God Bless Us, Every One!

Morning all! And a MERRY CHRISTMAS! As Charles Dickens wrote so many years ago when his Scrooge & Bob Cratchit commiserated together.

A not so secret, secret, is the fact that I’ve never been a barista (or hypercorrect, ‘baristo’). Therefore, I am a nincompoop, i.e. a ‘virgin’ in the multi-faceted language surrounding the ordering of a cup of coffee. Out of desperation I usually mumble something like “coffee black”. Should I get a quizzical look I’ll add “Americano”, and this normally gets the ball rolling. I finally have the solution! Study the attached pic in detail, then memorize.

Election Update – ”A judge has ordered that the opposition leader be reinstated on the electoral roll, clearing the way for him to stand in next year’s presidential election.” (per M.S.)

America? Judges in Colorado? The US Supremes?

NO!

Shh. Keep this correct answer quiet. Here, I’ll whisper it:

A Senegalese judge on Thursday ordered that jailed opposition leader Ousmane Sonko be reinstated on the electoral roll, clearing the way for him to stand in next year’s presidential election.

500 Miles – About a year ago Art and sister-in-law Jolene invited me to join a share app called Strava. Anytime I set out on a timed or distance measured walk, and remember to, I’ll activate Strava. Elevation, distance, route, time, it’s all mapped out and those details then shared with my Strava friends.

Anyway, Strava sent me an update a few days ago letting me know that using the app I had covered 549 miles this past year.

In honor of the 549 number, I decided to insert one of my favorites – Arlo Guthrie singing “City of New Orleans” which magically also covers 500 miles. This performance goes back to August 8, 1993, and was live at Wolftrap along with Pete Seeger; it quickly became a grand sing-along. Crank your volume up!

Best sentence of 2023 – August 8, 2023: “I wish politicians would look out for miners, and not just minors on an island somewhere.” — Oliver Anthony, “Rich Men North of Richmond

A Thought – This week I read an article titled; “Bills enacted, by congressional session”. The gist being that the 118th congress is quickly becoming the “do nothing” congress. Reasons given was Republican in-fighting and the 3-week hiatus changing Speakers.

I came away with a differing line of thinking. I will stick with the “do nothing” assessment but listen. Wouldn’t it be worth more to NOT enact new laws. Instead, if they were to work diligently ERADICATING previously passed laws. Erase laws which impede our well-being, our freedoms, our fiscal growth and, as a Christmas gift, affect a major reduction in the abhorrent growth of the bureaucracy. Now that would be something!

Paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson: “[Most laws are] Democracy is no more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%.

The ‘X’ axis being the Congress number, the ‘Y’ axis shows the number of laws passed.

The Egg Nog Jog 5K – The 5K last weekend was a solid blast. The weather was all anyone wanted. About 1250 people joined in the fun. Of the walkers (about a third of the entries) I came in at number 13. Since it’s a bit hilly in Mount Adams, my app told me I had climbed 14 stories, finishing the 5K with a pace of 14:51 minutes per mile.

This year they subdivided the categories by adding an “over 80” group. Turns out I was the only entrant in that category. This made me both a 1st and Last place contestant. How cool is that!

     

 

How interesting is this? – This past week US Steel Corp. agreed to be purchased by Nippon Steel in “an all-cash $14.9B deal, marking a significant move for the Japanese steel manufacturer”. What is interesting is that it was US Steel which was instrumental in our war effort for WWII. The same effort which eventually crushed the Imperial Japanese expansion efforts. Now it’s about as tight a friendship as anywhere. We’ve come full circle with this buyout.

At the same time it’s the US itself, on many fronts, i.e. race, politics, etc. that seems hellbent to pry and split our own society and citizenry apart. We clamor for the reversal of the direction our nation was heading in during the 70w and 80s. Sad isn’t it, former enemies such as Japan and Germany we now walk arm in arm with, yet on the home front we’re being pulled apart.

Does the fact that Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) appears to be building a bunker in Hawaii at a reported cost of $100-million play into what is currently happening?

Another thought – This one is mine. The past 3 years have seen massive growth:

1) of a rampant, unsustainable, and unimaginable Federal debt.
2) an influx of undocumented lawbreakers, poised to change the character of the whole nation away from the “Grand Experiment” as envisioned by our Founding Fathers.
3) and this is the fastest growth of all, it’s the jumbled crazy letter mix of coddled self-identifying subgroups starting with the letters LGB – it’s now grown to “LGBTQQIAAP2S+”. Self-identifying also means that you’ll never ever run out of categories, there ‘ll always be another, and another.

Christmas Weekend – was slow coming and now it seems hyper–speed. We’re lucky in that our whole clan will be gathering – this alone makes it the best of times.

Also, much appreciation and thankfulness to all of you who have sent Marcia and I cards & the annual Christmas letter or, “The Blessings of the Christmas Letter.” We’ve learned a ton about broken bones and other various geezer ailments. These letters containing your news are great since it means that the next time we’re together we’ll have all of that ‘old-people-only-talk-about-medical-gripes’ stuff out of the way.

With the weakness on the International scene we’ve been displaying I suspect that 2024 might contain some ‘bumps in the road’. Especially since it appears that Xi, Putin, and a truckload of junior wanna-be tin pots might try their hand at pot (pun) stirring. Hence, pray fervently this weekend and then as 2024 kicks in, tighten your seatbelt.

Like Rowing? – Don’t forget that this weekend will be the release of the movie; Boys in the Boat. All the rowing aficionados in our family will gather at our Cinemark or AMC (depending where we can get tickets).

The descriptor as posted by the movie house is this: “During the height of the Great Depression, members of the rowing team at the University of Washington get thrust into the spotlight as they compete for gold at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.”


May Peace prevail! Shalom. Dirk

BONUS POINTS:

Which was the largest contiguous land empire in history?
1) Ming Dynasty in China
2) Mongol Empire
3) The USSR
4) The Nazi Germany/Italy Axis
5) Qing dynasty
6) The Ottoman dynasty

7 Responses to “the Christmas Letter”
  1. dirk Says:

    test

  2. The Luddites Says:

    Dirk,This was a great blog. There are many reflective issues in this weeks blog (not meaning that previous one lacked these :<) )
    The Another thought hit the nail on the head. I have difficulty in understanding why many Americans can not see these things creeping into our society.
    hope you get this email
    Have a Merry Christmas with your family!
    Leonard

  3. Leonard Says:

    Thanks for the kind words Paul.
    I must have been a bit more reflective — medical appointments (although all is well) do get one into a more reflective mood. 🙂
    Likewise, Merry Christmas to you and Dia

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