Ho ho howdy folkses! We've somehow made it through to the end of the year, a bit depleted and wobbly on our feet, but ready and eager to indulge in the holiday season's most merrily mephitic tradition, our good old fashioned Twelve Days of Shitmas spectacular for 2022! What makes it good? Well, we're all still alive to enjoy it, and we think you'll agree that's pretty darn good. What makes it old fashioned? Mostly the smell.

As evidenced by the paucity of our review output this year, it's been a challenging time at Million Monkey Towers. We've passed variously through seasons of loss, change and upheaval, but Pam and the Interns and I have weathered every storm and faced every obstacle with grace, poise and determination. Mostly. To be honest, we did lose our shit just once, in early March in the middle of the night, when we ran out of HoHo cakes and had to rough it until the corner store opened at 5 AM, but obviously that was a calamity sure to push even the most steady and resilient of temperaments over the edge.

When it comes to Shitmas
it's not just the spirit that moves.

As we do each festive season, we're posting a brand-new review of a holiday special every other day beginning December 3rd, and culminating with what we consider the worst of the bunch on Christmas Morning. We're particularly excited about year's assortment, ranging from good to bad to abysmal, and representing a span of seventy-two years, six countries and four continents!

We're also fairly bursting out of our already perilously tight BVDs to offer an ever-so-slightly burnished turd of a feature we're calling Crouching Elf, Hidden Santa! Stealthily secreted inside random screenshots in each review will be a weird, nasty ir downright racy photo of a Christmas Elf and an odd, amusing or disturbing depiction of Santa Claus, each of which only our most clever and good-looking readers will be able to find.

As if that wasn't enough, we've also added something extra special to this year's Shitmas Bonus section in the form of a twelve-part story anthology called Tales from the Northside. Join us at the end of each day's article as we shed an eye-opening and exclusive light on the obscure, mystical, sometimes seedy underworld of Santa Claus and his sprawling organization.

That's a lot of Shitmas entertainment, and it's all 100% free and scientifically proven to make your spirits soar and your Yuletide season bright.

For our first offering this year we've chosen something that amply demonstrates just how shockingly low the standards were for children's entertainment in the 1960's. Inured as we are to the toxic, cast-off swill we subject ourselves to each and every day here at MMT, we still found Santa's Christmas Circus to be an excruciating viewing experience. It's so bad, in fact, that you may well doubt if any subsequent offering could possibly be worse...but have faith, little Shitlings. Shitmas has its own special magic, and it's always full of surprises.

Frank Wiziarde (1916-1987), a.k.a. Whizzo the Clown, was once a Kansas TV icon, with his children's program Whizzo's Wonderland appearing on-air consistently, through several station changes between outlets in Kansas City and Topeka, from 1954 to 1987. He'd begun his entertainment career as a child, performing with his parents as part of "The Wiziarde Trio" then later in the "Wiziarde Novelty Circus," a family-friendly exhibition of homespun merriment that travelled the state, performing at store openings and county fairs from 1930-36, when the Great Depression put them permanently out of business.

After four years' service in the U.S. Army, Wiziarde became a successful radio announcer, then later switched to Television just as the newly-popular medium was picking up steam.

Santa's Christmas Circus was a one-off spin-off holiday special, shot on film and written and directed by Wiziarde himself. It's a rambling, sputtering, nebulous mess with very little going on in terms of narrative or structure, and on my first go-through I thought it might be impossible to properly review, but it's so jaw-dropping, gob-smacking weird and inept I ultimately decided it was impossible not to at least try.

The special opens inside Whizzo's big circus tent, full of stacked chairs, travel trunks and the stale, musty aroma of old greasepaint and mildew. Whizzo shuffles in wearing a long coat, his shoulders dusted with a coating of fresh snow and carrying a stack of prettily wrapped presents. He engages in some comic buffoonery where he tries to set them down, but they repeatedly fall, and you can clearly see the strings that some underpaid stage hand is using to tug the chair upon which he sets them.

He constantly mutters under his breath, providing a barely coherent running commentary on whatever bit of business he's engaged in from moment to moment. Whether it's re-stacking the gifts, sweeping snow from the floor or changing his clothes behind a tattered "magic curtain" that descends from the ceiling on ropes, he bumbles, stumbles and mumbles his way from debacle to debacle, never shutting up but never completing a thought or a sentence before moving on to the next distraction.

