December 23, 2017

""solitude for the holidays.. a late rise.. a fresh brewed coffee.. a chilled cocktail.. a good meal and thanks for the tranquility and getting away from it all.."

"... bah humbug to ya all.. home alone for christmas.. peace on earth finally.."

The top-rated comment on "Debunking Myths About Estrangement/New research challenges the deeply held notion that family relationships can’t be dissolved and suggests that estrangement is not all that uncommon."

The 3-dot ellipsis in the quote is mine, because that's what I always do when I break up a quote. The 2-dot ellipses are the commenters'. I don't know if that approach to punctuation has anything to do with the estrangement he's celebrating.

If you have the feeling we were just talking about the 2-dot ellipsis, it's here. I'd found it in "On the Road":
... the only people that interest me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing.. but burn, burn, burn like roman candles across the night.
I said:
I guess 3 dots are a normal person's pause, and Kerouac was hot to get on to his burn, burn, burn....
And:
The OED uses a 2-dot ellipsis all the time. I'm sure it's to save space. What is the function of the third dot? Once you understand that the convention in this book is a 2-dot ellipsis, you're fine.

It's like one of those novels that uses a single dash to designate a quote.
Punctuation seems like a metaphor here next to the topic of estrangement. When you have a relationship and you part with the warm hope of seeing each other again, it's a 3-dot ellipsis. When you're estranged it's a 2-dot ellipsis. Death is a period. Can't get back to 3 after you're down to one, so be careful at the 2.

81 comments:

mockturtle said...

A friend [who doesn't really know me well] called yesterday and asked what I was doing for Christmas and I told her, 'Nothing'. She said, 'Oh, that's terrible!'. I said, 'On the contrary! It's exactly what I want to do.' ;-) I'm preparing a nice Christmas feast for my dog and myself and plan to read a lot.

robother said...

Last deer I shot before leaving Montana for good was outside of Two Dot. I washed my hands in the bar (only place open in town) after field dressing.

rhhardin said...

Indifference to holidays is more likely than solitude.

The trouble lies in no mail delivery and no garbage pickup, breaking the week's rhythm.

Roughcoat said...

What is the matter with you people. I greatly miss the huge Christmas family gatherings of my 1950s childhood. Christmas eve in so-called “Dutch Town” with the German side, attending midnight German language services at Grosspa’s St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, a swarm of grandkids trooping into the church behind proud Grossma and filing obediently and quietly into our family’s pew; returning to Grosspa’s to open presents and enjoy an enormous Teutonic feast topped off by Grossma’s secret-recipe rice pudding and blitzkuchen and being allowed to drink a small glass of home-made wine and then staying up late to sing Christmas carols in German. Then, the next morning, swinging over to the Irish neighborhood, to Irish grandmother’s house to celebrate Christmas day Irish-style, more presents to open, another enormous feast featuring tasteless boiled meat because my Irish grandmother was Irish and so lacked the ability to cook, sitting at the “kiddie table” and horsing around with my countless cousins, having a thoroughly good time of it all, every bit of it, even the tasteless meat which I now remember with fondness.

Dear me. The family has been irreparably sundered by time and mortality. The old days are gone forever, sigh.

EDH said...

76j: Candice Bergen / Frank Zappa
Adopt Belushi For Christmas
Written by: Rosie Shuster and Steve Shuster
... Candice Bergen and John Belushi

John Belushi: [sings, not very well]

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose

[speaks, into camera]

Hi! I'm John Belushi! Ah, but you can call me "Beloosh," just like my close personal friend Chevy Chase does. ... You know, it's corny but - but I love Christmas. Hey, I'd love to sit around the yule log and - play with your daughter. ... Actually, I'm not doing much this Christmas. Uh, anyway, how 'bout dinner? I'm not fussy. I'd like some candied yams, some plum pudding, a roast goose stuffed with drugs. ... Uh, quadraphonic sound system would be real nice. And maybe I could use a car - if you've got one, a nice brand new car. If you've got a fifteen year old girl, of course, that'd be nice. Fourteen, I don't care. Sixteen. Nice girl.

Earnest Prole said...

My Christmas will also include fresh brewed coffee, a chilled cocktail, and a good meal, served to thirty gregarious members of our extended family. I always suspected I wasn't the average Times reader.

William Chadwick said...

