A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year 2007

I predict that this coming year will be like all the previous years of my life. It will start with hopes, desires for a fulfillment of wishes, and promises of happiness. It will end with shattered dreams, bitter disappointment and profound depression. Hey, it’s my German ancestry rising to the top again. What did you expect?

Actually it will begin with a kick-ass party at our neighbor’s (Terry and Sally) house. There we will gather with neighbors and friends for drinking, munching on finger food (I must ask Sally this year how she bakes up all those yummy fingers), drinking, making fun at yesterday celebrities trying to make a comeback on VH1, and drinking. After several drinks, things will get very silly. We will make up gross jokes about people less fortunate than ourselves, do Dick Clark impersonations, and giggle endlessly when my wife tries to make a sentence out of two totally unrelated words. Yes, we can be cruel, but we know it’s the beer and wine talking, and not a reflection of our true selves.

The fun doesn’t end with everyone going home and leaving the hosts to clean up after us. I know that the hostess will get the last laugh. While we are recovering from our hangovers the next day, she will be posting photos of us in various stages of inebriation on her website. Some of these photos are suitable for blackmail, but that’s the nice thing about Sally. She has posted these photos three years in a row, and has not asked for one dime in all that time.

Anyway, since nobody asked me to post this, here are my resolutions for 2007:

1. I will eat less, and exercise more, and hopefully the result will be some sort of weight loss.

2. I will give up the naïve notion that peace can be achieved between everyone living in the Middle East.

3. I will eat less, and drink more, and hopefully I will look upon life with a rosier attitude.

4. I mean, come on, they’ve been hating and fighting each other for thousands and thousands of years now.

5. I will try very hard to give George W. Bush all the respect that the leader of the free world deserves in my blog.

6. Look at it this way, this system has worked for them for years. If it didn’t work for them, then obviously they would’ve stopped fighting a long time ago.

7. Scratch resolution #5.

8. Who are we to come in and butt into their conflict? After all, who died and made the United States boss over everything?

9. I will take steps to do something else with my life than what I’ve been doing for the last twenty years. Yes, this is my mid-life crisis calling.

10. If they want to go nuclear, then fine. Just don’t come crying to us when this Earth is nothing more than a hollow, radioactive shell and none of the land is worth fighting over anymore.

Sincere wishes for a Happy New Year from arteejee!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Year End Cabbages and Kings

Herewith are a few comments on events of the last few days.

Gerald R. Ford

The unelected successor to Richard M. Nixon died earlier this week, leaving a legacy of doing the right thing at what seemed like the wrong time. During his short tenure (two and a half years), he pardoned his predecessor for all Watergate-related crimes, oversaw the fall of Saigon and the disastrous end of our involvement in Vietnam, and refused to bail out New York City from its financial woes, among other events. Many commentators have pointed at his pardon of Nixon as the reason he may have lost the 1976 election to Jimmy Carter, although I think it was the right thing to do at the time to get the country over Watergate. Anyway, I recall that his 1976 loss may have had other factors involved. For instance, remember the New York Post headline, “Ford to City: Drop Dead!” Oh yeah, that would warm me up to vote Republican if I were living in New York City at the time. Overall, Ford was a victim of circumstance, capping a lifetime of public service to his country at the most thankless point in our history.

James Brown

The Godfather of Soul passed away on Christmas Day, a bad time to leave humanity, but as good a time as any to enter the afterlife. I never heard much of his work unless I was listening to the oldies radio station, but many articles point to his work ethic, his staying power in show business, and his influences on other musicians. He seemed to be one of those breeds of consummate performers – Ray Charles springs to mind as another one – who are quickly passing from our sight. These performers concerned themselves with giving their all for their audience. Brown’s death seemed so sudden, given the fact that he was handing out Christmas gifts to the children of Atlanta two days before he died. James Brown was a real professional to the end.

