Dr. Seuss's tale brought warm feelings and laughter,
But what he didn't tell you is what happened after:
When the Grinch brought back Christmas that singular year,
He was welcomed by the Whos with forgiveness and cheer.
But when he came to Whoville the following season
He felt a bit let down, and not without reason.
For as a prodigal celebrant he'd been the center of attention,
But as just another guest he barely rated a mention.
And being a Grinch, well, he took it quite badly.
"They're taking me for granted," he realized sadly.
"Last year I was honored, toasted and regaled,
But now I see my hopes of acceptance are failed.
I've been a good neighbor since last December,"
He grinched to himself in a simmering temper.
As a fuming wallflower he watched Who girls and boys
And recalled how he hated their clamor and noise.
Slipping away he returned to his cave
For the peace and quiet he once again craved
And vowed that the Whos, the tall and the small,
Would regret this next Christmas — "I'll show them all!"
And what do you think the grumpy Grinch did
When a single year later, back Christmas slid?
Why, he repeated his hijinks of just two winters past,
And then brought all the packages back to Whoville fast.
But this time the Whos' patience had been overtested
And as soon as the Grinch arrived, they had him arrested.
At the trial his lawyer Horton strenuously stressed
That testimony of the first theft ought to be suppressed.
"He wasn't convicted! No charges were filed!"
"Only because all the Whos were beguiled,
We thought him rehabilitated, but he had us fooled!"
That was enough for Judge Who-dy: "Objection overruled."
The elephant turned to his client, bereft.
"I'm out of ideas, that's all I had left."
The jury came back with a verdict quick
"Fifty years," sentenced the judge, "That should do the trick."
And so the Who court's rules evidentiary
Doomed the Grinch to the Who penitentiary.
"I'm sorry," said Horton as the Grinch sat aghast.
"In real life nobody can outrun the past.
'Forgive and forget' means they'll put it behind them,
But only if you don't contrive to remind them."
The Grinch erupted, "You blame this on me!?
The Whos are the bad guys here, can't you see?
While I acted like them I was just tolerated,
But if I follow my nature I'm instantly hated!
So send me to prison! Let the iron doors clang!
In fifty years I'll be back with a gang!"
A few years ago a blogger — I can't recall which, might have been Darleen Click at PW, or Charles Hill at Dustbury — posted a clip from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in which Linus makes his speech on what Christmas is all about.
Did you see it? I hadn't, despite having watched the scene dozens of times since its debut 50 years ago.
The fact Charles Schulz insisted on including a Bible reading in his Christmas special tells us something he never really wore on his sleeve during his years drawing the Peanuts comic strip: he took Christmas and Christianity seriously.
Mrs. McG and I missed the re-airing of this special on ABC at the end of November, but we've bought the DVD and will maintain our Christmastime tradition of watching it to mitigate the Santa Claus fixation of nearly every other mainstream Christmas special out there.
I also make a point of catching "The Little Drummer Boy" every year, another, far less popular Christmas special from 1968. And of course we also watch at least one version of "A Christmas Carol" each year though the animated version featuring Alistair Sim is a childhood favorite, as is the Mr. Magoo special.
Last week we watched "Mickey's Christmas Carol." I liked it the first time I saw it, less so now. I have the Sim cartoon saved on Youtube though, so we can wash the Disney aftertaste out of our mouths.
Next year, when you watch the Peanuts special, pay close attention to this scene — what Linus does, and when.
Went to Starkville late last week to watch Mrs. McG receive her master's degree; yesterday, put a few more rounds through the Beretta (here on the home acres) (inspired by watching hunters'/shooters' Youtube videos), just to stay in practice.
I'm still contemplating what next to add to the collection, but my increasing comfort with the Beretta — believe it or not, my first-ever semi-auto handgun — has helped narrow the field.