Substitute two cats for a dog, and I'm
with mockturtle on this. I think of it as giving myself the gift of reading for most of the day. It was different when I lived in Manhattan. It's so easy to get around midtown Manhattan that I could enjoy my solitude for most of the day, head over to one of our favorite watering holes, enjoy spending some holiday time with friendd, then be home to wrap the day up with some relaxing Me Time. Now I live in a sprawling "Edge City" where everything is a Major Expedition. I'd rather just stay home.


mockturtle said...

roughcoat pines: Dear me. The family has been irreparably sundered by time and mortality. The old days are gone forever, sigh.

I truly and thoroughly enjoyed those times but I would not enjoy them today.

buwaya said...

Christmas like all ancient rituals is a communal phenomenon.
Technology removes the basic individual survival requirement for community, and all it's rituals.
As also shorts out the basic animal nature of humanity, including, apparently, the ability to reproduce.
This is gradually failing.
Technology needs to be developed very quickly to mitigate its pernicious effects.
Especially the ability to reproduce artificially.
I have no idea what people will be like, should that be worked out, but it's certain they will not be us as we still know ourselves.
Too much will have to change.

As for nearly all of us here, we are beyond reproduction, and are therefore effectively leeches on nature.
Christmas is not for us.
Christmas is for beginnings not endings.

Roughcoat said...

"but I would not enjoy them today."

For me it's a moot point. The enjoyment was contingent and the circumstances can never again be replicated. My grandparents on both sides were born in the early-mid 1880s and they were, for me, a connection to a world that was in many ways better than the one we inhabit now and which is gone utterly. I look at old family photos, Irish and German, from the 19th and early 20th centuries and I'm filled with almost indescribably poignant sweet-sad emotions. E.g., my Irish great-grandfather and his brothers and cousins posing proudly in their brand new Union Army uniforms with their brand new Springfield rifles; my young handsome immigrant German great grandfather in his new American suit with his neatly trimmed moustache and slicked-backed hair, so full of hope and promise . . . the Irish family posing en masse on the porch of the summer cottage in Door County, c. 1910, with Dublin-born great grannie Lizzie seated in the center of them all . . . on and on it goes. I'm reminded of the imperative yearning for the West felt by Tolkien's Eldar when they first gazed upon the sea from the shores of Middle Earth and heard the seagulls singing above the waves.

William Chadwick said...

My family was pretty "dysfunctional" (before that term was coined, or at least before it became a cliche) so I don't miss it. I especially don't miss family gatherings with the rageaholic and paranoid Old Man yelling at everyone. I envy people who had a warmer, more supportive home environment; but during those first Christmases alone in my crappy Hell's Kitchen apartment, I felt about as sad as East Berliners felt the night the Wall came down.

Michael K said...

We are in California to spend Christmas with the kids, all of whom are grown.

My younger son got home yesterday as a surprise for his wife and kids as he has been two weeks at the Thomas fire in Ventura County. We all went out to dinner last night and the restaurant comped his dinner when they learned where he had been for two weeks.
I paid for the other seven of us.

Today he has to work as it is his normal day but hopes to get home for the annual Christmas Eve party with the relatives.

Today we will have lunch with a niece and our daughter and the two women's boyfriends.

Lots of family and grandkids.

Tuesday, we drive back to Tucson and our basset hound who is being cared for by house/dog sitters.

We don't board her and hotels in Orange County won't take dogs.

Roughcoat said...

Buwaya, once again playing the role of Debbie Downer at the party, harshing everyone's holiday buzz. Gee, thanks, fella. And a merry effin' Christmas to you too.

Michael K said...

We listened to "Let Trump be Trump" on the audio driving over. My wife had me download it to her Kindle so she can read it again.

Going home we will listen to Tom Holland, "Under the Shadow of the Sword," a history of Islam that got him death threats.

He is not certain that Mohammed really lived. I have several other of his books on Middle East history.

It should be interesting.

Roughcoat said...

My brothers and I and our families will be celebrating Christmas day together and that'll be fun, harking back to old times. There'll 10-15 people in attendance, which is small by past standards but still substantial I reckon.

And of course, I'll be attending Christmas eve Catholic mass. A wondrous event, celebrating Christ's birth and the Good News for mankind.

Michael K said...

All my life Christmas has been about family.

Some of the kids are estranged a bit but usually show up for the Christmas Eve thing.

mockturtle said...

William Chadwick, I'm sorry your Christmas memories are unhappy ones. Christmas was by far the most special time of the year for our family, both when I was a child and then as a wife and mother. And it really should be special for kids.

