Christmas Dinner….And Two Cups

December 24, 2008 -

John Heald

The credit crunch……….has I am sure put a damper on some people’s choice of Christmas gifts. Television pundits give the impression that they know its source. The bloke cold-calling from India, attempting to sell me shares on the basis that a tumbling market was precisely the time to invest, claimed he had pinpointed it.
In fact, the key to how we might emerge from this economic thingy lies in a spot to which no one has yet paid much attention, largely for fear that if they did take an interest, people might get the wrong idea.

Hope, you see, can be found in a lingerie shop in Tokyo. According to a newspaper report, the shop, called Wishroom, has been selling out of its new line of luxury bras so quickly it is barely able to keep up with the surge of customers…….. yep ……… bras. And so, in these difficult times and with just one last shopping day before Christmas, I think I have found the perfect gift for you all to buy your loved ones ……. Oh…..I forgot to mention….This is a man bra. A moob tube. A gentleman’s uplifter. A top bollock holder.
In less than a week, the shop sold 11,000 of the dainty little numbers – tailored for the male contour and finished in black, leather-look nylon – retailing at just under $25 each.

What the retailer realized is that where once the manly Japanese chest swelled with patriotic pride, these days it is swelling with the after-effects of the McSushi and the McTerriaki.

After finding a gap in the market, Wishroom is covering it with a discreet slip of manly fabric and the Tokyo man about town cannot get enough of the things. Now, the firm is trebling production and offering a bespoke fitting service for men unfamiliar with the intricacies of cup size.

So, while clothing stores across the developed world are in depression Wishroom is doing rather nicely.

Now, I have no idea why I decided to share this news with you this Christmas Eve but if you do, by chance, meet a nice Japanese man these next few days chances are he is wearing a bra……………….as, of course, should I.
Good morning.

Well, it’s nearly here. After all the preparation and the manic shopping tomorrow is the big day. Let’s stop by and see Butch shall we and see how things are on the Carnival Glory.

Giving Back for the Holidays

Today I would like to take the time to let you know about some special events that took place here last week that enhanced the lives of many children. As we have been busy planning programming and entertainment for our Glory guests this special holiday voyage and getting ready for our own crew Christmas celebrations, it is important to remember that a ship is not only a floating resort for thousands of guests weekly and a home to 1,100 crew members. We are also a part of many communities as well. I am referring to, of course, the ports of call that we visit regularly. I consider these places as much a part of my home as the Carnival Glory.

The ships that visit these foreign ports affect the lives of the people that live in them in many ways. Many of our ports of call rely on the business of cruise ships to impact their economies and the tourism industry in the Caribbean provides not only jobs but brings in money to these countries. We also impact the environments of these places……many of our guests enjoy snorkeling in the coral reefs of our tropical ports, and the white sandy beaches.

In my five years with Carnival I have seen an effort of not only the cruise lines, but also the local governments of our ports to provide proper care and education to maintain these wonders of nature. But even with the creations of jobs and propelling rising socio-economic statuses of many, there are still many in our port communities that have struggled, gone without, and need our help, especially around the holidays.

I was honored last Monday in Cozumel, Mexico to represent the Carnival Glory and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association by participating in their annual holiday drive. Each cruise line that is a member of the FCCA participates in various holiday projects in one of the Caribbean ports. This year the Carnival Glory was chosen to help present 100 children of Cozumel receive the gift of a brand new bicycle. With the help of the mayor of Cozumel and his wife, some other Glory team members, and Santa Claus, of course, we made the day of some grateful kids. Although I had a language barrier with the children, they communicated their thanks through big hugs and smiles, and that was enough to make my day.

Equally as rewarding was Tuesday when we sponsored an all girl orphanage in Belize for their annual Christmas celebration. The Carnival Glory is proud to have established a deep philanthropic relationship with the Girls Orphanage in Belize City. Each month, Carnival team members volunteer time to paint their facilities, clean up and fix portions of their home and the ship donates all sorts of items from the; including mattresses, televisions, and clothing.

Every Christmas each member of the senior management team fulfills the Christmas wishes of each of the girls by purchasing presents. This year, I was assigned to buy presents for an 11-year-old girl named Jenna. Her wish list included a Barbie doll, stickers, and anything that had to do with the High School Musical movies and I was happy to get her everything on her list.

Also, we wanted to make this holiday extra special this for the girls……..so as a part of our monthly crew activities in December, we hosted a number of events to raise money for an extra special Christmas surprise. We hosted a crew bingo, a raffle, and perhaps the most entertaining…a senior management auction where we sold all of the senior managers to the highest bidder and in return that manger would perform the duties of the crew members who purchased them for one hour (I sold for a respectable $175 to one of the casino hosts).

In all, the crew raised an extra $2,500 for this cause. Last Tuesday we invited all of the girls and the staff of the orphanage on board for a special holiday party in their honor. They were presented with all of their gifts by Santa Claus, had a special prepared lunch, and enjoyed the use of the ship’s facilities during the day including the water slide and the very popular Water Wars! The director of the orphanage was almost moved to tears when we presented her with the extra money we had raised, I know it will go to great use in making the year to come a special one for the girls.

This, my friends, is what I find most special about this time of year…..my Christmas wishes have already been fulfilled by making this holiday special for others. I have been truly blessed in my life both personally and professionally, and although I did not ask for anything for Christmas, I received so much just by taking the time to give to those who needed it; a heart full of gratitude that others will smile in the wake of unfortunate situations and maybe for just one day feel like they are a special and loved. Happy Holidays.

