#20 December 16th

Editors note: I had been trying for some time now to get an exclusive interview with the “big man” of the season, Santa Clause himself. Of course this turned out to be more difficult than originally planned. Of the many people who claimed to be him, all of them seemed clearly to be impostors. I was getting disappointed and a little stressed not having the feature interview/story I wanted. As I woke up that morning of the deadline for the story, I had remembered a strange dream from the night before, and I foggily remember recording an interview with Santa. Ho Ho Ho. The strangest thing happened then. I had the irresistible urge to check the tape recorder out. It was at the end, so I rewound it and this is what it had on it.

OM: In these modern times, I think a big question on most kids minds is what do you do when there is no chimney?
Santa: Us Santas never did use chimneys, that is one of those cultural myths of the times.
OM: (gulp) Excuse me while I have a drink of water. Did you say cultural myth of the times?
Santa: Oh yes.
OM: Could you explain yourself a little more than with these short answers.
Santa: I have to be careful of what I say, but I will try to do better. Well it’s something like this. We live just outside the time and space of the rest of humanity and, this place where time sort of works different allows us to do things that can’t be explained.
OM: You said we?
Santa: That is what I said. Even though you can do more as a Santa, and you don’t seem to age, there are still limits. For one Santa to do it all in one night of your time, is not in our power to do. There is a network of Santas, called the JOLLY SANTA NETWORK. We are in all the cultures that believe in us, and take care of this awesome task of keeping jolly and getting the job done.
OM: Getting back to the chimney, sleigh, and reindeer?
Santa: Oh yes, time and culture are something we use to explain & disguise the mystery and spirit of Christmas. The spirit of giving, which is one of the ancestors of Christmas, has been around since before time, and to work with people it has to use some of what they are familiar with to build the legend. Physical boundaries don’t matter to much to us, something like a ghost but more fun. I mean, even for me, a Santa, the thought of going down a chimney with a fire blazing for warmth, some how doesn’t appeal to me very much. The chimney and reindeer are what people some how see. Some are seeing “UFO’s” now. Some of those are us and some are not, what can I say?
OM: Do you mean there is no reindeer, like Rudolph, Dasher and Dancer etc.
Santa: Ho Ho Ho, I was wondering when you were going to get around to that. There aren’t really any reindeer as one might know reindeer. You see, the call of the names, on Dasher on Dancer on Prancer, etc is a code that is matched up to each Santa’s voice and thought, and it opens up the door between the two worlds to go back and forth to do their job, when they say it. It was some child that heard the magic phrase a long time ago during the start of the reindeer myth. One might think that if those code phrases got into the wrong hands then there would be disaster. No No No. You have to be part of the Jolly Santa Network to work the magic. Some times untrained people accidentally open the door between the worlds, but it is only because they are super nice people. It is by default a Jolly Santa Network. Ho Ho Ho is not only just another magic phrase. It keeps us jolly, healthy, tuned to the Santa Network, and then some, but even more, that one is so powerful, it will work with anyone, not just us! Ho Ho Ho. Try it out.
OM: Can you tell us more about this Santa Network?
Santa: For one thing only people with a sense of humour and giving can be there. You see, these things just don’t happen to people without a sense of humour, and if by some chance it does happen otherwise, that person better develop a sense of humour fast.
OM: What will happen?
Santa: I don’t even want to think of the poor soul. Just think of it, not being able to truly laugh. Isn’t that punishment enough.
OM: I see what you mean. To change the subject a little. You don’t seem to look like the regular round bellied guy I would expect to see. You look much trimmer.
Santa: Ho Ho Ho, that is just another cultural thing. Everyone these day’s is on a trimming fitness kick of one kind or another, and they are so afraid of a little padding, now even I, am loosing weight.
OM: Do you live at the North Pole, or is this another myth?
Santa: That is one of the few things that are closest to being correct about us, but you got the wrong end of the planet. The headquarters for the Jolly Santa Network is far under the Ice of the South Pole. The total isolation, and something to do with the magnetics of that spot make it ideal. When the sun shines down there during your winter, it does many things. It powers our operations, like the toy factories etc, and charges up huge power cells. As well at that time of year communications via the Jolly Santa Network are at there best, which is helpful. During the dark time, we are powered by cosmic rays.
OM: Something like Superman’s Fortress of Ice?
Santa: Ho Ho Ho, funny you should mention that. For some reason, information about the Jolly Santa Network filters into peoples dreams, or adults hear something a child says, and a story is made or a movie made that uses something about the Jolly Santa Network in a different way. You can’t imagine what it is like to suddenly see our headquarters in this movie. It wasn’t exact mind you, but the resemblance was eerie. It’s how we stay in tune with the time.
OM: What about Mrs. Clause? Is there any?