I know make a lot of jokes in my reviews about characters appearing to be intoxicated, but this time I mean it. If you saw someone acting this way on the street, you'd think they were so impenetrably shit-faced they were going to hurt themselves and you'd have no choice but to call a cop.

This is how three generations of Kansas City kids learned about alcohol dependency.

After ten full minutes, three costume changes and a seemingly endless string of agonizingly humorless slapstick gags, Whizzo welcomes his special guests, a toddling gaggle of red-blooded, God-fearing, middle American kids who will be both his audience and his costars for the remainder of the program. Most of them seem unaccountably thrilled to be there, but Whizzo makes a point of briefly addressing one girl of perhaps ten or eleven years old who looks like she'd rather be having her gums excavated without the numbing comfort of novocaine than have to spend even a single moment in this man's company.

"Cheer up, little lady. Say, how about a drink?"

Whizzo does a little dime-store magic trick where he takes off his gloves and they turn into a bouquet of flowers, then tells the kids it's time to chang into their circus outfits. Unfortunately none of them remembered to bring them. As Whizzo puzzles over a solution to this thorny problem, the kids all start shouting for him to use his magic curtain again. He makes a clumsy show of trying to remember where he left it, then brings it down on ropes all the way to the floor.

He informs the kids that for the curtain to do its magic, he's first got to sprinkle them with a generous helping of "whizzle dust," and because I'm a fully-functioning adult with firm, steady control of my adolescent impulses, I will resist the temptation to make a joke here about cocaine. We'll pretend instead he's sprinkling them with sage and plans to roast them alive for his Christmas dinner.

He needs the protein after all that booze.

So, the kids all go behind the curtain, and through the magic of the edit-room jump cut they're all suddenly dressed up like different kinds of circus performers. There's a ringmaster, some dancers and acrobats, even a lion tamer and a kid in a lion suit. Whizzo has changed his outfit, too, to something more dignified, tasteful and subdued.

This is his formal attire.

The kids set up the chairs off to one side and with Whizzo's encouragement begin stepping out in little groups of twos and threes to pretend they're putting on their very own circus show, accompanied by an omnipresent Wurlitzer organ that's been grinding away in the background throughout the special, punctuating the torturous ebb and flow of both the kids' and the audience's misery.

None of the "acts" get more than a few seconds to do their awkward approximations of ballet dancing, drum majoring, lion taming, acrobatics and floor-bound tightrope walking, but they seem to enjoy themselves in a half-bored, make-believe-y way, and applaud each successive act enthusiastically. Well, all except the one little miss Buzzkill, who came in the tent-flap already having had more than enough of Whizzo's bullshit.

I think she's my spirit animal.

Now it's Whizzo's turn, so he does a soft-shoe shuffle and some lame joke-shop prop magic. At the conclusion of his schtick someone off screen throws something at him which bounces off of him and out of frame. He runs off-camera to see what it is, and we cut to a dog puppet in a clown hat and neck ruff propped up on a suitcase.

This is Whizz Dog, Whizzo's little mascot friend he shouted for but couldn't find earlier in the program, who's miffed because he didn't get an invite to the kids' Christmas circus party.

"Your show is real good...for me to poop on!"

With that pointless, humorless interruption over, we cut back to Whizzo and company, and after a few more silly tricks he looks back and notices Buzzkill sitting and glaring at him. He asks her to stand up and leads her to center stage to ask her why she looks so sad.

She tells him she's in the midst of a spiritual crisis, anxious and wracked with uncertainty, and that this pointless, empty pursuit of holiday cheer has left her a bitter shell of bitter anguish and world-weary existential pain.

I feel ya, girl.

She meekly observes "Surely there's more to Christmas than fun," which is a fair question, weighty with complex theological and intersocial implications. Despite Whizzo's promise to show her "the true glory and wonderment" of the season, it is a query will neither be adequately answered nor explored during this program.

Whizzo is sure as Shine-ola gonna try, though, and to that end he brings out his "atomic time machine," and through the glories of it, he claims, she shall see things that will ease her conscience and free her troubled mind.

The scientific wonder of the age.

For all the hocus-pocus buildup Whizzo gives the thing it turns out to be little more than a puffed-up television set, and the glories it reveals to them are contained in a five-minute showreel, incoherently narrated by the Whizzo himself, of elaborate shop window Christmas displays in downtown Kansas City.

Lo! Behold my wonders!