The entity purporting to be an Islamic state, known variously as "The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), "The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL), or "The Islamic State of Iraq ash-Sham," and which calls itself in Arabic ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām, having engaged in the following acts,
Conducted campaigns of murder, espionage and sabotage against United States citizens, interests, and allies both on and off U.S. soil,
Recruited U.S. citizens to carry out these campaigns against the United States, and
Pursued conquest against the sovereignty of the United States and legitimate nations around the world,
Is hereby found to be at war with the United States of America. As a result, the United States of America now and hereby declares war on the above-identified entity purporting to be an Islamic state.
Any United States citizen found to have cleaved unto said entity, giving it aid and comfort, faces prosecution for treason against the United States. Any non-U.S. citizen found in territory under the control of the United States, who has cleaved unto said entity, faces penalties up to and including summary execution as a spy or saboteur.
Any nation found to be aiding or abetting the activities of said entity, faces abnegation of any pacts, treaties or agreements of alliance and/or trade with the United States.
Update: I read that in the Dec. 15 GOP debate Ben Carson advocated this.
I should clarify that the primary effect I'm concerned with is to establish a legal basis for ISIS soldiers in the U.S. to be treated as unlawful enemy combatants rather than mere criminals.
Of course there would be an "over there" component to this declaration, but what Americans want is to be sure that, to the extent this war now has to be fought here at home as well, it will be. Good and hard.
I'm thankful for my wife of 21 years. Her happiness is my life's meaning.
I'm thankful, as I've always been, that I was born in, and continue to live in, the United States of America — still the freest nation on earth, which tells you something about the rest of the world, sadly.
I'm thankful to God for sending His son to show us that forgiveness is the key to everlasting life, that repentance is the key to forgiveness, and we are all His beloved children.
This morning the weather station out there in the field (where Roger Daltrey fights for his meals) (it can be a spectacular sight, by the way) recorded a low temperature of 28.7°F, aided by a dew point of 24.
I'd have to rummage the archives to see when was the earliest subfreezing temp reported here since we moved in, and there would only be three other records in the sample so it wouldn't say much.
The temperature this morning at McGehee's Freehold bottomed out at (drum roll, please) 32.1°F.
Meanwhile, in Interior Alaska (where I lived for five years two decades ago and don't you forget it) they've already had subzero temperatures. I doubt this year will match 1994, when Fairbanks hit -45°F. on Thanksgiving Day, the earliest recorded such cold snap at the time. That was the day someone backed into the rear bumper on my 1993 Ford Escort wagon and it ... shattered.
In the 16 years I've lived here in subtropical west Georgia, we have more or less regularly had winter temperatures in the teens, and at least once I seem to recall even single digits. For, like, a minute.
Our neighborhood landscape still isn't quite in full winter mode yet, there are still some leaves on some of the trees that I can see out my window. But I think today I will change my various background images to a winter scene. Including here.
Four vehicle registration renewals are about to come due in the very near future — which sucks, because only three of them are actual vehicles, the fourth is a trailer.
Fortunately, only one requires an emissions test, and I got that out of the way today. Last year only one required a test, but that one was sold earlier this year and replaced with one that won't need a test for two more years. Meanwhile one of the more recent additions to the fleet advanced into the testable class — aged between three and 25.
You can see, maybe, why we're looking to reduce our fleet before this time next year; the one we want to sell off becomes testable in 2016.
If Hillary gets elected next fall, they'll probably make us get the trailer tested every year.
Update, Thursday: Another reason I want to divest of the 2013 is, its remote is prone to pocket-popping (sort of like butt-dialing, only not). I'm sick and tired of looking out the window and seeing a door flung open because of poor MOPAR remote design. Supposedly it takes two presses to open these doors, but apparently that's only if you're using your fingers.
Disquiet rooted in a persistently weak economy, a chaotic foreign policy, growing national-security concerns and domestic social turmoil is aggravated by the sense that dissent — or even questioning conventional wisdom as defined by America’s condescending elites — is not only improper, but also immoral.
