“Merry Christmas” and the Spirit of Giving

Our friend Nan is spot on with this post … something we should all remember at this time of year … and year-round, for that matter! Thanks Nan!

Nan's Notebook

Recently a Facebook friend wrote that he wasn’t going to stop saying “Merry Christmas,” no matter who it might offend. Comments to his posting were equally supportive, some going so far as to say it’s a bunch of “bullshit.”

It continues to amaze me that at this (supposedly) time of peace on earth and good will towards all, people continue to exhibit such animosity, hostility, and rancor towards those who don’t believe as they do.

I personally do not honor December 25th in any religious way. For one thing, although popularized as the date Jesus was born, evidence from all fronts indicates this is in error. But beyond that, I simply am no longer a “believer.”

It’s a long-standing tradition to give gifts at this time of year. In fact, kids have learned to expect toys and other goodies – to the point that people are urged to donate to…

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♫ Snoopy’s Christmas ♫

Last night, when I played Snoopy Vs The Red Baron, I noted that I was a bit confused about which song rawgod had requested, that one, or Snoopy’s Christmas.  Turns out, I got it wrong the first time, and it was actually this one, Snoopy’s Christmas, that he was asking for!

This song is a follow-up to Snoopy Vs The Red Baron, in which Snoopy is a fighter pilot. In Snoopy’s Christmas, The Red Baron decides not to shoot Snoopy down, but forces him to land and gives him a Christmas gift.

Although fictitious, the song is set against the backdrop of a legitimate historical event. During World War I, in 1914, “The Christmas Truce” was initiated not by German and British commanders, but by the soldiers themselves. The length of the cease-fire varied by location, and was reported to have been as brief as Christmas Day or as long as the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Trench-bound combatants exchanged small gifts across the lines, with Germans giving beer to the British, who sent tobacco and tinned meat back in return. No Man’s Land was cleared of dead bodies, trenches were repaired and drained, and troops from both sides shared pictures of their families and, in some places, used No Man’s Land for friendly games of football.  There is a song about this event that I will be playing later this week.xmas-SnoopySnoopy’s Christmas reached the No. 1 position in the New Zealand and Australia singles charts in 1967, and remains a popular Christmas song in those countries. The song was the fastest-selling single at the time it was originally released and is estimated to be the biggest selling overseas single sold in New Zealand in the 20th century.  Snoopy’s Christmas was also voted “the worst Christmas song of all time” by readers of the New Zealand Herald in 2007.

Snoopy’s Christmas
The Royal Guardsmen

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum
Do kannst mir sehr gefallen!

The news had come out in the First World War
The bloody Red Baron was flying once more
The Allied command ignored all of its men
And called on Snoopy to do it again

Was the night before Christmas, 40 below
When Snoopy went up in search of his foe
He spied the Red Baron, fiercely they fought
With ice on his wings Snoopy knew he was caught

Christmas bells those Christmas bells
Ring out from the land
Asking peace of all the world
And good will to man

The Baron had Snoopy dead in his sights
He reached for the trigger to pull it up tight
Why he didn’t shoot, well, we’ll never know
Or was it the bells from the village below?

Christmas bells those Christmas bells
Ringing through the land
Bringing peace to all the world
And good will to man

The Baron made Snoopy fly to the Rhine
And forced him to land behind the enemy lines
Snoopy was certain that this was the end
When the Baron cried out, “Merry Christmas, mein friend!”

The Baron then offered a holiday toast
And Snoopy, our hero, saluted his host
And then with a roar they were both on their way
Each knowing they’d meet on some other day

Christmas bells those Christmas bells
Ringing through the land
Bringing peace to all the world
And good will to man

Christmas bells those Christmas bells
Ringing through the land
Bringing peace to all the world
And good will to man

Christmas bells those Christmas bells
Ringing through the land

Songwriters: Luigi Creatore / Hugo Peretti / George David Weiss
Snoopy’s Christmas lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Spirit Music Group, Concord Music Publishing LLC, Music Sales Corporation, Barbara Schwartz Music

♫ Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer – Redux ♫

I don’t play many Christmas songs, but this year I had a couple of special requests from special friends that I’m going to try to honour.  I actually played this one on Christmas Eve last year.  By special request, I am replaying this one this year for Gail, friend of our friend, rawgod!  Enjoy, Gail … I’m working on the other one!


