Friday, February 11, 2011


Holiday Christmas Wishes
Vol. 6
From the desk of Henry J. Rifle

Dearest Chums,

It’s beginning to look a bunch like Christmas, which can only mean it’s time to haul out the old Smith-Corona, a full bottle of Hennessy and see what we can see.

What else is there to say about the year 2007 except that it was unfortunate? Another largely unmitigated disaster in a long string of them. I’m telling you, I knew when El Presidente’ Jorge’ #2 took the wheel that we were in for a thoroughly unpleasant ride, but now I think I’m really beginning to understand how my dates must have felt back in my younger days. Yes, I think I can imagine what must have been going through their minds when they got in the car with me, looked me squarely in the eye and said, ‘This is really going to suck, isn’t it?’ I would respond by nodding gravely before flipping on the AM radio to catch the cattle futures report.

But the great part about those horrific dates is that they eventually came to a merciful conclusion, and that’s what’s also great about our American political process: as bad as it gets, the end will come, my friends, and it’s not far away now. Before too terribly long, another candidate will vault to power and then they will be free to drive this country into the ground as they see fit. That’s the miracle of freedom, fellow citizens. That’s democracy in action.

The important thing is we’re still here. And as long as we’re still here, there’s still hope. Candidates will come and go. The fortunes of political parties will rise and fall like the market, but we’re the ones paying the bills and the freight. The trick is to not take it all too seriously. Who knows? Perhaps one day a woman or a man will come along with some real answers to the multitude of problems we face – like immigration, for instance. Now that’s a real problem!

To hear some people talk, you would think that no one should be able to enter this country.
I think that’s a great idea! In fact, I think we should replace the Statue of Liberty with the Statue
of Mr. T. Same size as the S.O.L., same concept, except instead of welcoming foreigners to our shores, the inscription at the base of this statue would say, ‘I pity the fool that tries to get into this country!’ There could even be a button hopeful immigrants could push and Mr. T’s recorded voice would boom out over Ellis Island – so that it’s an interactive experience.

My viewpoint on this matter might surprise some people because my ancestors were immigrants. We arrived here sometime around the early part of the 20th Century. We would have gotten here a lot sooner, but my great-great grandpa had an irrational fear of large women. He caught sight of the Statue of Liberty from the boat and he lost it! He didn’t stop screaming until they got him back to Norway. Well, it’s all just cold water under the Brooklyn Bridge now.

Anyway, Happy Holidays! All the best to you and yours,

Henry J.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

yet another old holiday letter

Holiday Christmas Wishes 4 -- 2005
From the desk of
Henry J. Rifle
Dearest Muchachos,

It appears we are rapidly running out of days on the calendar to draw thick black X’s through, so that can only mean it must be time for old Henry J. to put fingertips to keys and tap his way back into the fibrous chambers of your hearts. Don’t worry, it will only sting for a minute and I promise you won’t feel a thing.
Now before I get too far down   the happy path, I should tell you I just got back from a Holiday party and I’m pretty sure someone spiked the egg nog with something hinky. Did I stop drinking it, you ask? The answer, of course, is no, I did not. So why don’t we just let’s see what happens?

Well, it was quite a year, as you can well imagine. As some of you know, I was bumped off earlier this year, rubbed out like a 2nd rate soap opera star*. It’s alright, though. It’s given me time to catch up on my reading. And I’ve seen a movie or two. Yep, I saw Walk The Line recently. Not too bad, not too bad at all. If you like Johnny Cash, you’ll be happy to know the movie has a happy ending. In fact, it ends (spoiler alert) with Johnny’s landmark performance in Folsom Prison, a performance which was later turned into the equally landmarctic album, ‘Johnny Cash, Live From Folsom Prison.’ Yes, after listening to that album, it’s obvious nothing coaxes a better performance out of a performer than the knowledge he’ll be torn to pieces by hardened cons if he sucks.

Luckily for all of us, and most especially Mr. Cash, he did NOT suck. And the album? It went gold! Or platinum…I never remember what the difference is. Anyway, this business of artists performing in prisons caught on very briefly. It led, regrettably – and nearly fatally – to the legendary lost recording titled, ‘Perry Como, Live From Alcatraz!’   I’m sure that seemed like a real good idea at the time, and big points to Perry for trying, but apparently he didn’t quite have the all-important ‘street cred’ old Johnny Cash did. But that’s how you learn, am I right?

Oh, sure, everyone and their great-aunt thinks they can pull on a sweater, pick up a guitar and entertain a bunch of felons. The bottom line is, though, we can’t. There’s only one performer (two if you count Merle Haggard) who was mean and crazy enough and had the chops to do that. And now…he’s no longer with us.
Anyways, Happy Holidays!

All the best to you and yours,   


Henry J. Rifle

* In the beyond-indie film Henry Rifle is Dead