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10 Things I Don’t Like About Christmas


Yum....said no one ever

Yum….said no one ever

There are lots of wonderful things about Christmas – parties, family gatherings, decorations, carols, movies, presents, and more – but there are also at least

10 Things I Don’t Like About Christmas

1. Fruitcake

2. Annual Letter Updates that come with Christmas cards

3. Receiving a re-gift

4. Aunt Rose’s soggy string bean casserole

5. Uncle Charlie’s same old corny jokes

6. Shopping mobs

7. Icicle lights going out after you put the ladder away

8. Ugly sweaters

9. Drunken houseguests

10. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in “White Christmas” (Yeah, I know a lot of you actually like this terribly corny movie. Watch it again.)

Maybe you’d like to share your Christmas dislikes. We’d love your comments.

Holiday Decorating Contest – The Winners!

The Year in Review

You know those boring, annoying annual family summaries that some people sendil_fullxfull.288419109[1] along with their Christmas cards? Well, here’s our version all about the Emerald Lakes family, every bit as annoying, but perhaps a teensy less boring.

Merry Christmas, one and all.  This is your dear cousin Emmy (as in Emerald Lakes, get it?).  It’s the most wonderful time of the year and all, so I thought I would sit down and remind you of all the fun we have had this past year.

Our annual family reunion at the Pocono Mountain West High School went as well as could be expected; which is to say it was embarrassing.  It started when one of the twins (who can tell them apart?) complained that having to put her ballots into two different boxes was really hard and she didn’t think that our family was smart enough to handle such stringent requirements.   When we were done laughing, we got to vote, but nothing was passed.  Nothing.  After spending three years rewriting our bylaws so they don’t force the board to break the rules by requiring them to travel back in time each year to present a budget to the family in August that has to be passed in May, the very few folks that showed up said the new rules weren’t any good because they got cooties on them when some unsavory person touched them.  Also, the extended family that can’t show up to vote weren’t there to vote that they can mail-in their votes, so the meanies that did show up made sure there won’t be mail-in votes so they’ll never be able to vote. Guess they showed who’s boss here.

There was a changing of the guard this year, with Lola Lollipop’s hubby, Bobby deciding to step away from the fighting at the table at the end of his term, and later, Red Sox Johnny C stepping down too. They were replaced by Dapper Dan G. and the talkative, but lovable, Margie F.  We all look forward to seeing what kind of mark these two will leave on our fair family’s business dealings but, with the holidays, they haven’t had much of a chance to work. You know, between Labor Day and New Year’s, there is just no time to actually do anything. 

There have been big doings at the Community Center this year.  When the ratty carpeting became one big stain instead of hundreds of smaller stains, we finally got new tile flooring installed.  There were fights, with some insisting that mold was a lovely shade for a carpet, but they got the new beige floor in just in time for the Haunted House folks to bleed all over it.  They had crazy clowns chopping up bodies for the entertainment of parents who love to watch their kids pee in their pants.  It’s a great service these folks provide; for the rest of the year when the kids get out of line one only has to say “the clowns won’t like that.” and the kids will walk straight and narrow without argument (although a few are still wetting the bed). Anyway, for the maybe twenty days a year when we actually have more than five people in the dining room, this floor is an investment that will probably go paying for itself indefinitely.

We were all very worried and excited when crazy Joanne found oil in the well, but after everyone in the world looked at all the wells around her place and found it nowhere else, I figure someone probably got mad at her for one of her late night, spirits-induced rants and just dumped a can of Valvoline’s finest directly into the pump. Which is a good thing, because we really don’t want all the wells around here tested.  Word might get out and our property values could plummet. (I prefer bottled water anyway, don’t you?)