Santa: It’s a couple, usually grand parents, who have out lived there children for one reason or another and have dedicated a life time towards the happiness of children, are given the chance to be Clauses. However long they stay in the Jolly Santa Network is totally up to them. Some have been here for longer than we (the Mrs and I) have.
OM: How long is that?
Santa: Ho Ho Ho, a long time.
OM: What happens when it is time to stop being a Santa.
Santa: It can get kind of rough for some to adjust back to normal life, because they remember a lot of it. There are those code phrases that open the door between the worlds, that they do forget, so they can’t do it any more. Ex Santas can go through something like withdrawals from the network. Not all of their memory is kept in the transition. To help, there is a support network for those ex-Santas that are having difficulty. They visit in the dreams and help them there with out them knowing. They also come and make regular visits just like in normal therapy, to discuss the difficulties.
OM: How do you know when someone needs help?
Santa: It’s all part of the Jolly Santa Network It’s like a pulse that goes out through the network and it is understood what needs to be done to fix the situation.
OM: How do they adjust financially? Do they get some sort of retirement package?
Santa: Well, something like that. Money, new identity, place to live, all are set up and provided for through the Santa Support Network. They have no problem with their retirement that way, and are totally provided for. For doing the job they did, they deserve some reward.
OM: How do you provide food for everyone at the South Pole?
Santa: We have several ways depending upon preference. Some tend greenhouses, and some prefer to use something like that machine Picard says “Earl Grey, hot!” to, on Star Treck Next Generation, only much more advanced.
OM: About your headquartersand the Jolly Santa Network is it Y2K compliant?
Santa: Ho Ho Ho, yes. We have advanced computer systems that are not affected by the Y2K. We’ve been through this before, this is not the first millennium change for us.
It is funny about those little leaks of information from the Jolly Santa Network, The Apple Computer company in 1984 introduced Macintosh computers that were compliant from the beginning, and are very similar to what is used in our system to design and produce the toys. Even there new slogan “Think different” comes too close for coincidence. Someone there had a dream
OM: Can children see and hear you?
Santa: For most children, it is their natural ability to be able to see and hear us, even visit in the network, but every time they talk about it no one really believes them. Sometimes an adult, that hasn’t completely covered up the child inside them, will hear and will be inspired to write about it, or make a movie. “The Santa Clause” and “Ernest Saves Christmas” are two recent examples, off the top of my hat Ho Ho Ho. There is a “passing on of the hat” so to speak, something like in those movies, only it is a little different. There has never been a death or injury on the job.
OM: Seriously, how long has this Network been around?
Santa: If you are going to get serious I’ll have to disappear, Ho Ho Ho. Nobody knows that one. Even the elves don’t know.
OM: What do you mean by even the elves don’t know? What’s so special about the elves? Don’t they work for you?
Santa: One question at a time. No they don’t work for us. They have been around for longer than any of this. It was they, I believe, who discovered the potential for working with the Santa Network, and essentially made it what it is. They recruited the Santas, work the magic, and taught us everything. We call it “Elven Technology”. The time difference that they live in is even harder to explain. The past history of the world could flash by them in a wink of an eye. I think that they hold a mystery for us that is similar to the one we hold for you.
OM: We have been discussing the truth of the matter here, you have been showing me around, and if you bring me back to my time thing, what is to stop me publishing this.
Santa: Remember the movie “Men in Black”, where they had this device which made people forget everything? Well where do you think they got that idea from?
OM: Don’t tell me you are going to use it on me and ruin my chance for this amazing story?
Santa: I have no choice, and neither do you.
Well that was how the tape ended. You be the judge,
Ho Ho Ho!
is the most cheerful and important season of the year. The main night is Christmas Eve which takes place on December 24th. Families get together for a rich holiday diner and to wait for Santa(“Weihnachtsmann”) who brings the presents that night. Basically families exchange their gifts on the night of the 24th. Two more Christmas holidays follow, the 25th (as called in England “Boxing Day”) and the 2nd Christmas Day, the 26th of December. The Germans call the time from December 1st to December 24th “Adventszeit” which means the time before Christmas Eve. Parents give their children calenders that count down the days. Every day in December they can open one of the doors and receive either a small candy or a toy. These calenders just make the wait to Christmas Eve a little easier. Very famous events are the Christmas Markets that take place throughout Germany. These Markets are little traditional houses lined up selling Christmas Ornaments, candy, handmade jewelry, and so on. People from all over the world like to visit these markets and enjoy the atmosphere of Christmas. Another tradition is a wreath decorated with christmas ornaments and 4 candles. People light up a candle every Sunday until Christmas Eve arrived. This is also part of the “Adventszeit”.

is a Woman!