Some years I find myself singing Christmas songs … rarely carols with a religious tone, but songs about Christmas.  This year, I have not once that I can recall, but this has been a difficult year.  But, it is Christmas Eve and I thought to share a personal story of a Christmas … oh, some 23 years ago.

Natasha circa 18 mos 2

Baby Goose

My granddaughter Natasha, aka Miss Goose, was just over a year old, having been born on 28 November 1994.  I worked long hours and missed most of her waking time, so when I was home, I made the most of the time I had to bond with her.  She loved music and loved animation, so I searched for things on the computer that might attract her attention.  That Christmas season she fell in love with a Christmas-themed song … of all things … Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.  At only 13 months old, she hadn’t yet the art of verbal communication as we know it, but every time that song played, she started bouncing, clapping, and giggling uncontrollably!  I swear she understood those lyrics!

Granted, this is an utterly dorky song, and has been referred to as “the song that only gets worse with age”, but as the song has fond memories for me, and has a humorous bent, I share it with you on this Christmas Eve, some 23 years later.  And I thank Miss Goose for, despite loving a song about the demise of Grandma, being the light of my life for all these years.

There are two versions to this song … well, actually several … but I offer both the cartoon version and the … um … drunken grandma version …

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Elmo & Patsy

Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe
She’d been drinking too much eggnog
And we begged her not to go
But she forgot her medication
And she staggered out the door into the snow
When we found her Christmas morning
At the scene of the attack
She had hoof-prints on her forehead
And incriminating Claus marks on her back

Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe

Now we’re all so proud of grandpa
He’s been taking this so well
See him in there watching football
Drinking beer and playing cards with cousin Mel
It’s not Christmas without Grandma
All the family’s dressed in black
And we just can’t help but wonder
Should we open up her gifts
Or send them back (send them back)

Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe

Now the goose is on the table
And the pudding made of fig
And the blue and silver candles
That would just have matched the hair on grandma’s wig
I’ve warned all my friends and neighbors
Better watch out for yourselves
They should never give a license
To a man who drives a sleigh
And plays with elves

Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe

Singin’ grandpa
Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe
Merry Christmas

Songwriters: Randy Brooks
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer lyrics © BMG Rights Management

‘Toons, ‘Toons, and More ‘Toons!

It’s a busy day for all of us.  I don’t have time to write the post that is bouncing around in my head, for I am busy in the kitchen today, and you don’t have time to read it anyway, for you are likely either busy in the kitchen or watching football.  So, what better day than today for some ‘toons?


Since it is Thanksgiving, and since da turkey is da bird of choice for most, including moi, a few turkey ‘toons seem a good way to kick off the post!turkey-1turkey-2turkey-3turkey-4turkey-5turkey-6


Last week, Trump pardoned convicted war criminal Edward Gallagher, but he didn’t stop there.  He ordered the U.S. Navy to restore Mr. Gallagher to his former rank of Chief Petty Officer, while at the same time, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer was arranging for Gallagher’s discharge.  Long story short, Secretary Spencer crossed Trump and denied his order, and last Sunday he was fired.  gallagher-1gallagher-2gallagher-3


Of course the Ukraine has seen more headlines in the U.S. in the past month than in the entire past century, and it all started with a phone call … a perfect, beautiful phone call, according to Trump.  But now, the web seems to reach far and wide, entrapping many such as Giuliani, Nunes, and others.ukraine-2Ukraine-3ukraine-4Corruptionukraine-6


And let us not forget Russia and Putin’s latest puppet …RussiaRussia-2


The GOP originally stood for Grand Old Party, but they lost that distinction long ago.  Lately, however, they are selling their collective souls downriver in their efforts to defend the indefensible — Donald Trump.  They have put aside their oaths of office, have stopped even pretending to care about the people of this nation, and their new designation should be POL … Party Of Lies.GOPGOP-2GOP-3


And that’s it for today, my friends!  Have a great day and go for a long walk after you stuff yourself!  Except for Hugh, who will likely be shoveling instead of walking!

snow shovel

Short, Snarky Snippets

If you think that the fact that it’s Thanksgiving, the fact that I have a turkey to roast, stuffing to make, potatoes to cook, and all the other stuff is going to keep me from being a snarky you-know-what today, then you don’t know me well.  Last Thanksgiving, I managed my usual two posts plus a music post, and while I may or may not have a second post today, I at least have some short snarky snippets to share with you!  I consider it my civic duty … it’ll give you something to discuss over your turkey & gravy!


