Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged Christmas

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There’s a yard sign in a nearby neighborhood that says “Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas!” I want to go knock on their door and politely explain that no one is demanding they spell it any differently, and thank them for the spelling lesson, though I’m not sure it’s necessary.

Filed under Christmas

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Buying Christmas gifts for my dad is easy. Just pick up a couple of used books from the library and a can of Spam with a bow on it. He’s very no frills and doesn’t get on the internet, so it doesn’t matter that I’ve posted this here.

WHY CAN’T EVERYONE ELSE BE UNCOMPLICATED?! I’m actually pretty good at gift-giving, but that’s because I stress out like mad about it. It’s like I know there’s that perfect, inexpensive gift out there that’ll fulfill your life just a little bit more but I haven’t found it. Yet.

Filed under personal just saying christmas Yes I know it's consumerism but it's Christmas dammit

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My parents usually have a tree from the mountains. This year, they spray-painted tumbleweed silver for a pretty fabulous #Christmas tree. (at Lanker family homestead)

My parents usually have a tree from the mountains. This year, they spray-painted tumbleweed silver for a pretty fabulous #Christmas tree. (at Lanker family homestead)

Filed under christmas

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My parents decided a Christmas tree was unnecessary this year and decorated their cacti, Spike and Laverne. Previous incarnations of my parents chosen Christmas trees have included tumbleweed spray-painted silver:

My husband, Andrew, helped my dad with the important job of tinseling the cacti.

I’m thrilled to report they looked fantastic.

Happy Holidays folks!

Filed under Christmas Merry Christmas Happy Holidays Christmas tree cacti

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Anonymous donors pay off Kmart layaway accounts

Now this is heartwarming:

The young father stood in line at the Kmart layaway counter, wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. With him were three small children. He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn’t be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.

"She told him, ‘No, I’m paying for it,’" recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. "He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn’t, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears."

Most of the donors have done their giving secretly.

Dona Bremser, an Omaha nurse, was at work when a Kmart employee called to tell her that someone had paid off the $70 balance of her layaway account, which held nearly $200 in toys for her 4-year-old son. ”I was speechless,” Bremser said. “It made me believe in Christmas again.”

Dozens of other customers have received similar calls in Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Montana. The benefactors generally ask to help families who are squirreling away items for young children. They often pay a portion of the balance, usually all but a few dollars or cents so the layaway order stays in the store’s system.

The phenomenon seems to have begun in Michigan before spreading, Kmart executives said. ”It is honestly being driven by people wanting to do a good deed at this time of the year,” said Salima Yala, Kmart’s division vice president for layaway.

The good Samaritans seem to be visiting mainly Kmart stores, though a Wal-Mart spokesman said a few of his stores in Joplin, Mo., and Chicago have also seen some layaway accounts paid off.

The anonymous benefactors truly exhibit the spirit of giving and taking care of their fellow man. Makes me believe there’s some good people in the world, y’know?

Filed under Christmas Kmart Wal-Mart Humanity heartwarming beautiful holidays

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My sister-in-law, Beth, just posted this picture of my nephew Charlie. Immediately, this scene from A Christmas Story popped into my head. Basically, Randy is so bundled up, he can’t put his arms down. Somehow, Charlie doesn’t seem to mind.
I get to see everyone at Christmas and my mom said Charlie’s walking now. At Thanksgiving, he was just stumbling like a drunk. Three steps, fall, two steps, fall… etc, but he’s cruising now. I’m stoked to see Red (my brother), Beth, and Charlie.
Even though I’m not into the whole deity thing, I love seeing family at holidays. That’s why Tim Minchin’s “White Wine in the Sun” is my favorite (truly secular) holiday song. Take a listen - it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever:

Every holiday is also a reminder of who’s no longer there and how the faces around the table have changed. I’ve noticed my parents, my brother, and I are all aging. I’ve divorced and remarried. My brother got married and he and his wife have Charlie. My grandparents have all passed away. My great aunts and uncles have as well. My extended family is scattered around the US and we rarely see each other - if ever again. I haven’t seen many cousins in Ohio for over 10 years. 
But those of us nearby still make an effort to get together on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And every year, it’s perfect. Somehow, it’s always exactly how it is supposed to be, no matter who’s at the table. This year, it’ll be my mom, dad, my brother, my husband, Beth, Charlie, and (likely) Beth’s sister Jaime. 
The presents are nice, but the company is better. It’s just what I want this year.

