Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
By Francis P. Church
First published in The New York Sun in 1897.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Mountain Pine Beetles are killing the forests in Montana. Estimates vary, but one number kicked around is 300,000 acres dead before the pest is contained (if that proves to be possible). What we need, they keep saying, is a winter with temperatures below 35 degrees, for at least a week. The cold will kill the pine beetle larvae and we'll all live happily ever after.
-35 for a week straight.
So far, we've had 20 to 24 below for a couple of days. It's been so long since we had a bad winter, I had to search for my wool long underwear.
This morning, it's -16. I don't know how the pine beetles are doing, but I'm ready to move on.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
1. Said the night wind to the little lamb, do you see any bats?
2. The first Noel, the angel did say, did you get me something?
3. Snow is , Over the hills and everywhere.
4. It came upon the midnight clear, the coldest night of the season.
5. Children, Let your heart be light.
6. And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing or hum along.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to wrapping finished, tomorrow my plans include celebrate Husband Dearest's birthday and Sunday, I want to do something unexpected!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
In The Day The Earth Stood Still remake, Keanu Reeves is the perfect actor for the part of an alien with no emotion. Al Gore must have been busy.
Actually, it wasn't that bad, but what's the point?
Special effects have improved since '51. Humanity is still a blot on the face of Mother Earth. When we're not too busy killing ourselves or our neighbors, we're threatening the very viability of the planet, something the helpful, superior, environmentally responsible Overlords of the Universe will not tolerate. Unless, the cold heart of the alien investigator can be warmed by the humanity of the nearest chick scientist whilst dunderheaded governmental bureaucrats strut about complicating matters at the turning points.
And they spent $80 million to make it.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Q1 - 180 Degrees: If you could suddenly proclaim that any one work of fiction (be it a movie, novel/book, short story, fable, fairy tale, play, etc.) was actually true, what would you choose?
Wizard of Oz.
Q2 - Airline Safety: According to a recent report, approximately 96% of people involved in airplane accidents survive the accident itself and, aside from a fear of flying, experience no long-term health problems. When flying, do you take certain precautions or care to increase your chance of survival in event of a crash (i.e., choosing a certain seat in a specific part of the airplane or counting the number of seats between yourself and exit) or do you not like to think about such things?
Interesting question, and what I thought was BULLSHIT statistic. So, I looked it up. In the 2000s decade, the number of people surviving a plane crash is 24%. But I also discovered most aviation safety statistics are manipulated with miles traversed, passenger numbers, trip time vs the same data in automobiles, so go figure. Or as the old saying goes, "You can prove anything if you make up your data."
And with the Wonder that is the Internet, I found an article on HOW TO SURVIVE A PLANE CRASH with lovely tips under the heading "If it seems certain the plane is going to crash."
#4 Empty your bladder to reduce the chance of internal injury.
Anyway, back to the question -- I have a private pilot's license and am married to an Aviation Safety Inspector, so, alas, yes, I know more than I like about Aviation Safety. And, no, I don't do anything about it. I sit where they park me and bleat in my seat like the rest of the sheep.
Q3 - Citizenship: Have you heard about this one? The latest effort to rewrite the election of 2008... an accusation that that President-elect Barack Obama is not a legitimate natural-born American, and therefore cannot be sworn into office. The argument, which is being taken all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, goes something like this: When Barack Obama was born in 1961, Kenya was still a British colony. Obama's father was from Kenya, and therefore a British citizen. That British citizenship automatically passed onto his son (President-elect Obama), and that means that President-elect Obama--who was born in the U.S.--was born with dual citizenship and should not be allowed to hold the Office of the Presidency. What do you think this? Should the President of the United States be allowed to hold dual citizenship? (By the way, for the record, President-elect Obama's dual citizenship expired when he turned 21.)
The Republicans need to take a breath and get over it.
Q4 - Overrated: Who do you think is the most overrated (you choose... actor, politician, professional athlete, or musician)?
David Letterman. And while I'm at it, Jay Leno.
If you want to watch an interesting late night host, try Craig Ferguson.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower There's one every year on my birthday.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo - Does in the shower count?
11. Bungee jumped - no, and I never will.
12. Visited Paris - no, but I can dream.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning One bad mussel in the whole plate. erp.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty And I'll never forget it. It should be considered a NATIONAL SHAME, that this isn't allowed anymore.
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked - no, bad, bad, bad idea.
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill -- Mental Health Days don't count.
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping -- as I may have mentioned B4, it's pretty cold here.
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community -- Does Hudderite Community count?
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing - oy, but it's better than rock climbing watching.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt -- more than once.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies -- bought a bunch.
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving -- There is no reason to jump out of a perfectly good plane.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check -- does kited count?
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle -- maybe it just felt like it was speeding.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book -- I wish.
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible -- just the sexy parts.
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someones' life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one -- misplacing a loved one's a bitch.
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person -- More than once, and it made me cry every time.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day -- sometimes I feel that buying a book is a waste of money, 'cuz the read never lasts very long.