Presented as an explanation of Donald Trump's presidential tumescence, it also explains something about American politics that many conservative doomsayers have been missing during the Obama years: whatever Grand Vision the nation's elites-of-the-moment may succeed in presenting without significant dissent for a matter of years, the great mass of the people have their own vision — and aren't buying anything that contradicts it.
Fringe opinion in America is what fringe opinion in America has always been, and its embrace by the political, media and even business elites cannot change that. Educational experimentalists may detach or devalue the fundamental tenets of America's self-image, but they are ingrained too deeply to be uprooted in a generation or two.
As a people, Americans are comfortable in their own skins. They may play along with fashion or fad just for the fun of it, but it's a mistake to confuse their willingness to stray from their comfort zone, with a willingness to discard it altogether in favor of one prescribed from an ivory tower.
The Trumpian abscess is not the disease. It is an attempt by our political immune system to fight the insidious infection of elite authoritarianism that culminated in the election of an ivory-tower radical to the highest office in the land, and the cowardly refusal of the nominal opposition to actually oppose.
I've been hungering for RFD-TV on my channel lineup ever since FamilyNet temporarily put RFD-TV programming in place of its usual TVLand-like stuff last year. This morning our TiVo listings detected a change in our channel lineup: "Hee Haw," "Somewhere West of Wall Street," and "Texas Country Reporter" are all once again available to...
Well, to see the program descriptions, and set the DVR to record, perhaps futilely. The actual channel content isn't coming through just yet. Depending on which DVR I try, either the signal has a problem, or the channel isn't authorized. Now, sometimes TiVo announces a new channel before the cable company actually makes it available, so I'm going to wait and see.
Our TV subscription level isn't being offered to new customers anymore, so if necessary we may have to go to one of the new levels. Just as long as it doesn't cost us any channels we've gotten used to getting.
Given that the college football team to which I have some modicum of genuine allegiance — if only by marriage — has an emphatically winning record even though it's not as impressive as it was last season, I've taken to looking in on other teams to which I have a far more tenuous, if not illusory, connection.
Today the Wyoming Cowboys (then 0-6) welcomed the Nevada Wolfpack (then 3-3) to War Memorial Stadium in Laramie as their homecoming opponents. The Cowboys are no longer winless. I watched the game via ESPN3.com and am glad I did (though the spectacular second quarter gave way to a less encouraging second half). In conference, both teams are now 1-2, putting their respective overall records in a different light.
Next week Wyoming goes to Boise to play on the blue turf at a much lower elevation than their home field's 7,220 feet, but this year's Boise State team may not be as formidable as it once was: the Broncos fell to the Utah State Aggies today, 52-26, in Logan. Either way, I expect to enjoy watching the game because I like both teams.
That's how long commercial emailers say it may take for an unsubscribe order to take effect. Others say 24 hours.
Non-commercial email list-servs, such as often come free with a cheap domain shared-hosting account, can process an unsub order in milliseconds.
My late mother-in-law was on a lot of commercial mailing lists. Hell, I'm on a lot of them, but I also work at controlling the volume. But now that I'm having her mail forwarded to me so that I can make sure important messages — from people who haven't gotten the news, or don't know how to contact next-of-kin — don't sit unnoticed in an unchecked inbox, I'm having to send a lot of unsub orders.
Some outfits use a system that asks why you're unsubscribing. At least one such continued sending well past the advertised waiting period, and I couldn't resist invoking the old "Saturday Night Live" Franco gag. I like to think mom-in-law would have approved.
The volume is subsiding, gradually, but just now I had to tell another persistent shop that if I'm forced to start telling Gmail that their messages are spam, that could have implications beyond just one email address.
As easy as it is to get on these lists, there's no excuse for this slow response time. It's not as if these unsubscribe orders actually need to be processed by a human when a gnu can do it so much more efficiently.
Update: Forgot to mention, some of these businesses make it hard to even submit an unsub order. Those I'm just sending straight to spam from now on.
