Monday, December 24, 2007

My Favorite Holiday Card

The title of this card is "Frozen Thung", and inside it says
"Hathy Holidayth".

The first thing I like is that it looks a bit like I did back when I was a little kid.
The other thing is his resemblance to the younger brother in the classic Christmas movie "A Christmas Story" who also froze his tongue to a metal pole. The only thing missing are the kids gathered around him laughing.

So here's to wishing everyone "Hathy Holidayth"!

Here's the info from the back of the card (with my comments added):

Contemporary American Photographers

Photograph [Copyright] 1994 Joe Lampi (<- This guy is good)
Dublin Productions (<- really neat site w/ Flash, check out the photos)
Frothen Thung

[Copyright] Palm Press, Inc. 1995 (<- Interesting cards)
1442A Walnut Street #120

Berkeley, California 94709

Holiday Thoughts on Christmas Eve

I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.

I'm celebrating a traditional but solitary New England Christmas here in New Hampshire, missing my father greatly but recalling wonderful Christmas memories from childhood.

The traditional reading of "The Night Before Christmas" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", remembering how hard it was to get to sleep on Christmas eve listening for any faint sound that might actually be Santa on the roof, and the rush of anticipation in my belly keeping me awake 'till I finally drifted off to sleep. Then waking up early on Christmas morning, wondering if it's too early to wake mom and dad to get the day started, feeling like it's taking them forever while they make their coffee and have a bit of breakfast before finally gathering around the tree to see if your wishes had been answered by Santa.

I'm also thinking of all the people who might not be having a 'merry' Christmas for whatever reason, including those not able to be with their loved ones for the holidays and those who can't afford to get their kids what they've been asking for the past year. And most recently, the employees who have found themselves suddenly without their jobs just before Christmas.

To many of those folks, remember that there are people out there who care, and tomorrow's always a new day.
And as my father would always say to me when times were tough, "this too shall pass", then he'd remind me to "keep smiling".

Bless you Dad.
And bless all of you, one and all..

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Critical Question For Candidates

Knowing the history of the Presidency regarding the unwillingness to give up presidential powers once their predecessors have gained them (despite how they gained them and whether they're constitutional or not), I think it's imperative that the current candidates for the presidency are asked whether they will reverse the "questionable" powers that Bush has claimed since becoming President. Especially if he's not impeached as he rightfully should be.

If Bush isn't impeached, (as I've stated before) a terrible precedent will have been set on many levels for future Presidents. Candidates need to be on the record (not that that matters anymore) saying that if elected they will renounce the unconstitutional claims of presidential privilege the Bush administration has stubbornly held to since 9/11, clearly and unconditionally.

Instead of the mostly asinine questions asked of candidates, we must ask this one and other critical topics! Electing a president has rarely had so much at stake for the future of our country as this one. If we're not able to reverse the downward decline this president and the majority of the Republican party have "led" us into we will have completely lost the honored position as respected and envied leader of the free world.

Not only thoughtful and respectable people in this country, but people all over the world are waiting to see what happens after the debacle of the Bush presidency is over.

The direction the President has taken us, compounded by the severe lack of representation of the citizenry by Congress in favor of big business interests (and their own) will lead to our downfall eventually. It's surely not what our founders put into place so thoughtfully.
As a matter of fact it's starting to resemble what they rebelled against all those years ago.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tonight's Countdown [Without] Keith Olbermann

Just a few thoughts regarding tonight's show.
First of all, of all the people who sub for Keith when he's off Allison Stewart is in my opinion the best. That said, I need to say something about tonight's discussion concerning former President Clinton's "roll the dice" comment from the Charlie Rose show.

I don't understand the questioning of what Clinton's statement 'meant'. It's plain to me that it meant that Hillary is a fairly well known commodity with a good deal of experience, as are the other candidates, except for Barack Obama. It's simply a matter of experience. Now I understand that political journalists like to read 'between the lines' and divine "the real meaning" of statements like this, and sometimes that's necessary, and sometimes the journalists are correct, but sometimes 'a cigar is just a cigar'.

"Roll the dice" means gambling, taking a chance. And to elect someone with a limited amount of experience, even when they have a lot of good ideas and are charismatic, is a calculated risk. Is it not?
In some ways you could say that voting for any of the candidates is a gamble. We've seen too many politicians take stances and vote on issues that oppose what the majority of their constituents want, and in some instances are in direct conflict with the oath they swore to when elected (you know, "To protect and defend the Constitution..."?).

There's no doubt that Hillary's campaign has encountered some bumps in the road, and being almost dead even in the latest polls has undoubtedly made them anxious to draw distinctions between her and Barack Obama. That major distinction is experience. They'd both be a welcome change from what this country and the world has painfully experienced over the past seven years, and are both head and shoulders above anyone running for the Republican party.

Now the idea that Bill Clinton was doing anything other than being truthful when he said that "Obama is a person of enormous talent". I didn't read that as "damning him with fake praise" as it was characterized by Allison and Howard Fineman. And I think Clinton characterized the rest of the field of candidates correctly when he said that all but Obama had a long and fairly extensive history of foreign policy and legislative experience.
I think the same thing. The first time I heard Barack Obama speak he amazed me by how much sense he made and how well he communicated. So much of what he says reflects the same way I feel about many issues. In some ways he has characteristics that none of the other candidates do, and part of that [I think] comes from not being part of the Washington scene for too long. But as far as other (meaning the good) aspects of experience go, he just hasn't had the time or the experience(s).

As for David Gregory's questioning of Hillary Clinton regarding the quote, he clearly interpreted it negatively as simply a 'dig' and not as a simple [political] way to make the distinction between Hillary and Barack Obama. He could have phrased it differently, but competitive politics isn't a case of being as nice to your opponents as you can. These days that was being [relatively] nice!
The questioning by Gregory had the odor of another try for a 'gotcha' moment from a member of the press as opposed to unbiased critical questioning of a candidate and Hillary didn't oblige him.
I truly miss Theresa Heinz Kerry and her forthright and unabashed responses to questions like that. I'd like to think that she would have responded by saying "My husband said it, why aren't you asking him?".

The press can often be so petty.

PS, Allison's comments about Michael Jackson almost made me snort water out my nose!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crazy For The Holidays

I plead guilty to neglecting this blog recently.
A few of the reasons are here:

1. Sometimes I just get overwhelmed by the magnitude of scandals, dirty tricks, self-serving talking heads, and election coverage that treats it like a game or spectator sport. Bush and his gang lie with impunity, and right-wing water carriers are still lugging their bilge water.

2. Meanwhile my ADD addled brain is jumping from the holidays, to increased seasonal depression, to a new blog for the Concord Monitor Online's "blogsNH" that I'm about to start. Add to that an upstairs neighbor who walks like Frankenstein, shaking this 100 year old former hotel, a new management company for us who looks to be doing it on the cheap, and the second year of being without my dear old Dad and wanting to move back to Western Mass to be close to my mother who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's.

When it gets really bad I remember my father's words of wisdom (not that he came up with this, but..) "This too shall pass", and one of his favorites "Smile a lot".

So that's what I'm trying to keep in mind this winter as I do my best to keep all the balls in the air. And if I drop one, rest assured that I'll bend down and pick it up, and toss it back up in the air with the rest as soon as I can.

Troubled times only make the good times that much sweeter to savor.

And remember to "Smile a lot".