Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year’s 2011 Resolutions

Like all New Year’s resolution defaulters, I like to blame my broken resolutions on their impossibility. Lose weight – impossible. At best, I’m maintaining. Get more exercise – impossible, I haven’t time for walking around town. Save money – well that’s something I’ve been able to do, at least until Christmas rolls around. With all the advances in technology, spending money is practically a given.

Besides, many of my resolutions this new year’s are on a grander scale:

1. Defend freedom at all costs. Right now, Saving Private Ryan is on. This film is one of the grimmest reminders of how much our fighting forces sacrificed to defend freedom. Freedom is definitely imperiled. Even now, there are Liberals who sneer at the word. Death and violence are unpleasant, and surrender often seems the “safer” alternative. Young people today are more interested in a free lunch than a free country. We haven’t much time left before the iron bars of tyranny clang around us. They must be made to understand what is at stake before it’s too late.

2. Promote economic freedom and capitalism. The government is a very poor business partner. Had a Liberal government held the reins in the 19th and early 20th century, we wouldn’t have had the train, the bicycle, the bicycle’s follow-up, the motorcycle, the car, the airplane, the modern jet, or satellites in space. The government is the reason we haven’t been able to reach much beyond our own moon. There’s too much money to be made in the bureaucratic welfare state to waste it on building rockets. Besides, liberty-loving earthlings might escape and spread freedom across the galaxy. Zounds!

3. Read. I’ve increased my reading and intend to increase it even more. Always a slow reader, I’ve discovered the secrets of faster reading. Right now, I’m reading The Longest Day, the very story the movie that is on right now is about. Some books, like The Iliad, I’ve read, but I may give a quick re-read, as The National Review tells us it was the book Alexander carried around with him.

4. Order more copies of The National Center for Constitutional Studies’ The Constitution of the United States and The Declaration of Independence. Happily, I work in my company’s public relations department and will distribute them, if I’m allowed (and sneak them to the kids, if I’m not).

5. Sharpen up my many skills. There’s no guarantee I’ll be employed this time next year. In fact, there’s a good chance I won’t be. I intend to remain devoted to this blog. I’ve also been practicing my typing, as I will probably wind up at some temporary agency again. My photography portfolio is up-to-date. My musical skills need brushing up on, though. If I’m really desperate, I can always play keyboard on the street corner. As I expect inflation, I’ve been stocking up some of the necessaries now. But I haven’t given up on my job quite yet, and although I expect the reorganization will not be in my favor, I intend to go down with all flags flying. In any case, such an event would free me to write the many books I’ve been waiting to write all these years.

6. Don’t bother with nasty people (especially nasty co-workers). Give them a wide berth. At my stage in life, I don’t have the energy or the inclination to get into stupid battles over PowerPoint presentations. The word for 2011 is: whatever.

7. Eat healthier. I really intend to do just that. Since the summer, I’ve been giving the new diet (less red meat, more protein from other souces, and, more water, and Chai tea – yummy!!!! – the vanilla flavor is like eggnog, without the egg and the cholesterol) a chance and it seems to be working. I have more energy than I did, though not necessarily strength. One thing that’s going out with the old year is heavy lifting. I’ve rearranged my quarters so the heaviest items (like the Christmas light box) stays in the house, and useless stuff either gets tossed in the trash or the basement.

8. Remain positive. My mother’s saying, “Better Days Are Coming” has supported me through many a trial, especially at work. It’s a Depression-era saying that seems to keep depression away.

9. Do the crossword puzzle every day. That was one of last year’s resolutions that didn’t stick. I highly recommend doing them to keep your brains from getting rusty. It really works. It increases your knowledge, vocabulary, and spelling.

10. Resolve to do God’s will. Trust in God. He’ll never let you down.

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Top Ten Stories of 2010

2010 will be recorded in history as the year of the Tea Parties. Note the phrase is plural. The movement that began in April 2009 helped lead to a complete flip of the House of Representatives. Whether the Republicans can hold onto their seats depends on whether they’re willing and able to keep their promises, and whether the Tea Parties will hold them to it. That, then, is the Top Story of 2010.

1. The 2010 Midterm Elections – Republicans gained a remarkable 163 new seats in the House of Representatives, giving them the majority. We promised to put Nancy Pelosi out of her job as Speaker of the House, and we did it. The Democrats are now down to 193 seats. The Republicans picked up five more seats in the Senate, but Democrats picked up six. However, they no longer have that bullet-proof majority they enjoyed during 2010. Finally, Republicans p icked up five more governorships and the Democrats lost six, which is a gain of one for the Republicans. We Tea Partiers mustn’t sit back and spin our tea cozies though; this is a constant battle that can really on be fought at the ground level.

