Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 22, 2007

Presents

No real post today as I'm busy building a race car. A present for a dear friend of mine. Like usual, the bricolage takes longer than expected.

Thereafter a USB-memory stick will have to be dismantled and then fitted into a Lego brick. Actally two of those, in his/her colors. Should I put music on them?

That will be all.

Oh, you want to read some serious stuff? Take a look at the London Review of Books. On the Credit Crunch includes some perspective on the London City and London's rotten housing market.

‘So we’ll have to stop running around spending money like drunken sailors,’ I said. ‘Well, drunk sailors tend to be spending their own money,’ Tony said. ‘By contemporary standards they’re quite prudent.

Or a Diary from Afghanistan, from the last issue, Tarik Ali on the Bhuttos.

Then again, lets talk about presents.

What do you give? What do you get, or don't? How do you feel about it/them?

Posted by b on December 22, 2007 at 03:15 PM | Permalink

Comments

Sinking into the dark of the Winter Solstice is, for me, the most dramatic and gorgeous moment during our orbit around the sun, made especially thrilling by the nature of the light in Hamburg outside our southeast windows giving a view of green lawn, bare burgundy branches, vanilla grey trifle layered sky fanned with black tree limbs. A lover of Handel opera and oratorios, I this year didn't even want to disturb the dying light with music. I am grateful to be alive, to have a glimpse of the magnificence of the universe, the comfort of a spouse and all the voices I listen to daily on this site.

Posted by: Hamburger | Dec 22, 2007 4:44:55 PM | 1

Merry Christmas, Bernard, from a faithful reader in Hong Kong. Here the day is overcast and I find it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit, despite omnipresent decorations - the entrance of my apartement building features at least ten different items, including a big decorated tree. Then there is music, the cookies, including Vanillekipferl, made by my cook, the large Xmas flowers sent by a friend, etc.

It is the custom here to send hampers of overpriced goodies to your business connections, I got one from my landlord, for instance. On the huge rent I pay, he can certainly afford it. - My family is in Europe, I have sent small packages with gifts like necklaces, books, CDs, well in time, mostly just to show I am thinking of them, and money to the younger generation. I plan to spend the holidays with dinners, concerts, lunches with good friends, so it promises to be quite a pleasant time. And I have the Internet, over a hundred books yet to read, movies, etc......no chance of boredom, at least.

Posted by: Marianne | Dec 22, 2007 8:58:28 PM | 2

Christmas was getting to be rather boring as an adult, too much to eat & drink, too much time to brood.

Then we had kids, and it is fun again. It helps that they are still at an age where they are not demanding brand names and what-everybody-else-is-getting.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Dec 23, 2007 4:09:32 AM | 3

The wife and I don't exchange gifts with anyone, including each other. Not to say we don't ever buy surprises for each other, just that we don't require a birthday or xmas to do so. We do buy treats and toys for our three dogs that we wrap and put under the tree on xmas eve.

Posted by: ran | Dec 23, 2007 8:45:19 AM | 4

i made most of my gifts as usual. it is a tradition in my family. however yesterday i had a little kiln mishap so today i am forging out into the madness to acquire some gifts. last night i went grocery shopping for christmas dinner @10 o'clock. it was not so bad.

i like the time of year from my view of the season at my little abode. watching the leaves turn, yesterday i raked. it is really beautiful here.. if you don't head east. a couple blocks away the madness starts. but going west it is one long gorgeous road to the coast w/little sign of christmas hustle.

we have house guests. fires in the fireplace and music. its nice.

be happy.

i always think about those suffering elsewhere, especially the orphans who have no parents to hold them and love them. more than anything i say prayers for them and hope at least they are warm and not hungry.

Posted by: annie | Dec 23, 2007 2:16:43 PM | 5

My parents and siblings have cut way back on gifting over the years, and I sometimes send nothing. Usually it's a box of something edible--fresh fruit, honey-baked ham (I guess I forgot to tell them I'm trying to eat much less meat). This year I sent everyone a small tin of cheese and a note that I had made a contribution to Heifer International.

I'm spending time with friends, boxing up clothes and books to donate to Goodwill on Boxing Day, meditating on what I want to do with my life in the coming year. I celebrated the solstice with a magnificent sunny day of skiing on Mt. Bachelor in central Oregon, beautiful views of the snow-covered volcanic peaks up and down the Cascade range.

Posted by: catlady | Dec 23, 2007 2:39:59 PM | 6

Dear Bernhard,

wuensche Dir and everybody else here at the Moon frohe Weihnachten. You people have been and are a fountain of news and insights. Should for one reason or another I'm unable to read MoA I feel somewhat misinformed. So a heartfelt thanx to you all for being who you are and sharing your interpretations of things, and to B in particular for providing this hang out.

