Where’s Santa Now?

Use this handy Santa tracker from NORAD to get the ETA for your chimney!

What DID we do before the Internet?

The Christmas Memories, Part 7

I was in middle school; the only year I would ever make All-State Chorus. Robert Shaw, the Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, assembled a youth chorus to sing his now famous Christmas Program. That year, that day, was the day I fell in love with music.

The soloist for Comfort Ye (Messiah) was from my school. We sang Vivaldi, Brahms, Handel, Bach. That day, at the tender age of 14, I sang the most wonderful, soaring piece my soul had ever heard. The words are beautiful, touching, simple. The lowly shepherds ask the Christ child to remember them in the days to come. But the melody, the harmonies – they blend and twist and rise until your heart is about to burst.

Now imagine 400 voices and a full orchestra. The third verse just envelopes you with joy!

The Shepherd’s Farewell to the Holy Family
Hector Berlioz / from L’Enfance Du Christ

Thou must leave Thy lowly dwelling,
The humble crib, the stable bare,
Babe, all mortal babes excelling,
Content our early lot to share,
Loving father, loving mother,
Shelter Thee with tender care!
Loving father, loving mother,
Shelter Thee with tender care,
shelter Thee with tender care!

Blessed Jesus, we implore Thee
With humble love and holy fear,
In the land that lies before Thee,
Forget not us who linger here!
May the shepherd’s lowly calling
Ever to Thy heart be dear!
May the shepherd’s lowly calling
Ever to Thy heart be dear,
ever to Thy heart be dear!

Blest are ye beyond all measure,
Thou happy father, mother mild!
Guard ye well your Heav’nly Treasure,
The Prince of Peace, the Holy Child!
God go with you, God protect you,
Guide you safely through the wild!
God go with you, God protect you,
Guide you safely through the wild,
guide you safely through the wild!

May you have a joyous Christmas!

Who knew?

Achmed sings!

George and Clarence, et al.

The Anchoress posted a link to the 25 Best Christmas movies. While checking the list out, I found this gem of a review of It’s a Wonderful Life.

…who are we to argue with time? Like Beethoven and Frank Sinatra, It’s A Wonderful Life will live for as long as there’s a civilization with the technology to enjoy it. It will outlive Christmas and religion. It will outlive America and small towns and Western ideas. It will outlive all those things we hold dear because it’s about all of them and none of them. What It’s A Wonderful Life is about is taking a step outside of the hurly-burly of your day and disappointments of your life for a stock check of what you already have.

It’s A Wonderful Life
is about perspective. (emp – Admin)

Goodness, hope, light and simple decency defeat the darkness of human selfishness and defeatism.

George Bailey’s dark and desperate path to that moment is there to remind us that our blessings are not found in the world or given to us by others, but rather in who we are and what we’re capable of as human beings. Everything that matters or is beautiful in life costs nothing more than what we’re born with: our ability to be decent and gracious and kind. This is a bleak examination of the terrible thing in the human condition which makes us look over what we have to what we can’t have. It’s a perspective antidote that ends, as many films do, with an amazing triumph, but a triumph available to anyone for the asking.

Got that? Simply “for the asking.” Like another favorite old film of mine, Magnificent Obsession, the message is subtle, but powerful. Bob Merrick (Rock Hudson), learns through some life-altering events he caused through his own selfishness that life is about giving back, not taking it all for yourself.

Christmas, more than any other time of the year, can bring out the best in people. (And the worst, but I’m not going to go there!) Everyone’s Grinchy ol’ heart grows three sizes. Even flinty old codgers tap their feet at the tunes and marvel at the lights. You see charity on city streets, enemies putting aside differences (even just for a little while), new lives beginning, old lives going on to their reward.

Yes, I know, I’m getting all Polly Anna here, but I’m more optimistic than I’ve been in a while. The surge is working, people (most, at least) are seeing through the media and/or the candidates and/or the Muslim liars and/or the carbon-offset-gooo-rooos to their hidden agendas, everyone is well at my house, everyone is employed next year.

Yep, George, life is good. Merry Christmas!

Holiday Hilarity

From floating crosses to Hillary’s Hump (vid #2), I thought I’d seen it all today…..

Then this

Former Democratic Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney announced she is running for U.S. President as a Green Party candidate in a speech posted on the Internet denouncing Democrats and Republicans for supporting the war in Iraq and being the pawn of corporations and “corrupt lobbyists.”

