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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 8 (December 1, 1933)

The Spirit of Do-Cember

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The Spirit of Do-Cember

The End of Nineteen-thirty-three.

Come children, call the cattle home across the sands of Dee, for soon we'll lock Dull Duty up and throw away the key. We'll titillate the tonsils with a run of rosy rills, and wake the welkin well the while we agitate the gills. We'll make the joists to jubilate and shiver every rafter, for each of us has got a date to lift the lid off laughter. In other words, this is the month of Docember, the maddest, merriest moment of the year. Do-cember is the date for doing, the month for moulting the feathers of falsity and casting off the coat of care. For there is an air of Christmas in the air. The joy hounds are hopping off to the happy hunting grounds, and the wops have gone to their den-ho. The goose is growing fat and the grouse is going phut. The hog is having his hams cured, the lambent lamb is ripe for the roasting, the sac-but is all-but, and the stage is set for the annual play of emotions and commotions. Merriment is on the mark, and Nature is feeling Yuleish and foolish. For this is the beginning of the end of nineteen-thirty-three—the wake of Woozy the Windy, the funeral of Funk. The spirit of Christmas can already be seen in “spots,” and there is a buzz in being. The mental plane is taking off for its annual flight into the upper reaches of the Xmasphere, and the face of Nature is being lifted by Jack the Jaunt Thriller; for this, among other things, is a period for jaunting the jurisdiction and propelling the pedals in all directions. Some will sally off to see, others will put the boot into Terra Firma; gorges will be tramped and trampers will be gorged. Man will bow before the bowser and offer sacrifical silver to the God of Gasoline; the tyre will testify tirelessly to the weal of the wheel. By sea, road and rail the sons of man will pursue the peripatetic pabulum to the ends of the mirth and the carp of care will get it in the gills, hook, line and sinker.

The Locomoke.

And of all the starters in a big field, the old iron horse will be the hottest favourite. Again he will hug the rails and romp home with the bacon, in spite of the fact that he carries the top weight. So—

When Christmas comes, pack up your bag,
And go with Nature on a “jag,”
For you have won the annual toss—
The right to ride the old iron hoss.
He's all steamed up and hissing hot,
The greatest goer of the lot;
A moke who'll never let you down,
A prad to back with every brown.
He's fast and safe and keen as mustard,
And has the field completely busted.
When Christmas comes let every bloke
Go riding with the locomoke.
He'll get you there and bring you back,
And give you value for your “jack.”
Hey-ho and toot, and toot again,
We'll go a'riding on a train,
And see the country flying past,
Not slow—oh, no—but not too fast.
Pack up your troubles, dump the lot,
And back the hoss with all you've got.
For Christmas comes but once a year
(Which isn't altogether fair),

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“The ‘Iron Horse’ will bring home the bacon.”

“The ‘Iron Horse’ will bring home the bacon.”

So when you've got the chance to ride
With Happiness at Christmastide,
Get going beau, you'll find it “oke”
A'riding with the locomoke.

Christmas Here, There and Everywhere.

At Christmas there's a Christmas air from here to there-most everywhere. In Poland where the barbers rash meet once a year to blow their cash; in Porto Rico, Port o'Spain, in Biffin's Bay and back again; in Baltimore and Inverness and Edinburgh-more or less; in Bombalina where they bomb their presidents with great aplomb; in Curacao, Constantina, where wine is bought for half a “deener”; around Cape Horn where blizzards blow and synchopatic sailors go; up north among the polar bears and south where penguins rule affairs; in Luxembourg where nothing shrinks; in Mississippi famed for its drinks; along the Polish corridor and out upon the Danzig floor; away below the frigid zone where ices grow without the cone; in latitude and longitude where sailors sail in solitude; in China on the crockery shelf where everybody helps himself; both north and south and east and west it's Christmas, as no doubt you've guessed. In fact, on land and sea and air it's Christmas almost everywhere.

Plum Duff and Dumb Bluff.

