Bah Humbug

Image result for The GrinchCan you believe that Christmas is right around the corner? Yet again.

Ah yes, Christmas, the holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus, is a jolly and joyous holiday to Christians.

Well, I, for one, am not so jolly. Okay, yes, I know. I’m a grinch. I admit it. But at the same time, I’m enough of a pragmatist to recognize that our nation, while not a “Christian Nation,” as some conservatives suggest, is a nation that is overwhelmingly Christian.

And yet, year-after-year, there are those — from virtually everyone on Fox News to President Trump — insisting that American Christians are being persecuted and that there is a “War on Christmas.” Trump has even suggested that, now that he’s president, Americans are once again permitted to say “Merry Christmas.” Wait! Did Americans ever stop saying that?

Seriously, do most Christians really believe that the small sliver of the American population comprised of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, and other non-Christians have somehow stolen Christmas?

I look around and wonder how anyone can come to that conclusion. I hear continuous, unavoidable Christmas music; it’s virtually nonstop. I see Christmas shows and specials on TV, Christmas movies in theaters, Christmas musicals and plays on live stage.

Flyers and advertisements for Christmas sales add significant heft to the newspapers I stuff into my recycling bin each week. The bulk of TV commercials at this time of year are all about the Christmas gifts you absolutely must buy. My mailbox is stuffed with Christmas catalogs.

I see formerly vacant lots filled with Christmas trees and wreaths that are selling briskly. I see homes, condos, and apartments throughout the city decked out with colorful, blinking lights and fully adorned Christmas trees in the windows. I see nativity scenes on public squares and common areas around city and on town hall lawns throughout the area.

I see grown men wearing red suits, fake beards, and pillows stuffed under their belts, little kids sitting on their laps in stores and malls. At any other time of the year, these men would be arrested.

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Santa copping a feel (or is that Roy Moore dressed as Santa?)

But at Christmastime, there are long lines of parents, with their kids in tow, eager to put their little darlings onto the lap of some otherwise unemployable, probably drunk old man wearing a phony beard and dressed in a strange costume promising to bring them all kinds of gifts that their parents can’t really afford.

Can someone please explain to me how Christmas is being stolen?

Well, maybe the “Christmas spirit” has, in fact, been usurped by crass commercialism. Christmas has become less a religious holiday than a two-month long shopping spree.

Instead of the jolly holiday bringing out the best in people, it seems that this season of good will and joy instead brings out the worst in many. Me included.

Bah humbug!

Oh yeah. Happy Holidays.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “jolly.”

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Is That a Typo?

1CEE200D-78FD-40CA-8233-26A7EA1B87F2I was sure that WordPress had a serious typo in today’s one word prompt, “tenterhooks.” I was absolutely positive the word was supposed to be “tenderhooks,” a word I’ve use occasionally to mean to be filled with painful or anxious anticipation or suspense. Like when you and your girlfriend are waiting to see if that plastic pregnancy test stick she peed on has a little plus sign in the window.

So I was going to write a snide post in which I would be laughing my virtual ass off at Michelle Weber, who posted the prompt, for her careless error. It turns out, though, that the error is mine. “Tenterhooks” it is! Sad!

Then I figured that tenterhooks must be hooks that campers use to secure their tents. I’ve tent-camped many times and had never heard of that term, so I thought maybe it was an archaic term for tent poles, stakes, or ropes. To confirm that, I Googled “tenterhooks.”

It turns out that tenterhooks have nothing whatsoever to do with tents. The word “tenterhooks” comes from the metal hooks that manufacturers used to stretch wool on a tenter while it dried. A tenter is a wooden frame, often in the form of a line of fencing, used to hang woollen or linen cloth to prevent it from shrinking as it dries. The tenterhooks are, not surprisingly, the hooks on the tenter used to hold the cloth in place.

Tenters are no longer everyday objects, but a hundred years ago, in wool weaving areas like the north of England, they were a common sight on the land around the many woollen mills, called “tenter-fields.”

Who knew? So I apologize to WordPress and to Michelle Weber for thinking it was a typo. And I am now swearing off ever using the phrase, “I’m on tenderhooks.”

By the way, she wasn’t pregnant.

One-Liner Wednesday — A Real Marksman

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“Anyone can hit a bullseye with an arrow. It takes a real marksman to paint a bullseye around an arrow that’s already been shot.”

Okay, so my response to Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt today is actually two lines. But yesterday’s one-word prompt from WordPress, “one-way,” was arguably two words, “one” and “way,” with a hyphen between them.

Anyway, I heard Jordan Klepper, formerly a correspondent on The Daily Show, say that bullseye quote on his own new show on Comedy Central, The Opposition.

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In that show, Klepper presents a half hour of political hot takes under the guise of a somewhat unhinged conservative talk show host along the lines of Infowar’s Alex Jones.

I actually find The Opposition to be quite good, but I always found Klepper’s bits on The Daily Show to be very witty and often biting. Sure, he’s no Stephen Colbert, but his show is, in my humble opinion, considerably better than the show — The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore — that initially took Colbert’s time slot after Colbert left Comedy Central to replace David Letterman on The Late Show on CBS.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember specifically what Klepper was referring to when he made his comment, but I have no doubt that it had something to do with the manner in which Donald Trump and his supporters justify their “alternative facts.”

SoCS — Dare to be Different

When I was in the fifth grade, I dared to be different. Most of the other kids in my class were using ballpoint pens. Not me though. My choice of writing instrument was a fountain pen. A classy Parker fountain pen.

It was one of those fountain pens where you inserted a small, frosted plastic tube filled with ink (aka, the cartridge) into the barrel of the pen, and then screwed the nib onto the barrel. The inside end of the nib would penetrate the cartridge so that the ink in the cartridge’s reservoir would flow down to the nib’s point when pressed onto the paper. It was a magnificent piece of engineering.

And to further differentiate myself, I used turquoise ink. Not blue, not black. Turquoise!

My homework and my in-class papers were easily recognizable because of the color of the ink I used. No one else in my class used turquoise ink. No one else dared used turquoise ink.

I was a weird kid in the fifth grade. Fortunately, I had grown out of my turquoise fountain pen phase by the time I entered the sixth grade.


Written for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda G. Hill. The challenge this week was to write a post using the word “ink.”