Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Santa Claus Story: The Gateway Drug of Christmas

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First there was the Scrooge, then, the Grinch. Now, a new Hobgoblin of Holiday Cheer appears. Behold! The dreaded secular, multicultural society!

The editor of the Goderich Signal-Star, Rob Bundy, identifies the enemy with a line of reasoning that reflects conventional wisdom in certain circles:

Even some local schools are avoiding any religious reference to Christmas during their annual concerts. Though there is no specific direction from the school board to do so, some schools are erring on the side of caution and are going out of their way to avoid ruffling anyone’s faith feathers. You may hear Jingle Bells but not Silent Night or Little Town of Bethlehem. What’s next, Higher Power Rest Ye Merry Gentle Persons?
And what are we teaching our kids by doing this? To bow to pressure from an increasingly secular minority? To ignore tradition and faith?
The holiday we observe in December is a faith-based celebration. It’s Christmas and without Christ in it, all we’ll be left with is a reat big mas. And that’s just not right.

Read It:

Don't worry. This holiday season I bring you tidings of comfort and joy...but mostly comfort.

Have no fear, little flock. The Grinch will not steal Christmas.

Cynics have been batting the baby Jesus around like a tetherball for a millenia, and yet the season remains a festive, spritual time for Christians and non-Christians alike.

The Angels spoke to Mary, and their first words were "Be not afraid".

That's the crux of my Christmas homily. Be not afraid. A multicultural, tolerant society will not abduct the baby jesus from the manger. Christmas is indomitable. After all, a guy who says "turn the other cheek" should be able to take a few hits.

The fact is, Canada is becoming a more diverse, multicultural society, and we can't confuse the natural course of events with some grand conspiracy. Christians aren't going to forget "the reason for the season" if there isn't a nativity scene on courthouse square. They won't forget Jesus, Mary, and Joseph because the clerk at Zeller's said "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas". Nobody's soul will be banished to Hades because some Public school music teacher decided to sing "Frosty the Snowman" rather than "O Holy Night". Could it be that forced expressions of Christian dogma do more to turn people against religion than toward it?

This latest Holiday Boogeyman will be no more successful than the last. In my youth, I remember people railing against the commercialism of Christmas. Some pious Christian sects even shun the Santa Claus story as a pagan addendum to the story of Jesus' Birth. What they may or may not realize is the Christmas iteslf is somewhat of a tag-along. Christmas was originally the Roman holiday Saturnalia, and many of the rituals associated with Christmas predate Christianity itself.

Has Santa mugged the baby Jesus? Humbug! While I'm sure there are many aspects of Christmas, such as excessive materialism, that Jesus would object to, Jesus is to Santa as Eminem is to Dr. Dre: They have a mutually beneficial relationship. Fans of Santa become interested in Jesus and vice-versa. In a sense, Christianity owes him. His nonthreatening pagan jolliness is sort of the gateway drug of Christmas; a prelude to what Marx referred to as "the opiate of the masses".

In any event, I love Christmas; deep spiritual Christmas, pagan Christmas, gluttonous, sugary Christmas, and all other manifestations of holiday cheer.

Happy Holidays to all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Blame Canada!

Media Matters For America documents the mad rantings of Fox News talking head Neil Cavuto, who recently speculated on the sad state of U.S./Canada relations as of late:

Cavuto(from the transcript): All right, well, could our neighbors to the north soon be our enemies? The finally losing patience with Canada. After roundly criticizing us over Iraq, Canadian politicians have taken to criticizing us over, well, pretty much everything else. U.S. ambassador to Canada David Wilkins is fed up.

I think the Kinks had it right when they sang: "Paranoia may destroy ya"!

Ooh Canada. Scary! Please don't burn down the White House again!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Meet Sophia

Born December 6th in Goderich, Ontario. The day before, her dad had finally received his Ontario teaching certificate after a long and protracted battle with the governing authorities. In a nutshell: Daddy can buy your diapers now.

Best. Week. Ever.

Monday, December 05, 2005

How We're Paying For The Diapers

The due date is Dec. 8th.

There Is No Bad Smell

Sunday afternoon was another windy day in Huron county.

I've noticed that our dog, Mali, is extremely A.D.D. on blustery days.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a breed originally used for guarding African farms and hunting lions. The females, in particular, are known for their high prey drive. I had assumed that her inability to focus was due to the blowing leaves of early fall.

Yesterday, no leaves remained, and yet, Mali had the attention span of a toddler...

This morning, I figured out why.

Laurie was in bed, so while I made the morning coffee, I let one rip. Mali arose from her bed and came closer for a sniff.

Truly, there is no bad smell to a dog.

Imagine if your sense of smell were a thousand times greater, and if the scent of dead fish and rotting eggs sent you swooning. What a wonderful world it would be!

The reason for Mali's A.D.D. is that windy days send wave after wave of glorious scent cascading through the atmosphere--it's the olfactory equivalent of a fast-paced videogame for teens. She sits still on the back stoop, nose pointed in the direction of the wind taking it all in. Marvelous creature!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Worst Bat Mitzvah Ever

You've gotta feel sorry for his daughter...

According to the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy, David H. Brooks, CEO of Bulletproof vest maker DHB Industries, earned 70 million in 2004. On top of that, he sold 186 million in company stock last year.

War profiteering has been kind to Mr. Brooks. Although 23,000 of his supposedly bulletproof vests have been recalled by the army and marines, his compensation is still more than 13,000% of what it was before Sept. 11th.

What would you do with an extra 250 million floating around?

If you're Mr. Brooks, you throw the mother of all Bat Mitzvahs for your teenage daughter...

The New York Daily News estimates that the bat mitzvah Brooks threw for his daughter over the weekend cost an estimated $10 million. Virtually every musician that you might guess would appeal to a 50-something Long Island CEO was flown in by private jet: Aerosmith, Tom Petty, the Eagles' Don Henley and Joe Walsh, who performed with Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks, Kenny G. As a likely concession to his daughter's tastes, Brooks also booked 50 Cent, DJ AM (Nicole Richie's fiancée) and rap diva Ciara.

According to Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove, Brooks was so pumped for Aerosmith that he changed his wardrobe for their performance from a “black-leather, metal-studded suit -- accessorized with biker-chic necklace chains and diamonds from Chrome Hearts jewelers -- into a hot-pink suede version of the same lovely outfit.” The CEO then reportedly mounted the stage, clowned with Steven Tyler and insisted that his teenage nephew be permitted to sit in on drums.

Welcome to hell, young Ms. Brooks. Your father is on stage with Steven Tyler in front of all your friends in a metal-studded pink suede suit, and Kenny G. in on deck. But hey, count your blessings--you could be in Iraq in a faulty bulletproof vest.

Kenny G., 50 Cent, Ciara, Aerosmith, Joe Walsh, Don Henley, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks...Truly a soundtrack of the damned.

God help us all.



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