A Christmas Carol, Part 2: The Day After December 13, 2011Posted by Matt in A Christmas Carol Part 2.
Tags: A Christmas Carol, Christmas, Conservatives, ghost, politics, Republicans, Ronald Reagan, Scrooge
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Marley was still dead, of that Scrooge was quite sure. For though he had born witness to the apparition of his partner only the night before, he was convinced that Marley was most certainly dead as a door-nail.
Scrooge was now a changed man, as one who is reborn, for the spirits of two nights prior, that fateful Christmas Eve, had shown him the err of his ways, putting forth visions of Christmases past, present, and future, and it all started with the visitation from his now eternally cursed and most assuredly dead associate, Marley. He was now a kinder, gentler, and infinitely more joyful man, with intentions of sharing his bountiful riches with those less fortunate, to lift up the downtrodden, to work for the ever-elusive common good of humankind. Also, there was Tiny Tim, the young son of his employee Bob Cratchit, whose plight in life he vowed to right, to use his great wealth in every way possible to ease the disabled child’s life. It was now a personal mission, one that he foresaw would be a source of great joy to the family and to himself.
All the day of Christmas he had made merry with his nephew’s family, becoming in turn the joyful patriarch, the smiling, beloved Uncle Scrooge, discovering happiness in his drear life once again, changing his countenance to one of great joy and mirth. The following day he celebrated yet again, this time with the poor Cratchit’s, bestowing upon him an increased salary and blessing the family with the largest turkey to be found. Yes, he was a new man, one now endowed with a sense of giving and festiveness, of humor and love.
It was a dark night as Scrooge made his way home from the office, his now ever-present smile permeating the foggy blackness as a beacon of hope in the mournful atmosphere. He and Bob had laughed and joked throughout the day, creating an atmosphere of joy at work as never before. It was lighthearted and even fun, two words never before uttered in the firm of Scrooge and Marley.
Before that portentous Christmas Eve, there had been nothing odd about the knocker on the door, but on that particular night it had taken the form of Marley’s ghostly face staring into the night with its dead eyes. Thus, Scrooge was a bit more cautious than he had been before as he reached for the knob, keeping his eyes focused upon the knocker on the chance that it might happen to change yet again.
And as he watched, it did change, only this time the face was no longer his tortured partner, it was another familiar visage, a face well known by all.
Then, just as it had transformed the first time, it changed back, becoming nothing more than a knocker once again. Scrooge breathed deeply in the cold night air, and then opened the door to his quarters. Lighting a candle, he glanced furtively around the room, checking every dark corner for a ghostly presence, but saw nothing.
“Perhaps,” he said to himself, “it is truly something I ate, maybe this time it was really a bit of undigested beef.” For it was true that he had been eating quite merrily these last few days as if he were making up for Christmases past.
Suddenly the great bell, the one that harkened the approach of the spirits some two nights prior, began to ring, loudly sounding in the darkness, jarring Scrooge to his senses.
“Oh, spirit, oh, Marley, must you come and visit me yet again? I am a changed man, Marley! I will keep the spirit of Christmas alive!” he wailed into the night amid the pealing bells.
The cellar door again loudly flew open, just as it had two nights prior and Scrooge listened to the footfalls slowly climbing the stairs. Then, coming through the same heavy door, the ghost appeared before him as the dying flame leapt, as if to announce the ghostly presence.
Open-mouthed, Scrooge stared ahead, “President Reagan!”
“Yes, it is I, President Ronald Reagan.”
“Why have you chosen to visit me, Mr. President? Why do you trouble me? I am a changed man! I have seen the light! I am no longer a selfish miser, set to live my days alone and without joy. Spirit, I have changed!”
“Yes, Ebenezer Scrooge,” he thundered, shaking the house with his ferocity, “That is what I have been told and that is exactly why I am here.”
“But, but, Spirit, I don’t understand.”
“Silence,” he roared, “You have strayed from the Conservative path, Ebenezer Scrooge, and I have been sent to bring you back. Tonight you will be haunted,” the ghost audibly sighed if that sort of thing is possible for an apparition, “by three candidates for President.”
The Spirit continued on, unperturbed, “They will give you the other, more fair and balanced side of the story. Pay attention to them Ebenezer Scrooge and they will steer you back to the path of Conservatism!”
