One of the good things, at least, for columnists during this so-called slow-news time of year, is that it allows for the wackier stuff to bubble to the surface. In Canberra, Australia, a Santa claims he was fired from a shopping mall for saying “ho-ho-ho,” and for singing “Jingle Bells.”


 


  One of the good things, at least, for columnists during this so-called slow-news time of year, is that it allows for the wackier stuff to bubble to the surface.   In Canberra, Australia, a Santa claims he was fired from a shopping mall for saying “ho-ho-ho,” and for singing “Jingle Bells.”   I’m not making this up.   John Oakes, 70, told the Cairns Post newspaper that he was told by a department-store manager that “ho-ho-ho” sounded too much like an American slang term offensive to women. Sure, if you’re a Santa’s “helper” using the alias “Kandee Cane.”   Ho, Ho, What?   The paper reported that the company, which supplies Santas to retailers, did ask that their Santas instead say “ha-ha-ha” -- which would work great if clowns had anything to do with Christmas.   It’s not clear why Oakes, a retired entertainer, wasn’t allowed to perform “Jingle Bells.” Maybe he did the “Batman Smells” version.   A mall spokesman disputed Oakes’ claim, saying he was fired because of his attitude.   When it comes to culture, we Americans may not always know which fork to use, but when’s the last time you heard “ho-ho-ho” and thought ...   Who’s on First? Superman   Major League Baseball’s steroid scandal is proof positive that men not only gossip but actually are able to use statistics to do it.   I haven’t seen this many guys transfixed by a sports story since the Kekich-Peterson Wife Swap Scandal of 1973.   Had more Cleveland Indians done steroids in the 1970s, I might still be a fan. Alas, my team, the New York Yankees, is well-represented. Pitchers Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte are among the accused, but you can’t prove that by me.   Pettitte couldn’t possibly have been taking anything in the games I saw him pitch. Clemens’ performance last season can only be explained by the possibility that pork chops neutralize the effect of performance-enhancing drugs.   Needless to say, Jason Giambi, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds also were named, as was the knuckleheaded John Rocker, which, in his case, helps to explain a lot.   Then there’s former Red Sox Mo Vaughn, so freakishly massive that he had to iron his pants in the driveway.   The list also includes David Justice, who was alleged to have cheated on his former wife, actress Halle Berry.   See, kids? If that doesn’t prove that steroids can cause brain damage, nothing does.   Reach Canton Repository writer Charita Goshay at (330) 580-8313 or e-mail: charita.goshay@cantonrep.com.