Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Paul Marvin
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Cowabunga Christmas and a Ninja New Year

Paul Marvin's North Country Crock


December 27, 2018

If you don’t know much about cartoon Ninja Turtles, here are the facts.

Leonardo leads. Donatello does machines. Raphael is cool, but rude. Michelangelo is a Party Dude.

A Party Dude is a real-life north country creature like a Lake Rat or Food Chicken. Not all of them are turtles.

You’ve probably seen a Party Dude before. Especially if your town has a Muni.

Look for the air guitar.

A Party Dude loves pizza (obviously) and the color orange (sometimes mixed with camo).

He goes by Mikey or Mike. I know a few. A friend, brother-in law, uncle, neighbor. As it should be.

Problem is Mike and his righteous dude bros are being stalked by the Shredder, their ninja nemesis with razor-like features and stealth everything.

This specific Shredder cuts, rips and tears everything. Curtains, furniture, wrapping paper. Flesh and body parts.

A true ninja. Sneaky and inaudible (unless his intention is otherwise). Unmatched physical prowess. Catlike reflexes. Nine lives.

He’ll hide in a tree and wait until the calculated and precise moment.

Down everything goes.

Mikey doesn’t see it coming.

The tree goes in the garage.

But the holidays aren’t ruined. Nope.

There is still New Year’s Eve, the one night of the year Party Dudes get to let ‘er rip until midnight and wake-up with a clean start.

What happens after midnight and before the morning isn’t important and will not be discussed in this family-friendly publication. The holidays are about the kids after all. Little ones, big ones, and in-betweeners.

I’m not a parent. So if you’d like my expert advice, it’s this: Don’t subject kids to things you don’t want them to know about. Like swear words and secrets.

Don’t just blurt out “there is no such thing as Santa Claus.” Doing so would be reckless and insensitive. I’m extremely careful not to make these types of mistakes.

You have to be tactful like a ninja.

I would suggest making up an alternate story.

Tell them Santa is actually an old guy who enters the house in the middle of the night, watches them when they’re sleeping, and that they must sit on his lap without crying if they want presents.

They’ll trust you forever and Christmas will be perfect. Nothing can go wrong.

Happy Holidays to all the Up-North Lake Rats (and sewer ones who teach karate), cats, trees and turtles. Be smart. Don’t get relegated to the garage or anywhere else in 2019 unless it is your intention.


Paul Marvin is a communications/marketing guy and artist who lives in northern Minnesota. View his work at or


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