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Thank mate. I am glad all is going well and hopefully even the Grinch you had on stage is having a wonderful time.
This then is the perfect opportunity to mention the thousands of crew members who will be working so very hard to make sure our guests have a wonderful holiday cruise. It’s always hard at this time of year to be away from your family and loved ones so please join me in thanking each and everyone and to wish them all a Merry Christmas and happy holidays………….they are simply the best.

There will also be some people working at our head office. This includes some people who you never think of.

Here, then, is a video of some people behind the scenes whom without we could not manage. Let’s see then how the ships receive the internet and transmit information.

Well, tomorrow myself and Heidi and my sister Suedrip and her family will all gather for the traditional Christmas lunch of roast turkey, roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roasted potatoes, peas, parsnips, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts followed by Christmas pudding and custard and, of course, after that……………..lashings of hemmeroid cream.

Most nights, like most people, I shovel food into my mouth with one hand while using the other to stab away at the remote control, desperately trying to find something on television that isn’t about penguins and polar bears.

But at Christmas it’s the law that the television is turned off, a big fire is lit in the dining room and the whole family gathers round to gorge on a feast of roast meat, gravy and what country pubs call “all the trimmings.”

This is the traditional Christmas lunch. It’s a perceived cornerstone of British way of life………… But in fact few people actually do it.

The BBC is running a spot on TV today that shows only 29% of families eat together at Christmas and 77% do so while watching penguins falling over. A quarter of households in Britain don’t even have a table. This, I think, should be a new measure of poverty. We in Britain like to think we’re rich because we have satellite TV and Simon Cowell. We like to think we’re advanced because you can’t join the army at nine and civilized because people don’t die in the streets of diphtheria.

But I’m sorry, even the poorest African families have a table. And here according to the BBC, 25% of us don’t.

There’s no real excuse either. On eBay there currently are 3,764 dining tables being sold, with prices starting at just £26 — less than three packets of cigarettes. So buy one, turn the bloody polar bears off and let’s get this family Christmas lunch thingy under way.

It all begins at the butcher, and what you need to know is that you will describe whoever you choose as the best butcher in the world. Out here in the Essex countryside, it’s the next topic of conversation after schools and who is having rumpy pumpy with Russ the mailman.

“We use the ‘little man’ at the bottom of the town. He’s much better than the one at the top.” “What? You don’t use our chap in Dunmow? Everyone does. He’s the best butcher in the world.”

The thing is that nobody knows what they’re talking about. Turkey is not like wine. Yes, those with a sensitive palate could tell the difference between a turkey that has been raised on yak poo or one that has been feasting on caviar …………..But could you really tell the difference between one from Publix and one from a local farm shop? I couldn’t.

So you buy a turkey from whichever shop has the fewest flies in the window and you put it in the oven and then you try to get your children to set your eBay table.

This will make them very angry because they’re busy watching that man on YouTube who tries to light his farts. Asking them to break out the cutlery and put it on the table in something like the right order, without stabbing one another, takes so long that you forget about the Brussels sprouts which is now in need of some Viagra if it’s to become firm again. No matter. An hour after the first ingredient is ready, the last will be vaguely edible as well, so it’s time to carve the turkey.

This, for reasons I don’t fully understand, is a man’s job. Perhaps it’s because he hasn’t done the cooking or argued with the kids and is, therefore, in a better frame of mind to deal with the carving knife which, somehow, after a week in a drawer, has become as sharp as Judge Judy’s arse.

Eventually, though, we were under way. The family all together. Eating good wholesome traditional nourishing Christmas-style food.

And talking about all sorts of things, such as the need to sit up straight, the need to eat with your mouth closed, the need to ask for seconds rather than just leaning across the table, and how it’s important to eat without your elbows taking on the shape of a B52 bomber’s wings.

And before you know it……..it’s all over and you’re curled up in front of the TV watching a drowned polar bear and realising there is only 365 days until Christmas.

I will, with your kind permission take tomorrow and Friday off and return with seven straight blogs on Saturday, Sunday, etc. I have some questions I need to answer, which I will do over the weekend so please join me back here on Saturday.

However, you may want to check in on Christmas Day from 9 am because that way you will get to see an exclusive.

Yep…………we will broadcast our new TV commercial first ………….right here on the blog thingy. It is scheduled to be broadcast during tomorrow’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy (my friend Kevin says thanks to Carnival by the way) and as I thank you to all of you for your loyal readership, we thought we would give you a first look her on the blog. So, at around 9 am E.S.T………..that’s Eastern Standard Thingy ……. you will have a chance to see the World’s Largest Beach Ball commercial which will kick off a new Fun For All. All For Fun campaign for 2009………it’s a brilliant commercial and I hope you enjoy it.

So, all that’s left is for me to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays and I hope you all have a wonderful time with your families and friends …….. see you on Saturday.

heidijohn

Please have a wonderful Christmas. Drink too much. Eat too much. Don’t feel guilty about the presents you give or those that you receive. And just for a day, care not for your carbon footprint or the impact of your naked consumerism. Be happy and have fun. And remember, you are having a much better time than Bernard Madoff because he has no friends and you’ve got lots.

Goodnight
Your Friends
John, Heidi and the Thingy

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.