WELL, IT'S BECOME INCREASINGLY APPARENT during this holiday season that you can't swing Tiny Tim's crutch without smacking some lousy-ass version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Did you know there are no less than 23 versions of this wheezing classic? And even more surprisingly, did you know 11 of these versions were made for television? I KNOW!! Shocking doesn't even begin to explain it! I mean, one would think television to be too lofty of an institution to refry this overcooked bowl of beans once, much less 11 times!

Even worse, instead of simply realizing it's a stoopid story and tossing it in the dumpster, television tries to screw around with the format in an attempt to make chicken salad out of the proverbial chicken shit. There was 1984's Scrooge's Rock & Roll Christmas, starring lazy-eyed character actor Jack Elan; An American Christmas Carol, starring Henry "The Fonz" Winkler; a version starring Marlo "I know what Phil Donahue looks like nekkid" Thomas; and even cartoon versions starring Bugs Bunny, Fred Flintstone, and Mr. Magoo (which for my money is still the best portrayal of Scrooge. Eat my ass, Alastair Sim!).

So guess who's starring in this year's version? Yet another cartoon character, actor Patrick "Cueball" Stewart (Cap'n Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation) -- and no, the story doesn't take place on a starship with a bunch of bumpy-headed aliens and girls in miniskirts. In this version, Stewart and Co. attempt to "remain faithful to the original text" (in other words, ZZZZZZZZ! SNORE! ZZZZZZZZZZ! SNORE!), and go all psychological on your ass to reveal why Scrooge is such a grumpy-dump prick. (Answer: Because he makes too much money. Hmmm... a lot of money makes one an asshole? So how exactly would this explain ME??)

You know, the folks on television can keep making versions of A Christmas Carol until they're blue in the face -- and trust me, they will. However! Until they do ONE THING, they will never be successful. And that ONE THING is to do a complete and thorough rewrite of A Christmas Carol -- Humpy Style. See, the first and most important aspect of a successful Scrooge is the casting, and obviously the best person for the job is Patrick Swayze. Waitasecond... maybe it's the guy who played Rerun in What's Happenin'? No... let's stick with Swayze.

Next, we cast the roles of the spirits who visit Scrooge and eventually turn him from his evil ways. The natural choices for these ghosts are, of course, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Chuck would be the "Ghost of Christmas Past" because, what is he...70? "Wham Bam" Van Damme would be the "Ghost of Christmas Present" because he has the nicest butt, and what makes a better "present" than a tight butt? And finally, the perfect choice for the "Ghost of Christmas Future" would be "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, because, like Dickens' ghost, he wouldn't need to say a word -- just flip Swayze the bird, pour a can of beer on his head, and punch him in the throat.

See, this is MY vision of A Christmas Carol. Swayze is a sexy bar bouncer who's mean to his girlfriend (possibly Jennifer Grey, recreating her role of "Baby" from Dirty Dancing) and forgets the true meaning of Christmas. In come the three ghosts driving monster trucks, beating the ever-loving shit out of Swayze until he recants. THE END. My version? Ten minutes, TOPS. Wow... you know, I'm really good at this! Maybe they need a writer over at Touched by an Angel!