by Blind Peanut Nicholson

One night I was driftin off to sleep
I’d asked the Lord my soul to keep
A couple of lines drifted through my head
Made me jump straight out of bed

Stumbled to my desk and scribbled em down
Next thing I knew I was just goin to town
Thought to myself, “I could be wrong
But this might be a big hit country song”

So I brought it to the band, said “Check out this verse”
They looked it over, said “Well, we’ve seen worse”
But when they came to the break they were playing strong
Sure sounded like a big hit country song

[instrumental break]

We decided to try it before a live crowd
They were getting kind of rowdy, they were getting kind of loud
But when we got to the chorus they were singing along
Looks like we got ourselves a big hit country song

Well, the record company thought it was great
It debuted on the charts at Number Eight
It got heavy rotation, right where it belonged
This simple little big hit country song

Now it’s gone past its prime, it’s aged quite a bit
It’s on Volume One of our Greatest Hits
Download it if you want to, its life you’ll prolong
Our simple little big hit country song

The Wisdom of Hu Sei Dat

The man who has made death his goal – to him alone is success guaranteed.

The wise man is free, though his body be chained in the darkest of dungeons.
The fool is a prisoner, though he stand unfettered in an open field.

Fear is a ring in your nose, by which you may be led around at will.

When one is fighting a tiger, victory is gained only when one has killed the tiger. But when one is fighting quicksand, victory is gained only when one escapes from the quicksand and walks away. Pity the man who cannot distinguish between the two situations.

Sometimes the catastrophe must be allowed to happen.

Sometimes you can escape the prison by denying its existence.
Sometimes you cannot escape the prison until you admit its existence.




The Beatleatitudes

Blessed are those in times of trouble, for Mother Mary shall come to them.

Blessed are those who know My Name, for they shall look up My Number.

Blessed are those with kaleidoscope eyes, for they shall be in the sky with diamonds.

Blessed are those who don’t care too much for money, for money cannot buy them love.

Blessed are those who find Gideon’s Bible, for it shall help with their revival.

Blessed are those who work eight days a week, for they shall be given everything.

Blessed are those who are not caught with another man, for if they are, that’s the end, little girl.


All the gifts are unwrapped, and the turkey’s been eaten
And although our credit cards took quite a beating
It wasn’t too bad, not as bad as we’d feared
We survived another Christmas this year

Christmas spirits were flowing, but no one got too drunk
Or got so depressed that they just sat in a funk
There were quite a few smiles, and a good bit of cheer
We survived another Christmas this year

It’s a lot of hard work to prepare all this merry
We might not recover till mid-February…

There weren’t any meltdowns – well, okay, one or two
But we worked our way through them, and I hope so did you
It’s important to treasure the ones we hold dear
The laughter and hugs will make up for the tears
Remember it’s just one week till it’s New Year’s…
But we survived another Christmas
Yes, we made it through Christmas
We survived another Christmas this year!

I Saw Three Ships (of Refugees)

I Saw Three Ships (of Refugees)
(Traditional; new words Skip Mendler)

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
And each was loaded to the brim
On Christmas Day in the morning

And what was in those ships all three
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
A sight that no one should have to see
On Christmas Day in the morning

Those ships were filled with refugees
On Christmas Day, On Christmas Day
Who from a brutal war did flee
On Christmas Day in the morning

Pray, whither sailed those ships all three
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
Pray, where might their cargo be safe and free
On Christmas Day in the morning

Oh, they came to America
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
Oh, they put their hopes in America
On Christmas Day in the morning

And every one was welcomed in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
With open hearts was welcomed in
On Christmas Day in the morning

And all the children did laugh and sing
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
And hope for better futures bring
On Christmas Day in the morning

For all the angels in Heaven approve
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
To see strangers welcomed with God’s own love
On Christmas Day in the morning

So let us all together rejoice
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
Whatever our language, whatever our voice
On Christmas Day in the morning


The North Pole
December 2015

My Dear Friends:

We trust that you are having the best holiday season possible, given present circumstances. A few questions have been definitely trending, as they say, in Santa’s mailbag so far this year, so all of us here at the Workshop appreciate Mr. Mendler making this space available to us so that we can address some of these concerns.

First off, Santa would like to reassure his younger correspondents that Rudolph and the crew are all fine. The Workshop, despite its “North Pole” location, is not directly affected by issues such as the loss of polar sea ice, or the rising of ocean levels. (One could say that we are “above” such things, in a certain sense; this is also, by the way, why we don’t show up on Google Maps.) That is not to say we are not deeply concerned about the issue of climate change. We have been following the negotiations in Paris with great interest, though Santa must admit that he is not optimistic for any major breakthroughs any time soon. The traditional threat of lumps of coal as a penalty for misbehavior seems to have no effect on fossil fuel company executives and their governmental representatives, as you can well imagine. Please write your elected officials – and be sure to tell them Santa sent you!

Santa treats all requests on an individual basis, as you know – but as a general rule, we do not deal in heavy armaments. So those of you requesting rocket-powered grenades for “home defense,” or looking to get an AK-47 or an AR-15 because you “want to take up hunting,” may find yourselves disappointed on Christmas morning. Santa knows who the real hunters are, and is more than happy to help keep you guys and gals well-supplied with warm socks, sturdy tree stands, and the latest in field-dressing tools. Armor-piercing bullets? Not so much.

Speaking of armaments… that brings us to our last topic for this letter. Many of you have written regarding the refugee situation in the Mediterranean, and wondering what Santa can do. Santa’s ability to reach into war zones is severely limited; security measures make it a challenge even to get into the refugee camps in other countries. For these needs, therefore, Santa has to count on you for assistance.

There are many organizations whose work you can help with your donations, including the well-known ones like UNHCR, Unicef, Oxfam, the International Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, and Save the Children. Santa would like to give a special shout-out this year to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), whose facilities in Yemen were recently hit by bombing raids.

A recent story on public radio (…/5-groups-doing-important-work-help-ref…) listed a number of other less famous organizations that are also providing worthwhile assistance, including:
Migrant Offshore Aid Station (
“Flüchtlinge Willkommen” (“Refugees Welcome” –
“The Worldwide Tribe in Calais” (
Small Projects Istanbul (
The Karam Foundation (,
Hand in Hand for Syria (
Santa has also learned of a group called Clowns without Borders ( that has been doing amazing work with children in refugee camps!

Wherever you feel moved to help, making a donation in someone else’s behalf is a wonderful present – and Santa doesn’t have to carry a thing! So please consider that option for the people in your life who have what they need already.

From Santa and all of us at the North Pole, best wishes for a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Prosperous and Peaceful New Year!

The Leader Awakens (a story)

So yeah, that was me.

Before the junta took over, while things were still in flux, yes, I wrote a few essays, a couple of poems… I was just trying to describe what I saw, and where I thought things were going.

Then I had the brain aneurysm. I went into a coma. For some reason, they chose to keep me alive, even though I was pretty much in a vegetative state. Maybe that was why.

(It was wonderful, by the way. I can’t tell you.)

But then somehow, for some reason, I started to recover. I regained full consciousness about a week ago.

I have been brought up to speed. Somehow, someone built on my meager writings, and managed to use them to construct a wide-ranging social movement.

They have overthrown the junta. They have established a People’s Republic. They have exiled – or executed – almost all of their opposition, all the men who represented the old order.

They also, somehow, managed to misconstrue or misinterpret nearly everything I had said, everything that I do in fact believe.

And now they have no idea what to do next.

Now I hear them, chanting, outside my hospital window.

They expect me to lead them into their bright new future.

They do not yet know that I have nothing to say.

What shall I tell them? How shall I tell them?