Thursday, December 31, 2009

Advice for New Year Celebration

Consider this my annual advice on New Year's Eve; it is the same advice I posted last year. It is still solid, reliable, and worth the thought you give to it as you decide what you are going to do this evening.

I may not be adept at creating good advice, but I know good advice when I hear it. As you go out with your wife to celebrate the New Year, just remember this.

If your wife is having fun and you're not, you are still having way more fun than you would be having if you were having fun and she's not.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Del Shannon (December 30, 1934 — February 8, 1990)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thomas Becket

December 29, 1170. Death of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury at the hands of the minions of King Henry II.

High living. Intrigue. Power and glory. Friendship and treachery.

Church and State.

And Sainthood.

Stage, cinema, DVD and Blueray. Intersection of history and entertainment.

This is not "we report, you decide." Look it up, see the movie, learn something.
Cinema poster

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Wrinkle in Time

Couple of weeks ago I was passing the time in this hospital waiting area while Beloved Beautiful was undergoing a procedure. Looking across the rotunda, I snapped this scene. Traffic (that would be the red van) moving by on Highway 19 between the hospital and the school across the street. As it happens, directly beyond the white car in the school parking lot, you will see the windows to the office I occupied for eighteen years.

Such a small part of the world. And yet it is such a major part of my life. For two decades and more, these two facilities, the school and the hospital, were huge foci of my very being, body and soul. I worked in the school, five, six and sometimes seven days a week. I probably devoted more time to it than was really necessary; and I don't really know whether or not that made any difference to anyone. In the hospital, notwithstanding all the tests, treatments and TLC, I watched two of my spouses pass to their eternal home. My kids were x-rayed and patched here. My daughters and my granddaughters gave birth here. And I spent a couple of short stays myself, for even I am subject to the ills of the flesh.

A little bit of the Earth, encompassing perhaps 4000 square yards. Yet it represents a huge portion of my life on this planet.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Protect Us from Ourselves

(Disclaimer: There is nothing funny about a terrorist's attempt to kill and destroy, and I am not making light of this incident.)

Let's see if I have this straight. In response to the attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (Abdul Aboo Boo Butthed) to bomb an aircraft, the gummint has instituted two new flight restrictions.
1) Passenger limited to one carry-on.
2) Passenger must remain seated for last hour of flight.

So, did I hear wrong, or is it the case that A.A.B.B.
1) Had his explosive affixed to his groin, and
2) He was in his seat at the time of the attempt.

The wheels of bureaucracy continue to spin, but they're not making contact.
And is it germane that the guy's name was on the Terror Watch List?
None of us is as dumb as all of us.

First Sunday After Christmas

The Prophets

Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Excerpt: I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.

Psalm 147
Excerpt: 1
How good it is to sing praises to our God!
how pleasant it is to honor him with praise!

The Epistle
Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7
Excerpt: Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

The Gospel
John 1:1-18
Excerpt: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Branch With No Twigs

December 26, 1811. Richmond, Virginia is excited about the post-Christmas performance at the Richmond Theater. The players are performing "The Father, or Family Feud", which will be followed by a pantomime entitled "Raymond and Agness, or the Bleeding Nun." The house is packed, more than seven hundred souls in attendance.

The play ends. The audience, in high spirits, takes an intermission, then all file back into the theater for the pantomime. The first act concludes, sets are arranged backstage and the curtain opens on the second act. Presently, as the lights are being hoist aloft, someone on stage screams, "The house is on fire!" Madness ensues, pandemonium as the attendees seek to escape the building. In less than ten minutes, the entire edifice is engulfed in flames, and seventy-two people have perished. Many others have received grievous wounds in the fire.

On the site of the theater, Monumental Church was erected in recognition and memory of those who were lost. With loving attention and restoration, the church, which entombs those who died, still stands. There is a memorial on which the seventy-two names are inscribed.

Among those who were lost were the governor of Virginia, George Smith, and the founder and president of the Bank of Virginia, one Abraham Bedford Venable, former congressman and senator of the United States.

Venable's grandfather was my sixth greatgrandfather. Venable himself never married and had no offspring, but his death was mourned by a host of relatives and friends, including former President Jefferson.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

O Little Town of Bethlehem

May the Salvation, the Peace, and the Blessings of the Christ be yours during this season and evermore.