2. Gulf Offshore Oil Rig Explosion Causes Massive Oil Spill - Lies. Deceptions. Mishandling. An oil company that contributed massive donations to the President’s campaign. A deal with the notorious George Soros to sell all the now useless oil rig equipment to Brazil, giving Soros even more money to manipulate our country into a downfall. Refusing to allow foreign tankers to come in and clean up the oil (because they might “leak”). Allowing the crisis to go on long enough to turn an accident into a catastrophe. Sinking the oil down to the ocean floor instead letting it float up and disperse. Environmental groups, who helped contribute to the problem by forcing the closing of refineries and banning offshore drilling closer to shore. The list of villains in this story is as long, and as deep, as the spill itself.

3. Arizona Passes Illegal Immigration Law – Three Huzzahs for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer who acted when the government refused to follow its own laws, and started arresting illegal immigrants. Her constituents were hugely in favor of this law, allowing Arizona law enforcement to follow the laws and arrest those who weren’t following the laws.

4. Obama Signs Healthcare Legislation into Effect – We’ll find out what’s in the law once the law is passed? Quoth Nancy Pelosi, wielding a sledgehammer-sized gavel to pass the law in the House of Representatives. We’ll know what’s in the law next month – er, tomorrow – when we start seeing our taxes rise, our companies shudder at the increases in the cost. Nurses being placed on the same level as doctors? Death panels? Insuring 26 year-old adults? A word to the new Republican House of Representatives – repeal or defund. Just do it!

5. WikiLeaks Reveals U.S. Military, Diplomatic Secrets – “Everyone has a right to know everything about everybody.” That was not Australian publisher Julian Assange; that was the character/newscaster Richard Thornberg to Bonnie Bedelia’s character, Holly McClane in the 1990 movie, Die Hard 2. But it might as well have been. Thanks to the prescient screenwriters for that 20 year-old tip about the future of the barely-born Internet.  Can anyone say, "Treason?"

6. Volcanic Ash Disrupts European Air Travel – Moral of this lesson: Always have a Plan B when traveling. On Apr. 14th, the Icelandic volcano on the Eyjafjallokull glacier sent a large volcanic cloud of ash seven miles into the atmosphere which across northern Europe, halting flights across the northern portion of the continent. The United Kingdom has closed its airspace. No flights will be allowed in British air space, except in emergencies, from 1100 GMT until at least 1700 GMT as the ash spreads across the country. Travel continued to be disrupted well into May, closing airports in France, Germany, and Poland.

7. Earthquake Devastates Haiti - On Jan. 12th, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti. The epicenter was near the town of Léogâne, approximately 16 miles west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. By Jan. 24, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake, with an estimated 230,000 people dead, 300,000 injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. Approximately 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings collapsed or were severely damaged, including the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the main jail. Among those killed were Archbishop of Port-au-Prince Joseph Serge Miot and opposition leader Micha Gaillard. The headquarters of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), located in the capital, collapsed, killing many, including the Mission's Chief, Hédi Annabi. With statistics like that, who needs war?

8. Polish President Killed in Airplane Crash - Polish president Lech Kaczynski, 60, and his wife Maria were killed in a plane crash on April 10 near Smolensk airport. Including the president and his wife, 132 passengers were killed. The Kaczynski’s were travelling with several senior government figures on a trip to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn forest massacre, in which thousands of Poles were executed by Soviet secret police. As the plane was preparing for landing, en route from Moscow to Smolensk, the Polish president's aircraft did not make it to the landing strip, getting caught up in the tops of trees. The plane fell to the ground and broke up into pieces. There were no survivors in that crash. The head of Russia’s top investigative body, Sergei Markin, said there were a total of 132 people on the plane. Kaczynski became president in December 2005 and was planning to run for a second term in the presidential elections this autumn. Parliament speaker Bronislaw Komorowski, who had been expected to be his main opposition in the race, took over presidential duties according to the Polish constitution. Our condolences to Poland on its loss.

9. Americans Protest Building of Mosque at Ground Zero – Thousands of Americans flooded lower Manhattan’s West Broad several times in 2010 to protest the building of a mosque two blocks from the site of the Sept. 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. The proposed building was given the green light by New York City officials at a contentious zoning council meeting. Family members of the victims and Tea Party members came to express their outrage. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stood firmly behind the decision, defending the First Amendment rights of the builders. The American Center for Law and Justice has filed a lawsuit to prevent the building. Meanwhile, A Manhattan lawyer representing Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah is floating a proposal to officials and community leaders to move the controversial Ground Zero mosque away from its proposed site near the World Trade Center to another Manhattan neighborhood. The plan is to buy shuttered St. Vincent's Medical Center in the West Village and transfer the mosque to a new Islamic cultural center he would build on a plot at the site, say sources who have heard Gaffin's pitch. The proposla would ould also save the hospital, reopening most of the units that closed when St. Vincent's filed for bankruptcy on April 14. The attorney is foating the idea to gauge what the reaction might be -- and to ready a bid to rival the Rudin Organization, which is trying to snap up St. Vincent's in bankruptcy court with an eye on tearing down six hospital buildings for luxury housing.

10. Car Bombing Foiled in NYC’s Times Square – There are some amazing notes about this story: On Apr. 30th, a Muslim tee shirt vendor notified a mounted police officer about a suspicious car belching smoke. The bomb did not go off. A crude car bomb of propane, gasoline and fireworks was discovered in a smoking Nissan Pathfinder in the heart of Times Square on Saturday evening, prompting the evacuation of thousands of tourists and theatergoers on a warm and busy night. Although the device had apparently started to detonate, there was no explosion, and early on Sunday the authorities were still seeking a suspect and motive. A large swath of Midtown, from 43rd Street to 48th Street, and from Sixth to Eighth Avenues, was closed for much of the evening after the Pathfinder was discovered just off Broadway on 45th Street. Several theaters and stores, as well as the South Tower of the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel, were evacuated. A few days later, (On the May 3rd edition of the CBS Evening News, Mayor Bloomberg said, “If I had to bet twenty-five cents this would be exactly that, somebody who’s homegrown, maybe a mentally deranged person, or somebody with a political agenda, that doesn’t like the health care bill or something [was responsible].) authorities arrested Pakistan-born Faisal Shahzad who intended the SUV to explode into a fireball in the Crossroads of the World.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

Time is ticking away. This time tomorrow, the year 2010 will be taking its last gasps. Time has run out for the Democrats, and time will tell if the Republicans live up to their promises or if they think now that they’re in office, they have nothing to fear from the Tea Parties.

My brother’s ex’s cousin’s parents bought their twin granddaughters a piano for Christmas. These are wealthy people, which means they’re smart; the girls have been taking lessons for six months, and practicing on an electronic keyboard for the time being.
Once the grandparents were certain the lessons were taking, they bought the piano.

They have a problem, as most piano students do, with keeping in tempo. My brother asked me if I would show them my metronome and demonstrate a little piano playing, while I’m at it. I’ll gladly show them my metronome but I’m not going to give it to them, as it’s 40 years old, still in prime condition, and may be worth something. I had a gift card for one of the music-sites-for-real-musicians websites and ordered them a new, electronic metronome. It keeps time in color, can tune wind and string instruments, and even has an outlet for headphones.

I’ll also demonstrate a little piano playing, but I’m afraid it will be a very little piano playing. I’m aces on the bells, but seldom play my piano. Like all adults, I have very little time for extraneous pleasures. What time I have is taken up practicing with two community bands. Although, every once in awhile, I’ll sit down and play a tune or two.

My brothers are the very reason I’m not better than I am. My childhood piano teacher is the other reason. Like these girls, I started taking piano lessons before I actually had a piano. My maternal grandmother did have a piano, and as my grandparents lived nearby, we visited them frequently, and I had opportunities to practice.

When a piano wasn’t available, I would practice on the diagrams in my lesson book. My mother thought taking lessons would be a good idea. I loved music. I loved to sing. I would love to piano. The family, especially my brothers, it turned out, did not love the piano or me playing it.

So my grandmother, seeing that I really enjoyed playing (up until that point, at least) bought me a very good used piano, a Griffith spinet. But things starting going sour, almost as soon as the instrument entered the house.

First, the music school changed my piano teacher. I went from being taught by a very kindly, middle-aged lady to a young, tempermental, impatient young man who had a tendency to yell and scream at me. I wasn’t practicing enough.

No, I wasn’t. When I said, “Sure, I’d love to take piano lessons!” I thought I was going to play songs like my grandmother did, popular songs, songs you could sing to, happy music. Instead, my music teacher handed me a red, Thompson method lesson book, Grade One, filled with horrible, minor key classical tunes. I hated my lessons, my music, and I hated practicing.

