Joe Holleman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who writes a somewhat offbeat and sometimes slightly raunchy column, as well as being a film critic, which was his original gig, takes aim at do-gooders like PETA and GASP, in this imaginary Christmas tale.
He’s quite out-of-date on the GASP acronym, which hasn’t stood for “Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution” for many years.
After getting fed up with the meaningless tobacco industry-promoted “Accommodation” of smokers and nonsmokers in separate sections in restaurants and similar venues, Missouri GASP changed its name to the more appropriate “Group Against Smoking Pollution.” The GASP cartoon below says it all.
By the way, I’ve added contact links for the grinch organizations mentioned by Joe Holleman. And I don’t rate Missouri GASP in the same league as PETA. We’ve never done anything remotely illegal or that could be viewed as assault, although I’ve sometimes felt like extinguishing a cigar, cigarette or pipe without the owner’s permission.
Which reminds me of the time I was on my way to visit my late sister in 1988, who was dying from lung cancer in England. I changed at Detroit International Airport, and while there encountered a cigar smoker in a “No Smoking” designated information area. When I approached him and pointed this out he responded by threatening to put his cigar out in my face!
LIFE SHERPA JOE HOLLEMAN – email@example.com; 314-340-8254 | 1 Comment | Posted: Sunday, December 20, 2009 12:00 am
Note: While the Life Sherpa takes some incredibly well-earned vacation time, here is a reprint of a 2007 story about his favorite Christmas ever:
Good thing my favorite Christmas was more than 45 years ago. Had it been more recent, my family would have been in jail.
It was Christmas Eve 1963. I had just turned 6 and was in kindergarten at St. Gabriel the Archangel. My family and their closest friends were together, the food was delicious and plentiful, and I made an incredible haul of toys.
Today, the problems would have begun almost immediately.
With many adults gathered, the egg nog bowl with a bottle of Jim Beam alongside was a busy attraction. After drinking some virgin nog, I pestered long enough for a “grown-up” sample. So my Uncle Red – who always had a cigar in his mouth and several hundred dollars rolled inside a rubber band in his pants pocket – put a drop or two of whiskey in my glass.
The first taste was awful, the second was OK, the third was downright tasty. For me, this is a characteristic of whiskey that still holds true today.
This would mark the first call to the Department of Family Services.
(mogasp: Assumed to be the Missouri Department of Social Services, St. Louis.).
But even whiskey was not enough to keep a 6-year-old from getting antsy, and obnoxious. To burn energy, I ran down the hallway or trampolined on a bed.
No adult threatened to swat my butt when I got caught doing this stuff, they just did it. In those days, any adult relative, or close friend of a relative, could swat you.
At this point, I call the family services department myself.
After drinks, everyone moved into the dining room for capon (a castrated rooster), mashed potatoes and gravy and numerous creamed vegetables.
Protesters from PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, show up with picket signs outside the house and throw symbolic chicken testicles on our porch. The Center for Science in the Public Interest alerts the media that serving me rich gravy and vegetables swimming in cholesterol sauce was like pointing an edible gun at my head.
After the meal, my mom decided I needed a nap, so my Uncle Red and I retired to his giant leather recliner and I dozed off curled up next to him while he puffed an after-dinner cigar.
Protesters from GASP, Group to Alleviate Smoke Pollution, start pacing with the PETA folks. (mogasp name correction: Group Against Smoking Pollution.)
Later, we all loaded into several cars and drove to church. I sat between my mom and my aunt, who wore their fur coats and diamonds. I felt safe and warm, squeezed between soft, cuddly furs while I watched the jewels sparkle in the candlelit church.
PETA pickets send for reinforcements with red paint to throw on the furs. They come with Amnesty International, worried about whether the jewelry was conflict-free.
When we got back from church, we found that Santa had snuck in while we were gone and let some amazing stuff.
I got a bunch of cool stuff, including a bicycle and two toy guns. One gun was a rifle modeled after the Winchester that Lucas McCain carried in “The Rifleman”; the other was a Thompson machine gun like Sgt. Saunders carried in “Combat.”
Then, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology issues a study analyzing my family’s blatant disregard for my mental well-being by allowing me to play with violent toys.
(mogasp: It appears it should be “American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry” or AACAP. Close, but no cigar, Joe!)
The bicycle was shiny red with gobs of chrome. It was such an awesome machine that I begged and pleaded to ride it one time on the sidewalk while my uncle watched from inside the door. Family services gets another call, about a 6-year-old riding a bike at 2 a.m – without a helmet.
Finally, under the weight of the media coverage of the protests, my family is taken away in handcuffs – leaving me alone with my “Three Stooges” coloring book.