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12:19 pm | 14 May 2004 | Greetings from la famille LeMonde

Today, instead of an endless stream of griping about my personal tribulations, random bouts of unrelated-to-anything fury, thirst for rum, jaw-clenching stress headaches, and having just had to scrape hairballs off the carpet (my boss's cat, Felix, leaves a dainty calling card for yours truly on an every-other-daily basis)--anyway, instead of all that, I present to you The Family Portrait That Would Not Be Taken.

My mother insists on family portraits with the same fervour that she demands an updated list of my personal "distinguishing markings," and for, i'm sure, the same reason: She expects me to die. Anyway. Here follow nine images, sequentially, from Christmas. There is at least one thing wrong in each picture. I apologise for the crappy blown-out-ness of the scans, but YOU WILL TAKE WHAT YOU CAN GET AND YOU WILL LIKE IT!

The first thing I want you to check out is the remote in Mom's hand that controls the camera. Very high-tech. Mr. Remote will make appearances in many of these portraits, which is great since he's such a close member of the family. Mom has decided that ranging us in front of the (unlit) fireplace will lend an air of holiday cheer. Just out of frame are the brass stocking-hangers that spell out S-A-N-T-A (until one of the kids gets ahold of them, at which point they merrily respell S-A-T-A-N). It is also worth noting that we don't hang our stockings down there at all. No, we hang them on the entertainment center, by the TV: the true heart of the American family home. Next, note Pop. Just note him. Note him. NOTE. I've got my Stepford face on for this one--additionally, note that another member of the extended family, my double chin, has flown in for a special holiday appearance. It just wouldn't be a family portrait without all of my chins. The dog is appropriately embarassed. My sister is totally toking. My brother is shocked/awed. Oh, and everyone's eyes? Did i mention we were a family of WEREWOLVES? Because we are. And we're coming for you. Next picture!

Guinness has sensed the incipient humiliation and is struggling to get away. My brother is only feigning...uh...whatever emotion he's feeling. Pop is probably saying something like "You damn kids! Keep it down!" Oh, hi, Mr. Remote.

Ed, tired of attempting to convey "happy" and "holiday," has gone forward boldly into "barrayargh" territory. This is his second-most-frequent expression, overall.

Not bad except for my mom's lack of neck, and the dog's nipples in flagrante.

Location change! Let's sit on the couch, which is an innocuous forest-green plaid, set off nicely by the wood paneling that i've definitely come to appreciate more as an adult. The dog is over this whole scene, a sentiment my brother shares. I'm just about to do a hit of crack, so i'm having trouble keeping my eyes open. But Pop is the real grimacey treat here, looking like he just took Mr Rogers's trolley into Sullen-Land.

Ed's had enough. There's that remote again.

The models dissolve into chaos. The dog dies, and Tape finally gets a chance to taste sweet canine flesh. Our parents--I can't even go there. What they're doing isn't human.

Parents: cute. Me: dead with the dog. Sis & bro: filled with mutual hate, like always. Happy hols!

Actually pretty cute, showing too late that it's our parents' fault the pics always suck. 'Djoo hear that, Mom? YOUR FAULT! clm.

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