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    No More Happy Holidays

    We’re in the holiday season and the perennial disagreements about religion, atheism and Christmas flood the airwaves.  Advocates of all persuasions are invited onto talk shows to promote their beliefs or are challenged about them.

    Full disclosure!  I’m a traditionalist.  Tradition nourishes a culture and helps shape a national psyche that gives its people a sense of who they are and how they got there.  This is true of all cultures, races and nations.  It is part of the collective DNA.  Some of those groups honor tradition more, some less, but it is always there and should be celebrated as part of the glue that holds a group together.  It should not be denied or eliminated, rather celebrated.

    Christmas is a tradition.   We revel in it and our families gather to celebrate it.   Many movies and songs and stories have been inspired by it.  Many of us partake in its religiosity.  Many just like the jingle bells and gifts.  But at its foundation is the birth of a man named Jesus Christ, who has been the driving force of this celebration for centuries. Even though the “jingle-bellers” emphasize more the secular trappings of the day, I bet they’re still aware of the day’s religious significance – the birth of Christ.

    Some literalists argue that Christ was really born in April, or that we really don’t know what day He was born.  So what!?  Historically, He WAS born.   Our questionable knowledge about the exact date of His birth doesn’t diminish its importance.  He WAS born.  The wholesale and deliberate changing of “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” destroys a part of our cultural and national identity and is an insult to those who believe in the Lord.

    Yes, I know there are some traditional popular Christmas songs like Happy Holidays, which  I believe, is the only one that uses the “holiday” word.   It was written for the film Holiday Inn and was sung  in the film at New Years Eve, the intention being to wish a ‘happy holiday’  to everyone for the whole new year to come, and not a replacement for the word Christmas.  Ironically, the song was written by the great Irving Berlin, who also wrote arguably the greatest popular Christmas song, I’m Dreaming Of a White Christmas.   Mr. Berlin was a Jew and even HE got it.  Oh, and Bing Crosby sang both of them.

    Why this ‘holiday’ insult to the tradition and belief of a majority of Americans?   I believe it originates in denial of the true meaning of Christmas.  There could be a lot of reasons for this denial — emotional, psychological, intellectual.  This is the work of therapists, not me.  My feeling is that during this season the secularists have nothing to believe in other than denial.  They need to justify their denial by attacking those to whom that true meaning, well, means something.  It’s sad, really. Here comes a great day for the country’s  religious majority and they can’t or won’t participate in the birth of Christ.  Their answer, then, is to attack and demean the day.  It must be terrible to carry a bellyful of hate for these two or three weeks.

    So, while most of us celebrate Christmas, they celebrate ‘mas.’   To them I wish a Merry Xmas and I hope they put on some Elvis and start Rockin’ Around the Holiday Tree.

    Johnny Manziel Failed Suicide Attempts

    Johnny Manziel Suicide Story

        Despondent after his dismal debut against the Bengals, Cleveland’s much heralded quarterback, Johnny Manziel, couldn’t shake his depression      and wrote a suicide note.  When finished, he left his home and went to Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue and stood in a bus kiosk with several extremely disappointed Clevelanders.

    As a bus approached, Manziel took a deep breath, and threw himself in front it …. but missed.  He landed on the far side of the bus as it passed..  His tremendous athletic ability got him out of trouble.  Again!  Of course, Manziel , didn’t consider it trouble, just a temporary setback.

    Still determined to end it all, he walked down the busy street and took a cyanide pill out of his pocket.  Ever the showman, Manziel chose not to just swallow it.  Instead, he tossed it up, opened his mouth and waited for the pill to drop into it.  However, a passer-by, Marvin Lester, intercepted the pill before it reached his open lips.  “Hey, Johnny,” said Marvin, who later explained that he was just passing by, “fast hands, huh?”  Lester claimed he saw the opportunity and took it, asking Manziel to get him a tryout as a Browns cornerback.

    Manziel continued and contemplated alternatives.  He walked along South Roadway and came upon the the Sailors and Soldiers Monument.  Pretty tall.  It should do the trick.  He ran toward it with the intention of climbing it and then throwing himself, head first, into the concrete below.  Even if he got a concussion, so what!?  As he ran to the statue, a troop of Boy Scouts on a park tour were so excited to see Johnny Football, they swarmed him and in the hubbub, he was thrown to the ground.  A sack!  He graciously signed autographs all for them and wrote on each one, “This will be a collector’s item by the end of the day. You wait and see.”

