Chamblee54

One Sick Puppy

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on December 23, 2012

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PG woke up on sunday morning, checked his email, and found a message from Disqus. There was a comment dicussion going on at bloggingheads.tv. A commenter named right flag shared his opinion … “You are one sick puppy.”

The BHTV discussion had been about people paying large sums to own objects once used by famous people. The top item was a set of golf clubs, owned by President Kennedy. The instruments recently sold for $750,000. The headline of the discussion was “Joshua Knobe talks to George E. Newman about his research on why we value objects that have been owned by famous people.”

Maybe PG is not a contemporary person. He has never wanted a set of golf clubs owned by a philandering politician. PG does not play golf, nor does he have six digits to invest in such an artifact. His made a comment on this headline. “”why we value objects that have been owned by famous people. ” Someone somewhere might value these objects, but it is not me. “We” is a very poor word choice.”

The full reply by right flag is: “”why we value objects that have been owned by famous people. ” Someone somewhere might value these objects, but it is not me…. Really? What other ordinary sentiments you don’t share with normal humans? You are one sick puppy.”

As was said earlier, PG does not see the desire to own celebrity possessions as an ordinary sentiment. Perhaps it is a money thing. There is currently more money in our culture than there is goods and services. This is one cause of inflation. When people have money they don’t know what to do with, they spend it on silly things. They gamble. They use cocaine. They buy celebrity possessions.

The use of “we” in overheated rhetoric is another issue. People with an agenda to push love to tell us what “we” have done that is terrible. Perhaps the most flagrant example is in the urban legend email. This message comes out whenever there is a problem, asking how G-d could let some terrible thing happen. The quote is: “Then someone said let’s print magazines with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome, down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body. And we said OK. And then someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then further again by making them available on the Internet. And we said OK, they’re entitled to free speech.”

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Letter From Santa

Posted in Holidays by chamblee54 on December 22, 2012

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PG received the following letter yesterday. He suspects a mistake. A certain person, named Flap Jack, sends a letter to his nephews and nieces, and tells them it is from Santa Claus. At the same time, Mr. Jack sends PG a christmas card, showing Santa in a hideous fashion statement. Apparently, PG got the letter intended for New York State, and no one knows who got the greeting card.

Greetings from the North Pool. You read that right – We’ve re-named it, temporarily. It’s been unusually warm at the North Pole this year, and things have been melting for the first time since I’ve lived here, which has been quite a while. And it’s been raining, instead of snowing.

So things are pretty wet. No one’s been skating in months, because where there used to be ice, there’s mostly water now – Lakes of it. The polar bears love to belly-flop in and swim, but the water’s a bit cold for the rest of us, and we’re used to cold! Some of the hardier elves have built a motor boat (from the plans for a toy boat, but bigger) and taken up water skiing, wearing candy-striped wetsuits. The speeding skiers and the galumphing bears are not always a happy combination, but it’s very funny to sit in the house and watch the action.

Speaking of the house, there’s suddenly a lot more of it. You may remember that, as the snow piled up year after year, we just built more and more floors onto the top of the house, and ended up with scores of basements and sub-basements. Now, with so much of the snow gone, I find I live in a huge tower. It’s not really a problem; each floor was once the main floor, so each one has a front door. It’s just a matter of remembering that yesterday’s ground floor may be today’s second, and taking a good look before I step out what I THINK is the door. That first step can be, as they say, a lu-lu.

Of course, the house suddenly being 80 stories tall (and counting), rather than just two or three, support is a concern. My Architecture Elves (Impei, Frankl Oyd, and Bowhouse) were right on the job, adding ever-taller flying buttresses, although they do argue quite a lot about the style. McDonald’s offered to install some giant yellow arches to hold things steady, but I still resist corporate sponsorship of my operations.

Anyway, it started snowing again the other day, so we’ll hope it was just some natural weather thing, and not something that people have to – you know – agree to fix. There’s no land under the snow and ice here, you know, so if the North Pole goes, it’s just gone. And then where will I be?

I hope you’re enjoying your Winter weather, and being good for your Mom and Dad, and to each other. I’ll see you soon.