The ghost of Reagan turned and began to walk back into the cellar, but then his head seemingly perked up and swiveled around with a dead stare upon Scrooge. “Got any jelly beans?”
“Uh, no sir, Mr. President.”
“Dang. Farewell, Ebenezer!” He passed through the door again, a cold breeze rustling through the room and then all was silent and dark, just as before.
How the Government Stole Christmas November 22, 2011Posted by Matt in poetry, politics.
Tags: Congress, deficit, Democrats, Grinch, ineffectiveness, politics, President Obama, Republicans, taxes, US government
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(With apologies to Dr. Seuss)
Liked their lifestyles a lot
But the Congress
On the extremes of America
They fought over things both in and out of season.
Standing in gridlock for no particular reason
In anger they yelled and they screamed at one other
Taking shots across the room one after another
Maybe it was their head or perhaps their shoes
Or the inordinate time spent watching cable news
Whatever the reason
Olbermann or O’Reilly
They stood at odds, plotting downfalls quite slyly
“Tax Cuts for the rich!” cried Republicans loud
Expecting a little to perhaps trickle down.
“It’s time to raise taxes on the top two percent!”
Yelled Democrats with a self-righteous bent.
With the deficit ballooning and no end in sight
The two sides stood firm with all of their might
The tea party and occupiers pushing from both directions
Ensuring the failure of every election
Compromise is not an option
Shouted opposing sides with glee
Unless you give up your convictions
And agree solely with me.
So as the country moves closer and closer to falling
It’s becoming clear we need someone who hears the calling
Someone looking for that missing middle ground
That is oh so elusive, but must be sought out and found
Some look to the President to stand tall, relieving fear
But they call him a Communist Muslim, you hear.
Others are chosen on the long campaign trail
But scandal always follows, and will likely derail
Who will take the reigns, to the challenge arise?
Will Congress’s heads and hearts increase in size?
Who will preside over the feast?
And be the reformed Grinch who carves the roast beast.
He Got Palined July 9, 2010Posted by Matt in politics.
Tags: Bob Bennett, Bob Inglis, criticism from within, politics, Republican Party
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Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), who lost to primary challenger and ultra-conservative Trey Gowdy, had some not-so-nice words for the more vocal members of the Republican party. He particularly took aim at Sarah Palin and her claims regarding rationed care for the elderly in the recent health care reform bill. According to an interview with the AP, Inglis countered her by saying, “There were no death panels in the bill and to encourage that kind of fear is just the lowest form of political leadership. It’s not leadership. It’s demagoguery.” He went on to say that she and others are, “preying on fears,” and “I think we have a lot of leaders that are following those television and talk radio personalities and not leading. What it takes to lead is to say, ‘You know, that’s just not right.’”
This follows on the heels of Sen. Bob Bennett’s (R-UT) comments after his primary defeat, in which he was quite critical of the party as well, saying, “As I look out at the political landscape now, I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas. The concern I have is that ideology and a demand for absolute party purity endangers our ability to govern once we get into office.”
On Seeing Avatar January 11, 2010Posted by Matt in movies.
Tags: Avatar, Dances with Ewoks, politics, review, visuals
Yesterday Diana and I finally got around to seeing the latest box office smash, Avatar, the film that has viewers raving around the world. Even now, after being in theaters for a few weeks, it is still attracting long lines as shows continue to sell out. I can attest to that because yesterday the 3:30 showing was full when we arrived, so we settled for the 4:00 and immediately took our place in a long line waiting for the doors to open.
But, anyway, we did see this, the biggest motion picture event for quite sometime. My verdict:
It was good. Not great, but definitely good.
The 3-D spectacle is unbelievable and certainly worth the inflated price of admission. James Cameron does a masterful job of bringing this alien world to life visually, in a way that outdoes any film before it.
But, even though the visuals are groundbreaking and look unbelievable, the story is pretty run-of-the-mill. It’s cliché-riddled and fairly unoriginal, but still enjoyable. As I stated on my Facebook status yesterday, I think the subtitle for the film should have been Dances with Ewoks. I kept waiting for two logs suspended by ropes to smash into one of those robot things and destroy it.
I like the strong environmental message and the anti-imperialism view, but even I thought the Bush-bashing lines made by the crazed military leader near the end of the movie were a little over-the-top. Really? You have to employ a “preemptive strike” and use the term “Shock and awe?” I mean, I disliked the Bush presidency as much as anybody, but feeding the far-right whackos doesn’t help things at all.