    He continued walking and came to Voinovich Park.  Trees.  He took off the old, antique belt his granfather  had given him, and buckled it around his neck.  He climbed a tree and knotted the other end around a sturdy branch.  When all was ready,  he jumped… and landed on the ground.  The old belt had broken, a quirky case of equipment failure.

    Now really discouraged, he walked until he reached The North Coast Harbor lakefront.   “I’m a lousy swimmer, he thought.  Drowning should be easy.”  So he jumped in and sunk.  Before you could blink an eye, two cops jumped in and rescued him.  They dragged him out, took him to a  table and sat him down.

    He gave up.  Johnny was benched.



    From a piece published in PLAYBILL magazine.

    PlayBill – Casey Stengel








    A current story making the TV rounds is the upcoming premiere of “Friday Night Tykes,” a reality show that’s basically a boot camp for young Texas wannabe football players. The kids are as young as five or six and they’re put through grueling exercises that seem beyond their capabilities. Some cry, some crawl to the goal of a particular exercise under the urgency of a coach (think Marine drill sergeant) screaming at him.

    TV pundits and talk shows are up in arms about the show. Many excoriate the show and the coaches for child abuse. (Incidentally, parents there are all for it.) Others say that the regimen instills in the kids a needed sense of accomplishment through ordeal, a growth in their journey to manhood.

    In relation to this, I offer a piece about “masculinity” I wrote on this blogue back in 2009. It takes no sides, but it offers an understanding from my POV of how gender differences have been morphing over the past five or ten years.  I think  the morphing has reached a new level.

    The Pettiness Of Democrats

    It’s being reported that Senate Democrats will block a resolution to honor Margaret Thatcher.

    If so, I’m asking whether there is a limit to their pettiness.  What a churlish, smug, unfeeling bunch they are.  They are so bewitched by their cultish agenda that they have no room in their shriveled souls for decency.  They have lost whatever capacity they may have had for humanity.

    When talking about these hypocritical, soulless, agenda zombies I’m reminded of a young lady I dated when I was a young man living and working in New York.  She lived on the Upper West Side, which is a coven of liberalism.  Her mother went marching for Chavez on a couple of times I visited them.  She was ardent, almost hysterical in her support of Chavez.  She refused to buy grapes … even grape jelly.  What a committed heroine to the cause she was.

    And yet, I many times witnessed her treating her Hispanic maid like shit, with no courtesy, kindness or consideration.  She used her authority like a cudgel, insisting she work extra hours when she had a whim to include a never-before-mandated chore, preventing her from going home to prepare a meal for her family.  She humiliated her in in my presence a number of times and then headed out for her cause, her love of Chavez and her hatred for grapes.

    This is how I view todays Democrats, or liberals or progressives or whatever they call themselves — anything but Socialists or Marxists.

    They are totalitarians, brooking nothing they disapprove of.

    As Denis Prager said, ‘The right thinks the left is wrong, very wrong.  The left thinks the right is evil.’




    St. Barack Of Ward 42

    In a stunning announcement, Pope Francis has declared that he will make Barack Obama a saint, glorifying this clean, articulate young President as the Church’s two thousandth six hundred and forty-first saint and the only one sanctified while still alive.

    His official canonical designation will be St. Barack Of Ward 42. The Vatican’s holy people are consulting with the President’s holy people to determine what he’ll be saint of. Current speculation is that he will be named the Patron Saint of Celebrities.

    Pope Francis first learned about Obama’s saintly qualities some years ago when rumors of his miraculous effect on people began to emerge after his trip to Europe.

    “These were indeed wondrous stories of transformations,” said Vatican spokesman, Cardinal Annuncio Proclamma. “People in his presence came away in ecstasy, their minds clouded with ardor and blankness.” He added, “few people have the holiness to cloud men’s minds. Only The Shadow did that.”

    Others were so frenzied they endlessly repeated the name Obama, often speaking it in tongues — Obama, Ojamba, Jamabun, Mabamba, Balloona, Ombajaba, Pahjamah, Behnihanah, Cinnabonna, Kakadoodie, Bubonah, Kokomomah, Peckinpaba, Cahwahbonga and Jub.  It was wondrous to hear the babble of his followers.

    Soon after the initial reports of Obama’s fervent hold on the blank minded, stories of individual miracles began to emerge. Gunnar Schmidt of Munich said that after Obama walked past Schmidt’s Mercedes, the car started getting sixty-three miles to the litre — in city traffic. A woman who requested anonymity claimed that after fifteen years of being unable to bear children, she now likes them a lot.  She plans to open a day care center in her village.

