He went to the church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and for, and patted the children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of homes, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed of any walk, that anything, could give him so much happiness. (p. 119)
The Christmas presents once opened are Not So Much Fun as they were while we were in the process of examining, lifting, shaking, thinking about, and opening them. Three hundred sixty-five days later, we try again and find that the same thing has happened. Each time the goal is reached, it becomes Not So Much Fun, and we're off to reach the next one, then the next one, then the next.That doesn't mean that the goals we have don't count. They do, mostly because they cause us to go through the process and it's the process that makes us wise, happy, or whatever. If we do things in the wrong sort of way, it makes us miserable, angry, confused, and things like that. The goal has to be right for us, and it has to be beneficial, in order to ensure a beneficial process. But aside from that, it's really the process that's important.
I had never before been a special fan of that great comedian Phyllis Diller, but she utterly won my heart this week by sending me an envelope that, when opened, contained a torn-off square of brown-bag paper of the kind suitable for latrine duty in an ill-run correctional facility. Duly unfurled, it carried a handwritten salutation reading as follows:I could not possibly improve on the sentiment, but I don't think it ought to depend on the current austerities. Isn't Christmas a moral and aesthetic nightmare whether or not the days are prosperous?
The human life cycle no less than evolves around the box; from the open-topped box called a bassinet, to the pine box we call a coffin, the box is our past and, just as assuredly, our future. It should not surprise us then that the lowly box plays such a significant role in the first Christmas story. For Christmas began in a humble, hay-filled box of splintered wood. The Magi, wise men who had traveled far to see the infant king, laid treasure-filled boxes at the feet of that holy child. And in the end, when He had ransomed our sins with His blood, the Lord of Christmas was laid down in a box of stone. How fitting that each Christmas season brightly wrapped boxes skirt the pine boughs of Christmas trees around the world.
CALVIN:This whole Santa Claus thing just doesn't make sense. Why all the secrecy? Why all the mystery?If the guy exists why doesn't he ever show himself and prove it?And if he doesn't exist what's the meaning of all this?HOBBES:I dunno. Isn't this a religious holiday? CALVIN:Yeah, but actually, I've got the same questions about God.
The great cause of the new Republican intake is the reduction of the deficit but to anyone seeking evidence of sincere attempts at deficit-reduction the evidence is baffling. The Republicans showed before Christmas that they would seek to reduce the deficit but not when it came to a matter of the tax breaks that had aggravated the deficit in the first place.Now there's a date set for the abolition of Barack Obama's healthcare plan, parts of which only came into operation at the start of this month. The Republicans are out to destroy the plan. Or, more precisely, to pretend to destroy the plan in the name of making good on election pledges. The measure won't get past the Senate.But suppose it did get past the Senate, what effect would this have on the deficit? The answer is it would aggravate the deficit. Somehow, somewhere, there's an override mechanism that makes destroying Obamacare more important than destroying the deficit. If only one could figure out how it works.