The fight against fun has continued throughout the year, with some of our family members taking their noise complaints to mom and dad at the board. They were mad because some people partied on Summer nights. Oooh. Partying in the Summer? We’ll put a stop to that! Since they don’t have any fun friends like that, they don’t think any of us should be allowed to have them over or laugh and dance to music.  After listening to both sides, our esteemed Patriarch Al told us all that he didn’t see anything and couldn’t prove anything, so no one would be punished, but we  can be sure that he will make sure the babysitters at Public Safety keep an eye on things over there.  The Aunties were smirking, and I guess they are going to be looking for anything they can find to keep the noise down over there.  In the meantime, Mean Old Millie (MOM) got her friends at Rules and Regs to pass a “no loitering” rule, just to make sure everyone is in bed before dark.  Don’t get caught outside after dark, or you may get in big trouble!  And while we’re at it, if you have something to say, you better say it here and not on a sign on your lawn, because they also passed a rule about signs.  In fact, I am a little worried about my “Merry Christmas” sign.  Technically, it’s against the rules, isn’t it?  Oh, but wait, signs are okay if they say things that the Aunties like.  It’s only bad if it personally offends them.  You see, that’s the problem with the fight against fun; it’s only enforced against the family members that the older generation doesn’t like.

As for this blog, most of you know by now that crazy Uncle Buz and Lola Lollipop have been writing like crazy.  MOM and Auntie Carmen  got a bee in their bonnets and decided that they were talking waaaay too much about things they would rather forget and and that people were better off not knowing so, after trying enough times, they finally got a couple of the boys on the board to make a rule about the paper only telling their side of any story.  Since Uncle Buz and Lola Lollipop just don’t ever know when to shut up, they decided that the board could keep its silly little paper, and they would finally step out of the dark ages and write to you all online.  It seems to be working out pretty well, too, because they can talk everyday now, instead of waiting two whole months for the paper to be published.

Speaking of our little family’s online presence, let’s talk about the new website purchased with the TOPS system for more than $10,000.  This little beauty is supposed to do everything.  Billing, accounts, property records, newsletter, website, probably even the laundry, who knows?  This amazing piece of electronic wizardry managed to … well, there is a website now. Many of us remember the good old days, when we used Cousin Leon’s website. Of course, it was free, and you get what you pay for, right?  Leon’s website had lots of news and pictures, it was updated daily, and questions were answered promptly.  It had an easy to read format for finding information on events, committees, and board actions. It even  had contact numbers for the staff and the board. Yessir, cousin Bob did a bang-up job. So, of course, they fired him. Then they tried launching their brand new TOPS website. And the very first thing it did was publish all the names, addresses, home and work phone numbers and email addresses of every single member. Whoops.  It’s been about five months since they launched the new website, and well, let’s just hope the other parts of the system work a little better than the website module.  It should be working like they promised any day now.

We celebrate all the holidays here in Emerald Lakes, just not the way most families do.  There’s Independence Day (no fireworks, of course, that would be fun), Veteran’s Day (there was a lovely memorial wreath put out for 5 minutes to commemorate the occasion, but it had to be taken in so it wouldn’t be stolen), and Halloween. Now on Halloween we don’t trick or treat; we trunk or treat. In theory it’s a great idea. Kids go to the Community Center parking lot and generous townfolk open their treat-filled trunks to the costumed kids. It’s supposed to be for two hours, but what happens is that the early arrivals just keep circling the lot endlessly, going back again and again and filling their greedy little bags until all the treats are gone. It generally takes about 20 minutes. And then there’s nothing left for the later arrivals. Oh well. But this year, we are doing Christmas right.  Christmas caroling at the Main Entrance. (Just don’t stay too long, or you will get fined for loitering!) On December 22 from 1 to 3, Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit the Community Center and the children will perform in a play called “Help Santa Save Christmas”.  You should all come so we can talk about the ones that don’t show up.

‘Till next year,

Merry Christmas from Aunt Emmy and the Emerald Lakes Free Press!

ELA’s Got Talent – At The Speakeasy Lounge

Lola Lauri

A long day of Christmas shopping and a cold, gray and wet day had us craving some good music and a cozy place to relax

Long Time Comin' (and friends) performing at the Speakeasy Lounge

Long Time Comin’ (and friends) performing at the Speakeasy Lounge

with friends. We rolled into the Speakeasy only minutes after the featured band, Long Time Comin’, had begun their first set.  There was a nice crowd, and we joined Scott and Maria at the last available table by the bar as the band launched into “Mustang Sally”.

A mix of regulars and tourists filled the room, along with a number of ELA residents.  Our neighbor Ron was there, with some friends from New York, out for a weekend of hunting.  Mark and Meredith Mecca showed up, ready for some fun and, lucky for us, Mark brought along his saxophone. The Meccas are ELA members of over a decade.  Mark usually plays with the Cove Haven house band Something Else, but on this night, to everyone’s delight, Read the rest of this entry


th[3]     BREAKING WIND, Colorado (FNS) It appears that at long last, atheists will have their first holiday. The
Atheist Coalition of Everywhere(ACE) has decreed December 27th as their first annual holiday. Coalition spokesperson Agnes Ticke explained, “We’re sick and tired of being the only people without holidays. Christians, Jews, Muslims, what have you, they all have them. There’s Christmas and Easter, Hanukkah and Passover, Ramadan, Festivus, and on and on. What have we got? Bupkis, that’s what. Until now. We are officially declaring December 27th 2012 as the first Big Atheist Holiday, or BAH. Maybe we’ll get a better name later. First things first. Our colors for the holiday will be the rainbow. Why not? Christmas is red and green. Hanukkah is blue and white. We’re all the colors. Also, the tradition of giving expensive presents begins immediately. Never mind ‘it’s the thought that counts.’ That one came from the cheapskates. Have expensive thoughts. And we’ll be writing songs about how good it is to be alive, because dead is nowhere.”

At an informal reception following the announcement ACE Vice President Alby Darnd told reporters that there will be other holidays coming. “We need something for the Spring to counteract Easter and Passover. I need to look up Christopher Hitchens’ birthday. Maybe we could celebrate that.”

Holiday Lights Contest – Update

T    We have announced a Holiday Lights contest and given you the rules, which are pretty much no rules except you have to enter. Obviously this was too much. So let’s try again.

We are having a Christmas/Holiday Lights contest with a real prize for the winner (who will be whoever Buz and I think has the coolest display.) If you do enter (and there is still time!) you can be sure we’ll include you in the judging. But, because of the underwhelming response (exactly no entries), we’re changing the one rule. (We can do that because this is our contest)  Here it is:

You don’t have to enter.

Now, isn’t that easy enough? So, by unpopular demand, no effort whatsoever on your part is necessary. One night close to 12/25 we’ll cruise around and pick out our idea of the best. If we miss your house, that’s on you. You could’ve entered.

     Lola Lauri, Editor, Emerald Lakes Free Press

Holiday Decorating Contest for ELA Residents


Looks good, doesn't it?  But don't worry, it's Lola's house, so it's not eligible to win.

Looks good, doesn’t it? But don’t worry, it’s Lola’s house, so it’s not eligible to win.

We love the holidays, and we love the way so many of you have decorated your lawns and homes for the season.  So the Emerald Lakes Free Press is hosting the First Annual Emerald Lakes Holiday Decorating Contest. Yes, “holidays”.  Don’t pout because we didn’t say Christmas, because we will accept entries for any holiday you choose for your theme.  You can even get out your Easter decorations and put them up.  As long as they are actually out and on your lawn and house on the closing date of the contest, which is December 22, 2012, it is eligible to win.

And there ARE prizes.  We have a lovely gift basket, full of wine and good things to eat.  We have a gift certificate from our friends at the Speakeasy Lounge.  We have chocolate.  You know you want this stuff!

To enter, all you have to do is send a picture of the (outdoor) decorations from this year, and send it, along with the physical address of the home, here in Emerald Lakes (we will be driving around the check!), and the name of the homeowner or resident who did the decorating to  We will post these as soon as we get to them, and the voting opens immediately, so enter as soon as you can.  You can enter your own home, or nominate a neighbor, it’s all up to you.

To vote for your favorite, all you have to do is post a comment telling us which one you like best.  On December 23, 2012, Buz and I will count the comments and decide who the winners are, and will announce them right here, that night.

(Here’s the legal stuff, feel free to stop reading if you don’t care:  We will do our best to count the votes. We will try to count each email address only once.  If we get multiple votes from the same email address, we will only count the last one we receive.  If it gets really complicated, we will just give up and pick our favorites.  If there is a tie, we will flip a coin.  C’mon, it’s Christmas and we don’t have time to get into complicated math.)

So, get in the spirit and get decorating.  We can’t wait to see what you have done.

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