If matters weren’t bad enough, unlike the young girls who live in a huge McMansion with about 100 rooms, we lived in small, three-bedroom bi-level. The biggest room was the kitchen. The piano was placed in the living room, where the television was and my brothers and their friends were constantly running in and out, and up and down. I was allotted a half an hour at the piano only, and was forced to listen to the boys’ grumbling and even my father’s complaints about the repetitious music.

The music teacher complained that I wasn’t keeping in tempo. So, my grandmother bought me a mechanical metronome. It’s really quite a beautiful contraption, made by Seth Thomas, the clock-maker. It has an obelisk shape. The front piece lifts off to reveal the metronome itself. A metal strip is in the center, with stoppers on each side, up at the top. You move a weight on the metal strip up and down to set the speed, according to the guide on the inside.

The only trouble was, I was afraid of it. Not in the psychotic sense. But it made a loud, very distracting tick-tocking sound that tended to make me forget all about the notes on the page and the keys on the piano. It sounded rather like the ticking of a bomb to my 9 year old ears. I was already having a hard enough time getting from note to note. I just didn’t need this thing reminding me that I was also off-tempo.  Oh, the pressure.

I think these twins are going to find the same problem. Music teacher friends tell me that the “key” to successful piano playing is scales. Scales, scales, scales. I’ve found myself that I’m much more comfortable playing a song after I’ve warmed on some scales and exercises. That, I believe, is what I’m going to tell these young students.

I certainly shall make a splendid example of what happens when you don’t practice. But I’ll also give the parents and grandparents some tips on what and what not to do. The first tip will be – don’t let my brother anywhere near them while they’re trying to learn their songs or practice their scales. One time, he and my younger brother put our hound dog in the cellar to make him howl while I practiced.

My lessons finally ended when my grandmother happened to accompany my mother to pick me up from the lessons.  I was crying, as usual.  Before I even got in the car, my grandmother told my mother to cancel the lessons, immediately.  My mother got out of the car andtold the piano teacher that was it.  He had the nerve to demand to know why.  "She's come out of these lessons one too many times cying."  He said, "Well, that's because she doesn't practice!"  "And making her cry is your solution to the problem?"  My grandmother said it was all wrong; music was supposed to be fun, and obviously, if I was crying, I wasn't enjoying making music.

Since these ex-in-law relatives of my brother's have such a big house, I’d advise them to place the piano in a room far away from the television and from complaining relatives. I’d also make sure that these girls have some easy music to play that they actually enjoy and know. I don’t know what lesson book they have; they may be okay with it. But I’d still buy some Disney music or Hannah Montana tunes for beginning pianists or something like that.

They need to listen to music as well as play it. Music is all about sound, not sight. If the teacher is too harsh, they need to find another one (although that’s not my impression; they would have quit by now). My advice for the metronome would be to use it only for playing scales for the time being. Scales are easy; it’s just one note after another up and down the scale, so they can concentrate on the tempo without being distracted.

Leave them alone about the tempo while they’re learning songs. Once they’re familiar enough with a tune, then they can start worrying about their tempo. Sometimes I just don’t know what music teachers are thinking.

I’m glad I learned to play piano (though not very well). The music lessons did lead to playing the bells in the band, which I love. I love the piano, too; it’s not that I hate it. Life and stupid people just kind of got in the way. I live alone now, so there’s no one to hassle me about playing. I have a neighbor upstairs who, luckily, doesn’t care.

Family members have urged me to get rid of the piano. But, while it needs tuning, it’s quite a good instrument. Some day, I intend to defeat the world and learn to play well. Probably that time won’t come until I’m retired – or unemployed. I just worry that time is ticking away. Chiefly, I’m concerned about my upcoming “performance.” My metronome is clacking ominously away.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Birth Certificate Blues

Those Birthers – you have to give them credit for tenacity and persistence. They always get their birth certificate. The Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie is considering a way to release the information and put a permanent damper on this relentless conspiracy theory.

The governor was a friend of Obama’s parents, according to Fox News, and knew Obama as a kid. He says he was there when Obama was born.  Abercrombie, the report says, will ask the state attorney general's office about what can be done to put an end to questions about Obama's birth certificate from Aug. 4, 1961. Hawaii's privacy laws have long barred the release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who doesn't have a tangible interest. If not, the state must have permission from Obama himself to release the certificate.

Hawaii's health director has stated twice that she has seen and verified Obama's original vital records. Birth notices were published in two Honolulu newspapers within days of Obama's birth at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu.