    The Papal Investigatory team learned that during Obama’s second campaign, an Iowa resident named Billy Winthrop said that after he shook hands with Obama, he received a medical bill for only fifty dollars for his recent two year treatment and hospitalization for thyroid cancer. “It cost so little because I touched Obama,” said Winthrop. “He almost makes me want to get another serious disease.”

    And there were countless reports of automobile tires self-inflating to their proper pressure, even the tires still on the store shelves. Also, several women reported that after gazing upon Obama, their hymens were restored.

    Faithful worshipers of soon-to-be Saint Barack are anticipating even more changes in their lives.  They feel that a living saint will  perform more miracles than a dead one.  Many Obama accolytes still believe that their morgtages will be paid and that jobs will multiply like loaves and fishes. Others will continue to be able to buy houses without having  jobs. So has all that and more been written in the prophesies of Psalm Emmanuel.

    Obama’s millions of followers have felt the rapture and are yearning for the end times of his presidency, when automobiles shall rise in everyone’s garage, college tuitions will be paid, unions will flourish and food stamps will flood their mailboxes. And so they continue to pray to Obama’s Church of Divine Government.

    “This is world class sainthood,” said a Vatican spokesman.  The Pope could not ignore it.

    What Do Brian Wilson & Benamino Gigli Have In Common?


    November 17, 2008

    This past weekend, I drove my nineteen year old son, Mario, and his friend, Brian,  from Durham, NC to Glenside, PA. to see Brian Wilson in concert at the Keswick Theater. My son has had a passion for the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson for years, the kind of passion I felt at his age for an opera singer named Mario Del Monaco, after whom my son is named, incidentally.

    Wilson’s new album is Lucky Old Sun, and while I didn’t attend the concert, I have heard the album. How could I not? Mario plays it constantly. And in my own geezer fashion, I was drawn to it because Lucky Old Sun was one of my favorite Frankie Laine recordings way back when.

    While I don’t have the emotional and musical connections to Wilson and the Beach Boys that my son and other fans have, even I can hear that this album is special, extraordinary – maybe not Smile, but damned good.

    Which is what brought me to the minor incident that inspired this little post.

    After dropping them off at the theater, I had a brief dinner with a student of mine who happened to live nearby.  I then showed up at the Keswick Theater about a half hour before the concert ended and decided to wait for Mario and his friend at a small micro-brewery pub across the street. As I walked past the theater I heard some very loud guy, age maybe forty-five or fifty, shout to someone, “They’ll do four encores after they finish that piece of s**t new album.”

    Well, Lucky Old Sun might not be Smile or Pet Sounds, but a piece of that stuff, it ain’t.

    As it turned out, the guy took a seat next to me at the bar. He had walked out after forty minutes of the concert and was now hanging around waiting for his wife, who had decided to stay. He loudly criticized the concert, the album, Wilson, his age, his performance and the songs to everyone within earshot, in particular to the bartender.

    The bartender wondered out of curiosity if I also had walked out. I explained to her that I was waiting to pick up my son, adding that we had driven up from North Carolina to see Wilson.

    “What a wasted trip,” the guy suddenly said to me. I replied that only my son could decide that for himself, but I doubted that he would be disappointed. The guy continued knocking Wilson and the album and asked “why would anybody want to go that far to see a sixty-five year old guy sing lousy songs with no voice left?”

    Being someone who lets no rhetorical question go unanswered, I told the man about Beniamino Gigli, the great lyric tenor who inherited the mantle of the legendary Enrico Caruso at New York’s Metropolitan Opera and in opera houses throughout Europe.

    Blessed with a gorgeous lyric tenor, Gigli enchanted millions of people with his supple, beautiful voice. As a young boy in the fifties growing enamoured with opera, I listened to his recordings constantly, wondering what it must have been like to have heard him in person, much in the same way I wondered what it would’ve been like to have seen the likes of Babe Ruth or Rogers Hornsby or Jim Thorpe.


    Then, in 1955, Gigli arrived in Philadelphia on his farewell concert tour. I went to it, along with, it seemed, every Italian in Philly. We listened, we applauded, we cheered. Many wept. I couldn’t take my eyes off this sixty-seven year old man offering for the last time what remained of his gift, which was a vocal shadow of its former greatness.