In all, it was a good movie and certainly worth seeing for the spectacular visuals alone. This is the epitome of escapist entertainment and that’s definitely not a bad thing.
I give it 8/10 stars and fully expect it to sweep every technical award at the upcoming Oscars.
What did you think of Avatar?
Political Hugs November 17, 2009Posted by Matt in politics.
Tags: Ahmadinejad, Charlie Crist, Chavez, George Bush, hugs, John McCain, Obama, politics, Sarah Palin
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Lately there has been quite the uproar over a photo showing Florida governor Charlie Crist embracing President Obama when he was in the state to pitch the stimulus package from earlier this year. Of course, this small gesture goes beyond a mere hug. This is no mere friendly embrace. Rather, this only proves to detractors that Crist has taken on the Communist Socialist Fascist ideals of President Obama. See the picture below:
Now this isn’t the first instance of a hug going beyond its surface meaning, signifying something deeper. The Washington lovefest always carries with it an interesting undercurrent.
First we have the “Yes, I have sold my soul” hug.
Then the, “Out of my way, old man, and watch where you put your hands” hug.
And of course there is the, “Oh, you hate America too” hug
Freedom and Consequences October 15, 2009Posted by Matt in NFL, politics.
Tags: capitalism, Conservatives, free market, NFL, politics, race, Rush Limbaugh, St. Louis Rams
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As I’m sure most if not all of you have seen, one of the more dominant news stories this week has revolved around Rush Limbaugh’s attempt to become a part owner of the St. Louis Rams NFL team. After a public outcry against his inclusion, the right-wing talk show host was dropped from the group seeking to buy the team, but the story was carried through several news cycles and prompted many on either side of the fence to speak out.
Something that may surprise you about this though, is that I, as someone who is very liberal politically and is a big football fan, am actually torn by this issue.
First of all, I’m bothered by the fact that, despite the fact that we live in a capitalist nation, many think that he should not be allowed to spend his personal money on this business enterprise. My initial thought is that this just seems un-American to block a citizen’s freedom in this manner. It may be true that he has regularly shown great contempt for those whose skin color is darker than his own and that the NFL is 2/3 African-American, but should that be a deciding factor in whether or not he is allowed to spend his finances freely? I have a hard time with those who say that he should not be permitted to use his personal money as he wishes.
On the other hand, Limbaugh seems to think that words (at least his words) do not have consequences. Rather than acknowledging that a reaction to his vitriol may be leading the opposition, he seems to be blaming it all on some liberal conspiracy to squelch conservative voices. This is despite the fact that most NFL owners are decidedly conservative and left-thinking people are not calling for their ousters.
Of course, the best solution to this current situation would have been for the purchasing group to have weighed the consequences and to have never included Limbaugh in the first place, which would have avoided this circus altogether.
In the end, this matter merely gives credence to Limbaugh and his followers, who lie awake at night fearing a liberal conspiracy to raise their taxes, take away their guns and force them into gay marriages. It raises his notoriety and bolsters his audience while Rush laughs all the way to the bank.
More Zombies October 7, 2009Posted by Matt in politics.
Tags: A.M. Radio, Barack Obama, Conservatives, politics, zombie movie
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Following on the heels of my blog post last week about zombies and the current proximity to Halloween, I came up with a great idea for a zombie movie. I’ll give you a rough outline of the plot so that you can let me know what you think.
The film opens with a scene at a construction job where the workers are taking a break for lunch. As a group of them sit at a picnic table eating their sandwiches, a fellow worker walks up. He is blankly staring off into space with his arms outstretched in front of him as he lurches forward.
“Ralph,” calls out one of the workers at the table, “What’s wrong, buddy? You don’t look to good.”
Ralph’s attention turns toward the man and he says in halting, broken words, “Marxists, bwaaaaaa!” He then leaps at the man, ripping at him with his teeth and spraying the ground with blood.
As Ralph attacks and kills all of the men at the table, the camera pans back to his truck, where an AM radio talk show can be heard playing over the car stereo.
As the plague spreads, it becomes clear that the source of the disease is the AM radio frequency, which someone has hijacked to emit a special sound wave that causes the brain to deteriorate and turns listeners into mindless automatons looking to wreck havoc on civilization as we know it, all the while repeating meaningless slogans and accusations that they themselves do not understand. Some of them even sob hysterically for no known reason other than the fact that their brain cells have been decimated.
