2

Don’t Be Such a Schmeck…er…Schmuck

From The Oregonian:

A Central Point father of four who wished President Joe Biden and the first lady a wonderful Christmas and added “Let’s go, Brandon,” at the end of a live streamed Santa tracker call told The Oregonian/OregonLive that he didn’t intend his parting message to be vulgar.

“At the end of the day, I have nothing against Mr. Biden, but I am frustrated because I think he can be doing a better job,” said Jared Schmeck, 35, who works for an electric company and was previously a Medford police officer for six years until he resigned in July 2018. “I mean no disrespect to him.”

The phrase “Let’s Go, Brandon” has become a conservative dig at the Democratic president, a code for “F— Joe Biden,” which resulted from an Oct. 2 NASCAR race in Alabama, where a crowd was shouting the vulgar chant, but a TV reporter suggested during an interview with the winning driver Brandon Brown that the crowd actually was chanting, “Let’s go, Brandon.” Brown had just won his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race.

Schmeck said he’s not a “Trumper,” but described himself as “free-thinking American and follower of Jesus Christ.”

Schmeck called his remark a “joke,” and a reflection of his frustration with Biden’s policies, including the federal vaccine mandates, inflation and global supply chain problems that have caused shortages in consumer products.

“And now I am being attacked for utilizing my freedom of speech,” Schmeck said, adding that he’s been receiving some vague but threatening phone calls since the Santa tracker call.

“I understand there is a vulgar meaning to ‘Lets go Brandon,’ but I’m not that simple minded, no matter how I feel about him,” the 35-year-old father said Christmas morning. “He seems likes he’s a cordial guy. There’s no animosity or anything like that. It was merely just an innocent jest to also express my God-given right to express my frustrations in a joking manner…I love him just like I love any other brother or sister.”

Asked why he resigned from Medford police on July 15, 2018, Schmeck wouldn’t say.

He went on to say he “stood 100% behind what I did and what I said.”

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For Christmas, We Received a Hopeful Week

From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:

This has been a bit of a hopeful week as weeks go these days. The U.S. Army seems to be closing in on a vaccine that will work against all variants of coronavirus—not just COVID, but SARS, as well. There are now not one, but two antiviral pills aimed at treating the virus in affected individuals and moderating its effects. And studies indicate the new Omicron variant of the virus, while highly contagious, results in a milder form of the disease than that produced by either the original strain or the Delta variant.

Science is reaching the point at which it’s done all it can. The rest of the fight against the pandemic depends on how much every one of us cares about our fellow human beings. This has been the obvious answer from the start, but it’s also been something at which the country has bridled over the past two years, a reaction that, as nearly as I can tell, is unprecedented in American history. I’m old enough to remember the unequivocal joy with which the Salk vaccine against polio was received. (Kids, of course, were equally overjoyed at the arrival of the Sabin vaccine. No more shots!) My mother had been confined for weeks in an iron lung after contracting polio as a young woman. It left her with a lasting medico-phobia that she transferred to me, thereby making sure polio affected our lives long after the vaccine had eradicated it. But even she insisted that I be immunized as soon as the vaccine became available. She didn’t believe in doctors, but she believed in that vaccine.

I believe we have it in us to be better than we have been. I believe we have it in us to be better than we are. I believe we can rediscover our common humanity if we just look for it. There are all kinds of things we knew and loved once that we’ve forgotten. There are better parts of ourselves that have lain dormant for far too long. Rediscovery can be as exciting as discovery was in the first place.

Every year at this time, I publish the rejoinder delivered by Ebenezer Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, the first time his uncle has dropped the “Humbug!” In response, Fred appeals to those parts of his uncle that have atrophied through many years of greed and contempt. Those are the first things that are summoned in the story. The ghosts come second. Lost humanity must be rediscovered first.

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say. Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creature bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

And so say we all, amen.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us in the shebeen. And god bless us all, everyone.

6

We All Need a Little Christmas Right Now

The other day I read an article about a woman who’d lost both her father and her aunt (with whom she lived) to COVID-19 in January. Her dad always enjoyed decorating their front yard with Christmas lights, which he did before he fell ill. It was more than a month later, and the daughter hadn’t gotten around to taking them down; partly because of her grief and also because the act of putting the lights up meant so much to her dad. One would think people would be understanding in these circumstances.