Somehow this garish display of crass consumerism has managed to assuage Buzzkill's doubts and concerns, as she's now happy, smiling and giggling along with all Whizzo's other indoctrinated sheep-children, every one of whom would blindly march into the merry maws of Christmas Death should it please their leader to so order it.

She's not my spirit animal. It's actually the capybara.

After sharing another three minutes of window displays, Whizzo decides they should take a break and have some refreshments. He doesn't have much, he says, but he offers them a can of peanut brittle, and wouldn't you know it, it's not a real can of peanut brittle but one of those novelty gags where you hold it between your legs and a spring-loaded snake pops out when you open the lid.

That's a massive ejaculation...of fun!

Then we get even more footage of shop window displays, because too much is never enough.

Nothing to see here. Just a man feeding his child to a horse.

Now Whizzo announces he's going to go one better than just showing the kids stuff on TV. He's decided to take them on a trip to the North Pole to see his good friend Santa Claus!

He calls the Fat Man's workshop a few times using an old-timey radio microphone on top of the atomic time machine, but doesn't get an answer. He figures Santa must be too busy drinking milk, eating cookies and checking his blood sugar, but decides to schlep on up anyway.

After putting his machine away he pulls out an old, musty magic carpet upon which he and his friends will travel. They spread it out on the floor, and he gives them all strips of the "magic paper" he claims will make it fly. It's actually just that crinkly colored ribbon you hang from the ceiling when you decorate for a party, and it takes him almost two unbearable, unedited minutes to make sure each and every child has a strip of it in hand.

Once everyone has some they all start waving them around, and next thing you know they've gone airborne, flying high above Kansas City and heading due north towards Santa's workshop!

That girl up front isn't buying what Whizzo is selling.

Whizzo has brought his microphone and starts calling down to the workshop to let Santa know he and the children are about to arrive.

Now we cut to a display room in said workshop, manned by a pair of twin little girl Elves wearing green onesies, who run around in a circle blowing bubbles and engaging in low-key frolic in the form of a barely choreographed dance routine.

Golly! Santa has one of them-there a-tomic time machines, too!

When they hear Whizzo calling on the radio the Elf Twins screech with delight and run off to inform their boss. Meanwhile, the magic carpet is getting closer and closer to Santa's massive, sprawling complex of Christmas cheer.

It's built mostly underground to take advantage of geothermal heating.

The Elf Twins drag Santa into the display room. He complains about how much work he has to do feeding reindeer and making toys, and I have to call bullshit on him because we all know he has a gargantuan labor force of Elf-laborers who do all that shit for him while he sits on his golden throne, spying on the children of the world with his high-tech, Elon musk surveillance gear.

Santa seems skeptical as to whether the Elf Twins actually heard Whizzo calling, but soon enough the radio cracles to life and the corny clown's voice rings out remarkably clearly, almost as if he's standing just off-camera and reading his lines directly from the script.

It seems the magic carpet is lost in a cloud and the aeronauts can't see where to land, so Santa orders landing lights lit to guide them to safety. He heads over to the window, and because there was no money for any more miniatures than that one cheesy house, he stands at there and gives an awkward play-by-play description of the carpet soaring down, of it landing, and of Whizzo and the children getting out of it and walking to the shop. Soon we see their silhouettes as they walk past the paper-covered panes as they head around the building towards the front door.

"They're here! Lock the windows and bolt the doors!"

There's a big table full of mechanical toys right in front of the window, and because Santa's Christmas Circus features only five minutes of story spread out in a microscopically thin layer across an entire hour of celluloid, we watch Santa slowly go from one end of the table to the other switching on each and every toy, pausing in between each new wonder to comment on how lovely they are.

For reasons obscured by time, clowns and Native Americans feature prominently.

The kids all start pile in through the door and run over to Santa for hugs, and finally Whizzo appears, hopping mad because his outfit has been switched again, this time from unwittingly having passed through Santa's automatic clothes changer, a pointless, humorless gag that nonetheless has the children fairly screeching with mirth.

The outfit he's wearing now is so similar to what he already had on you'd be forgiven for not even noticing it had changed, but regardless of this I have to agree with Whizzo that no one, not even an alcoholic clown who can't walk straight or form a coherent sentence, should be forcibly disrobed without their explicit and sober consent.

If he's passed out in a gutter someplace, though, that's a different story.

