Monthly Archives: November 2007

>REACT:More CHRISTMAS nonsense

>Well, I am offened again. So, what else is new … eh?

I received an email invitation to visit a traditional holiday event at Chicago’s oldest existing home. It will feature traditional food, traditional decorations, traditional music, and traditional whatever else. The only problem with the invitation, it conspicuously avoids naming THE tradition. Never anywhere in the invitation does the word Christmas appear. I guess it is okay to ASSUME what the tradtion is, but one must not print or utter the naughty word … ah … you know … uh …shhhhhh … Christmas.

About the same time I heard a radio commercial for a special concert of traditional (there’s that word again) holiday music. Again, no mention of Chirstmas. So, in this case I am assuming it must be John Philip Sousa playing patriotic Fourth of July marches.

Then there was the item about a village ordering the exclusive use of white light bulbs in holiday (nee Christmas) decorations because … get this … because red and green are religious. (I wonder if this is the same community where the school officials declared “noose” to be a racial slur?) Interestingly, several churches with which I am casually familiar use all white bulbs for the … uh … holiday decorations. But, don’t tell the poli-correct Gestapo or we will all have to have an unlit Christmas trees in our living rooms.

This stuff gets crazier every Christma … ah … holday season.

Advertisements

>REACT: Court decision about abortion is an abortion

>

There is an old story about a witness who makes a derogatory comment about the court proceedings. The judge angrily inquires, “Are you trying to show your contempt for this court?? The witness answers. “No your honor, I am doing my best to conceal it.”

I think that sort of sums up the public’s growing attitude about our increasingly irrational and abusive judicial system. It is not hard to find examples of courts and judges who deserve contempt. Here is the latest.

A court in Texas ruled that a person can be charged with homicide if they cause the death of a fetus in the commission of a crime, such as murdering the pregnant woman or battering her. As a pro-lifer, I like the ruling so far. It recognizes the fetus as a protectable human life. It gives the fetus the same right to life as a toddler or an adult.

However, the court also ruled that the ruling did not apply to doctors performing an abortion.

In other words, an 8-month-old fetus is a human being if killed by a criminal on the street, but is not a human being if killed by a doctor in an operating room.

It is sort like you getting 20 years to life for strangling granny, but if you take granny to a hospital to be professionally strangled, it is not a crime at all.

So here is the quiz. Do you think the judge in this case is (1) brain damaged, (2) an idiot, (3) on drugs, (4) should be on drugs, or (5) all of the above?

>REACT: Old school ties.

>Just when I stopped going “Ho! Ho! Ho! over the last item, I run across yet another nutty example of the over zealous political correctness Gestapo. This time it is those repeat offenders, who place contorted political correctness over common sense – the educators. Seems like a young boy scout was asked if his knot tying education gave him the skill to tie a noose. The young scout proudly (assumedly) answered that he did, indeed, know how to tie a noose.

That exchange got BOTH boys detention because some undies-in-a-bunch school person declared the word “noose” to be a racial slur. Someone should tell this nincompoop that “noose” is NOT the n-word commonly referred to in terms of racial insensitivity.

>LMAO: No mo’ ho

>

Believe it or not, but there is a company in Australia that trains “Santas” and dispatches the jolly fellows to retail malls and stores throughout the world to provide a comfortable knee and an eager ear to young believers coveting the latest toy. Personally, I never thought the Santa schtick was that complicated, but what do I know?.

What tickled my funny bone was a report that the new batch of politically correct Santas have been advised against employing the traditional “Ho! Ho! Ho!” as their tummies shake like a bowl full of jelly. Seems that the word “ho” is an insult to women.

First, “ho” ain’t no word. But for the moment, let us accept the fact the “ho” is a shortened version of the word “whore,” as used mostly by black brothas who had the misfortune of graduating, or not graduating, from an urban public school – the distinction of graduation having no real bearing on their education, anyway.

They recommend “hehehe” or “hahaha. Personally, I think “hehehe” is too much of a snicker and too widely used in Internet chat after someone offers up a salacious comment. “Hahaha” can be too mocking, like the laugh that bursts forth when you see a person stumble with a bag full of groceries. .

And I say “so what?” if there is a double meaning. I am sure that every glitter-eyed, four-year-old thinks of ghetto streetwalkers the minute Santa bellows his trade mark laughter. I mean, really!