Who knew …

… That those of us whose humanitarian values have led us to be called “liberals”, as well as some other less savoury names, were trying to change the name of the holiday presently known as “Thanksgiving”?  Funny, but I hadn’t heard that one until this morning when I was reading that in Trump’s rally yesterday, he claimed …

“But now we’re going to have to do a little work on Thanksgiving. People have different ideas why it shouldn’t be called ‘Thanksgiving,’ but everybody in this room I know loves the name ‘Thanksgiving,’ and we’re not changing it.”

And the crowd cheered.

To the best of my knowledge, there has been no movement to change the name of Thanksgiving.  There were numerous humorous responses on Twitter, but one of the responses to his foolish remark was spot on:

“Well, many Natives, like myself, call it #nationaldayofmourning & as far as I’m concerned, if you don’t like it, grab a ship back home and shove some crumpets up your bum and let us repair this land.”

He also returned to one of his favourite themes, what he refers to as “the war on Christmas”.  He claims that he has now “made” everyone say “Merry Christmas”, rather than “Happy Holidays”.  Bullshit.  I typically go for the “Have a great holiday” line, though sometimes I may say “Merry Christmas”.  Thing is, see … not everyone celebrates Christmas as a religious holiday.  Many of us celebrate it as a secular holiday, a way to begin the long, dark winter season with light and festivity.  If you choose to celebrate it according to your religion, fine.  If you don’t, then that’s fine also.  Once again, Trump has overstepped his boundaries.


And about that rally …

Not surprisingly, Trump used much of his time at his aforementioned campaign rally in Sunrise, Florida, talking about his pending impeachment.  He cast the impeachment inquiry as a desperate effort by democrats to win back the White House in 2020. He went so far as to call the impeachment proceedings ‘bullshit,’ prompting a new audience chant containing the expletive. And he put those proceedings in the same category as the Mueller investigation, labeling all of it a ‘scam’ and a ‘hoax.’

“They’re attacking me because I’m exposing a rigged system that enriched itself at your expense and I’m restoring government of, by and for the people.”

Say WHAT???  I’m still speechless and have steam coming out of my ears over that blatant, bald-faced lie!

“The radical Democrats are trying to overturn the last election because they know that they cannot win the next election. It’s very simple.”

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr 👿


Tucker said WHAT???

tucker-carlsonTucker Carlson of Fox News fame is a grade-A jerk.  No surprise there, we’ve known that for years.  But, he may have crossed a line this time.

“Why do I care … what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia? And I’m serious. Why do I care? Why shouldn’t I root for Russia, which I am?”

After the predictable backlash from those who remember that Russia is a domineering, bullying nation that is seeking to restore an ‘empire’ ala the Soviet Union, ol’ Tucker said, halfheartedly, that he was only joking.  Right, Tuck.


Spencer speaks …

Funny, isn’t it, that Trump who dodged the draft back during the Vietnam War, who has never served a single day in the military, is now micromanaging the military of which he knows absolutely nothing?  Ousted Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, has written an OpEd in response to his firing.  The thing he wrote that struck me as being 110% true is that Trump …

 “… Has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.”

Can’t argue with that … Trump has no clue what the words “ethically” and “rules” mean.  Commander-in-Chief???  Hah!  The most unlikely of candidates for that job.


For the love of animals?  Doubtful

In December 2010, President Obama signed into law a bipartisan bill, H.R.5566 – Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010, that banned videos that show animals being crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or subjected to other forms of torture.  On Monday, Trump signed into law another bill, H.R.724 – Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, that is essentially an expansion of the original.  This one makes such cruelty to animals a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Since the bill had bipartisan support in Congress, and since it is basically a no-brainer, there would have been absolutely no justification for Trump to not sign it, but some have found a morsel of redemption for Trump in the signing of this bill, saying, “See … he did something good!”  We are, it would seem, desperate for him to have one little redeeming quality.  But wait …

Do you see the irony here?  Trump’s two elder sons are both big game hunters who have killed numerous beautiful animals for sport.  No contest, they are guided by experts, they have big guns, the animal is in a preserve and has no guide, no gun.  Senseless slaughter, pure and simple.  Sorry, folks, but this bill does not apply to people who slaughter animals for food or to those who hunt, trap and fish.  Too little … far too little.


