' roars out, "Yeh, Jim!" An' yeh bet I dusted fer the barn.'
'Any kids waiting for you back in the States?' asked the stranger.
'Nope; Sal died 'fore any come. Thet's why I'm here.' Belden abstractedly began to light his pipe, which had failed to go out, and then brightened up with, 'How 'bout yerself, strangerâ€”married man?'
For reply, he opened his watch, slipped it from the thong which served for a chain, and passed it over. Belden picked up the slush lamp, surveyed the inside of the case critically, and, swearing admiringly to himself, handed it over to Louis Savoy. With numerous 'By gars!' he finally surrendered it to Prince, and they noticed that his hands trembled and his eyes took on a peculiar softness. And so it passed from horny hand to horny handâ€”the pasted photograph of a woman, the clinging kind that such men fancy, with a babe at the breast.
It's now the eve of Christmas Eve at SteynOnline, which means not only this year's Mark Steyn Christmas Show but also our annual Christmas cornucopia tomorrow evening with many more worthwhile stories to enjoy while you roast your chestnuts on an open fire. If you've yet to hear any of our Tales for Our Time, you can do so by joining The Mark Steyn Club. For details on membership, see here - and, if you're seeking something for a fellow fan of classic fiction this holiday season, don't forget our limited-time-only Christmas Gift Membership, which this year includes a handsomely engraved presentation set of three of our most popular Tales for Our Time (The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Time Machine and The Thirty-Nine Steps).
On the other hand, if you'd like a book in old-fashioned book form, over at the Steyn store there are bargains galore among our Steynamite Christmas Specials - although at this late date they'll be arriving after Boxing Day. If you feel bad about that, you can always bulk up a tardy present with a deluxe berth on next year's third annual Mark Steyn Cruise.
See you on the telly in an hour or so.