Polar Bears

Good morning, Bush Administration! Isn’t it a lovely spring morning, even though it’s DECEMBER? Are you finally ready to concede the existence of global warming? Did you see that Moscow is brown and balmy, when they should have cold wintry conditions at this time of year? Have you noticed that the polar bear habitats are slowly melting away? The poor bruins have been drowning in the ocean, unable to find their traditional food source, resorting to cannibalism, and lying about hitting on White House interns. All right, I made that last one up, but their situation is dire. I hope you’re finally waking up to the reality of man’s impact on the global environment. The Russians know this, and the polar bears know this, and I can’t resist asking you this: how does it feel to be dumber than a polar bear?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So Long to Seasonal Songs

Now that the holiday season is over, the radio stations, the retail outlets, and any other entity that pipes in music puts their holiday music away for another year. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few cases, it shouldn’t happen this way. Members of my parents generation have often remarked that Christmas songs would be played beyond the New Year. Imagine, hearing “Jingle Bells” by the Barking Dog Chorale on January 6! Now, however, once Christmas Day is over, the radio stations resume their regular programming and mankind can resume their normal attitudes of greed, immorality, and war.

It shouldn’t be this way. I will agree that any song mentioning Christmas in their lyrics should be put away shortly after Christmas Day, but other seasonal songs can still be rotated on radio playlists. Songs like “Winter Wonderland”, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, and “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow”, were made for the winter season, which has barely begun as the holidays are winding down. Granted, these songs get mixed in with the holiday music, and everyone is sick and tired of hearing them, particularly since we’ve been hearing them since early November, but they still have a place at this time of year.

We need to hear songs romanticizing the worst possible weather conditions mankind faces on an annual basis. Having said that, I realize we don’t have songs about tornadoes, hurricanes, and typhoons, but that is a goal for which the songwriters of the world can work. In the meantime, we should be grateful for tunes like “Let It Snow”, when snow is piling up on the highway and you suddenly develop a flat tire, facing the prospect of a cold adventure doing a usually simple task of car maintenance. Or hum “Winter Wonderland” as your feet give way on the icy sidewalk which you neglected to salt, and you suddenly find yourself in the air, sailing very awkwardly towards the ground and producing a bruised, possibly broken limb, when you land.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” is best reserved for those moments when you’re outside digging out from a blizzard, and your significant other taps on the window, and waves the nice warm mug of cocoa at you. These moments can be interpreted two ways. The first way could be the message, “Come on in and take a break. Here is some nice cocoa for you.” Or it could be interpreted to mean, “Ha, ha, you’re out there and I’m in here with this nice warm drink!” The second interpretation is particularly true if it is accompanied by sticking their tongue out or thumbing their nose at you.

I mentioned exceptions of putting away seasonal songs too soon. Although I could probably think of more songs which have been heard since mid-October which need to be thrown away with all due haste, I will limit my comments for now to these three.

Rudolph, The Red-Nose Reindeer

The Gene Autry version is wonderful, but Dean Martin’s version where he refers to Rudolph as “Rudy” is the type of poetic license I can do without. What were you thinking, Dino? Only the Chairman of the Board can get away with changing character names like that. Poor Rudolph can’t get any respect.

Jingle Bells

I have a theory that there are really only a dozen Christmas standards, and that radio stations play these same standards over and over to fill their holiday season schedule. We don’t notice this because any singer who has made it big in the last fifty years has made his or her own collection of Christmas standards. Obviously, radio stations are obligated to play each version of these standards until the holiday season is over. "Jingle Bells" is one such standard which is more winter than Christmas, but we’ll get bored with it by Christmas Day anyway. Here, the Natalie Cole version sticks out in my mind. She starts out by calling the roll of Santa’s reindeer. Natalie, you’re riding in a one horse open sleigh! Why drag Rudolph and the other reindeer into this? Poor Rudolph can’t get any respect.

Christmas Shoes

Oh great, just what I always wanted at Christmas time: a tearjerker! It’s been awhile since a song has been so universally popular and reviled at the same time as this one. Remember SSgt Barry Sadler’s "Ballad of the Green Berets"? As for this song's theme about a parent dying at Christmas time: been there, dealt with it, time to move on!

Well, the normal playlists have returned, and although the winter songs should still have their place for a few more months, they too have been shelved. Still I take comfort that as one gets older, the times of the year seem to go faster. The holiday songs will return very soon, which by my estimation should be the day after Labor Day.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas – 2006

Each year my wife and I watch one or more film versions of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as one tradition we keep to find the Christmas spirit. I think that, secretly, Anne Marie roots for Scrooge in the beginning, but he always disappoints her in the end by crossing over to the light side when he finds the true meaning of Christmas. I guess she hopes that the ending will change if she watches it long enough, but that never happens.

We also had a chance last weekend to view the Dickens’ Christmas Village at Macy’s in Center City Philadelphia. It is a wonderful return of a traditional Christmas display that generations of Philadelphians have experienced. I only mention this because the fellow playing Father Christmas was so joyful, that he instantly communicated the true spirit of the holiday season to me. I haven’t felt this much euphoria in a long time.

Still, despite the wonderful stories, the glitter and glitz of holiday displays, and the sincerity of the message, the true meaning of Christmas can elude us. Deep down we all know where the spirit of the season can be found. We know this despite the challenges confronting us each year. It’s simply a matter of overcoming the challenges and allowing the spirit to present itself.

We can sense the spirit everywhere with our sight and our hearing. We hear the songs constantly on the radio, full of clichés, but also with sincerity for the joyous wishes of the season. The songs may make us smile, but many of us still feel an emptiness inside. We want to believe in the Irving Berlin/Currier and Ives mindset of those special Christmases that nostalgia dictates don’t exist anymore, but the music doesn’t always work.

The greetings we exchange, “Merry This” and “Happy That”, don’t always reach us. We’re blinded by so many sensations at this time of year. We are given fear if we don’t get that certain gift to place under the tree. We can be made to feel insecure if everyone around us gets the spirit and we don’t. So we try to lay blame on other things.

We blame the weather, “Oh, it’s not cold enough to feel like Christmas”. We blame the media, “Oh, they start playing the songs to early. I’ll be sick of them before Christmas even gets here.” Or we can blame the global situation in general, “How can I celebrate Christ’s birth when so many of us are dying in his name. Surely, this can’t be what He would’ve wanted.”

Several weeks ago I wrote (humorously) about the great disconnect between human nature and the spirit of the Christmas season. My message was one of denial of the season. I’m not taking any of it back. It was my way of overcoming my personal challenge to find joy in the season. Did I succeed? I don’t know; the fact is I’m still working on it.

So, this Monday, after all the gifts are wrapped, the food is cooked, the traveling is done, and the stresses of the last month subside, we should take a silent moment and find that concept so dear to the Christmas season. That is when we will find it, where it had been all along, deep in our hearts. Each of us will find this concept which for now, for this year, I will call it simply


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Shrimp of the Future

First, steak was what’s for dinner. Then came pork, the other white meat. Now shrimp is the latest meat source to launch a public relations campaign on national television.

The commercials tout the advantages of consuming shrimp caught in the wild as opposed to those lowly shellfish raised on a farm. It features a bunch of shrimp men – old, grizzled, bearded, stocky fishermen – pushing the idea that the wild shrimp are superior to that farm-raised variety. They even suggest that the general public has been hoodwinked into believing that all the shrimp they eat is the wild variety, when the truth is far different.

I have to salute these little critters for having the gumption and resources to set the record straight. I always thought that a shrimp is a shrimp is a shrimp. Actually, I never gave it any thought at all. When it comes to shrimp I am always too busy peeling their shells off, dunking them in cocktail sauce, and then deep sixing them to the depths of my stomach. I’ve never really cared where they came from because I was concentrating on where they were going.

So, I wonder, what makes shrimp in the wild that much better than their wussy farm bred cousins? Are they bigger? Heartier? Also, what makes them wild? Do they party down on the weekends? Do they expose parts of their bodies to get beads at Mardi Gras, and if so, how can a human being see that body part with the naked eye? (Okay, insert your own ex-girlfriend joke here. You do it; I don’t have the chutzpah to take this any further!)

Still, my heart goes out to the now maligned farm variety. I can imagine how they must feel, being confined to a limited area of water, unable to enjoy the freedom of the ocean, and now they’ll develop inferiority complexes because of these commercials. I’m sure they see no point in getting out of the salt bed every morning just to hear themselves insulted on national television.

Perhaps they should not take this lying down. This might be a golden opportunity for the farm shrimp to stand on their tails, shake their feelers in anger and resolve to improve themselves. May I suggest that they develop a set of skills that those wild shrimp don’t possess.

The farm shrimp could possibly make themselves a more efficient commodity for human consumption. As an example, let’s look at the process that takes them out of the water and into our mouths. They have to be caught, cleaned, deveined, boiled, broiled, frozen, batter dipped, deep-fried, sautéed, tossed, dusted with spices, and slathered in cocktail sauce. Whew! That’s a lot of steps for a little shellfish!

I doubt that they can improve their taste, but perhaps they can work on their presentation. Maybe the shrimp of the future could be trained to add a little pizzazz to their final moments. They could shell themselves in front of the customer; some may even be daring enough to perform this part as a strip tease. Then, as a finale, they take the deveining fork and commit hara-kiri, before toppling over into a pool of cocktail sauce. Some shrimp may want to do this act as part of a larger dramatic presentation like, say, the finale from “Romeo and Juliet”. All this could certainly make the Chinese buffets much more entertaining.

Some diners may want the shrimp to automatically jump into their mouths, but not me. I wouldn’t expect them to do that; particularly since they went to the trouble of performing Shakespeare. I wouldn’t mind using my fingers or a fork to lift them to my mouth. It’s the least I can do for my dining pleasure.

So, farm bred shrimp, this challenge is before you! Yes, I speak to you, super shrimp! Unite, and show those wild shellfish what you’re made of! Your reputation is at stake! Or, if you don’t care, then that’s just fine! Just lie there in your coat of seafood seasoning and wait for the inevitable fork to take you away.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Keep Warm, Mr. President

In keeping with the benevolent spirit of the season, I will refrain from my usual Bush-bashing and send a heartfelt message to the President. This is not an easy time for him. Many of his friends and colleagues are moving out of town, and winter is setting in. It could be a very cold winter at the White House. With this in mind, here are my suggestions for old papers and documents which he may find useful to burn in the Lincoln bedroom fireplace to keep himself warm.

1. The Iraq Study Group Recommendations. Oh, come on. You knew you were going to burn this before the report was complete.

2. Old love letters from Condi.

3. The new Bob Woodward book, “State of Denial”. No, not his previous two books that made you look like the greatest thing since sliced bread, but his most recent one that makes you look clueless and out of touch with reality.

4. Old love letters from Ann Coulter.

5. Blank thank you cards with the words “Thanks For Doing A Heckuva Job” embossed in silver on the cover.

6. Everything ever written by Michael Moore.

7. Old Kerry/Edwards 2004 signs.

8. Everything ever written by Al Franken.

9. The US Constitution, specifically the parts you haven’t already shredded. This is nice, dry yellow parchment that should make very good kindling for your fire.

10. Printed copies of every entry in this blog which has dared to say nasty things about you. I’ll make this easy for you to figure out. That would roughly be every other entry I’ve made in this blog since I started it eleven months ago.

Hope this list helps! Keep warm, Mr. President!

Monday, December 11, 2006

“It’s the End of the World as We Know It”, and I Feel Great!

A very awkward situation has popped up for the Bush administration in the last few days. Mary Cheney, daughter of the vice president, announced that she and her partner are expecting a baby. This would ordinarily be welcome, joyful news especially now in the middle of the Christmas holiday season, but not all Christians are happy for them. The news is awkward for them and for myself.

The Christian conservatives have long pressured the Bush administration for passage of a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Same sex marriages would be illegal by inference of the amendment’s language. The Bush administration couldn’t deliver on this amendment, and the religious conservatives showed their displeasure by allowing the Republicans to lose control of Congress. Now, a child of one of the administration’s top leaders is going to dare raise a child in a gay relationship.

One leader, Janice Crouse of the Concerned Women for America, has called the pregnancy “unconscionable”. Heavens!!! The Christian conservatives are treating this news like it’s the end of civilization as we know it. I’m not surprised by this rhetoric, but I still find it incredible.

Excuse me, but this is still the Christmas season, right?

I was led to believe that all Christians felt that any pregnancy was a child, not a choice. Still, this pregnancy is wrong in their eyes. What would you propose that the vice president do, Miss/Ms/Mrs. Crouse? Do you want him to go to his daughter and say, “Look, I know a good doctor across the border that can take care of your little ‘problem’ for you.”? I doubt that this scenario will play out like this.

No, it appears that Mary and her partner Heather Poe are committed in a loving relationship. It also appears that the prospective grandparents are looking forward to this new arrival. This child will, by all appearances, be raised in a loving environment.

So what’s your problem, Christian conservatives?

I’m thrilled at this news. I’m delighted that Mary Cheney is expecting. I’m happy for the grandparents and their commitment of support for their daughter. I’m ecstatic that this whole situation is making the Bush administration squirm!

This is also awkward for me because in this case I have to AGREE with Dick Cheney on this issue. I don’t care about everything else he has done to this country — the Iraq mess is clearly his baby, although Rumsfeld was the one to fall on the sword — but in this case I have to admit that he is doing the right thing. I doubt that this will ever happen again in this blog, so we should probably savor this moment — or retch in disgust depending on your point of view - while we can.

As for the Bush administration and the Christian conservatives, they should probably amend their thinking before they try to change our Constitution. In this case, one family situated near the top of the executive branch know more about loving relationships than many other alleged Christians know. The Cheneys don’t just talk about family values; they are living proof of it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Response to The Iranian People, Or Why I Didn’t Choose International Diplomacy As A Career

Dear Noble Iranians:

I read your leader’s letter to the American people last week and I felt someone should respond to it. His letter was written in very polite, diplomatic terms and, I must admit, he gave a number of good, compelling arguments for an alliance between the people, the everyday citizens, the common folk of our two countries. However, his arguments were only good up to a point.

Your leader realizes that the ordinary American citizen does desire peace and justice in the world. This is totally true. Ask any American on the street about these ideals and they will agree that all citizens of the world should share these goals.

Your leader also says many uncomplimentary things about America’s current leadership. Sadly, I must agree with many of his assessments about the Bush administration. Granted, his sour outlook towards the White House may stem from their non-response to the letter he sent to them. I don’t know if Bush’s people even read his letter. Now, if it’s a case that they wrote on it “Return to Sender”, and sent it back unopened, then I agree that was cold. He has every right to feel slighted, which is probably why he took his case directly to us, the American people.

Then your leader starts in on the Zionists, and how they are the common enemy to both Iran and America. Okay, now he’s crossing over into “Mein Kampf” territory, and this is where I have to raise some objections. I realize that over the last few thousand years there have been some conflict between the Arab world and the Jews. While you may point out that the Jews raise their children to kill all the Arabs, we should be fair and ask you, do you raise your children to greet the Jews with a handshake and a smile? I didn’t think so. Here again my philosophy of life applies, “Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.”*

So, dear noble Iranians, as you can see we do have many things in common. We share a common interest in peace and justice for all. We also share the fact that both of our countries are led by a couple of total horses asses!

Let’s face it, they are both delusional megalomaniacs with arrogant visions of individual grandeur and glory. Perhaps we should think about pitting them in a contest against each other, so that they can iron out their differences in a constructive, albeit aggressively physical, manner. Yes, I’m thinking of a large venue for this match – perhaps the Coliseum ruins in Rome – and offer it as a pay-per-view event for the international television audience. Proceeds raised from the event could go to ease the suffering of refugees worldwide. Choice of weapons could be decided later at the United Nations – after all what else are THEY doing these days – but my personal choice for a weapon would be aluminum baseball bats.

The good news, dear noble Iranians, is that our leader will have to leave office in a few years. At that point we’ll put someone else in his place. We can’t promise you that his replacement will be any better than our current leader, but it would be a start.

That would leave the ball in your court. It would be very helpful if you could replace your current leader with one who truly believes in peace and justice for the world, while of course looking out for your best interests. Naturally, I’m not telling you what to do. After all, you are a sovereign nation and all that, and you deserve to guide your own country’s destiny as you see fit.

I hope you will see my words of advice for what they are, merely suggestions from an American concerned with the welfare of our respective countries. I should point out here that we Americans have a reputation for spreading democracy all over the world. Just look at the wonderful things we’re doing to Iraq!

Enough said?

*Stills, Stephen. “For What It’s Worth”.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Post #100

Today, we hit a milestone with this, the 100th posting on my blog. No need for trumpets to sound, and I don’t need to have flower petals strewn in my path. We’re saving the petals for when Billy Wagner returns to the Phillies...not! I am not sure how many steady readers I have, and therefore I can’t be certain how much influence I’ve had in the blogosphere. However, I can give updates on a few items about which I’ve written.

One of my entries, “LIGHTS! ORGAN! EAGLE!” called for the formation of a community effort to save the Christmas light show in the old Wanamaker building. No such effort has surfaced (although many people are sending money to save Eakins “The Gross Clinic” from leaving town), but there is good news on the Christmas lights. The building is now part of the Macy’s chain who, as good corporate citizens, are bringing back not only the light show, but also another Philadelphia Christmas icon – the Dickens Christmas village! Go, Macy's!

Some of my other ideas have not borne any fruit yet. I have heard nothing about my suggestions for a stamp series honoring Benjamin Franklin, and likewise I have not heard any answers to my questions about “Gilligan’s Island.” Reverend Phelps is still alive and well, and making life miserable for the gay community and families with loved ones in Iraq. Maybe my request for an “accident” got lost somewhere in the cosmos. Still, I am hopeful that divine intervention will answer my prayer.

On the other hand, the Democrats did take back Congress. This gives me some hope for the next two years, when we will have to go to the polls again to pick a new president. In the meantime, I hope the new Congress holds the Bush administration accountable for their previous mistakes and misdeeds.

Of course the elections results were bittersweet for me. Two of my favorite targets, I mean subjects, George Allen and Rick Santorum, are among the lame duck Republicans leaving Congress. Their stupid political tricks made several blog entries so easy to write. I can imagine many editorial cartoonists will miss them as well. Political satire has such pitfalls, but someone else will surely step into the spotlight and entertain us with their comings and goings inside the Beltway.

Finally, I like to thank my loyal readers, some of who have taken the time to respond to my musings. Thank you, Damon, Karen, Brenda, Rob, John, Gina, and Sally. Last, but not least, I should thank my Mom for her continuing support. Please forgive me if you left a note and I didn’t acknowledge your contribution. I appreciate everyone’s support in my creative endeavors.

I suspect I have more readers in the blogosphere, but I don’t know them all by name. Don’t be shy, leave a message, or just say hello if the spirit moves you. So, until later, take care, and don’t believe everything Jerry Springer tells you.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Overtaken by the Spirit of the Season

It is that time of year again for the Christian world to celebrate the birth of the savior, Jesus Christ. It is also a time of reflection when those of us who believe in the Christian faith should reflect on our past actions and strive to make the world a better place for everyone. As it is said over and over again at this time of year, “Peace on Earth and Good Will” I knew that! It was on the tip of my fingertips! Honest!

Yes, this is the time of year when Christians all over the world attempt to actually live the ideals that Jesus advocated. Of course, these ideals usually get in the way of day-to-day living during the rest of the year. That’s why Christmas is limited (officially) to one day.

It wasn’t our idea to start the season before Labor Day; that idea came from the retail industry. It’s not our fault that people from other cultures actually believe that we wish them peace and happiness in whatever way they choose to live their lives. If that were true, then we wouldn’t have spent the last two millenniums trying to convert them to our beliefs.

Okay, so in the spirit of the season, I should wish the Pope well in his efforts to make amends to the Muslim world for his careless comments earlier this year. I also wish that a solution could be found for all international conflicts all over the world: Jews and Muslims, Jews and Christians, Muslims and Christians, British and Irish, Democrats and Republicans, red staters and blue staters, Michael Richards and the black community, Mel Gibson and the Jewish community, and so on.

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean all that. I couldn't care less about any of these things. After all, conflict is drama, and drama is interesting. Also, consider this: there is no money in peace. As an example, how many billions of dollars did the US government spend last year to distribute daisies all over the world? Zip! Nada! Null set! Then how many billions did we spend on new weapons that could wipe out whole cities in the blink of an eye? See my point?

I must have gotten carried away with the good will of the season. It must’ve been those Christmas songs on the radio that moved me to make such wishes. I mean, you have to be affected if you heard five different versions of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” within the space of eight hours. A few more weeks of these songs and I might actually start to believe this stuff!

Peace on Earth! What are we thinking? Good will to men! This flies against the grain of human nature!

So if you must, give gifts, gather family and friends together, eat, drink and be merry. Just don’t kill yourself in the stampede to get that X-Box system that little Johnny has to find under the tree. It’s not worth all that. After all, it’s just Christmas.

(On a serious note, I must extend good wishes to one of my loyal readers and co-worker, Damon Oliver. Get well soon, Damon!)