And think about this. What happens if these political correctness Gestapos apply their cynical thinking to all the other double-meaning words? Do we ban Peter Rabbit? Or Dick Tracy? Rename the movie, “The Owl and the Pussycat?” Rip the “Johnson” pages from the telephone book? Ban the expression “tit for tat?” No more cocktails? No more dancing at society balls? Can we still get a screw at the hardware store? No more door knockers? A ban on roast butt?

So… I say “No! No! No!” to the ban on Ho! Ho! Ho! Hehehe … hahaha ….!!!

>OBSERVATION: God and teenagers.

>Everytime I ponder God, I become more impressed with His perfect wisdom. Consider this. When our youngest children need our total attention and nurturing, He makes them sweet and cuddly. We can hardly let them out of our sight for the shear joy of their being. Then, when it is time for those same sweet charming children to begin their exit from the nest, He turns them into teenagers. Think about that.

>REACT: Ronald McDonald stomps out Santa

>After publishing my blog item on Macy’s de-Christmas’ing the 2000 year old holiday (November 21, 2007), I went to checked out Chicago’s traditional State Street Christmas Parade held each Thanksgiving – you know, the one that welcomes the arrival of Santa Claus.

Well, the anti-Christ(mas) has struck again – this time in the form of another corporate behemoth, McDonald’s. Not sure when this all happened, but there is no Christmas parade any more. Ronald (the Grinch) McDonald booted the Christmas theme, and the event is now known as the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Forget about Christ. Ronald has knocked off even the secularized Santa image in favor of a logo featuring a trite and tacky turkey in a pilgrim high hat.

(As an aside: In the above logo, doesn’t that look like the front end of an old Pilgrim-style blunderbust rifle pointing at the turkey from behind the leafy bush? I am sure that is not the intent, but still a fitting bit of symbolism, don’t ya think?)

If you were hoping that perhaps the real Christmas parade was rescheduled for another time, you’re out of luck. The only other parade is the Michigan Avenue merchants Parade of Lights produced by Walt Disney. No celebration of Christmas. An obligatory Santa, but certainly nothing to symbolize the real meaning of the holiday.

Corporate America, in a fit of greedy political correctness has changed the “love thy neighbor” holiday message to “love thy neighbor’s money.”

On the other, maybe the Christians got just what we deserved. I mean, most of our religious holidays were superimposed over Pagan celebrations in an effort, successful to be sure, to drive the godless holidays into extinction. It would seem that the neo-Pagans of corporate America are providing pay-back time. They are driving Christians from the public forums in favor or superficial Disney cartoons, holiday trees symbolic of nothing, and irrlevant festivals of lights. Sure, it is all very pretty, but prettiness does not connote significance or relevancy. (Did the name Paris Hilton just pop into your mind, too?)

Kicking Christ out of his name sake holiday is nothing new. The transformation from the elderly St. Nicholas of European origin to the cartoonish pot-bellied, retail-hawking Santa Claus happened more than three generations ago. The “Xmas” abbreviation was the rage at mid-20th Century. The supporting roles once held by shepards were given to a bunch of elves. The drab animals of the manger faded in the face of the bright-eyed and bright-nosed reindeer know as Rudolph – the creation of the advertising department or the now defunct Montgomery Ward & Company.

It would seem that the austere message of Christ is not in keeping with the sales strategies of the big retailers. The maniacally generous iconic characters, such as Santa Claus, make for better sales. Can you image for one moment bringing your child, with a long selfish wish list, to Macy’s to sit on the lap of a actor dressed as Jesus?

The very modern-day buying orgy is an anathema to the biblical Christ. To celebrate this holiday in keeping with its theological origins would require feeding the hungry as opposed to gorging the gluttonous. Clothing the naked, not donning designer duds. Comforting the ill, not imbibing until we are. We are admonished to care for those less fortunate, not over indulge the already blessed.

When you look at it that way, I guess dumping Christ and Christmas makes sense. What has evolved is NOT Jesus’ holiday. It is the celebration of the new religion, Consumerism. Maybe … just maybe … the secular iconology is not driving out the Christmas of Christ. Maybe it is just filling in the vacuum we have selfishly provided. Maybe the Grinch is not the politically correct, but the theologically challenged. Maybe it is not “they” who stole Christmas, but “we” who too willingly abandoned it.

