Friday, December 21, 2007
Over one hundred years ago, on September 21, 1897, a little girl with great doubts asked the editor of the New York Sun for the answer to a question that had been bothering her. There was no Straight Dope then, so she had to settle. The Sun came up with an answer, a good answer, the correct answer. But folks have forgotten it, or no longer believe it. The man who answered her question was just a staff writer who got the assignment from his boss. He wasn't the World's Smartest Human, like you are. He didn't command the respect that you do. So, I hope you won't mind settling this question once and for all, for all the little Annies, Ryans, Joshes, Megans, and Tammys in the world. If I may paraphrase:
Dear Cecil: I am 47 years old. Some of my friends on the Straight Dope Message Board say there is no Santa Claus. JKFabian says, "If you see it in the Straight Dope it's so." Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus? --Ranger Jeff, The Idol of American Youth
Let's just say his existence can't be definitely ruled out.
I'm not saying there aren't improbable aspects to the story. You have x number of kids (even leaving out the Muslims, Shintoists, Hindus, animists, etc., who one presumes get shafted, giftwise), you have y time per visit, you have z average distance between domiciles, you have an earth of known diameter, and you have 24 hours in the day. It doesn't add up. You have the problem of access to the gift-giving venue in the absence of chimneys with fireplaces, unless we're assuming that Santa Claus oozes through the keyholes in the manner of the critter in The Abyss, which is not a pretty picture. You have the problem of what in all likelihood is the earth's single largest concentration of toy manufacturing facilities in a polar region remote from resources of every type (cold excepted), that's so carefully camouflaged as to be invisible to satellite surveillance, and that produces no detectable emissions. Although now that one thinks about it, there's that ozone hole over the south pole. Hmm.
On the other hand, consider the following:
1. A great many seemingly improbable events do in fact occur. Florida winning the World Series. Cleveland winning the World Series. Compared to this, what is the accurate delivery of zillions of packages in the course of a single night?
2. Besides, Fed Ex does it. So what if we're talking Memphis and drivers in baseball caps rather than the north pole and elves? It's the principle of the thing.
3. OK, so there's a certain amount of mortal participation involved. Perhaps, as a parent, you've personally done your bit to help Santa and thought you did so of your own accord. The ants in the anthill probably think they're doing it on a whim, too. But looking at the matter objectively, we can't deny that a larger purpose is at work and that we are in the service of an agency greater than ourselves.
4. You mean the IRS.
5. I mean the impulse to be generous. Three hundred sixty-four days out of the year humankind commits all manner of heinous acts. On the 365th day we give toys to the kids. I'm not saying that the latter compensates for the former. I'm not saying Adolph Hitler wouldn't have given presents to his children, if he'd had children. But come on, it's got to count for something. The giving of gifts in such a way that no credit will devolve upon ourselves is sufficiently at odds with our routine behavior as to be accounted a mystery, and we may as well give that mystery a name. Santa Claus it is.
6. Besides, to believe in Santa Claus is to believe in magic. The belief in magic in many respects is a pernicious thing. Because of it you've got countless multitudes thinking that aliens abduct people, that Elvis is alive, that you can earn big money stuffing envelopes in your home, and that the TV preacher can cure you if you send him 50 bucks. A certain class of persons, of whom your columnist is one, will go through their lives attempting to extinguish these foolish hopes. No doubt in the main it is good that we do so. But even the sternest among us remembers the wonder we felt as children to think there was a force having a kindly interest in us that wasn't bound by the rules of this drab world. Wherefore if there's someone who's going to say flat out that Santa Claus doesn't exist, it's not going to be me.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The following is Reason 23 on his list, but it deserves its own column, which is why I'm reprinting it here as a post. If I get ambitious, I'll post links. (Don't count on it.)
• Basketball coach John Beilein says goodbye to Rodriguez as he leaves for Michigan: “Someday, We’ll Be Together” (The Supremes)
• The rumors begin: “I Heard It On The Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye)
• The rumors get louder: “What’s Going On?” (Marvin Gaye)
• Rodriguez gets an offer, then talks to WVU officials: “Shop Around” (The Miracles)
• West Virginia asks Rodriguez not to leave: “Stop In The Name of Love” (The Supremes)
• Rodriguez thinks the offer over as Michigan awaits an answer: “You Keep Me Hanging On” (Diana Ross)
• Athletic director Ed Pastilong learns Rodriguez has decided to go to Michigan: “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (Thelma Houston)
• Rodriguez tells Michigan he accepts their offer: “Let’s Get It On” (Marvin Gaye)
• Michigan says fine, but you have to beat Ohio State: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Diana Ross)
• Ed Pastilong laments: “Where Did Our Love Go?” (The Supremes)
• Rodriguez flies to Michigan: “End of the Line” (Boyz II Men)
• And then the final chapter, Rodriguez loses to Ohio State and has to catch “The Midnight Train to Georgia” (Gladys Knight and the Pips)
I'm adding my own postscript: WVU finally realizes that they deserve better than that: "I Will Survive" (Gloria Gaynor).
Hey, what would a post about football and Motown be without that last one? ;-)
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Your Score: Saffron
You scored 100% intoxication, 50% hotness, 75% complexity, and 50% craziness!
You are Saffron!
Those other spices have nothing on you! You're warm, smart, and you make people feel really good (and with no side-effects!). You can be difficult to get to know and require a lot of those who try, but you're so totally worth it. *Sigh*
|Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test|
Finally, the barking dogs singing Jingle Bells have competition.
Monday, December 17, 2007
It's not the leaving. People have all sorts of reasons to take and leave jobs, and I'm not judging their reasons, even if I may not agree.
It's the way he left. First, he calls his recruits and tells them. Then he tells the team. That's wrong. The players had calls from the recruits before the meeting even started! Then, when he gives his letter of resignation to a GRADUATE ASSISTANT (who's about as low on the pecking order as you can get...trust me, I remember) to deliver to the officials. At least be a man and don't hide.
I'm not crazy about Nehlen's comments either. But that's another post.
Here's some local opinion on What's Behind Rodriguez Leaving for Michigan at the WVU FanHouse
And here's a view from Michigan's Detroit Free Press
Local reactions from University officials and players: http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/news;_ylt=AoHHSvo5x1f9jEdQhNB76QvjvbYF?slug=ap-rodriguez-reax&prov=ap&type=lgns
In summation, Rich, you gotta go. Thanks to WVSoundman for the inspired song. I can't believe he got it written and produced that quickly!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
It has come to my attention that many you are upset that folks
are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten
that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and
that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate
My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival.
Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.
How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be
most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed
with children of your own.
I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate
My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the
town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My
birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santa's and snowmen
and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If
all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such
a scene on the town square because there would be many of them
all around town.
Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree
a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made
all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree.
Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that
one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and
what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one,
look up John 15: 1 - 8.
If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth
here is my wish list. Choose something from it:
1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My
birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope
to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and
lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.
2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know
them personally. They just need to know that someone cares
3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on
the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write
and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family
this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you
4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't
afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them
the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down
here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love
5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him
6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take
their own life this season because they feel so alone and
hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving
everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.
7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town
calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there.
Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't
allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you
from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday.
If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd
close and let their employees spend the day at home with their
8. If you really want to make a difference, support a
missionary - especially one who takes My love and Good News to
those who have never heard My name.
9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole
families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas"
tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or
receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few
gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other
charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery
10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief
in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do
things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let
people know by your actions that you are one of mine.
Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love
Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all
Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll
help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a
most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and
I LOVE YOU,
~Earthly Author Unknown~
Friday, December 07, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
Aaaaaah, in my world.....