And now, I leave you to enjoy your Thanksgiving with friends and family.  Have a great one, my friends!

And Yet Another Black Friday

Our friend Hugh sums up my own feelings about the ‘Black Friday Mania’ that for many defines the day after Thanksgiving, when some people I know stay up all night and actually spend hours in the cold waiting outside the doors of a store, simply to be the first to get that “whatchamacallit” that’s on sale (though the retailer and manufacturer are still making money from it). Thanks, Hugh, for this timely piece!

hughcurtler

It’s time for my annual “Black Friday” rant. If only those with ears could hear!!

I have posted this piece before, but in light of the fact that we now have a mega-holiday that a character in one of the comics I enjoy calls “Hallothanksmas,” and given also that advertisers are now calling November “Black Friday Month,” it seems especially appropriate since we are about to see the ugly face of commodified Christmas close-up once again. The more things change the more they stay the same! I have added a few pithy comments to this version.

The headline read “Woman pepper sprays other Black Friday shoppers.” In an effort to have a better chance to get at the cheap electronics Walmart was using as a lure to get shoppers into their stores this holiday season, a woman pepper sprayed about 20 customers who were in her way. Except for the…

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Jolly Monday Before Thanksgiving

Welcome to the Monday before Christmas Thanksgiving, my friends!  Today is partly a redux of a post I did in 2017 just ahead of Thanksgiving, with a few humorous additions!  Thanksgiving is 3 days away, and I have not prepared a menu, a shopping list … nothing.  I’m lacking motivation and inspiration this year, for reasons that are no doubt obvious to most of you.  Still, however, I tried to rally to the cause this morning, and with Jolly’s help have prepared you a mini-Thanksgiving snack array, so help yourself and then lets find a reason to smile, shall we?


turkeyNext week brings Thanksgiving here in the U.S. Most of us both in the U.S. and abroad know about the traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, that “officially” kicks off the Christmas season, and the turkey/stuffing/mashed potatoes and all the rest, topped off by traditional pumpkin pie, followed by football and people falling asleep with their mouths open.  But I thought it would be fun to kick it up a bit … see some of the stranger parts of the holiday … and top it off with a bit of history.FRANKLIN, LINUS, SALLY, CHARLIE BROWN, PEPPERMINT PATTY, SNOOPY AND MARCIE


Food:

 

turkey-gravy-sodaTofurkey & Gravy Soda – If you’re a big soda drinker who loves Thanksgiving dinner, then your wildest dreams have come true. Jones Soda Co., which is famous for its limited-edition holiday concoctions, offers Tofurky & Gravy Soda this season. Based on the vegetarian Thanksgiving meal, the Tofurky flavor is vegan-friendly and sugar-free.

turkey-dinner-layer-cakeTurkey dinner layer cake – The ultimate one-stop Thanksgiving meal. What looks like a cake is actually alternating layers of stuffing and ground turkey mixed with instant oatmeal, “frosted” with mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, and topped with lightly browned mini marshmallows.

pumpkin-pie-fortune-cookiesPumpkin Pie Fortune Cookies – If you’re feeling lucky this Thanksgiving, try these pumpkin pie–flavored fortune cookies from Fancy Fortune Cookies. Made with real pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, the cookies come covered in dark, milk or white chocolate and contain one of five custom fortune cookie messages inside.

turkey-gravy-cranberry-cupcakeTurkey Gravy Cranberry Cupcake – Made by Los Angeles–based Yummy Cupcakes, the treat features a turkey-flavored cake that’s baked with savory turkey gravy, filled with cranberry relish and topped with cranberry cream cheese.