Ohhhhhhh…stop it… no…no…I can’t breathe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Twas the Tuesday before Tuesday before Tuesday before Iowa

The Year-End Let’s See How Many Objects We Can Cram Into Production Frenzy at work continues. Along with the holiday frenzy of shopping and baking and wrapping and decorating and shopping and baking and wrapping and decorating and…

Hillary is tired, too. As much as I don’t like her, and quite frankly cringe at the very thought of her taking any kind of higher office, I think the way the media has jumped on this sad picture is deplorable. It’s like the horrid crap you see in the British tabs where snapping unflattering pictures of drunken, disheveled celebrities is a blood sport. Fred always looks this craggy and lately, you could drive semi’s through the bags under his eyes. Same for the rest, ‘ceptin’ for Obama and those VW ears. Why is society so cruel to women? While any man, of the same age, or even older, is glowing described as “distinguished.” The Anchoress feels some sympathy and notes

Perhaps showing a woman wearing her miles on her face will help to erase the double standard that says men may be permitted to age gracefully while women must remain freakishly unlined, dewy and firm. Moreover, neither Bella Abzug nor Golda Meir nor Margaret Thatcher were plasticine, ageless beauties, and they were certainly taken seriously and respected. In fact, while I have elsewhere complimented Mrs. Clinton on her fabulous make-up in the debates – and whoever is doing her make-up for those things really is terrific – I have a bit more respect for the Hillary for seeing that she’s resisted going the-full-Pull-osi and drawing her face so tight she has to pee from her belly-button. I respect Annette Benning for the same reason.

“The-Full-Pull-osi.” Ohhhhhhh… mountains of giggles. Gasssspppp… Ooops, sorry, ma’am, didn’t mean to poke with that cattleprod.
Uhhhmmm… that’ll leave a mark…

But… back to Hillary. According to Bill, the first thing she will do upon her election is send him and Bush Sr. on a world-wide apology tour. Too bad he didn’t ASK Bush Sr. first. Amazing how the media will report anything that oozes from either of the Clinton orifices as the gospel truth while either ignoring or misrepresenting anything else.

If Hillary has been so likable for so long, why do we have to be told that? It’s obvious the shameful media are all suffering from Clinton amnesia or something more pathological, but the question I ask is, “Can I, please? Can someone please make her go away?”

UPDATE: That cackle, that steely voice, those red eyes. Stay out of her way or else. And don’t forget the soap.

Jim at wizbang says, “With all the reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton, “wrinkles” don’t make it into the Top 100.” (end update)

And while the nation is trapped in the Clinton spin/rinse/repeat, the enemy never sleeps. Mark Steyn is losing and so are we…

That’s how nations die — not by war or conquest, but by a thousand trivial concessions, until one day you wake up and you don’t need to sign a formal instrument of surrender because you did it piecemeal.

The Leader of the Band

Dan Fogelberg has died of prostate cancer.

His music haunted my youth, my dating years, and can still conjure up feelings long forgotten.

Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned into rain –(Same Old Lang Syne)

The last time we saw him live was at Chastain Park in 1987. I was exceeding pregnant with baby #1. We had bought a table with a bunch of friends (for those that don’t live in Atlanta, a Chastain Park concert is an Event – gourmet picnics with candlelabras, etc.) Our contribution to the spread was a gorgeous seven layer mexican dip made in a spring-form pan, complete with sliced avocados in a sunburst pattern on the top. When we unmolded it, you could see the colorful layers. I remember waddling down the long stair-aisle and grown men running to relieve me of practically everything I carried. I remember getting in line for the ladies room and everyone letting me move in line. While everyone treated me like the Queen of Eqypt, I felt more like the Nile Barge, lumbering down the river.

Right at the end of the first set, a huge thunderstorm blew up. We huddled under the umbrellas. My beautiful dip melted into something that resembled bad modern art. But Fogelberg didn’t let that stop him – he played right on. We danced. We sang. We cried. The baby in my belly danced and danced and danced. Now that baby is a musician herself. I wonder if that night had anything to do with it….

I thank you for the music
And your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom
When it came my time to go
I thank you for the kindness
And the times when you got tough
And, papa, I dont think I
Said I love you near enough

The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through
My instrument
And his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man
Im just a living legacy
To the leader of the band
I am the living legacy
To the leader of the band. –(The Leader of the Band)

Another golden voice added to the choir of angels….

More: DF homepage

Dan left us this morning at 6:00am . He fought a brave battle with cancer and died peacefully at home in Maine with his wife Jean at his side. His strength, dignity, and grace in the face of the daunting challenges of this disease were an inspiration to all who knew him.

Others remembering:
Captain’s Quarters

The Gratitude Campaign

GM Roper has the details on The Gratitude Campaign. You CAN say THANK YOU to those that protect America.

Coffee Spittin’ Items of the Week

Yep folks, that’s right, put down yer liquids and hold on to yer hats, cuz here it comes!

