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Dem's da Rules

It's very easy: So long as you don't hear "The Little Drummer Boy," you're a contender. As soon as you hear it on the radio, on TV, in a store, wherever, you're out. And you record your loss on the official reporting form, then tell us all about it on the Facebook wall, along with the time and place of your demise.

(Special note: You cannot be done in by anyone tricking you into hearing the dreaded tune or otherwise hitting you with it on purpose. Such exposure doesn't count.)

What's the time frame? The game begins the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) at 12:00 am local time and continues until 12:00 am the morning of Christmas Eve. The day of Christmas Eve, if you haven't been puh-rum-pum-pum-pummed, you win. For this year, anyway.

Day 13: Puh-Rum-Pum-Pum-Puppy!

December 10, 2014
Little Drummer Boy Doggie

Little Drummer Boy Doggie

Sometimes these things write themselves. His name’s Little Drummer Boy, so he’s balancing out the evil-incarnate nature of The Boy with some good old-fashioned cuteness. Even better, if you’re in the Chicago area, you can adopt him.

Faithful LDBCer Sammi Esterman, who brought this to my attention and who is unsurpassed in her love of all-things-puppy, informs me that should doggie LDB be lucky enough to be adopted, that linked-to page will disappear. However, you’re free to click on the image and get a gigantic version as much as you like.

And should you be so inclined, you can always make a donation to PAWS Chicago in the little fella’s name.

For Susan!

Day 10: Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive

December 7, 2014
Little_Drummer_Boy_Challenge_ChildrenCorn
James Barnett‘s take on Children of the Corn

The cavalcade of tragic LDBC-elfies. The downfall of your loquacious leaders. It weighs on you.

Thus, it’s time to take a break from the constant carnage and focus on some sunnier topics, LDBCers. Like our final offering from admirably artistic James Barnett, whose Fright Club series of LDBC spins on famous horror-movie posters has been such a bright spot in a dark season. Above, he brings us his version of Children of the Corn.

First up, a tale of quick thinking, altruism, and a spirit of surfing to rival that of Bodhi himself as LDBCer Tracy Scarlato shares her tale of tasty waves and survival skills:

Fellow LDBC’ers, an amazing stroke of luck and good fortune came my way today. While looking for a sweatshirt in a surf shop just now, a surfer dude working the cash register nearly jumped out of his seat to complement me on my high top vans, and offered to pay me cold hard cash for them because they were so “rad.” (I declined.) I struck up a conversation with my new friend Josh, and since he was playing holiday music in the shop, I told him about LDBC. He looked at his computer and said, “Holy shit, it’s the next song on the playlist, we have literally 22 seconds to abort!” He immediately deleted the song for me so I could stay in the game (and invited me and Dave to a party down the street even though Dave isn’t here*). So here’s to all the Josh’s out there who are our guardian angels during this trying time. To Josh!

[*Editor’s note: Dave is Tracy’s husband. And that’s not a Cheech and Chong reference; Dave really wasn’t there.]

Also, while I’ve studiously avoided any hint of trying to monetize the LDBC over the years—my dream is to make it big enough that I can work in some sort of charitable component one day—I’m not averse to dropping in the occasional plug for LDBCers and their undertakings, particularly those who contribute their talents for free, help us out in some other way, or happen to strike me as just-plain good people. (I’ll include myself in that group, even though I’m not notably good because, hey—why not?) So without further ado:

  • I wrote a contemporary fantasy, The Commons: Book 1: The Journeyman (the cover’s up there in the right rail). It’s ebook-only for now, but a print edition is due in the next week or two. It’s been described as a magical-realism/metaphysical-fiction mix of Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Ray Bradbury, with a bit of Vonnegut and William Gibson thrown in. More here.
  • The aforementioned Mr. Barnett is your man in Phoenix, Tempe, or Scottsdale for wedding photos and portraits.
  • Your Name Gear is, as the name suggests, your place for personalized apparel. Hats, shirts, sweatshirts, and more—and they make perfect gifts!
  • For other nifty gifts this season, check out some of the designs on offer from LDBCer Claire E. Skinner’s Rocklawn Arts, including some truly neat phone cases, wrapping paper, mugs, and address labels.