At my age, family gatherings are enjoyable for a short time and then I can't wait to escape to the peace and quiet of my cave.

Tim at large said...

First Christmas since my never before mentioned here divorce. I would like to thank ARM, he was right, sometimes divorce is the path to personal happiness. Anyway, I am perfectly content to be alone. And it’s just possible, after a conversation I had yesterday, that I might have my first date since, sometime next week!

I think today is officially Festivus, which I am betting has more adherents than Kwanza. Anyway, my brothers and I have been texting each other pictures of “feats of strength” I think we might skip the airing of the grievances, though.

William Chadwick said...

Tim at large: You beat me to the draw! I was about to wish everyone Happy Festivus! Well, I will now. Do you think when "liberals" air their grievances, they complain that the federales aren't taking MORE of their money? I always wonder how deep their sadomasochism runs.

Tim at large said...

Festivus begins with the airing of grievances,” he explains. "I got a lot of problems with you people. Now, you´re going to hear about it." For Trump, every day is Festivus day. He moves through life in a near-constant state of aggravation. - CNN

“Better to give an ulcer than get an ulcer.” - Some famous major league manager.

mockturtle said...

.."He moves through life in a near-constant state of aggravation."

Trump seems to me like an unusually happy individual. It's the CNN crew that are a miserable bunch.

Big Mike said...

My childhood memories include Christmas morning at my grandfather’s house. Mom was one of eight children who survived infancy and what with spouses and grandkids and all the house was packed. One whole ham and a dozen dozen eggs went into scrambled eggs with diced ham, plus the one aunt’s walnut bread and another aunt’s banana nut bread, Christmas was special. The “Clan” as my parent’s generation called themselves, had a commercial-sized coffee maker, the kind you used to see in diners, to keep everyone’s cup full. I remember we had to eat in shifts.

After I moved to the Washington area, now almost fifty years ago, I made every possible effort to get home for Christmas, even after my parents passed away, because first my aunt and now my sister keeps the tradition alive. But this year the wife and I are here in my house with two grown sons. Someday we’ll have spouses and grandkids too.

rehajm said...

I gotta lotta problems with you people!

Happy Festivus

Clyde said...

Only one song for this post!

Guns N' Roses - Estranged

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

My childhood Christmases were damn near Hallmarkian, with my seven siblings and my loving parents. Consequently, I’ve tried hard to create the same memories for my two children, carrying on traditions, filling the holidays with family, and just generally making it memorable.

But I get it. As they move into adulthood and form other associations that may absent them from our holidays, I’m almost looking forward to Christmases of quiet self-indulgence. Meals out, long walks, hours of reading by the fire, the old samurai movies my family can’t abide. I’ll Face Time the boys.

ALP said...

Christmas for our family got really weird about 13 years ago. Small family, very small, so small that the only kid involved is one niece. All of us adults got weary of gifting, once everyone was over 40 the thrill of all that shopping turned to aggravation so we stopped giving gifts to one another.

For a while the niece was the only one getting gifts, and Christmas morning had evolved into watching one person open gifts for an hour or more. Weird! She finally got old enough to understand the awkwardness of the situation, and now nobody gifts - its just about food and company now. The frantic materialism of the holidays is irksome and I am happy our family doesn't expect it anymore. I love it when frazzled co-worker asks me "Are you done with your Christmas shopping" and I say "Yep, about 15 years ago."

Donald Douglas said...

"Can't get back to 3 after you're down to one, so be careful at the 2."

That's somehow profound, heh.

Jupiter said...

Blogger buwaya said...
"I have no idea what people will be like, should that be worked out, but it's certain they will not be us as we still know ourselves."

Be of good cheer. Evolution does not alter things so that they work. It gets rid of things that don't work. The future belongs, not to those who think they have escaped from the past, but to the offspring of those whose lifestyle causes them to reproduce successfully.

traditionalguy said...

We play golf in Florida at Christmas , unless it is too hot.

How are the iced over lakes of Madison County?

William Chadwick said...

mockturtle wrote: "William Chadwick, I'm sorry your Christmas memories are unhappy ones . . . " No tears here. In fact, in fairness to the Old Man, on some Christmases he would be extravagant with gifts; but in retrospect that often seems like a pathetic attempt to buy our love. Still, I got stuff I wanted; and sometimes he mellowed out. But his inner time bomb was always ticking. One year, after I moved out (we all seemed to get along better when we all went our separate ways), he and my mother, knowing my interest in frontier history, sent me a big encyclopedic, lavishly illustreated book of the Wild West. That made me feel so mellow and forgiving, I went home for Christmas, and took my girlfriend with me . . . hopefully allaying my parents fears that I was Gay.

