Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.
Bob Hope used to do those USO shows every year. In fact Al Jolson died in the aftermath of returning from a USO show in Korea. Fact is, any Christmas entertainment that includes John Wayne jokes and nasty jibes at draft dodgers burning their draft cards is probably worth a rerun anytime anyone is singing songs about Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.
Ms. Welch, at least, is about reality, which every USO show should include a taste of.
As an aside, a lot of you probably didn’t know Clint Eastwood’s real identity was Andy Williams. Here he is singing something I thought of as a favorite in 1963.
No Christmas is complete without Clint Eastwood singing Old Bilbao Moon.
Jeanne does Christmas but she has a gift worth giving. I mostly don’t do Christmas so I tips my hat in gratitude she’s here to give it.
Note from Jeanne: This is one of the largest gel pen drawings I’ve ever made. It’s 24 x 24 inches square. I did that size as an experiment for a contest entry for a casino, but when I didn’t win, I re-worked it quite a lot and decided to show it in other exhibits. I hope you enjoy looking at it!
Hope all of you are getting the cobwebs out of your punkin heads sufficiently to maximize whatever joy a person gets out of sitting around a Christmas tree unwrapping packages.
I overslept here, didn’t wake until dawn. Maybe some of this Christmas spirit thing rubbed off on me and disrupted my routines. Nice morning. Quiet outside, cool, but not a shock to hit you when you climb out from under the covers or hit you in the face when you venture outside.
A red dawn. Sailorman would be concerned about that, I expect.
Last night the cats refused to keep me entertained, so I began reading H. D. F. Kitto’s, The Greeks. It’s a book I’ve read before, but I occasionally read it again as a refresher course. Kitto’s work is a fairly expansive treatise on life in Greece during the Classical Period, but he constantly jumps backward so’s to demonstrate how they got where they were and why.
Those Classical Greeks are worth the effort of remembering about. They’re as much how we got where we are as Homer, the Dorians, the Minoans are how they came to be what they were. We owe our ability to think in particularly organized ways to them, mathmatics, philosophy, their practical use of democracy, even our concept of drama to some extent.
But we in the West also owe the curse of the Utopian Ideal to their pointy little heads.
That Utopian Ideal has haunted us every since, even though the Greeks, themselves never actually believed in it. They knew perfectly well that human beings are fundamentally flawed in ways that assure they’ll poison their own watering holes, then run them dry. They knew that wherever human weakness fails to do the trick, fate, or the gods will step in to lend a hand.
Those Greeks studied Homer much the way really devout Christians study the Old Testament. And Homer, whatever else it might be, is a refined catalog of human strengths and weaknesses. Of the drumbeat repetition of human experience.
In their own way, the Greeks were experts on a few thousand years of history in ways we aren’t. They learned from it, not as we believe we’ve learned from it, but haven’t, but rather as an assurance that human beings make the same mistakes over and over. That they’ll go on making them as long as there’s a human being left to do the job.
The Greeks derived a wisdom from their knowledge of history, but the wisdom was an oblique one that provided a separate wisdom….. one that included the certainty there’ll never be any Utopia. Never be any meek inheriting much of anything and holding onto it.
But that’s my premise, not Kitto’s.
I hope you’ll spend a bit of time remembering what Christmas was supposed to be the anniversary of the beginning of. Not baby-Jesuses or Santa Clauses, readers, but a beginning of a spiritual commitment to peace, love, understanding.
An ideal for breaking the endless cycle of power struggles, killing, worship of gluttony and greed. A beginning for human beings to take responsibility for their own behavior, attitudes and lives.
Christmas. Jesus. A beginning of not being so frightened of everything. So angry. So aggressive and downright rattlesnake ugly mean you want to kill strangers a long way from here who are no threat to you if you’ll leave them alone, and take joy from doing it.
A beginning of having the faith that death is part of human experience, and that isn’t something you have to be so damned cowardly scared of it keeps you furious and wanting to look away at anything at all to take your thoughts away from having to do it.
I hope you’ll remember that for a few moments, readers, but I know you won’t.
I wrote this several years ago in a previous lifetime before Social Security kicked in when I was trying to make a living playing blackjack.
Casino’s Shut Down for Christmas!
Went back down there for some more blackjack and didn’t get in more than a few hands before a pit boss announced they were shutting down the tables, the casino, and sending everyone home to spend time with their families.
Surprised me, but a worthy cause I wouldn’t have expected of them.
Fact is, all those gamblers who aren’t aware that blackjack’s a spiritual experience needed to be off somewhere else, anyway. Which is to say, pretty much all of them except me.
So, I smiled to meself with a warm red glow that a casino would let the employees go home to be with their kinfolks instead of staying there making a lot of money for the mafia. Swung over by Taco Bell on the way back out of Bernalillo and picked up three bean burritos and three crispy tacos to celebrate a victory for those employees over casino management.
Brung those tacos and burritos back up to the village and capped the hill looking down into Placitas…. looked as though something awful had happened here….. flashing emergency lights copcar style all down on the main road. Sheriff with a flashlight was waving me to take a back road. I rolled down my window, “Accident?”
“No. Most of the roads are shut down. People in groups in the middle of the roads singing carols. You’ll have to take this road. Be careful.”
Happened ‘this road’ was the very selfsame road I needed to take to trip my young arse home as fast as safety allowed to lock the front gates and turn off the outside lights before any carol singers could catch me unawares and make me listen to Christmas carols.
I don’t so much mind people singing carols. I think it’s kind of cool, actually, especially if they were to go a step further and listen to the words they’re singing.
On the other hand, I honestly don’t want to listen to the words, the music, nuthun do do with Christmas carols.
I figure if I can go through an entire presidential term without knowing who’s president, and go through Thanksgiving to New Year without hearing a single Christmas carol (most especially ones involving Santy and reindeers), it will be okay to die. I’ll know I’ve lived right, at least one period of my life.
Anyway readers, if you’re reading this blog you need to get your young arse off the computer and go spend some time with the family.
But if you don’t have somewhere else to be, don’t have someone else, why heck, amigos, rejoice. Luxuriate in the beauty of being alone with yourself and any cats you might have.
If you don’t have any cats, nor any particular self you can bring yourself to rejoice about, heck. As Sonny and Cher used to say back when everything was supposed to be pretty well straightened out by now,
74 years old, a resident of Leavenworth, KS, in an apartment located on the VA campus. Partnered with a black shorthaired cat named Mister Midnight. (1943-2020)
Since April, 2020, this blog is maintained by Jeanne Kasten (See "About" page for further information).
I’m sharing it with you because there’s almost no likelihood you’ll believe it. This lunatic asylum I call my life has so many unexpected twists and turns I won’t even try to guess where it’s going. I’d suggest you try to find some laughs here. You won’t find wisdom. Good luck.