My sister-in-law, Beth, just posted this picture of my nephew Charlie. Immediately, this scene from A Christmas Story popped into my head. Basically, Randy is so bundled up, he can’t put his arms down. Somehow, Charlie doesn’t seem to mind.

I get to see everyone at Christmas and my mom said Charlie’s walking now. At Thanksgiving, he was just stumbling like a drunk. Three steps, fall, two steps, fall… etc, but he’s cruising now. I’m stoked to see Red (my brother), Beth, and Charlie.

Even though I’m not into the whole deity thing, I love seeing family at holidays. That’s why Tim Minchin’s “White Wine in the Sun” is my favorite (truly secular) holiday song. Take a listen - it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever:

Every holiday is also a reminder of who’s no longer there and how the faces around the table have changed. I’ve noticed my parents, my brother, and I are all aging. I’ve divorced and remarried. My brother got married and he and his wife have Charlie. My grandparents have all passed away. My great aunts and uncles have as well. My extended family is scattered around the US and we rarely see each other - if ever again. I haven’t seen many cousins in Ohio for over 10 years. 

But those of us nearby still make an effort to get together on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And every year, it’s perfect. Somehow, it’s always exactly how it is supposed to be, no matter who’s at the table. This year, it’ll be my mom, dad, my brother, my husband, Beth, Charlie, and (likely) Beth’s sister Jaime. 

The presents are nice, but the company is better. It’s just what I want this year.

Filed under Charlie! family holidays Christmas personal my thoughts on Christmas Tim Minchin White Wine In the Sun

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So he did: 

Rick Perry doubled down on his religion-based attack of President Barack Obama Wednesday, saying the president was preventing students from celebrating Christmas in schools. But just last year, Perry issued a holiday statement as governor of Texas that omits any mention of the Christian holiday.
In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Perry said Obama and the political left were waging a “war on religious traditions,” including preventing students from praying in schools and having Christmas parties.
"What we’re seeing from the left, of which I would suggest to you, President Obama is a member of the left and substantial left-of-center beliefs, that you can’t even have a Christmas party. You can’t say a prayer at school," Perry said in an interview airing on CNN’s "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."
But in a holiday statement to troops issued by his office on Dec. 22, 2010 and posted on the governor’s website, Perry fails to mention Christmas at all, sticking instead to more general terms like “holiday season.”

Read the release yourself. No mention of Christmas or the Christmas season anywhere. Let’s contrast that with Obama’s statement when he lit the National Christmas Tree:

"More than 2,000 years ago, a child was born to two faithful travelers who could find rest only in a stable, among the cattle and the sheep. Christ’s birth made the angels rejoice and attracted shepherds and kings from afar. He was a manifestation of God’s love for us…
And this holiday season, let us reaffirm our commitment  to each other, as family members, as neighbors, as Americans, regardless of our color or creed or faith.  Let us remember that we are one, and we are a family.
So on behalf of Malia and Sasha and Michelle and our grandmother-in-chief, Marian — I wish you all the happiest holiday season, the merriest of Christmases. God bless you all, and may God bless the United States of America.”

Huh. Funny that - Obama seems to be a little more into Christmas than Perry suggests. I’m so shocked.
(h/t to S.P. on Facebook for leading me to the CNN article and cracking the “Scumbag Perry” joke.)

So he did: 

Rick Perry doubled down on his religion-based attack of President Barack Obama Wednesday, saying the president was preventing students from celebrating Christmas in schools. But just last year, Perry issued a holiday statement as governor of Texas that omits any mention of the Christian holiday.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Perry said Obama and the political left were waging a “war on religious traditions,” including preventing students from praying in schools and having Christmas parties.

