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It seems to us . . . Politically correct Santas, papal bunting and Erie's blessing

BINDING CLAUS: We're foursquare against sexism, of course, and we don't much care for grown-ups talking dirty to children, but isn't this a tad extreme?

Santa Clauses (or is it Santas Claus?) in Sydney, Australia, have been instructed that they are henceforth not to utter the phrase "ho, ho, ho," for fear of offending women, who evidently might mistake them for Don Imus, or of traumatizing children, who might . . . well, we don't know what the kids might think, other than Christmas is coming.

In any case, Santas are now to exclaim "ha, ha, ha," which, if you ask us, lacks the requisite oomph. Look, no one is ever going to misunderstand a cheerful ho, ho, ho, and if that's what Christmas is coming to, we say bah, humbug.


ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD: Speaking of St. Nick, Pope Benedict XVI is going to manage something a lot of New York fans will try next year -- getting to Yankee Stadium for one last time before it closes.

The House that Ruth Built is being replaced, with next season scheduled to be its last. An April visit -- presumably not on Opening Day -- would make this pope the third to visit Yankee Stadium, but he's likely to steal home to Rome without catching a game. So to speak.


ERIE'S WINDFALL: And speaking of blessings, our neighbor up the lake has just received a major financial one from a benefactor who wished to remain anonymous. Charities in Erie, Pa., will share a $100 million donation to help the city, struggling with an all-too-familiar loss of factories, meet the future.

That was all good news, but reports from Erie also closed with the comment that Erie is trying to remake itself as a tourist destination -- with a casino. We're betting the pope won't stop there. Hopefully, none of the $100 million will, either.

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