Heisman, O Heisman. (For those not blessed with membership in the BullDawg Nation, it is a generally known fact that typical UF fans wear jeans shorts, shell necklaces and mullets. Really. I have pictures.)

Venezuelan Dick-Tator Wannabee is NOT a UF fan.

Is Hillary channelling Pat? More than one person has mentioned that this week.

What happens when both sides are on the Dark Side?

Evil Genius to spend holidays at home, because he didn’t make a bowl game. Wahhhh Wahhhh Waaahhhhhh

GaTech hopes Viagra will help.

Bill thinks Hill is “the most gifted person of our generation.” Gifted, ahem, exactly how does that work? Gerard has further, more cosmic, man, thoughts on those halcyon days of summer.

AJC’s headline. And they yell about journalistic integrity. I think they should start with a basic spell and grammar checker and go from there.

The real trouble with Mitt Romney.

And last, but definitely not least, the SC&A answer to Facebook and… and… really… it is so … I can’t breathe!

The Christmas Memories, Part 6

Two things this week have prompted me to remember….something about Christmases past…a feeling really, more than a memory of a toy or an event. Like a dream that just escapes to the edge of recall. You know it is there….you just can’t quite reach it.

The first was a comment by Webutante

Sometimes if we keep still and silent, at this time of the year, the Spirit of Christmas is all around us.

The memory is of sitting with my soon-to-be husband (hiding really — from the traveling band of old ladies who wanted to dispense advice about weddings and marriages and babies and socks and what not) in the sanctuary of his church. We were at the piano; the room was alike a cavern, cold and dark. Only one security light lit an exit. The milky outline of street lights struggled through the stained glass. He was playing, just tinkering like he does. What – I don’t remember. Something eerie and ethereal, something George Winston-ish. I do remember the feelings though – joy, anticipation – it was like we we could reach right out and touch the angels in the room.

The other is Finding Narnia by Et Tu, the blog of a new Christian.

When I was a kid I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (we didn’t know C.S. Lewis was a Christian, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have read it). I was so enchanted by the idea of these children discovering that a dusty old wardrobe was a secret portal to another realm full of wonder. I wanted so much to experience something like that, to stumble across some other world different from the one in which I lived, a place of great thrills, adventure and mystery. Once or twice when visiting my grandparents I would be looking for something in one of their cluttered old closets, and I would reach back through the clothes…just in case. Though I was never surprised, my heart always sank a little bit when I felt the wall.

Suddenly I was back at Nana’s house. She had an old chest in her bedroom – two big drawers on the bottom and three smaller drawers hidden behind door. What I remember most about the chest is the smell – old wood mixed with old lady pomander. I remember being barely tall enough to open the doors, and then reaching back over the little drawers as far as I could…..hoping my hand would just pop out into the open air. Now that chest sits in my daughter’s room. Every time I open it, I get just a little whiff of “the smell.” That’s all it takes for that memory to overtake me for just a second. And just for a second….I’m a child again, looking for that magical world.

The Carnival and Other Words of Wisdom

Fausta’s latest Carnival of Latin America is up and it’s a doozy! Highlights include Cuba’s celebration of Human Rights Day by jailing dissidents and an article by none other than the world’s foremost expert on Foreign Policy, Sean Penn!

Also on today’s menu are some words of wisdom for our kids, from Doug Giles.

Look, silly fool, if we forego the foundations upon which our country was built and start winging it with “progressive” principles instead of our old school traditional values, substituting God’s eternal blueprint for some secularist wizard’s ideas for a better mañana, then we officially put ourselves in line for historical butt kicking. And we have plenty of enemies hoping that we will blissfully blow off the very nitty-gritty that got us to this place of global greatness. Fo’ shizzle my nizzle.

Yo, Dude. Everybody needs to hear that!

The Christmas Memories, Part 5.1

GM Roper shares a sweet Christmas memories of his grandfather. Not one of mine, but still…it brings back the memories of grandparents long gone and the little twinkle in their eye that only Christmas could bring.

The War on Christmas

Or possibly sub-titled “The War on Reason.”

Years ago, when my children were young, I made a Grand Pronouncement that someday Christmas would no longer be an American holiday. My little ones were shocked (they had not reached that tender age where I was the stupidest person in the universe). I hate to say it, but I may be right.

The over-commercialized Christmas we have today is a far cry from Christmas in early America. In fact, for many years, Christmas wasn’t celebrated at all. Many believed then, as now, that it was nothing more than a pagan festival. Our Christmases weren’t always Norman Rockwell moments, but they were fun. And for me, except for a few bumps here and there, Christmas has always been a magical time. It re-energizes my faith and my hope.