    But … it was still Beniamino Gigli. In person! It was Ruth, Gehrig, Grange, Dempsey, all those greats we read about but never saw. And here we were, in the presence of one of them, in the presence of a legend. We were listening to a man who walked the stage with the greatest singers of his or any time. And that was enough.

    I told the man that my son was also in the presence of a legend, someone whose tortured genius produced some of the greatest popular music ever heard and that no matter how tarnished Wilson’s voice may or may be that night on the Keswick stage, it was still … Brian Wilson. And for my son, I believed that would be enough.

    After the concert, Mario told me it was more than enough. Way more. He saw the legend and the legend delivered.


    The above piece was written in November, 2008.  Last night, January 2, 2013, we had a viewing for my beloved son, Mario, who was killed in an auto accident.   His friend, Brian, came to pay his respects.  We found the ticket stub from that concert in Mario’s wallet and my son-in-law, John, tucked it in Mario’s jacket pocket.  May it always be with him.

    The Soldier

    Came across this.  Appropriate for Veterans Day.


    It is the Soldier, not the minister, who has given us freedom of religion.
    It is the Soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
    It is the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
    It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to protest.
    It is the Soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
    It is the Soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
    It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
    Who serves beneath the flag,
    And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
    Who allows the protester to burn the flag.


    HATE, HATE, HATE. Oh, and did I mention “Hate?”

    Liberals, or progressives, or whatever they’re calling themselves these days,  like to think of themselves as caring, well intentioned people who are champions of  the middle class and poor.  Structurally, liberalism is supposed to be tolerant and understanding and certainly  not destructive.  That’s what the right does, right?  People on the right are the ones who do the really hateful things.

    The left has a long and hallowed history of despicable behavior.  As a lifelong Democratic liberal, I protested against the war.   I wrote some satirical anti-Vietnam pieces when I was a contributing editor at National Lampoon.   And I was shocked when I saw so-called liberals mock, criticize and even spit on returning military personnel.   These were not isolated incidents.  It happened across the country as rabid anti-war liberals took out their legitimate frustrations on the poor guys WHO WERE DRAFTED and thrown into the swamp of the Vietnam War.

    And now we have a later version of liberal behavior from the philosophy of tolerance and understanding.

    Google “Defacing Romney signs” and see what comes up.

    Yep!   Romney signs stolen, smeared with dogshit, and replaced.   Other signs peed upon.  A brick through a GOP storefront headquarters.  Much of it in Virginia, some stories about it in toney Malibu.  Not once, twice, but many times.  The perpetrators are even bragging on Twitter about doing it.  I’ve seen it here in Chapel Hill, an enclave of well-to-do liberals who’ve been Kool Aided all their lives to these causes.  I’ve seen it when I dated a lady who lived on New York’s upper West Side whose mother marched for Cesar Chavez and his grapes but treated her Spanish maid like shit.

    To be fair, except for the Malibu defacement, many of the entries are reports of the same incident in Virginia.  I get that.  But what does it say about the left that they would even think of doing this.  What hole did they crawl out of?

    Now, will we read pieces in HuffPo — the liberal ventriloquist — about this?  Will the media do their usual saturation run on these events?  Will liberal mouthpieces make self-righteous, tsk-tsking, sad-faced stories about these terrible, terrible events?   Will they tweet in anger that their own kind is participating in such disgraceful behavior?

    What you WILL see are leftist responses like, “what about the time when (some negative right wing moment…. ”  or “nobody got upset when … (another negative right wing moment.)”

    It will be rare to see a Progressive just have the moral courage to own the defacement, and move on.

    Oh, you might hear, “I don’t approve of that …. but it’s nothing like (another negative right wing moment.)”  The same floating crap game morality we saw from feminists when Bill Clinton used his power to bed women and ruin Monica Lewinsky’s life.  (She helped, of course.)  One feminist even said that she’d give Bill a BJ for all he’s done for women.

    Ah, moral relativism … You’ve gotta love it.  It gives you so many options.

    But let’s keep reading HuffPo, just in case a genuine moral rebuke shows up.  You’d see it all over the networks if some lunatic right winger did it to a sacred Obama/Biden sign or billboard.

    Just sayin’.



    Joe Biden, the man we’re burdened with as vice president just admitted that he and Obama plan to tax the rich for one trillion dollars.  We’ve heard their litany for years now.

