COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) -- The Danish Air Force said it has paid about $5,000 in compensation to a part-time Santa Claus whose reindeer died of heart failure when two fighter jets roared over his farm.
The animal, named Rudolf, was grazing at the farm of Olavi Nikkanoff in central Denmark when the screaming F-16 jets passed overhead at low altitude in February.
The reindeer collapsed and died, leaving Nikkanoff with the prospect of only one animal pulling his sleigh next Christmas.
He complained to the Air Force, which agreed to compensate him for the cost of the reindeer and veterinary expenses.
"We got a letter from Santa complaining about his reindeer's death and looked into it seriously," Air Force spokesman Capt. Morten Jensen said Thursday.
The Air Force checked flight data and veterinary reports and concluded the planes had caused the animal's death.
Nikkanoff said he would use the money to buy a new reindeer before Christmas.
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.
Wow, that wasn't too comfortable, was it?
Santa wanted me to use the American media to explain a few things to the children who may be frightened/saddened by this news story.
As some of you may know, I'm a Smurf.
Smurfs haven't had a whole lot to do since the 1980s- I went to college, wrestled professionally for a spell, and started a family- but we are kept busy for at least part of the year.
You see, Santa first began to experience difficulties with the Worker Elves- who were driven into the Pole from Europe (mostly Poland) during the period before the Romans- in the 1950s.
Elves are a minority with a pretty big chip on their shoulder, and they chafed when Santa began working them on 18 hour shifts during the population boom in the 19th century. Santa was in pretty deep at this point, and the Pinkerton detectives he employed to keep order were more than a little heavy-handed.
There were a few ugly incidents that we don't need to describe here- Hustler magazines in the stockings, sleigh graffiti, milk/cookie thefts, etc... in the end, Santa negotiated a 2 month vacation with then-Teamster leader James Hoffa... who disappeared shortly afterwards. Everybody was happy.
With a sudden vacancy to fill, Santa- after failing with Pygmies and Liliputians (who were a real PITA)- turned to the Smurfs, who had just finished a successful TV run. We come up every October, and hold the fort down until the Elves (who are admittedly more expert at toy production) return for the big post-Thanksgiving rush.
But for now until then, we're in charge up here. I was Santa's personal secretary, and have just recently been moved up to Minister of Information.
Part of my job is emptying the mailbag, and this story from CNN really brought the mail in by the bushel-f*****-basket.
While I am happy to see letters concerned about one of the Family instead of "I want a pony," we need some sort of closure if we're to get anything done up here this year.
While the goings-on here are understandably mysterious, Santa has no policy on squashing leaks. He actually encourages us to speak freely to the press... it's just that so very few of y'all get up here.
Santa doesn't catch cold, avoids taverns, speaks mostly in German or Turkish, hasn't been in rehab, and basically sits home with the Missuss. He's hardly a media magnet- except for one month of the year, when he's too busy to go into any sort of detail.
So, occasionally we have to come forth and clarify things... usually to comfort children.
That said, a letter from a little girl- "Debbie"- in Brookfield:
"Ok, wait so if that cause a heart attack what is the likelihood it would have been able to pull the sleigh this year anyway...probably have a heart attack doing that! Then again maybe it felt it would be out of a job with this new tech sleigh riding overhead!
Comment from psychfun "
This is a good letter, because it addresses many concerns children have as Santa enters the modern age. They see 8 tiny reindeer, then they see a C-130 cargo plane (a fine model- we use them to supply our bases) and say, "Something's not making sense." And this is after we get the whole Flying Reindeer thing past them.
Pulling a sleigh is a slow, gradual exertion... and Santa goes out- just before takeoff- and injects each Donner and Blitzen with a powerful steroid cocktail that features Winstrol, Viagra, Godzilla extract, Androstenodine, B-12, Cocaine, and several muscle relaxant/painkillers. This gets the reindeer all swole, and they can bang out the Mission with ease. If you ever hear rumors of a "magic elven/reindeer dust"... well, now you know.
This "Magic Dust" is only given on Christmas Eve, at what we call Zero Hour, for very good reasons. Given regular access to this concoction, DEA experts estimate that reindeer would subjugate Lapland in 3 years, if not Finland itself. They would then establish a Deerocracy... and I probably don't have to tell you that it wouldn't be a Christian nation.
You see, Santa has a pretty free Whip Hand... and by the end of the Mission, he's ripped more a** than a 7'4" Rump Ranger with a size 22 shoe and no sensitivity whatsoever. Even set loose in the forest to rut afterwards, the reindeer don't really calm down until Martin Luther King Day. So we can only Super Power them once a year, in cold weather (if you look into it, you'll see that Jesus was actually a spring birth).
Anywho... as for the F-16, that was a sudden, violent shock that the (unmedicated) reindeer simply couldn't handle.
We keep the reindeer in Northern Europe to graze during the summer months, using some pasture of a distant Santa relative (check the last name of the farmer in the CNN story). The NATO base nearby was just an unfortunate coincidence, and we've already corrected it. That happens more than you'd think... especially with the Russians.
Before the development of ICBMs, standard Soviet nuclear first-strike doctrine called for a flight over the Pole, which is actually the shortest distance between their Northern Air Command bases and America itself. While test-run Backfire bombers never violated Canadian air space, they raised Holy Hell over the Pole, and we'd lose 3 reindeer a year.
Unlike Santa, reindeer are not immortal. Most live- even with the steroids- only 50-75 years. We're currently on Prancer 78607.0, for instance. The bombers killed more deer than every Mohawk Indian combined... and those boys could sure swing a hatchet, let me tell you. It's basically why we Smurfs stopped sneaking over to America withthe Dutch.
This went on until ICBMs were invented, and then it got worse.
Those SOBs would zoom over the Pole at 490 mph, maybe 50 feet off the ground... I wrecked a few patches of snowfrom them, let me tell you.
In the 1970s, it actually started cutting into our profits (Got a sh***y gift in 1978? There ya go! ), so Santa had a little talk with Lenoid Breshnev... after which the flight patterns were altered.
So anyhow, Debby..... that's the Short Version (no jokes, please). I might as well throw in the fact that I peeked at the Naughty/Nice List, and, while you can still botch it up with any further deviance... there's a cute vet who'll be making a housecall this December.