As we sprint to the end of a most difficult year, our minds are boggled by the events 2008 rained upon us. We need this Christmas, possibly more than any in our lifetime. The promise that Christmas brings could be the only thing that puts any Hope into our hearts and minds that God is here among us. I thought last year was a rough year, and after the events of this year, I will personally rip 2008's Calendar off the wall and throw it in the fire. As I went over my Christmas list this year, I had to remove so many friends who left this world this year. I know that there has been much pain this year as well. Requests for prayers for illness, requests that I forward resumes for friends who have lost their jobs, and requests for a few minutes of my time to look at something to see if it was worth repairing because money was tight. I would never have believed last year at this time, where we are now. Yet, I know that God has a plan for us, it is not the plan we would have made. I know that it is through the difficult times, that we learn to enjoy the good times. My prayer for each and everyone of you is that the promise of Christmas lightens your burdens, lifts your hearts and brings us to the childlike wonder that has been asleep in us for too long.
As we race to Christmas and the end of this year, I swear Mother Nature has been throwing April Fools jokes at us. Each morning as I awaken, I stick my head out the door and state ... "You've gotta be kidding me, this is a joke right?!" Sub zero temperatures, heavy snowfalls, wind chills right from the arctic, what we are seeing looks like a weather menu from Siberia.
It's not often that we shiver through a December afternoon with temperatures in the single digits, but that's what happened Monday. The afternoon temperature struggled to reach 4 degrees on the city's official thermometer at O'Hare International Airport. That was the coldest December day since 1989, when the high was just 3 degrees on Dec. 22. Since records began here in 1870, only 19 December days out of a possible 4,300 have logged afternoon readings of 4 degrees or lower. Monday was the 20th. The chill eased today, but the price to be paid is yet more snow in a snowy December that has already seen three times the normal month-to-date snowfall of 5.7 inches.
CHICAGOANS SHIVER IN THE ICE BOX FOR 29 CONSECUTIVE HOURS
Beginning at 5 a.m. Sunday, and continuing through 10 a.m. Monday morning, the city was in the grip of a brutal stretch of sub-zero temps. Windchills bottomed out at 33 degrees below zero at 10 a.m. Sunday.
CLOSING IN ON THE WETTEST YEAR
As of Monday, 2008's year-to-date precipitation of 48.56 inches is just 0.79 inches shy of the 49.35-inch record set in 1983.
Was that help from above at Monday Night's Bears game or what?
As Chaos and pandemonium reign at our airports, and the only way to get anywhere for Christmas may be by a sleigh and reindeer with Rudolph's nose to see through the fog and snow ... I present to you an item I did not write, but was so moved by, that I had to share it with you.
This item was written by my best friend, Tom Mulcrone, Chaplain of the Chicago Fire Department, and friend to over 5000 men & women. He printed this in our Christmas Mass Booklet two years ago. At this hour, snow has started to convert to freezing rain and sleet and Fog is now forming here in Chicago, 1 to 3 hour delays are now the rule, and cancellations are now occurring. After you read this, I hope that the reason for the season will come back into focus. Thanks again Tom!
"'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS..."
The ritual never changed - it was sacred as far as our family was concerned. On Christmas Eve night we gathered together for dinner. Afterward, the dishes needed to be done - no small task for a family of ten - but it was the one night everyone jumped in to help.
After the last of the dishes and glasses and silverware and pots and pans were dried and put away Morn ushered us into a side bedroom where we sat on the beds as she slowly read from a threadbare book: " 'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse," it began. There was always excitement in the room. Those who were old enough understood why my Dad and the eldest brother, Joe, were missing. Even when we were younger I think we knew but the magic of the night took hold of us.
The timing was impeccable, albeit unrehearsed. Just as the story came to a close the doorbell would ring furiously and my father would be shouting about how Santa was just here. We would stream into the living room with its one open window. The cookies and milk were gone. Santa had just left, Dad would explain, and we had just missed him. But what was left behind was something to behold - Christmas gifts for eight kids, and more than enough for each child.
My father took back to back furloughs just prior to Christmas so he could work two jobs to help pay for such excess. He was no different than so many other fathers. Children, he knew, loved receiving gifts and he would not let us down.
Lost in the unfettered joy of a childhood Christmas Eve night was the fact that my parents always exchanged gifts between themselves. It would be years later when G.I. Joe's and Barbie Dolls were no longer important to us that we began to appreciate the final two gifts exchanged that night - Mom and Dad's. The gifts were always sweet, sentimental, memorable and unique - especially Dad's gift to Mom.
Now we gather on Christmas Day, four generations who love to share gifts with one another. Even the youngest now wait for that magical moment when those two final gifts will be shared. Mom is in the last stages of Alzheimer's Disease but a gift for my Dad is still provided for her to present (my sisters have inherited Mom's once creative and sentimental side). But it is his gift to her, the last one of the night, that is always the best. He always inspires and surprises.
Sometimes, important things get lost in the bustle and bustle of this season and that, I suggest, is a shame. So I offer three thoughts for this Christmas. First, if you don't have a ritual try establishing one. Rituals and traditions can be magic for a family because they tend to carry on from one generation to the next. We embraced ours and it carried on in my brothers and sisters; and now nieces and nephews with children repeat it every Christmas Eve. Second, gift giving is good. With all the hand wringing about the commercialization of Christmas some people have cut back in the amount of presents they give, even with children. A little excess, especially at Christmas, is good for the heart and the soul. Finally, embrace the best gift of all - the opportunity to come together in love. After all, that's what it is all about.
