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January 23, 2022



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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Good Tidings & Great Pain – Blogging Sarah Palin’s Christmas Book, Ch. 3

Remember when you were a kid, and starting to get excited about Christmas, but not really thinking about gifts yet, and some delightful aunt, or your grandma sent you something in the mail – a big oversized envelope with more than one stamp – and said you could open it early? Maybe this didn’t happen to you, so you can borrow my memory if you need to. What could this surprise envelope be? And with a mandate to open early? Too good to be true.

Inside was an advent calendar. A beautiful Christmas scene printed on it – a Christmas village, or a nativity scene, or Santa’s workshop. And there were a series of numbered, scored cardboard windows that you could pop open, revealing little pictures inside. You’d do one a day, starting off with a bell, or a candle, and work your way up through toys and holly, until the final big window on December 24th which would either be the baby Jesus, or Santa on his sleigh. Today they have advent calendars with chocolates each day, or lego toys, or all sorts of things. But for me, and a generation of kids, the anticipation of a surprise picture of a rocking horse was enough to bring ridiculous joy to the day.


Sarah Palin’s Christmas book is like an advent calendar – a horrible, horrible advent calendar. And I’ve been procrastinating. We’re up to window #3, a chapter entitled “The Real Thing” accompanied by a picture of teenage Sarah in some winter fun run in the snow.

There is no rocking horse inside. Only literary despair.

And I’ve been putting it off. But we’re now into the second week of December, and we must make it to the end by the big day. So, it’s time to grab a double egg nog, and open that door. We can do this.

Chapter 3.

We are still reeling from the almost-scandal that might have happened regarding the plastic nativity scene in Wasilla, which could have resulted in an atheist being offended, who might have wanted to join in on the latest fad by making a stink about it, which might have resulted in Sarah Palin having to gallop to the rescue on a metaphorical camel across the metaphorical desert to chase the would-be Christmas terrorist away from Bethlehem-in-Wasilla, simultaneously brandishing a Bible and clutching her pearls. Quite a trick really. And it totally could have happened.

Sarah Palin (out of frame) camel chases an atheist holding a goat, or legal paperwork to abort Christ from Christmas.

Sarah Palin (out of frame) camel chases an atheist holding a goat, or legal paperwork to abort Christ from Christmas.

It was a nail biter, I’ll tell you.

So, in some ways, it was kind of a relief to get to Chapter 3. We needed a denouement where we could settle in and relax after all that would-be heart pumping action.

Let us begin. It’s Christmas 1981 in Wasilla. There are stars, and those northern lights again. And the snow. Siblings are back from college. Sarah is standing on the porch in the frigid air gazing up at the sky with her sister Heather. They’re having a moment. It’s nice.

A moment destined not to last.

“I sure have missed the ‘dancing hem of heaven,'” [Heather] said, using a common description of the northern lights.”

Nothing to rip you out of a moment like that kind of natural, true-to-life dialog. I’ve been in Alaska almost two and a half decades now. You would think that I would have at some point heard of this “common” expression. And you would be wrong. I am planning on using it thought. Next time I’m out with friends or family looking at the aurora, I’m just going to let loose with, “Wow! The dancing hem of heaven is sure flappin’ tonight! I can’t recall having SEEN the dancing hem of heaven so bright. There’s even some red in the dancing hem of heaven! Nothing to make you feel small and insignificant in the big universe like the dancing hem of heaven!” Β Like you do.

It becomes clear pretty quickly that this chapter is building up to something. It gets cold, they have to come in because they can’t stand it, the gift giving ritual starts, there are rules, mom has to have coffee, only one person opens at a time, they saved the bows, there’s a traditional giant cinnamon roll…

(Yada yada)


The neighbor who made the cinnamon roll is thanked over the phone, it’s still dark, opening more presents, younger sister hands her a box which is her last present, she can tell it isn’t socks, she hoped it wasn’t a pet rock, she hoped it was a Walkman…

(Oh, for Pete’s sake, come on…)

She saves the bow, she shakes the box, what could it be, long description of the Christmas tree, long explanation about Sarah being the only Wasilla Warrior on the team bus who didn’t have a Walkman, she wanted to listen to AC/DC but all her friends liked ‘9 to 5’ by Dolly Parton… It was hell.