Merry Christmas!

-----------------------Vanilla and BBBH

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Clown Prince of Denmark

One of the twentieth century's premier performers, Victor Borge, died on this date in the year 2000. I never failed to be amused at his performances and awed by his musical ability and his wit.

Victor Borge 1909 - 2000 RIP

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Solstice Redux

Yesterday we posted a little article about the winter solstice, simply an observation of scientific fact. Later in the day, I heard two separate "interviews" on the tube with atheists who reminded us that there is no God. But the season can be celebrated, as it has been for centuries, as a "new beginning."

I was neither angered nor swayed by their presentations. On the contrary, I was saddened, for I was reminded that there are many lost and deluded people who need desperately to get acquainted with the Savior who came to give us life eternal.

Ps:14:1: The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

Rom:10:9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Pray for the lost.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

in the Northern Hemisphere is today, December 21. The sun, so we were told in elementary school science class, will appear to stand directly over the Tropic of Capricorn on this day. This is a result of the earth's transit of the sun and the inclination of its axis.* This marks the day of the year with the fewest sunlight hours, and the official beginning of "winter."

And now that I have sufficiently confused everyone (not because the facts are misrepresented, but because of my inept explanation) we may all get on with our lives. For marking this event is in reality just another day in the life.

*Note: We learned in school that the Earth's "tilt," or deviation of the axis of rotation from perpendicular to the plane of Earth's orbit is 23-1/2 degrees, a conveniently remembered number. In reality, the current deviation is 23.44 degrees, and this varies over time from 22.1 to 24.5 degrees, which has a real effect on the weather, the climate, the variations between summer and winter temperatures.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fourth Sunday in Advent

On the Fourth Sunday in Advent, the first three candles are re-lighted, and the fourth candle, the Candle of Peace, is lighted. The Scripture lessons are these:

From The Prophets: Micah 5

Excerpt: But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. 5:2

The Gospel: Luke 1:39-55
Excerpt: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." 1:46b

The Psalm 80:1-7
Excerpt: "Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved." 80:7

The Epistle: Hebrews 10:5-10
Excerpt: "And it is by God's will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. " 10:10

Anticipate the Coming of the Lord. Contemplate the Peace of the Lord.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Boy and Turtle with Wagon #T

David walked into the back porch, stomping his little feet which were encased in four-buckle galoshes. The snow fell onto the mat and he flailed his arms to get the stuff off his jacket. An eight-block walk home from school through the cold, the joy of release heightened by the newly falling snow. The new coating atop the ice patches gave the exactly correct surface for shoe, or in this case, galoshes skating. A little run and sw-o-o-o-osh across several feet of the glossy surface.

The highlight of the day so far was arriving home, because from the time he had been rousted from bed and scooted out the door, he had been suffering all the indignities that a seven-year old could be expected to endure. School was designed specifically to make him suffer. This was his second year at Jefferson School, and the little guy could not think of one good thing about it. Except that 2:20 always came, and he could go home!
This year an evangelist from Kentucky was preaching a "revival meeting" at Daddy's church. Mama was the hostess for his stay, and he had been here almost a week now. He would be leaving after this coming Sunday. But it had been fun to have him around, for he seemed to truly enjoy the boy's company. Most evenings after supper they would sit together at the kitchen table while the portly preacher regaled the boy with tales of the wild world from which he came, Kentucky. In turn he elicited from the boy his thoughts and dreams, the likes of which only a seven-year old could ideate.
The good reverend was quite perceptive, and sympathetic to the plight of the youngster. One evening he took the boy's tablet in hand and drew a cartoon. And that pretty much sealed the bond between the elderly gentleman and the child.
(The above is a reproduction by a less talented cartoonist, drawn from memory by the boy nearly seventy years after the fact. Color added just because he had a red pen and a yellow highlighter.)

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Rewards

In a comment on yesterday's post, I was reminded that there were four beautiful children born to the union that was celebrated.
Here they are, ages ranging from about eight to eighteen months.
Two girls, then two boys.

Each one of these people has married and has given me grandchildren.

And each one is now a grandparent in his or her own right.
I have been multiply and abundantly blessed!

(Yes, I remember that I posted their pictures earlier this week.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Once We Were Young

Fifty-four years ago today Frieda and I were wed. Here I am with my beautiful bride, my parents and my sislings.