I wish you a Christmas awash in love and a New Year filled with God's countless blessings!
Thanks again Tom, I couldn't have said it any better myself!
Only 101 days until the Cubs opener!!!
Happy Anniversary! Saturday, December 27th - Trish & Jack Lynch!
Sunday, December 28th - Ronnie & Denny Mudd! Eileen & Patrick Mullane!
Happy Birthday! Tuesday, December 25th - Rabbi Moshe Wolf!
Wednesday, December 31st - Fr. Tom Mulcrone
On December 20th at 1:50 AM, Fran Hannah's 1st Grandchild was born! Welcome Morgan! 5lbs 15.8 oz.
Sick Bay - Let's keep those prayers going for those who need them! FF Don Cox, J.D. Spangler, Eddie Schwartz, Fr. Steve Bartczyszyn, Mike Buckner, John Hoffelt, Pam Hoffelt, Wayne M, Roger Ebert , Lacy Banks, Edward Mulcrone, Jerry G. Bishop, Barry Thomas, and Steve Popplewell.
Steve Popplewell has returned to work full time. Please keep him and his wife, Theresa in your prayers.
Chonn's Mom Angela will start Chemo in January. Please keep them both in your prayers.
Our Friend Wayne is not doing well. Please keep him and his wife Diane in your Prayers.
Mike Buckner has returned to work. Please keep him and his family in your Prayers.
Please keep Fr. Tom Mulcrone's Dad, Edward Mulcrone in your prayers.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Just when is Christmas Day, people ask? Is it really December 25? Actually it is; but it wasn’t officially, until sometime between the years 337 and 352 A.D. This means that the date celebrated as the birth of Christ was not set until the time of Julius I, Bishop of Rome. To that time, the day known as Christmas was celebrated on one of three dates in the first 352 years of the Julian calendar: January 6, March 29 and September 29.
January 6th, the Day of Epiphany, is still considered Christmas Day to many folks around the world; especially those who are Eastern Orthodox. Some of us receive gifts on both days, some on January 1 -- right down the middle. Others celebrate for days, beginning December 6, 13th, 16th or 21st and ending on January 6th. You’ve heard of the twelve days of Christmas? Well, it’s not just a song! It’s a schedule.
December 24, 2008
Absolute date: 733,400
Day 359 and Second 31,017,662 of current year
1 shopping day until Christmas
Phase of moon: waning crescent
Age of moon: 3 days (until next new moon)
December 11, 2008
Day 03 of Week 52 of Year 2008
On this date in:
1066 William the Conqueror was crowned king of England.
1223 St. Francis of Assisi assembled one of the first Nativity scenes, in Greccio, Italy.
1776 Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, N.J.
1818 "Silent Night" was performed for the first time, at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorff, Austria.
1821 Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, was born in Oxford, Mass.
1868 President Andrew Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to everyone involved in the Southern rebellion that resulted in the Civil War.
1896 - Getting a little tired of Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Merry Christmas Darling, Jingle Bell Rock, Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer and all the rest? You are not alone. John Philip Sousa wrote the melody to a song that had haunted him for days. On Christmas Day, that melody was finally titled, The Stars and Stripes Forever. Either that, or Mr. Sousa really thought it was the Fourth of July instead. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, please.
1917 - The play, Why Marry?, opened at the Astor Theatre in New York City. Jesse Lynch Williams won a Pulitzer the following year; Why Marry? was the first dramatic play to win a Pulitzer Prize.
1926 Hirohito became emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito.
1930 - The Mt. Van Hoevenberg bobsled run at Lake Placid, NY opened to the public. It was the first bobsled track of international specifications to open in the United States.
1931 - Lawrence Tibbett was the featured vocalist as radio came to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The first opera was Hansel und Gretel, heard on the NBC network of stations. In between acts of the opera, moderator Olin Downes would conduct an opera quiz, asking celebrity guests opera-related questions. The program’s host and announcer was Milton Cross. He worked out of the Met’s Box 44.
1937 - Arturo Toscanini conducted the first broadcast of Symphony of the Air over NBC radio.
1939 - The Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, was read by Lionel Barrymore on The Campbell Playhouse on CBS radio. The reading of the tale became an annual radio event for years to come.
1942 - The longest, sponsored program in the history of broadcasting was heard on NBC radio’s Blue network. The daylong Victory Parade’s Christmas Party of Spotlight Bands was heard over 142 radio stations. The marathon broadcast was sponsored by Coca-Cola.
1946 Comedian W.C. Fields died at age 66.
1949 - Dick Tracy got married on Christmas Day. The comic strip hero married Tess Trueheart. The couple later became parents of a daughter. The little girl’s name was Bonnie Braids.
1950 - NBC-TV got Walt Disney to lend his creative genius to a one-hour special which marked the cartoonist’s first jump into TV.
1964 - Goldfinger opened in Hollywood U.S.A., three days after its premiere in New York City. Goldfinger was the third James Bond film, as well as the third to star Sean Connery as MI6 agent 007.
1971 - The longest pro-football game finally ended when Garo Yepremian kicked a field goal in the second quarter of a sudden death overtime. Miami’s Dolphins nipped Kansas City Chiefs, 27-24. The game lasted 82 minutes and 40 seconds.