Interestingly, the GF, observing both my parents, said that she thought the Old Man was a little scared of me. When I was a kid, he may have struck me down, but like Obi Wan Kenobi, I came back stronger than he could have imagined.

Peggy Coffey said...

My husband and I are in our RV traveling the country. Our children are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and are not speaking to us. That's fine, we're having a blast, meeting lots of people and having a great adventure.

buwaya said...

ALP,

Thats a very sad story, quite in line with the subject piece. As Roughcoat noted some days ago, and see his own tale above, its very much like the sadness in Tolkien, his dwindling peoples, the Noldor and other "high" civilizatiobs of his world. Tolkien captured the feeling precisely, and I cant help but see precisely this all around.

We, ourselves, have three young, strong, grown children, here with us now, three dice-rolls against entropy, and I can't help the thought that we are, in modern US/European terms, incredibly privileged. Take that, you idiot academics. Thats the real thing, true privilege.

But all around us is, in these terms, poverty, devastation, dwindling.

Roughcoat dislikes me. But I cant help this. I have an urge to fix things. My nature is to find problems and implement solutions.

If you can still have children, or have children that have not yet given you grandchildren, do so or urge them to do so. This is our highest priority.

Tim at large said...

This is the song, great poetry from Robert Earl Kean:

"Merry Christmas From The Family"

Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk at our Christmas party
We were drinking champagne punch and homemade eggnog
Little sister brought her new boyfriend
He was a Mexican
We didn't know what to think of him until he sang
Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad

Brother Ken brought his kids with him
The three from his first wife Lynn
And the two identical twins from his second wife Mary Nell
Of course he brought his new wife Kay
Who talks all about AA
Chain smoking while the stereo plays Noel, Noel
The First Noel

Carve the Turkey
Turn the ball game on
Mix margaritas when the eggnog's gone
Send somebody to the Quickpak Store
We need some ice and an extension cord
A can of bean dip and some Diet Rites
A box of tampons, some Marlboro Lights
Hallelujah everybody say "Cheese"
Merry Christmas from the family

Fred and Rita drove from Harlingen
I can't remember how I'm kin to them
But when they tried to plug their motor home in
They blew our Christmas lights

Cousin David knew just what went wrong
So we all waited out on our front lawn
He threw a breaker and the lights came on
And we sang Silent Night, Oh Silent Night, Oh Holy Night

Carve the turkey turn the ball game on
Make Bloody Mary's
Cause We All Want One!
Send somebody to the Stop 'N Go
We need some celery and a can of fake snow
A bag of lemons and some Diet Sprites
A box of tampons, some Salem Lights
Hallelujah, everybody say "Cheese"
Merry Christmas from the Family

Feliz Navidad


You’re welcome.

mockturtle said...

Peggy Coffey reports: My husband and I are in our RV traveling the country. Our children are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and are not speaking to us. That's fine, we're having a blast, meeting lots of people and having a great adventure.

We did that for several years after retirement. Best lifestyle there is, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Two separate issues here: feelings toward the holidays & feelings toward family relationships.

Anyone who isn't a Christian should not be expected or required to care about a Christian holiday, however sentimental other people get about that holiday.

The family thing, though...it is the great progressive fantasy: that all of reality can be reshaped, including human nature itself. But it's a lie. Refusing to acknowledge grief doesn't mean the grief isn't there. We all long for happy healthy family relationships, no matter how well we learn to cope with disappointment. Or hide our feelings (even from ourselves).

Rusty said...

Couple of years ago. My two daughters in California either going to school or working having their own Christmas. My wife is in Paris visiting friends. I'm home alone. "Dad. Aren't you lonely?"
Nope. I miss em' but I'm never lonely. I'm quite comfortable being by myself.

Big Mike said...

I have an urge to fix things. My nature is to find problems and implement solutions.

Me, too. It’s s guy thing.

ALP said...

buwaya:

If you can still have children, or have children that have not yet given you grandchildren, do so or urge them to do so. This is our highest priority.
***************
That ship has sailed at age 56! I have been told by every physician that ever examined me that my pelvic passage is extraordinarily narrow - "Cesareans for you if you ever did have kids." So AFAIAK - Mother Nature did not design me as a Baby Bearing Model if having viable babies, and surviving it, depends on modern medicine. That fact, and my AAAA-cup non existent boobs - my body don't scream "MOTHERHOOD is for you".