But no.

Then came “the letter” to her mailbox.

The anonymous letter excoriated her for leaving the lights up so long: “Take your Christmas lights down! Its Valentines Day!!!!!!”

She shared the letter on a Facebook mom’s group and asked that people show a little kindness and understanding because you never really know what other people are going through.

In response, her neighbors put their Christmas lights back up in solidarity with her.

This country is nearing 500,000 souls lost to the pandemic. Texas just had a near death experience with its power grid, which had the very real possibility of leaving all of us without power for months. I was one of the lucky ones who was without power for only 15 hours and didn’t have to boil water to be able to drink it. Many others weren’t so lucky. There are many tales of people helping their neighbors instead of berating them. Here is one, and here is another.

So, every year I’ve done a Snoopy gingerbread dog house at Christmas and usually leave it up until Valentine’s Day because it lends a bit of cheer to my home after all the other Christmas decorations are taken down. But just before that day, our snow storm hit so I had other more pressing concerns. But now, upon reflection, I’ve decided I’m going to keep it on display until this pandemic has been tamed and people stop dying by the thousands. And also in the hope I can eventually get vaccinated so I can be with my family here once again. Sometimes we just need a little Christmas.

SNOOPY AND WOODSTOCK FOLLOWING MASKING GUIDELINES

SNOOPY AND WOODSTOCK LOOKING TO BETTER DAYS AHEAD

1

Wait…I Thought China Was Paying

From the Washington Post:

The White House on Tuesday said it would delay imposing tariffs on Chinese imports of cellphones, laptop computers, video game consoles, and certain types of footwear and clothing until Dec. 15, significantly later than the Sept. 1 deadline President Trump had repeatedly threatened.

Trump told reporters that he delayed the tariffs “just in case” they would have a negative impact on U.S. shoppers this holiday season, marking the most explicit admission he’s made so far that the tariffs could have raised costs for American consumers and businesses and had a negative impact on the economy.

“What we’ve done is we’ve delayed it so they won’t be relevant in the Christmas shopping season,” Trump said before boarding a flight to western Pennsylvania. “Just in case they might have an impact on people.”

 

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3

“Merry Christmas”: FAQ

From the New Yorker, by Mark Remy:

Hello, and welcome to the official Web page of the Holiday Enforcement Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Jesus.

Due to the overwhelming number of queries we’ve received since the passage of the Compulsory Acknowledgment of Christ Act, we ask that you browse our F.A.Q. before contacting us. It’s possible that we’ve already answered your question!

Thank you, and Merry Christmas.

What is the Compulsory Acknowledgment of Christ Act, and when did it become law?

The Compulsory Acknowledgment of Christ Act (caca) prohibits the use of the phrase “happy holidays” while mandating the use of “Merry Christmas.” It was signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on October 31, 2017. Merry Christmas.

Some of my best friends are Jewish/Muslim/Hindu/atheist/coastal élites. Must they say “Merry Christmas” as well?

Yes.

Even if they’re alone? Like, in an otherwise empty elevator?

Yes.

What happens if they refuse?

We hope it won’t come to that.

I’ve heard that Jesus is “the reason for the season.” Is this true?

Yes. That phrase actually originated with Christ himself and is a testament to His knack for catchy rhymes.

If Jesus were alive today, would he insist that everyone say “Merry Christmas”?

Yes. Scripture is very clear on this matter.

What is the origin of the word “Christmas”?

The word itself is Spanish, meaning “more Christ.”

That reminds me—what was the deal with Trump and that taco bowl?

For questions regarding President Trump’s appreciation for Mexican food, please see the official Web page of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Bureau of Hispanic Love.

I’ve been saying “Merry Christmas” for years, and no one has ever complained or tried to stop me. Have I been doing it wrong?

Yes. Probably you aren’t being heard properly. A bullhorn is a simple and effective way to amplify your message, particularly in a large crowd—e.g., cocktail party, music concert, packed courtroom. (A bullhorn also makes a great Christmas present—our special-edition caca model, seventy-nine dollars, delivers fifty watts of joyous sound, in Voice or Siren Mode, and comes swaddled in a padded carrying case.)

Someone recently said “Happy Christmas” to me and I didn’t know how to react. Can you help?

The correct phrase is “Merry Christmas.” “Happy Christmas,” a British bastardization, is not an acceptable substitute. Make that clear by giving the offender a gag “ticket” from our online store (twelve dollars for a pad of fifty). Then report him or her to us via this confidential form. We will take it from there!

What should I do if I wish someone a Merry Christmas and they fail to wish me a Merry Christmas in return?

See above.

I enjoy saying “Merry Christmas” but wish I could employ the phrase more relentlessly. Any tips?

There are many ways you can incorporate “Merry Christmas” into your day-to-day life. Try answering the phone with “Merry Christmas” instead of “hello.” Rather than saying “I’m sorry” or “Huh?” or “Oh, my God! Are you O.K.?” say “Merry Christmas.” In lieu of a tip, offer your server or barista a loud and proud “merry christmas!” on your way out, and watch their faces light up.

By the way, don’t feel as if you need a reason to wish someone Merry Christmas—there’s nothing wrong with just opening a window and shouting it, or mouthing the phrase to fellow motorists during rush hour. Remember, too, that every day except Sunday you have an opportunity to wish your mailman a Merry Christmas.

You mean “letter carrier,” right? Ours is a woman.

No. We are saying “mailman” again.

I find the phrase “Merry Christmas” insufficiently pious. How can I ramp up the religiosity?

Many people are warming to the phrase “Merry Jesuschristmas.”

Isn’t this whole thing a non-issue? A manufactured “controversy” designed to deepen divides, feed false notions of victimhood, and distract from the plethora of real scandals, failures, and ethical lapses that have plagued this Administration from Day One?

Merry Christmas!

But—

We said, merry christmas.

Jesus.

Exactly.

Image result for trump merry christmas

6

Idle Hands Are The Trumps’ Playground

So. I’ve been trying these past few weeks to wrap my head around the outcome of the presidential election. I haven’t been very successful at it. I take a lot of deep breaths and tell myself to calm down, it can’t possibly be as bad as I imagine it will be.

But as it turns out—it already is.

Der Führer went on a “victory tour” yesterday and exulted in his crushing defeat of his foe (nevermind those 3 million more votes she got, which weren’t illegally gained, by the way.) He railed against the “dishonest” media, yet again, and continued his call for flag burning to be cause for loss of one’s citizenship, despite the fact that that has been proven to be un-Constitutional.

Hey, no biggie. Or bigly. Der Führer is calling the shots and when he says throw out the Constitution, we will respond by saying “How far?”

Anyhoo. I am tired of waking up in a cold sweat at 3:00 in the morning. During menopause I used to wake up in a hot sweat. I’ll take that over this any day.

So I’ve been pushing myself to get crafty (not Trump crafty, but actual craft-making crafty) and make some Christmas decorations. Since my maternal great-grandparents were from Norway, I used to have several of those red and white paper woven heart baskets that I had made when my son was a baby—50 years ago now.

But, cue the violins, all of my Christmas decorations were stolen from a storage unit a couple of years ago by a Grinch-like thief, so I decided to make some more.

This time out of felt.

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Then, figuring I’m on a roll (and hoping my fingers will last a little longer before going numb from the exertion), I found some designs on the interwebs for a Dala horse and a bird. These two are pretty small, around two to three inches in length, but my artificial Christmas tree is pretty small too, so they should work just fine.

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Then, my daughter saw them and requested a little larger Dala horse in slightly retro colors to go with her decor.

Et voilà!

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And lastly, in an “idle hands are the Trumps’ playground” fervor, I souped up a standard gingerbread house my grandkids sold to raise money for their school. It came pre-assembled with a kind of puny pack of candy and a bag of white royal icing.

I, however, had biglier plans.

I went to Walmart and bought a couple packages of pre-made cake decorations in the shape of Christmas lights and also a bag of red cookie icing. Then, being on a felt “bender,” I made a 3-D Snoopy.

The decorating process was somewhat excruciating—the royal icing was too watery at first and then too dry and kept oozing out of the zip-lock bag they provided. I always say “Next year I make my own!” and this time I mean it. If Alton Brown can do it, so can I.

The results were pretty satisfying, even though I was a wreck by the time I finished.

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So, that’s what I’ve been doing to try to retain my sanity. How about you?

How are you coping in the post-Trumpian Apocalypse?