Frieda Leamon Lacy 1928-1980 RIP

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Of Lunchbuckets, Boxes and Pails #T

Father told me that back in his day, a lunchpail was literally a pail, a lard bucket, such that when the lid was closed provided a pretty much air-tight container for the sandwiches. But what sandwiches! A lard sandwich, perhaps. (This is no joke.) Or on really good days, a mashed potato sandwich. Taste was less important than energy and a semi-filled tummy, and with ten kids to feed and crop failures as likely as not, you see how this scenario is not so far-fetched.
There are people who collect lunchboxes. There are many sorts and many different manufacturers. Among the most popular collector items are the rectangular stamped steel boxes made by Aladdin for several decades. But to the point. It is not just the type or the manufacturer, but the individual object that makes all the difference.
Recently, a certain Superman lunchbox in mint condition sold at auction for more than $13,000. But this is not to say that the one you have is a mint, so to speak, waiting to be transformed into cash. Not all boxes are equal, not even all Superman boxes.
Perusing several sources of information recently, I determined that many of the desirable models are selling in the $25 to $100 range, with some going as high as six and eight hundred bucks. (Of course you can list your object on eBay and ask whatever you want; but the chances of a taker are slim. And if you let it go for no reserve, you might get $0.99. Or you might do very well indeed.)
My daughter chose back in the sixties a lunchbox which I still have. Rectangular, metal, fair but far from mint condition. And--- wait for it. It still contains the last used napkin and wax paper wrappers from the last lunch it carried! Am I rich? Okay, suspense over. Hers is a "Holly Hobbie," salable on the market for perhaps five dollars, or in other words, probably about what it cost with Thermos. Given inflation, not a great investment. Wait, it's a lunchbox, not a stocks portfolio.
It proudly occupies a space atop the kitchen cabinets along with the few McCoys and a couple of crocks. These old Crocks enjoy them, and that is all that matters.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Freeman Dyson,

American physicist and mathematician, was born in Berkshire, England on December 15, 1923 .

Dyson is a self-described "contrarian", and holds that there is not only room for, but a necessity for skepticism in scientific research. On global warming, he agrees with the majority of the "scientific community" that man-caused global warming exists. What he does not agree with is the notion that the pathetic efforts being proposed will accomplish very much because the scientific models from which we are working are inadequate and do not at all reflect the real world.

In addition, Dyson is quite annoyed with the "climate change" enthusiasts in the scientific community because of their attempts to ostracize those who disagree with them. Science requires that all points of view be examined, and that truth be supported wherever it may be found. He is quoted as saying, “heretics who question the dogmas are needed... I am proud to be a heretic. The world always needs heretics to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies."

Further, Mr. Dyson states, “ My objections to the global warming propaganda are not so much over the technical facts, about which I do not know much, but it’s rather against the way those people behave and the kind of intolerance to criticism that a lot of them have."

It is truly heartening to know that there are still some scientists who possess good sense as well as scientific knowledge. Even if it does have to be the old guys. Happy Birthday, sir. Keep their feet to the fire.

Image: Wikipedia

Monday, December 14, 2009

Merry RetroChristmas

The Christmas card, forty-five years ago. Then the Christmas card forty-two years ago.
Isn't nostalgia a hoot?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Third Sunday in Advent

This Sunday, three candles are lighted, the two purple candles previously lighted and the pink, or joy, candle.

The reading from the Prophets is Isaiah 65:17-25.
The Epistle is 1 Thessalonians 5:(12-15)16-28

(Excerpt) Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thess.5:16-18

The Gospel is John 1:6-8,19-28 or John 3:23-30.
Psalm 126.