1977 Comedian Charlie Chaplin died at age 88.
1985 - Ending the year, hot hits included: Swatches, those trendy Swiss-made watches, and Cherry Coke, which grabbed about four percent of the total beverage market after being reintroduced in the early spring. Back in the 1950s, there was a lot of Cherry Coke sipping; especially at the corner drugstore.
1989 Ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed.
1989 Former New York Yankees player and manager Billy Martin died at age 61 when the pickup truck he was riding in crashed.
1991 - Mikhail Gorbachev announced his resignation as President of the USSR. During his leadership (1985 to 1991), Gorbachev brought about sweeping internal reforms, created greater openness in political and cultural affairs and set the stage for historic developments throughout Eastern Europe with his program of economic, political, and social restructuring, known as ‘perestroika’.
1993 - Mariah Carey had the #1 single in the U.S., Hero, from the #1 album in the U.S., Music Box. The single topped the charts for four weeks. The album was up there for eight weeks.
1995 - Legendary singer/crooner, actor, comedian, and Rat-Pack member Dean Martin died at age 78 in Beverly Hills, California. On his tomb at Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles are the words “EVERYBODY LOVES SOMEBODY SOMETIME”.
1996 - These films debuted in the U.S.: Michael, (drama, fantasy, comedy and romance) with John Travolta, Andie MacDowell and William Hurt; and The Portrait of a Lady (the screen adaptation of the classic Henry James novel), starring Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich, Barbara Hershey and Mary- Louise Parker.
1997 - These blockbusters had openings in the U.S.: An American Werewolf in Paris (“Things are about to get a little hairy.”), with Tom Everett Scott and Julie Delpy; As Good as It Gets, starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt who won Academy Awards for their efforts; Jackie Brown (“Six players on the trail of a half a million in Cash. There's only one question... Who's playing who?”), with Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda and Robert Deniro; Mr. Magoo (“Look Out!”), starring Leslie Nielsen; and The Postman, starring (and directed by) Kevin Costner.
2002 Katie Hnida became the first woman to play in a Division I football game when she attempted an extra point for New Mexico against UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl.
2006 Soul singer James Brown died at age 73.
And now TGI Friday ...Christmas Style
Some of these have been reprinted from previous years Christmas TGI Fridays by request, This newsletter turns 22 years old in 2009.
If you eat a Christmas cookie fresh out of the oven, it has no calories
because everyone knows that the first cookie is the test and thus calorie free.
If you drink a diet soda after eating your second cookie, it also has no
calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories (water has the
same properties here).
If a friend comes over while you're making your Christmas cookies and needs
to sample, you must sample with your friend. Because your friend's first
cookie is calorie free, rule #1 is yours also. It would be rude to let your
friend sample alone and, being the friend that you are, that makes your cookie
calorie free, as well.
Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and
eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the
Any calories consumed during the frosting of The Christmas cookies
will be used up because it takes many calories to lick excess
frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.
Cookies colored red or green have very few calories. Red ones have three and
green ones have five - one calorie for each letter. (Make more red ones!)
Cookies eaten while watching "Miracle on 34th Street" have NO
calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not
part of one's personal fuel.
As always, cookie "pieces" contain no calories because the process of
breaking causes calorie leakage.
Any cookies consumed from someone else's plate have no calories since the
calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate.
(We all know how calories like to CLING!)
used for medicinal purposes NEVER have calories. (It's a rule!)
I you have an "Automotive Minded" Person in you life, these gift
suggestions should be considered.
1. Tire Air Change Kit. This kit comes with everything you need to
change the air in your tires. This highly recommended but often
overlooked maintenance item is much easier now. Remember to change
your air every 3000 miles or twice a year. $25
2. Blinker Fluid. You knew it existed but, WOW, is this stuff hard to find.
4oz bottle. $12
3. Synthetic Blinker Fluid. Better yet! 4oz bottle. $24
4. Light Bulb Filaments. Why throw away a perfectly good turn signal
or stop light bulb when you can just install a new filament? Premium
Filaments, made in the USA! $1 ea.
5. Manifold Heat. Yes, your exhaust manifold should be HOT. If it's
not, you may need this item. Sold by the pound. $3.50
6. Steering Wheel Gaskets. All SIZES available! Email for specific
application. From $9.99
7. Tie Rod Tensioner. Is your tie rod limp? Tension it with T-50! $14.99
8. Alternator Batteries. (4 required, replace them all!) From $2.99
9. Fan Belt Buckles. Specify brass or chrome. Gold available special
10. Muffler Bearing Manual. Print version $59.95
11. Muffler Bearing Manual. CD version $49.99
12. Universal Muffler Bearing Tool Kit $105.59
13. Muffler Bearing Hi Temp Synthetic Lube (the only kind we sell!) $40.24
14. Muffler Bearings From $19.95
15. Muffler Bearing Gasket Kits From $9.99
16. Momentum (required for tackling some off road obstacles). Sold by
the lb-ft/sec $0.50
17. Microsoft Windows Eliminator. If your car or truck begins to run poorly,
(long time to start, frequent crashes, etc.), it's computer, (ecm,
ecu, black box, etc.), may have become infected with this nasty
computer virus. This product will safely remove the virus. $199
18. Mirror Image Flipper Film. Did you know that the image you see in
your rear view mirrors are reversed! This is a manufacturing flaw
that the auto companies have kept secret for years as the recall
would cost BILLIONS! This film can be cut and placed over any mirror
to correct the image. Now you'll be able to read signs in the rear
view mirror! $5 per square ft.