But there is one man who stands against the zombie plague and brings together America to fight the powers that seek to destroy them and the ideals they hold dear – Barack Obama: Zombie Hunter. Though there are some of the creatures that are too far gone and must be destroyed, the majority of them can be cured by turning of the radio and reading a book.
What do you think? Is it a sure blockbuster?
The Disturbing State of American Politics September 30, 2009Posted by Matt in Barack Obama, politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, delegitimizing leaders, Michael Steele, paranoia, politics, Thomas Friedman, violence, Yitzhak Rabin
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I would like to encourage you to read Thomas Friedman’s recent column in the New York Times regarding the rapidly accelerating descent into madness that American politics has become. Friedman compares the current climate to that of Israel in 1995, just before Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. He points to rabid attempts by opponents to delegitimize their leaders as the common thread between the two.
Michael Steele, of all people, calls Friedman a nutjob and says that nothing could be farther from the truth.
But, in a land where town hall meetings are taken over by idiocy and the latest Conservative star, Glenn Beck, has raised his status considerably by inducing paranoia and fear in masses of worried viewers, Friedman may not be that far off after all.
What do you think?
KISS and Tell July 23, 2009Posted by Matt in Memphis.
Tags: Kiss, Paul Stanley, politics, sex scandal, Tennessee House
One of the more dominant headlines in the Memphis area as of late has been regarding Republican state Senator Paul Stanley of Germantown, TN, who is married with children and who was recently exposed for having an affair with a 22 year old intern.
So far there has been no comment from Gene Simmons.
Losing My Religion – Part 7 June 9, 2009Posted by Matt in Losing My Religion.
Tags: 2004 presidential election, church, church and state, George W. Bush, John Kerry, politics, Southern Baptist
Or, Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine
When we moved to the Memphis area back in early 2004 I was done with the CoC. No longer could I handle the judgmental attitudes or haughty replies to even the slightest questions. I had turned my back on the congregation in which I was raised a few years before then and, though we continued to attend another church in another town, the feeling of being an outsider could not be shaken. It was obvious that we did not belong.
So, we settled in a suburban area just outside of the city (a decision made in ignorance that I regret to this day) and we began our search for a new house of worship. There was a church on seemingly every corner, but, in matching the general homogeneity of the population, every building appeared to have one word in common – Baptist. Being only somewhat familiar with the SBC, we chose a large, nicely kept building that stood close to our house and began a very tempestuous year in our Christian lives.
At first things seemed to be going very well. We made friends and got involved in their program for young families and life moved along quite smoothly. Sure, I may have had a few differences in opinion with others, but it was nothing too extreme and soon we were full-fledged Baptists.
And then came the presidential election.
I’ve never been one to hide the fact that I lean heavily to the left on nearly every issue, whether they be political, social, or religious, and I had seen and been part of several heated disagreements in times past, but nothing had prepared me for what was coming.
Soon every class, every sermon, even every conversation turned political. Abortion and gay rights and a vehement desire to defame John Kerry in any way possible became the subjects upon which every person with voice to speak turned their focus. The Values Voter bus came and handed out literature that spent every word to defame policies (whether real or imagined) supposedly espoused by the Democratic party, all without ever mentioning the party or any individuals by name. As that great November day of reckoning grew closer, the fierceness of the attacks grew stronger and more heinous, finally culminating with this statement from the pulpit on the Sunday before the election:
“Now, I can’t tell you who to vote for in this election. But you know, as a Christian, who you should vote for.”
Then he proceeded to again run through the two or three issues sitting first and foremost in the Republican talking points that year. That same Sunday they dropped a huge American flag behind the pulpit, sang patriotic songs and said the pledge of allegiance.
So, every week I sat there feeling as though these heaps of abuse were being piled upon me and me alone and it was too much for me to handle (Diana had progressed to the position of political moderate by then, so she remained fairly unaffected). One time, our Sunday school teacher even took one of us to the side and begged us not to vote for John Kerry so that we would not damn our eternal soul to hell. Seriously.
Then, once the smoke had cleared and their zealous agenda had been fulfilled on a national level, I watched the pastor stand behind the microphone and say, “Let’s praise God that His man won. I couldn’t tell you this before, but now I can – we won.”
And so I broke my ties to the SBC.