Category: Columns

Happy St Patrick’s Day

BEN TROVATO – Durban Poison

Why is it that the Irish have all the fun? To be sure, there was that nasty business with the potatoes in 1845, but if it weren’t for the Great Hunger, Boston and New York wouldn’t be the same today.

Apart from the potato famine, the Irish have always had nothing but a rollicking good time. Well, apart from the potato famine and 200 years of sectarian violence.

St Patrick’s Day is full of fun traditions. The colour green plays a big part. After a day of eating green food and drinking green beer, many people go to bed with their faces suffused in many interesting shades of green. This happened to me after one particularly robust St Paddy’s Day with friends in Durban. My girlfriend at the time said it wouldn’t have happened if I had listened to her and had my stomach pumped. But where’s the fun in…

View original post 372 more words


Welcome to the future

Speech to Parliament by South African President Nomzana Naidoo-Green on the Occasion of National Men’s Month 2307

Madam Speaker

Honourable Madam Members

Madam Chair of the National Council of Provinces

Madams of the Media

Ladies and Madams

In celebrating Men’s Month for the first time, it is important that we take a moment to recognise the contribution men have made to our country. All too often, we remember only the horror and forget that the pioneers of modern medicine, mining, construction, law and sport were all men.

But while it is this government’s policy to give credit where it is due, I believe it is equally important that our children continue to learn about the Great Argument of 2050, the Great Silence of 2060 and the Great War of 2100.

Today, fewer men than ever before are serving in positions of power. Every political party is headed by a woman. Women constitute 95% of our armed forces. Our national soccer and rugby teams consist solely of women. Building sites are full of women. Road crews and garbage collectors are all female. The scales of equality have been heavily balanced in our favour for the past two hundred years (pause for applause).

Men’s Month honours those who relinquished their grip on power all those years ago. We also salute their children and their children’s children, many of whom are right now preparing the evening meal and making themselves look attractive for when we get home.

Even though men continue to be barred from holding positions of political or economic power, the fledgling Men’s Liberation Movement is making headway. Earlier this week, I was informed that a man had been elected chairman of a basket-weaving collective in the Northern Cape. This is to be welcomed, not feared. Having said that, I give the assurance that members of the fringe Meninist rebel group are monitored at all times by our intelligence agencies.

It was our foremothers’ relentless demands for equality that gave us complete control, and I am not for one minute suggesting that we concede any of our gains. However, as sweet as it is, victory has come at a price. With critical levels of oestrogen in our drinking water and the steady weakening of the Y chromosome, our baby boys are little more than genetically modified baby girls. Whether this is a good thing or not is currently the subject of debate at national level.

While we all agree that men are not yet sufficiently evolved to be accepted as our equals, there are steps we must take if we hope to reduce the high rate of suicide among our young male population. Self-inflicted deaths often have a negative causal effect on foreign direct investment, particularly when it comes to defiantly patriarchal countries such as America, Germany and Nigeria.

We could start by allowing married men to travel outside their demarcated areas with permission from their wives. They could also be permitted to open bank accounts with the written consent of their state-appointed guardians. And, one day, as radical as it may sound, we might give even them the vote.

There has already been considerable change. It is no longer compulsory for men to donate their seed once a month. The last sperm bank closed its doors many years ago and although sex is not illegal, it remains immoral. Today, most children are conceived through electrofusion. Admittedly, the process only breeds girls. But there is still freedom of choice. For women who prefer to fall pregnant the old-fashioned way, embryonic stem cell kits that produce synthetic sperm are available at state supermarkets around the country.

I am the first to admit that running a country is hard work. When I am called upon to take a difficult executive decision about overthrowing a male president in a neighbouring country, I often think of my househusband and envy him his simple life.

At risk of being called a Meninist sympathiser, I would say the time is coming for us to encourage our men to leave their kitchens, cancel their proctologist appointments and take a more active interest in the affairs of state. I fear, however, that it will be no easy task to persuade them to break free from their cocoons of domesticity.

Two generations of men have grown accustomed to living lives that revolve around children, cleaning, cooking, manicures, pedicures and playing tennis on Wednesdays. We may need to offer incentives. Or, failing that, impose martial law.