I will say this: my attitude has softened in terms of how crucial reproduction is; this is one working woman you'll never hear complain about having to cover for a pregnant co-worker or one out due to issues with infants or young children. Happy to suck it up and work extra on behalf of the next generation.

Jim at said...

Happy Festivus to all.

Jupiter said...

"Anyone who isn't a Christian should not be expected or required to care about a Christian holiday, however sentimental other people get about that holiday."

Hmmmm. I do not believe that the Universe was created by a deity who was male, although he had no female counterpart, and impregnated a human female, in order to torture the resulting offspring to death so as to excuse the human race from the hatred he felt toward us almost from the moment of our creation. Seems unnecessarily complicated.

But when we took the kids to the local Lutheran church for a Christmas Eve ceremony a few years ago, tears streamed down my cheeks when I heard them singing carols. Tears for what, I don't know.

mockturtle said...

Rusty says: I'm quite comfortable being by myself.

Me, too! Oh, I do miss my late husband but being alone has been a new and very pleasant experience for me.

bagoh20 said...

I don't like the word "estrangement". It doesn't capture the subtle joy and contentment of being alone.

james james said...

One of the nice things about the Ave during the Holidays: it doesn't change all that much. It's cold, so the Heroin Kids aren't out as much, which is nice. Still, if you are on the street having a cigarette you will still be asked for spare cigarettes or paper money, just like always. The Ragged Crazies are still there; their mumbled spiels and shouted non sequitirs usually don't involve anything about Christmas -- the voices in their heads are on their own calendar, which might have a thousand days, or maybe only one.

One of the things that doesn't change much: shoppers. Not a lot of people go Christmas shopping on the Ave. The malls and downtown and University Village are jammed like a Tokyo subway train, but the Ave is not really a shopping destination. Unless you buy your Christmas gifts at the drug store. Or Seven-Eleven. Or the Retro Gaming shop.

The University Bookstore gets crowded -- books and UW sweatshirts are easy gifts -- but otherwise, well: the drug store. Or Seven-Eleven. Or the Retro Gaming shop.

In the bar there are outbreaks of Holiday Spirit. There are stockings with the bar staff names hung from the ceiling. Christmas songs make appearances on the jukebox. I, for one, had never heard the song 'Dominick the Christmas Donkey' before hearing it at the bar. People like the Woman With The Smart Wardrobe show up with packages in bags from the malls, or downtown, or University Village: they usually are in great desire of a drink after their shopping travails.

But there are still sports on the televisions, not Christmas fare. A lot of Bowl Games with the college teams, football bowls with names like Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl and Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl and the Fleshlight Power Booty Pack Bowl. Okay, sure: I made the last one up, but the other two are real. And I didn't make up the name: the Fleshlight Power Booty Pack is an available product you can buy on the internet. Probably shipped in a discreet package; maybe they can do holiday wrapping paper this time of year, I don't know. I also don't know if the Power Booty can be purchased separately, or if it only comes in the aforementioned Pack: I feel no need to research this further.

But somewhere, someone is getting that particular gift under their Christmas tree. I don't think you can buy one on the Ave, though; at least not at the drug store. Or Seven-Eleven. Or the Retro Gaming shop. Maybe you might find a Street Kid passing by, selling one he happened to steal from a parked car. Or perhaps find one at the Goodwill down the block, used: it could happen.

And, No, I didn't buy it, but this is America, and it is Christmas Time: someone did, I'm sure.

- james james

Bay Area Guy said...

Merry Christmas to Althouse, Meade and the "deplorable" commentariat!

Like almost all families, we have a few embedded bad apples around which I have to navigate in order to enjoy the holiday. But that's life - it's big and beautiful, but in order to live fully you generally have to surmount a fair amount of pain and sadness.

For me, I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude, which trumps (no pun intended) some of the blemishes. That and alcohol. And football. And Will Ferrell in "Elf", singing "Baby, its Cold Outside"' in the locker room.





mockturtle said...

Today's bowl games are the first that haven't been horribly lopsided.

robother said...

"Our children are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and are not speaking to us."

Lot of that going around this Christmas. (Last Christmas too.) Kind of makes me wonder what I was doing working to send kids through college, or contributing to grandkids college fund.