I hate to be the one to defy sacred myth, but I believe he’s a she. Think about it. Christmas is a big, organized,warm, fuzzy, nurturing, social deal, and I have a tough time believing a guy could possibly pull it all off! For starters, the vast majority of men don’t even think about selecting gifts until Christmas Eve. Once at the mall, they always seem surprised to find only Ronco products, socket wrench sets, and mood rings left on the shelves. On this count alone, I’m convinced Santa is a woman. Surely, if he were a man, everyone in the universe would wake up Christmas morning to find a rotating musical Chia Pet under the tree, still in the bag. Another problem for a he – Santa would be getting there. First of all, there would be no reindeer because they would all be dead, gutted and strapped on to the rear bumper of the sleigh amid wide-eyed, desperate claims that buck season had been extended. Blitzen’s rack would already be on the way to the taxidermist. Even if the male Santa DID have reindeer, he’d still have transportation problems because he would inevitably get lost up there in the snow and clouds and then refuse to stop and ask for directions. Other reasons why Santa can’t possibly be a man: -Men can’t pack a bag. – Men would rather be dead than caught wearing red velvet. – Men would feel their masculinity is threatened… having to be seen with all those elves. – Men don’t answer their mail. -Men would refuse to allow their physique to be described, even in jest, as anything remotely resembling a “bowlful of jelly.” -Men aren’t interested in stockings unless somebody’s wearing them. – Having to do the Ho Ho Ho thing would seriously inhibit their ability to pick up women. – Finally, being responsible for Christmas would require a commitment. I can buy the fact that other mythical holiday characters are men: Father Time shows up once a year unshaven and looking ominous. Definite guy. Cupid flies around carrying weapons. Uncle Sam is a politician who likes to point fingers. Any one of these individuals could pass the testosterone screening test. But not St. Nick. Not a chance

 According to an ex fellow workmate at the Castlegar Sun, a unionized sister paper of our Gazette in the Sterling chain is on strike. Rumours of Sterlings threat to close the Castlegar Sun down has brought rumours of a Phoenix rising from the ashes that inside source has told me. There is more than just money at stake here, it’s dignity!


   A review and then some by Merilyn Walker

It was my good fortune to attend the Premiere showing of the movie, Snow Falling on Cedars on Sunday, November 21, 1999. We have all been waiting with great anticipation for its release.
This film adaption of David Guterson’s best selling novel follows the storyline in the book very closely. The movie starts with the foggy night on which the fisherman, Carl Heine, lost his life. It quickly moves to the actual murder trial and shows many scenes of the streets of Greenwood. These scenes included the beautiful murals on the McArthur Centre and the Treasure Trunk. The scene done on the post office hill was very effective as was the strawberry festival parade. We will need to watch it several times to acknowledge all the ‘locals’ in those scenes! I can’t even begin to name names as I will leave many out, everyone will have to see it for themselves! The technical ability is soon apparent as the entire movie is filled with scenes of the big snow storm. Only those present at the shooting can appreciate how much of that was artificial snow. It certainly is not apparent in the movie! I kept seeing people I know as extras on the streets. It was very exciting!
Produced by power duo Kathleen Kennedy and Fank Marshall (former heads of the Spielberg-Universal endeavour Amblin Entertainment), the film is a major studio picture with big hopes of hardware at this year’s Acadamy Awards. Directed by Scott Hicks, the Austalian director who rose to fame in the wake of the Oscar-winning film Shine, Snow Falling on Cedars features an all-star cast that includes American celebrity Ethan Hawke (Gattaca, A Midnight Clear, Great Expectations) and Japanese starlet Youki Kudoh.
The Premiere was held at the Vogue Theatre on Granville in Vancouver and followed by a Gala Reception at the Hotel Georgia. This event was attended by the leading actress,Youki Kudoh and by Kathleen Kennedy from the Production team. Her twin sister, Connie Kennedy was there too and it was really nice to see her again. Colleen and Jeff Fraser attended also. We not only got to visit with Connie, we were able to get a few autographs from Youki Kudoh and Kathleen Kennedy. Kathleen has sent an especially warm greeting to the people of Greenwood and area, remembering how helpful and cheerful the residents were. Think about it, we can’t get a better compliment than that, especially from someone who is always looking for a ‘good location’ for that next movie! Speaking of which, the first credit, after acknowledgement to the BC Film Commission, was a special thank you tothe City of Greenwood!
The Premiere was a fundraiser for Nikkei Place which is currently under construction at Kingsway & Sperling in Burnaby at the geographic centre of Greater Vancouver. Nikkei Place will be a home for all people. It will include a communty & cultural centre, senior’s residence, supportive husing facility and garden. The 1,000 seats at the Vogue Theatre were sold out and the event raised appoximately $35,000.00. They still need about $800,000 for this worthy cause. I spoke with Randy Kamiya from the National Nikkei Heritage Centre. They expect to move into the new building early in the new year and be open to the public by spring. This is a non-profit society. Donations can be sent to them at #300 -1050 Alberni Street, Vancouver, b.c. V6E 1A3.
My trip was sponsored by the Gem Theatre in Grand Forks and very soon I will be working with Maureen and Marias Paquet on a Premiere showing of our own. They are working hard to get a copy of the movie on January 7, 2000 when it is released in the big centres. Haven’t had any luck with that date yet, but don’t underestimate Maureen’s ability, it may happen yet!
Watch for details as they unfold.