But it is still early days. The Men’s Movement has a long way to go before it receives any kind of meaningful support at grassroots level. After all, centuries of damage cannot be undone overnight. Landscaping units are still in the process of returning thousands of unsightly golf estates to their natural state. Teams of forensic auditors continue to unravel complex tender scams going back 250 years. An enormous stockpile of warships, fighter planes, tanks, guns and ammunition is in the process of being melted down and reworked as part of our national Jewellery For The People campaign.

Even though it is only future generations that will reap the benefit, my government remains committed to the National Rectification Effort.

The time for blame and retribution is almost over. Men’s Month marks a new era, an era of forgiveness, an era in which I hope to see men once again being treated as human beings and not simply as domestic servants, sex objects or things to hold the door open for us.

In closing, I would be remiss if I failed to point out that domestic violence has reached unacceptable levels. Our prisons, long since converted into shelters for abused men, are full to overflowing. In the spirit of conciliation, I urge all of you to use non-violent methods when it comes to helping men to understand what it is that you want to say, mean to say, think what you mean and want them to guess what you think you mean.

Finally, when I retire at the end of my 10th term, I hope to see at least one male face in this august house.

I hereby declare parliament in oestrus. Happy holidays, girls.


Sex Tourism – The Smile on the Face of Africa

BEN TROVATO – Durban Poison

Brenda and I got into the dented rental car in Dakar and headed south. By the time we reached the Gambian border eight hours later, I needed a crowbar to unclench my buttocks.

Convinced we were in cannibal country, Brenda had grown steadily quieter and paler. After paying a bribe to a man who informed us that he used to work for immigration, we were quickly mobbed by a babble of highly-strung women shoving second-hand calculators through the windows.

No calculator, no calculator,” I shouted. Brenda, of course, realised straight away that they were moneychangers. But since she wasn’t speaking to me she was unable to let me know.

After eventually working it out for myself, I stuffed my pockets with wads of filthy dalasi and ordered a brace of cold beers from a passing urchin.

Forgetting that public quaffing of alcohol is frowned upon in Muslim countries, I…

View original post 786 more words

A year of singing, dancing and improvised explosive devices

The generation known as Millennials seems relatively unmoved by the wave of carnage that swept through the ranks of the rich and famous in 2016. Leonard who? Carrie Fisher the astronaut? Princess Leia’s from, er, Sweden, right? But it’s okay. Their 2016 will come. Around 2056, I expect, when their idols and heroes start dying.

I can’t name any offhand because I don’t know any celebrities in their 20s. Perhaps there aren’t any. Perhaps that dream died when Britney Spears allowed the world a rare glimpse of her pet beaver. With any luck, though, having Donald Trump in the White House will once and for all put an end to the myth that wealth makes gods of men. Or, in the case of women, looks and sometimes even talent.

Speaking of which, I read a tweet two days after Christmas. Look, I wasn’t well. Sure, I could have picked up my urine-soaked copy of Tolstoy’s Big Book of Jokes from the bathroom floor, but I could barely cope with Twitter. It was a tweet from what I took to be a Trump parody account. It read, “The cheap 12 inch sq. marble tiles behind speaker at UN always bothered me. I will replace with beautiful large marble slabs if they ask me.” The laughter died in my throat when I realised the tweet genuinely was his own. The world is in meltdown and he’s thinking how best to redecorate the United Nations?

His state visits are going to be interesting. “Yeah, yeah, civil war, refugees, blah blah blah got it. Know what worries me? Your curtains. They clash. Not good.”

I’m not too worried that this gibbering orange scrotum on legs will start the third world war. I predict he’ll be impeached or assassinated within a year. I hope it’s impeached because we can still have many more years of fun poking him with a stick and seeing what pops out.

This was going to be a column about predictions, but, quite frankly, real life keeps overtaking satire at such a terrifying speed that I can’t possibly catch up, let alone overtake.

I do, however, predict that the leaders of Islamic State will, in August, abandon the idea of establishing a caliphate and go into show business. ISIS – The Musical will open on Broadway in November. It will be choreographed by Ivana Trump.

My money is on 2017 being a damn fine year. Mostly for the Anglo-Saxon tribe, of course, which makes it no different to any other year, really. But opportunities for others will arise, so if you’re not on a terrorist watch list or in a squatter camp, prison or city under siege, you better be woke or you gonna miss da bus.

