Weaponized Cuteness

My five year old granddaughter, Princess Sack of Potatoes, learned “Feliz Navidad” in kindergarten.  While she was visiting I went to YouTube to play the Jose Feliciano version as an historical record for her, but opened this one by accident.

She was fascinated by this pint-sized crooner.  And so it goes for every generation.  Well, no harm done.  Her mother and her grandmother and her great grandmother had their crooners too, whether it was Frank Sinatra or Paul McCartney or whatever singer was out there.  But so soon?


Happy New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2024!

I begin this New Year’s Eve post with a public service message.

Ryan Seacrest will be hosting the 52nd (wow) annual installment of ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest’ on your local ABC affiliate.  The idea of such luminaries as LL COOL J & Cardi B joining the lineup of performers including Rita Ora, Megan Thee Stallion, Jelly Roll, Sabrina Carpenter, Tyla, Multihyphenate Sebastian Maniscalco, Aqua, Doechii, Ellie Goulding, Green Day, Janelle Monáe, Loud Luxury x Two Friends with Bebe Rexha, Ludacris, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Paul Russell, Reneé Rapp with Coco Jones, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Post Malone, who has sold over 80 million records and earned numerous awards, including 10 Billboard Music Awards, and will perform “Chemical” and finally K-Pop group NewJeans performing “Super Shy” and “ETA” all appearing on one five hour show literally takes my breath away.  But I’ve steeled myself to miss this epochal event.  I notice that Mariah Carey isn’t on the schedule.  A few years back she had a situation where her costume exploded off of her while she was being hoisted onto the roof of some building in Times Square to sing “All I Want for Christmas is You.”  They mercifully cut away in time but apparently, she never recovered.  I had also hoped that they could have released Madonna from her crypt for one last mummified rendition of “Like a Virgin” but I guess they couldn’t find enough formaldehyde to pull it off.  I also don’t see Lionel Ritchie’s name on the list which leads me to believe either he has passed away or the last of his fans has.  Ah, the changing of the guard.

I’ve decided to step in and recommend that all my readers deny themselves this pleasure.  Combining Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Ludacris all in one sitting might be just too much musical talent for anyone to endure.  It would be like Mozart and Bach joining Taylor Swift on stage at the Bellagio in Vegas.  Just too much magnificence.

I don’t do New Year’s Eve parties.  And it’s probably the result of several factors.  First off, I don’t drink.  Secondly, I find loud bars or other party venues difficult to hear over.  And this despite relatively good hearing.  So, the typical large New Year’s Eve gathering doesn’t have much to offer for me.  And as far as family gatherings, it’s really not a great night to be driving home from a late party.  Usually around here, the weather is awful for driving and there are more drunks on the road that night than any other.  When the kids were still young, we’d do some kind of midnight celebration with noise makers and calling up relatives to wish them a happy New Year and then we’d have some food.  Root beer floats were the favorite of my kids.

But New Year’s Eve is a great time of the year for course correction.  Taking stock and making changes.  I was talking to Camera Girl about this and she said, “I like to call it a time for reflection.”  I then mocked her ruthlessly, “What a fabulously original way of stating it.  Do you mind if I quote you?”  She was unconcerned.  Her poise while mouthing platitudes is remarkable.

Next year will be a busy time for me.  There will be a large increase in my commitments to several annoying tasks.  March, April, October and November will be extremely unpleasant.  And I have to figure out whether I should alter my format for the website.  There will be a number of interesting stories to follow this year but as far as the daily posts a lot of what can be said, has been said and in excruciating detail.  Maybe I’ll decide to limit my output to discussion of breaking events.  This would allow me to move forward with my fiction writing which I’m embarrassed to say ground to a halt in the second half of 2023.

I think what that means for me is that I will need to create that most hated and least successful of all documents, the “life schedule.”  As an engineer I was often responsible for making and updating and reporting on a project schedule.  Usually it was done on Microsoft Project, a powerful but highly annoying program.  Of course, I have no plan to plot my life on MS Project.  Camera Girl would not stand for it.  Me trying to regiment her free-wheeling method of running her house would madden her and probably lead to my demise by any one of several domestic weapons.  Although death by deli meats is my best guess.

