Thursday, December 05, 2013

The annual War on Santa

It's that time of year again. The time when I usually rise to defend Santa, not only against those people who claim he's not real but also those who claim that some rather alarming traditions are what's real about Santa.  I know the real Santa, and I didn't really need the time machine to get to know him.

Nicholas began life as a boy at the turn of the 4th century in Lycia's town of Patara back when there was only one flavor of Christianity under the Roman empire. The boy grew up to become bishop over Myra, currently located in Turkey--not the North Pole.  The thing is, the man never forgot the boy.  The man became the champion of children, especially impoverished orphan children.  In devoting his life to this to giving (not getting), what Nicholas became was immortal.

270-ish (278?) A.D - December 6, 343 A.D.--but his tomb is empty.

Shame on all parents who tell their children that he doesn't exist.  He did, and still does, in the form of all his Helpers who go by the same name of Santa (saint) Claus (short for Nicolas).  They are all Santa Claus, every last one of them.

Parents should tell their children the truth about Santa: Santa is all about giving to those who have less than you do, not about the presents that you're going to get.  Tell the children the truth when they get old enough to have caught a parent in the act of being Santa: the parents are Santa's helpers AND if the child is a really really really good child, they can be a Santa too.  This is a special commission that is not for just any ole kid; it's for the kids who understand about giving to the less fortunate AND coming to the defense of smaller kids that get picked on, for Santa is as much a protector of children as he is a provider of toys.  He is not really Sinter Klaus with a nasty sidekick doing horrible things to children.  When a child becomes skeptical, recruit him/her to be Santa's Helper, and it'll be an honor; the first Santa never forgot he was a kid first.  And it's a job that doesn't start and stop with  just the Christmas season.
As old as I am, I still believe in Santa. I also know that there are people older than I am who still believe too.  Why not? It's the truth--Santa is real.

I might as well point out that there was one famous jailbird that nobody in the Chautauqua circles ever mentioned, that knew what Santa's all about.  That would be O. Henry.  Make a point to read his "The Gift of the Magi" when you get a chance.

Consider this: punk teens are those who grew up never knowing the real Santa, and kids that are told about the real Santa don't grow up to be punks.  These are times when the world could do with more children and parents and adults who believe in Santa, and that belief would not be misplaced.  Santa is real, and deserves to live.

And speaking of other ancient history--Basques?

R.I.P. Nelson Mandela.  Egypt and Libya could learn a lot from you.

"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
 Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
This radio is a technical pioneer, unlike any other receiver on the market in that day or on the market preceding it.  This radio was the first to use a circuit in the tuning section then known as "the Wadley Loop". When radios began incorporating integrated circuit chips, this technology was also incorporated into tuning sections, but known more familiarly as the "phase locked loop".

Regarding polyglots, the BBC posted about a student winning an award for being fluent in the most number of languages. When one goes down the list of the different languages he speaks (English, Greek, German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Afrikaans, French, Hebrew, Catalan and Italian), another polyglot can see the related languages, laugh, and accurately make the claim that he's actually speaking fewer languages than he claimed.  Greek and Russian are related; French, Spanish, Catalan and Italian are related (what, he doesn't claim to be fluent in Portuguese?  That's a gimme!). Dutch and Afrikaans are very closely related, and those are Germanic. Hebrew stands alone, but with that one he can claim fluency in a number of dialects of Arabic--another gimme.  The German-related Yiddish would be another gimme. English, of course, is related to all of them, although German-based.

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