Now that American (and European) society has turned it’s back on basic good manners and any sense of decorum, Christmas has become the fashionable whipping-boy. For example,

Santas forced to “slim” as a good example for children. Would you trust a skinny Santa? Isn’t that like a skinny cook?

Santas warned that “Ho, Ho, Ho” may be offensive to women. Oh puulllleeezzee.

The Christmas Energy Orgy Now YOU KNOW this Kent fellow will get some coal in his stocking! And just in case you’re wondering, Fausta has THE list of everything caused by global warming. Yeah, everything.

“Holiday” parties/concerts/displays/storytellings, not Christmas parties/concerts/displays/storytellings.

Britain, once the greatest military force on this planet, caves to PC idiocy on Christmas.

CHRISTMAS celebrations are an obstacle to better community relations in multi-cultural Britain…

And don’t forget this, as well.

Even Hannukah is being attacked – burning candles increase carbon emissions!
The Anchoress goes a little further and asks if Catholics should stop lighting candles as well

But I think the saddest one is noted by Amused Cynic about “that lady and that baby”… How sad. How terribly sad.

Grinch The Grinch, with all his bitter plans and black heart, couldn’t stop Christmas and neither can all the morons of the world. But unlike the Grinch, I doubt their hearts will grow three sizes. No matter how much love and forgiveness and comfort and joy and carbon offsets they are blanketed with. Anytime. Anywhere.

If you look hard, and listen, you can still feel the Spririt of Christmas. I wrote earlier of a glimpse I had just a week or so ago…

Here Comes Santa Claus! Our family goes over the river to worship in a different town than where we live. Last night, despite the rawness of the weather, the little town had it’s Christmas tree lighting. No news cameras, no protesters, no p-c foolishness. The police blocked off the two main city blocks, the choir and crowd sang carols, various town pastors and dignitaries had readings and the switch for the Christmas tree was thrown by the city’s longest tenured employee (a sweet and wizened old fellow who will retire in February with 45+ years of service). Then Santa made his grand entrance, on the top of a firetruck with lights and sirens blaring. Don’t believe the pundits or the media – the Spirit of Christmas is alive and well.

The Christmas Memories, Part 5

Last year, I began a series on Christmas memories (See these if you missed them: 1, 2, 3 and 4).

This year, I take up where I left off.

Back in 1985, I was dating again (a long story) the young man I’d eventually marry. I worked at a large airline as a programmer and he worked at a large department store. We’d only been dating again (a long story) a few months, when he began to behave very erratically. Up to that point, he’d been the perfect “almost” boyfriend. I thought, “Oh great, here we go again”. After complaining one day at the office, the girls all whooped and hollered and danced around like little pagans. I was not amused. They crowed, “He’s going to ask you to marry him!!” I said, “NO WAY, He’s being a jerk”. (In retrospect, I probably used a much stronger word) This went on for about a week.

I was miserable and thinking of breaking it off. They, the cackling hoard, came up with a “Proposal Pool” and posted it outside our office in the cube farm. A quarter a square – you pick the date – winner take all. It went from the middle of November to New Year’s Eve. As I became more and more miserable, the squares filled up.

Every day, I’d drag in to mountains of questions and inspections. Did he ask? How did it happen? Was I hiding the ring in my purse? (My thoughts always ran along the lines of “Go to Hell”) The days ticked by. The more obnoxious, overly-competitive types would wheel and deal – negotiating for the later dates on the pool. November rolled off. Only December was left.

Finally, one day, exasperated by the constant haranguing by my girlie co-workers, I asked if we made it to New Year’s Eve – the end of the pool – would I get all the quarters. They signed dramatically like synchronized swimmers and rolled their eyes. “But Huuuuuuney, you’re not gonna maaaahke it to New Year’s EEEEEve!” *Sigh* As hard as I’d worked to get this job, I was thinking of quitting.

Then, one Sunday night, December 8 (to be exact), in my little apartment in East Point, the most amazing thing happened. I don’t really remember what we were doing. We were in the living room (such that it was in such a tiny place). He got down on one knee. At first I thought he was looking for something on the rug. I don’t remember exactly how he said it – but he proposed. The following Wednesday at church, he gave me my ring.

The next day there was such a racket in my section of the floor, the big managers came out of their offices to see what was going on. Sweetly, they congratulated me and told everybody else to get back to work.

My boss won the pool. No one had picked Dec. 8. The winner was the person who picked the date closest. She picked Pearl Harbor Day (today), adding the comment that “all marriages turn into wars anyway”.

The wedding planning race had begun.


Ever the magpie, the following are distracting me from the WORK at hand…




Dang it…..just everything!

« Older entries

%d bloggers like this: