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Hello, everyone.


If you aren’t into acronyms, this reads as Thank God Christmas Is Over!!!

Yesterday was the birthday of the bouncing Baby Boy.  It was also the birthday for luminaries like Nimrod, Mithras, Horus, Attis, Tammuz,Krishna, Zoroaster, Dionysus, and a whole slew of other gods born to virgin mothers on December 25.

How did I get through this awful season?  By focusing on the Winter Solstice and anticipating the lengthening of the days.  There is scientific evidence of a mental / emotional condition where a person experiences depression because of the short days and long nights.  Carol experienced something like this when she was alive, and I have noticed since she died that I experience something similar.

In years past, the “Christmas” stuff started the day after Thanksgiving.  This year, it started later – it started in earnest around the 15th.  Also, possibly because of the economy, there weren’t the number of college Xmas concerts that there have been in the past.  But, those that made it to PBS were as good as they always have been.

There is the usual good and bad in Xmas programming.  Every time you turn around, there is another screening of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  That film has been shown so much, or talked about so much, that I have no desire to watch it.  Also this year, there was a concert by a 4-man group called “Tonic Sol-Fa.”  When I saw that in the program guide, I thought it was a concert of Xmas music by a group that was a part of the Sacred Harp shaped-notes tradition.  It was anything but.  These four guys did jazz interpretations of various Christmas songs.  I like the big bands and good Dixieland, but THEIR style of jazz just ain’t my bag.

And, of course, TBS did essentially a 24-hour marathon of “The Christmas Story,” about the kid who wants a BB gun for Christmas.  I saw it once, and thought that it made the Three Stooges look like serious Shakespearean theater.

But there was great stuff on as well.  Like I mentioned, the Christmas concerts from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and St. Olaf College, in Northfield, Minnesota, were wonderful as always.  What was especially darling about the Belmont program was the fact that they included a real bluegrass-type group that did one song that made it to the broadcast. Blue grass isn’t my cup of tea, but I couldn’t help but love those kids for being willing to get up and do their stuff.  I realize that the “Messiah” isn’t everyone’s favorite choice either.

But what made this such a wonderful holiday season for me was the return to TV of the 1951 movie of “A Christmas Carol,” starring Alastair Sim.  This is my favorite version of the story.  I remember when Carol was alive, I would keep checking the TV listings for it because I wanted to record it.  Almost every year I found it AFTER it has been broadcast, and Carol would always say, “My honey can always get it next year.”  But there came a time when there was no “next year.”  It just flat-out disappeared.  Then one day I was checking the Montrose TV listings online – the local newspaper prints the TV listings in the daily paper instead of one special section for the week like they used to – and I saw it listed on Turner Classic Movies.  To be sure, I got it! And it is now safely burned to DVD.  Thanks a ton, Ted Turner!!

And then there’s the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  What more needs to be said?

Plus, I found some fine presentations of “The Nutcracker” on YouTube, and I downloaded a couple of them.  That is the whole ballet, not the chopped-up bits and pieces that are the norm for YouTube.

So all in all, given the Alastair Sim “Carol,” the concerts from Belmont and St. Olaf, and the YouTube “Nutcrackers,” it was a tolerable season, but I am still glad that Xmas is over.

The Evangelicals are so wrapped up in their “baby” that they are oblivious to the fact that the Xmas season is or can be an extremely difficult time for people, especially for those who are alone.  I had a rough period yesterday, I think during a Mormon Tabernacle Choir program.  They sang “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, and Longfellow’s poem came to my mind and stayed there.  I thought about this verse

And in despair, I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said,

“For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of ‘peace on earth, good will toward men.’”

And I reflected on how Longfellow wrote his text during the Civil War, and then I started to think about the hatred in this world – the Christian jihad against Islam, the Christian hatred of the Palestinians, the Christian hatred of all other religions, Newt Gingrich’s hatred for the poor, etc., ad infibitum, ad nauseum – and I began to wonder that, in view of the Civil War and the modern Christian and conservative hatreds, what exactly was the purpose of the birth of the “baby” that the Christians insist that everyone celebrate?  All the hurt and pain in the world began to overcome me, and I got up to go and take some Xanax or St. John’sWort to help me get past this grief.

But before I could take a step to take the med, my cell phone rang.  It was Carol’s sister Ginny.  She called to wish me a Merry Xmas, and also to let me talk to my niece.  Hilary was home for the holidays and she wanted to talk to Uncle Bill.  What that call meant to my spirits, I’ll never be able to describe.  Hillie is to Uncle Bill what David and his harp were to King Saul in the Old Testament.  Dark clouds don’t last long when one hears her voice and her youthful enthusiasm.

After we ended the call, Longfellow’s text came back to my mind, but immediately the following verse came to my remembrance:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep,

“God is not dead nor does he sleep.

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With ‘peace on earth, good will toward men.’”

I was then reminded of a statement Dwight Eisenhower made at the end of his presidency.  He said something along the lines of “There are people in this country who want to live at peace with their fellow men, and the best thing that the government can do is to get out of their way and let them do so.”  As I thought about these things, I realized how correct and full of wisdom the “Occupy” movement was.  I also realized that Longfellow’s words had the potential to become true – but ONLY if we removed “Jesus Christ” from the equation.  Because if Christian superiority and the Christian hatreds are permitted to contaminate our society and our relationships with our fellow men, we will never know peace on earth and good will toward men.

And that is why I am so thrilled that Christmas is over!  No more sanctimonious bullshit about “a baby born in a manger.”  No more cacophony of “The Carol of the Bells.”  No more belching and braying of “Silent Night.”  And definitely no more of the moronic nonsense of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

If the jazz about “Jesus” really being the “Prince of Peace” is really true, then what say that we flush down the toilet all the moronic nonsense of “Jesus” conquering the world and all people being compelled to become Christians or die, and shut our friggin’ mouths and truly ponder how we can make this poor old world a better place to live.  I’m sure that the Palestinians have some ideas, if the Jews and Evangelicals have the intellect to shut up and listen.  I’m also sure that The Buddha and Mohammad have ideas if the Christians are capable of remaining silent and listening.  There are people on this planet who have an honest dream and desire to make this world a better place, and the best thing that the Christians, Jews, and everyone else who disagrees with this dream can do is to follow Ike’s advice and just get the heck out of the way and leave us alone and let us take a stab at making this world a better place to live.

Happy Kwanzaa, everyone.  And a happy 2012.




December 27, 2011 - Posted by | Music, Politics, Religion

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