(Shoot me in the head)


Dangerous bus trips through treacherous mountain passes for basketball games, having to sit in silence while everyone else listened to their music, she had a job but didn’t want to spend $99 for a Walkman, but she really hoped this was one in the box so she didn’t have to listen to bus tire chains instead of her power metal. She starts to open the box, and…

Dad tells her to let the dogs out. Foiled! She’d waited this long, what’s a couple more minutes to wait for her shiny new Walkman, brother digs dog bowl out of the snow, much freezing of dog water…

(Get to the POINT?)

Anticipation, just a few more minutes until the Walkman, Heart’s “Barracuda” here she comes!

But no, dad wants her to stoke the fire, but everyone is warm enough so she argues…

(I think what’s going on here is that her editor said that the book needed six extra pages, and these, lucky reader, are them)

Two more pages of anticipation of the Walkman. Sister opens gift first. Wow, it’s a curling iron. She wasn’t even jealous of the curling iron because now it’s finally time for the Walkman! This is going to be the best day of her freaking LIFE!!! Walkman, Walkman, Walkman!

(You see where this is going by now)

Dad and sister are openly laughing at her. Perhaps they know something she doesn’t.

Paper is ripped off…

AAAAAaaaaannnnnddd. It’s a Wa…Β dictionary.

The moral of the first six agonizing pages? Despite her incredible disappointment, and the derisive laughter from her family that accompanied her pain, her wonderful parents taught her a valuable lesson. And now you will need to take a deep breath.


“Words matter.” That’s the lesson she learned.

Yes. Words. Like “pallin’ around with terrorists” and “blood libel” and “shuck and jive” and “slavery.”

There’s more to chapter 3.

Much more.

But, we’re going to take a brief intermission wherein I shall search for a smooth hard surface on which to slam my noggin. And you shall wait with childlike anticipation to see what’s behind the next little window.

Maybe it will be a Walkman, but don’t get your hopes up.




44 Responses to “Good Tidings & Great Pain – Blogging Sarah Palin’s Christmas Book, Ch. 3”
  1. Little Eddie says:

    Read Dan Savage’s review of Palin’s book.

  2. AK_South says:

    A little late to the game, but I just came across this wonderful review on Amazon:
    Thank you, Joel Cruz!
    (Hope the link works!)

  3. AKblue says:

    Expecting a Walkman, gets a Walkman-sized dictionary. Family laughs.
    I think I see where she gets her mean streak. And scrambled thinking….

  4. mike from iowa says:

    ….some have thrustness grated upon them. Comes from having an unupholstered brain. And a flying sphaghetti monster.

  5. Moles says:


    I might kill myself.

  6. Alaska Pi says:

    alrighty then.
    so what kind of a dictionary weighs about what the old Walkmans did?
    a cheap paperback dictionary…
    what the hell kind of gift is that?
    a nice big unabridged, a solid collegiate- THOSE are great gifts.

    but a cheesy paperback dictionary?
    new underpants and socks would be less of a slap…

    I have to go now- I’m beginning to feel sorry for whatzername and THAT is ridiculous

    • slipstream says:

      Hey, there is nothing cheesy about “My Big Book of Words.”

      This excellent paperback dictionary (almost 100 pages!) includes many big impressive words, including “nukular,” “refudiate, and “‘wee-wee’d up.”

      I will bet that your fancy-schmanzy collegiate unabridged does not have those!

      • Jeanne Devon says:


      • Alaska Pi says:

        Thanks for that ,slip!
        I needed it!
        AKM’s characterization of whatzername’s latest foray into “Words matter” as an advent calendar tipped me over- even with the qualifiers of “horrible, horrible …”
        I loved and still love advent calendars
        Have my feet back under myself again.

        Still and all, I’m partial to my big old elitist though abridged collegiate dictionary which sits next to a bigger volume on word origins and a totally elitist thesaurus on a shelf next to my desk., precisely because it/none of them contain β€œnukular,” β€œrefudiate, or β€œwee-wee’d up.” , nor even or nary a “lamestream”.
        “Words matter ” indeed.
        Out of the mouth of whatzername, the great slayer of linguistic form, not so much…

    • mike from iowa says:

      Like you would show compassion fer a dumb animal? πŸ™‚ You are too kind hearted.

