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The season for giving grief 

Ranger Rich

The Christmas frenzy has descended upon us, to use the old expression, like a National Rifle Association membership drive in a state mental hospital. And even though it's the most wonderful time of the year, there's one possibility lurking in the holiday shadows that frightens us. That's right: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford being hired as a mall Santa.

("Mommy! Santa Claus smells like Scotch — just like Grandma!")

Sure, the holiday (marking the day Jesus was born and emerged from the manger, and if he sees his shadow we get six more weeks of winter) is still a few weeks away. But the crazed Christmas shopping season is in full swing, with consumers in a frenzy to buy things, like TVs, laptops, toys, jewelry, members of Congress, etc. The best Christmas story so far: A woman in a Philadelphia mall zapped another female shopper with a Taser. Consumer experts refer to that as sticker shock.

Anyway, as a village resident for 20 years — when I arrived, Doug Lamborn was chewing on the Rubik's Cube he'd just gotten for his 39th birthday — I like to brighten the holiday with gifts.

Let's start with U.S. Rep. Lamborn's communications director, Catherine Mortensen, who quit in November to take a job with the National Rifle Association — leaving someone who figuratively shoots himself in the foot to work for people who actually shoot themselves in the foot.

For Catherine: A nice pair of bulletproof shoes.

Then there's the guy Lamborn defeated in the 2006 and '08 GOP primaries, Jeff Crank, now a radio host in our village, who during the last holiday season was troubled with New Year's Eve coverage on NBC that showed two men celebrating. On the air, from Crank, the only person less enlightened than Lamborn:

"And he turns around, and his quote-unquote partner turns around, and they kiss each other! But who wants to see ... I just don't want to see that! And I don't want to explain ... you know, not that the kids are up at midnight, but they are sometimes up at midnight on New Year's Eve."

Each of the Crank kids gets a T-shirt that reads, "We Only Have One Dad. Yippee."

Also on my list is felon Douglas Bruce, who served 180 days in jail for tax evasion and other crimes and has now filed what is at least his 15th lawsuit against our village, charging officials with violating, well, everything.

Doug seems just plain angry. Unloved, perhaps. So he also gets a T-shirt, this one reading: "My Cellmate Hasn't Called. He Hasn't Written ..."

Let's not forget Dr. Mike Rosebush, an ex-Focus on the Family, anti-gay hocus-pocus wizard who now toils at the Air Force Academy — meaning you and I pay his salary.

For the good doctor: A framed copy of the Hypocritical Oath.

For our City Council: Vaseline so they can more easily pull their heads from their rump regions after giving preliminary approval for an Einstein-like plan to take hundreds of thousands of dollars from the police budget — to water our parks.

Next time you're being mugged and beaten by gang members, the turf will be nice and green and cushy when they're stomping your head into it. (If you get brain damage in the attack, well, good news: You can still be on City Council.)

Not getting a gift this year is our fantastic mayor, Steve Bach. The Pikes Peak United Way released its Quality of Life Indicators report in October, saying jobs and incomes had stagnated in our village, manufacturing jobs have gone away, and the town's young workforce population is declining.

The report also warned of high levels of child abuse, lack of funds for stormwater control and affordable housing, the failure of most of our students to meet state education goals, a sexual assault rate that's the highest in the state, and rising obesity and suicide rates.

Other than that, the mayor seems to be doing a terrific job.

And he's a Republican, so it's not likely there will be anything stupid like a recall election. But next time around we should choose our mayor more carefully.

I bet Rob Ford will be available.

Rich Tosches also writes a Sunday column in the Denver Post.

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