Thanks and a tip of Santa's hat to Natasha for this one:
Children's Science Exam
If you need a good laugh, try reading through these children's science exam answers...
Q: Name the four seasons.
A: Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.
Q: Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink.
A: Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.
Q: How is dew formed?
A: The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.
Q: How can you delay milk turning sour?
A: Keep it in the cow.
Q: What causes the tides in the oceans?
A: The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon. All water tends to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature hates a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.
Q: What are steroids?
A: Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.
Q: What happens to your body as you age?
A: When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental
Q: What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
A: He says good-bye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery. (The kid gets an A+ for this answer!)
Q: Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A: Premature death.
Q: How are the main parts of the body categorized? ( e.g., abdomen)
A: The body is consisted into three parts -- the brainium, the borax and the abdominal cavity. Th e brainium contains the brain; the boraxcontains the heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels A, E, I, O, and U.
Q: What is the fibula?
A: A small lie.
Q: What does 'varicose' mean?
Q: Give the meaning of the term 'Caesarian Section.'
A: The Caesarian Section is a district in Rome.
Q: What does the word 'benign' mean?'
A: Benign is what you will be after you be eight.
Thanks to PJ for sending this one in:
Dear Santa from Mom
I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children
on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor, sold
sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on
the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out over
several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red
crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and
who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.
Here are my Christmas wishes:
I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple,
which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze;
but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle
in the grocery store.
I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month
of my last pregnancy.
If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint
resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television
that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a
refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can
hide to talk on the phone.
On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes,
Mommy" to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't
fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the
use of power tools.
I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the
living room" and "Take your hands off your brother," because my voice
seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be
heard by the dog.
If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough
time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the
luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being
served in a Styrofoam container.
If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten
the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a
vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if
you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding
payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.
Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet
under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a
safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in
and dry off so you don't catch cold.
Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave
crumbs on the carpet.
Yours Always, MOM...!
P.S. One more thing...you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my
children young enough to believe in Santa.
*Santa has asked that this gets passed on to all the mommies you know*
The REAL Night Before Christmas
'Twas the night before Christmas
when all through the house
I searched for the tools
to hand to my spouse
Instructions were studied
and we were inspired,
in hopes we could manage
"Some Assembly Required."
The children were quiet (not asleep) in their beds,
while Dad and I faced the evening with dread:
a kitchen, two bikes, Barbie's townhouse to boot!
And now, thanks to Grandpa, a train with a toot!
We opened the boxes,
my heart skipped a beat -
let no parts be missing
or parts incomplete!
Too late for last-minute returns or replacement;
if we can't get it right, it goes straight to the basement!
When what to my worrying eyes should appear
but 50 sheets of directions, concise, but not clear,
With each part numbered and every slot named,
so if we failed, only we could be blamed.
More rapid than eagles the parts then fell out,
all over the carpet they were scattered about.
"Now bolt it! Now twist it! Attach it right there!
Slide on the seats, and staple the stair!
Hammer the shelves, and nail to the stand."
"Honey," said hubby, "you just glued my hand."
And then in a twinkling, I knew for a fact
that all the toy dealers had indeed made a pact
to keep parents busy all Christmas Eve night
with "assembly required" till morning's first light.
We spoke not a word, but kept bent at our work,
till our eyes, they went blurry; our fingers all hurt.
The coffee went cold and the night, it wore thin
before we attached the last rod and last pin.
Then laying the tools away in the chest,
we fell into bed for a well-deserved rest.
But I said to my husband just before I passed out,
"This will be the best Christmas, without any doubt.
Tomorrow we'll cheer, let the holiday ring,
and not run to the store for one single thing!
We did it! We did it! The toys are all set
for the perfect, most magical, Christmas, I bet!"
Then off to dreamland and sweet repose
I gratefully went, though I suppose
there's something to say for those self-deluded-
I'd forgotten that BATTERIES are never included!
It was the beginning of December. The trip had gone reasonably well,
and he was ready to go back. The airport on the other hand had turned
a tacky red and green with loudspeakers blared annoying elevator
renditions of cherished Christmas carols.
Being someone who took Christmas very seriously, and being slightly
tired, he was not in a particularly good mood.
Going to check in his luggage, he saw hanging mistletoe. Not real
mistletoe, but very cheap plastic with red paint on some of the
rounder parts and green paint on some of the flatter and "pointier"
parts, that could be taken for mistletoe only in a very Picasso sort of way.
With a considerable degree of irritation and nowhere else to vent it,
he said to the lady attendant, "Even if I were not married, I would
not want to kiss you under such a ghastly mockery of mistletoe."
"Sir, look more closely at where the mistletoe is."
"Ok, I see that it's above the luggage scale, which is the place
you'd have to step forward for a kiss."
"That's not why it's there."
"Ok, I give up. Why is it there?"
"It's there so you can kiss your luggage goodbye."
For the curious who might not know of the "tradition" of kissing
under the mistletoe, let me provide a tiny bit of history.
The history of kissing under the mistletoe means going back to
ancient Scandinavia -- to custom and the Norse myths: "It was also
the plant of peace in Scandinavian antiquity. If enemies met by
chance beneath it in a forest, they laid down their arms and
maintained a truce until the next day."
This ancient Scandinavian custom led to mistletoe being a symbol of love, peace and goodwill.