Happy Festive Days

Juan

Posted by: Juan Moment | Dec 24, 2007 6:48:15 AM | 7

presents? bah humbug! this year i am giving sigg bottles. i so dislike the cycle of expectation and disappointment forced upon us in the u.s. by our corporate culture, and worse the pile of wrapping paper sent to the landfills. but i do enjoy seeing family and sharing in good food and wine, and the dog is snoozing beside me recovering from our walk in the snow covered woods. this year we celebrate my step-brother's engagement to a woman we have long adored, a change in ownership at the winery where my brother-in-law is the wine-maker/general manager and which will most likely include him as a junior partner, and my younger brother's successful semester at school (all As). i will smile and toast them all, but truthfully i will be quiet inside as i remember the man who was everything to me and his family who suddenly left us all christmas day last year. enjoy your time with those who treasure for you never know when they will be taken from you.

Posted by: conchita | Dec 24, 2007 6:31:33 PM | 8

Merry Christmas to all.

As far as presents go, my wife and I sort of skipped the routine this year also except for her folks and my Mother, and an elderly neighbor who had some misfortune lately.

We have a fire going tonight and are just taking it easy. Looking forward to another year of learning and sharing at the University of MOA! Thanks to all again.

Posted by: Rick | Dec 24, 2007 7:28:33 PM | 9

amité, force & tendresse to all here - especially you rick but eveyone including the captain, knows. my gift, is to try to treat myself more gently & & treat the enemy much harder

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 24, 2007 10:20:10 PM | 10

& to remind us of the quantitatve differences between us - if you imagine me trying to do what b does with cranes, with lego - with bricolage - it would truly be a catastrophe to behold & would necessarily be regarded as a public danger

even with language - i imagine myself as a teacher at the abu abbas academy or at the archange musée des beaux arts plastiquée

still steel, comrades

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 24, 2007 10:25:36 PM | 11

a wish for happy holiday season to those who celebrate. just finishing wrapping up a few items for the younger relations, gifts that stimulate their young minds & hopefully offer insight on how to fully use them - usually books & fetishes ;-)

peace all

Posted by: b real | Dec 25, 2007 12:24:52 AM | 12

good morning all. wishing everyone a day of peace.

Posted by: annie | Dec 25, 2007 11:16:13 AM | 13

I managed to glom onto someone's wireless signal while visiting this morning and so I can write and send wishes for peace and happiness.

A very small scaled down Christmas. On a sad note, in the early hours of this day we lost a treasure and a dear four legged friend.

Thank all of you always for your beautiful words [Hamburger] and b for the place to record them.

Posted by: beq | Dec 25, 2007 11:35:04 AM | 14

So as I left the gas station tonight, the clerk said "Merry Christmas". I'm not (really) sure what he was talking about. Because, no one ever says "merry" about anything else, like have a merry time, or merry day, or even merry holiday. Come to think about it, I can't remember the last time I heard somebody say "merry" anything, except in connection to Christmas. So I guess "merry" is suppose to only apply to Christmas - something about Christmas is suppose to be "merry", but nothing else qualifies in distinction, as in the sense of have a "happy" new year, or birthday. You might think then that "merry" in definition is only intrinsically connected to Christmas, but no, the dictionary definition of merry is:
1. Full of high-spirited gaiety; jolly.
2. Marked by or offering fun and gaiety; festive: a merry evening.
3. Archaic. Delightful; entertaining.
4. Brisk: a merry pace.

Not exactly anything sacred there, or special to Christ-mas. So whats the deal? Why has the word merry been enslaved to exclusive usage for one religious holiday a year, and its generic usage rendered odd, and in spite of the fact we all know its real meaning, but yet refuse to use it as such? And you know, you too - haven't used the word merry outside of Christmas now have you?

My own personal (war on the war on Christmas) conspiracy theory about this particular minutia begins with the "war on Christmas" propaganda started in the wingnut sphere. Supposedly, that people (of the left wing variety) are trying to get people to stop using the phrase "Merry Christmas" and substitute the phrase "Happy Holidays" instead. That somehow its the liberal left that is trying to delegitimize the sacred birth of Christ holiday. However, according to http://crockheadabroad.blogspot.com/2006/12/ask-aunt-tillie-do-amish-celebrate.html>Amish Aunt Tilly Amish Christians do not really "celebrate" Christmas (or Santa Clause, or trees with lights for that matter), but rather "observe" it. Which is of course, a far cry from "Merry Christmas" in the conventional American sense of the phrase. Seeing that both words Merry and Christmas, like so many other American religious observations have evolved so far from their original ritual content and into a virtual dead language iconographical reconstructions dedicated to totemic commercialism - as to become devoid of secular content. And instead have become replicated icons that people acknowledge to one another as tacit unacknowledged but mutual subserviance to something else altogether. The non-negotiable American way of life. Thats what fighting against the so called "war on Christmas" is all about - to keep the meaningless "merry" in the the reformulated (and equally meaningless) notion of "Christmas" intact.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 26, 2007 4:48:10 AM | 15

beq,

my sympathies to you for your four-legged friend... I understand...

Posted by: OkieByAccident | Dec 26, 2007 1:36:54 PM | 16

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