One of the reasons I know for sure that 2017 is bound to be better than that utter bastard of a year whose name we shall not speak is that the highly respected Pantone Institute has announced that Greenery is its colour of the year. This is excellent news.

The colour of the year in 2014 was Radiant Orchard and tall buildings had to be fenced off to prevent women from jumping to their deaths after discovering Radiant Orchard made them look fat.

In 2015 it was Marsala, which I’ve always associated more with chicken bunnychows than carpets. Last year Pantone foolishly broke with tradition and rashly blended two shades. Rose Quartz and Serenity clearly angered the gods of colour who wasted no time in killing David Bowie and helping Donald Trump win the elections. Thanks Pantone.

And what the hell kind of colour is Greenery anyway?

Pantone executive director Leatrice Eiseman (what the hell kind of name is Leatrice?) explains why the shade was chosen. “Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment.”

Leatrice, I’m all for bursting forth, but I am colour-blind and if I inadvertently pick, say, Reddery instead of Greenery, it doesn’t matter how much yearning I do, I’m just not going to get the reassurance I need. I’m changing my opinion. This is bad news for everyone. Being as environmentally friendly as an oil slick on fire, Donald Trump will hopefully move quickly to crush this liberal mumbo jumbo underfoot.

It wouldn’t be a new year if the Chinese weren’t involved. It’s not always about rhino horns or badger spleens, you know. There are some things that can’t be eaten or traded. At the end of the month, the Year of the Fire Rooster kicks in. It’s the avian version of the fire pool – not quite what it seems.

If there’s one person on the planet who epitomises a rooster, it’s the next president of the United States. Batshit crazy and dumber than a box of socks. I’m going nowhere. I want to see the mother of all cock fights between Donald and Vladimir when the bromance turns ugly.

For the Feng Shoowee-hey-wowies, 2017s colour is burgundy (none of this Greenery nonsense for them). This year’s crystals are amethyst for dreams and topaz for inspiration. Or, in your case, meth for confidence. Cider is the drink, which you can have with your burgundy. Fragrance for the year is myrrh. Call me. I know a guy who knows this other guy. Best myrrh on the streets. And lucky hours are 5-7pm. This is also Happy Hour at The Shrieking Peanut. Coincidence? I think not.

The UN General Assembly has declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Pass the Valium. Helping peasants half-mad with malaria and moonshine to sell their clay tortoises and wire cars without getting blown up or ripped off is by far the most pressing issue facing the world this year. The International Year of Fighting Fascism can be put on hold for another decade or two. No rush.

Speaking of valiant but doomed causes, that dying horse Barack Obama aimed one of his last kicks at Israel the other day. America abstained from a Security Council vote and allowed the adoption of a resolution demanding a halt to the building of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Trump tweeted soon afterwards, “Stay strong Israel. January 20th is fast approaching!”

There’s been trouble in those parts ever since Moses was found motherless in the bullrushes, but this loathsome jowly cockwomble is the man to fix it. He’s clearly heard of the two-steak solution and has decided that Israel will get the meat while the Palestinians can have the bones. Can’t get fairer than that.

Buckle up, people. 2017 is going to be a bumpy ride.

Unleash the troglodytes

Today, 178 years ago, the Voortrekkers defeated a Zulu army at the Battle of Blood River. And today, the Boers and the Zulus will join forces to defeat me at the Battle of Gateway shopping centre.

The Zulus will stream in through strategic entrances to isolate me in a pincer movement that would have made King Shaka proud. And the Boers will use their traditional tactics of walking eight abreast, scoffing ice-creams and knocking people out of the way with their meaty hips and big asses. I don’t stand a chance.

William Butler Yeats wrote, “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?” Except he got it wrong. They’re slouching out of Bethlehem (there by the Free State) and into Durban. Quite frankly, they scare me. If I had the space, I would explain how one can tell the difference between trolls, homunculi and troglodytes.

I did a recce earlier in the week to check out the exits and locate the shops that sell weapons. If it was going to turn ugly, I wasn’t going down without a fight. To hell with reconciliation. At this time of year, it’s every man for himself.

Orphans are big this year. I saw several shops offering to donate a percentage of purchases over R100 to those who are lucky enough not to have parents. They never say how much goes to the orphans, though. It could be 0000.1% of each purchase. This means that by the end of the holidays, three orphans in a village north of the Tugela will each get a tin of soup. Next year, if they are really lucky, they’ll get a tin opener.