Annual Greenwood & Area
Residential Christmas Light Display Contest!
Let’ s All Get ‘Lit for 2000
Contest Runs Dec. 1st to Dec. 12th, 1999
Winners to be announced on Channel 10 & published in the following OpenMinder issue on the 16th of December
Last year’ winners were
First prize $25 Mr. & Mrs. Paul Schembri
Second Prize $20 Mr. & Mrs. Herb Winchester
Third Prize $15 Mr. & Mrs. Cam Dutz
In Co-operation with the
Board of Trade
serving our community for 100 years!

This is not the first time…
We recieved this historical note from a reader that just goes to show that history DOES repeat itself!
from Latin scroll dated II-BC
Dear Cassius
Are you still working on the Y-Zero-K problem? This change from BC to AD is giving us a lot of headaches and we haven’t much time left. I don’t know how people will cope with working the wrong way around. Having been working happily downwards forever, now we have to start thinking upwards. You would think that someoone would have thought of it earlier and not left it to us to sort it all out at this last minute.
I spoke to Caesar the other evening. He was livid that Julius hadn’t done something about it when he was sorting out the calendar. He said he could see why Brutus turned nasty. We called in Consultus, but he simply said that continuing downwards using minus BC won’t work and as usual charged a fortune for doing nothing useful. Surely, we will not have throw out all our hardware and start over. Machrohard will make yet another fortune off this I suppose.
The money lenders are paranoid of course! They have been told that all usury rates will invert and they will have to pay their clients to take out loans. It’s an ill wind…
As for myself, I just can’t see the sand in the hourglass flowing upward. We have heard that there are three wise men in the east, who have been working on the problem, but unfortunately they won’t arrive until it’s all over.
I have heard that there are plans to stable all horses at midnight at the turn of the years as there are fears theat they will stop and try to run backwards, causing immense damage to chariots and possible loss of life. Some say the world will cease to exist at the moment of transition. Anyway, we are still continuing to work this blasted Y-ZERO-K problem. I will send a parchment to you if anything further develops.
If you have any ideas, please let me know!
* A hummingbird’s heart beats 1,260 times per minute.
* Female mosquitoes flap their wings nearly 500 times per second.
* Unlike humans, canaries can regenerate their brain cells.
* Cockroaches can survive underwater for up to 15 minutes.

The Grand Forks & District Recreation Society is comprised of volunteers who have formed to coordinate and integrate the needs and wishes of groups and individuals in the community into self a supporting recreation / multi-use community centre / on a 21 acre site that is easily accessible to everyone. A big task, but not an impossible one.
To be able to achieve our goal, we need to hear from you first! What, as a resident, family, group, organization or business, of the area, do want to see in a multi-use complex of this nature and how might you best be able to access those services? From family drop-in, to conference hall, to park area with bike and walking trails, to name a few.
There are surveys being prepared and sent out to find out those needs. Fill out that survey when it comes to you! This is your future and your chance to do something about it. Grand Forks Community Futures, will also take any suggestions you have and pass them on to the Society, but everything hinges on finding out your wishes and needs first!
While the needs surveys are being prepared and sent out the Society is examining other communities who have done or tried to do similar things, and they preparing for the next stages. Our first challenge will be to match the $500,000 grant from the City of Grand Forks. Voting memberships are $5.00, and there are jars located in several businesses and stores with Grand Forks & District Recreation Society – For Generations to Come. Money collected will go 100% into making the recreation centre a reality.
There is a dedicated and enthusiastic group of volunteers that are devoting their time to making this happen, so come to our open meetings, get informed, and get involved. Meetings are every second and fourth Wednesday of the month and our Annual AGM will be 7pm, January 26, 2000 at City Hall. See you there.
Our Santa: Delivers!
All through this winter season, Connie and the staff of New West Trading Co. are offering delivery service Free of Charge to Seniors’ within the Valley! Call before Tuesday, with a $15.00 order and we will deliver it Free to your door on Wednesday Afternoon! No need to brave the ice, and snow of cold this winter… We’re here to help! Call 442-5342 with your order & we will do the rest! P.S. We can pick up an OpenMinder or Gazette for you too! Happy Holidays from our Delivery Santa!