"What we’re seeing from the left, of which I would suggest to you, President Obama is a member of the left and substantial left-of-center beliefs, that you can’t even have a Christmas party. You can’t say a prayer at school," Perry said in an interview airing on CNN’s "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

But in a holiday statement to troops issued by his office on Dec. 22, 2010 and posted on the governor’s website, Perry fails to mention Christmas at all, sticking instead to more general terms like “holiday season.”

Read the release yourself. No mention of Christmas or the Christmas season anywhere. Let’s contrast that with Obama’s statement when he lit the National Christmas Tree:

"More than 2,000 years ago, a child was born to two faithful travelers who could find rest only in a stable, among the cattle and the sheep. Christ’s birth made the angels rejoice and attracted shepherds and kings from afar. He was a manifestation of God’s love for us…

And this holiday season, let us reaffirm our commitment to each other, as family members, as neighbors, as Americans, regardless of our color or creed or faith.  Let us remember that we are one, and we are a family.

So on behalf of Malia and Sasha and Michelle and our grandmother-in-chief, Marian — I wish you all the happiest holiday season, the merriest of Christmases. God bless you all, and may God bless the United States of America.”

Huh. Funny that - Obama seems to be a little more into Christmas than Perry suggests. I’m so shocked.

(h/t to S.P. on Facebook for leading me to the CNN article and cracking the “Scumbag Perry” joke.)

Filed under Rick Perry Scumbag Perry GOP President Obama Obama politics Christmas 2012 Election 2012 Scumbag Rick Perry hypocrite war on Christmas

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Not to mention Christmas isnt even a Christian holiday, just an amalgamation of pagan traditions lumped together to give them an excuse to convert comfortably. I doubt most new age Christians have heard of Saturnalia, or that it’s WHY they have a Christmas tree. Sorry. Holiday tree. Touchy bastards.
And boom goes the dynamite, thanks to JoyouslyProfane commenting on this post. For the sake of brevity, I chose not to include this fun tidbit about the origins of Christmas as we know it. But this summation is just too good to not share. More on the history and development of Christmas as a holiday here.

Filed under JoyouslyProfane Christmas Saturnalia

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So this is a thing:

For some Arizona kids, photos with Santa come with the usual holiday cheer and some serious firepower.
Armed with assault rifles, grenade launchers, and pistols, the jolly old fellow is posing with families and their children at a Scottsdale, Ariz., gun club. Young and old can preserve the moment while gripping the high-powered weapon of their choice.
To gun enthusiasts like Bruce Stevens, the photo shoot is something to be joyful about. He plans to take his four children, ages 8 to 17, to take pictures with Santa and his arsenal. ”It’s a unique opportunity for a family that does enjoy shooting and the recreation portion of it and the history of it all,” he says.
But some say linking guns to a figure affiliated with Christmas sends the wrong message. ”It’s a time when you’re talking about peace and good cheer and things of that nature,” says the Rev. Brent Loveless of the North Valley Baptist Church in Phoenix. Although he is a hunter who supports the right to bear arms, the pastor says that arming kids with machine guns around Santa “is probably just a little too much.”
The cost of a sitting with Santa is $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers, with one print photo and one digital copy included.
To Eric Bowen, the father of an 11-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, the photo shoots are more of a novelty than anything else. “It all comes down to a personal right,” he says. “If you want to celebrate the Christmas season with Santa and your favorite rifle, then why should I stop you?”
At the photo session Nov. 26, people of all ages took turns standing next to St. Nick, grinning and toting AK-47s and modified AR-15s. The backdrop included an $80,000 Garwood Minigun, a heavy machine gun.

"If you want to celebrate the Christmas season with Santa and your favorite rifle, then why should I stop you?" Is this from the War on Christmas claim? Because I thought that was all about “Jesus is the reason for the season” etc. - not that gun-hating liberals want to take away the right to pose with Santa and guns. 
Did anyone else think of the "Red Sleigh Down" episode of South Park?
You know what actually surprises me about this? With 30.2 guns for every 100 people, Wyoming didn’t do it first.

So this is a thing:

For some Arizona kids, photos with Santa come with the usual holiday cheer and some serious firepower.

Armed with assault rifles, grenade launchers, and pistols, the jolly old fellow is posing with families and their children at a Scottsdale, Ariz., gun club. Young and old can preserve the moment while gripping the high-powered weapon of their choice.

