A gentleman wearing a Santa hat walked into the ‘Keag store for breakfast Sunday last, singing “Ho, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!”

* * * * *

For several weeks now, there has been a flag planted on top of the landfill at the city dump, as though some brave soul had set out from its foothills and eventually reached the summit.

* * * * *

I am told that Brooks Trap Mill, supplier of the pieces for our wonderful Lobster Trap Tree, also supplied 300 traps for a similar tree in Gloucester, Mass.

* * * * *

Last weekend “The Nutcracker” was broadcast at The Strand Theatre in town, being a repeat of the Dec. 21, 2014, production by the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow.

Now it is a fact that those naughty Russkies are a peculiar bunch of people, and no mistake.

Nationally, they are known as a culture of accomplished professional cheaters who shamelessly dope up their athletes so they will win, win, win. They are also quite well known for simply occupying other countries with thousands of tanks and troops for decades, usually against the will of the occupied peoples. And their current leader, Vlad the Impaler, who is merely the latest in a long line of villains, will pull off any kind of swindle in broad daylight just so he can stay in power, etc.

And yet, despite this well established background of creepy corruption, the Russkies can sing and dance like angels.

The only people who can sing better than them are the Welsh, and possibly the Maori people of New Zealand.

* * * * *

As I sit here scribbling away by the dim and greasy light of a seagull-feather lamp, atop the east concrete tower at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live, the snow has been coming down steadily almost all day.

The scrape of the plow blade can be heard across the South End, and possibly in other parts of the state as well. Yet it is known that we have a shortage of plow truck drivers to take care of our bigger highways and the interstate.

News sources advise us that the state Department of Transportation is once again facing Old Man Winter short of 50 plow drivers, despite offering a handsome $1,000 bonus as an inducement for people to drive the trucks in winter.

In fact, we are not just short of plow truck drivers. Quite a number of commercial drivers of all categories are reaching retirement age all over Maine, and are leaving the workforce to sit in front of their hearths wearing slippers and smoking their pipes. We are facing a general shortage of commercial drivers, not to mention of all other kinds of workers.

I just hope the worker shortage is not having an effect at the North Pole.

* * * * *

I received several encouraging responses from women a couple of weeks ago, after writing about how difficult it is for them to find anything inside their purses.

One reader agreed with my notion that all purses need an interior light, and another suggested I begin making the things to sell. Alas, I am only an ideas man. Some other soul will have to undertake to manufacture the new and improved woman’s purse.

This is why I will die a poor man, much as I have also lived.

* * * * *

As I have mentioned a few times, I recently read a trilogy of police novels set in the age when an asteroid was about the hit Earth and destroy everything we know. I assumed this would be a rare enough idea that nobody else would try to write anything similar.

Wrong, as usual. I found a novel at the city library the other day, called “The End of the World Running Club,” which is also set in the shadow of asteroids about to hit poor Earth.

Is somebody trying to tell us something? Or is everyone just in a particularly apocalyptic mood these days?

* * * * *

This time of year often brings to mind Christmas habits and practices of my childhood. One among many is the memory of the industrial-strength Christmas cakes my dad used to make.

He would buy a well-seasoned Dundee cake, rich with fruit and nuts, then cover all sides and the entire top with quarter-inch thick slabs of marzipan. On top of this layer he would then spread a kind of white frosting (or icing as we called it) whose formula was apparently known only to him.

Before this icing set rock solid, he would add on top of the cake the traditional little decorative items which we kept the rest of the year in a small aluminum tin. These items included a plaster Santa from a thousand years earlier, a tiny Christmas tree, and a small plastic Robin Redbreast.

(Robins are considered symbols of Christmas in the Olde Country, as they do not migrate, but stay around and make things look pretty. They really are very red in the breast, too. Our larger spring robins here are no relation.)

Once decorated, the cake’s outer protective layer would then solidify in a manner known only to industrial chemists. Cutting the cake on Christmas night required enormous strength and the use of specially hardened armor-piercing tools. Chunks of the frosting would have defeated an adult crocodile’s bite. It might take my younger siblings and me an afternoon or more to completely consume a single modest slice of this annual holiday delicacy, and the cake itself was so well protected that it could easily have survived a direct hit by an asteroid.

Needless to say, I miss Dad’s Christmas cake rather a lot.