(Excerpt) They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Psalm 126:5

Prepare to receive the gift of God, which is salvation by His Son, Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

And This Week in the NFL

Unnecessary roughness-----$25,000
Donning poncho after TD--- $30,000
Brilliance of the NFL------- Priceless

One Century Ago

A few days ago, I took this volume from the bookcase. I have been enjoying the perusal of the children's reading material, 1909. A mere one hundred years ago, ten and eleven year old tykes were reading this. The heroes were such as the gentleman pictured in the frontispiece. I found no mention of "Power Rangers" or Harry Potter.
If you can magnify this preface, you might read a statement of the aims of the compilers for the youngsters who were exposed to this. I'll assist you a bit. The penultimate paragraph says,
"As the best literature makes a distinct moral appeal to the reader, it is evident that the subtle influence of such selections as this book contains will help boys and girls to live more happily and helpfully." (Double click on the image to enlarge.)
As there are nearly 400 pages in the book and since there are about 100 authors represented, it would be too tedious to list the contents, but a suggestion thereof might be made by listing just a few of the authors represented. Some of them are Robert Browning; Edward Everett Hale; William Cullen Bryant; Helen Hunt Jackson; Henry David Thoreau; John Milton; John Bunyan; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Louisa May Alcott; James Whitcomb Riley; Robert Burns; James Fenimore Cooper; Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Benjamin Harrison. I think you may get the idea.
I offer here no moralizing, no judgments; but I do ask that you reflect on this a bit. You might look at your kids' current reading materials as you do so.
Good day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Memories #T

This Christmas season, my daughter-in-law and I have been exchanging nostalgic recollections from our childhood years, one generation between hers and mine.

Dear Patty,
You asked about my childhood memories of Christmas. I am going to give that a shot. Some of my recollections are not so much different from some of yours. The first story is not a recollection, but rather a tale I heard my Dad tell so many times it became mine as well. The year I turned three, we lived in Nebraska and there was no such thing as money in our household, except as Dad told it, the sole nickel he had in his pocket. Wanting desperately to buy me a present, he shopped the small town over and found there was nothing to be had within his means. But. On Christmas Eve before the stores closed, he took one last walk into the village, and behold there was a sign in the drugstore window which said "all toys and Christmas items, 1/2 price." And there was a stuffed lamb in the window with a ten cent price tag on it. He bought it with his last nickel, and presumably a happy Christmas was had by all.

So my first memories of Christmas took place in Canon City, Colorado where we lived from the time I turned five until just before my tenth birthday. A couple of things that were much looked forward to and relished with gusto were oranges which Uncle in California sent, and Brazil nuts. Along with the nuts, we always had "Christmas candy" which consisted of peppermint candy canes and real honest-to-goodness "ribbon candy," imitations of which can still be had, but it's not the real thing. Too, I particularly like the "red raspberries" which was a hard red candy with a gooey center.

I remember Dad building the stand for the tree, and Dad was a good workman. His results always insured that the tree would remain upright and perpendicular to the floor. (Whereas, in later years when I attempted to duplicate this feat, things didn't always work out so well.) The decoration of the tree, as I recall, included a few actual "store bought" globes which probably increased in number over time, in spite of the loss of a few of them each year due to careless child-fingers. The principal decorations were paper chains which my sister and I made, using paper from the Big Chief tablet, colored red and green with crayons. (Purchasing construction paper was not an option.) The paste of course was made in the kitchen with flour and water. And popcorn strings, the construction of which permitted me to use my little needle and a spool of mom's Clark and Clark white thread. I don't remember an angel on top of the tree. Yet, unfortunately I do recall later in life hearing the story of how the angel came to be on top of the tree; and there are some things that oughtn't to be a part of Christmas.

Mom was a fantastic cook, and that isn't just nostalgia at work. She really was. Her mincemeat pies-- and I'm talking mincemeat, not a mess of cooked up dried fruit like you get these days-- were, as we say, to die for. I do remember the year we had a Christmas goose. Memory mostly focuses on the greasy quality of the bird.

We always got presents, but for the most part they were very limited in number, probably an item of clothing and one toy. One year, I lusted mightily for a "woodburning set." I wanted it more than I wanted breath. And, miracle of all miracles, that is what I got!

I remember the year that we discovered a truly sneaky technique for determining what we were "going to get." As Dad had to always "look his best," we had a little bottle of Energine handy. This was a volatile and probably now forbidden cleaning fluid, which had a mohair applicator with which a mustard or grease spot could easily be removed from one's clothing. Or whatever. So, the discovery was that if one rubbed this stuff on the wrapping paper, the paper became transparent and one could read the printing on the box! When dry (really quickly, too) no evidence of the nefarious deed remained. Fantastic.

Of course, there was always the preparation for participation in the Christmas pageant at church, not necessarily an exciting part of the story, but a necessary part.

