On Christmas 2017

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For much of the world, December is the season. A season of joy and light. A season of warmth and kindness. A season of spirit and belief. A season of renewal and hope. As those thoughts are with Christians and Jews around the celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah, I contend this is the season not just for these two religions, but this is the season for all of humanity.

Santa Claus is the leading spirit of the season. He’s is the one of binds joy, light, warmth, kindness, spirit and believe not just to Christians, but for all of humanity. Santa is a positive spirit for all humans across the globe to embrace. Santa is the one that reaches into everyone’s childlike heart to touch an anticipated goodness. It is in this spirit that Santa crosses the barriers of culture, gender, skin color, religion, language, sexual orientation, nationality, and politics.

Santa carries the spirit unlimited goodness to all humans for them to embrace. No – embracing Santa does not carry an automatic endorsement of Christianity. I know those proclaiming “Put the Christ back in Christmas” shutter at my thoughts and banish me to the fires of Hell, but Santa is powerful spirit and symbol that allows humanity to pass goodness among itself – to pass goodness across cultures.

Yes, I am a Christian – and I understand why some believe the over-commercialization of Christmas is too secular – thus less religious. Yes, it is important for me to remember the religious aspect of Christmas. However, Christmas has also evolved into a secular holiday – and the Spirit of Santa leads the way by transcending all people in all cultures regardless of religious or non-religious beliefs.

Merry Christmas to those who accept Santa as the spirit of Goodness. Happy Holiday to those preferring that greeting. To those embracing the Winter Solstice and Yule, may the quiet, fire, and calm of the night lead you to a positive returning sun that will bring peace, joy, and love in the days ahead. To my Jewish friends, my the blessings of your light bring you happiness. To my Christian friends, a blessed Christmas wish to you.

My season gift to you is for you to enjoy at least one of the music selections below. Which did you enjoy?

Enya’s And Winter Came celebrates the winter solstice

The Piano Guys playing a song of the season

Manheim Steamroller’s Silent Night with glories skies is a personal favorite

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 245

This week’s horrifying news out of Australia and Pakistan is insane, senseless, and heart-wrenching.

Cheers to President Obama opening the door for normal relations with Cuba. Boo to Republicans who link this action to supporting oppression throughout the world.

According to the Pew Research Center, my view about CIA torture is in the minority.

Although I support a sales tax on internet sales, count me in as one against government intervention into the internet as a whole. (a read)

Earlier this week the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame announced that Joan Jett (and others) deserves induction over the Moody Blues and Yes. This committee may be more pathetic than the US Congress and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. Well, at least close.

Lauren Hill has played in her final basketball game, and ending her college career with 10 points. She’s struggling, and no longer enrolled. Her story has been one that keeps giving, and she continues to be a shining example of humanity. Her latest statement is, I want everyone to know that I never give up. Meanwhile, there is no question we will mourn when her day arrives.

This is probably the last Opinions in the Shorts for 2014, but I foresee the Explore series starting next Friday.

Next week’s posting schedule will at least include Monday Morning Entertainment, a holiday post, and the start of the Explore series.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s their holiday gift guide for kids.

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On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Mom gathers rolls of wrapping paper around her to stroke softly
Subway employee still unnerved by high-pitched screech sandwiches make when cut in half
Sexually frustrated woman just one of the guys
Increasing number of men pressured to accept realistic standards of female beauty
Family receives 38-piece Astra Zeneca assorted pill sampler
Schlubs from US, China meet in lowest level talks

Interesting Reads
Weird stocking stuffer ideas
Memoir of a political candidate
Improving the umbrella
How successful people stay calm
Why Zombies eat brains
(Infographic) Sleep deprivation and the brain

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Weekend) Bird Count Weekend
  • (Fri) Underdog Day, Hard Candy Day, Oatmeal Muffin Day
  • (Sat) Sangria Day, Fried Shrimp Day, Games Day, Go Caroling Day, Human Solidarity Day
  • (Sun) Solstice, Global Orgasm Day, Don’t be a Scrooge Day, Yule, Hamburger Day, Phileas Fogg Win a Wager Day, Crossword Puzzle Day, Kiwi Fruit Day, Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day

To me, music by The Tractors is fun, so here’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend – the first is their biggest hit that I really, really like, and the second is a bouncy tune for the holidays. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 205

On Politics
Healthcare.gov, health care rates, cost and availability of health insurance, are related issues – but not the same.

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, I saw it as a start, not an end. Republicans tend to under-regulate while Democrats tend to over-regulate. Given the at best, shaky rollout of healthcare.gov and initial implementation of the law, I hoped each party would step forward to make the law better. Because would stretch each party outside of their comfort zone, fat chance of that occurring.

Insurance companies decreasing their list of physicians is not only problematic and pathetic!

First I wondered why a first-term senator would attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Then I wondered why said senator would ceremoniously protest Raul Castro by walking out of a ceremony honoring a man of reconciliation. Yes, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), that’s you – and staging an action to bring attention to yourself is very unlike Mr. Mandela. I yield my final comment to this great American orator.

A good read about Senator Cruz from the editor of Real Clear Politics.

I enjoyed columnist Dana Milbank’s take on political selfies.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Obnoxious friend won’t stop attaining major life milestones
Eighth grader caked in makeup probably really confident
Poll shows the majority of Americans would watching something called Love Trap
Modern-day Caligula orders Everything Bagel
New attractive person comes to nation’s attention
Encouraging economic report reveals more Americans delusional enough to start their own business

Interesting Reads
The Greatest of Gifts by Sue @ Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary
50 Breakthroughs since the wheel
An ancient Israeli wine cellar found
Three Italian Mountain Towns
Book review about Johann Sebastian Bach
A saga about Coca-Cola’s polar bears

On Potpourri
I have a holiday party for the weekend, which will start very early in my day. After all, I must open the doors early for those in time zones ahead of mine. Your friends are welcome as well … beware … there will be items with names on them.

Plus, don’t forget my annual Christmas Eve posts of video gifts.

For those needing these pertinent holiday tips, The Onion offers these suggestions for decorating a Christmas tree.

Once again, I enjoyed Act 11’s music. Bad News – Time: The Musical will conclude after the first of the year. Good news – A new musical will take its place

Getting Freshly Pressed still brings a smile, but it is work. After all, staying to true form, I respond to all comments and reciprocate many visitors.  Reality is that FP brings a spike in followers and daily hits (temporarily), but maybe a couple of bloggers who may turn into regulars. Juggling FP with holidays, Time: The Musical, these OITS, and preparing for a holiday fest is more than a chore! For those that didn’t know, here’s the post.

Being on the same FP page as Kathy McCullough was an added treat!

Apologies to Bulldog for my careless mistake in Act 11.

I added a new subpage under More Bloggers called Possibilities, which has some new bloggers.

Here are your weekend celebrations

  • (Fri) Human Solidarity Day, Mudd Day, Sangria Day, Underdog Day
  • (Sat) Solstice, Crossword Puzzles Day, Humbug Day, Don’t Be a Scrooge Day, Ann & Samantha Day, Hamburger Day, Kiwi Fruit Day, Yalda, Yule, Flashlight Day, Phileas Fogg Win-a-Wager Day
  • (Sun) Haiku Poetry Day, Date Nut Bread Day

Let’s celebrate going into a weekend with a song from 1968 that reached Billboard’s Top 10. The video has wonderful images to go along with Everything that Touches You by The Association. Who remembers them?

Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.