Archive for December, 2008

Hey Kids, It’s Almost Time

December 24th, 2008
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If you can’t stand waiting for Santa to show up, here’s a few links to wile away the interminable wait until midnight:

If you are wondering where Santa is, don’t worry. Big Brother, who seem to have no currently pressing issues, are tracking Santa for you.

And while you are there, visit the North Pole, a great interactive place to play some Christmas games, including a Reindeer game or two.

No Christmas travelling is complete without a visit to the North Pole.

And no Christmas eve is complete without a little caroling.


In The Workhouse Christmas Day

December 24th, 2008
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This is the third annual annual At Home in Hespeler Dec. 24th gift for my friends of the left. (ribald version, here):

In The Workhouse Christmas Day, by George R. Sims

It is Christmas Day in the Workhouse,
And the cold bare walls are bright
With garlands of green and holly,
And the place is a pleasant sight:
For with clear-washed hands and faces
In a long and hungry line
The paupers sit at the tables,
For this is the hour they dine.

And the guardians and their ladies,
Although the wind is east,
Have come in their furs and wrappers,
To watch their charges feast:
To smile and be condescending,
Put puddings on pauper plates,
To be hosts at the workhouse banquet
They’ve paid for – with the rates.

Oh, the paupers are meek and lowly
With their ‘Thank’ee kindly, mum’s’;
So long as they fill their stomachs
What matters it whence it comes?
But one of the old men mutters,
And pushes his plate aside:
‘Great God!’ he cries; ‘but it chokes me!
For this is the day she died.’

The guardians gazed in horror
The master’s face went white;
‘Did a pauper refuse his pudding?’
‘Could their ears believe aright?’
Then the ladies clutched their husbands,
Thinking the man might die
Struck by a bolt, or something,
By the outraged One on high.

But the pauper sat for a moment,
Then rose ‘mid a silence grim,
For the others has ceased to chatter,
And trembled every limb.
He looked at the guardian’s ladies,
Then. eyeing their lords, he said,
‘I eat not the food of villains
Whose hands are foul and red:

‘Whose victims cry for vengeance
From their dank, unhallowed graves.’
‘He’s drunk!’ said the workhouse master.
‘Or else he’s mad, and raves.’
‘Not drunk or mad,’ cried the pauper,
‘But only a hunted beast,
Who, torn by the hounds and mangled,
Declines the vulture’s feast.

I care not a curse for the guardians,
And I won’t be dragged away.
Just let me have the fit out,
It’s only Christmas Day
That the black past comes to goad me,
And prey my burning brain;
I’ll tell you the rest in a whisper, –
I swear I won’t shout again.

‘Keep your hands off me, curse you!
Hear me right out to the end.
You come here to see how the paupers
The season of Christmas spend.
You come here to watch us feeding,
As they watch the captured beast.
Hear why a penniless pauper
Spits on your paltry feast.

‘Do you think I will take your bounty,
And let you smile and think
You’re doing a noble action
With the parish’s meat and drink?
Where is my wife, you traitors –
The poor old wife you slew?
Yes, by the God above us
My Nance was killed by you!

‘Last winter my wife lay dying,
Starved in a filthy den;
I had never been to the parish, –
I came to the parish then.
I swallowed my pride in coming,
For, ere the ruin came,
I held up my head as a trader,
And I bore a spotless name.

‘I came to the parish, craving
Bread for a starving wife,
Bread for a woman who’d loved me
Through fifty years of my life;
And what do you think they told me,
Mocking my awful grief?
That “the House” was open to us,
But they wouldn’t give “out relief”.

I slunk to the filthy alley –
‘Twas a cold, raw Christmas eve –
And the bakers’ shops were open
Tempting a man to thieve;
But I clenched my fists together
Holding my head awry,
So I came home empty-handed,
And mournfully told her why.

Then I told her “the House” was open;
She had heard of the ways of that,
For her bloodless cheeks went crimson,
And up in her rags she sat,
Crying, “Bide the Christmas here, John,
We’ve never had one apart;
I think I can bear the hunger, –
The other would break my heart.”

