Giving out the last presents 

With Christmas just a week away, I'm proud to announce that I have, officially, finished my shopping. The last gift on my list was for Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi, who works for his country's Al-Baghdadia television station (motto: "Watch Wheel of Fortune Each Weekday at 6 p.m. Or We'll Blind You in One Eye and Take Your Livestock.")

Al-Zaidi, as you probably know if you're like me and have seen the video 500 to 600 times, is the gentleman who greeted popular American President George W. Bush at a recent Baghdad news conference by standing up and sending the president his fondest wishes.

In accordance with strict Islamic tradition and centuries-old gift-giving guidelines, al-Zaidi had tucked these wishes inside his shoes, which were then thrown violently at the president's head. Bush ducked both of the Islamic footwear greetings. Many Iraqis at the news conference jumped up and shouted, "Qik, al-Zaidi mohr shozz savekk chenaa shoz upkkar." (Or "Quick, give al-Zaidi more shoes but save some in case Dick Cheney shows up.")

And so, for journalist al-Zaidi, my present was obvious: a gift certificate for 10 shoe-throwing lessons in hopes he will develop both speed and accuracy.

(Historical footnote: White House spokeswoman Dana Perino sustained a minor injury after the first shoe missed the president, hit the wall behind him, fell to the floor but then somehow got back up and struck Perino the so-called "magic shoe." Other Iraqis said a third shoe came from the grassy knoll.)

Ted Haggard was also on my list. The former pastor, as you might recall, recently announced that he was overcome by flashbacks of having a "sexual experience" with one of his "father's workers" when he "was 7" and had buried those memories "in the depths of the sea" until they started to "rage in [his] mind and [his] heart."

(That made Ted want to "roll around in warm oil with Mike the gay massage guy in Denver" and also made him buy methamphetamines that he then "threw out the car window" where they were used by a "gay raccoon who also wanted a massage.")

Anyway, in the highly unlikely event Ted feels another gay massage coming on, I bought the perfect gift: a mask that he can pull over his head so no one recognizes him.

It's a mask of Idaho Sen. Larry Craig.

I also got a gift for every person in El Paso County. Everyone gets two toothpicks, complete with instructions on how to safely insert them under the eyelids. This will allow us to look like we're awake during County Commissioner Dennis Hisey's next State of the Region address.

And there's a gift under the tree of our highly esteemed new state Sen. Keith "No Relation to Martin Luther" King, who livened up an otherwise mundane campaign debate on charter schools by actually referring to minority children as drum roll, please "colored kids."

For Sen. King I got a DVD of Our Gang ("The Little Rascals") from 1938. It's the hilarious episode in which Buckwheat says, "Hi. Ah'm Buh-Weet. Amembah me? Well 'den, o-TAY!"

I delivered the DVD in person, handing it to Sen. King at the end of his driveway where he waits by his mailbox, day and night, week after week, for his invitation to Barack Obama's inauguration. (Footnote: An Obama spokesman says Sen. King will be invited and will sit in the front row. Right next to Don Imus.)

I also bought a gift for the veteran news staff at local TV station KRDO Channel 13 (motto: "News at 10 Because Mom Says We Have to Be Home By 11"). I'm picking on Channel 13 because it ran, at the bottom of the screen during Sunday night's telecast, this actual announcement: "Bad weather is expected to continue at scheduled locations."


Anyway, for Christmas I gave the KRDO news team a signed copy of my most recently published work the highly acclaimed writing book, Me Write Good Now, Not To Much Bigger?

I will close by saying Merry Christmas to you all. And now I have to go.

Because soon-to-be ex-state Rep. Doug Bruce just walked into our office, and I have to get my shoes untied.


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