In which our dear leaders pontificate on the issues of the day …
J. Rashad Brown: It’s the holiday season, season Mikey! And from sea to shining sea folks will gather to eat, argue and imbibe in the name of, I guess, whatever it is they believe. Personally, as is customary of a member of the Quarters Magazine QUARTIES Award Nomination Committee, I will be tipping a glass in honor of Chris Hitchens, who went out the way I figure I will … early, angry and without regret.He was an unrepentant asshole who drank and smoked himself to an early grave and was on the wrong side of the Iraq thing, but he could certainly turn a phrase. That’s really all he wanted. As Kevin Smith would say, big bucket of win for Hitch.

Michael H. Samuels: So we’re going there already, huh? Starting off on the death note. Well, it sure was a big week for that. Your boy Chris, Kim Jung Il, Vaclav Havel. The holy trinity, so speak. Or unholy, depending on your perspective and the time of year. And well, since it is the most wonderful time of year, perhaps that metaphor doesn’t quite work. Too late.

JRB: So, decorate your tree, light a menorah and find some decent (spiked) egg nog while reading this week’s edition of…

THE QUARTIES

Leading off, let’s go ahead and get out of the way a bah-humbug QUARTIE to Republicans in the House of Representatives.I’ve been covering/paying attention to politics for a long time and I’ve always considered the House of Representatives to be the drunken uncle of the American political machine, but I can’t remember a time where they’ve been so ridiculous.I can’t believe it took so long for House Republicans to extend the payroll tax cut. I can’t believe so many of them misread the situation. But, most of all, I’m really having a hard time reconciling the fact that, of all people, John Boehner seemed to be the adult in the GOP room.Seriously, I’m not prepared to live in a world where Boehner is the voice of reason. Cats and dogs… living together… total anarchy.What’s up with you Virginia? Is there a Santa Claus?

MHS: Is there really any doubt, good sir?  According to the New York Sun, “He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus.”

Sorry, you went there, I had to comply. Walked right into that one. While we’re at it, let’s give a holiday-season QUARTIE to the now-defunct New York Sun and Francis Pharcellus Church for, in 1897, writing such a marvelous response to an age-old question that newspapers around the country continue to publish it each Christmas even now.

That certainly does get me into the holiday spirit of things. Thanks for that, JB. I did need that. Because, otherwise, one could get down pretty quick paying attention to what’s going on the world.

It pains me to do this, but I think this story warrants mentioning. I’m giving an even-though-George-W.-Bush-is-no-longer-in-office-there-are-still-evil-doers-in-this-world QUARTIE to the devil of a man who burned a woman alive in a New York apartment building elevator because of about $2,000 owed to him.

The whole thing was caught on surveillance videotapes. I’ll spare you the details, but it was pretty horrific. It turns out the man, Jerome Isaac, was a handyman who had done some work for the woman, Deloris Gillespie. However, Gillespie fired him over disputes over money and after some of her items were stolen. She even bought multiple locks for her apartment door to keep him out.

Another elevator incident in New York, you say? Indeed. Makes me look twice at anyone who wanders in next to me on my way up to my fifth floor apartment.

OK, Justine, how about a pick me up after all that?

JRB: Yow wow…

MHS: Yeah, sorry about that.

JRB: And, you were talking about me being dark. OK, let’s lighten things up a bit here.

Remember when I called the House of Representatives the drunken uncle of American politics. Here’s another example of that. I’m giving out a don’t-start-none-won’t-be-none QUARTIE to Wisconsin GOP Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner. Apparently the Distinguished Gentleman from Wisconsin was overheard at Reagan National Airport talking shit about Michelle Obama.

As we all know, the First Lady has decided to make fighting childhood obesity one of her pet issues. In doing so, she’s pissed off several fat, old Republicans who have taken her suggestion that kids eat healthily as a socialist attempt to control what people eat. This is, of course, bullshit, but Republicans will grasp at anything anti-Obama.