ALP said...

"Anyone who isn't a Christian should not be expected or required to care about a Christian holiday, however sentimental other people get about that holiday."
***************
One way to look at it. Another is: Winter Solstice. The days are getting longer bit by bit. And that is something to celebrate. I am an atheist, but I don't understand why people can't simply re-purpose a holiday to suit their POV. Not a Christian? So what! You don't need spiritual belief to appreciate holiday lights and food.

sodal ye said...

I’m alone for Christmas. In a completely empty hotel in Nagaland, India. About as remote a populated location as you can imagine, and I’ve to many remote places. I travel long distances by ground and this long leg, Rangoon to Istanbul, required starting at the end of monsoon, so here I am.

It sucks being alone right now. But not doing this epic addiction would suck more. I still check in to Althouse everyday, internet allowing.

Inga said...

“Our children are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and are not speaking to us."

“Lot of that going around this Christmas. (Last Christmas too.) Kind of makes me wonder what I was doing working to send kids through college, or contributing to grandkids college fund.”

The offspring are smarter than the parents.

Roughcoat said...

sodal ye:

Visit the Kohima battlefield, especially the Tennis Court;then pop on down to Manipur for a trip to the Imphal battlefield.

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga said...

“Buwaya, once again playing the role of Debbie Downer at the party, harshing everyone's holiday buzz. Gee, thanks, fella. And a merry effin' Christmas to you too..”

He takes his job of stirring the pot very seriously. Stir that honey pot!

Merry Christmas to you Trumpists here. I’ll be spending Christmas with my four grown children, their spouses and my precious grandchildren. And yes we lefties do get married, have children and even grandchildren! Go figure!

Roughcoat said...

And with that, I'll say goodbye to all of you for a while, perhaps a long while. May your lives be filled with hope and wonder in the year to come.

Jupiter said...

Inga is Deranged, not Estranged.

Inga said...

Jupiter, maybe you cried during Christmas Eve services because you were estranged from God. Yes, that’s very sad.

Michael K said...

" And yes we lefties do get married, have children and even grandchildren! Go figure!"

I think that's fine. We just got back from lunch with our Bernie-bro daughter and her boyfriend.

With us was a niece and her boyfriend.

I have five children. Three are lefties but we don't talk politics. One daughter is an FBI agent and I thought she would be a natural Hillary voter. I asked her about Hillary in September 2016 and she said she would NOT vote for Hillary. That led me to suspect that Comey was facing an agent revolt if he did not do that press conference in July.

We had a very nice lunch. Tomorrow we will have dinner with the entire family and hope my younger son can be there. He got home yesterday from the Thomas fire where he has been for three weeks.

I hope you enjoy your children and we will see how the FBI meltdown goes after New Years.


Inga said...

“I hope you enjoy your children...”

I do indeed enjoy them and my 5 grandchildren. My oldest granddaughter, age 17, has been accepted to every university she applied to and has chosen the one she wanted the most. We’re very proud of her, she’s a wonderful young lady with a great future ahead of her. My other grandkids 14, 8, 3 and 1 are a joy! My grown children all live in Wisconsin. This Christmas is special as my oldest the daughter who serves in the Navy(since 2002) will be leaving soon for her stint with the Marines again, in California. Last time she was attached to the Marines she got deployed to Afghanistan.

Merry Christmas to you and yours Michael.

Earnest Prole said...

He got home yesterday from the Thomas fire where he has been for three weeks.

From a Californian whose house has been saved more than once by firefighters working all night: thank you.

Jupiter said...

Inga said...
"Jupiter, maybe you cried during Christmas Eve services because you were estranged from God. Yes, that’s very sad."

They weren't exactly tears of sadness. I used to cry at movies, too, back when I went to movies.

I take the view that religious stories are expressive of human emotional realities. The Christ tale is expressive of sacrifice based in love. Until you look at it with the idea that God planned the whole thing in advance, at which point you have to conclude that God is one sick puppy. Not as bad as Allah, but I much prefer Jupiter. I love to see Jupiter rising on a clear night. I make it a point to salute him. "Hail, Jupiter!". Ganesh is another deity I hold in high regard.

Inga said...

That’s nice Jupiter, Happy Solar Day and blessed be the Ganesha.

Jupiter said...