As the kids rush over to the table to look at the toys, Whizzo takes Santa discreetly aside to ask him a favor. He explains that he has one little girl with him who was unhappy because she doesn't seem to understand the spirit of Christmas and he's not confident that his fifteen minutes of store window displays fully cleared things up for her.

Santa orders his Elves to bring in his big red chair, and he gathers the children around him for a little rambling, underrehearsed, heart-to-heart talk. The spirit of Christmas, he explains, isn't about toys or snow or even about Santa himself, it's a feeling inside of you, a feeling of kindness, of goodness, sharing and of an occasional gurgling discomfort in the upper colon area.

"Santa has IBS. Do you know what that is, children?"

Having thus pontificated on the subject of "Christmas Spirit" to absolutely no one's edification, Santa explains that although he's very much enjoyed their ill-timed, unannounced visit at the very apex of the busiest time of his entire year, he's got an awful lot of shit to do before the Holiday arrives, so he'd sure appreciate it if they'd all fuck right off.

So, Whizzo and company climb back aboard the magic carpet and head back to Kansas.

"Next year we'll just send a fucking telegram."

Back at the circus tent the kids help Whizzo fold up the carpet, which he then throws off-screen, then they all bunch up behind the curtain again to get their street clothes back on. On a count of three, the curtain rises and everything is as it was at the beginning, having come full circle to the carefree moment just before their yuletide nightmare began.

Whizzo hastily sends them back to their families, leaving him free to get a little Thunderbird in him and pass out until Christmas morning.

The End.

In 1983 Ronald Reagan invited Frank Wiziarde to the White House to entertain the children attending the annual Easter Egg Hunt. In 2022 Joe Biden got Elton fucking John to perform a concert on the East Lawn.

I'm just sayin'.

Shitmas Bonus!

Tales from the Northside:
Santa's Bottomless Bunghole

It was just heading on towards evening at the beginning of November, when the air turns crisp, the dry leaves sweep swiftly by along the pavements and the sky turns dark quite early, that I had the following remarkable encounter, which would provide me with both a new and cherished friend and a drastically altered understanding of the Christmas holiday.

I had just left work and stopped in at my local pub for a cup of coffee and a quick bite to eat. It had been quite a few years since I'd consumed any alcohol, but I still occasionally liked to sit at the bar and soak up the heady atmosphere of tipsy fellowship that had once been so much a part of my weekly routine.

Being early, there were only a very few other customers. A young couple wearing identical blue work uniforms were sipping margaritas and flirting awkwardly in a back corner nook, and a few scattered day drinkers were consuming the last of their quotas, swaying boozily in their seats and pre-emptively numbing their brains to endure the second and third shift jobs they'd soon be heading off to perform. Otherwise, the place appeared to be empty.

I watched the bartender place a fresh pint of Guinness in front of an empty space on the bar directly across from where I sat, then hearing the bells ring on the street door behind me, I turned to watch one of the night-shifters shambling out with his jacket slung over his arm, aglow with the false warmth of strong liquor and unheedful of the blast of chilly air that pushed against him from the sidewalk outside.

When I turned back, I noticed that the the pint of Guinness had been depleted by about an inch and a half, and watched as the creamy foam slowly receded down the inside of the glass, though still no one appeared to be sitting behind it.

Imagine my surprise when a tiny arm reached up, grabbed the pint and carried it below the level of the bar and out of view, only to return it, with its contents further drained, to its place on the counter a few seconds later.

The peculiar nature of the hand piqued my interest even more than its unaccountably petite size. It was slim and delicate, with dark nails and a slightly translucent quality to the skin I had never before seen, and the sleeve that covered the arm to the wrist was of thick, crushed green velvet with a decorative red cuff. I'm generally loathe to intrude on the solitude of others, but I'm embarassed to admit that in this instance my curiosity got the best of me and I took an unneeded trip to the rest room to sneak a covert glance at the mysterious and Lilliputian drinker.

As I rounded the end of the bar I had to stifle a gasp, for sitting there before me was the most perfect little Christmas Elf you ever saw, with eyes black as berries, ears pointed like holly leaves and cheeks as smooth as hard-boiled eggs. He noticed me staring at him and gave me a cocked eyebrow and a judgemental frown, and thus chided for my curiosity I hurried hangdog back to my seat as quickly as my legs would carry me.

