Blackwolf the Dragonmaster's Diary of Magecraft

Being a Chronicle of the Inner Secrets of, and Spells of Magick as Wielded by, the Philosopher of the Internet and Unofficial Sorcerer-in-Residence of the City of New York

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Location: New York, New York, United States

As New York's Unofficial Wizard, my mission is to encourage the Mortals of Manhattan to imagine responsibly!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Of Santa, One-on-One; and of the Power of Scooby-Doo

New York Post cub reporter dude Michael Kane got to sit on Santa's lap prior to the Big Jolly Dude making his last preparations for the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Pray, Lords and ladies, check out their conversation:

So, how's the Kringle biz treatin' ya?
It's getting to crunch time. The Lists are starting to come in by the thousands.
How often do you upgrade the Naughty and Nice Lists?
Just about every day. This time of year, maybe every other. We kinda assume if the kids have been good this long, they're not gonna blow it now.
Which of the Lists is Dakota Fanning on?
She's on the Nice List --- this year.
How's your supply of iPods and GameBoys?
Frankly, I'm kinda worried about these Nanos. Since everyone wants one, we've had to work in a deal with Apple to get an extra large stock in.
Waitaminnit. You got a distribution deal with Apple?
Oh, it's not just Apple. I'm doing one with Mattel, I'm doing one with Hasbro --- I'm doing a lotta deals lately!
How many Elves do you employ?
300 asssigned to each country, working 'round-the-clock in three shifts. We give 'em an hour for lunch.
Do they have a 401(k) program?
They don't need one. Elves never retire. They're magical beings.
Nerf: In or out?
Nerf's always in!
OK, I requested a Fort Apache playset when I was 10. Never actually got it. Not too sure about what happened there.
Well, many of the old toys have been reissued, so I'll see what I can do about getting you one this year, Michael.
So how's the North Pole weather?
Much colder than in New York City, but not as cold as in Albany.
Anyone ever tell you you look a lot like Jerry Garcia?
I get more Kenny Rogers.
Is it true that Rudolph is seeking to renegotiate his contract?
Absolutely not! Rudolph's a great team player -- the Captain of our team, as a matter of fact. He seems happy.
Well, last I heard, Blitzen was complaining about Rudy's "me-me-me" attitude.
I think, Michael, you're mistaking me for George Steinbrenner.
What, you a Yankee fan?
Nope. I get better reception on my satellite dish for the more northern teams. Boston and Toronto are more my favorites.
Is there an age limit for kids who sit on your lap?
Actually, no. I've had children in their 80s and 90s come to visit me!
Doesn't Mrs. Claus get jealous of those groupies who sit on your lap every time you go on the road?
Mrs. Claus knows she's always been the only woman for me. Besides, I call her up all the time on my cellphone. You oughta see my roaming charges! Ho-ho-ho!

Well, while the world ponders Santa's roaming charges, an even bigger question springs to my mind: Why has Macy*s, in its infinite wisdom, chosen Scooby-Doo as its Holiday Ambassador for 2005? What precisely is it about Hanna-Barbera's cowardly Great Dane and his Mystery, Inc. colleagues that seems to inspire an undying passion amongst you Mortals?

Well, here's what your Dragonmaster thinks: Someone at Warners is twisted enough to have told the powers that be at 4000 Warner Boulevard, "We don't care if Monsters Unleashed was a box-office dud! Sooner or later, with or without you, we WILL get Scooby-Doo 3 out of development hell and into pre-production, even if we have to get Mystery, Inc. into the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade to do it!"

Well, apparently Macy*s has listened --- and as a result, you can count on either Katie, Matt or Al --- or worse, the whole bloody lot of them --- reading a badly written joke and/or pun about "those meddling kids!" For such, I fear, is the Scooby-Doo legacy. Cartoon Network is obviously on a mission to turn the world into Planet Scoob; how much more one can dream about this, I cannot say. I can only speculate that it be a matter of time............

Hail, King Bartholomew!

For the last several months, your Dragonmaster has ventured into the Borders bookstore at the Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, here in Manhattan --- where a title that has particularly captivated me for some time now has been gathering dust in its children's section, unwanted by anyone. I speak in this instance of King Bartholomew and the Jester's Riddle, written by Pina Mastromonico and illustrated by David Martin, and available from Merry Lane Press (also based hither in mine adopted metropolis --- how fortuitous!).

King Bartholomew loves puzzles and riddles, but he is rather selfish. Even when his loyal Court Jester (who, for once, is in fact a woman!) explains that his continued ignorance of the affairs of his Kingdom is putting the whole place in jeopardy, the King is still determined to keep his royal mind off of his royal duties. Finally, the Jester comes up with a doozy of a Riddle: What is it that belongs only to you, and yet is used most often by those around you? Well, thinking that the idea of that Riddle might result in his "precious possessions" being filched from him, King Bartholomew orders everyone banished from the Kingdom. He spends several weeks alone, playing contentedly, until finally, loneliness sets in; and the King finds it hard to be without his loyal subjects, and especially the Court Jester, whom he considers to be his best friend.

When he joins in at the Carnival later that evening, he resolves to change his selfish ways --- and, in so doing, solves the answer to the Jester's Riddle! (I don't think it'll spoil it for you were I to blab that the answer to the Jester's Riddle is: a person's own name! I came across a riddle not dissimilar to the one presented here long ago; so obviously I am not surprised by this particular Riddle.)

What is surprising is the notion that, while a Court Jester is traditionally male, here it's a woman who occupies the post --- and more, we even see the Jester at home, wearing civilian clothes! Apparently the view here is that the function of Court Jester is as much a job as it is a responsibilty! Clad in royal reddish robes and four-foot-one-ish, if you will, King Bartholomew himself is a perfect contrast to the Jester's purple-and-green regalia, just perfect for a 6-footer of her stature.

Hear me, Alan Halpern, Publisher of Merry Lane: methinks ye hast a winner in King Bartholomew and the Jester's Riddle; and I shall be quite furious at you if I do not see you hard at work on asking Pina and David to give this wonderful partnership further adventures! Clearly, King Bartholomew and his faithful Jester have a lot more to share with us; and I think Merry Lane Press would do well to make another Bartholomew book happen! You out there who would agree with me on this, pray let Alan know by e-mailing If you're not in the mood to wait, the snailmail address is 18 East 16th Street, Seventh Floor, New York, NY 10003.

Long point short, long live King Bartholomew! I look forward to reading more about him in the months to come!

Master Blackwolf