This is a repost. It is written like J. R. R. Tolkien.

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Mithras Is Born

Posted in Holidays by chamblee54 on December 21, 2012








Until 2009, PG had never heard of Mithras.

Mithras is a Persian deity, from the Zororoaster tradition.(That is pronounced Zor uh THRUS ta. Not much is known about Mithras … did he really exist,or was he a legend? There was a cult of Mithras in the first century Roman empire.

There are supposed to be similarities between Mithras and Jesus. These include the virgin birth, the birth on December 25, and rising from the dead after three days. Some spoilsports say the early christians grafted Jesus onto the legend of Mithras.

One indication that this might be true is “The Catholic Encyclopedia“.
“Some apparent similarities exist; but … it is quite probable that Mithraism was the borrower from Christianity.”
This is a repost. Pictures from The Library of Congress .








Analogy Hotel

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on December 20, 2012

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Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup.

Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like “Second Tall Man.”
Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr.Pepper can.

He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.
He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality,
like when you’re on vacation in another city and “Jeopardy” comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30.
Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who meant to access T:flw.quid55328.com\aaakk/ch@ung
but got T:\flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung by mistake.
She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.

They lived in a suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances,
like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.

These bad analogies were a viral graphic recently. The text version is borrowed from Laugh Break. The names have been deleted to protect the guilty.

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The Rudolph Story

Posted in Holidays, Music by chamblee54 on December 19, 2012






The story below is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This was written like James Joyce. There is an appearance by Gerald Rudolph Ford, and his women. Betty was a merry soul.

Someone posted a bit of revisionism about a holiday classic. As he sees it, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is about racism.

In a bit of yuletime synchronicity, the urban mythbusters at Snopes posted a piece about Rudolph the same day. It seems as though the Rudolph story was originally written for the Montgomery Ward Stores. The idea was to print a Christmas booklet to give to customers. A staff writer named Robert L. May was picked for the job.

Originally, there were concerns about the red nose, and the connection to heavy drinking. At the time, the original meaning of “merry christmas” had been forgotten. Merry meant intoxicated, and a merry christmas was a drunken one. The booklet was released anyway, and was a big hit with shoppers.

Mr. May had a brother in law named Johnny Marks, who was musically gifted. Mr. Marks wrote the song, and somehow or another Gene Autry came to sing it. A story (which PG heard once, but cannot find a source for) had Mr. Autry doing a recording session. The session went very smoothly, and the sides scheduled to be recorded were finished early. There was a half hour of studio time paid for. Someone produced copies of “Rudolph”, gave them to the musicians, and the recording was knocked out. It became a very big hit.

Gene Autry had a radio show, “Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch”. He created the “cowboy code”. Number five gets our attention today. Under this code, the cowboy must:

1. never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
2. never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
3. always tell the truth.
4. be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.
5. not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
6. help people in distress.
7. be a good worker.
8. keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits.
9. respect women, parents and his nation’s laws.
10. be a patriot.

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” has become a beloved standard, without the troubling religious implications of many holiday songs. It is the second biggest selling record of all. The only song to sell more is “White Christmas”. You just can’t get away from race.





The Other Car

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on December 18, 2012

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PG was coming home from the pizza buffet, driving north on Briarlake road. There was a car behind him, a bit too close for comfort. On Briarlake, there is no where to pull aside, and let a faster car by. When you liken to drive at the speed limit, you get used to impatient people behind your vehicle.

The two cars went to the end of Briarlake, with the other car getting closer and closer. They both turned left onto Briarcliff. In front of Lakeside High School, there was a lane for cars to turn left. It was intended for cars going in the opposite direction. The following car went into this lane, and passed PG. In less than one hundred yards, there was a red light, with PG behind the other car.

Going down Briarcliff towards Clairmont, the other car was tailgating another vehicle. PG went at the speed limit, and watched the fun. At one red light after another, the other car would stop directly in front of PG. (Spell check suggestion for Clairmont: Clairvoyant)

The two vehicles arrived at Clairmont, and made right turns. At the red light for I85, PG was sitting behind the other car. The game ended when the other car took a right turn into Sam’s Club.