Trash Talk
Wrap it up!

Christmas is a time when all sorts of surprises are wrapped in colorful paper. Saving wrapping paper and ribbons from gifts you receive and reusing them for next year’s gifts, is easier said than done. In the excitement of opening a present it is not on anyone’s mind to do it gingerly, it: There are, however, a few things we have done to avoid the unwrapping stage altogether.
There are now different sizes of xmas bags you can purchase to put presents in. They are sturdy enough to reuse many times. Although there is an initial investment, you will be reducing waste and consumerism.
To go a step further, we have also saved and permanently wrapped boxes with recycled xmas wrapper. Just like the presents they open on movies and TV when all they do is push aside a ribbon and lift a lid. Same idea. If you do not have a box with a lid, make one. Simply tape the top of the box closed and with a razor knife, cut the top 4″ off the box. Now you have the lid, but it doesn’t fit over the box. At each corner of the box, cut V slits so that when the edges are pulled together and taped, they make the box size small enough for the lid to fit. Now wrap the box and lid separately being sure to overlap the edges, securing with glue. Then secure by tying a ribbon or thin colored rope in a cross pattern around the box.
These reusable boxes make excellent gift wrapping, especially for the elderly and disabled who have difficulty wrapping, or unwrapping gifts. By doing this simple step, you just might influence others to do the same, and so on.
Ideas & comments can be sent to e-mail: drumit@bc.sympatico.ca

Two robins were sitting in a tree. “I’m really hungry,” said the first one. “Me, too,” said the second, “let’s fly down and find some lunch.”
They flew to the ground and found a nice plot of plowed ground full of worms. They ate and ate and ate and ate ’til they could eat no more. “I’m so full I don’t think I can fly back up to the tree,” said the first one.
“Me either. Let’s just lie here and bask in the warm sun,” said the second. So they plopped down, basking in the sun. No sooner had they fallen asleep when a big fat tom cat snuck up and gobbled them down.
As he sat washing his face after his meal, he thought, “I just love baskin’ robins”.
* The liver performs more than 500 different functions, including storing vitamins and removing harmful chemicals from the blood.
* Sharks have no air bladders, so they must swim constantly or they’ll sink.

International Biodiversity Observation Year
DIVERSITAS, An International Organization for Biodiversity Science, is pleased to announce the publication of a new website for the DIVERSITAS-International Biodiversity Observation Year (IBOY) 2001-2002. DIVERSITAS-IBOY is an unprecedented global effort by scientists and educators to explore the exuberant richness of life on Earth. IBOY projects, involving hundreds of international scientists from a wide range of disciplines, will gather and disseminate new information about biodiversity and its contribution to the functioning of ecosystems and human societies. These projects will make a compelling case for concern and action about biodiversity loss. In addition to its arts, education, policy, and media components, DIVERSITAS-IBOY aims to provide a platform to facilitate a new cohesion of biodiversity science. As part of this effort, we are planning international synthesis workshops to integrate individual research projects. Our new website (http://www.nrel.colostate.edu/IBOY) contains detailed information on all present IBOY projects, as well as a description of the history and aims of IBOY. Publicity efforts are presently moving into high gear. In December we plan to publish a full-color brochure to raise IBOY’s global profile and increase the range of IBOY projects. We welcome your comments on the website and your participation in DIVERSITAS-IBOY. The DIVERSITAS-IBOY effort is coordinated by a Steering Committee chaired by Dr Diana Wall, Colorado State University, USA, and vice- chair, Dr. Geoff Boxshall, of the Natural History Museum, London. Please contact Dr. Diana Wall or Dr. Gina Adams, Scientific Program Officer of IBOY, at the IBOY Secretariat (iboy@nrel.colostate.edu) for further information on how to become involved in the excitement of DIVERSITAS-IBOY. Sincerely, Sheri Simmons Research Assistant, DIVERSITAS-IBOY 2001-2002
Sheri Simmons / sheri@nrel.colostate.edu NREL Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 80523-1499 Tel: /1-970-491-4068 FAX: /1-970-491-3945