To gun enthusiasts like Bruce Stevens, the photo shoot is something to be joyful about. He plans to take his four children, ages 8 to 17, to take pictures with Santa and his arsenal. ”It’s a unique opportunity for a family that does enjoy shooting and the recreation portion of it and the history of it all,” he says.

But some say linking guns to a figure affiliated with Christmas sends the wrong message. ”It’s a time when you’re talking about peace and good cheer and things of that nature,” says the Rev. Brent Loveless of the North Valley Baptist Church in Phoenix. Although he is a hunter who supports the right to bear arms, the pastor says that arming kids with machine guns around Santa “is probably just a little too much.”

The cost of a sitting with Santa is $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers, with one print photo and one digital copy included.

To Eric Bowen, the father of an 11-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, the photo shoots are more of a novelty than anything else. “It all comes down to a personal right,” he says. “If you want to celebrate the Christmas season with Santa and your favorite rifle, then why should I stop you?”

At the photo session Nov. 26, people of all ages took turns standing next to St. Nick, grinning and toting AK-47s and modified AR-15s. The backdrop included an $80,000 Garwood Minigun, a heavy machine gun.

"If you want to celebrate the Christmas season with Santa and your favorite rifle, then why should I stop you?" Is this from the War on Christmas claim? Because I thought that was all about “Jesus is the reason for the season” etc. - not that gun-hating liberals want to take away the right to pose with Santa and guns. 

Did anyone else think of the "Red Sleigh Down" episode of South Park?

You know what actually surprises me about this? With 30.2 guns for every 100 people, Wyoming didn’t do it first.

(Source: csmonitor.com)

Filed under Arizona guns politics Christmas xmas Santa Santa Claus St. Nick guns and santa really? This is a thing? Second Amendment Seriously? x-mas holidays

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Christian nation is in evidence

It seems local theocrats are determined to convince us that America was founded as a Christian nation and continues to be a Christian nation to this day. No amount of history and reason will convince them that their viewpoint cannot be sustained historically, theologically or politically.

Never mind that the founding fathers spoke of a generic God and rarely, if ever, mentioned the Christian God, Jesus Christ. Never mind that the Constitution commands a strict separation of church and state. Never mind that the deism of the founding fathers is not the same as evangelical Christianity.

Let’s grant the theocrats their position for a moment. Every president in my lifetime has professed to be a Christian. Virtually every member of Congress professes faith in Jesus Christ. Even at the state and local level Christianity is the de facto religious faith.

We are a nation dominated by the Christian religion. That’s why it is so amusing to listen to evangelicals complain about the “war on Christmas.” There is no war on Christmas, any cursory reading of a newspaper will show. Jesus is everywhere this time of year. Evangelicals continue to wage the culture war, out to stop every action they deem sinful. Fear the gay. Fear the atheist. Fear the liberal. Fear the socialist. You get the picture — fear, fear, fear.

Christianity is the God of American culture. Every community has multiple Christian churches. Ohio state government and local government in northwest Ohio is dominated by the Republican Party, and we all know that GOP stands for “God’s Only Party.” The truth is that Christians own this country, lock, stock and barrel.

Since it is quite evident that Christianity is the dominant religion in America, and since most of our governmental leaders are card-carrying Christians, it is right for us to ask exactly what has Christianity given us as a nation?

War, torture, homophobia, amoral capitalism, economic collapse, the destruction of the working class and punitive political policies that punish and hurt the poor.

I could go on but space is limited. It is quite clear that the Christianity of this Christian nation of ours is quite antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. The Jesus of the Bible was much more like a socialist than a capitalist. Jesus loved the poor and disenfranchised. If Jesus were alive today I suspect he would have a lot to say about this modern, bastardized Christianity that permeates America.

Bruce Gerenscer

Ney

This is an excellent letter to the editor by Bruce Gerenscer, an ex-evangelical minister. It appeared in my hometown newspaper, The Crescent News. Bruce is a wonderfully wise man and an inspiration. 

Filed under America Bruce Gerenscer Jesus War on Christmas evangelical Christianity letter to the editor truth religion Christmas Christian