By the time I was in fifth grade we had moved to Colorado Springs, and no longer did we have to rely on the Saturday night bath in the galvanized tub in the middle of the kitchen floor. We actually had a tub with plumbing and drain and everything. So anyway, Cheyenne Mountain High School each year presented a program called "The Littlest Wise Man." and it was an annual treat to attend a performance. (Can you even imagine a public school offering a "Christmas" program these days? Heck, they don't even allow you to say "Christmas.")

Okay, you asked for it, but how do I get this stopped? I literally could go on. And on...

The thing about nostalgia is that we tend to keep and perhaps embellish the good times and discard or gloss over the bad. I love it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Attention Friends!

We got our first snow this week. I could hardly wait for that. See how much there is? That's more than enough for this winter. Poor frog. Poor dog. Poor me.

The humorist on East Jefferson Street exhibits his delivery entry in this manner.

Andrea at Arise 2 Write bestowed this award on her readers. What a blessing! I hope each of you will check out her blog.

I am supposed to tell 5 things I love to do:

1) Read
2) Travel the USA
3) Write
4) Walk on the beach
5) Visit with people; exchange of ideas eyeball-to-eyeball

I am passing this award to each of you, because indeed you have become a Great Circle Of Friends!

"A friend loves at all times." Proverbs 17:17

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

At the Top of Her Field

Happy Birthday to Dame Judi Dench. I am truly not "starstruck" though I respect good work by competent people in whatever honest endeavors they might be engaged. Ms. Dench does good work. Today she joins those of us who have celebrated a "diamond" milestone.

While she has been honored highly for many well-known works. my personal favorite is her role as Jean in the Britcom, As Time Goes By, opposite Geoffrey Palmer as Lionel.

Image: Wikipedia

Note that there are two postings this morning. I thought each honoree deserved a separate page.

General Belisarius

It is said that it was on December 9, 536, that Belisarius entered Rome to retake it for the Empire following nearly a century during which the capital was situated at Constantinople.

Belisarius was one of history's outstanding military generals. Justinian sent him east to deal with the Persians in 530. The following year, the Persians having been subdued, the "Endless Peace" between Byzantium and Persia was negotiated. In 532 the Emperor sent Belisarius west, where he conquered Gelimer the Vandal and retook North Africa for the Empire. The general returned to Constantinople in 534, where he was given a triumph.

The Emperor sent the general back west to attack the Ostrogoths in the design to retake Italy. The great military leader was successful in this, and took the peninsula even to the far north. Unfortunately, for all concerned, Belisarius ultimately seized Ravenna, the Ostrogoth capital and subjugated the Ostrogoths. This was in contravention to Justinian's wishes who wanted to establish a peace and leave these people as a buffer between The Empire and the north. Things got pretty chilly between the Emperor and the military leader. Belisarius was sent again to the east, as the Persians had broken the peace, and that had to be dealt with.

But by 541, the Ostrogoths under Totila had broken loose and recaptured much of Italy, including Rome. Justinian could not afford to ignore Belisarius, whom he sent back west to quell the uprising. In 559, Belisarius waged a campaign in the north and drove the Bulgars back across the Danube, as they had threatened an incursion into the Empire. In 562, Belisarius was tried on charges of corruption, probably trumped up, was convicted and imprisoned.

A short time after the trial, Justinian pardoned the General and restored him to favor. Some historians observe that Belisarius's cause was probably not hurt by the fact that his wife, Antonina, was a particularly close friend of the Empress Theodora. Both men, whose lives were so entwined , died within weeks of each other in 565.

Flavius Belisarius ca. 500 - 565 RIP

Credits: Various sources, primary chronology from BiographyBase. Image:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

James Thurber

James Thurber, American writer and cartoonist, was born December 8, 1894. My first encounter with Thurber was in a high school English class where we were assigned his very famous story, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," a selection in the anthology we were using that year.

For many years thereafter I made it a point to read some Thurber selections from time to time. I enjoyed his drawings almost as much as I did his short stories.
Thurber's work appeared in "New Yorker" magazine for many years and there exist numerous volumes of his collected works.

Inasmuch as James Thurber was a significant force in the literature of the twentieth century, there is much information available about him should you choose to accept the assignment of learning more about his life. As for instance, how he was blinded in one eye; how that may have affected his creative abilities; why his degree from Ohio State was awarded posthumously.
Use this link to read "The Unicorn in the Garden."