Lays-turkey-potato-chips.jpgLay’s Turkey Potato Chips – This savory chip is only available in China, and according to a contributor at Taquitos.net: “They really do taste like turkey with gravy…It’s like combining the best parts of Thanksgiving dinner, all in one bag.”

roasted-turkey-doritos.jpgRoasted Turkey Doritos – What’s better than roasted turkey? Roasted turkey-flavor Doritos. What’s better than roasted turkey-flavor Doritos? Roasted turkey–flavor Doritos in the shape of a Christmas tree, of course! Though these festive snacks aren’t available in the U.S., you can easily find them in Taiwan.

jelly-beansMashed Potatoes And Gravy Jelly Beans – Part of the unusual Harry Potter Bertie Bott’s Jelly Beans Bag, the Mashed Potatoes and Gravy beans are just two unusual flavors in a mix that includes everything from ketchup to sausage.


Facts:

Thomas JeffersonPresident Thomas Jefferson thought making Thanksgiving a National Holiday was “a ridiculous proposition.” – Thomas Jefferson was not a fan of Thanksgiving. Despite being first proclaimed by George Washington in 1789, Jefferson believed a national day of thanksgiving was not consistent with the principle of separation of church and state and refused to recognize the holiday in any of the eight years in which he was president of the United States.

ben franklinThe Turkey was Ben Franklin’s vote for the national bird. – After the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, it next tasked Benjamin Franklin—along with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson—with designing a seal to represent the new country. Given the opportunity to choose a national symbol, the Founding Father never suggested a turkey.

beerThe night before Thanksgiving is the single biggest day for bar sales in the U.S. – Four reasons:  1) Nearly all Americans have Thanksgiving off; 2) No one wants to entertain the night before hosting a big Thanksgiving meal; 3) Everyone is home for the holidays and wants to see old friends; 4) Thanksgiving dinner is a perfect hangover cure.


The first-ever Macy’s Day Parade actually took place on Christmas of 1924.

Macys 1926 paradeMacy’s employees dressed as clowns, cowboys, and other fun costumes, and traveled with Central Park zoo animals and creative floats a lengthy six miles from Herald Square to Harlem in Manhattan.

The parade was meant to draw attention to the Macy’s store in NYC, and the gimmick worked – more than 250,000 people attended the inaugural Macy’s Day Parade. It was decided that this NYC parade would become an annual NY event in Manhattan.

In 1927, Felix the Cat became the first giant balloon to ever take part in the Macy’s Day Parade. In 1928, Felix was inflated with helium, and without a plan to deflate this massive balloon, NYC parade organizers simply let Felix fly off into the sky. Unfortunately, he popped soon thereafter.

float-felix

The Macy’s Day Parade continued to let the balloons fly off in subsequent years, only these balloons would have a return address written on them, and whoever found the balloon could return the balloon for a prize from Macy’s. However, the results of this experiment weren’t exactly successful.


Then there’s the time a lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store, but couldn’t find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, “Do these turkeys get any bigger?” The stock boy replied, “No ma’am, they’re dead.”


The Turkey Popped Out of the Oven

The Turkey popped out of the oven
and rocketed in to the air;
It knocked every plate off the table
and partly demolished a chair.
It ricocheted into a corner
and burst with a deafening boom,
Then splattered all over the kitchen,
completely obscuring the room.
It stuck to the walls and the windows,
it totally coated the floor,
There was turkey attached to the ceiling,
where there had never been turkey before..
It blanketed every appliance,
it smeared every saucer and bowl;
There wasn’t a way I could stop it;
that turkey was out of control.
I scraped and I scraped with displeasure
and thought with chagrin as I mopped,
That I would never again stuff a turkey
with popcorn that hadn’t been popped.

Written by Jack Prelutsky


And, we cannot have Jolly Monday without a ‘toon or two, can we?

thanksgiving-toon-1thanksgiving-toon-2thanksgiving-toon-3thanksgiving-toon-4thanksgiving-toon-5thanksgiving-toon-6thanksgiving-toon-7


I even found a video of cute animals enjoying their own Thanksgiving feast!


And with that, I must be off, for Thursday is Thanksgiving, in case you didn’t know, and we will be sharing ours with our friends & neighbors, Maha, Ali, and their three boys.  So … this ol’ Filosofa needs to get to the grocery and buy ingredients, plan a menu, and try to find some inspiration somewhere.  I hope you all have a wonderful week, and please, remember to share your gorgeous smiles with others!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!thanksgiving-maxine

In Honour Of The Real Heroes …

Today, 11 November, is Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth of Nations and Veteran’s Day in the U.S.  In all our nations, it is a day to remember and honour those who have died while in military service.  While the specifics and the observances may vary somewhat from one country to the next, the meaning is much the same — to honour those who fought and died in wars they did not start.  It is also Armistice Day world-wide … a day that marks the end of World War I, the “war to end all wars”.  Only, sadly it didn’t … end all wars.