As aggressively as Alaska is marketed as a Last Frontier where the rugged individualist reigns supreme, it has collectivist quirks written right into its state constitution.
You can own land, and outside of congested areas you can do with it pretty much as you please; you can drill a well for water and install a septic tank with no more red tape than you'd expect in any other state. There is — or was, things may have changed — an organized borough where you wouldn't even have to pay property tax.
But aside from the water, nothing below the surface is yours. That all belongs to the state government. Because the state's "Founding Fathers" decided that what had gone wrong in the Lower 48 over the previous few decades — we're talking about the mid-1950s here, so their experience extended through the Great Depression — was caused by private property rights extending too far.
This means that those with the resources to extract and market Alaska's mineral wealth have only one vendor to deal with: Juneau. When I was studying economics, that was called a monopoly. And what happens in a monopoly? Things cost more.
Alaskans wonder why they're still paying a dollar more per gallon for gasoline refined in their very own state from oil produced in their very own state. In Fairbanks, they even convinced themselves the answer was to raise taxes on the oil companies — as if that would bring gas prices down.
Maybe if more than one entity owned that oil, things would be different.
Alaska's "last frontier" marketing has been a lie for 60 years.
Speaker John A. Boehner, under intense pressure from conservatives in his party, will resign one of the most powerful positions in government and give up his House seat at the end of October, throwing Congress into chaos [as] it tries to avert a government shutdown.
Mr. Boehner made the announcement in an emotional meeting with his fellow Republicans Friday morning.
The Republican from Ohio had struggled from almost the moment he took the speaker’s gavel in 2011 to manage the challenges of divided government and the hold together his fractious and increasingly conservative Republican members.
He was never fit for the speakership, and I like many fear his influence has left almost no one fit for the job in line for it.
Curious what's led him to this decision. I know what a lot of his critics will conclude, but I don't like the blackmail explanation here anymore than I do regarding Chief Justice Roberts. It's not that big a stretch to assume that a GOP essentially led by the likes of Karl Rove managed at exactly the wrong time to elevate dim, weak men to what would become its highest offices during the Obama era.
It's happened before. Weak men do like to try to have it both ways, and weak men do crack under the strain of trying to have it both ways when the rest of the world loses patience.
Scott Walker is out. He, Rick Perry (who already dropped out) and Bobby Jindal were the only governors running for president that I didn't despise.
Yes, I just gave Bobby a few bucks, he being the last one standing.
If he falls, I'll have to choose between Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson. As much as I like Cruz, the last sitting U.S. Senator we put in the White House makes me leery of doing it again so soon.
We need a constitutional amendment prohibiting presidential campaign activities and fundraising more than six months before the November election. When you set out to separate the wheat from the chaff, and end up with only chaff, you're doing something wrong.
The house was surrounded mainly by camellia bushes, with an orange tree and a grapefruit tree in the back yard, and a gardenia bush under the grapefruit tree — neither they nor the loquat tree were deciduous. We also had peach, plum, nectarine, apricot, cherry and cherry-plum trees, but I don't recall noticing them turning color in the fall. Nor our fig trees, though they were behind the detached garage, or our neighbor's avocado tree.
We had as dizzying an array of California-type arbory as one suburban lot could hold, and we enjoyed the fruits (ahem) for 14 years. The most telling sign of fall for me was the faint smoky smell and slight golden sun haze resulting from the burning of rice fields outside town (a practice long since outlawed). Even the sycamore and fruitless mulberry trees I knew elsewhere didn't put on much of a show.
It wasn't until I moved to Fairbanks, Alaska that fall color was abundant and abrupt. Varying a little each year, there was always about a week in September that the hillsides north and west of the city were uniformly golden. When we bought a house in what I called "greater North Pole," we were in the midst of the Interior's boreal forest and the season of color couldn't be missed.