As I made my way through the mall, hugging the walls and keeping to the shadows, retracing my steps to confuse the sniffer dogs and darting from doorway to doorway to prevent the snipers from drawing a bead on me, I saw a brawl break out in Dis-Chem. My money was on a geriatric with purple hair and no teeth. She looked as if she knew her way around a Zimmer frame but security intervened before any bets could be placed.

The war for drugs escalates at this time of year. Too many family reunions, dinners and parties mean that old and young alike are desperate for their meds. If you’re new at this, I recommend something from the benzodiazepine family. Xanax, Ativan and Librium will do nicely if all you need to do is get through Christmas lunch without cutting a sibling’s throat. However, if you’re trying to avoid exposing Uncle Pervy for the paedophile that he is, you might need one of the neuroleptics. Thorazine works well, but get your timing right. You don’t want to be slack-jawed and drooling into the turkey with your paper hat over one eye while everyone else is pulling crackers.

I saw a sign saying, “Add more sparkle to your festive season – shop with American Express!” Yeah, sure. It’s all fun and sparkles now, but what happens next year? It’s bad enough what the local banks will to do to you, but you fuck with the Americans at your peril. I’ve heard that Guantanamo Bay isn’t a prison for political detainees at all. It’s for people – Muslims, mainly – who have maxed out their American Express cards and are late with their payments.

I saw another sign. “Gateway recycles 248 378 litres of fuel – enough to send a single car 87 times around the circumference of the Earth.” Hang on. Wouldn’t the carbon footprint of this car be worse for the environment than if the fuel hadn’t been recycled? More importantly – can this car turn into a boat? No wonder our children suck at geography.

And a box saying, “Magic fish – real living fish! Watch them hatch and grow before your very eyes!” We are expected to believe a lot of made-up stuff at this time of year, but I draw the line at magic fish. Or do I? Ah, what the hell. Give me one.

I saw television sets so big you would have to sell your house, buy a piece of land and build a new house around the telly. Where will it end, this race for the biggest television? Will new homes eventually offer plasma screens instead of walls? I hope so. I already spend hours staring at the wall. I may as well be watching something.

Lava lamps are still being sold even though weed remains illegal. It makes no sense. You genuinely have to be on drugs to fully appreciate a lava lamp. I’m surprised that each purchase doesn’t come with a bankie of Durban Poison and to hell with the consequences.

I spent some time in the toy section because it reminds me of my childhood, none of which I can recall, although I must have had one. There’s a doll that speaks six lines. Or does six lines. I can’t remember. Cocaine Barbie, perhaps.

For the boys, there are millions of heavily armed action figures that don’t look as macho as they do gay. This is a good thing. If you want your son to grow up believing he can kill with impunity, rather he does it wearing nothing but short hair, a moustache and a pair of tight red shorts.

I found a paramedic’s kit but it lacked a plastic handgun for when the ambulance has to go into the township on a Friday night.

Then I came across a whole series of things you can do in the tub. “Shaving in the tub” was one. This is a filthy habit, whether you’re a girl or a boy, and you should only get this for your child if you have someone other than yourself who cleans the bath. Also, if your child is shaving, there might be something wrong with it. Everything on the box is in French, which makes sense when you consider what these people regard as acceptable behaviour. What’s next? Wine in the Jacuzzi? Pissing in the pool?

I felt my masculinity listing badly and headed to a shop selling goodies capable of blinding, crippling or killing your enemy, many of whom were jostling me and pushing their trolleys into my ankles. They had a matte black rifle mounted on a stand at the entrance. Gamo Big Cats, it was called. I rather fancy myself as a big game hunter so I bought it. Knowing my luck, I’ll discover that it’s barely powerful enough to take out the feral tabbies of Umdloti just as the last white lion of the Kalahari lunges for my throat.

Too weak to make it back to my car, I bought a bag of tartrazine-flavoured carbohydrates and found a table outside next to a family built like bakkies who barked at each other in a harsh guttural tongue, wolfed a tray of burgers then lit up cigarettes and blew smoke over the baby in the pram. As it was, the creature barely looked human. Darwin was wrong. It’s the survival of the fattest. If not the dumbest.