The Obama campaign issued a certificate of live birth in 2008, an official document from the state showing the president's birth date, city and name, along with his parents' names and races. The certificate doesn't list the name of the hospital where he was born or the physician who delivered him, information collected by the state as part of its vital records.

In the 1960’s, Hawaii switched to all-microfilm copies of birth certificates, destroying the paper copies, but issuing a short version of the birth certificate, called a “live certificate.”

Abercrombie claims he was present when the child was born but acknowledges that he didn't see his parents with their newborn son at the hospital. Requests for Obama's birth information increased this month as the Obama family prepared to vacation in Hawaii.

The Department of Health received 27 requests for the president's birth information this month as of last Thursday, up from 16 in November. Requests rose despite a new state law allowing officials to ignore persistent and repetitive inquiries, a law that has been used about six times by the department.

I’m perfectly happy to believe Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961; the date, and even the place, Honolulu, happen to make a delightfully dreadful time and place for a public official to be born, from an astrological standpoint. I can’t understand why Obama has taken my advice from previous blogs and produced a Kenyan birth certificate, or a Kansas birth certificate, or one from Kalamazoo. Anywhere but Honolulu and on any date (except Feb. 4-5, 1962 of course) but that.

Haven’t his astrologers told him that that birth date, in that place, makes him first cousin to the greatest monster of all time? But perhaps it’s important to the followers of the monster that that date be absolutely confirmed, without actually confirming it. The unfaithful must have faith in their Chosen One. All will be revealed in time, including the mysterious birth certificate.

Much to the dismay of The Birthers, the certificate will be confirmed as authentic. They will be discredited, the laughingstock of conspiracy theorists everywhere. We who know exactly who and what Obama is, will have the grim satisfaction of being proven, unfortunately, right.

I give the whole thing about one more year. 2012 is coming. As count down the last days of 2010, we’ll look back on these times as amusing and innocent, even as we know an iron prison is being built up around us, impenetrable, inescapable, and impervious to the light of freedom.

When the Socialists have absolutely ascertained that there’s nothing we can do about it, when we discover there’s someone even worse to fear than Obama, that’s when Obama will release his birth certificate.

Until then, wait for it. It’s not the end of the world – yet.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Path to 2012

In Cornelius Ryan’s classic book, “The Longest Day,” detailing the massive D-Day Invasion of June 6, 1944, the author begins by describing the tiny French village of La Roche-Guyon. A sleepy village on the Seine between Normandy and Paris, it is dominated by an imposing castle on a hill, Chateau de La Rochefoucauld.

Historians believe the present castle, built in the 12th Century, was the site of a former castle built in the 9th Century to fight off marauding Vikings who used the river as a pathway to Paris (Le Ménestrel du Vexin).  On D-Day, La Roche-Guyon had already been occupied by a different marauder for some 1,453 days. Almost four years. According to Ryan, there were at least three soldiers for every one of the 543 villagers. The bells of St. Samson Church (Samson was one of the founding saints of Brittany) that once tolled the hour for private prayer, now rang at dawn to announce the end of the night’s curfew.

The Germans, awaiting the inevitable Anglo-American invasion, built an 800-mile long fortress of mine-fields and barriers along the French coast from the border of Holland to the Brittany peninsula. 500,000 troops built the Atlantic Wall and awaited the Allies, some ready to fight, others hoping time and the weather would discourage their enemy.

We Americans are prisoners of political war. We can see the regulatory minefields and barriers being constructed around us, barriers of iron for which there is no democratic redress. What is being built is the fortress of an impenetrable tyranny, the product of decade’s of foundation-laying.

Obama, finding his environmental legislation defeated, has turned to a bureaucratic agency to see that the regulations are passed. It’s an agency that answers to no one but the president himself. The people have nothing to say about it. That is the mark of tyranny.

The people have been rendered sufficiently docile either through bribery, intimidation, education, or drugs. Only a small handful of rebels – the Tea Parties – are willing to resist this invasion of our liberty. Caesar “seized” power in such a manner. “The Stars Wars” trilogies illustrated such machinations for a young generation unacquainted with actual war.

Adam Smith (“Wealth of Nations”) deplored war as an extravagant waste of men and money. What would he say of this economic war being waged upon Americans, who used, at least, to venerate freedom?  As June 6th was titled “The Longest Day,” 2011 will be the longest year, the lead-up to the fabled 2012, when some say the world will come to end, and others say freedom will come to an end. We have one last chance to turn the tide in favor of liberty. Let us not waste it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Blizzard of December 2010

I don’t know who our acting governor is in New Jersey, with both the governor and lieutenant governor out of the state. But he deserves a medal for declaring a state of emergency.