James G. Thurber 1894 - 1961 RIP

Monday, December 7, 2009

We Must Never Forget

On this day I reflect that I was seven years of age when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. I remember people discussing this horrible event. Of course over the years I learned a great deal more about it. My point regarding this personal observation is this. Most people younger than I have no personal memory of Pearl Harbor, and a very high percentage of people today are younger than I. So if the memory is to be kept alive, it must be inculcated into the minds of the coming generations.

Collectively, we forget at the peril of freedom and the life of the nation.

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, HI. Directly behind is USS Missouri and to the left, USS Peleliu. I have had the sobering experience of visiting the Memorial, and at an earlier date I was privileged to board the Missouri when she was in Bremerton before she was recommissioned.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Second Sunday in Advent

Two candles are lighted this Sunday, and we pray in this manner:

Lord God, we light the candles to thank you for your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the way. We who like sheep have gone astray have found the way to you through Jesus Christ. We give you thanks and praise in Jesus' name, because he lives and reigns with you in your glory, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

The Gospel reading is Mark 1:1-8.
John preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
From the Prophets, we read in Isaiah 40:
"In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

The Psalm is the 85th.

Show us your mercy, O LORD, and grant us your salvation. Ps 85:7

The epistle is from II Peter 3:8-18.

Today, December 6, is celebrated by many Christian fellowships as "St. Nicholas Day." St. Nicholas of Bari lived in Asia Minor during the fourth century. He is venerated for his holy life and honored for his work in dissemination of the Gospel and his steadfast faith.

He is looked to as an example during the Advent Season.

Image from Catholic Online.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Walt Disney

Walter Elias Disney was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 5, 1901. There isn't much I can add to what has been recorded elsewhere about the man. That he had a huge influence on our society and the world at large is evident.

Is it the case of a boy with an artistic talent and a desire to rule the world that gave us the Walt Disney we know? Perhaps. Or maybe he was a cartoonist who just wanted to have fun and chose to take us along for the ride.

One artist said that Disney was "the most significant figure in graphic arts since Leonardo." This may well be an accurate assessment.

My favorite Disney character? I think I have to go with the Mouse. The kind, happy Mouse, the quintessential icon of the Disney empire. My personality probably is more like that of D. Duck, but let us not explore that.

Walt Disney 1901 - 1966 RIP

Friday, December 4, 2009

Decor Time!

Thursday afternoon, senior day at the local supermarket. I insisted I drive BBBH to the DMV since yesterday while I was applying for cycle insurance, I discovered that her license to drive had expired two months ago. This has not kept her from driving. Until I discovered this. At any rate, she has a new picture, a new plastic document, and she is legal on the road until 2016. If you can believe it.
Then we cross the street to the market where I was greeted by this display. It's Christmastime? Certainly looks that way. Beloved Beautiful had insisted that I go into the store with her because "she wouldn't be long shopping." While I normally don't do this, for her mental health as well as my own, I did go in with her. And as is my wont, I wondered around in areas where she was not engaged in making her selections. Why is that, you ask? So even if you didn't ask: it is because it is inevitable as cold in January that I will ask a question or make a suggestion which will lead to (how can I put this?) a contretemps which in turn will spill over into "strained" peace. Strained peas?