Are you Christian, Inga? It is ironic that the arguments of Leftism only make sense from a standpoint of universal human value, and Christianity is the only monotheism that provides such a standpoint. Judaism and Islam are tribal, and place a lesser value, if any, on those outside the tribe. Yet Leftists almost universally reject Christianity. Their declared concern for the well-being of their fellow man hovers in a void, founded upon nothing whatsoever. Their multiculturalism excludes the only culture in which it could possibly have arisen. Their collectivism rejects the primacy of the family, which made their own existence possible. They have uncovered the truth, that has eluded men for hundreds of centuries, by thinking on it for a minute or two. They are now ready to instruct the rest of us.

Jupiter said...

I have cast myself back, in a reverie. I remember now. They were tears of joy. Joy.

Anonymous said...

Jupiter: Tried sending a comment earlier specifying that one does not have to be Christian to enjoy Christmas; what I was saying is that if you're not Christian, you shouldn't be expected to care about Christmas; you should have the right to not care if you so choose (without being harassed or pressured).

Anyway when I tried to send this comment I got a 'conflicting edits' error. Sorry if it shows up twice.

"One way to look at it. Another is: Winter Solstice. The days are getting longer bit by bit. And that is something to celebrate. I am an atheist, but I don't understand why people can't simply re-purpose a holiday to suit their POV. Not a Christian? "

Seems dishonest to me. I am pretty sure if I started insisting that Cinco De Mayo should be celebrated as something other than Mexican Independence Day, it would be seen as a malicious act - deliberately trying to appropriate and "steal" someone else's holiday, instead of just coming up with some other holiday that isn't in rivalry with the first holiday.

If nothing is sacred, then you don't need any holy-days. If you do feel the need to create a holiday, why not do it in a respectful manner, instead of appropriating an existing holiday with the express purpose of replacing, that is, cutting others out, of their own holiday?

Michael K said...

"Tried sending a comment earlier specifying that one does not have to be Christian to enjoy Christmas; "

One of my medical students was telling me one year about when her mother told her they were going to stop celebrating Christmas and she was upset.

Her mother said "We are Hindus!" The daughter said she didn't care.

Christmas is a wonderful holiday, no matter your religion or lack of it.

There is a lot of cynicism about the commercial aspect but there does not have to be that much shopping. It is easy to overdo it but we watch for things through the year that kids want.

My children range from 27 to 52 and the holiday is especially for the grandchildren.

mockturtle said...

My sister and her husband celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. They have both a menorah and a Christmas tree.

traditionalguy said...

Speaking of children, the son-in-law took us to a popular restaurant tonight in Tampa called Burns. Everybody going there dresses up like they are going to the opera. The food was extraordinary...Babette's Feist level. Now, that is how you fight the Christmas blues.

Anonymous said...

"My sister and her husband celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. They have both a menorah and a Christmas tree."

I grew up in an interfaith family, and some of my earliest memories involve piles of presents, half of them wrapped in Hanukkah paper for the kids being raised as Jews. (Later memories also include Jewish relatives expressing bitterness because of feeling pressured to convert Hanukkah into a second-class Christmas.)

I always held that multicultural respect was one of the highest, most important values. Until I became aware that some people sincerely feel that Christianity is evil, that Christian values must be purged, and the reason such people want to own Christmas is not because they want to share its values, but because they don't.

I still recognize multicultural respect as an important value, but not more important than the values that actually make multicultural respect possible - values like "reciprocity" and "sincerity".

Kelly said...

Long story, but no one has spoken to my brother for at least 25 years. He ran away when he was 16 years old. It’s surreal to think it’s been that long. We’ve all reached out to him at one time or another. He isn’t even a little bit interested. Well, not the one person who matters, my mother. So he’ll spend another Christmas alone. He has no friends, never married or had children. At least he isn’t homeless this year.

William Chadwick said...

Actually celebrating the Winter Solstice isn't "re-purposing" Christmas, since the Solstice celebration pre-dates Christmas by at least a few centuries. My understanding is that the early church re-purposed the Solstice celebration by incorporating aspects of it into Christmas.

Anonymous said...

"Actually celebrating the Winter Solstice isn't "re-purposing" Christmas, since the Solstice celebration pre-dates Christmas by at least a few centuries."

Real pagans died centuries ago, and good riddance: their superstitions really are not compatible with a civilized world.

I was invited to a pagan ceremony awhile back and it bothered me no end. I couldn't put my finger on it for a long time, but eventually I concluded that there were three things that bothered me about it: the dishonesty, the fake/poseur feel, and the motives.