Of course that meant that for a few weeks between the dropping of the leaves — and they fell as abruptly as they had turned — and the first layer of the coming winter's snowpack, came the Interior's darkest season; the summer's continuous daylight was gone, the trees no longer held the last golden glow of twilight nor reflected house or yard lights, and the ground, though carpeted with leaves, was downright gloomy compared to the gleaming white it would be by the end of October.
Here in metro Atlanta, we do get a definite color season, much longer than that enjoyed in the far North, and more gradual. Different species of tree have their different schedules. Some stands of Bradford pear, for example, turn abruptly red before the casual eye notices any other changes — other stands wait longer. Meanwhile though, individual leaves on dogwoods may be showing red, or there may be yellow leaves here and there on the poplars and sweetgums.
We're in the earliest phases now, with the sparsest hints of color to come seen on scattered trees in the woods of McGehee's Freehold. If any Bradford pear trees have begun to turn I haven't seen it yet, but I'm keeping an eye out. Fairbanks has had its golden hillsides for several days now, but they may have snow before our trees down here are fully involved.
Some — a very few — of the trees are starting to turn hereabouts, and even though it's after ten in the morning Mrs. McG's weather station is reporting that the outside temperature is in the mid-50s.
In subtropical west Georgia, with the equinox still more than a week away.
Living here, fall is unchallenged as my favorite time of year — if only because winter is so often disappointing, and when we do get winter weather around here I'm as trapped at home as anyone because if I were to venture out it wouldn't matter how well I can drive in the snow if the next guy coming the other way can't.
Where fall brings mixed feelings, it's because the subsequent winter will certainly be harsh — but that also makes it a known quantity to almost everyone who lives there, and they'll at least know how to drive in it.
Life can only stop for snow in a place where it happens rarely.
I don't really want to spend today writing, as it's the first day in some months I've really been free to get other things done without artificially short deadlines — but I do have some thoughts about the past 14 years that I'll post probably later today.
Very early this morning, after battling pancreatic cancer for nearly a year, my mother-in-law passed away here at home. She was 70.
Things will be busy around here for a little while as final arrangements are carried out.
Update, Saturday: Funeral was yesterday in Chattanooga. Now we have legal matters to deal with and a house to get on the market two years after she moved out of it. Her sister and brother-in-law have been extremely helpful with the house. Budget Truck Rental, not so much.
Glancing at Twitter it appears there's still politics going on. Stop it.
The forms for the slab are in place, awaiting a dryer long term forecast than we've got right now. And that's just as well, because the county inspector wants changes made that the contractor is pretty sure aren't necessary — so they're going to have to work that out before any concrete is poured.
Just like my 2004 wrangle with the DMV, I'm learning that you practically need a lawyer for even the most routine interactions with bureaucratic authority — something our present Ruling Class seems to think is just hunky-dory. Imagine the worst-ever Homeowner's Association board, but without the option of moving to a different neighborhood to get away from them.
And people wonder why the Toupee That Ate Manhattan is getting so much support. A Republican congressional majority and a Republican-appointed Supreme Court majority have proven worthless, so naturally the hoi polloi flock to the bombthrower.
The Boehner-McConnell-Roberts axis have only themselves to blame, at least until after the election.
So far I've given money — amounts that the billionaire donors would find in their clothes dryer lint trap — to two candidates: Scott Walker and Ted Cruz. There are a handful of others running that I could vote for without much in the way of qualms, but you won't find Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Chris Christie or Mike Huckabee on that list.
I had respect for Huckabee when he succeeded to Arkansas's governorship after Clinton's own gubernatorial successor got sent up the river — Huckabee even responded personally to a congratulatory email I sent him, back when a state governor could spare the time to read and answer his own email because trolls and spammers hadn't figured out how to operate a dial-up modem.
But Huckabee developed a track record as a more-government conservative — the type that overlooks the role of individual free will in the charitable deeds and compassionate outlook preached by Christ. Huckabee, it turns out, is a collectivist as surely as any atheistic Marxist is.
