Holiday Eating Tips

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 20, 2010

PG got this as an email recently. It must be true. Pictures are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately and go next door where they’re serving rum balls.
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can, and quickly — it’s rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat — enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think — it’s almost Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on; make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before they become the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes–if you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards!

10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

11. Remember this motto to live by: “Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate and wine in hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!” .

The Bottom Line On Science

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 20, 2010

Once a week, has a feature called Science Saturday. Some of the best feature John Horgan and George Johnson. They are pals, and say “oh really” a lot. This past week they discussed the business of scientific research, how big money can corrupt the findings. It makes cents sense … when you get government grants to fund your research, it is in your best interests to get the results the government wants. Or, if your employer stands to make billions of dollars from selling a new drug, you want to “prove” that the drug works.

Perhaps it is a semantic issue. People often say prove, when what they should say is indicate. Prove is a murky legalistic concept, full of smoke and mirrors. Indicate is what the numbers on the screen say.

John got mixed up in a controversy about this recently. While discussing this, he quoted an scientific journal to about Why Most Published Research Findings Are False . This caught PG’s ear, and made him put down his photo editing, and make a comment. ( Those pictures from the War between the States have waited 145 years. A few more minutes is not going to hurt.) This comment resulted.

chamblee54 wrote on 12/18/2010 at 02:10 PM Re: Science Saturday: Discovery and Invention (John Horgan & George Johnson) John makes a bold statement .
Further research comes to the same conclusion.

It seems as if an author, writing behind a paywall , wrote about corruption of the scientific method. At the end, he wrote
“Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe.” ( John says it here. )
In a touch of irony, George begins the discussion by recalling a visit to California, and a report on the medical marijuana scene. Marijuana is a good example of the government deciding the results, and then commissioning a study to “prove” what had already been decided. If your lab depends on Uncle Sugar for funding, then your study is going to show that Reefer makes you turn purple.

When PG was in tenth grade, he had a geometry teacher. She had participated in LSD experiments (and said a shot of whiskey would do more for you.) Basic geometry is dependent on proofs, or a series of statements that show a theorem to be true. (There is a difference between a theory and a hypothesis.) A foundation concept of geometry is the Pythagorean theorem. This teacher said it was possible to disprove the Pythagorean theorem.

A couple of years later, PG grew shoulder length hair, and went to visit his uncle. The relative was known for being to the right of Herbert Hoover, and was not amused by PG’s fashion statement.
The uncle got into the firewater, and would say, over and over,
“What are you trying to proooove with your long hair?”

Thanksgiving With Margaret And Helen

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 19, 2010

These rules for holiday dinners are courtesy of MargaretandHelen. It is too late for this Thanksgiving, but not for Christmas, and all the holidays in the future. (Rules 8 & 11 mention a certain celebrity. Chamblee54 considers this celebrity to be getting too much free publicity, and will not make the problem worse at this blog. If you want to read rules 8 & 11, use the link supplied above.)The pictures are from the past, courtesy of The Library of Congress

1. If it jiggles, slap a girdle on it or leave it at home. I am not kidding Cloe. One step inside my door with anything made from Jello and it will be your last step. I have about 50 pounds on you so don’t test me.
2. Rhonda. My house. Your pets. Never the twain shall meet.
3. Mary. My sofa. Your kid’s feet. Never the twain shall meet.
4. I have banned cans of soda. Two liter bottles of soda only. I am tired of throwing away half full cans of soda. If you are two young to lift a 2 liter bottle of soda to fill a glass, you are too young to be drinking soda un-supervised.
5. At age 84 and 11 months, I have had my picture taken more than enough times to fill any memory photo album. The digital era has made it too easy to take way too many useless pictures. Point one camera in my direction this year and I can promise you that your camera will be used to stuff something other than the turkey. When I am gone, feel free to remember me with pictures from my best year – 1962.
6. Texting and driving is just plain stupid. Texting and eating Thanksgiving dinner, however, is a crime punishable by no dessert.
7. Vegetarians really should consider Thanksgiving as a holiday from vegetarianism.
9. The Longhorns are having a difficult year. Your grandfather is aware of that. No need to remind him. Trust me on this one.
10. My Democrats are having a difficult year. I am aware of that. Feel free to remind me and I will, in turn, remind you of what I think of the current Republican Party. Trust me on this one.

Catholic Spam

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 18, 2010

The inbox had a comment, for moderation, of a recent post about Condoleezza Rice. The comment had the sound of spam… “Awesome post here.It’s very nice and interesting.Will you post in future regarding Church Mass Times?Keep sharing!”. The source?  Churchmasstimes. Catholic spam!

The post about Miss Rice (“We didn’t worry about weapons of mass destruction, particularly, in the hands of Russians.”) attracted two more bits of spam, which were caught by WordPress. One was from afghanhoundtraining , from a post about “Puppy House Training – Get All Information You Need to Pull Through – Find Your Training Lifelines”.

The other bit of obvious spam is from world spinner, with a feature on the ever popular Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Above a flattering picture of Mr. A is an animated ad for Ford automobiles. The comment was “Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing…” This same comment was left for “quotes about quotes” .

Getting back to Churchmasstimes, PG is impressed that a fuddy duddy institution like the Catholic Church would use spam to promote itself. CMT is an interactive device, where you enter a zip code in a field for the mass nearest you. ( To a Baptist, mass refers to the lady standing up in the pew in front of you.) The home page shows the mass times for St. John in El Dorado KS.

PG entered his zip code in the appropriate facility, and four possibilities came up on the first page. With names like “Our Lady of the Assumption” and “Immaculate Heart of Mary”, you are not being directed to a grocery store. “Immaculate Heart of Mary” is down the street from the Baptist church PG grew up in. It had the obnoxious habit of ending their sunday mass at the same time as the Baptist service, causing traffic headaches on Briarcliff Road.

In the corner of the home page is a sepia picture of a pregnant woman, with the slogan “Do you believe that life begins at conception? Click here to take the survey”. It just wouldn’t be Catholic if you don’t whine about abortion. PG has written about abortion . He is horrified by abortion, and grossed out by the rhetoric of the Catholic Church. If Catholics would devote the same attention to contraception, and adoption, that the expend on anti abortion noise, they would save more babies.

My Top Ten Words Of 2010

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 18, 2010

This “meme” was popping up on Facebook, like kudzu in a vacant lot. My top ten words of 2010 . When you click on the link, you get a hideous request to distribute your basic human information to hackers in Belarus. PG chose to enter the phrase in a google search, which may possibly be just a damaging to his privacy. This search yields 193 million results in 0.19 seconds. What follows is the top ten, top ten words of the year. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

The grand marshall of this parade is the ever fabulous JoeMyG-d. This is a knockoff of a story at The Global Language Monitor regarding the most used words in the worldwide English language media. The number one word this year is spillcam, followed by vuvulezla. Among the top ten phrases of the year almost over is Lady Gaga, Man up, and teachable moment. In an update, the New Oxford American Dictionary has anointed refudiate as the 2010 word of the year.

Trying harder at number two is Cari Kamm . The blond Kamm has a picture, and strongly worded copyright statement on her sidebar. Her most used word of the year rhymes with dove.

The third result is from Linkedin , which was not born in a log cabin. The theme here is “10 most overused buzzwords in your LinkedIn profile” (redundancy alert). The m.o.b. this year is these profiles is extensive experience. A line goes from this word, to a dot over Peoria, IL.

Number four is from Runner’s World, where the number one word is miles. Number five is from associatedcontent , with another feature on refudiate. The bottom line is more name recognition for the P woman. She is living proof, there is no bad publicity. This page has an ad for a book by Keith Olberman, who needs to lose those glasses.

Lemondrop tells the tale of the The Global Language Monitor .
“Oy. We kind of hate these. First, “refudiate“… is not so much a word as the opposite of one. “Spillcam” just serves as a reminder of that time when the entire Gulf Coast got ruined. “Vuvuzela” represents just about the most annoying sound in the history of sports. … Let’s all work extra hard to make 2011 a banner year for Top Words, by bringing back phrases like “free puppies” and “banner year.””
Yoursonglyrics must have paid google for it’s placement on this list. The page is a collection of lyrics from current songs, with no indication of what is the most popular in 2010. One of the songs featured is “Yeah3x” by Chris Brown, another teflon celebrity.

For number eight, the Washington Post regurgitates the report of The Global Language Monitor. Elyrics has an auto start ad for “Avatar”on dvd. Below that is a list of the top twenty five songs.

If you are tired of reading this, here is number ten. It is about a popular word game, Scrabble . The highest scoring word (without double or triple tiles) is muzjiks. The word refers to Russian peasants. It cops 29 natural points.

Secretary Of Mass Destruction

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 16, 2010

A facebook friend posted a link to
“Condoleezza Rice Smacks Down Katie Couric’s Insulting, Ignorant Depiction of Iraq War”. This referred to a video posted at The type below the video says “Secretary Rice gives the greatest, most thorough and intelligent response to the criticisms of the decision to go to war in Iraq that has ever been made. As an added bonus, she also makes Katie Couric look shrill and uninformed.”
The first part of the discussion regards WMD, what the administration knew, and when did they know it. Miss Rice maintains the “preponderance of evidence” was that Iraq had WMD. It is an established fact that chemical weapons were used during the Iran-Iraq war.

What is not discussed here was the fact that WMD was the excuse for the invasion, not the reason. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was quoted saying
“The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason.”
In 1941, The United States was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor. A declaration of war was issued within a week. There was no settling on an issue for bureaucratic reasons.

Miss Kouric asked Miss Rice if there was another rationale for going to war, other than WMD. Miss Rice did not answer the question, but instead repeated that the administration had good reason to believe there were WMD.

At the 3:21 point, Miss Rice makes an amazing comment.
“We didn’t worry about weapons of mass destruction, particularly, in the hands of Russians. The Russians had, a hundred thousand, a hundred times the weapons capability of Saddam Hussein.” To anyone who remembers the cold war, this is a jaw dropper. PG grew up expecting to be nuked by the evil commies. And now we find out that our leaders were not worried. Maybe the communist threat was a lie.
The last part of the interview was an exercise in rhetoric. The question is whether you prefer the people of Iraq putting together the “first confessional democracy in the middle east” to a nuclear arms race between Saddam Hussein and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Never mind the threat to Iran posed by Iraq ( and vice versa). Now, Iran is stronger than ever.

The issue of the price tag for this war is not addressed. Unknown thousands of dead Iraqis, thousands of maimed and killed Americans, millions of refugees, and the annihilation of the American economy. Yes, we may be better off with Saddam Hussein, but can we afford the change we made?

Pictures for tonight’s amusement are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.

Checkout Line Stories

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 15, 2010

This may come as a surprise, but tabloids don’t always tell the truth. A website called Gawker did a study recently on five checkout line favorites, Us Weekly, Star, Life & Style, In Touch, and OK!. The fearless five was studied on coverage of rumors about breakups, pregnancies, marriages, engagements, adoptions, and reconciliations.

In the publications studied, US Weekly rated as the most accurate. 35% of her cover stories were true, while 59% of her overall tales passed the smell test. Star and OK! were in a virtual tie for last place.

The study focused on those five dead tree publications. The grocery store champion People is mostly a venue for press releases, and does not play the gossip game. The online world was ignored (As Perez Hilton should be), as was the corporate “lamestream media”. The so called legitimate newspapers slant stories through spin and selective reporting, rather than outright falsehood. They also report on issues like wars and the economy, while Star is concerned with when Brad Pitt last took a shower. As for the advertising in these various outlets, let the buyer beware.

If you really want to know, notes about the methodology of the gawker are available. HT for this matter goes to kikoshouse. The pictures, full of truth and beauty, are from The Library of Congress.

Quotes About Quotes

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 14, 2010

In the previous post, PG wrote about synchronicity, and connected subjects. Before long, he visited Mr. Google to see what others had to say. While picking and choosing, the idea light bulb went on. Why not look up quotes about quotes?

Many people have bright ideas. It is a few that can express them in a memorable way. It should be noted that not every clever phrase is the truth, or especially profound. In a sound bite culture, the clever phrase gets the attention that the thought deserves.

There are also misquotes and misunderstandings. Or, the correct quote, with credit given to the wrong person. The title of quote magnet goes to the Ben Franklins and Mark Twains of history, who really didn’t say all those things. It is also not known how many of those credited with famous quotes actually thought of them, and how many are good listeners and repeaters. ( In the case of politicians, with paid speechwriters, the answer is obvious.)

So here we go, with a collection of quotes about quotes. As for the originator, we will trust the source . When PG adds something, it will be in a different color. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

After all, all he did was string together a lot of old well-known quotations. — H.L. Mencken on Shakespeare //A half truth is a whole lie. — Yiddish Proverb//A witty saying proves nothing. — Voltaire// Actions speak louder than words.– Theodore Roosevelt//
( A gram of practice is worth a pound of belief.) Copy from one, it’s plagiarism; copy from two, it’s research.– Wilson Mizner, Unknown , 1876-1933// Godwin’s Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. — Mike Godwin // He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know. — Abraham Lincoln // (There is one thing that is true about newspapers the world over. They print lies. — Bob Geldof, onstage rant, The Capri Ballroom, Atlanta GA, 1979) // He who trains his tongue to quote the learned sages, will be known far and wide as a smart ass. — Howard Kandel // He who would pun would pick a pocket. — Dr. Maturin, Master and Commander ( And he will go to the punitentiary.) // I got so tired of hearing those proverbs when I was a child. Now I use them all the time. Sometimes they are the best way to say what needs to be said. I teach them to my students. I have a collection of proverbs for class discussion and writing assignments. — Marva Collins // I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things. — Dorothy Parker // If a student submits a paper that is good enough to be published, maybe it has. — Dr. Jefferson D. Caskey // ( You have two ears, and one mouth. You should listen twice, and talk once.)

In places, this book is a little over-written because Mr. Blunden is no more able to resist a quotation than some people are to refuse a drink. — George Orwell, on Edmund Blunden // In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman. — Margaret Thatcher // In the matter of soliloquies we cannot accept Hamlet as an unbiased authority. We merely find in him the possible origin of the belief that talking to oneself is a bad sign. — Max Beerbohm // It is a good thing for an educated man to read books of quotations. — Winston Churchill, Unknown , 1874-1965 // It is better to be quotable than to be honest. — Tom Stoppard, (One should know the difference between wisdom and a clever phrase.) // It is not so much the content of what one says as the way in which one says it. However important the thing you say, what’s the good of it if not heard or, being heard, not felt? — Sylvia Ashton-Warner // Light travels faster than sound–isn’t that why some people appear bright until you hear them speak? — Steven Wright // Misquotation is the pride and privilege of the learned — Hesketh Pearson ( Push push in the bush — Disco Lyrics ) // Originality is the art of concealing your sources. — Unknown // Quoting: the act of repeating erroneously the words of another. — Ambrose Bierce // Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider — Francis Bacon, Of Studies, 1605 ( Francis Bacon was never in a movie with Kevin Bacon.) // The cleverly expressed opposite of any generally accepted idea is worth a fortune to somebody. — F. Scott Fitzgerald // The cruelest lies are often told in silence. — Adlai Stevenson // The man who doesn’t read has no advantage over the man who can’t read. — Mark Twain // (This feature on quotes will not use Oscar Wilde, Will Rogers, or George Bernard Shaw.) // The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. — Thomas Jefferson, ( Mr. Jefferson was quoted as saying there should be a revolution every thirty years. He was POTUS in 1806, and would not have appreciated a revolution.) // There’s a difference between philosophy and a bumper sticker. — Charles Schulz // To generalize is to be an idiot. — William Blake // Truth fears no questions. — Unknown ( Whoever said this has never been interviewed by the police.) // We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at each other; until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices. — Richard M. Nixon // (Just because someone gets credit for the quote, this does not mean that he actually practiced what he said.) Wise men make proverbs, but fools repeat them. — Samuel Palmer // (Names of fools, like monkey faces, are often seen in public places) //You ain’t learnin’ nothin’ when you’re talkin’. — Lyndon B. Johnson // You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you. — Unknown ( Unknown was a very clever person, who spoke many languages.) // …one of the great ironies of Western philosophy. Its founding practitioner, Socrates, wrote nothing down–no philosophy, anyway; and his greatest pupil so distrusted writing that he wrote dialogues, a form that mimics the life of the spoken word. — John Churchill, From the Secretary: Inspiring Conversations in The Key Reporter. Vol 67, Number 4. P. 2., Summer 2002 // In July of 2011, PG noted this post getting a lot of hits. He looked at it, to see what he had written. He found two mistakes which needed correction.

Synchronicity Parking Lot

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 14, 2010

PG found a post by a blogger called oldereyes. ( PG has depended on glasses since third grade. The idea that his eyes might get less efficient is scary.) The story is about a senior citizen, who asks G-d to help him find parking spaces. The author thought this was silly, but decided to try it on the way home. He let a driver onto a busy road, and the stranger pointed out an empty parking spot. The commentary was:

Now, do I routinely charge into busy mall parking lots, ask G-d for help … and get a parking place? No. Do I believe that G-d follows me around, waiting to be a Cosmic Parking Lot Attendant at my behest? No. But I do believe that G-d sometimes aligns events … such as an elderly man in need of a parking place and an exhausted shopper on the way home … to help out. I call that synchronicity. Larry taught me something about the way life … and G-d … work. I don’t always get what I ask for but if I don’t open myself to the possibility of help, I may miss the very synchronicity that G-d sends my way.

PG has seen gnarly religion. He has also seen synchronicity. Carl Jung coined the phrase to describe meaningful coincidences. Mr. Jung also said “Religion is a defense against the experience of G-d.”

The moonies used to teach that G-d is the difference between a human being, and six dollars worth of chemicals. Some say  G-d is the whirlwind, that creates a jet engine out of a junkyard. In the process from the big bang to Lady Gaga, there have been many parts of the puzzle that fell into place, as though an unseen hand was guiding them. Is it synchronicity, is it G-d, the sum of the parts, or all of the above? PG does not know.

The page of quotes on synchronicity has more nuggets. (The color breaks were every three lines. The last section is purple.) The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it Intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why. Albert Einstein … Coincidences are
spiritual puns. G.K. Chesterton … Chance favors the prepared mind. Louis Pasteur … There is no such thing as chance; and what seem to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny.Friedrich Schiller … Did blind chance know that there was light and what was its refraction, and fit the eyes of all creatures after the most curious manner to make use of it? These and other suchlike considerations, always have, and always will prevail with mankind, to believe that there is a Being who made all things, who has all things in his power, and who is therefore to be feared. Isaac Newton … And some quotes by the man himself, Carl G. Jung (1875 – 1961): Synchronicity reveals the meaningful connections between the subjective and objective world … Synchronistic events provide an immediate religious experience as a direct encounter with the compensatory patterning of events in nature as a whole, both inwardly and outwardly … The connection between cause and effect turns out to be only statistically valid and only relatively true. … I define synchronicity as a psychically conditioned relativity of time and space … By far the greatest number of spontaneous synchronistic phenomena that I have had occasion to observe and analyze can easily be shown to have a direct connection with an archetype … Synchronicity means a ‘meaningful coincidence’ of outer and inner events that are not themselves causally connected. The emphasis lies on the word ‘meaningful’… The characteristic feature of … synchronistic occurrences is meaningful coincidence, and as such I have defined the synchronistic principle. This principle suggests that there is an inter-connection or unity of causally unrelated events, and thus postulates a unitary aspect of being which can very well be described as the ‘unus mundus’ [one world]… Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves…Nobody, as long as he moves about among the chaotic currents of life, is without trouble…As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being…The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed … It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how they are themselves…In studying the history of the human mind one is impressed again and again by the fact that the growth of the mind is the widening of the range of consciousness, and that each step forward has been a most painful and laborious achievement. One could almost say that nothing is more hateful to man than to give up even a particle of his unconsciousness. Ask those who have tried to introduce a new idea!..All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination?..There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion…I could not say I believe. I know! I have had the experience of being gripped by something that is stronger than myself, something that people call G-d…The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong…Religion is a defense against the experience of G-d…C. G. Jung
A video embedded with this tale is by The Police. PG was in the Omni audience. The show was filmed for television, and the house lights kept up to film crowd shots. To ensure a fuller house, tickets behind the stage were sold for five dollars. PG was not nearly hip enough to cop tickets to a popular band like The Police, but he could show up with five dollars. PG got a great view of the drummer, and saw bits of the Sting spectacle. A lady in the next row was seen reading a newspaper, while the band played “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”. (PG went to youtube to find the correct title of the second tune. While there, he found a video of the band on Japanese TV.)

The Second Coming

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 13, 2010

The story below was found at the website of James Petras . HT to palestinianpundit. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

The settlements were still being built, financed mostly by Jewish money from America, contributions from Wall Street speculators and owners of gambling dens.
“Good thing”, Joseph thought, “we have a few sheep and olive trees and Mary keeps some chickens. But Joseph worried, “cheese and olives are not enough to feed a growing boy. Mary is due to deliver our son any day”. His dreams foretold of a sturdy son working alongside of him…multiplying loaves and fish.
The settlers looked down on Joseph. He rarely attended shul, and on the high holidays, he would show up late to avoid the tithe. Their simple cottage was located in a nearby ravine with water from a stream, which flowed year round. It was choice real estate for any settlement expansion. So when Joseph fell behind on his property tax, the settlers took over their home, forcibly evicted Joseph and Mary and offered them a one-way bus ticket to Jerusalem.
Joseph, born and raised in the arid hills, fought back and bloodied not a few settlers with his labor-hardened fists. But in the end he sat, battered on their bridal bed under the olive tree, in black despair.
Mary, much the younger, felt the baby’s movements. Her time was near.
“We have to find shelter, Joseph, we have to move on …this is no time for revenge”, she pleaded.
Joseph, who believed with the Old Testament prophets in an “eye for an eye”, reluctantly agreed.
So it was that Joseph sold their sheep, chickens and other belongings to an Arab neighbor and bought a donkey and cart. He loaded up the mattress, some clothes, cheese, olives and eggs and they set out for the Holy City.
The donkey path was rocky and full of potholes. Mary winced at every bump; she worried that it would harm the baby. Worse, this was the road for the Palestinians with military checkpoints everywhere. No one ever told Joseph that, as a Jew, he could have taken a smooth paved road – forbidden to the Arabs.
At the first roadblock Joseph saw a long line of Arabs waiting. Pointing to his very pregnant wife, Joseph asked the Palestinians, half in Arabic, half in Hebrew, if they could go ahead. A path was opened and the couple went forward.
A young soldier raised his rifle and told Mary and Joseph to get down from the cart. Joseph descended and nodded to his wife’s stomach. The soldier smirked and turned to his comrades, “The old Arab knocks up the girl he bought for a dozen sheep and now he wants a free pass”.
Joseph, red with anger, shouted in rough Hebrew, “I am a Jew. But unlike you … I respect pregnant women”.
The soldier poked Joseph with his rifle and ordered him to step back: “You are worse than an Arab – you’re an old Jew who screws Arab girls”.
Mary frightened by the exchange turned to her husband and cried, “Stop Joseph or he will shoot you and our baby will be born an orphan”.
With great difficulty Mary got down from the wagon. An officer came out of the guard station, summoning a female soldier, “Hey Judi, go feel under her dress, she might be carrying bombs”.
“What’s the matter? Don’t you like to feel them yourself anymore? ” Judith barked back in Brooklyn-accented Hebrew. While the soldiers argued, Mary leaned on Joseph for support. Finally, the soldiers came to an agreement.
“Pull-up your dress and slip”, Judith ordered. Mary blanched in shame. Joseph faced the gun in disgrace. The soldiers laughed and pointed at Mary’s swollen breasts, joking about an unborn terrorist with Arab hands and a Jewish brain.
Joseph and Mary continued on the way to the Holy City. They were frequently detained at the checkpoints along the way. Each time they suffered another delay, another indignity and more gratuitous insults spouted by Sephardim and Ashkenazi, male and female, secular and religious – all soldiers of the Chosen people.
It was dusk when Mary and Joseph finally reached the Wall. The gates had closed for the night. Mary cried out in pain, “Joseph, I can feel the baby coming soon. Please do something quickly”.
Joseph panicked. He saw the lights of a small village nearby and, leaving Mary on the cart, Joseph ran to the nearest house and pounded on the door. A Palestinian woman opened the door slightly and peered into the dark, agitated face of Joseph. “Who are you? What do you want?”
“I am Joseph, a carpenter from the hills of Hebron. My wife is about to give birth and I need shelter to protect Mary and the baby”. Pointing to Mary on the donkey cart, Joseph pleaded in his strange mixture of Hebrew and Arabic.
“Well, you speak like a Jew but you look like an Arab,” the Palestinian woman said laughing as she walked back with him to the cart.
Mary’s face was contorted with pain and fear: her contractions were more frequent and intense.
The woman ordered Joseph to bring the cart around to a stable where the sheep and chickens were kept. As soon as they entered, Mary cried out in pain and the Palestinian woman, who had now been joined by a neighbor midwife, swiftly helped the young mother down onto a bed of straw.
And thus the child was born, as Joseph watched in awe.
It came to pass that shepherds, returning from their fields, heard the mingled cries of birth and joy and hurried to the stable carrying both their rifles and fresh goat milk, not knowing whether it was friend or foe, Jew or Arab. When they entered the stable and beheld the mother and infant, they put aside their weapons and offered the milk to Mary who thanked them in both Hebrew and Arabic.
And the shepherds were amazed and wondered: Who were these strange people, a poor Jewish couple, who came in peace on a donkey cart inscribed with Arabic letters?
The news quickly spread about the strange birth of a Jewish child just outside the Wall in a Palestinian’s stable. Many neighbors entered and beheld Mary, the infant and Joseph.
Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers, equipped with night vision goggles, reported from their watchtowers overlooking the Palestinian neighborhood, “The Arabs are meeting just outside the Wall, in a stable, by candle light”.
The gates under the watchtowers flew open and armored carriers with bright lights followed by heavily armed solders drove out and surrounded the stable, the assembled villagers and the Palestinian woman’s house. A loud speaker blared, “Come out with your hands up or we’ll shoot.” They all came out from the stable together with Joseph, who stepped forward with his hands stretched out to the sky and spoke, “My wife, Mary cannot comply with your order. She is nursing the baby Jesus”