That’s about all the can-do vibes I’ve got in me for this gray Sunday, people. But you’re always welcome to contribute more for consideration. I can’t and won’t include anything and everything, but if you’d like to have your business/hobby links or your kids’ holiday art looked at for potential future posts, make your way to the official LDBC contact page. (Please don’t post promo links on the Facebook page or in the comments here. Both places have been wondrously free of such stuff thus far, and I don’t want to have to get all censor-y and delete anything.)

That said, don’t you fret none about all this smile-slinging. The tragic LDBC-elfies continue to roll in, so we’ll return to the grim tidings soon enough.

For Susan!

Day 9: Some Gave All

December 6, 2014
Julie_Robichaux
Julie Robichaux’s doomed wee one

We fired our guns, and the British kept a comin’
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago

Like Johnny Horton’s British, dear LDBCers, there aren’t as many of our compadres as there were a little over a week ago. It’s getting right nasty out there. (I myself dodged two bullets yesterday—once when a hunt for some half-and-half led me into shooting distance of a combo playing holiday music at work and then in our neighborhood Jewel. (I took extraordinary measures and donned earbuds in a long express-checkout line. Whatever gets you through the night, it’s all right.)

Another passel of LDBC-elfies to share, alas, with 160-plus reported passings on the official reporting form. A few highlights from those turning in snapshots:

Kate Curran Hagel:

Why do my kids have to love polka so much?!

Deanne Stone-Juilfs:

Having a nice family dinner and my daughter thought she should play Christmas music on the iPad.

Julie Robichaux:

My son and I were just mown down at his dental appointment. Had I only known what lay ahead, I’d have let his teeth rot right out of his head instead of leading him into this bloodbath.

And then there’s Kristin Fletcher’s creation of a new tradition: LDBC Shaming, in which one posts punishment pix of the person responsible for their downfall. (It’s not petty or vindictive. It’s justice!)

Let’s be careful out there.

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Day 5: Is It Just Me, or Is It Getting Bloody In Here?

December 2, 2014
Laura_Scandura_Rea_CLOSE-CALL
Laura Scandura Rea and Mr. Laura Scandura Rea

The good news, friends, is that we’re coming up on nearly 2,300 brave souls on the Facebook page. The other good news is that LDBCers Laura Scandura Rea and Anne Sussman have both survived frighteningly close retail calls.

Here’s Laura (also pictured above):

An emergency run to IKEA for drapery rods (don’t ask—he’s the one needing the hardware). We heard the now dreaded Christmas playlist as we hit the escalator! “Oh shit! We’re going to have to run the gauntlet! No meatballs at the finish line! Mooooooove!” And we did…. With each new track, a moment of relief as we knew we had 3-4 minutes more of safety. Would our luck hold? He snagged his hardware (not a euphemism) and we sprinted through the furniture self-help warehouse to the registers just as a medley began on the playlist…. “Jingle Bells,” “Winter Wonderland”….. And we were out! We survived another day… Stay strong and shop fast, friends!

And here’s Anne:

I danced with the devil tonight.

After reading of our comrade Susan [that would be official First Fallen Susan Campbell Beachy—Ed.], who was taken from us far too soon at a Michaels with no apostrophe, I was the poster girl for hubris as I strolled into a Harmon Face Values—which shares a foyer with the Michaels on 6th Ave., and very likely a demon sound system. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” was the first hint. Then “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Holy hell. I just needed some generic brand apricot scrub. But where was it? “Holly Jolly Christmas” was up next. I felt weak. My palms were sweaty. Jesus Christ, is this what’s going to take me out? Some cut-rate blemish control?

And then, sweet Jesus, I found it. I grabbed two. Hurry, hurry, hurry, I muttered as I waited in what seemed like an interminable line. “White [Fucking] Christmas.” I had to get out. Finally, it was my turn at the register. I thrust the Bed Bath & Beyond gift card at the cashier and nervously tapped my fingers. Hurry.

And then I was out. I had made it. I was lucky. But how long will my luck last? There was a time, before the war, that I would have described Susan as lucky.
Stay alert, soldiers.

Of course, I led with the good news because I’m a hopelessly sunny fellow, as you’ve surely realized by now. But the bad news is that nearly 90 of us are down. (At least, nearly 90 have been dutiful despite their tragedy and reported in via the official form.)

