~Living a life of sophisticated domestication deep in the heart of Texas~

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

O Tannenbaum....

....O Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blätter!

Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit

Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,wie treu sind deine Blätter!

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum!

Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!

Wie oft hat nicht zur Weihnachtszeit

Ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut!

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum!

Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum!

Dein Kleid will mich was lehren:

Die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit

Gibt Trost und Kraft zu jeder Zeit.

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum!

Das soll dein Kleid mich lehren.

A popular English version of this song:

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches! In beauty green will always grow through summer sun and winter snow. O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches! O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree, you are the tree most loved! How often you give us delight in brightly shining Christmas light! O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree, you are the tree most loved! O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, your beauty green will teach me that hope and love will ever be the way to joy and peace for me. O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, your beauty green will teach me.


One wouldn't think that something so beautiful could generate controversy, but it has, and I'm acutely aware of that this season. After centuries, the debate still goes on as to what is the origin of the decorated tree (pagan or religious symbol) and what it represents. Whether or not one cut down a tree and decorates it with ornamentation that signified the stars, or the god(s), seems to stir up considerable discussion on chat boards. In my reading I learned that one could have been arrested for having and decorating a tree at home. Apparently there were occasions in which a tree in the town square or a tree at church was permissible, however.

There are references that go back to the Old Testament Prophet Jeremiah and his condemnation of decorated trees:

Jeremiah 10:2-4: "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." (King James Version).

You know, I've read the book of Jeremiah, yet somehow that one blew right past me, lol.

Whether we credit the Estonians or Latvians, the Germans or Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for showing us the way to Christmas tree enlightenment, or skip all that and put the origin of our tree back with the pagans, or not, it's a beautiful custom, and I'm not willing to make it a point of contention. I will admit there was considerable discussion regarding our tree's decoration this year...

Right now it's standing there in the living room window reminding me of one of those jeweled tree pins ladies wear. It's certainly cheerful and I'm glad about our sweet little tree. Each ornament represents something special to me and I'm going to be quite reluctant to take it down and tuck it away until next year....

Happy New Year...

Shawn & SGTex


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry moodiness.....

I posted this on Facebook in response to a dear friend's comment regarding people who claim one belief system and yet hang on to the practices of another, out of a sense of convenience or the inability to let go, for whatever reason....It kinda got my Irish up a bit, lol.

SGTex asked me to save this and put it here on the blog:

I'm not solely Wicca per se (Celtic reconstructionist pagan Pantheist, who in this lifetime identifies mostly and has an affinity w/Wicca, seein' that there aren't too many of us Celtic-types running around these parts). Do I have a problem w/Xianity? You bet- the practice of exclusivism stomping around on people of other beliefs- I don't hold with that much.

The Xmas that we (SGTex and I) celebrate is part of the holiday season that moves from Thanksgiving to Yule, 12 days which includes Xmas...

The fundie Xians have MUCH to say about our "secular" celebration of the holidays-- and frankly, I get tired of the judgmentalist finger-pointing tongue-clucking from any who take exception to my lifestyle...whether it be one thing or another. Yeah, it would be living a lie if I was going around doing "Hail, Marys" and setting up manger scenes with baby Jesus all over the place. Does the nativity have a part of the season? Sure- I can respect that, as I do Kwaanza and the Asian New Year and Hannukuh and anything else that happens...

But it's just as unpleasant to be berated by those on the left as it is by those on the right......I'm going to play my damn holiday music and enjoy it, no matter what the Baptists or the Satanists or anyone in between has to say ;~) ♥.

Well, I guess I'm glad I got all of that said. LOL!

~Happy Holidays~



Sunday, December 4, 2011

The evolution litmus test....

“It’s a theory that’s out there. It’s got some gaps in it. In Texas we teach both creationism and evolution, because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one’s right.”Governor Rick Perry “I support intelligent design…putting all science on the table and then letting students decide…(since) there is reasonable doubt on both sides.”Michele Bachmann “Well, then I'm going to say creationism is a science, intelligent design is a science. If you say my faith isn't a science, I'm going to say yours isn't…Darwin…cannot explain the Origin of the Species…Nor can Marx, and nor can Obama (sic).”Rush Limbaugh “We found in 2007 that a whopping 68 percent of Republicans did not believe in evolution…”Frank Newport of the Gallup poll

Ever since that chemistry set in 3rd grade, we have appreciated the value of a litmus test. Suppose we were rating presidential politicians for brain power, smarts, sophistication. "College education" or facsimile would go in the plus column, while negatives would have to include such things as "Bible creationism" and "wears overalls." (And to be clear, bleating platitudes about “both sides” only gives aid to the creationist dream of having a leg to stand on.) As we have noted time and again, the liberal position or philosophy is a mark of intelligence while conservatives are, frankly speaking, not so bright. This would be why leftist thought and sentiment distill on major university campuses, while the opposing view fares best in rural venues and trailer parks. If such a correlation has long been suspected, today our neighbors on the right have mobilized to remove all doubt. Having a democrat of the progressive persuasion in the White House has been too much for some folks – confounding to processors that were hardly state-of-the art to start with. To paraphrase the Commander-In-Chief, idiots are frustrated. Be it on the Internet, evening radio or out at the fairgrounds, we’ve never far to go to get a load of their madcap manifesto, seething with hate and spelling errors. For some blue-ribbon boneheadedness, you can’t beat a news network that exists to serenade and reassure the right wing. FOX flunked geography; it’s not likely they fare any better in science. Certainly, four more years of intelligent administration are preferable to a resurgence of the numskull kind, but is it reasonable to hope that the side with the much higher IQ will win? History has shown that sometimes societies degrade and put anti-intellectual demagogues in charge, ushering in a nightmarish period.



My guest column in our local Sunday paper