Most businesses don’t care how much snow is on the ground – I measured 26 inches where I live and just finished de-snowing my car, which resembled the Matterhorn – they expect business to go on as usual. They don’t care how treacherous the roads are, how much snow their employees have to shovel before they can move their cars, or whether the plows have been able to remove two feet or better of snows from New Jersey’s miles and miles of highway; the show must go on.

When I called our office snow number at 5:30 and 6 a.m., it was business as usual. My start time is 7:15 a.m. No way was this going to happen. They hadn’t plowed my section of the apartment parking lot yet. As of this moment, I’m still blocked in, due to logistics and a busy day for our snow plow contractor.

If this office is open, we’re expected to call our supervisor to let her know. Only she lives far away in another part of the Northeast, in another state. I tried e-mailing her and calling her cell number, with no success. Finally, I called her home phone number (in desperation only). She said she thought eventually they would either delay the office opening or maybe even close it altogether.

Fortunately, I’d had the foresight to bring my laptop home with me last week, before the Christmas holiday. They delayed the opening, but had I not gotten her permission to work from home, I would have already been there, once I got myself shoveled out. I’d risen early, knowing how long it would take. The snow was even deeper than I expected.

Finally, they came to their senses. Due to the state of emergency declared by the acting governor, the office was officially closed. Our office never closes. We’ve always wondered what it would take to get them to close it.

Not quite an act of God, but close – an act of the acting governor. God bless him, whoever he is and whatever party he represents!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Day After Christmas

It's the day after Christmas
And all through my blog
I've no intention of stirring
Except for my eggnog

Christmas 2010 has come and gone. This was an eventful Christmas season, with two concerts, one Santa Claus photo session, two Christmas parties, and [mostly] online shopping, the greatest gift ever bestowed upon harried shoppers.

A friend tells me they were all out at the after-Christmas holiday sales this morning. Everyone in our area went out early, as a blizzard is on its way. I don’t know whether our office will be closed tomorrow. But just in case, I brought my laptop computer home with me last Wednesday, telling the editor (who’s in the Philadelphia area that they were predicting snow showers, but to expect a blizzard).

My younger brother’s big present was his all-purpose, playing everything blu-ray DVD player. My older brother’s big present was two gift cards to Red Lobster – one to take his lady friend to dinner, the other to take our mother out to dinner, whom he routinely mooches dinner from. Mom is still undecided about her laptop. The family all loved my bells, which they hadn’t yet seen. I gave them a little concert and they agreed they have a beautiful sound.

But the really big present was the Obama Bobblehead Doll, which stands, maybe, 12 inches high. He made a big hit and had everyone in hysterics. My brother was impatient for my nephew to open it, but I told he just had to wait. My nephew, of course, seizing the opportunity to tantalize his parental unit, left it until last, as I suggested.

This Obama is dressed in a green money suit (the suit and pants have dollar signs), and he’s holding a sack of taxpayer money. His head bobbles up and down with that cheesy smile of his, as he gives everyone the ol’ shellacking. My brother was so excited that he inveigled my nephew to let him take it home (they came in separate cars because my nephew’s other grandfather is extremely ill with emphysema and The Nephew wanted – rightly – to spend Christmas with him) so he could show it to his lady friend on the way home.

My brother wants me to see if I can order Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, to make a trio. I told him I would see what I could do. As I recall, I missed getting Older Brother a birthday present in November, so if I can, I may just order these two characters for him.

Just after the election, the real bobblehead was quite downcast. The House of Representatives had completely flipped over. The Tea Parties were jubilant; for them it would be a Happy New Year. But Bobblehead of the House and her followers still managed to sneak a few treats into Obama’s stocking: The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal; The Start Treaty; A Tax Deal; and the 9/11 Health Bill. Nobody would mind benefits for the 9/11 responders; it’s just that such a bill, as written by the Democrats and RINOs, is bound to be rife with corruption. Nor will it prevent fraud. Not if the Dems and RINOs have anything to do with it.

As I look out my window, I see Mother Nature is giving the Northeast the White Christmas it wished for – albeit, a day late. That’s okay; I wouldn’t have been happy cooking a big meal for guests who wouldn’t be able to come. They were supposed to come over tonight again for dinner, but as we’re in the midst of blizzard, that’s not going to happen.

That means I get all the candied sweet potatoes to myself.