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Big Hair

Posted in Georgia History, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on December 17, 2012

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This monday morning post is written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge. The mission for today: “This weekend we’re asking you to write 33 words that will make us laugh or smile. Even a chuckle will do. We look forward to the communal spirit lifting. Good luck!”

Before thinking of what to say, PG put the pictures together. They are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”. The 33 words are about one of the pictures.

Buck Owens looked at the woman with big, black hair. She held onto her pocketbook with both hands. You don’t mean that. The man in the checkered suit looked ahead, but saw nothing.

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Putting G-d Back In Church

Posted in History, Religion by chamblee54 on December 16, 2012

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It could have been predicted. Before the bodies are buried, attention happy entertainers are telling us why the shootings in Connecticut happened. Mike Huckabee, has shared his thoughts.
“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we’ve systematically removed G-d from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability?”
Maybe the problem is not that we have removed G-d from our schools. Maybe the problem is that we have removed G-d from the church.

The dominant religion in our culture is Christianity, or Jesus worship. The first commandment says to worship no G-d except G-d. There is no exception made for the reputed son of G-d. There are other items given G-d like status in the Jesus Worship Church. The first commandment is a good rule, and when you violate it there is going to be trouble.

Arguably, Christianity is not a religion, but a scheme for life after death. Instead of worshiping G-d, the faithful show that they do not trust G-d to take care of them when they die. Instead, they think that belief in Jesus will get them into heaven, instead of hell. The louder this is said, the more truth it is thought to have.

Another problem with the salvation focused church is violence. Christianity is a violent affair. The verbal abuse fromt he pulpit. The verbal abuse of those who disagree with the scheme for life after death. The central event of Christianity is the gruesome murder of Jesus. The blood gushing pictures of this event decorate the tee shirts of the believers. The cross where the murder took place is celebrated as the symbol of Christianity. Gross.

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Newtown

Posted in Religion by chamblee54 on December 16, 2012

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As you may have heard, there was a shooting in a Connecticut school Friday. Speculation about the cause has been rampant ever since. Some say we need more gun control. Some say we need more care for the mentally ill. Some say it is because of G-d, or lack thereof. This post is not going to pretend to know the truth. The purpose today is to report on some out of control internet chatter. Pictures are by Chamblee 54. This was written like James Joyce.
Facebook Fagans have been passing around a speech about the tragedy, supposedly written by Morgan Freeman. It blames the media for the shooting, instead of G-d or the NRA. Blaming the media is always a crowd pleaser. An outlet called examiner
“happened to stumble across the words of Morgan Freeman and his thoughts on the event on Friday as well as other mass shootings.” This is not the same as showing a source.
Another medium, the Inquisitr, has a story about the story, Morgan Freeman’s Newtown ‘Statement’ Almost Definitely A Hoax. The feature points out a few holes in the logic of the commentary. Even if the actor did say these things, why should we pay attention? Sounding good, while reading a script, does mean an entertainer is smarter than you.
The Inquisitr story has a screenshot, which may have the origin of the speech. It is one of those facebook things where the last names are blacked out.
UPDATE: In a Reddit thread about the Morgan Freeman Newtown shooting quote hoax, Redditor Quintilian751 claims that the attribution to Freeman began as a joke among friends about finding a way to make the remarks a man named Mark from Vancouver made after the Sandy Hook tragedy go viral on the internet. The commenter provides a screenshot of the original quote by the man, and subsequent joking about attributing it to “Morgan Freeman or Betty White.” While the screenshot is not definitive proof the quote stems from here, the timeline also precedes the quote’s popularity and may well be the source for the spurious remark.
It has been noted that the actor in these shootings is “almost always” a white male. Don’t worry about Seung-Hui Cho or Nidal Malik Hasan. (The shooters at Virginia Tech and Fort Hood.) The examiner truthseekers have a commentary about this, Connecticut shooting, white males, and mass murder. If you roll your mouse over the bottom of the page, you hear an ad for “Cuddl Duds”.

