Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wishing everyone who comes here a very Happy New Year and much happiness, health and love in 2012.

A Republican Panic Button:

Cartoon from Mark Huffaker's Scuff Productions blog

I took it as somewhat encouraging that a number of Republican Representatives bolted and voted for the payroll tax cuts, knowing that the American people are beginning to catch on about where the obstacles are coming from that keep the economy in crisis.  A comment was made on last Friday's Washington Week in Review that Speaker Boehner's power is eroding now among Republican Party backers and financiers as it becomes obvious he cannot deliver what he promises.  I don't see him as completely down and out as he's too arrogant, and too determined to kill anything that would help the people of this country if it has the slightest Democratic Party origin.  But I do think that as economic indicators show improvement and job numbers rise, it can only help the president as people now understand that Republicans cannot be identified with any trend to economic recovery.

Facebook exchange just before Christmas:
Mike Mennonno (status) Fruitcakes in the news  (link follows, about the auction of a fruitcake baked in 1941 -- don't ask)
Will (comment) Oh, when you said Fruitcakes in the news, I thought you meant Gingrich, Bachmann, Santorum, Romney and . . . my, but the list goes on!
Mike Mennonno (Like)


I saw a comment on the story about how Newt Gingrich failed to gather a measly 10,000 valid signatures to allow him to appear on the Virginia Primary ballot.   He's not on another major state Primary ballot as well but Virginia is Newt's current home state and the whole mess is very embarrassing.  Republican political strategist Karl Rove even lambasted Newt for his failure, which he made worse when he and his campaign director compared it to the attack on Pearl Harbor (Newt brings up Pearl Harbor a lot as one of his books that he is currently huckstering on the campaign trail is about that fatal attack that led the US into WWII).  At another point in the original statement, Gingrich even evoked the image of Auschwitz -- which has been expunged from the copy on the web because such a comparison is way too controversial.  But the Pearl Harbor analogy stays and could be a political disaster for him. 

But is it perhaps a PLANNED disaster?  One young man who blogs under the name JeepBear said the reason for the Primary disqualifications should be self-evident (I paraphrase): A) Gingrich does not really want the presidency, but  B) Gingrich wants to sell his books; however,  C) a book tour is a very expensive thing to do, so  D) by staging the book tour to look like a presidential campaign Gingrich can pay for it with campaign funds, because  E) Gingrich is greedy and doesn't want to spend his own money.

Make sense?  It may be true, even though nothing else makes much sense with the Republican candidates so far. 


Home made bread, topped with toasted sesame seeds and bits of ground ginger.  This one was ready for Christmas Eve morning.


A Christmas Meme
 Erik Rubright, blog friend and tattoo artist extraordinaire, featured this meme on Christmas Day.  Here is my take on it:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Gift bags for giving wine, otherwise wrapping paper all the way.

2. Real tree or artificial tree?
Real.  Fritz started planting Christmas Trees years ago and we keep planting as they're cut down and used.

3. Angel on the tree top or a star?
This year nothing, as the tree is too tall for us to reach from our household step ladder.  But if you stand in just the right place in front of it, the top of the tree lines up perfectly with a multicolored glass ball hanging high in the living room's gable window and you can pretend.

4. Favorite ornament, theme or color?
Hand made ornaments of any kind.

5. When do you put up the tree?
5 days to a week beforehand.

6. When do you take the tree down?
Mid to late January.

7. Favorite gift received as a child?
A complete recording of Verdi' La Traviata conducted by Arturo Toscanini at age seven -- it started me on my life-long collection of opera and symphonic music recordings.  And yes, all the signs were there very early, weren't they?

8. Hardest person to buy for?
The person who has everything, needs nothing and says so when asked what (s)he might like.

9. Easiest person to buy for?
Fritz, because when he opens my gifts he gets all sentimental and weepy which leads to all kinds of laughter and hugging.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail always.  I am not a Luddite, but I believe in putting in the effort to send personal greetings.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A child-sized fedora hat my parents bought so I could look like a "little gentleman" and to train me for a life of wearing hats, suits, ties and wing-tip shoes when I went into the business world.  From earliest childhood I did, and still do, loathe hats.  I went into the arts where you wear what you want to wear, and don't have to look exactly like everybody else.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Oxymoron (no, it's not the name of a movie).

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Any time in the year I see something that's right for somebody.   By September I'm usually very far along.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
I probably have but can't remember an instance right now.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Champagne with anything good.

16. Favorite Christmas song?
None of the dreck on the radio.  Cantique de Noël aka O, Holy Night by Adolphe Adam, preferably in the original French.
17. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
In my family it was always flexible depending on which relative offered to host and when everybody could travel.  Christmas was literally a "movable feat."

18. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

19. Can you name all of the 7 Dwarfs?
Yes, but I'll echo Erik by asking, what do they have to do with Christmas?

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
In my family it was Christmas Eve at my house and Christmas Day at my grandmother's.  Fritz and I do it after coffee and Christmas stollen (preferably with the marzipan filling) on Christmas morning.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
"The Little Drummer Boy" drives me batshit crazy, particularly when sung by a group of kids directed  to look or sound pathetic, poor, and/or downtrodden.  Sentimental claptrap.

22. Do you hang mistletoe?
No, I have never had any problem kissing the one I want to kiss -- I don't need the help of a parasitic plant.

23. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I was maybe seven years old but probably six.  The family Christmas gathering was over and I went to bed wired so I didn't fall asleep, although I was very still.  My father, who was not the most graceful of people, came clomping into my bedroom shoving gifts into my stocking.  His tread was unmistakable, so the secret was out.  But I didn't let on I knew for several years because I was afraid if I did the presents would stop coming.

24. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?
People gathering together, catching up on recent news, seeing the various children growing up, eating together before not seeing many of them for another whole year.  We've just come back from such a gathering in New York City hosted by my younger daughter and son-in-law and it was incredible fun.

25. What did you want for Christmas this year?
I am always grateful for anything I get (OK, OK, the fedora didn't make the cut).  I keep an Amazon wish list which usually lists books I'd like to have, an occasional CD or perhaps a needed kitchen gadget.  What I got this year from Fritz that I would not have thought to ask for was a Kindle Fire.   One of it's big virtues is that we'll be able to get on the web when we travel instead of hauling the big MacBookPro  around.

But I may discover a lot of new uses for it in my life.  For example, a NY Times article on the most significant stories in classical music in 2011 praised "the Borromeo String Quartet, for performing with laptops instead of sheet music; and Jeffrey Kahane, the pianist and conductor, who used an iPad as a score to lead the New York Philharmonic."  Somehow or other I suspect the Kindle may become an interesting design tool for me.

I am convinced that Gingrich is only in this campaign to sell his books, make way for another book, and increase his fees for public appearances.

I just ate too much for dinner. Then had too much for dessert. And yet, I could still go for a slice of that bread!
Happy New Year, my sweets, I am thinking of you two and your glorious NYE party. See you in 2012.
Oh, BTW, according to the 2011 Wordpress 'summary report', you were one of my top five commenters to my blog. I thank you very neatly for doing that so sweetly.
And I thank you very dearly for saying that so clearly!
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