One of the first blogs I connected with way back in the early days of Filosofa’s Word when nobody read what I wrote was a blog about a dog and his human, A DOG’S LIFE? (STORIES OF ME AND HIM).  The dog is Ray, who graciously allowed a man named Colin to adopt him, and the blog is mainly about their adventures together.  We drifted apart over the years, but recently reconnected through another blog, NUGGETS OF GOLD.  Long story short, as I am rambling here … on Saturday, I happened upon Colin & Ray’s blog and found a poem that … well, it sums it all up far better than I could have.

Our friend David said it best this morning …

“I honour the dead on both sides in all conflicts.  The all fought because of decisions made by politicians.”  

Those who fought did not start the wars, they did not want to kill others, but they did their duty.  Let’s honour not only those of our own country, but all who have lost their lives in the service of their country.

Thank you, Colin, for sharing this touching poem.cemetery

JUST A COMMON SOLDIER

(A Soldier Died Today)

He was getting  old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.

And tho’ sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won’t note his passing, though a soldier died today

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

It’s so easy to forget them for it was so long ago,
That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor while he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.

© 1987 A. Lawrence Vaincourt

Take a minute today, no matter where you live, to thank a veteran, or even give one a hug, okay?  And, to all the veterans in my life, a personal and heartfelt “Thank You”.

A Unique Halloween Message

Our friend Nan received the most creative fund-raising message from her Senator, a democrat, that I have ever seen, and I just had to share it!

Nan's Notebook

The following is a message I received from my DEMOCRATIC Senator. I thought it was pretty clever. 

Halloween is special. From the Jolly Rancher to each Sour Patch Kid kid out there, everyone enjoys setting aside their cares, spending a bit of their hard-earned Payday to spread a little Almond Joy to their friends and neighbors.

This year, however, I have to admit, I’m a little distracted. Because our country has Mounds of Goobers who are putting our future at risk.

That’s why 2020 is so important. We must take back the Senate together, with Whatchamacallit — grassroots support. Take 5 and chip in before the stroke of midnight.

Let’s connect the Dots:

Climate chaos is melting the Sno Caps, threatening to turn our world into an Atomic Fireball.

Trump’s Airheads Xtremes are putting a Crunch on the Constitution.

The Republican spending Spree on the ultra-wealthy defies Riesen.

The Whoppers get worse by the day.

That’s why we need a few Life Savers right now, Nan.

We don’t need 100 Grand from one Mr. Goodbar.

We…

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Ghosts, Goblins & Witches ‘Round the Globe … Redux

This was my Hallowe’en post back in 2016 … little did I know then just how scary things were about to get!  I’ve added a few pictures since the original version, and I hope you’ll enjoy seeing some traditions from other countries and cultures!   

 

halloween-3Here in the U.S., our Hallowe’en traditions hail back to Ireland, which is widely considered to be where Hallowe’en originated.  The Irish celebrate much as we do here, with children dressing up to go trick-or-treating for candy, parties with games such as bobbing for apples, bonfires, etc.  A traditional food eaten on Hallowe’en is barnbrack, a kind of fruitcake that can be bought in stores or baked at home. A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake that, it is said, can foretell the eater’s future. If a ring is found, it means that the person will soon be wed; a piece of straw means that a prosperous year is on its way.halloween-2

So, let us take a look at what they do in some other countries around the globe:


Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead):

dia-1In Mexico, Latin America and Spain, All Souls’ Day, which takes place on November 2, is commemorated with a three-day celebration that begins on the evening of October 31. The celebration is designed to honor the dead who, it is believed, return to their earthly homes on Hallowe’en. Many families construct an altar to the dead in their homes to honor deceased relatives and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, samples of the deceased’s favorite foods and drinks, and fresh water. Often, a wash basin and towel are left out so that the spirit can wash before indulging in the feast.

dia-2Día de los Muertos festivities often feature breads, candies and other foods in the shape of skulls and skeletons. Candles and incense are burned to help the deceased find their way home. Relatives also tidy the gravesites of their departed family members. This can include snipping weeds, making repairs, and painting. The grave is then decorated with flowers, wreaths, or paper streamers. On November 2, relatives gather at the gravesite to picnic and reminisce. Some gatherings even include tequila and a mariachi band.mariachi


