Oh joy, it arrived just in time for the holidays – Static’s very own copy of the Wal-Mart Family Cookbook, of course! (Maybe Santa brought you one as well.)

It’s crammed full of delicacies, all made with BRAND NAME HIGHLIGHTED products, of course. And so creative – Tiramisu made with JELL-O instant pudding and COOL WHIP topping. Who would have thought of making mashed potatoes for the whole family on that special day from ORE-IDA frozen mashers?

And some of the offerings have such subtle tongue-in-cheek humor. The Slumber Party Oatmeal Cookies, for instance – perfect for those nights when your employer has locked you in the store. And Cherry-Cream Cheese Trifle, a play on the trifling paychecks that Wal-Mart’s loyal, smiling employees bring home. There’s even the insouciant Brownie S’mores, so reminiscent of little Oliver Twist, like Wal-Mart workers’ children, holding out their empty bowls and asking for “More.” Or the Blue Cheese Spread, to honor those employees who have to spread their income out extra thin – on name-brand crackers, of course – in order to make up for the pitiful health coverage the giant discount retailer offers. Recipes were submitted by employees, and so it’s no surprise that five of the 14 brand names featured in the book are rice companies. Most Wal-Mart workers, like Third-World residents, can only afford rice to eat. So, here’s a Happy New Year to Sam Walton’s heirs – and a bowl of KRAFT Chicken-Hearted … um Chicken Fiesta Dip for your next family party.

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Purtier Than Ary Speckled Pup
Static, its chestnuts roasting on an open fire, a little nip from Jack Daniels reddening the nose, wanted to offer a few final 2007 thoughts, along the lines of thankfulness for nontraditional gifts. Where better to go when looking for an antidote to the schlocky horrors of the season than to the pages of your ol’ pal the Weekly? When everyone else was offering stories of goodwill, we gave you a Santa Claus murder. And now, for Christmas week, a cover story on the local slasher/horror/vampire movie industry. That just splatters holiday all over the fruitcake, doesn’t it?

The trick here is segueing from vampires and bandits to lyric poetry. (Envision an Ang Lee movie, perhaps.) Uber-proofreader Margaret Allyson found for Static a poem thanking God for “dappled things” – brindled cows, spotted trout, finches’ wings – and for “all things counter, original, spare, strange … whatever is fickle, freckled,” both swift and slow, sweet and sour, dazzling and dim. The author, Gerard Manley Hopkins, was a daringly innovative poet as well as a priest, so he knew whereof he spoke about things that partook of two natures.

Static hopes you’ll think of the Weekly and our motley few in 2008 as Fort Worth’s version of dappled things – the spice in your wine one week, the cowplop in your punchbowl the next – and always, the second voice without which democracy loses its fizz. Lord knows we’re always spotty and poetic, just like the speckled eggs of a skylark (damn, this Jackie D is going down good). Cheers.

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