It may be that this embrace of goodwill among enemies eventually led
to the traditional kiss under the mistletoe. Some cultures say that
if a man kisses a woman while she is standing under mistletoe, it is
a proposal of marriage! Most cultures around the world however, now
just view a person standing under mistletoe as being available for a kiss!
In just two days, tomorrow will be yesterday.
After driving up and down several lanes, I finally found a parking
spot at the shopping mall. I noticed another man driving very slowly
in the same direction, and, since he was closer, I gave him the "Are
you going to park there?" look.
His responding gestures were very confusing. First he shook his head.
Next he pointed at me, then at the parking space and then at himself,
his watch and the mall. Finishing off, he frowned, raised his palms
upward and shrugged. Once I parked, I walked over to the driver to
make sure he didn't want the space.
"You must be single," he replied. "If you were married, you would've
known that was the universal sign for 'Go ahead and take the spot.
I'm waiting for my wife.'"
For every action, there is
an equal and opposite criticism.
A doting father used to sing his little children to sleep until he
overheard the four-year-old tell the three-year-old, "If you pretend
you're asleep, he stops."
Thanks to Tina for this one:
There are only two things a child will share willingly:
communicable diseases and his mother's age.
On my birthday I was cutting the lawn when my teenage son came home
from a baseball game. Seeing me behind the mower, he exclaimed, "Oh,
Dad, you shouldn't have to mow the lawn on your birthday." Touched, I
was about to turn the mower over to him when he added, "You should
wait until tomorrow!"
During a January revival, an evangelist asked the people in line what
they needed. One man's request was for his hearing. The evangelist
spit on his finger, put it in the man's ear, prayed for him and asked
him, "How's your hearing?"
The man replied, "I don't know. It's not until next Tuesday."
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
The one present Roy Collette wasn't looking forward to getting for
Christmas 1988 was those pants. Yet he knew he was in trouble as soon
as the flatbed truck bearing a concrete-filled tank off a truck used to deliver ready-mix rolled up.
Sure as God made little green apples,those pants had to be in there. And he was going to have to fish them
out, else declare his brother-in-law the winner of a rivalry that had spanned 20 years.
Being the sport he is, brother-in-law Larry Kunkel thoughtfully
supplied the services of a crane to hoist the concrete-filled tank
off the flatbed.
What's this game, you ask? What was the significance of these pants,
and why were two grown men going to such efforts year after year to
retrieve them, only to send them off again?
It all began in 1964 when Larry Kunkel's mom gave him a pair of
moleskin pants. After wearing them a few times, he found they froze
stiff in Minnesota winters and thus wouldn't do. That next Christmas,
he wrapped the garment in pretty paper and presented it to his brother-in-law.
Brother-in-law Roy Collette discovered he didn't want them either. He
bided his time until the Christmas after, then packaged them up and
gave them back to Kunkel. This yearly exchange proceeded amicably
until one year Collette twisted the pants tightly and stuffed them
into a 3-foot-long, 1-inch wide pipe.
And so the game began. Year after year, as the pants were shuffled
back and forth, the brothers strove to make unwrapping them more
difficult, perhaps in the hope of ending the tradition. In retaliation for the pipe, Kunkel compressed the pants into a 7-inch square, wrapped them with wire and gave the "bale" to Collette. Not
to be outdone, Collette put the pants into a 2-foot-square crate
filled with stones, nailed it shut, banded it with steel and gave the
trusty trousers back to Kunkel.
The brothers agreed to end the caper if the trousers were damaged.
But they were as careful as they were clever. As the game evolved, so
did the rules. Only "legal and moral" methods of wrapping were
permitted. Wrapping expenses were kept to a minimum with only junk
parts used. Kunkel next had the pants mounted inside an insulated
window that had a 20-year guarantee and shipped them off to Collette.
Collette broke the glass, recovered the trousers, stuffed them into a
5-inch coffee can, which he soldered shut. The can was put in a
5-gallon container filled with concrete and reinforcing rods and
given to Kunkel the following Christmas.
Kunkel installed the pants in a 225-pound homemade steel ashtray made
from 8-inch steel casings and etched Collette's name on the side.
Collette had trouble retrieving the treasured trousers, but succeeded
without burning them with a cutting torch.
Collette found a 600-pound safe and hauled it to Viracon Inc. in
Owatonna, where the shipping department decorated it with red and
green stripes, put the pants inside and welded the safe shut.
The safe was then shipped to Kunkel, who was
the plant manager for Viracon's outlet in Bensenville.
The pants next turned up in a drab green, 3-foot cube that once was a
1974 Gremlin. A note attached to the 2,000-pound scrunched car
advised Collette that the pants were inside the glove compartment.
In 1982 Kunkel faced the problem of retrieving the pants from a tire
8 feet high and 2 feet wide and filled with 6,000 pounds of concrete.
On the outside Collette had written, "Have a Goodyear."
In 1983 the pants came back to Collette in a 17.5-foot red rocket
ship filled with concrete and weighing 6 tons. Five feet in diameter,
with pipes 6 inches in diameter outside running the length of the
ship and a launching pad attached to its bottom, the rocket sported a
picture of the pants fluttering atop it. Inside the rocket were 15
concrete-filled canisters, one of which housed the pants.
Collette's revenge for the rocket ship was delivered to Kunkel in the
form of a 4-ton Rubik's Cube in 1985. The cube was made of concrete
that had been baked in a kiln and covered with 2,000 board feet of lumber.