So, I hope to spend the next few days attempting to take stock of how I spend my time and, in some sense, “mending my ways.”  And I don’t think of this as a negative.  The environment around us is constantly shifting and for this we need to adjust.  Once a year is hardly too often for this very important activity.  Probably seasonally is the correct frequency.  Spring cleaning and fall stowing away is pretty common but I’m much too lazy for that much organization.  So New Year’s resolutions it is.

But for those so inclined have a Happy New Year’s Eve with champagne and dancing till morning.

31DEC2023 – Quote of the Day

If two districts, one of which possessed a rich copper mine, and the other a rich tin mine, had always been separated by an impassable river or mountain, there can be no doubt that an opening of a communication, a greater demand would take place, and a greater price be given for both the tin and the copper; and this greater price of both metals, though it might be only temporary, would alone go a great way towards furnishing the additional capital wanted to supply the additional demand; and the capitals of both districts, and the products of both mines, would be increased both in quantity and value to a degree which could not have taken place without the this new distribution of the produce, or some equivalent to it.

Thomas Robert Malthus

British Perspective on the Movie “The Holly and the Ivy”

The Holly and the Ivy is one of my favorite Christmas movies.  But it is an intensely English movie and so I thought it would be interesting to hear what a British movie critic would have to say about it.

Whether it is interesting or not I’ll leave to the individual viewer but I enjoyed it.  However I was already a fan of the movie and didn’t require any convincing.

Ring Out the Old

2023 has been a year of stumbling along through the wreckage.  In every direction, as far as the eye can see is nothing but ruin.  Everything is in a shambles.  The borders, the cities, the Congress, Biden and our foreign policy.  In fact, the Ukraine is a perfect metaphor for the state of our civilization.  Across fertile fields laced with landmines and once industrious cities reduced to rubble formerly kindred peoples are locked in a life and death struggle to destroy each other.

And to prove that things can always get worse, Hamas unleashed the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse, Sadism.  Just when you think that nothing could be worse than the threat of all out nuclear war because of Ukraine, the Palestinians of that coastal hellhole; Gaza, send out squadrons of unhinged fighters to rape, maim, kill and dismember women, children and the elderly in an orgy of destruction and demonic madness.  The Israelis will earn the undying hatred of their neighbors in the surrounding Arab countries but after what was done to these Israeli non-combatants I won’t be surprised if they pursue the Hamas army to the last man even if it means killing tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians in order to reach them.  Anything less than the total destruction of Hamas will merely postpone the next round of attacks on Israel.  But the fallout from this war will be very ugly and Israel should reevaluate all of its strategic objectives and align them with the present war.  Because after it, goodwill for Israel in the Middle East will be non-existent.  Even the United States may shy away from pressing its Arab allies for support.

So, it’s really hard to find a silver lining to 2023.  Mike Johnson taking over as Speaker of the House after Kevin McCarthy was ejected by Republican right-wingers is a promising development.  Donald Trump’s growing support in the polls for the Republican primaries is also a bit of good news.  And his current lead in the polls versus Biden is likewise encouraging.  But after those three tidbits have been savored, you’re pretty much done with good news from Washington.

So, let’s turn the page on 2023 without too much introspection and analysis.  For those of you who overindulge on New Year’s Eve, you have the perfect excuse. Waking up on New Year’s Day with a hell of a hangover may be the most fitting end to a year that felt like a hangover.  Maybe we can use 2024 to start addressing problems on our own.  Obviously, we can’t undo the Biden agenda.  All the worst policies of his regime will continue for as long as the Democrats are able to bamboozle stupid or greedy people into buying special treatment for their votes.  But there is plenty you can do to minimize the impact of these dishonest policies on you and your family.  And that should be your resolution for the New Year.  Analyze what personal actions you are capable of accomplishing that have the highest impact on your life and make it your business to make them happen.

That’s resolution enough for anyone.