"It's the most . . . wonderful time . . . of the year." All seven kids are home, which is always nice, but this year seems especially wonderful. I've had a grueling past six months at the office, but things are lightening up and this week promises a light work load. With any luck, I won't be working the 24th, 25th, or 26th. It's a stark contrast to two years ago, when I was inches from going into the office on the 25th until Marie successfully prevailed upon me. * * * * * * * And I'm taking my annual shopping trip to Wal-Mart and Dollar Tree tomorrow. Although I don't have an ideological hatred for Wal-Mart and believe it does much good, I have a mild aesthetic aversion to going there, especially during the holidays, but I need to round out a few things. I'm hoping late morning on a weekday will be endurable. * * * * * * * Glinda the Good Witch was 54 years old, no munchkin committed suicide on set that was pictured on the Yellow Brick Road, the movie was a flop upon its first release, its director was a Nazi, and other odd facts about The Wizard of Oz. * * * * * * * Readers might recall my extreme disgust with part two of The Hobbit last year. I refuse to go to the current installment (though I probably will watch it once it's released for home viewing) and apparently I'm not alone. "The film . . . had the weakest opening of Jackson’s six Tolkien adventures." Good. The makers oughtta be ashamed for deliberately butching a classic in the name of marketing and political correctness. * * * * * * * PSA for my northern rural readers: How to survive a blizzard in your car. Some pretty good practical advice. * * * * * * * It's the season of traditions. Consistent with TDE tradition, expect slow blogging through the holidays, but I'll get something posted every day. Thanks for reading.
A Random Passage
Kinda makes you wonder if Balthasar, Guardini, and McLuhan kick things around in heaven: "Guardini claims that religious experience has historically grown darker and weaker in the technological world, if we compare this world to the mythological world of antiquity and the Middle Ages, in which the 'transparency' of the divine shone much more brightly through the more natural, creaturely character of the world." von Balthasar
Thank you, TDE readers, for your patronage. I just looked at my Amazon results for the month. I'm always stunned to see how a slew of small credits (ranging from one cent to, say, 39 cents) adds up. Of course, special thanks to the TDE readers who log in and buy, say, an expensive winter coat or a big screen TV, but it's the little purchases that mostly drive the profits that allow TDE to pay its annual hosting and vodka charges.
Brews You Can Use: Special Holiday Edition
Christmas is nigh. I've never been much of a Christmas drinker. Thanksgiving? Sure, but Christmas? Nope.
I certainly don't have a religious problem with drinking, since, as long-time TDE readers know, I practically consider alcohol a sacramental, but there's a time and place for everything, and for some reason, it has never resonated with me to drink much on Christmas Eve or Christmas. I suspect my "objection" (if my personal mild aversion can even be called that) to Christmas drinking is related more to the jammed nature of the celebration. There's so much going on, and sleep already at a premium, I don't need to compound the potential problems with inebriation or, worse, the after-effects of alcohol.
But I realize my preference not to enjoy a lot of alcohol at Christmas isn't everyone's decision, so I'm dedicating this BYCU to Christmas cheer.
First off, if I do drink a little, I won't drink my regulars: vodka or gin. It's a special season, so any drinking calls for a special drink: spiked punch, spiked egg nog, mulled wine, etc. Or maybe a fine red wine. If you're a beer drinker, there are a host of holiday ales out there. The market is as crowded with ales as it is with contemporary Christmas songs (I just hope the new ales are better than the new music). The Christmas beer names run the gamut, from the merely descriptive, to the sacramental, to the raucous:
Bell's Christmas Ale, Bell's Winter White Ale, Dundee Festive Ale, Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout, St Bernardus Christmas Ale, Ommegang Adoration Ale, Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig, Nutcracker Ale, Mad Elf Ale, Seriously Bad Elf, Delirium Noel, Santa’s Private Reserve Ale, Festivus, Christmas Bomb, Pimp My Sleigh, Spice Spice Baby, Yule Shoot Your Rye Out, The Beer that Saved Christmas, Sled Wrecker.
If you don't share my taste for moderate drinking at Christmas, I recommend this funny piece at Modern Drunkard Magazine: Holiday Hints for Hooch Heads. Warning: the language is very colorful. Here are a couple of recommendations from the fine folks at MDM:
Don’t worry if you hate wrapping presents, because your favorite store provides free gift wrapping.
Just give the brown bag a little twist around the neck of the bottle and hey! All done!
After eight of your “these-are-for-daddies-only” eggnogs, try to refrain from telling your children you are going to shoot Santa off the roof of your house when he lands.
While their shrieks of terror may seem funny at the time, it will directly affect the quality of nursing home you will be eventually shipped off to.
If your more religious relatives try to pin you down about your drinking habits at a family gathering, always tell them, “Hope you don’t mind, but I’m gonna keep prayin’ for ya!”
For some reason it drives them crazy.
If you’re drunk enough, heckling Christmas carolers will seem about the coolest thing in the world.
Especially if you can get them to cry.
Spread the holiday cheer by going to your favorite bar dressed as Santa Claus.
Because nobody under-pours Santa. Nobody.
Despite my condemnation of contemporary Christmas music above, there is some good stuff out there. Trans-Siberian Ochestra, for instance (though I think, overall, their music is terribly over-rated . . . two good songs does not a great listening experience make). There's also this nice little song that I found a few years ago. Consider it my Christmas present to you and, though I don't say it very often, thanks for reading TDE:
A new poll about the 2016 election shows that just 27 percent of voters would be likely to support Chris Christie. And only 4 percent of chairs.
After closing their final session, the outgoing 113th Congress has an approval rating of just 16 percent. To give you some perspective, Cosby is at 17.
Today a trailer was released for a new documentary about the Backstreet Boys. Unfortunately it was the one they were living in.
A Salvation Army bell ringer in Virginia was injured when an 87-year-old man accidentally ran him over. He was taken to the hospital once the applause died down.
A TDE reader sends along this email:
"I sent my brother that Talib quote: 'Never listen to a leftist who does not give away his fortune or does not live the exact lifestyle he wants others to follow.'
"He used it with co-workers, a flurry of emails followed (e.g., "What about conservatives with 'family values', they don't follow those," etc.)."
I figured it was worth a response, which is pasted below.
Well, for what it's worth, I don't trust conservatives who don't follow their own family values either.
Talib's analysis, if I recall correctly, was directed specifically to the monetary phenomenon of having "skin in the game." If I had to guess, his quote was especially directed at Al Gore and Hollywood stars and their environmentalism. They espouse an environmentalism that imposes drastic economic costs on everyone else, but then conduct their personal economic affairs in an opposite manner.
There are parallels to the philandering family-values politician, sure, but they're not economic ones. A maritally-unfaithful conservative can push for fewer divorces without imposing economic costs on everyone. A fornicating Republican that doesn't use effective birth control can push to end abortion but still rightly consider abortion murder.
You also have to look at the respective programs of the "right" and "left." The liberal proposes huge social programs that can't be ratcheted back down, which impose a permanent (or nearly permanent) economic cost on the country. The conservative merely proposes to continue with a form of morality that has been in existence for over 2,000 years. There's a huge difference.
There are parallels, yes, but I think they're dwarfed by the differences.
Catholic Men's Quarterly, a one-of-a-kind general interest men's magazine written by Catholic men for Catholic men. Makes a great Father's Day gift.
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