God confers grace on individuals, not groups. He doesn't give any soul an easier road to Heaven than others because of the color of their skin nor the colors on their flag. The use of the United States government's power to buy cheap grace by doing "good works" against the will of those paying for them, is fundamentally unchristian. I won't vote for such a candidate.
Christie's appeal is that he brings to politics a stereotypical New Jersey attitude — but his political views as expressed on the national stage are at odds with the acts as governor that first brought him to national attention. Politics, of course, is the art of the possible, and in New Jersey principled conservatism isn't on the menu. It may be that he's fought for more principled conservative ideas, but he doesn't seem to have won many such battles. Instead he's sought to temper his "attitude" image by making nice with people he ought to have chewed up and spat out. Not a promising performance for someone who wants the job of cleaning up Barack Obama's global mess, a job far more complicated and demanding than cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy.
Graham has been riding point for the Republican side of the amnesty push, and Bush has said that violating our nation's borders and invading our country illegally is "an act of love." Neither has demonstrated the requisite allegiance to the country they seek to lead, to merit a single vote — let alone enough to win election. I'd sooner vote for Donald Trump.
And that's pretty damning, because there is no poll result that can turn Trump into a serious and qualified candidate for president. He is Huey Long with a Yankee accent, bad hair and deep pockets. The extent to which he believes any of the things he's saying is precisely the extent to which he believes it can get him something he wants — and he's not foolish enough to sincerely want to be the 45th President of the United States. He has never bought a Superfund site, and winning this election would mean doing just that.
So, I'm still with Walker. He's won the battles Christie has either avoided joining, or quietly lost. That's who we need after these last several years.
I call it "The O'Keefe Method," after James O'Keefe's habit of releasing increasingly revealing videos about illegal activity by left-leaning organizations, giving them no time to regroup and build a workable counter-narrative.
That's what the Center for Medical Progress is doing to Planned Parenthood, and it sure looks like the death mill I think of as Murder, Inc. Genocide, Inc. may be on the ropes. We'll have to see. PP does seem to be losing sponsors, including possibly the federal taxpayer. Which would be about damned time.
I'd like to see somebody do this to the SPLC. And the climate-alarmist bunch.
Just a day or two ago I renamed this blog, after one of the jobs a cowboy does.
Once barbed wire closed off the open range, it became a cowboy's responsibility to make sure the fence was kept in good repair. To do that he'd ride along the perimeter of the ranch, inspecting the wire and posts for wear — or sabotage.
He'd carry heavy gloves, pliers and other tools to make repairs as needed, and if it looked like the damage was deliberate he needed to report it to the boss.
Now, if I cared to go ridin' fence for the whole of western civilization, or even just this country, I'd be posting links to every news piece, blog entry and Twitter tweet I saw in a day's internetting. And then there'd be stuff I saw on TV or heard on the radio that I hadn't already encountered. There wouldn't be enough hours in the day for that and everything else I have to do.
I think I'll see if I can come up with something to report at least once a week though, even if I have to make something up just to laugh about.
It's been in the works a while, but today I think is when we'll call it begun: we're adding a building to the home property.
It's to be slightly larger than a two-car garage, with a carport in addition. Those who remember my comments about the garage space at our previous home may be confident they understand why we're doing this. If I had more land it might be a bigger building...
Today the permit application is being generated, and we'll soon schedule some tree removals necessary to clear the building site.
After permits and clearing will come grading, pouring the slab, and construction. Ideally we'll be ready to start using it by Labor Day, given how busy the company is that's doing the work.
I've been doing posts in hand-coded HTML on my own domain, but it's cumbersome and I don't like getting political there anyway. Then again, I almost never have anything political to say that I can't put in a comment on some other poor sap's website, or in a tweet.
But when I do, maybe I'll put it here.
Besides, I'm gradually warming up to the idea of no longer running my own website — just keep the domain for email.
Update, 2018: So now I've gone back to hand-coding HTML on my own domain. Go figure.