I’m proud to say that in 2017, I did:

  • The Alligator
  • The Pony
  • The Tighten Up
  • Mickey’s Monkey
  • The Humpty Dance

and of course

  • The Twist

Feel free to nominate me for any awards you can think of.  None will ever be more of an honor than “Employee of the Month, Dead Bird, Iowa A&W Stand, September 1970.”

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Rudolph smashed the bottle against the icy cold wall of his studio, showering the cognac across the blank canvases propped nearby.

“Damn Santa!” he screamed at his guests. “Damn him and his stultifying, bourgeois ideas of art. He’s holding us back this Christmas!”

The reindeer picked up a hand mirror topped with lines of snow and snorted them up in one breath. His red nose glowed with new energy.

Yukon Hemingway, the grizzled prospector and author of the short story collection Snowmen Without Snowwomen, snatched up another cognac bottle to save it from Rudolph’s ravages—and then, to make doubly sure its contents were safe, deposited them in his belly.

“Your art will never win acceptance by Santa and his Académie Pôle Nord. Why keep trying?”

“Because those accepted by Santa get their artworks distributed across the world by Santa on Christmas Eve!” Rudolph ranted. “They are seen by millions! The very course of art itself feels the effect! I must have that power!”

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Jesus did not have an Immaculate Conception. Jesus had a Virgin Birth. Do not refer to the Immaculate Conception of Jesus.

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception refers to the birth of Mary. It is the idea that while Mary was conceived in the normal fashion, through sexual intercourse, God shielded her from the inheritance of Original Sin. The effect was purely metaphysical. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is held only by the Roman Catholic Church; it is not accepted by any other Christian denomination.

The doctrine of the Virgin Birth refers to the birth of Jesus. It is the idea that Jesus was conceived without sexual intercourse, by the work of the Holy Spirit. The effect was physical. The doctrine of the Virgin Birth is held by all Christian denominations, although not necessarily by all individual Christians.

I have seen this error many times. I think it’s because “Virgin Birth” is a short, unimpressive phrase, and when folks want to sound highfalutin’, they gravitate toward the polysyllabic rolling cadence of “Immaculate Conception.” But it’s inaccurate. Even if one doesn’t believe in either idea, one has a responsibility to at least understand what they are.

 

 

Welcome to my Christmas song
I’d like to thank you for the year

I somehow never heard Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas” before 2014. I don’t know how I missed it for forty Christmases. When I finally did, it came as this lovely discovery of middle age. It’s such a happy song, with a vision of the season, wry and sincere at the same time, relishing the past and looking forward to the future. When the ad nauseum Christmas music radio stations play it, I turn it up. I love that song.

What could this awesome song have been like in context? When was it was first released?

“Step Into Christmas” was released in the Christmas season of 1973.

Oh.

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In our time, to be one who  “stands athwart history, yelling Stop” is to be doomed to perpetual disappointment. In the Unprecedented Era, change is a constant. The only way to stop one track of change is by forming another, so if one manages to stop Change X, it will cause Change Y. Either way, change wins.

The only way conservatism has managed to achieve any victories in the Era is by allying itself with capitalism. But capitalism is a fearsome champion of change, a universal solvent. No past can maintain itself where capitalism prowls. A fire might as well try to win by allying itself with the ocean. Thus the conservative becomes a tool of his own disappointment.