Archive for December, 2008

I will not shut out the lessons that they teach….

Posted by Talismen | December 23rd, 2008

Remember when Scrooge had his epiphany, right in front of the angel (a.k.a. “spirit”) of death, in “A Christmas Carol”? With blinding force, he had finally realized just how foolish he had been throughout his life…how careless with his words and deeds, thinking only of himself, and not his fellow man.

I’ll make this short and sweet, as I know many of us are planning family gatherings and getting things in order: Don’t shut out the lessons of Christmas. Remember what those three spirits taught to Ebenezer.

Some of us tend to only “open our shut up hearts” once a year, like clock-work, when we know we’re expected to do so. Why do we not continue that tradition throughout the year? As Ebenezer’s friend, Jacob Marley said “BUSINESS?! Mankind was my business! The common welfare was my business! Charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence were all my business! The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!!!!”

Normally this blog features biting political satire and commentary, but, we’re taking a holiday “break” from that, urging everyone to take off the political “glasses”, and remember that those things old Marley mentioned are true. We’ve stopped looking after each other, in the last 100 years, and that’s not a good thing. Oh sure, it happens in small towns and cities all over the world, but, we’re all so involved with our “toys”: cars, Ipods, “crack”berries, cell phones, etc etc….we get too much into our own heads.

Those of us who are “political junkies” tend to see much of the outside world through those political “glasses”, and sometimes that can translate into believing that things such as kindness and benevolence are too “liberal”, or that wanting to give a man a job, instead of just money is something a “cruel republican” would do.

Please folks…give it a rest. It’s Christmas.
Let’s keep these things in our hearts (and our heads) all the time…not just at Christmas.

And let us not forget what our friend “Linus” said, so long ago.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah & Happy New Year from The Nos Blog.

Filed Under: Society & Culture

A little suffering never hurt anyone

Posted by Talismen | December 15th, 2008

And so….it’s Christmas time.

Lately I’ve been occupying a portion of free-time on the weekends, sifting through my treasure-trove of pre-recorded (or purchased) holiday programming for seasonal viewing. One I pulled out just this past weekend was “The Homecoming”, which was originally shown on CBS in December of 1971.

This tale is set during the depression.
“Downturn” wasn’t a word they used back then.
Times were alot tougher than our “tough times”.

It was an odd feeling watching the show, listening to “John Boy” and “Mama” speak of the “hard times” they were facing. We simply don’t know how good we have it now. Those folks knew what it was like to suffer. I realize that Hollywood takes dramatic “license” now and then, but, this show was based on a true-life events written by famed author Earl Hamner Jr, who witnessed those times first hand, and actually lived through what I was merely watching on TV, at a safe distance, in a warm house, with hot cocoa at my side.

The bond shared by everyone back then was: suffering.
More people were suffering, on some level, all at the same time, than we probably care to think about these days, when we have the potential to “suffer” as they did, but more than likely will not. The funny thing is, in suffering together, they developed a common bond. They learned to “make do”, and help others “make do” too.

Could we do that today?
Oh I realize that in small towns and small communities, this kind of thing goes on all the time…this suffering and sacrificing. But, on a larger scale, could the narcissistic society we’ve come to know and scoff at really learn to “make do”…without their Blackberries? Their Ipods? Their “On Star”? Their “Starbucks”?

Could they….REALLY?

I tend to think they could, but only if forced to do so, and only then because most of us have ancestors who suffered, sacrificed and “made do” back in the real-life depression-era times of the fictional “Walton’s Mountain”. I still have a set of ration stamps my great grandmother used, and I was raised on the tales of my own family’s “hard times” during those “hard times”. And as I myself was growing up, we didn’t have much money either, so, the “make do” lessons learned from all those years ago were still in practice then. For the most part anyway.

But, what that taught me was that I CAN suffer, sacrifice and make do when necessary. I CAN do without, and be all the better for it when times actually do get better. Unlike some kids I went to school with, I wasn’t shielded from the depression-era stories my family would tell. No…instead, I was raised in the shadow of those tales, in order to teach me just how good we have things now, and how bad things can really get if we don’t keep the lessons of that era in our minds.

As I watched “The Homecoming”, I thought to myself….It would be hell, but I think there are a great number of people who could learn a thing or two from a little suffering…a little sacrificing…a little “making do”. In order to learn appreciation for a thing you CAN live without, one must first learn what it’s like NOT to be able to afford that thing just because there is a “want” for that thing. After all, these days, when someone wants something they could really do without, they whip out the plastic and buy it. That just wasn’t done back in those days, and I think that’s a lesson that should be learned, first-hand, once again.

Even though those people were suffering back then, they were still thriving, in spirit. Those folks knew they were in the thick of the “hard times”, and that it wouldn’t end anytime soon. It seemed to make them less anxious about things they didn’t necessarily need, and couldn’t afford, but would someday like to have. They did what they had to do to get by, and in doing so, they learned about what really matters in day-to-day life, and how those things cannot be lost in financial hard times. They learned what they could count on, and how to count their blessings. They learned to be resolute…damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!

I don’t think we know how to do that these days, and it’s sad. If people really thought about all the things they have that they could do without, and realized they have within themselves the strength to weather times like these…I dare say there wouldn’t be so much griping going on now, and people would be more appreciative for the intangible “blessings” in their lives. Those things that don’t cost a dime, but are worth their weight in gold.

