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Friday, November 30, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Festivus

"I find your belief system fascinating."

If there's one thing that'll probably outlive every other moment from "Seinfeld" fifty years from now, it's the majestic wonder of Festivus. Frank Costanza's screwball holiday not only lends itself to any number of timeless episode quotes, but Festivus is actually celebrated in households nationwide. Maybe it's all a gag. Maybe this is a very real part of Bill O'Reilly's purported "War on Christmas." Maybe "Sein"-fans are way too eager to grapple with Grandma during the Feats of Strength.

Either way, you can actually order a Festivus pole for $38 plus shipping.

Yep. There's a 6-foot floor model for $38 and a 2-foot 8-inch table top model for $30. Both are made of aluminum (what else?) and have their own base for prime window display purposes. They're also collapsible for convenient storage. Best of all, the poles are manufactured in a city with a high strength-to-weight ratio -- Milwaukee. That's right. Beer and Festivus poles come from the same Midwestern bosom.

Wagner Companies produces the pole, and judging by the Web site photo gallery, boasts at least two celebrity customers. A lusterless pole was delivered to Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, reportedly a huge "Seinfeld" fan (and a bit of a low-talker if you ask us.) There's also a snapshot of Mark "the Maestro" Metcalf, who perhaps unbeknownst to local "Seinfeld" enthusiasts, is heavily involved in Milwaukee theater and owns a Mequon restaurant called Libby Montana. Best of all, longtime fans or first-time celebrants can buy their own pole at the Festivus Pole Lot, Dec. 7 (7-10 p.m.) and 8 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) on the corner of Brady Street and Arlington Place in Milwaukee. Sadly, H&H will not be providing free bagels because of ongoing strike issues ...

A Festivus miracle? Hardly. Just a clever way for a Milwaukee company already producing aluminum to cash in on a pop culture craze that continues to build momentum each year (thank syndication for that!)

Need a refresher on Festivus? Sure you do! And remember: Festivus poles make a much better holiday gift than donations to the Human Fund.

History: Kramer becomes interested in resurrecting Festivus when Frank Costanza tells him how it was created as an alternative holiday in response to the commercialization of Christmas.

Frank: "Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way."
Kramer: "What happened to the doll?"
Frank: "It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!"

The pole: During Festivus, the unadorned Festivus Pole is displayed -- in direct opposition to a highly decorated Christmas tree.

Kramer: "Is there a tree?"
Frank: "No, instead, there's a pole. It requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting."

Airing of Grievances: At the Festivus dinner, the family is gathered and lectured about their disappointing behavior during the past year.

Frank: "I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you're gonna hear about it. You, Kruger. My son tells me your company STINKS!"
George: "Oh, God."

Feats of Strength: The final tradition observed in the celebration of Festivus. Traditionally, the head of the household challenges an individual to a wrestling match. Tradition further states that Festivus is not over until the head of the household is pinned.

Jerry (to George): "And wasn't there a Feats of Strength that always ended up with you crying?"

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,
(With convenient assistance from Wikipedia.)

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