Saturday, December 26, 2015

An Assortment For Boxing Day

     It’s at least forty years since I first heard December 26 called that, and I still don’t know whether it’s because today is the day we decide what to return and strain to remember where we left the receipts, or whether it’s because the kids are still playing with the boxes as we try to fold them up and dispose of them.

     Ours was a quiet holiday. Mass in the early morning – the very best time to go, in my not-particularly-humble opinion – followed by the usual animal chores and some straightening-up. We completed our morning with a fine, nutritious breakfast of decaf and Christmas cookies.

     Hey, diets are meant to be violated, right? Right?

     Christmas Day 2015 on Long Island proved to be an excellent day to mow the lawn. Travis the Tractor didn’t much like having his off-season slumbers disturbed – thank you, Sears Automotive Center, for that fine heuristic battery charger – but the job did get done, with one hiccough. Always make sure you’ve collected all the sprinklers before setting out to mow, Gentle Reader.

     Why isn’t there ice hockey on Christmas Day? Didn’t Christ Himself say “I bring not peace but a stick, a helmet, and a set of pads” -- ? Something like that, I think. Lacking mindless non-participatory entertainment, the C.S.O. and I recurred to the participatory kind. To be specific, we fired up the PlayStation 3, loaded Diablo III, and killed a lot of Risen Dead and assorted other nasties. Great game. Highly recommended.

     Sales of my books have trended downward, so I’ve reduced the prices of the novels (in eBook format) from $4.99 to $2.99. So show a little Christmas spirit! Hie thee to Amazon and buy one for someone you dislike.

     There is such a thing as too much Christmas spirit – specifically, the sort you pour over ice. It seems to have been a mistake to leave the baked beans baking for 48 hours. I suppose I’ll know better next time.

     If you like a good check-your-brains-at-the-door action flick, especially one with an emotional subtext, treat yourself to Furious 7. All-star cast, lots and lots of slam-bang action – especially car chases, of course – and a farewell to the late Paul Walker, who died during the filming.

     No, it won’t matter whether you’ve seen 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. It might even help if you haven’t.

     I found a couple of days away from politics and the presidential campaign quite refreshing, but from the look of Fox, Yahoo! and Google News, quite a lot of other Americans remained mired in it. Well, chacun a son gout and all that. But preserve your gray matter! The twaddle has only gotten thicker and gooier as the campaign has progressed, and that sort of thing causes cancer in white rats. Remember Arthur Herzog’s prescription for a corrective to political twaddle:

     It may help dispel the armchair critic idea of a skeptic if we ask what kind of protest movement the radical skeptic will mount when, before too long, they get together, perhaps even fielding a candidate for President. The radical skeptic would make an issue out of hypocrisy, systematic fakery, exaggeration, pretense...the B.S. Factor. It’s a good issue and people will respond, only it needs to be dramatized. It needs a symbol—not an eagle or a donkey but a garbage truck, to make the connection between the garbage in the streets and in our minds. A slogan for the buttons and bumper stickers: “Eschew Obfuscation. Get Smart.” The press could be challenged to present a daily Thought Pollution Index—not that it would, but at least reporters could be encouraged to attend the daily Platitude Recognition Training Sessions, the object being to raise cliché consciousness and overcome the serious problem of cliché deafness that settles over crowds and reporters alike when a speaker mounts to the podium. In these sessions, platitudes will be flashed on a screen, and if they are allowed to pass unchallenged the participants will receive electric shocks from wires attached to their skulls....Audiences skilled in Platitude Recognition can deliver a crushing blow [to the fulsomely platitudinous political speaker]: the mass yawn. This quickly forces the speaker to take stock of himself.

     It doesn’t matter what your political alignment may be, or what ideology you hold. Political flummery:

  • vague, substance-free promises;
  • failure to give (or abide by) delivery dates;
  • allegations of intent, whether for or against;
  • deflection from issues to personalities;
  • attempts to change the subject; everyone’s enemy. Beware!

     With that, we’ve had quite enough of 2015, so onward to New Year’s Eve. (Go easy on the bowl games and the salty junk food.)


Andy Texan said...

I saw 'Star Wars (7)' and can honestly say never have I seen a worse movie that is going to make billions. Don't go. Tell your friends to avoid. Since it had such good press, I can only think that the "critics" and hollywood producers and now scratching each others back.

JWMJR said...

All goes right along with the story that said that SW fans were narcissists. Bread and Circuses for the drug addled masses while Islam is shoved up ou our butts at the same time.

Navvet55 said...

Hope your Christmas was filled to the brim with not only the proper spirit (of the day), but family, food, and at least one massive treasure goblin hoard (in reference to the Diablo III adventuring...would love to join you online, but the PC version and the console are not able to play nicely together.). As far as the books go (yours(, I think I am just a couple shy of having read all of them. Come this payday I will have to remedy that.

All the best, and hopefully a very Happy New Year to come!

Guy S.

Anonymous said...

A politician opens his mouth and I am reminded of my non-copy-righted appellation, "Duckbill Platitudinous".

Best regards,


ligneus said...

From Wikipedia:

Boxing Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated the weekday or Saturday following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a "Christmas box", from their masters, employers or customers, in the United Kingdom, The Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Bermuda, New Zealand, ...

Reg T said...

Furious 7 was a bit over the top with the free-falling cars with parachutes that opened and allowed them to land safely (in spite of the shroud lines being attached far from the center of gravity of the various vehicles). I don't mind "suspending disbelief" a little bit, but that was as bad as Armageddon where rocket ships with wings flew through space like airplanes in atmosphere.

Furious 6 was a lot more believable and entertaining. Loved the ending, too.