Kunkel "solved the cube," and for 1986 gift-giving repackaged the
pants into a station wagon filled with 170 steel generators all
welded together. Because the pants have to be retrieved undamaged,
Collette was faced with carefully taking apart each component.
What happened to the pants in 1987 is a mystery, and their 1988
packaging (concrete-filled tank) was mentioned at the beginning of
this page. Sadly, 1989's packaging scheme brought the demise of the
Collette was inspired to encase the pantaloons in 10,000 pounds of
glass that he would then deposit in Kunkel's front yard. "It would
have been a great one - really messy," Kunkel ruefully admitted. The
pants were shipped to a friend in Tennessee who managed a glass
manufacturing company. While molten glass was being poured over the
insulated container that held them, an oversized chunk fractured,
transforming the pants into a pile of ashes.
The ashes were deposited into a brass urn and delivered to Kunkel
along with this epitaph:
Sorry, Old Man Here lies the Pants. . . An attempt to cast the pants
in glass brought about the demise of the pants at last.
The urn now graces the fireplace mantel in Kunkel's home.
If Companies Ran Christmas
If IBM ran Christmas...
They would want one big Santa, dressed in blue, where kids queue up
for their present-processing. Receiving presents would take about
24-36 hours of mainframe processing time.
If Microsoft ran Christmas...
Each time you bought an ornament, you would have to buy a tree as
well. You wouldn't have to take the tree, but you still have to pay
for it anyway. Ornament/Vista would weigh 1500 pounds (requiring a
reinforced steel countertop tree), draw enough electricity to power
a small city, take up 95% of the space in your living room, and would
claim to be the first ornament that uses the colors red and green
together. It would interrogate your other decorations to find out
who made them. Most everyone would hate Microsoft ornaments, but
nonetheless would buy them since most of the other tree types
wouldn't work with their hooks.
If Apple ran Christmas...
It would do everything the Microsoft ornaments do, but years earlier,
and with a smaller mouse (not stirring of course).
If Silicon Graphics ran Christmas...
Ornaments would be priced slightly higher, but would hang on the tree
remarkably quickly. Also the colors of the ornaments would be
prettier than most all the others. Options would be available for
'equalization' of color combinations on the tree.
If Fisher-Price ran Christmas...
"Baby's First Ornament" would have a hand-crank that you turn to hang
the thing on the tree.
If The Rand Corporation ran Christmas...
The ornaments would be large perfectly smooth and seamless black
cubes. Christmas morning, there would be presents for everyone, but
no one would know what they were. Their service department would
have an unlisted phone number, and be located at the North Pole.
Blueprints for ornaments would be highly classified government
documents. X-Files would have an episode about them.
If the NSA ran Christmas...
Your ornaments would have a secret trap door that only the NSA could
access in case they needed to monitor your tree for reasons of
If Sony ran Christmas...
Their Personal Xmas-ing Device, which would be barely larger than an
ornament and flat, would allow you to celebrate the season with a
device attached conveniently to your belt.
If the Franklin Mint ran Christmas...
Every month, you would receive another lovely hand-crafted item from
an authentic Civil War pewter ornament collection. Each ornament
would weight about 7 pounds, and require you to pay shipping and
If Cray ran Christmas...
The holiday season would cost $16 million but would be celebrated
faster than any other holiday during the year.
If Timex ran Christmas...
The holiday would be cheap, small, quartz-crystal driven, and would
let you take a licking and keep on shopping.
If Radio Shack ran Christmas...
The staff would sell you ornaments, but not know anything about them
or what they were for. Or you could buy parts to build your own
If K-Tel ran Christmas...
Ornaments would not be sold in stores, but when you purchased some,
they would be accompanied by a free set of Ginsu knives.
A Dieter's Christmas
'Twas the night before Christmas and all around my hips
Were Fanny May candies that sneaked past my lips.
Fudge brownies were stored in the freezer with care
In hopes that my thighs would forget they were there.
While Mama in her girdle and I in chin straps
Had just settled down to sugar-borne naps.
When out in the pantry there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter
Away to the kitchen I flew like a flash
Tore open the icebox then threw up the sash
The marshmallow look of the new-fallen snow
Sent thoughts of a binge to my body below.
When what to my wandering eyes should appear:
A marzipan Santa with eight chocolate reindeer!
That huge chunk of candy so luscious and slick
I knew in a second that I'd wind up sick.
The sweet-coated Santa, those sugared reindeer
I closed my eyes tightly but still I could hear;
On Pritzker, on Stillman, on weak one, on TOPS
A Weight Watcher dropout from sugar detox.
From the top of the scales to the top of the hall
Now dash away pounds now dash away all.
Dressed up in Lane Bryant from my head to nightdress
My clothes were all bulging from too much excess
My droll little mouth and my round little belly
They shook when I laughed like a bowl full of jelly
I spoke not a word but went straight to my work
Ate all of the candy then turned with a jerk.
And laying a finger beside my heartburn
I gave a quick nod toward the bedroom I turned
I eased into bed, to the heavens I cry
If temptation's removed I'll get thin by and by.
And I mumbled again as I turned in for the night
In the morning I'll starve... 'till I take that first bite!
Politically Correct Rudolph
Original text is followed by the "politically correct" translation.
Original: Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer ...
Translation: Rudolf was a four-hooved ungulate,
Original: Had a very shiny nose ...