Something to ponder as we good Christians begin our annual pilgramage to Wal Mart. At least they still know it is Christmas.

>RECT: Gore gored by British school authorities

>In case you missed it, Al Gore’s sci fi movie, An Inconvenient Truth, has been banned from British schools as being political propaganda and fraught with errors. The English school authorities have ordered that any time the movie is used as an educational tool, will have to carry a disclaimer stating that it is basically bull shit. Oh! Well that is not the exact terminology used by the understated and overly polite Brits, but the thought is the same.

>FLASHBACK: Greeting cards on sale.

>You may recall, I recently posted an item ranting about the high cost of greeting cards (Friday, October 19). Well, good news! The free market works.

I recently ran into a discount card and party store that sells cards for as little as 49 cents. Most around 99 cents. And … these are not chintzy postage-stamp size cards akin to children’s valentines. These are totally competitive with Hallmark.

Sure, greeting cards are still fodder for the paper recycling bin, and I prefer personal greetings and hand made cards over the store bought variety. However, at least you can cover a birthday without taking out a second mortgage.

Even as I was penning the previous submission, I had a feeling that greeting card price competition was just around the corner. The free market abhors price gouging. Now, if only we could bring gasoline, tobacco and casino gambling into the free market world.

>REACT: Macy’s Christmas. Bah humbug!!

>I sent the following as a letter-to-the-editor to a number of major publications. Generally, at least one will publish my epistle. As I prepared this for delivery, the shadow or pessimism crossed my mind. Would, I wonder, any major newspaper publish a letter-to-the-editor so critical of a major advertiser? The answer is … “nope.” I got two calls to confirm that I was author – a practice that most often leads to publication. For a moment, there was hope. But alas, my condemnation of Macy’s was rejected even as the department store ads grew larger and more frequent on the eve of the busiest shopping day of the year.

So, for whatever it is worth. Here is my unpublished opinion.

To: The Editor

Christmas at Macy’s, bah humbug!

On November 10, the Big Apple department store, Macy’s (nee Marshall Field & Company), again insulted Chicagoans and Christians.

In celebration of one of Christianity’s holiest seasons, Macy’s invited convicted felon Martha Stewart to preside at the official tree lighting ceremony – and hawk her designer ornaments. Full-page newspaper ads invited all of us to participate in this event by dropping by and (they hope) giving them some of our hard earned money to send back to New York.

For most of my life, the lighting of the “great Christmas tree” in the Walnut room was one of the highlights of the Christmas season. If you missed the lighting, you could always drop in at the Walnut Room at any time during the Christmas holidays.

But wait! Something is missing. Oh yeah! Christmas. Nowhere in the full-page ad did the word Christmas appear. No Christmas tree. Just a tree. No Christmas ornaments. Just Martha Stewart ornaments. Turns out that the Grinch who stole Christmas is none other than Macy’s.

The ad was devoid of any references to or images of Christmas – the official name of this national holiday. No stars. No angels. No nativity scene. No candles. No cross. No Santa Claus (nee St. Nicholas). The ad featured only bells, birds and bright shiny bulbs of one shape or another.

I am not a religious zealot. In fact, I would have to improve considerably to attain the level of a poor Christian. But why, in the name of tolerance, do we have to pretend something is not what it is. This is the Christmas season, and most of us Christians will be putting up a Christmas tree, decorated with Chirtmas ornaments — and singing Christmas caroles. We will greet others with “Merry Christmas” – whether the friend is Christian or not, because we are wishing them goodwill not engaging in religious rivalry.

Macy’s has taken the warm and loving feeling of Christmas and turned it into a Martha Stewart make-over. It is much too cold, too sterile, too commercial, too New York. When I was a child, traditionalists fought against the “xmas’ abbreviation with the slogan, “put Christ back into Christmas.” Well the East Coast heathens of commerce have gone one better. They have driven everything Christmas out of Christmas. Not even a teensy weensy bit of religious imagery.

If I was not already boycotting Macy’s for dumping the Marshall Field name, I would certainly have to boycott them for this latest effrontery.

Larry Horist

P.S. The Macy’s windows will feature the Nutcracker this year. Somewhat traditional, but safely on the secular side.

>REACT: Denny, we hardly knew ya.