Avoid the maul at all costs

Christmas decorations seem to lack something of the Christian ethos this year. When I was growing up, you could barely move for cheerful scenes of the crucifixion and mawkish tableaux of ceramic shepherds hanging around dodgy mangers. For years, a church in Durban North put out a nativity scene on the street. Then people started stealing the livestock and a couple of the wise men went missing and it was stopped altogether the year baby Jesus was nicked.

Anyway, nativity scenes are outdated. If it were today, the three wise men would be unemployed academics with substance abuse problems, Joseph would be out working overtime to pay for the new baby and the shepherds would be on strike.

Meanwhile, not too long ago, you could barely walk through a mall without smacking your head into a polystyrene angel swinging from the rafters. These days it’s all disco balls and plastic dross swaddled in fairy lights. It’s not so much Santa’s grotto as it is Hugh Hefner’s grotto, although you do have a slightly smaller risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease in the Hypermarket.

You’d think the very least the dude responsible for all of this could do is send down a few real angels to pretty up the city. Maybe we’ve been doing it wrong and everyone has gone straight to hell. Or perhaps this is hell. Perhaps heaven is another planet with mountains of marijuana and rivers of beer and beautiful women who don’t mind if you never call them but who will happily whip up a hearty breakfast if you drop by early on a Sunday morning, horny and bleeding.

With only a couple of weeks left before the traditional exchanging of gifts and bodily fluids, I found myself in the maw of a gargantuan shopping maul, having been driven there by guilt. Or, more accurately, by the Bad Yellow-Eyed Woman. I am dating a woman who believes in the magic of Christmas instead of doing the sensible thing and dating an iconoclastic pagan who would sooner perform outlandish fertility rituals around a burning goat than go shopping.

At first glance, it appeared as if the complex was designed by Dante Alighieri himself. There was Cerberus tied up outside and a sign at the entrance saying, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Inside, nine levels of hell, jam-packed with opportunists, adulterers, gluttons and greedheads, hypocrites, thieves and sodomites, the sullen, the slothful and the suicidal. It sounds more fun than it was.

“Let’s split up,” said the Bad Yellow-Eyed Woman.

“I’m sorry you feel that way,” I replied. “I’ll have my stuff out by Tuesday.”

She gave me the lazy eye and, in an instant, was swept away in a raging torrent of hoarders and wasters, deceivers, flatterers and sowers of discord. I sought refuge in a shop called Dad’s Toys. It was either that or CUM Books, a shady outfit that looked like it might sell tasteful Christian porn to happily married couples.

Dad’s Toys was the perfect shop to get something for my landlord. He’s been married for a while, so it was a toss-up between a crossbow, a knuckleduster, two throwing knives, a pair of nunchucks, a bulletproof vest and a riot shield. In the end I took it all. To even things up a bit, I bought his wife a stun-gun, a flick knife, a hip flask, a can of pepper spray and a pair of handcuffs. It’ll be like a second honeymoon for them.

Back on level three of Dante’s inferno, I suffered some sort of weird asthma attack in a shop that reeked overpoweringly of the stuff women put in their underwear drawer to repel their husbands. It appeared to be a biological agent. Nerve gas, probably.

Fighting to breathe and lurching like an escaped lunatic, I was steamrollered into Game by a mob of unbaptised heretics. Almost immediately, I felt my sanity slipping away. An alarm wailed as if the store were under terrorist attack, purple-faced tellers shouted for reinforcements, wild-eyed women clawed at one another’s eyeballs to get the last trolley, the floor vibrated to a hideous rap version of Hark the Herald something or other and every few seconds the madness was cranked up a notch by some maniac screaming over a PA system for Dawie to meet Hannelie at the front of the store. I think it was meet. It could’ve been eat.

Ripping through the mayhem like a circular saw through the occipital bone came the most terrible sound of all. If Christmas is such a happy time for children, why in God’s name are they all crying? Why are they lying on the floor thrashing about like epileptics?

The idea of penetrating too deep into the belly of the beast filled me with revulsion, so my plan was to buy anything within spitting distance of the tellers. A man in a red waistcoat came over and asked me to stop spitting.