Anyway, Sensenbrenner apparently said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that Michelle Obama has a fat ass. Never mind that the congressman has jowls only a bulldog’s mother could love. He’s since apologized for his remark, but that’s pretty meaningless. He’s only apologizing because he got caught.

As for the claim that Michelle Obama has some junk in her trunk… you know what, she does, but, in a good way. God Bless her for it. Forget party girls, Curvy girls are where it’s at and Michelle is leading the charge for healthy curvy girls. Hey, Michelle… how you doing? (MHS: Really? Hello, Secret Service? Yeah, that’s JB over there. The one with the dreads, yup, that’s him.)

OK … I’m getting out of this before I get into trouble. Let’s move on to something a little less controversial: the NBA.

I’d like to extend an it’s-the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year QUARTIE to the NBA for getting it’s shit together in time to offer up the customary Christmas day quadruple header. Of course, America’s Team: Your Miami Heat will be heavily involved, as they will almost certainly curb-stomp the Dallas Mavericks after they get their ill-gotten championship rings.

Still, Dec. 25 will be about more than that. It will be about the opportunity to convene with family and friends on such a joyous … blah, blah, blah, BASKETBALL! Whooo! Let’s go Heat! Let’s go Heat!

Vanessa?

MHS: Well, it’s about time, Gabrielle, I thought you’d mention the Association long before now. I must admit, I’m excited about the season starting. You know, I’m not too mad over the lockout either. Whatever, rich people fighting over billions. Kobe’s still hurt. Dirk’s still German and LeBron is still … well, LeBron. Don’t necessarily like the man, but respect his game. (JRB: Watch your mouth!)

Enough about that though. We can go on all day and night about the NBA, or any professional sports league for that matter. They all have their fair share of shady characters. Not everyone can be Tim Tebow, after all, can they? Jesus, I disgust myself sometimes.

Getting back on track, I want to give a howdy-neighbor-that’s-one-heck-of-a-weekend-getaway QUARTIE to Ekaterina Rybolovleva, the 22-year-old daughter of Russian billionaire Dmitriy Rybolovlev, who paid the full asking price of $88 million to buy former Citigroup chairman Sandy Weill’s 6,744-sq-ft apartment at 15 Central Park West in Manhattan.

This is how Forbes described the apartment, which Rybovleva, a college student, plans on making her home when visiting New York:

“The apartment, in one of the toniest post-war buildings in Manhattan, has 10 rooms including 4 bedrooms, a wraparound terrace of more than 2,000 sq. feet … and 2 wood burning fireplaces.”

You know, sometimes you get a peek into how the top 1 percent live and you think, maybe, just maybe those Occupy Wall Street folks do have a point. But, as you like to say, that’s another show.

I’d like to wrap up my Quarties for this week with a just-in-time-for-the-holidays QUARTIE to the U.S. economy. It’s been a roller-coaster of a year, to say the least, but at least at the end of it, things are looking up.

Unemployment is dropping, gas prices are going down, home sales are improving, people are shopping. Who knows why or how, but who cares? This might not be sustainable because worker’s pay is barely rising, but it is much nicer to end the year on a high note than worrying about a second or even a double-dip recession.

Is that a better pick-me-up, Tonya?

JRB: Yes, it’s better, Sara. Perhaps a bit misleading, but certainly a happier note than fires in elevators.

OK, as our resident gentile, I suppose it’s up to me to provide a jingle-all-the-way QUARTIE to Christmas.

At this point, Christmas — with the tree and the presents and Santa and all of that stuff — isn’t necessarily a religious holiday to everybody who celebrate it. There will be several atheists and agnostics who will participate in a gift exchange this year, as they have in years past.

Personally, I think it’s awesome. I’m not the most religious cat in the world, so I don’t think the spirit of the holiday season necessarily needs to be tied to religious beliefs. Kudos to those who do (MHS: TEBOW! God I hate myself sometimes), but those who are more into the good feelings surrounding the holiday season shouldn’t be shunned for their beliefs, or lack thereof.

Anyway, that’s our time. Happy holidays everybody. We’ll see you next week. For Mikey, I’m JB. GOODNIGHT EVERYBODY.

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