Nobody who lived before the Enlightenment would have had a ceremony like these ones appropriating "paganism" (again with the theft), and nobody who lived after the Enlightenment would want a ceremony like what real pagan ceremonies were probably like.

No, I don't believe anyone today sincerely worships the Solstice, for the same reason I don't believe anyone sincerely worships Satan or Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Hence my comment re: sincerity.

CStanley said...

I agree with William Chadwick and respectfully disagree with indiana118. The appropriation of the solstice festivals by the Church was appropriate because the theme overlaps. Christ is the light who came into the world, giving hope to mankind that we won't spiral into eternal darkness.

And for nonbelievers today, that message can still resonate, and as Christians we can offer our prayers that they will come to understand the full concept in time.

CStanley said...

For those who choose to celebrate alone, and those who are alone or estranged from some family members through no fault of their own and are making the best of it, I offer wishes of a fulfilling day of solace on Christmas.

But I find it incredibly sad when there are these issues of estrangement and rancor among family members (even more so, of course, when it happens over politics!) We were brought up to believe that family bonds were sacred and we put up with the difficult personalities. It made for some unpleasant times but I feel my life has been enriched greatly by the lessons learned, of forgiveness and spirit of love and charity. I don't see how young people can learn those qualities without seeing it in practice in their own families.

CStanley said...

it's a 3-dot ellipsis. When you're estranged it's a 2-dot ellipsis. Death is a period. Can't get back to 3 after you're down to one, so be careful at the 2.

Never place a period where God has placed an ellipsis.

Henry said...

I guess 3 dots are a normal person's pause, and Kerouac was hot to get on to his burn, burn, burn....

Given the topic, the numbers, and the burn, and the Althouse reading, the next thing I think is

Three dots in an ashtray

Two dots in ellipsis
My love and I, in a small cafe
Then a stranger came along
And everything went wrong
Now there's three dots in ellipsis

I watched her take him from me
And his love is no longer my own
Now they are gone
And I sit alone
And watch one full stop burn away

William Chadwick said...

Do you think I was endorsing paganism, Indiana? Weird.

mockturtle said...

Jesus was actually born some time in the spring, if I'm not mistaken. The Church appropriated pagan holidays and symbols for Christmas just as they did with Easter, which is why we have Easter eggs. But we can and should overlook these abuses and celebrate holidays as we see fit.

ALP said...

Why is celebrating Winter Solstice assumed to be pagan? Can't a modern person be glad that spring is closer?

Aurelian1960 said...

Being an Introvert and an ADHD'er I am perfectly happy to be alone on Christmas. Reading, daydreaming, drinking tea (black tea with cardamom, some honey and lime juice.). Smoking my Peterson pipe on the back deck staring at beautiful nature. I am very happy.

Anonymous said...

"Why is celebrating Winter Solstice assumed to be pagan? Can't a modern person be glad that spring is closer"'

Sure. We'll just pretend that we don't see the signs of ill will and bad faith.

As more places make saying "Merry Christmas" a crime rather than merely a sin, and your precious fake solstice appropriates more and more of someone else's holiday, we'll just pretend that's just a coincidence that your newly minted celebration just happens to resemble the one you are totally not appropriating.

And groups like Blackmore's Night have some lovely "Solstice carols" - ignore the fact that they're just traditional Christian carols with Christian words bleeped out.

Put a colander on your head and make people pretend your beliefs are sincere. It will make you feel powerful or something, or at least give you an excuse to hurt them if they refuse to play along.

Anonymous said...

" The Church appropriated pagan holidays and symbols for Christmas just as they did with Easter,"

The church let pagan people bring their customs with them, and incorporated it. That's the basis of America's "melting pot". The opposite of identity politics.

But of course Christians never minded people appropriating their holiday; people have been doing so for decades - that is what the "Charlie Brown Christmas Special" is all about: differentiating actual Christmas spirit from the appropriators.

The problem is that now the people who have appropriated the holiday are quite sincerely insisting that we must discriminate against Christians in the practice of this holiday: it is okay to celebrate the appropriated Christmas, but only so long as all signs of the actual Christ's mass are kept out of sight.

See: U of M

If tolerance and respect are universal values, Christians are entitled to the same. Universal means everyone. Can't say "oh but that group did something bad seven hundred years ago."

Meade said...

Great comment, Aurelian. Thanks.
Happy Christmas and all best wishes.