>Illinois Congressman Denny Hastert will step down from Congress before the end of the year. He will leave with the distinction of having served longest in a position he well might never have held — Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time of his ouster in the wake of the 2006 Democrat election tsunami, Hastert was, with only 8 years incumbency, the longest serving Republican Speaker in American history. He also is among the most undistinguished speakers. (Ironically, he beat the record of fellow Illinoisan, Joe Cannon, who many consider to have been the most powerful speaker in American history.)

Hastert was an accidental speaker, gaining the office only after Newt Gingrich’s successor-apparent, Bob Livingston of Louisiana, was forced to admit some adulterous indiscretions in his past – suffering more from the hypocrisy, after having tossed some sizeable stones at President Bill Clinton on the very same subject.

To me, it is remarkable that in Hastert’s history making tenure, one can hardly find a significant accomplishment. While he may have presided over the Republican majority for eight years, he was never much of a leader on the national scene. Having hardly made a ripple in his own time, Hastert is not likely to endure in historic hindsight – his sole accomplishment being longevity.

In his original acceptance speech, Hastert set forth his priorities in what he called the “four big challenges” — Social Security stabilization, Medicare reform, economic security, tax relief, a leaner and more efficient government; stronger national defense, and improved K- 12 education. (Yeah, I know he called them the FOUR challenges, but hey, the guy was a wrestling coach, not a math teacher.) Regardless how you count them, by his own challenge, Hastert failed across the board. In addition, his promise to lead a more congenial Congress was quashed by some of the most acrimonious partisanship since before the Civil War. Under his leadership, Hastert not only lost the speakership, he lost the Congress.

While Hastert was initially considered a philosophic brother of his predecessor, Newt Gingrich, they differed dramatically in style, strategy and intellectual power. Unlike Gingrich, Hastert eschewed the spotlight. He seemed to consider public communication as more of an inconvenience of his office than an opportunity to advance his, or the GOP, agenda. For Gingrich, the speakership was an ideological soap-box to espouse unbending conviction, for Hastert it was a pragmatic position for collegial compromise. Gingrich risked survival for his great causes. Hastert seemed to have no greater cause than survival. Gingrich is known for changing the course of a nation. Hastert is known for staying the course. If Gingrich was Meet the Press, then Hastert was Let’s Make a Deal.

Even in Illinois, Hastert’s reputation as an old-style “good ole boy” leaves little for the home town boosters to cheer about. His most memorable actions were dubious accomplishments. He is remembered for passing over fellow Illinoisan, Phil Crane, from the chairmanship of the all powerful Ways and Means Committee –a disservice to tradition, Phil Crane and the people of Illinois. It was a decision that ultimately cost the Republicans Crane’s seat.

Hastert again proved himself to be the consummate insider when he joined the corrupt Illinois GOP establishment in attempting to derail the appointment of Patrick Fitzgerald as the new U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Illinois. This effort, too, ran against the longstanding tradition of conceding the appointment to the senior senator of the President’s party – in this case Senator Peter Fitzgerald (no relationship to the appointee).

This was not the only time Hastert had crossed swords with the reform minded young senator on behalf of the boys in the back (nee smoke-filled) rooms – led by the criminal administration of Governor George Ryan. Over Fitzgerald’s attempt as fiscal responsibility, Hastert served up sizzling “pork” for Ryan massive Build Illinois rape of the taxpayers. He tried to shut down Fitzgerald’s efforts to bring accountability to the third airport fiasco. He attempted to thwart Fitzgerald’s effort to prevent Ryan from making the new Lincoln library and museum another cesspool of political cronyism.

Hastert also discovered that his throw-back concept of insider leadership was a relic with little relevance for the modern political game when he botched the handling of the Mark Foley “boys are toys” scandal. He mixed collegiality with Pontius Pilate-like washing of the hands to avoid addressing the issue at the time it was brought to his attention.

Most people do not know of Hastert’s record breaking tenure. His loss of the speakership is largely unnoticed because his presence there was largely unnoticed. He will now retire from Congress with most of America never having known he was even there. Hastert’s only enduring image may be his rotund Nast cartoon physique.

When the inevitable book is written about the career of Denny Hastert, it will be a short tome – lots of pictures and don’t wait for the movie. After noting that he was the accidental Speaker, who stayed a relatively a long time, what more can be said?