A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that ST. NICHOLAS soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

“MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT.”

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
(A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS)

by Clement Clarke Moore

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Happy Festivus

Today is Festivus, the Holiday for the Rest of Us.

You can proceed with the Airing of Grievances in the comments if you like, or take it elsewhere if you’d rather.

Sorry, I have no Festivus pole (Grievance #1) so I’m using the pink aluminum Christmas Tree I stole from Charlie Brown (Grievance #2).

I didn’t get anybody any Festivus gifts (Grievance #3) because I thought that Festivus had been over commercialized (Grievance #4).

The Feats of Strength would commence after dinner but I don’t feel like wrestling (Grievance #5).

Happy Festivus.

(Feel free not to read this if you’re an easily offended “War on Christmas” type with no sense of humor.)

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The Christmas Map

I put together this map of Christmas related locations on Google Maps. (Input for additional locations is welcome – please comment!)

I specifically included these locations from past years Christmas posts:

Also included are:

  • The reputed inspiration for Bedford Falls, the town in the Kapra classic “It’s a Wonderful Life”
  • The New York City Macy’s location from “Miracle on 34th Street”
  • St. Paul’s Churchyard, mentioned in the opening paragraphs of A Christmas Carol
  • The hometown of Clark W. Griswold of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
  • The house from A Christmas Story.

And the little town of Bethlehem, now in the West Bank.


View Larger Map

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Who says she wants it?

The warm corpse of John McCain told George Stephanopolous he didn’t know if he would support Sarah Palin in a 2012 Presidential run:

“Listen I have the greatest appreciation for Gov. Palin and her family and it was a great joy to know them,” McCain said. “She invigorated our campaign and she was just down in Georgia and she invigorated their campaign.”

“But I can’t say something like that,” McCain said, “We’ve got some great other young governors, Pawlenty, Huntsman.”

McCain said he thinks the Republican governors are going to assume a leadership role in the future of the Republican Party.

When I pressed him on why he selected Palin as his running-mate, he said, “Well sure, but now we’re in a whole election cycle,” he said.

So McCain isn’t sure he’ll endorse her. He ought to know how classy that stance is since Al Gore did it to his BFF Joe. Even so, here’s a newsflash for George and John – she may be better off without that endorsement. McCain’s own support was weak before her nomination. McCain’s support for her really would be like Bush’s support for McCain and Clinton’s support for Gore. The difference is that McCain is nowhere near as popular among conservatives as Bush and nowhere near as popular among the general voter population as Clinton.

So, when it comes to McCain’s support in 2012, who says Palin wants it?

Priceless

An ugly Pontiac nobody wants to drive: $21,000.

A hybrid that only gets 20 mpg: $75,000.

A line of trucks starting at $20,345.

An army of lobbyists so they don’t have to compete: Priceless.

There are some things even MasterCard can’t buy. For those things, there’s the taxpayer.

Shameless Commerce and other trivia

  • There are still 9 days left to order from Amazon with free Super Saver Shipping and still get your order by Christmas. If you haven’t visited Amazon lately, they have way more than books – everything from electronics to groceries. Yeah, groceries.
  • If you spend more than $25 on electronics at Amazon before Christmas, you’ll get $5 in free MP3 downloads. (That’s basically 5 songs.) And their downloader now has a Linux version. Awesome. Now if the “Unbox Videos” just had it.
  • My Amazon.com Wish List
  • I’ve set up a new microblog of one liners called Curiously Morbid. It is, essentially, bad humor on current events in the news or life generally – all the short wisecracks that I don’t feel like developing, editing and doing all the CYA political correcting to post here will likely go there. The latest example:

    Since I guess he’s still technically Governor, I wonder if Rod Blagojevich would appoint me to the Senate if I chipped in for bail money?

    I can’t guarantee that it will be 100% family friendly, though it should be relatively work safe. It’s also a very simple design so you can view it on wireless devices. If any reader is interested in an account to post your own morbid curiosities, shoot me an email or something as I’d be glad to have other contributors.

  • I’m also experimenting with a program called SweetCron, which is an open source “lifestreaming” application. It does what Friendfeed and a number of other websites do, essentially republishing anything you post online anywhere all in one place. The hook is it lets you do it on your own website. I’ve installed it at tomhanna.name . It’s probably not much interest as far as content at this point, especially since most of it is republished from here, and it’s not really pretty yet but I thought some of the techie readers here might be interested in the application.