    • Tax the rich
    • The rich should pay their fair share
    • If the rich paid their fair share we could lower our debt
    • If the rich paid their fair share, we could reduce the deficit

    As far as we know, Obama’s budget is projected to be three point eight trillion, a budget the entire Congress rejected, including all Democrats.    And let’s remember, that Obama had the house and senate for two years and did nothing.  No budget was ever presented or passed.

    So much for taking care of business.  Oops!  Just slipped our minds.  This little truth is like that item you stick in a drawer for safe keeping and forget it’s there.   But that’s another story of administration incompetence.

    So, let’s start solving our debt and deficit by taxing that disgustingly rich 1% to pay their fair share, — whatever that is. But why stop at one percent? Let’s take the top eleven percent. And let’s not tax them. Let’s CONFISCATE their income for a year and give it to the government. According to Obama, that would make a big difference.

    A chart  made by Emmanuel Saez of Berkeley was published some months ago in the NY Times.  It shows where the hated 1% fit in the hierarchy of income as of 2008. I’m going beyond the 1$, let’s take the top 5%.  Full disclosure, it was taken from 2008 figures.  I suspect we’re not that far off and, in fact, given the lousy economy the figures might be even lower.  Nevertheless:
    • The first column below indicates the number of families in that row.
    • The second column indicates their starting income. Of course, many have incomes above that starting figure.
    • The third column indicates the the percentage of US income that row of families represents.
    • The fourth column represents the average income of each of the families in that row.
    • The fifth column represents the number of families in that row multiplied by their average income. Let the confiscation begin.

    [wpcol_1fifth id=”” class=”” style=””]Number of families


    [/wpcol_1fifth] [wpcol_1fifth id=”” class=”” style=””] Starting family income

    $  2,000.000

    [/wpcol_1fifth] [wpcol_1fifth id=”” class=”” style=””]Percentage of US Income


    [/wpcol_1fifth] [wpcol_1fifth id=”” class=”” style=””]Average family income

    $  4,000.000

    [/wpcol_1fifth] [wpcol_1fifth_end id=”” class=”” style=””]#Families x avg. income



    That adds up to eight hundred and thirty four billion.   From the top eleven percent of earners.   That’s more than those lousy, oligarcical  one percenters.

    Taking ALL the income from that eleven percent of rich, greedy, spoiled wealthy families represents a helluva fair share, wouldn’t you say?  It’s the patriotic thing to do, says Joey Biden.

    Let’s subtract all that confiscated money from the as-yet-unpassed Obama budget of three hundred and eighty trillion, and we get a budget of …..eight trillion.

    What?  What?  Eight Trillion!!!!!  That much?  But … but … I thought taxing the rich would solve our problems.  Here, we’ve taken ALL their money for an entire year and we still have a budget of three trillion.

    What in the Sam Hill?????

    Those are the numbers.  Anybody want to think about what would happen to the economy with all that money squeezed out of it?  Not being spent or used except by the government?

    • First, that greedy, oppressive 11% will have to figure out how to pay their bills for the year — food, mortgage, kids, medical, gas .. you get the idea.
    • Then they’d have to figure out how they’ll pay their employees. They might have to fire their chauffeurs, yacht staff, servants, etc.
    • Those rich bastards with small businesses who’re in the lowest income range will have to figure out whether they can stay open. And if they can, by how much should they reduce their work force?
    • And then we’d have to estimate how much unemployment benefits, food stamps, health care, etc., of fired and/or laid off workers will  the government … uh, I mean, cost US, the taxpayer.

    You’ll say, John, that’s just stupid. No one is talking about confiscating everyone’s income for a year.  Right?  (Who knows, though! France has just imposed a 75% tax on the income of the wealthy.  Do we really know how much Obama plans to tax anybody? )

    Yet if we DON’T take all that money, we can’t pay down the debt. We’re between a rock and a hard place here.

    We create revenue by growing the economic pie, not by re-allocating revenues from the pie we already have.  Obama’s policies do not promote growth. The tax code does not promote growth. Over regulation does not promote growth. So the pie stays the same size while our debt increases.

    And that’s not even talking about the need to fix the entitlements. Social Security and Medicare will be broke in fifteen years if we don’t promote growth and create more taxpayers.

    If taking the all the income from the wealthiest eleven percent doesn’t even approach a trillion, what the eff is he talking about?

    Next, he’ll be coming after you.

    Thank you for listening.


    The PEOPLE are the flag. Not one man. Especially not that man.