Less than thirty steps into the store, she is standing beside her cart while she is engaged in sincere conversation with a young lady whom I don't know, but she obviously does. I walk on. And here is this fantastic vegetablistic display. Beautiful cabbage (there is scarcely a wrong way to fix it-- unless you put a "mayonaisse substitute" on it) and next to it asparagus. Asparagus may well be my favorite veggie of all time. (Yes, I know the 'side effects.') But what is incredible is that in our small Hometown environment there is White Asparagus, a treat so rare that it may well be the first time I have ever seen it here in Podunkville.
Okay, BBBH has caught up with me and we stay together through the selection of the bread. We both prefer rye, it is only a matter of picking the variety, which is accomplished without incident and we move along. We arrive at the meat counter and, you guessed it. I make a suggestion. So then I said I would go on over to the pharm and pick up the scripts, which I did. Directly I returned along the meat aisle, and there, still in the same place I had last seen her, was the Little Lady. Leaning on the cart and talking earnestly to an acquaintance. I circled the interior of the store twice, stopped to check the icecream offerings, peeked down the meat aisle, and. Yes, she was still visiting.
I went to the front of the mart where the management has thoughtfully provided quite comfortable seating for guys such as myself who have nothing productive to do but wait.
Presently, spouse came through the checkout with one, ONE can you believe it, bag, sack or poke, whichever you call it in your locale. (Yes, I know the 'choke a fish or kill a tree' line.)
So, says she, I told you I didn't have much shopping to do. And that was true. But she had no less talking to do than is normal.
To relax a bit when we got home, we engaged in an intense game of Scrabble. Uh huh, that's relaxation around here. Then she repaired to the kitchen to prepare a repast and I dragged in the ornaments and started decorating the tree. Practically every ornament, every bulb, brings back memories of Christmases past. Good times. You see here a few of the round fluorescent bulbs. These are older than many of you, and each year another one or two of them fails to light. In fact one today went "POOF" when placed in its socket. Enough of them yet survive to make up one short string.

Mr. Penguin has celebrated Christmas with me for many, many years. You can see his little sprout below his feet in the previous picture.
This is sort of the overall effect, but I still have a huge quantity of bulbs and trinkets yet to be placed. Good day!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bucket List

I’m stealing (nah, it's not "stealing" when he gives permission) a meme from Secondary Roads! It’s called a Bucket List Meme. Supposedly, a “Bucket List” is stuff you want to do in your life before you kick the bucket.

My personal list would not have some of these items and would include others. So this is a generic Bucket List. The reason for using the generic list is that it allows us to compare our answers. Here is the list. Things I have done are in bold face.

Been to Canada
Been to Mexico
Been to Florida
Been to Hawaii

Visited All 50 States --(two to go)
Been to Europe
Been to South America
Been to Central America
Been to Asia
Been to Australia
Been on a plane
Been on a helicopter
Been in a hot air balloon --
(what a fantastic ride!)
Been sky diving
Been on a Cruise --(does ferry from Dover to Calais count?)
Been to Washington, DC
Been on the opposite side of the country
Driven across the United States
Been to the top of the St. Louis Arch

Been down Bourbon Street in New Orleans --(but have been in N.O.)
Been deep sea fishing
Enjoyed the beauty of Old Faithful Geyser
Seen the Statue of Liberty
Gone to the top of Seattle Space Needle
Swam in the ocean --
Atlantic and Pacific
Swam in the Mediterranean -
Gone on a blind date
Watched someone die
Been lost in a neighborhood
Cried yourself to sleep
Played cops and robbers
Recently colored with crayons

Written a letter to Santa Claus
Sang Karaoke
Paid for a meal with coins only
Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t do
Made prank phone calls
Laughed until some kind of beverage came out your nose.
Caught a snowflake on your tongue

Danced in the rain
Watched the sunrise with someone
Blown bubbles
Been kissed under the mistletoe
Been skinny dipping outdoors
Gone ice-skating
Gone to the movies
Gone snorkeling
Skipped school

Gone snowmobiling
Lived in more than one country
Lay down outside at night and admired the stars while listening to the crickets
Seen a falling star and made a wish
Truly believe in the power of prayer

Seen whales in the ocean
Ridden on an elephant
Ridden on a camel
Swam with dolphins
Saw and heard a glacier calf
Traveled by train
Traveled by motorcycle
Traveled by subway

Been horseback riding --(does burro count?)
Ridden on a San Francisco cable car
Been to Disneyland or DisneyWorld
Been in a rain forest
Been to Niagara Falls

Walked on the Great Wall of China
Been to the Olympics
Been spinnaker flying -- (it means sailing)
Been water-skiing
Been snow-skiing
Been to Westminster Abbey
Been to the Louvre
Been to a Major League Baseball game
Been to a National Football League game

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gluttony Is Not Just Overeating

Americans spend $12,000,000,000 annually for storage unit rental. And now we are going in droves to purchase more stuff. Stuff for which clearly we've no place and no need.

Who are we?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Card Planning

Here's Cookie! I wanted this to be the picture on our Christmas cards this year. BBBH exercised her veto power.

Anyway, we wish you a very joyous, joyful and happy Holiday Season, which is to say, the entire month of December, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and through New Year's Day!