Such fun!

By David Grima | Dec 11, 2019

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer is 80 this year!

Can’t imagine why this stunning factoid has not been made more of, but according to a certain reference book which I peruse most nights before snuffing out my bedside candle, a certain Robert L. May wrote the original story in 1939, (just in time for Rudolph to participate in World War II?)

The song that Johnny Marx made popular is actually only 70, being written in 1949.

Either way, 70 or 80, it reminds me of a very bad joke involving a Russian tour guide called Rudolf, who was leading two Western tourists through Moscow one Soviet winter, one of whom refused to accept his observation that it was raining. The tourist insisted that it must be snowing because “this is Russia.”

In the end, the other tourist, his wife, ended the ridiculous debate by pointing out that “Rudolf the Red knows rain, dear.”

See what I mean?

* * * * *

Speaking of ancient things, I see that actor Kirk Douglas turned 103 on Monday this week. This means he was born during World War I.

* * * * *

Somewhat younger than Kirk Douglas but possibly older than Rudolph lies the inestimable character of Henry “Hank” Lunn, a local boy who brought his delightful polka band, King Pierogi, to the Time Out Pub last Friday evening.

Who knew that everything, including Elvis, sounds better when performed as a polka?

* * * * *

Poor Lord Prez Trumpleton has been quite beside himself with distress these past few weeks. I can’t help thinking I might unwittingly have been the cause of it. I think it happened like this.

Idly thumbing through my Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations a couple of years ago, which as usual with most of my books I found at the city dump, I happened upon a remark made in 1978 by former President Richard Nixon, possibly when he was being interviewed by Brit TV personality David Frost:

“When the president does it, that means it is not illegal,” is the Nixonian quotation in question, and I casually mentioned it to Lord Prez Trumpleton a few weeks after his inauguration, while he was visiting me in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live.

I suppose I was thinking he might take it as a modest but cautionary tale about the Presidential Way Ahead. Alas, due to certain factors which is unnecessary to describe here, it seems he took it as some kind of brilliant suggestion instead, and it has been tough going for him ever since.

So, all this subsequent nonsense, the Impeach Mints, the Russia investigation, the Ukraine investigation, the Misery of the Lady Melancholia Trumpleton, and so forth, are really my personal responsibility. I should never have told him.

I really am sorry. I won’t do it again.

* * * * *

Last week I briefly mentioned the colored globes hanging from the trees near the traffic lights on Park and Main, and made some smart remark about the way they resemble stop-lights and go-lights, and hoped that drivers could tell the difference between the globes and the actual traffic lights.

Apparently, several other drivers have spotted the similarity too, and caustic comments have been sent in to City Hall on the subject.

I seem to have a gift for putting my foot in my mouth (see above about how I led Lord Trumpleton astray), so I now wish to mention that these lights were paid for with a very modest appropriation from municipal funds, and I think they look rather jolly.

* * * * *

Shortly after last week’s piece of scribbled nonsense appeared in print, containing some unguarded comments about the forthcoming city property tax revaluation (expected to hit us in the South End very hard), I got a letter from a real estate agent offering to help me sell my property.

It’s not the first time I have been solicited in this way, and it was done very nicely. And I am sure I was not the only person in the neighborhood to receive this kind of letter. But I have to admit it felt a bit ominous at the time. Spooky, even.

* * * * *

For reasons I am unlikely to be able to explain very well, I was in the same room as several officials from the Maine Department of Corrections, last week. Still, when one has a weekly newspaper column to write, you have to keep your ears open for useful stuff, and the occasional chance to pick up small but interesting facts cannot be ignored.

For example, it was particularly interesting to hear that the average prison sentence being served in Maine is currently only 17 months.

And we all assumed that things were getting worse very day!

* * * * *

Speaking of old people, it should of course be mentioned that we weren’t always this old. Many of us have been quite young in our day, and have had many joyful adventures.

For example, B was showing me some photos the other day, including one of herself wearing a cocktail dress while standing in a domestic kitchen in Portland, some time back in the 1970s.

“Shortly after that picture was taken, the kitchen caught fire and burned down,” she explained. “Such fun!”

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at

If you appreciated reading this news story and want to support local journalism, consider subscribing today.
Call (207) 594-4401 or join online at
Donate directly to keeping quality journalism alive at
Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Dec 11, 2019 11:59

Speaking of getting old, David, that is why I moved to AZ.  I fit in with all these oldies with my cane and grey hair. It is so good to have a per' group...Love you David!

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever +:0)....

If you wish to comment, please login.