I want to say this next bit very carefully. It is absolutely true that white men have lost a lot of power in the last few decades. Inasmuch as these shooters are angry about feelings of powerlessness, their feelings are at least understandable. However, white men needed to lose a lot of power. Without exaggerating, one could say that a history of America is a history of white men lording power over… pretty much anyone who wasn’t a white man. If America was ever going to truly be a land of equality, white men needed to lose their power.
The thing is, losing power hurts. That’s the “aggrieve” part of aggrieved entitlement. It’s one thing for a bunch of white men to feel hurt because they are no longer the kings of their own private castles, rulers of all they survey. It’s another thing for them to feel like they’re entitled to power, and more importantly, entitled to punish others for taking it away. And that — aggrievement plus the feeling of entitlement — is what may well drive people like Adam Lanza to these horrific crimes.

Facebook is good every once in a while. A Georgia Pediatrician wrote this:

My heart goes out to the parents and families of those lost. Another sad day in America. As a pediatrician, I have experienced families losing their children to illness – an event that in most instances there is knowledge of the event going to happen. This is totally different. The shock is massive and devastating and we all need to hold them in our thoughts and prayers as they and their community go through this tragedy.
As to cause, I know there will be much speculation. The thought that first comes to me is the continual devaluation of life in our society – wars, gun-worship, not caring for those outside of “society”, allowing homelessness in our society, devaluing individuals because of their appearance or status, etc. But for this age person, the perpetrator – one major issue is the ever presence of one-shooter video games – our military’s major recruitment tool. We have allowed the depersonalization of killing. We have also allowed easy access to automatic weapons and large clip magazines for which there is no justification. Preventive health is not just vaccines. It is also creating an environment that is safe to the community as well as troubled individuals. We have much to do.

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A Rumor Of War

Posted in Book Reports, History by chamblee54 on December 15, 2012






PG was in a break room in Smyrna GA, reading A Rumor of War. On page 196, a sentence made him put the book down. “There were three corpses, but only five boots”.

There was a newspaper insert for J.C. Penney on the table. PG picked it up, began to study the picture on the front page. A woman was pushing a man back, with her finger over her mouth saying shhh. The man pushed back, with five boxes wrapped in red paper. The woman wore a man’s watch, which page had displayed for sale. Every element of every picture was gauged to sell merchandise.

Before long, PG was back to AROW. Lieutenant Caputo was working in an office. One of his jobs was the write reports on the casualties, American and Vietnamese. If there were more of their guys than our guys, we were winning.

Lieutenant Philip Caputo lived, and later wrote, A Rumor of War. He signed up to join the Marines when he was in college, when Vietnam was a trivia question. On March 8, 1965, he arrived in South Vietnam, near DaNang. Originally, his unit was supposed to guard the air base from a rumored Viet Cong attack. After a while, he was sent into action.

The second part of his Vietnam experience was when he was sent to work in a base office, away from the fighting. This ceased to be enjoyable when he knew one of the dead soldiers he wrote a report for. He requested a transfer back into the fighting, and got it. There were scenes of fighting the enemy, the jungle, and the weather. Caputo broke under pressure, and ordered a raid into a village. When some people in the village were killed, there was trouble, and Caputo was facing murder charges. That was cleared up, and Caputo was sent home.

War looks different to the men who are fighting. Vietnam was controversial while it was going on, and only slightly less so today. It is likely that all wars are as full of misunderstanding as this one.

Musings on Iraq has a quote about war. “Saddam Hussein looked down upon the United States’ military might, seeing it as a paper tiger. He saw the American defeat in Vietnam as a sign of its weakness. Saddam pointed out that the U.S. lost 58,000 soldiers in that war, and then gave up, while Iraq lost 51,000 in just one battle for the Fao Peninsula in the Iran-Iraq War.” This is from a country with 27 million people, fighting a land war with a next door neighbor.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress.