Translation: Who, incidentally, possessed a nasal appendage
of a maroon lustre.
Original: And if you ever saw him ...
Translation: Consequently, if circumstances were to present
themselves that he ever came into your view,
Original: You would even say it glows ...
Translation: You would most undoubtedly remark at to its
Original: All of the other reindeer ...
Translation: The multitude of other members of the population
in his ecological community,
Original: Used to laugh and call him names ...
Translation: Had previously teased, chuckled boisterously,
and dubbed him unspeakable pseudonyms --
the objective of which was to lower
his self-esteen and make him miserable.
Original: They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games ...
Translation: They also excluded him from participation in leisure
activities consistent with their species.
Original: Then one foggy Christmas eve ...
Translation: However, on the twenty-fourth of December in an
Original: Santa came to say ...
Translation: A mythological, supernatural being inherent to
western culture (who symbolizes the Christmas
attitude and allegedly brings gifts to children)
arrived through the supersaturated, humid air.
Original: Rudolph, with your nose so bright ...
Translation: He formally invited Rudolph, due to his extraordinary
Original: Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?
Translation: To stand at the forefront of his snow vehicle
with the express purpose that he navigate through
the nocturnal mist.
Original: Then all the reindeer loved him ...
Translation: At that point, the multitude of other members
of the population in his ecological community
who had previously teased, chuckled boisterously,
and dubbed him unspeakable pseudonyms, reversed
their disposition toward Rudolph to a more
congenial, amicable relationship.
Original: And they shouted out with glee ...
Translation: They consequently exclaimed with great
exaltation and fervor,
Original: Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer ...
Translation: Rudolph, the antlered mammal with a maroon
Original: You'll go down in history!
Translation: You shall most certainly be recorded in the
annals of time and your memory will be preserved
The Night Before Christmas (Legal Style)
Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at
a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter "the House") a
general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not
limited to a mouse.
A variety of foot apparel, e.g. stocking, socks, etc., had been
affixed by and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or
belief that St. Nick a/k/a/ St. Nicholas a/k/a/ Santa Claus
(hereinafter "Claus") would arrive at sometime thereafter.
The minor residents, i.e. the children, of the aforementioned House
were located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal
hallucinations, i.e. dreams,wherein visions of confectionery treats,
including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did
dance, cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams.
Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred
to as "I"), being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the
party of the second part (hereinafter "Mamma"), and said Mamma had
retired for a sustained period of sleep. (At such time, the parties
were clad in various forms of headgear, e.g. kerchief and cap.)
Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon
the unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House,
i.e. the lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or
circumstance. The party of the first part did immediately rush to a
window in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance.
At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some
degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter
"the Vehicle") being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air
by approximately eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle
appeared to be and in fact was, the previously referenced Claus.
Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance
to the approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified
the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen,
Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (hereinafter "the Deer"). (Upon
information and belief, it is further asserted that an additional
co-conspirator named "Rudolph" may have been involved.)
The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer
intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several
residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House,and
noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and
other items of unknown origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior
invitation or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle
arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the chimney.
Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered
with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing
a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown
items. He was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in
blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations.
Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stocking of
the minor children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and
other small gifts. (Said items did not, however, constitute "gifts"
to said minor pursuant to the applicable provisions of the U.S. Tax Code.)
Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and
flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof
where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as "lookouts." Claus
immediately departed for an unknown destination.
However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from
said House, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or
exclaim: "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!" Or words
to that effect.
Stop That! (But Not Yet)
It's the 1970s, and this technician is working on an antisubmarine warfare
R&D project at a U.S. Navy base.
"To test sonar systems and the computerized response to them, we built a
test lab with a bank of computer-controlled frequency synthesizers," says
the tech. "Nice equipment -- a bank of eight synthesizers with a range of a
megahertz and resolution of a millihertz."
As part of the test, his team runs the output through speakers to see if it
sounds like ocean noise.
"This was an ugly sound, but statistically it matched ocean noise," he
said. "And we noted that when we ran pure tones through the simulator, it
sounded like a really good pipe organ."
One bright junior engineer immediately realizes that with eight tone
synthesizers, the team can generate eight-part harmony. And it's not long
before the tech and his cohorts are spending their lunch hours programming
the system to play Christmas carols.
"It was innocuous fun, and we didn't let it interfere with programming for
the sonar research," technician says.
But the fun doesn't last. "We got a call from the base captain, telling us
to cease and desist from using Navy equipment for improper purposes," says
tech. "We were disappointed but complied."
"Then we got a follow-up call the next day, indicating that before we
ceased and desisted, we should program 'Anchors Away' for the admiral's
upcoming inspection visit.
"The admiral got 'Anchors Away' in four-part harmony."
Thanks and a tip of Sants's Hat to Ruthie for this one:
The Four Candles burned slowly.
Their ambiance was so soft you could hear them speak...
The first candle said, "I Am Peace,
but these days, nobody wants to keep me lit."
Then Peace's flame slowly diminished and went out completely.
The second candle said, "I Am Faith,
but these days, I am no longer indispensable."
Then Faith's flame slowly diminished and went out completely.
Sadly the third candle spoke,
"I Am Love and I haven't the strength to stay lit any longer."
"People put me aside and don't understand my importance.
They even forget to love those who are nearest to them."
And waiting no longer, Love went out completely.
A child entered the room and saw the three candles no longer burning.
The child began to cry, "Why are you not burning?