Nixon on The Juice

Richard Nixon managed to die a few months before Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown-Simpson and so didn’t have the opportunity to actually comment on the Original Simpson Trial, but here’s what he might have said:

…tainted evidence, even though a person is totally guilty, is a reason to get him off.

The person he actually did say that about, Ethel Rosenberg, was “totally guilty” of a crime that put the lives and liberty of all Americans in danger. It’s hard to conceive a crime more heinous than double murder, but Rosenberg’s treason certainly was. Still, Nixon, law and order conservative, Republican, white man, believed that it would have been more appropriate to let her go free than to convict her with tainted evidence.

The much maligned Los Angeles jury from the Original Orenthal Trial held the same position. Oh, sure there was much amusement about the gloves not fitting, plenty of other holes in the prosecutions case that at least hinted at reasonable doubt, but in the final analysis, the fact that Fox News darling, convicted felon Mark Fuhrman tried to “frame a guilty man” was rightly a Get Out of Jail Free card for Simpson.

Of course, as any Monopolist can tell you, a Get Out of Jail Free card is good for one use only. The card didn’t apply for the New and Improved Juice Trial. On the other hand, the purposeful scheduling of the second verdict to occur on the anniversary of the first ought to be an indication that the second trial was a “do over” of the type prohibited by the Fifth Amendment. Even barring that view, those who insist on painting the more recent sentence as correcting a “miscarriage of justice” need to remind that themselves that there was no miscarriage to be remedied. Even assuming Simpson killed two people in 1994, the purposeful use of tainted evidence was plenty of “reason to get him off.”

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Rantlets: “Smart” liberals x2, pandering, bailouts x3

  • I’m wondering why the illiterate, inbred hicks of Arkansas [Note sarcasm] managed not to have a single trampling death in 46 years of Wal-Mart history but the intelligent, elite of Long Island managed to pull off their first within 10 years. Maybe Wal-Mart would be smarter to stay out of New York and let Target have the liabilities associated with that state.
  • In another example of how the elitist snobs aren’t quite as bright as they think they are, some guy at Huffington Post thinks that Republicans were “hoisted on the petard [sic] of their own ‘southern strategy.'” I bet this idiot probably says “drownded,” too. It’s especially ironic to see him write this in a piece accusing Republicans of being “anti-literate” and in the paragraph after he decried the “white no-college-backwoods-and/or-southern McCain/Palin vote.” I guess, it’s nice to know that in the North they have their colleges in the backwoods. That he was educated in a backwoods college at least partly explains his poor use of the English language.
  • On the subject of Wal-Mart, I generally choose from two that are reasonably accessible after work. One of them doesn’t carry Cain’s coffee, but does carry Sam’s Choice “fair trade” coffee and “rainforest” coffee. Before Wal-Mart panders to the 10 fair trade enviro-weenies in Joplin, they ought to take a lesson from George Bush’s 8 years of attempting to pander to the same crowd politically. It doesn’t work. They might also want to ask themselves why they want to pander to a crowd that is so at odds with their core customer base, not just politically but economically/demographically. Wal-Mart selling rainforest fair trade coffee instead of cheap, high quality coffee makes as much sense as the GOP creating the biggest entitlement expansion in 40 years and killing the auto industry with increased steel tariffs – none.
  • Instead of a bailout for the Big Three automakers, how about suspending antitrust laws for them and removing all tariffs on their raw materials? Whether they merge, share technology, use their collective power to bargain better with the unions or just split up the false-patriot-who-cares-about-price-or-quality market so as not to duplicate their efforts, the only people who would pay are the people with a dog in the fight. Since an excess of real competition is their problem there’s no excuse for antitrust laws anyway.
  • Does it strike anyone else as odd that Chrysler stopped being a German company (well, actually became only a 19.9% German company) just in time to be bailed out by US taxpayers?
  • If Congress really wants to do something to help with jobs, instead of spending money to bailout the auto industry, how about helping out industry generally with a permanent exemption from capital gains taxes and taxes on dividends for shares in US companies purchased from now (or maybe January 20, 2009) to the end of 2012? I know Democrats hate tax cuts, but this is one they ought to be able to get behind and there is all kinds of money stacking up in T-bills waiting for a signal from the Democrats that America is still a safe place to invest in private enterprise for the next four years.
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