Judy Roasting On An Open Fire

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 11, 2010

SFFILK (Not his real name) passes along a story about Mel Torme. It seems like Mr.Torme was eating a leisurely breakfast at a food court in Los Angeles, and a quartet appeared singing Christmas songs. They wound up performing “The Christmas Song” for co- author Torme…and the singers had no idea who he was. It is a good story, better told in the link.

According to the inerrant Wikipedia, Torme collaborated with Robert Wells , until they had a falling out. One afternoon, on the hottest day of July in 1945, Mr.Torme went to visit Mr.Wells, and saw the first four lines of “The Christmas Song” (including “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose”). The lines were on a note pad, and the two agreed to beat the heat of summer by completing the song. Supposedly, Mr. Torme did not like the song very much. After three divorces, he probably didn’t see many of the royalties.

Mel Torme was the music director of the ill fated “Judy Garland Show” in the early sixties. He wrote a book about it… The Other Side of the Rainbow: With Judy Garland on the Dawn Patrol . The story is that Miss Garland would get blasted, call Mr. Torme in the middle of the night, and pour out her troubles. While the show did not last longer, there are some great youtube clips left over.

Slack To The Basics

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 11, 2010

Sometimes, being slack pays off. PG saw a sign for a yard sale, one street over. The hours listed were 9-1. PG made the effort to get out of the house by 12:40, and walked up the path to the street.

The sign did not give an address for the sale. The path is in the middle of the road, across from the school. The sale was either to the right, or to the left. It is a bit of radical wisdom that, when in doubt, you should go left. In best retro fashion, PG went right.

There was an obsolete computer monitor in front of a pile of trash. PG walked over to this pile, and saw a box of VHS tapes. He started to look through.

Before long, he had a collection. “The Jungle Book”, “The Godfather Part Two”, “The Godfather Part Three”, ( an offer PG could not refuse), “American Pie” ( the uncensored version you cannot see in theaters), and “Chariots of Fire”. There were books too…a college literature text, an Edgar Allen Poe collection, a book of ghost stories, “Catcher in the Rye” (printed in 1991, with a vintage cover.) Thirty years and three days ago, Mr. Chapman (an Atlanta native) added a layer to the legend of that book. The girls in that story always knew what time it was.

The owner of the house came out for a visit. He said the sale started earlier than he thought, and that he learned a few things. PG has done yard sales, and knows that the eager buyers are there at 7:30 am. You sell more before 9:30 am than you do the rest of the day.

PG went home, and turned on the TV. The tube is a 1987 model, which looks like a computer monitor weighing 100 pounds. The sound recently died on this set. Fortunately, the digital adapter can route the sound through the computer. Now, if you click on the button that says PHONO (spell check suggestion:PHONY), you can hear the tv.

Somehow, the cable going in the back of the TV fell out. The TV had a mass of noise, and PG thought that maybe, just maybe, it was due for a date at the county landfill. A reattachment of the cable, turn the power on the VCR, insert “The Jungle Book” ( which plays without a hitch, unlike many yardsale videos), and we have an hour or so of entertainment.

Pictures for today’s entertainment are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”