Adrift in the toy section, I overheard an assistant say to a man with a troubled face, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but Spiderman has sold out.” This was disturbing news. Had our hero been bought off by the Green Goblin? Or had Peter Parker finally discovered that it would be far more lucrative to become an estate agent and use his superpowers to spin a web of lies and deceit, instead?

I was distracted by row upon row of babies stacked up like prematurely born infants in cheap plastic incubators. There was Butterfly Doll with eight functions – five more than a real baby – and Kissing Baby, a favourite among visiting Belgian paedophiles. Sippin’ Sue is a cute little thing “who lets you know when she wants more”. Yeah, she’s cute now. Wait until she grows up and starts demanding cunnilingus and vodka at 3am.

There’s a doll that speaks six lines. Or does six lines. I can’t remember. Cocaine Barbie, perhaps.

I came across New Born Baby. “Look after me,” the synthetic sprog demanded. “I can drink and use my potty.” So can I, but you don’t see me lolling about in a cardboard box expecting people to pay R300 to see me do a wee, do you? Not that I wouldn’t.

There was also some kind of contraption that could accommodate seven babies. Of course. Why have one when you can have seven? It’s a valuable lesson for any girl to learn in a country starved of people.

The Americans, being the peace-loving democrats they are, seem to have ditched the toy guns this year. Instead, your cuddly little psychopath can look forward to Santa bringing him remote controlled Apache helicopter gunships, M1 tanks and amphibious assault vehicles that come with flashing lights and fabulous sound effects including machine gun fire, explosions and wounded civilians screaming in Arabic.

The ideal present for a boy isn’t, as you might think, a plastic M-16 rifle with pull-back breech action and realistic auto sound. It’s a kitchen play set and vacuum cleaner. The lad needs to be equipped with survival skills because by the time he is of marriageable age, all the women will be riding Harleys and staging cock fights in the local pub.

Some mothers never taught their daughters to clean and cook and I believe it’s never too late for them to learn the basics. Girls, or even grown women, will appreciate the “My Little Home” range. It has everything from a plastic washing machine to a trolley fitted with a mop, broom and bucket. Next year, I’d like see a “My Little Broken Home” range where nothing works except a miniature crystal meth lab. Accessories would include paramedics and a social worker.

The electronic kitchen “makes realistic sounds” so you might not want to get that. The last thing you need is a toy that shrieks, “You’re not having another beer, are you?” and “You can also cook sometimes, you lazy pig.”

My Little Iron also makes realistic sounds. Like what? “I’m sick of slaving away for these ungrateful white bastards” and “Why doesn’t your useless father ever do this?” and “Open the safe or I’ll iron your face.”

There’s also a talking octopus. What can it possibly have to say? I once met an octopus while snorkeling and I can honestly say that in the brief moment our eyes met, we both knew there was nothing we had to say to each other. If octopi could talk, I expect they would say, “Please take that pointy stick out of my head and return me to the rock pool from whence I came.” Well, the educated ones would. The more common octopi would probably squirt ink everywhere and try to strangle you with a tentacle.

A shop assistant caught me looking up a doll’s skirt. Awkward. I simply wanted to ascertain whether it was anatomically correct. With the education system as it is, I wouldn’t want my nephew growing up thinking all girls have a piece of hard plastic between their legs. Not that I have a nephew.

I had ingested a muscle relaxant in the parking lot and fortunately was able to deal with almost anything – even the Verimark aisle. It was like stepping into a future filled with home appliances designed by mad geniuses on hallucinogenic drugs and whiskey.

Talking vacuum cleaners with an incredible 22Kpa suction power! That’s enough to suck the eyeballs right out of your head. There was one that not only picks up dust mites, but gives them in-house training so they can entertain you with tiny circuses and cabaret acts instead of freebooting on skin flakes and crawling up your nose while you’re sleeping.

Slumped in a jewellery shop doorway, I watched a middle-aged man staring blankly at a pair of diamond earrings. He noticed me and asked what I thought. I took a look at the price.

“I think you you should get something cheaper. She’s probably cheating on you right now.” Apparently a sense of humour is out of place in the festive season.

With my blood-alcohol levels dangerously low, I repaired to the restaurant area where several companies appeared to be having their get-togethers. Christmas parties used to be held at night. There would be carousing and fornicating and the company would happily pay your bail the next day. Now, the grinches offer their employees a free lunch.

As if there’s such a thing.