Jusso; but like opinions and many other things which start with O, Christmasses differ. The eats of the west and wets of the east, the souse of the north and the noughts of the south reflect the tastes of the tasters. The plum duff of England is not the dumb bluff of Scotland, which country keeps up Christmas by preparing for New Year. Every country celebrates according to its lights-and its liver. For instance, in Argentine the Argentinklers gather round the pickled pampas while they dance the Argen-tango to the music of their national blow-nose airs. In Mexico the peasants toss the tortillo and drink the fiery musquash while they play a game called potting the president. In Spain at Christmastide the soft notes of the bullring and the sound of onion peels mingle with the scent of the garlic groves. In China they sing banditties and indulge in a game of chance called “find the ransom” or “Shanghied and seek.” In Japan they tinkle the yen. In the Pacific Islands they dance the paw-paw on all fours and sing songs to the great I-yam. In Holland they chase the cheddar and also indulge in Schnapps, a sport in which the points are scored in “spots.” In Switzerland they celebrate by the age-old custom of “tapping the tourist,” which consists of taking him up to take him down. In Siam they toss doubles or quits with the terrible twins and eat rice twice; for everything is multiplied by two in Siam; and at Christmas they sit down to a multiplication table, twice the mainbrace and back the “double-header” both ways.

Raddled Recipes.

But enough of these Xmastical excursions and this geogastronomy. Let us consider Christmastication in all its phases and fizzes. Although the interior decoration is amply catered for at Xmas, it occurs to us that there has been little progress in the curriculum for many moons. We have the traditional truffles and the historical haberdashery for filling
“Figures can't lie.”

“Figures can't lie.”

page 11 the gaps in the conversation, but there remains room for a variation of the viands and for putting new life into old eats. The duff, for instance, might be modernised to comply with the ethics and antics of modern art and architecture. We offer the following recipe, which has been approved by the cubists, the rhomboys and the Flutterists:-

Christmas Duff (1933 model).-Take a bucket of paperhanger's paste, add plaster of Paris to taste, stiffen with stay-busks, tint with brick dust, stir in a quart of art union tickets and an I.O.U. for luck, stir with emotion, let the Alsatian worry it, drop it off the roof and leave out to dry. When set, label it “Persephone at the telephone” or “Isoseles wrestling with a rhomb,” and send it to the Annual Exhibition of Epileptic Art. Then set to work and make a real old-fashioned duff for eating purposes.

Also, greater use might be made of our own indigent fauna for pot-boiling and baking at Christmas. Take the tuatara-or two tuatara. It has been praised in song, viz; “The harp that once in tuatara's hall,” but it has never appeared on the programme as an accessory to the fact. Hence we are emboldened to offer the following recipe:

Tuatara a la Rubbergoods.-Take a tuatara, scoop out from neck to knee, soak in whisky until thoroughly blotto, then run it through the wringer and serve up the juice. The rest may be used for patching motor tyres. Should no tuatara be available, a gum boot will do as well, but a bottle is even better. The bottle should, however, be thoroughly drained before serving.

Treated in the above manner the tuatara has more kick than ever it had in its life, and is highly recommended as a cure for overeating. Unfortunately the moa has been reduced to a bony stricture and Christmas is no time for harbouring skeletons in the cupboard. Nevertheless one can't resist the thought of—, but never mind; perhaps it is all for the best if not for the “bust.”

Advice for Those About to Bout.

At this period of the yearlings it is not out of place to offer a little advice to those about to “bout.” Advice costs nothing, which makes it so popular as a gift. Well, take it or leave it. Here goes:

Let not your right hand know what your left hand is taking.
A round feed equals any number of square meals-and figures can't lie.
One swallow does not make a Christmas.
Many friends few helpings.
A bob in the hand is worth two in the pudding.
No man is a hero to his wallet.
Keep swilling.
Christmas time is a swell time and all swell that ends swell.

Dubious Daftynitions.

We also offer a few daftynitions of Christmas:

The policeman's - maintaining law and larder.

The flapper's-shieks and shrieks.

The Scotsman's-high spirits at low cost.

The sailor's-going to see on land.

The bride's-a marry Christmas.

The miner's-getting up without going down.

The postman's-travelling by rail without the post.

The railwayman's–getting everything in train for a rail good holiday.

Our's-making the “bust of things.”

And now, never mind the bawl, let us get on with the game.

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