Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas 2004


* I forgot to buy "C" size batteries for the Lite Brite;
* Gregoire has apparently stolen the Governor's election in the State of Washington;
* Two parents here in Houston died yesterday, because their gas heater leaked Carbon Monoxide;
* Baytown Firefighter Nito Guajardo was laid to rest on Christmas Eve, having died fighting a fire on Monday;
* Sheila Jackson Lee still has a job in Congress.


* Jagan was a perfect little lady today, including when she visited her grandparents;
* George W. Bush continues to lead our nation, and Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited the troops in Iraq, receiving well-deserved support;
* Jagan surprised her grandparents by showing she knows the whole alphabet, can count up to 100, and she knows the names of the 7 continents, as well as all the words to seven Christmas carols;
* 2500 people showed up for Firefighter Guajardo's funeral, including fellow firefighters from dozens of surrounding cities;
* Jagan told my parents that today is Jesus' birthday;
* It SNOWED in Houston, for the first time on Christmas Eve in my memory;
* I have the love and attention of my wife and daughter.

Hope your Christmas was merry and bright!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Why The Left Is Afraid of Santa Claus

OK, parental advisory: You may want to keep your kids from reading this article (in the peculiar possibility that children would read my stuff), since SC is referred to as a myth.

That out of the way, I have noticed the annual siege by the Left and Secularists against Christmas and all things religious. Now, I certainly understand the fear they have of Christianity; once upon a time, the Church was very, very powerful in the world, so the Church's enemies have a reasonable concern that they must prevent the restoration of that influence and power. Then again, it seems a mite peculiar to work so hard to prevent the celebration of the birth of a poor baby, whose work when he grew up was focused on the need for each of us to love each other.

It's been a number of years since Secularists enjoyed the abolition of Nativity scenes from public places, very often even on private land. The ACLU takes cases to protect the right to have porn at your desk, but not a cross. But the battle has moved into the surreal world of hysteria on the Left. A New Jersey School District bans Christmas Carols, even instrumental versions. Bach is made outlaw. Other School Districts ban any Christmas references in plays and pageants, on the claim that they must repel religious references, even as they allow, even praise, Hannukah and Ramadan observances. That baby, it seems, represents a grave threat, at least to the worldview of the no-God-here crowd.

But the move has gone further. Christmas trees are banned from some businesses, on the claim that they represent a bias in favor of the Christians. References to Santa Claus has also become unacceptable in many circles, on the argument that the fat man in the red suit somehow forces one to incline their beliefs towards the Lord. Partly, it's the basic insecurity the Left has, towards anything that doesn't work to support their own mythology and political NewSpeak. But there's more, and I finally tripped to it.

The Santa Claus myth, the tree, the decorations, and many carols have nothing at all to do, directly with Christianity. There is no Bible verse directing believers to put a tree in their house, or lights on the roof, or any reference to overweight gift-laden strangers. But Christmas is the time for children, more than any other season, and about renewal, and most of all, Hope. And there we see a great many parallels with the Gospel. Jesus brought Hope to the world in many different ways, and Jesus was always very kind and gentle to children. It occurs to me, that this comparison is something that anyne would pick up on at some level, and so the Left fears the possibility, however remote, that folks might find good in Christianity through the observance of Christmas.

That's a losing plan. As long as parents and children share the joy of the season, no matter how the Left tries to hide it, that message of Hope and renewal will find its way to our hearts. And that's just more good news for this Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


Americans Killed in yesterday's Mosul attack: 24

Americans killed in the Nazi Argonne Offensive, 1944: 16,000

Americans killed in WW1 Meuse-Argonne, 1918: 17,000

German Sovereignty restored: April 1949, following almost four years of occupation, which continued in some fashion through 1952.

Iraqi Sovereignty restored: June 2004, to be followed by free elections in January 2005.

We're doing it faster and better. That is all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

An American Christmas Poem

Reader Michael O'Hopp sent in this poem of hope, sacrifice, and meaning:

A Christmas Poem for All Americans

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.

My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't to near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.

Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.

Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!"

"Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light,
Then he sighed and he said, "It's really all right,
I'm out here by choice. ~I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam,
And now it's my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile."

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white and blue. . . an American flag.

"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home,
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother
who stand at the front against any and all,
to ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.

So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?

It seems all to little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget

To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone.
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled
is payment enough, and with that we will trust.
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Monday, December 20, 2004

[ sniff ] They Grow Up SO Fast...