And many have joined Sarah Jenkins, the first to send in an LDBC-elfie this year, in documenting their downfalls. Now, I sincerely hope there are no more photos to be posted because I sincerely hope the rest of us all make it. But I know that cannot happen so long as The Boy hunts. So if and when you take a fall, feel free to share it on the Facebook wall or email it via our contact page.

For Susan! (Remember the recently invented rule: each year, the First Fallen is honored by having his or her name inserted into our war cry. Until we get tired of it or forget that’s what we’re supposed to do, that is. Those things happen a lot.)

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The 2014 LDBC Has Begun. Boy, Has It.

November 28, 2014

Little_Drummer_Boy_Challenge_Halloween

 

Thus, we’ve begun, friends. Not even 12 hours into this, our annual battle between darkness and light, and one of us has already been snuffed. Sadly, Susan Campbell Beachy, who contributed the “Not Marie, Though” header image to last year’s roundup post, was felled by nasty Natalie Cole at Michael’s on Northern Boulevard in Woodside, Queens this morning. In order to make her feel a little better (and because we happened to think of it, and anyway why not?), we’re creating the designation of First Fallen for those unlucky enough to be number-one victim each year. Thus, we bring you our first First Fallen: Susan Campbell Beachy.

And we’re also kicking off the 2014 LDBC with another stellar offering from jammin’ James Barnett’s Fright Club series, our shockingly sharable images based on classic horror flicks. (And keep in mind, please, that Mr. Barnett is your man in Phoenix, Tempe, or Scottsdale for wedding photos and portraits.)

Now, to start of this year’s game right, I’ll just throw in some housekeeping reminders:

  • Though we always hope that all of us (yes, all 2,000-plus of us now) make it unscathed, that ain’t gonna happen. So if and when you do go down valiantly, please stop by the Facebook page for some sympathy and/or mocking (depends on who responds).
  • Also, please fill out the reporting form (handy link: http://bit.ly/LDBCform) so that you’re properly enshrined on the Wall of the Fallen—and so that we can properly track the most dangerous locations and musical acts for this year.
  • Feel free to share some of your kids’ holiday artwork for consideration as a post header this year (you can post it to the Facebook wall or email it to us via this page).
  • Finally, we love the tradition of the LDBC-elfie, which just started last year. Document your moment of tragedy with a snapshot, send it to us via the Facebook wall or our email page, and we’ll share it with your fellow LDBCers. Here are last year’s offerings by way of example:

 

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Above all, let’s be careful out there, people. Let’s bring as many of us home alive as we can.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

For Susan!

Fright Club: Red Drum! Red Drum!

November 24, 2014

Heeeeere’s Drummie! Yes, faithful LDBCers, it’s the third in LDBC pal James Barnett’s Fright Club series, our shockingly sharable images based on classic horror flicks. (Just try his Alien and Exorcist work on for size.)

Here in round three, we see that some places are like people: some drum and some don’t. Please feel free to download and share tonight’s lovely Shining tribute.

And once again, keep in mind that Mr. Barnett is your man in Phoenix, Tempe, or Scottsdale for wedding photos and portraits.

Little_Drummer_Boy_Challenge_Drumming

An LDBC Prep Chat with Good Day Sacramento (DO NOT WATCH BETWEEN BLACK FRIDAY AND XMAS EVE—CONTAINS LDB)

November 23, 2014

DON’T WATCH THIS WHILE THE GAME IS IN SESSION (BLACK FRIDAY TO CHRISTMAS EVE)! CONTAINS LDB! YOU’LL LOSE! YOU’LL COLLAPSE INTO TEARS! I’M MAKING THIS AS UNPROFESSIONALLY RED AND NOTICEABLE AS I CAN—OBNOXIOUSLY RED AND NOTICEABLE, IN FACT! ALL FOR YOU! (YOU’RE JUST LUCKY I CAN’T MAKE IT BLINK.)

2014-11-23_Good-Day

The good folks at Good Day Sacramento, continuing our tradition (now in its second year!) of inviting me on to talk all things LDBC, plastered my mug across the screens of California’s capital this morning. Thanks again to Cody Stark and Melissa Cabral for the hospitality. (They were even kind enough to let me plug my non-LDBC-related novel.) Here’s to another season of holiday fear cheer. May the odds be ever in your favor!

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