There is something to be said for organizations that do not change their colors during the holiday season. So much that we see around us this time of year is over-sanitized, kept well scrubbed and family friendly in a concerted effort to maintain the wonder of the season for the little ones. (A skeptic might well add "and keep their parents' wallets open" to the end of that sentence, but Turned On its Ear is happy to focus on what's good - and give likely undeserved benefits of the doubt - this time of year). This phenomenon is particularly visible in New York, and while I'm usually the first in line to decry the overall sterilization that Manhattan has undergone in the past decade and a half or so, I really don't see all that much wrong in creating an environment that isn't all that different than what the tourists and their children have seen in movies like Miracle on 34th Street all these years.
The observer and comic in me, on the other hand, enjoys seeing the occasional slip in the facade. Usually, it's deliberate: the porn store with the SANTA LIKES BIG HOOTERS billboard, or the bar whose advertising suggests that Mr. Claus might want something other than cookies left out for him on Christmas Eve, those sorts of "clever" things. The photo you're about to see, captured a few weeks back by my always out-of-focus cell phone during a drive down Fifth Avenue to take in all the displays and the sights of Christmas in the City, is far better than any of that, largely because its existence was sanctioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a government organization. Ask any native New Yorker: they'll likely agree that the MTA is by far the merriest of agencies, and then they'll add an opinion or two that makes "fuck me with a reindeer antler" sound like the last line of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. This ad was photographed on the back of a city bus; it is hawking a product describing itself as Energy Sheets (I can only imagine...)
I realize that my developmentally disabled smart phone takes lousy, blurry pictures, but you did read that correctly: I TAKE A SHEET IN THE POOL. Merry Christmas, dear tourists and their children, from the always jovial, certainly always classy MTA!