Back in the days before Windows, I tried my hand at Computers. I even had a masochistic stage where I tried to write code (not recommended for 99% of us) . While many in the business think badly of Bill Gates, I loved WindowsTM from the beginning; I'm not overly simplistic in most things, but you can't beat the friendliness of point-n-click.

Enter blogs. It's hard to imagine how they could make it any easier to make an online journal. Obviously, this lends itself to the creation and life of many, many bad blogs. Fortunately, it also allows some truly great minds to display their wisdom for us all to enjoy. Which brings me to La Shawn Barber.

I first read La Shawn over at Baldilocks, which brings up another great feature of blogging; links are like little samples of all sorts of writers. Well, to get to the point, La Shawn has been very successful as a blogger, and a recent post led to writing an article for NRO.

In the old days, a successful writer had to slowly build up an audience, but today growth can be explosive and sudden. When the writer is up to the challenge, that's good for everyone.

Congratulations, La Shawn!

UPDATE: I am a moron. Where I said La Shawn was "linked" by NRO, I should have written that she was contracted to write an article, which meant a signed contract, lawyers, and all of that. I have corrected the information, but need to admit my error in writing in too much of a hurry. In addition to Spell-check, writers like me need Logic-check as well!

Sunday, December 19, 2004


During this season, it may seem strange to mention the subject of arguments, but there's a lot of them going on right now. People fascinated or simply obsessed with Politics are still arguing various elections, from the Presidency (long decided in most people's minds, yet a point of contention on many websites apparently dedicated to beating dead horses) to the Governor's Race in the State of Washington, to perpetual debates on every conceivable policy issue (and several inconceivable issues). In this season of goodwill, over on BeliefNet (check the Discussions Boards), there remains the apparent need to destroy the evil one, that designation applied to whomever happens to be opposite one's own predilection, especially with innuendo and implied condemnation. This is not to say there aren't some very good souls at work there also, but I notice a distinct lack of goodwill at the present moment, no matter what is sung in the carols. I find the churches similarly lacking; the sentiment is cloying and persistent, yet artificial and impersonal. I may have discovered another reason why the Santa Claus paradigm continues; there is such a strong expectation of having to hold and defend a specific doctrine and position, that it is difficult for someone to admit to simply wanting to do something good, to be kind just to be kind, so they pass it off as someone else's work.

My office is rather quarrelsome just now, with different groups vying for limited resources and credit for the company's successes. There are also the arguments over directing next year's strategies; as a Risk Analyst, I am viewed as something of a Grinch, for having to be the one to explain why this plan or that is unfeasible, risky, or, though I won't be so blunt when I address it, stupid.

There are sports contests, with coaches and players arguing calls. There are stores advertising their wares, arguing that their prices are the lowest and their quality is the highest. The message is reinforced that anyone who truly cares about their family will purchase from the "right" store. And of course, there are court cases, with arguments about money, about responsibilities, about custody and guilt and liability. I recall that this is the time of the year where summons servers are likely to carry gift-wrapped boxes, in order to gain access to their targeted recipients. And then there's family squabbles, which often show up this time of year.

Being a blogger, I know all about arguments, and I work up a lot of them. I am, in fact, arguing right now, though you will be the judge as to whether or not my writing is persuasive. But after the last week, with some very serious issues tossed about as if I was the President, Pope, or some other entity with the influence and position to make things right, if I could just be made to see the light. It's fascinating, in a way, to see Atheists and Fundamentalists argue with equal fervor about their beliefs, to hear Republicans and Democrats match each other's energy almost exactly when in dispute, to read positions from every sort of advocate, even if 90% of them would not work as envisioned.

Anyway, it occurs to me that as much as I enjoy discussing all sorts of issues with people, there is only a small chance that anything substantive will change. I enjoy hearing perspectives, and I always like information, but it occurs to me that this is also a time when people are likely to be a bit tired of arguments, and exasperated at having to defend their opinion, even if they bring it up themselves. So, while I am quite satisfied with my own opinions and conclusions on all of the standard issues, since my readers at the moment are unlikely to include anyone who did not already know about me from other sites where I write, and so I am likely to have exchnaged opinions with you on one issue at least, I would like to extend, sans dispute, my sincere thanks for your attendance here, and for your contributions of opinion and thought.

May you all find joy in the coming week, and may it brighten your life and the world you bring to life each day.

Thank you.