<center><p> <b><u>REVIEW OF THE WEEK</u><p> by<p> BAO DAI OF HOLLYWOOD </b><p> </center> <left> DATELINE: HOLLYWOOD <p> 24 December 2000 <p> </left> <center> <b><u>HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS</b></u><p> </center>

Ah, Christmas Eve... my very favorite day of the year-- a day of memories -- to which I'll now subject you....

Unlike some miseducated egomaniac once suggested, I am not Hindu -- at least that's what I thought he was suggesting in his derisive little e-mail which... oh never mind, it's Christmas and we're having a fucking "rolling black out."

No, members of the House of Nyguen have traditionally been Roman Catholic, as were many of our subjects -- at least until the Godless Commies over ran and renamed Saigon while mooning the Americans and a few of my people who were too strung out to get it together to fly United out of town.

I should take pains to point out that the House of Nyguen does not include those skinny little Zipperheads who sell your 12 year olds cigarettes and beer and squawk like a chickens laying condor eggs when accused of it. Oh, their name is Nyguen -- Nyguen is like the Vietnamese "Smith"; but just like every cracker named Windsor ain't no relation to the Queen of England, not every Nyguen Ching Chang is a blue blood.

Most of those corrupt government officials who were too cheap to buy their own ticket to freedom and ended up beating each other with sticks to catch the last chopper off the US Embassy may have been named Nyguen, but they weren't related to us... which isn't to say the House is doesn't have a few black sheep, but we know about Christmas... and so I'm entitled to dull, boring memories same as any WASP (or in the case of many Catholics, any WAS)...

{Green and red memory cells flicker on in my brain, dumping information into the Message Center where it, along with such commands as 'Breath you dumb gook' zips across synapses while the CEO of Southern California Edison comes on my mind's TV to plead that I only use "essential" memory functions. I recognize this as being closely tied to the pleas about our alleged electrical shortage -- some cheap stunt prelude to a big rate increase -- and so, like most folks and their electricity, I promptly ignore it... may as well waste that good cheap stuff while it's still cheap, black out or no?}

Memories, like the color of Annie Green Springs Strawberry Hill Wine....

I recall a few Christmases with Grandfather in France, and how Grandfather -- the Bao Dai who is on stamps and shit -- would, at around 7 every Christmas Eve, drunkenly drag himself from beneath the Christmas tree in his one bedroom flat and spend a half hour or so screaming out at passing Parisians "J'accuse!!!!" (or however you spell it).

Now that was the only French the old guy knew, and no one is sure he knew what the word meant, but the damned pedestrians took it personally when he'd vomit on them, and often pelted him with frog leg bones and gnawed horse ribs.

According to Hanoi Bao, who was big on conspiracy theories, the people of Paris felt Grandfather was accusing them of ripping him off when he (as the people of Paris tell it around burning trash cans late at night) "swindled the good French people into putting him up in that sunny flat on the Left Bank for life (plus a new Caddie every year, a driver, and all the food and wine as well as imported American drinking water he and any members of his jet setting entourage could drink in exchange for the mineral rights to "Indo China"....

Oh, I forgot they also gave him Maison Saigon on the Portuguese coast plus a small pension and a few other things hardly worth mentioning, but come on, just because no one but the stupid French recognized "Indo China" as a piece of real estate it doesn't seem right that Grandfather should have to pay -- yet he did....

When De Gaulle got snippy (thanks Al for reintroducing that into the language -- you started a trend -- just today my friend Doordan used "Holy Moly" -- anyway, when Chuckles got his nose out of joint over what was a done deal, Grandfather tossed in the rubber rights and 50% of his take on a Thai prostitution ring... gratis.

From the way those French yelled when Grandfather would urinate onto the street below, well, Holy Moly, I mean they acted like Grandfather personally caused the French Empire to crumble... as if any country which was run over in like 10 minutes by a few hundred thousand anally retentive Germans deserve an empire...

Excuse my digression....

And then there was the Christmas Eve we spent at the home of Quan "Colonel Sanders" Ho, who was said to rule the "Golden Triangle" opium trade -- well, it wasn't his "home" so to speak, but his English hunting lodge.

That Christmas Eve was memorable as a Hallmark moment because my favorite aunt, Aunt O (so dubbed because Hanoi Bao insisted his sister-in-law was an opium addict) had to be "rescued"... plus I accidentally conked Hanoi Bao with a snow shovel sating many subconscious Oedipal urges.

Aunt O was late getting to the compound due to a nasty blizzard and had traded her last bottle of "tonic" to Princess Margaret for some black beauties back in London.