You are supposed to stay lit until the end."
Then the Fourth Candle spoke gently to the little boy,
"Don't be afraid, for I Am Hope,
and while I still burn, we can re-light the other candles."
With shining eyes, the child took the Candle of Hope
and lit the other three candles.
Never let the Flame of Hope go out.
With Hope in your life, no matter how bad things may be,
Peace, Faith and Love may shine brightly once again. "
The Painting from 1998
Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young
son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled
around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their
collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many
others adorned the walls of the family estate. The widowed elder man
looked on with satisfaction, as his only child became an experienced
art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind caused
his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors round
As winter approached, war engulfed the nation and the young man left
to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father
received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The art
collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his
son again. Within days, his fears were confirmed. The young man had
died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic.
Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas
holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season - a season
that he and his son had so looked forward to - would visit his house no longer.
On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old
man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls
only reminded him that his son was not coming home. As he opened the
door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand.
He introduced himself to the man by saying, "I was a friend of your
son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a
few moments? I have something to show you."
As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man's son had
told every one of his - not to mention his father's - love of fine
art. "I'm an artist," said the soldier, "and I want to give you
this." As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to
reveal a portrait of the man's son. Though the world would never
consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young
man's face in striking detail.
Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang
the picture above the fireplace.
A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set
about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the
fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars of paintings. And then
the man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he
had been given.
During the days and weeks that followed, the man realized that even
though his son was no longer with him, the boy's life would live on
because of those he had touched.
He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded
soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart. As the stories of
his son's gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and
satisfaction began to ease the grief.
The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far
eclipsing any interest in the pieces for which museums around the
world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had
The following spring, the old man became ill and passed way. The art
world was in anticipation. With the collector's passing, and his only
son dead, those paintings would be sold at an auction. According to
the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on
Christmas day, the day he had received his greatest gift. The day
soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid
on some of the world's most spectacular paintings.
Dreams would be fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as
many would claim "I have the greatest collection." The auction began
with a painting that was not on any museum's list. It was the
painting of the man's son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid.
The room was silent. "Who will open the bidding with $100?" he asked.
Minutes passed. No one spoke. From the back of the room came, "Who
cares about that painting? It's just a picture of his son. Let's
forget it and go on to the good stuff." More voices echoed in
agreement. "No, we have to sell this one first," replied the auctioneer.
"Now, who will take the son?" Finally, a friend of the old man spoke.
"Will you take ten dollars for the painting? That's all I have. I
knew the boy, so I'd like to have it."
"I have ten dollars. Will anyone go higher?" called the auctioneer.
After more silence, the auctioneer said, "Going once, going twice.
Gone." The gavel fell.
Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, "Now we can get on with
it and we can bid on these treasures!"
The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced the auction was
over. Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and
asked, "What do you mean it's over?
We didn't come here for a picture of some old guy's son. What about
all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars of art here! I
demand that you explain what's going on here!"
The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of
the father, whoever takes the son ... gets it all."
I wrote this in last years Christmas TGI For Fran, and so many people commented about it, that I thought I would run it again:
- Adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (1907 - 1977)
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"
The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."
"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean.
As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."
You don't have to look too far to know of someone deployed overseas
... perhaps a member of your own family, or the family of a co-worker
or friend. Let's not forget them this holiday season. I know the joy
which results by receiving messages from "home". This year is it even
easier than taking pen to paper. You can do it on the Internet.
Here are two web sites that can help.
The first is America Supports You. The web address is:
Listed there several links. One can be used to send messages of
support to our troops overseas (from that link you can read the
messages already sent). The other can be used to see the responses
from the troops. This service is free.
The second is Let's Say Thanks! The web address is:
Let's Say Thanks is a service of Xerox Corporation and is also free.
It is a web site that allows you to send a FREE printed postcard to
U.S. servicemen and women stationed overseas. All you do is pick your
favorite card, enter your message and then Xerox does the rest! You
can't choose to whom the card is sent, but it will go to a member of
the armed services.
Make a soldier's day today!
I wish each of you a holiday weekend filled with Joy, Happiness and the best that life has to offer...the gift of each other. This gift cannot be purchased with Visa, Mastercard or American Express. This gift is not tied to any religious practice, but resides in each of our hearts.
After an exceptionally stressful year and a very stressful holiday situation, look inside yourselves and find the true meaning for this wonderful season. Enjoy your Christmas Holiday!
Well, that's it for this week!
Weather - Wednesday, Christmas Eve, Snow/sleet predawn hours change over to a period of snow before ending by evening. Total accumulations 3-10 inches. 32 / 1. Thursday, Christmas Day - Early morning flurries, then sunshine along with some mixed clouds. Cold. 22 / 19 Friday - Warmest temperatures in nearly two weeks likely. Cloudy. Rain, possibly freezing rain at the onset. Rising temperatures overnight, 42 / 26. Saturday - Partly sunny early then clouding over during the day. A chance of snow by evening with snow likely overnight, 29 / 19. Sunday - Sunny and milder Pacific air reaches us, 37 / 24. Monday, Partly sunny, breezy and mild for the season. Daytime highs nearly 10 degrees above normal, 41 / 21. Tuesday, Cloudy and Cold with another round of snow moving in later in the day, 20 / 16.
Enjoy your Holiday Weekend! Stay Safe!
Go Hawks! Go Wolves! Go Bulls! Go Bears?!!
Let's be careful out there!