Guy Fawkes Day

guy-1On the evening of November 5, bonfires are lit throughout England. Effigies are burned and fireworks are set off. Although it falls around the same time and has some similar traditions, this celebration has little to do with Hallowe’en or the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The English, for the most part, stopped celebrating Hallowe’en as Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation began to spread. As followers of the new religion did not believe in saints, they had no reason to celebrate the eve of All Saints’ Day. However, a new autumn ritual did emerge. Guy Fawkes Day festivities were designed to commemorate the execution of a notorious English traitor, Guy Fawkes.

guy-2On November 5, 1606, Fawkes was executed after being convicted of attempting to blow up England’s parliament building. Fawkes was a member of a Catholic group who wanted to remove the Protestant King James from power. The original Guy Fawkes Day was celebrated right after his execution. The first bonfires, which were called “bone fires,” were set up to burn effigies and symbolic “bones” of the Catholic pope. It was not until two centuries later that effigies of the pope were replaced with those of Guy Fawkes. In addition to making effigies to be burned in the fires, children in some parts of England also walk the streets carrying an effigy or “guy” and ask for “a penny for the guy,” although they keep the money for themselves. This is as close to the American practice of “trick-or-treating” as can be found in England today. Guy Fawkes Day was even celebrated by the pilgrims at the first settlement at Plymouth. However, as the young nation began to develop its own history, Guy Fawkes was celebrated less frequently and eventually died out.


Teng Chieh

teng-1In China, the Hallowe’en festival is known as Teng Chieh. Food and water are placed in front of photographs of family members who have departed while bonfires and lanterns are lit in order to light the paths of the spirits as they travel the earth on Halloween night. Worshipers in Buddhist temples fashion “boats of the law” from paper, some of which are very large, which are then burned in the evening hours. The purpose of this custom is twofold: as a remembrance of the dead and in order to free the spirits of the “pretas” in order that they might ascend to heaven. “Pretas” are the spirits of those who died as a result of an accident or drowning and whose bodies were consequently never buried. The presence of “pretas” among the living is thought by the Chinese to be dangerous. Under the guidance of Buddhist temples, societies are formed to carry out ceremonies for the “pretas,” which includes the lighting of lanterns. Monks are invited to recite sacred verses and offerings of fruit are presented.


Yue Lan

yueThe Halloween celebration in Hong Kong is known as “Yue Lan” (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts) and is a time when it is believed that spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours. Some people burn pictures of fruit or money at this time, believing these images would reach the spirit world and bring comfort to the ghosts. Fires are lit and food and gifts are offered to placate potentially angry ghosts who might be looking for revenge.


austriaAustria: Austria has a Pumpkin Festival in Retzer Land called Kürbisfest im Retzer Land. On November 11, Austria celebrates Martini which includes costumes and a lantern procession. Some people in Austria believe that if they leave bread, water, and a lighted lamp out, dead souls will be welcomed back to earth for that night.


Belgium: In Belgium some villages celebrate Hallowe’en while other villages focus on celebrating All Saints’ Day. On Hallowe’en night, a Belgian may be found lighting a candle in memory of a dead relative.

germany


Germany: Hallowe’en auf Deutsch became popular in the 1990s. People start to decorate around mid-October and use Hallowe’en as a party theme. On November 11, Germans celebrate Matinstag which includes costumes and a lantern procession.

sweden


Sweden: In Sweden, Hallowe’en is known as “Alla Helgons Dag” and is celebrated from October 31 until November 6. As with many other holidays, “Alla Helgons Dag” has an eve which is either celebrated or becomes a shortened working day. The Friday prior to All Saint’s Day is a short day for universities while school-age children are given a day of vacation.


HalloweenWell, that is all I could come up with for today.  I will likely do another Hallowe’en post sometime between now and Hallowe’en.  Those readers who live outside the U.S., please feel free to share traditions and celebrations in your country by leaving a comment.  Thanks to all for giving me this opportunity to take a brief break from you-know-who!  I can breathe again!  Have a safe and fun Hallowe’en!

Maxine-halloween