I was both bewildered by what I had seen and deeply abashed at having disturbed and offended the compact gentleman, who after all was just trying to enjoy his beer in peace. By way of apology, I called the bartender over and asked him to please put the fellow's next Guinness on my tab.

A few moments later I saw his round face rise above the bar, a mischievous twinkle in his eye and a grin on on his dark lips. He waved a beckoning hand and nodded for me to join him, so I grabbed my coffee and the remains of my sandwich and obeyed.

I introduced myself and asked him his name.

"Dongle," he replied. "Dongle Dingle."

"Hmm! I don't suppose you have a middle name?"

"Dangle," he replied, with a cautioning glance that would give a stampeding reindeer pause, "and to answer the question you haven't yet asked...yes I am a real Elf, and yes I did work for Santa Claus, but I quit five years ago and now I'm a sales rep for Keebler cookies."

I was bemused, of course, and not a little taken aback, but despite the absurdity of what he was telling me I saw no reason to doubt him, nor indeed to discount the definitive evidence of my own eyes. I instead found myself credulously stammering out a torrent of questions about Santa, his reindeer, the North Pole and the entirety of our generally accepted secular Christmas mythology.

"It's true, friend," he said sadly, "it's all true, as far as it goes, but it's not all quite the way you've been told about it." And for the next three hours he shared with me a series of astonishing anecdotes that completely shattered my childhood beliefs about Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and the very meaning of Christmas itself.

Although I have adapted and edited what he told me into this series of short narratives, the substance of them is completely faithful to what my friend relayed, and I will personally vouch for his honesty, integrity and good faith. Some of what you will learn may indeed shock you, but I stand by my solemn promise that every word of it is absolutely true.

It's a well-known fact that Santa Claus enjoys his naps. In fact, during the off-season he's been known to take as many as seven naps a day. Conventional wisdom states that this is because he works so hard delivering gifts to all the good little girls and boys each Christmas that it leaves him knackered for much of the subsequent year. Some folks, however, believe it's all the milk and cookies he consumes on Christmas Eve making him extra sleepy from the diabetes. Others say it's because he's a lazy old shit who can't be bothered to get up off his jolly fat ass. Though there's some truth to each of these theories, the primary reason for his legendary languor is something else entirely that has never before been fully divulged or even hinted to the general public.

The first days and weeks after Christmas are an anxious time for the many Elfin and animal employees of Santa's sprawling North Pole complex of stables, shops and factories. Inevitably there are multiple rounds of seasonal layoffs, and many an Elf, penguin and reindeer has a hardscrabble time of it making ends meet until the warehouse and manufacturing facilities reopen and rehire at the beginning of spring.

Even more anxious than the furloughed workers, however, are the year-round house servants who must suffer through Santa's wild mood swings and inebriate rages. He is no teetotaler, as many a myth would have us believe, sipping warm milk, hot tea or ice-cold Coca Cola all day, but he often suffers from what the Irish Elves in his employ call "a terrible thirst."

Each year, upon his return from his globe-trotting visit to the many Christian children of Earth, and in fact at the very instant he steps from his sleigh, Santa will call to his domestics for his heavy oaken cask of alcohol. This is not just any cask, but a magic cask, and it contains not just any alcohol but every alcohol, with a bottomless bunghole bored into its side that never runs out of whatever exotic variety of booze Santa wishes to imbibe at any given moment or whim.

"Sangria!" he will often shout, thinking of the many children of Spain who will soon awaken to open their gifts, and sure enough, sweet, tangy sangria will flow from the tap into his massive stein, and thenceforth down his insatiable gullet.

"Bourbon!" he will often cry, with a jaunty Dixieland jam of "Jingle Bells" ringing in his ears, and thick, amber bourbon will appear, glass after potent glass, until he passes out in his big red chair, with visions of naked lady Elves with huge breasts and succulent green nipples dancing in his head.

For the first few months of each year, whether it's port or Pernod, tokay or tequila, Ouzo, absinthe or candy apple moonshine, whatever sort of booze Santa wants his bottomless bunghole instantly provides, making his big fat belly jiggle like jelly and his cheeks and his nose as red as a Christmas rose.

And that, dear readers, is why Santa takes so many naps...because he's almost always black-out, shit-faced drunk.

All "Tales from the Northside" stories
copyright 2022 Bradley Lyndon

Merry Christmas, folkses.

Next Installment: December 5th!

As always, Cheers and thanks for reading!

Written by Bradley Lyndon in December, 2022.

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