Bad Jesus

Posted in Holidays, Religion by chamblee54 on December 14, 2012

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There is now a facebook group, “I don’t care if it offends you, I’m saying MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!”
Merry Christmas used to be a greeting of good will. It meant, I am happy that you survived the year, have a nice holiday. It was not an in your face gesture, designed to express a religious opinion.
Christmas used to be a time of peace on earth and good will towards men. There were parties, gift giving, and holiday time from school and work. The religious part has always been there, but if you wanted to ignore it you could.
Now, the Jesus Worshipers want it all. The fact that our culture is dominated by Jesus worship is not good enough, they want it all. And they don’t care if it offends you. Peace on earth and good will towards men are for weaklings.

We don’t know when Jesus was born. Some scholars say he was born in the spring, but it was a long, long time ago. When the early Christians were trying to convert the Romans, they decided to have a birthday celebration for Jesus at the time of a pagan holiday. It is the winter solstice, the time of renewal at the end of the year. It is an ideal time for a religious feast.

Many people, PG included, have been hurt by Jesus. Jesus worship is an aggressive religion, and if you don’t agree, you can expect to be insulted and humiliated. As society becomes more and more secular, the Jesus worshipers get more aggressive. Many people have come to see the birth of Jesus as something to be mourned, rather than celebrated.

PG used to enjoy saying Merry Christmas. To him, it was a greeting of good will. Now, it is taking sides in a nasty fight. Maybe the proper thing to say is have a nice day.

And now for something completely different. PG found this recently, and it is not original to him. If you really need a link to the original, we will look harder.

When I was young and impressionable, I heard the Co-Adjutor Archbishop of Bombay preach on the subject of Christmas.
He made the point that the adjective “merry” actually means “to be showing the influence of alcohol”, that is to be at least partially drunk. So to wish someone a Merry Christmas is really to wish them a Drunken Christmas.
And he went on to point out that as drunkenness is a sin, and moreover it is illegal to ply an infant with alcohol, a “merry Christmas” not only treats the birth of Christ as an occasion for sin, it also excludes the guest of honour Himself from the celebration.
That is a perversion of the meaning of Christmas — yet how often do we hear “true Christians” insist on saying “merry Christmas”? Why don’t they just wish the world happiness and joy?

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While trying to find the source of the above merry quote, this popped up. Some times a full length quote is the way to go.

It’s hilariously ironic that Boggs would use a Christmas tree as a means of combating the “war on Christmas.” After all, the Christmas tree has distinctly pagan roots and stands mostly outside of Christian tradition. Indeed, there was a time when Christmas itself was a controversial subject among Christians, many of whom wanted nothing to do with a celebration that hearkened back to the pagan festivals of old (if we’re going for accuracy, the Persian god “Mithras” is the real reason for the season). If anything, Ms. Bogg’s Christmas tree has the opposite effect: it reminds me that early Christians were a fairly opportunistic bunch, and would happily co-opt pagan celebrations if it meant that they could save a few souls (see: Easter).

That aside, the yearly outrage over the “war on Christmas” reminds me of one of the things that really bothers me about contemporary conservative evangelicalism, namely, it’s tremendous hostility to religious pluralism. “Happy Holidays” is a fundamentally inclusive greeting. It’s a way of respecting non-Christian Americans and acknowledging the fact Christmas coincides with other religious holidays equally worthy of respect (like Hanukkah, for instance). When someone wishes you “Happy Holidays,” they are saying something roughly the same as this: “I’m not sure what your religious beliefs are, but whatever they are, I hope you enjoy the holiday season as much as possible.”

This is the furthest thing from “offensive” that I can imagine, and yet, there are many Christians who are apoplectic about the change. From what I can gather, the offense comes from the fact that they have to share the holiday. It’s not enough that Christmas and Christianity are in every other way privileged above other religious celebrations, no, we have to actively avoid acknowledging the existence of other religions. “Religious freedom” for them isn’t the right to practice as they see fit, it’s the “right” to banish every other religion from the public square, or something to that effect. It probably isn’t my place to say this (since I’m not the ultimate arbiter of right belief, or something), but the stunning lack of charity and understanding inherent in this approach to other religions and other people strikes me as a pretty clear-cut example of what Jesus specifically asked us not to do.

This is a repost.
The pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.

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She Is Nursing The Baby Jesus

Posted in History, Politics, Race, Religion by chamblee54 on December 13, 2012





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

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”