  7. She may or may not have actually been given a dictionary, but she plainly didn’t put it to good use.

    AKM, here’s two aspirin for that headache.

    • Jeanne Devon says:

      Thank you, sir.

    • mike from iowa says:

      R U licensed to dispense drugs to our lovely and talented fearless leader? Can’t be too careful and besides who among you is willing to tackle this turkey of a book if Ms. Jeanne can’t? Inquiring minds want to know. ps I’m sending a can of instant brain flush from NAPA Auto.Parts.

    • carol says:

      Aspirin is not enough. Give her a bottle of her favorite, mind numbing beverage.

  8. Buffalogal says:

    I haven’t read past this line yet, but had to immediately jump up with a “yes!” nod crossed with a fist bump of appreciation upon the reading :

    ” Sarah Palin’s Christmas book is like an advent calendar – a horrible, horrible advent calendar.”

    still laughing. and nodding. and fists bumping.

  9. bubbles says:

    Lord Jesus please we beg you send Thor the god of thunder to smite this unholy, unstable sack of poisoned salty water with righteous wrath. we cannot because we don’t want to go to prison before the Christmas tree is decorated. also too we are alarmed because our AKM has again taken the terrible, horrific job of reading the unadulterated crap that is spewed from the brain cell of one Sarah Palin….amen

  10. mike from iowa says:

    Well here’s a ray of light for Christmas. The guy that owns the Sportsman Channel is a Democratic fundraiser name of Leo Hindery Jr. Maybe if enough pressure gets put on his pocketbook and/or advertisers he might have to divorce himself from the wicked Wasilla witch of the wilds. His programming lineup also includes that famous ‘murrican patriotic draft dodger Uncle Ted. At least with Ted around,she won’t be the only pretty face. Interesting how the dialogue could go. Every wingnut male will be strutting around with a roll of quarters in their pants pockets claiming to be happy to see her. Of course,the manly Tawd would have to defend her honor and get the stuff kicked out of him every episode. Like a sow grizzly in heat,Snookie will wander off behind the nearest bush with a new beau every show and ratings will go through the roof. At least she should pull in a roll of quarters every show. Maybe she gets paid that way. As for hem of heaven she might be suggesting her lord and saviour is a girlie man,unlike Tawd. Perchance to dream…

  11. Marilyn says:

    Really and truly, another ‘reality’ show with the least real person in America????OMG I can’t wait to skip that….but on the latest ghost written book, I’m glad its you reading and not me….maybe it should be called “The Trivial Pursuit of Christmas”….poor little $arah, whining about her Walkman…ugh!

  12. Anonymous1253 says:

    Sorry for your headache and potential brain cell deterioration, but many thanks for taking one for the team! I was wondering if I’d missed Chapter 3. Take all the breaks you need as you continue on in the word salad marathon.

  13. Zyxomma says:

    Well, not exactly a NY Times bestseller. It’s still remarkable that it’s at #16. Thanks, AKM. I won’t have to resort to reading this myself (NY has a library), which would definitely make me want to bleach my eyeballs. Thanks, again and again.

  14. AKMagpie says:

    I think she is still using that dictionary as a source book for her word salad. You know, a word here, a word there and pretty soon you have a completely incomprehensible but ‘unrefutable’ string of words with which to dumbfound an editor or interviewer. Ahhh… That smooth surface could be found coating the Anchorage roads and driveways. Just saying, also, too.

  15. Dagian says:

    Talk about a gift that should have been used, daily, ever since. Naturally it wasn’t because Sarah just couldn’t possibly agree to be taught.

    Speaking of those who won’t learn, did anyone else spot this and almost choke on their morning beverage of choice?

    ” “Amazing America with Sarah Palin,” a show beginning in April on the Sportsman Channel.”

    • AKMagpie says:

      Yes, indeedy, the bank account must be getting low again. And just when those unemployment benefits are about to be cut by those kindly old GOP white men in Congress who are collecting full-time taxpayer dollars for part-time work. Quick, turn off your TV machine now before the new unreality show comes on.

    • bubbles says:

      can’t hardly wait it ignore this show and the Sportsman channel also too…

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