There was a terrible blizzard that night, and as we sat around the lodge doing Karaoke versions of der Bingle's White Christmas some insane Persians were roaming the grounds, trying to settle some old score for the Shah, who was said to be one of the Colonel's main business competitors.

One of the Iranians SAMs knocked turned Aunt O's chopper into a fire ball at which we all ewwwwwwwwed and ahhhhhhed until Aunt O's pilot's left arm came flying into the compound on strong gust of wind; then we all became worried -- well, until we saw Aunt O's flare a few miles off... then we all went back to our game of Parchessi.

Aunt O had to hoof it through seven foot snow drifts the last few miles, but she was accompanied by this by a kindly old English couple who reminded me a lot of Andy Capp and his wife.

What I remember most about that Christmas Eve is racing to the door as Aunt O came in shivering, tweaked silly and (I now know) in serious withdrawals from her 30 gram a day opium habit.

When I saw her I thought "Christmas is surely ruined," because Aunt O, who always gave us red pajamas we were forced to wear on Christmas Eve, was to me the very spirit of Christmas (I was a kid -- how was I to know she was so much fun because she was blitzed all the time?).

As one of the Colonel's wives took Aunt O to her room where (unbeknownst to me) she not only got a nice warm bath but her first toot of #4 to set her right, in come the British couple, saving Christmas for this little zipperhead by singing Christmas Carols and, much to everyone's relief, dragging the corpses of the evil Persians sent by the Shah as part of what Hanoi Bao claimed was a Worldwide Moslem plot to ruin Christmas -- I mean, as my insane and most cruel sister took pains to point out, if they knocked Aunt O from the sky, surely they would have nailed Santa -- "If they don't have him tied up and on a boat headed for the Persian Gulf as we speak," she added, laughing maniacally until Grandfather came in and threatened her with a Death Warrant.

I loved Grandfather.

Then there were the many Christmas Eves spent at home in Pennsylvania in our red pajamas (Aunt O followed the House around like, well, as Hanoi Bao put it, "an albatross around our necks" because we were always having to get her off some hook with the old Diplomatic Immunity Ploy -- although Grandfather and I were rather fond of her... she was the sister I never had -- the one who was neither "sane but dumb as a dog who begs for scraps at a classy restaurant in Seoul" [Sister No. One], or "brilliant but certifiably insane and a danger to herself, others and the whole concept which is the foundation of cards on which the House of Nyguen is built." [Sister No. Two]

Anyway, despite the risk of Grandfather issuing a Death Warrant or Sister #2 starting a riot, Mother's entire family would arrive en masse just after dark on Christmas Eve, Grandfather would spike the eggnog, Aunt O would spike herself and Mother would cheerily (or not) tend to the needs of all, including my cousin who allegedly molested Sister No. One (Mother's daughter -- hey, if you're lost already, give up and try James Joyce), his sister who was involved in some sort of psuedoincestuous relationship with her step brother, who was one of my Godfather's and whose daughter who she had by her first husband was also molested by her brother... and the would be matriarch of that clan, (whom Mother lovingly called "My sister O's sister")... Mah Jong Mag ....

Also arriving through rain and snow and gloom of night to see me and my respective idiot and insane sisters in our new red PJs was Mah Jong Mag's entire extended and step family and grandchildren -- see, Mah Jong Mag had been excommunicated supposedly for marrying a divorced Lutheran choir director... so to toss olive oil on the Pope's burning rage, she divorced him and married "Henry the Kind Hearted" (or soft headed), a railroad tycoon/bookmaker widower with his own extended family...

So as not to cast a shadow of un-joy upon my Christmas memories I must aver that I remained fond of Mah Jong Mag, and often contributed to her possible alcoholism, until her death, despite her habit of buying me ugly shirts at cheap stores in Delaware where she'd force "poor" Henry to take her because there was no sales tax or some other low rent concept like that.

Oddly, despite this meander down Memory Lane, which I suspect was about as exciting as my favorite Uncle's marathon slide shows which grew longer and more painful every two months, I have no idea why Christmas Eve was always my favorite day of the year.

See, they'd all come back... with friends and friends of friends and the entire House of Nyguen PLUS hangers on to the Court and strangers who claimed to be boffing Sister #2 would all come the very next day [Christmas] to be fed by Mother. As Hanoi Bao once said, "I don't know how she did it"-- except, well, okay... on Christmas Eve I didn't mind coming in and eating spaghetti, putting on red PJs and spending the next 16 hours getting gifts, then the next 6 or so playing with the gifts (except Mah Jong Mag's lousy cheapo undershirt or whatever).

On Christmas Day I did mind all these people interrupting valuable play time.

Sort of like this Review could have done if you read it.

Sorry.... have yourself a Merry Little Christmas....---->>NOW