Thursday, December 25, 2008

Celebrating Christmas

"God rest ye merry gentlemen.
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray"
~ Unknown

It's Christmas, and I feel obligated to once again point out that Jesus is the reason for the season.

My little piece of family here in Virginia celebrates Christmas in all the traditional ways.

We have Christmas lights strewn along the front of the house.

We have little white wire lighted reindeer seemingly feeding on the front lawn.

Two spiral abstract style Christmas trees, brightly lit with multi-colored lights and a plastic star on the tops.

A wreath on the door. With red lights.

A nativity scene positioned beneath a yard flag depicting an angel, illuminated by a spotlight so everyone who passes can see.

Santa Claus rocking back and forth on skis.

Of course, brightly colored Christmas lights decorating an evergreen tree out in front of it all.

Indoors, we have a tree.

Mistletoe and holly.

More lights.

Angels and gingerbread houses and snowmen and even a toy stuffed dog wearing a Santa Claus hat that sings "Jingle Bell Rock" when you press it's paw.

We will enjoy a sumptuous feast of turkey, ham, and all the trimmings. We will watch Christmas movies on TV, such as "White Christmas", "It's a Wonderful Life", "Miracle on 34th Street", a brief viewing of that infernal 24 hour marathon of "The Christmas story" on TBS, and several versions of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol".

We will listen to a day long marathon of Christmas music, featuring songs about winter, snow, snowmen, sleighs, Santa Claus, red nosed reindeer, but very few about Jesus.

And we will exchange Christmas presents, usually silly but extravagant things we don't need and sometimes don't really want. We will feign surprise or gratefulness or both.

I get philosophical this time of year. If I didn't have a family obligation to participate in all these Christmas distractions, I wouldn't. I think the appropriate way to celebrate would be to focus on the birth of Jesus, even though, as it has been pointed out, Jesus likely wasn't actually born on December twenty-fifth.

I think I'd put up a nativity scene but nothing else. And then, in a spirit of giving, perhaps spend the day volunteering at a homeless shelter or other non-profit beneficial organization.

There's really nothing wrong with all these non-nativity related seasonal distractions. After all, many have their origins in traditional Christmas celebrations.

The name "Santa Claus" is a contraction of the words, "Saint Nicholas" who was a Christian saint, for one example.

So, when you celebrate your Christmas in your own personal unique tradition, try to remember the reason for the season.

You know, it's a tragedy that we even have to remind people.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

So, What Else Is New?

"Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too." ~ Richard M. Nixon

Not surprisingly, another scandal revolving around Democrat corruption and Barack Obama has surfaced.

Now, Illinois Governor Rod (political opportunist) Blogojevich, has been arrested for attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat recently vacated by Barack Hussein Obama, otherwise known as "President-elect Obama".

(Aside) I read several Liberally-biased mainstream media news reports about this scandal and not one of them mentioned the Governor's political party (He's a Democrat). Is that surprising?

One other point: The very fact that the Liberally-biased media actually reported this story rather than bury it tells us this is a major scandal that will not go away quickly.

Already, Conservative talk radio hosts are drawing conclusions that Obama is connected, even directly involved, in the Governor's scheme.

They are also implicating Jesse Jackson jr. (or is it the third?), albeit a little more subtly.

While I don't doubt Obama is probably connected to this latest scandal, so far there is no evidence to support that hypothesis.

Up to now, All we know for sure is that both Blogojevich and Obama came up through one of the most corrupt political machines in the country.

We know Obama has some disturbing connections with domestic terrorists, real estate swindlers, America hating, anti-semite, racist preachers, and hordes of other criminals and ne'er-do-wells.

For those reasons alone, it is not at all inconceivable that there may be a definite connection between Obama and Blogojevich. It is inconceivable that all these things were going on right under Obama's nose without his knowledge. And, as Lone Ranger says, "Even if this modern miracle were true, do we want a guy so clueless in charge of keeping this country safe and prosperous?"

I have to admit though, I'm rather annoyed by the Conservative pundits trying so desperately to link Obama with Blogojevich without a shred of evidence, other than catching Obama in a lie about whether he talked to the Governor.

So what if he talked to the Governor? That could mean he merely discussed his thoughts about his Senate replacement with the Governor, or it could mean that together they hatched some nefarious plan to sell the seat and split the profits.

With Obama, nothing remains out of the sphere of possibility.

Of course, Obama made things look worse for himself by denying he even talked with the Governor. Just two weeks prior to the stunning announcement of Blogojevich's arrest, David Axelrod stated, on tape, that Obama had talked to the Governor about his choice to fill the vacated seat.

In my opinion, Hannity, Levin (my personal favorite), and the others only need to wait until some real connection appears, as it likely will. Then, let him have it.

No doubt there will be plenty more scandals with more teeth in them than this before the fiasco of an Obama presidency runs it's course.

There's no need to get ahead of themselves.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

From My In Box

"I awoke in the grey of the morn­ing, and as I lay wait­ing for dawn, the long lines of the de­sired po­em be­gan to en­twine them­selves in my mind, and I said to my­self, 'I must get up and write these vers­es, lest I fall asleep and for­get them!' So I sprang out of bed and in the dim­ness found an old stump of a pen, which I re­mem­bered us­ing the day be­fore. I scrawled the vers­es al­most with­out look­ing at the p­aper." ~ Julia Ward Howe

Someone sent this to me by e-mail. It is one of the best versions of the Battle Hymn of the Republic I have ever heard. Apparently, Patriotism is still alive and well in some of America's schools.

Not all the words are sung in this version, so I've pasted the complete lyrics below:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel;
“As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal”;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel,
Since God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;
[originally …let us die to make men free]
While God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave;
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave,
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

It was this spirit that the egregious attack on Pearl Harbor, 67 years ago today, failed to quell, and the same spirit exists today in the breasts of our countrymen.

Remember Pearl Harbor.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Some Good Quotes

"True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country." ~ Kurt Vonnegut

"I am old enough to see how little I have done in so much time, and how much I have to do in so little." ~ Sheila Kaye-Smith

"Every man desires to live long, but no man would be old." ~ Jonathan Swift

"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen." ~ Mark Twain

"Is that a birthday? 'tis, alas! too clear;
'Tis but the funeral of the former year."
~ Alexander Pope

"To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable." ~ Oscar Wilde

"The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary on it." ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

"I fear vastly more a futile, incompetent old age than I do any form of death." ~ William Allen White

"A person is always startled when he hears himself seriously called an old man for the first time." ~ Oliver W. Holmes, Sr.

"Whatever poet, orator, or sage may say of it, old age is still old age." ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional." ~ Chili Davis

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." ~ Mark Twain

"If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to Heaven, and very, very few persons." ~ James Thurber

"The old dog barks backward without getting up. I can remember when he was a pup." ~ Robert Frost

"The prospect of dying doesn't bother me. It's the gettin' on with it" ~ William E. Maness (my grandfather)

"Everyone has senior moments. What scares me is when senior moments stretch into senior hours." ~ Me

In case you're wondering--I'm 57.

I think.