Just as the lessons learned from suffering, sacrificing and “making do”.

The next time you reach for a shiny new thing, ask yourself…”do I really need it”? If you THINK you do, but you really don’t, put it back on the shelf and do a bit of soul-searching.

Have the courage to put yourself through a little suffering…just once. You just might learn something, and be all the better for it.

Glenn Beck talks with Joe The Plumber, who admits McCain was the “lesser of two evils”

Posted by Talismen | December 10th, 2008

In retrospect:

Many conservatives had mixed feelings when the dust finally settled after the primary season, and we were left with John McCain as the GOP nominee. Yes that McCain, who had angered many conservatives prior to the ’08 campaign season, for his stances on illegal immigration, GITMO, torture, and the like.

Many of us who respected (and still respect) him for his service to our nation, both in uniform and out of uniform, still weren’t too comfortable with his compromising certain conservative ideals, and his strange fascination with condemning conservatives faster than democrats, whenever one side or the other gets into a political bind.

Still…many of us held our nose, and voted for him, knowing that he would be better for our nation (while engaged in war and financial hard times) than Obama could ever be.
Along with that, still many more voted FOR Sarah Palin, and ignored McCain on the ticket altogether.

In those final few weeks of the campaign, one champion of the ‘regular old American’ was “Joe The Plumber”.
Just recently, Joe sat down with Glenn Beck and told him…well, what most of us were thinking when it came to John McCain:


GLENN: Well, okay. Let’s take them one by one. Tell me about John McCain, something that I don’t know.

JOE THE PLUMBER: Well, something you don’t know, actually it’s probably stuff that you’ve already guessed and has already been painted in the different media spotlights. Just, well, you know, the bailouts. When I was on the bus with him, I asked him a lot of questions about the bailout because most Americans did not want that to happen, yet he voted for it. At the same time he’s talking about how he’s going to make somebody famous if they even think about putting pork in the bill? We all know how much pork was in the $700 billion bailout package. And why did he vote for it? And I asked him pretty direct questions and some of the answers you guys are going to receive, you know, they appalled me, absolutely. You know, I was angry. In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him.

GLENN: Really?


GLENN: Why didn’t you get off the bus?

JOE THE PLUMBER: Honestly because the thought of Barack Obama becoming President scares me even more.

GLENN: Okay. Now, let me just —


GLENN: Let me play devil’s advocate here and let me play the New York Times, except I’ll be fair. Isn’t that part of the problem, Joe, that people will sell out their values because they will say, “No, well, I just don’t want that; so I’ll take this, I’ll settle for this.” Isn’t that the problem with our system of government right now is we’ve settled for so long, we keep getting something that we don’t want and it just gets worse and worse and worse.

JOE THE PLUMBER: Well, and that’s exactly right. I mean, you know, hopefully I wasn’t too big a proponent of that, this — what do you call it — tripping post, if you will. There isn’t somebody. Neither campaign put out a — no, I’m not going to speak for the Democrats but I mean, the Republicans didn’t put out a candidate for us to really vote for. It’s the lesser of two evils. When you get to that level, you’ve compromised your principles, you’ve compromised your values so often and you owe your soul to whatever special interest group or lobbyist has padded your campaign finances and everything else that you no longer are your own man. So you can no longer stand on your own feet because they’ve been cut out from underneath you years ago.

GLENN: What did you think of Sarah Palin?

JOE THE PLUMBER: Sarah Palin’s absolutely the real deal. You know, I only got to spend a short amount of time with her but, you know, it was been asked if I felt any presence when I was with John McCain or Barack Obama. You know, with Sarah Palin, I don’t want to say I felt a presence but she definitely had energy and she definitely went to work for American people, and it disgusts me on how often they try to bash her just for her sincerity. It’s just, you know, she really wants to work for America and I mean, I wish people would listen to her and let them, and let her work for us. You know, she wants to serve us. She’s not looking for power.

Joe knows.

Filed Under: Election 2008, Media

The “War” on Christmas: Such a big “threat” posed by a little child

Posted by Talismen | December 3rd, 2008

I caught a few minutes of O’Reilly the other night on FNC, and listened to Bill’s commentary regarding a situation in the state of Washington.

It seems the Governor there, Christine Gregoire, has allowed a local atheist group to place a rather opinionated and hyperbolic sign next to a nativity scene in the state capitol in Olympia. The sign reads (in part):

“There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

As I sat there and listened, I though to myself:

Why are they so threatened by a little child?

What has He ever done to harm them?
They do not believe…So why are they so defensive?
They do not acknowledge the gifts, the love, the peace, comfort or joy the Christ child brought into this world those many years ago…So, in contrast, why do they bend over backwards to acknowledge something that they claim “hardens hearts and enslaves minds”?

Would they be so willing to allow a non-atheist to place a nativity scene outside their offices, making a demand for “equal time”? I highly doubt it. Yet, they take it upon themselves to spew what they know will be perceived as anti-religious venom, during one of the most wonderful seasons of the year, when most folks in this country are reflecting on the birth of Jesus, and preparing to honor His birth.

Being a Christian (and speaking only for myself), I cannot ignore the fact that these people seem to go out of their way to lambast something in which they do not believe. Are they so threatened by that little child? Or are they threatened by the promise of what that little child left to this world?

No matter what it is, it’s very sad…Truly truly sad.
Something that would make even a child cry.

…And I’m guessing it already has.