‘All through that ever I watched her,
Holding her hand in mine,
Praying the Lord, and weeping
Till my lips were salt as brine.
I asked her once if she hungered
And as she answered “No,”
The moon shone in at the wondow
Set in a wreath of snow

‘Then the room was bathed in glory,
And I saw in my darling’s eyes
The far-away look of wonder
That comes when the spirit flies;
And her lips were parched and parted,
And her reason came and went,
For she raved of her home in Devon,
Where her happiest days were spent.

‘And the accents, long forgotten,
Came back to the tongue once more,
For she talked like the country lassie
I woo’d by the Devon shore.
Then she rose to her feet and trembled,
And fell on the rags and moaned,
And, “Give me a crust – I’m famished –
For the love of God!” she groaned.

I rushed from the room like a madman,
And flew to the workhouse gate,
Crying “Food for a dying woman!”
And came the answer, “Too late.”
They drove me away with curses;
Then I fought with a dog in the street,
And tore from the mongrel’s clutches
A crust he was trying to eat.

‘Back, through the filthy by-lanes!
Back, through the trampled slush!
Up to the crazy garret,
Wrapped in an awful hush.
My heart sank down at the threshold,
And I paused with a sudden thrill,
For there in the silv’ry moonlight
My Nancy lay, cold and still.

‘Up to the blackened ceiling
The sunken eyes were cast –
I knew on those lips all bloodless
My name had been the last;
She’d called for her absent husband –
O God! had I but known! –
Had called in vain and in anguish
Had died in that den – alone.

‘Yes, there in a land of plenty
Lay a loving woman dead,
Cruelly starved and murdered
For a loaf of parish bread.
At yonder gate, last Christmas
I craved for a human life.
You, who would feast us paupers,
What of my murdered wife!

‘There, get ye gone to your dinners;
Don’t mind me in the least;
Think of your happy paupers
Eating your Christmas feast;
And when you recount their blessings
In your smug parochial way,
Say what you did for me, too,
Only last Christmas Day


A Cat’s Christmas: Day 4

December 24th, 2008
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One day a friend of mine says to me, “The wife wants me to create a web site for the cat. What am I supposed to put for content on a cat’s website?”

So I went off and wrote A Cat’s Christmas for him.

Other years I have offered a taste, and a link. This year I am going to present A Cat’s Christmas in a five part series, starting today and ending Christmas morning. Enjoy:

A Cat’s Christmas
By Button Noseworthy
Part 4

I slowly make my way down the stairs. It is dark and quiet. Christmas is over for another year and Chris and Janet are sitting on the couch drinking a glass of wine. I see space between them, not much just an inch or two, but it’s enough. I crawl between them and snuggle in, purring like an idling Honda. Chris reaches down and starts stroking my back, I let him, but only because it’s Christmas. Janet also starts petting me too, scratching under my chin. The tree still smells like a tree, giving the room a pine forest aroma. There is a fire on the fireplace that Santa came down last night. Somewhere in the background Christmas carols play, but quietly, nicely. This is nice, the Cat’s meow in fact.

I love Christmas!

Day One: Button and the Present
Day Two: Button Meets Santa
Day Three: Button Meets Santa

A Christmas Cat, Christmas

BBS Blogging Tories Site of the Week

December 24th, 2008
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The BBS Blogging Tories Site of the Week for the week of December 21st is:


ChuckerCanuck 2.0

Today’s Rebel Is A Conservative

This year’s Canadian Blog Awards has just finished and Chuckercanuck is already getting a start on the Best Blog Post Series for next year:

A Canadian Christmas Carol, Chapter 1

A Canadian Christmas Carol, Chapter 2

A Canadian Christmas Carol, Chapter 3

Blogging Tories Site of the Week

A Cat’s Christmas: Day 3

December 23rd, 2008

One day a friend of mine says to me, “The wife wants me to create a web site for the cat. What am I supposed to put for content on a cat’s website?”

So I went off and wrote A Cat’s Christmas for him.

Other years I have offered a taste, and a link. This year I am going to present A Cat’s Christmas in a four part series, starting today and ending Christmas Eve. Enjoy:

A Cat’s Christmas
By Button Noseworthy
Part 3

Chris is the first one up, and he wakes Janet immediately. “Merry Christmas honey,” he says and gives her a kiss.

“Merry Christmas” she says back. I walk between them, purring and rubbing my head on the bottom of Janet’s hand. “And Merry Christmas to you too Button” she says in her cute baby talk voice. The women is an accountant, you’d think she could talk to a cat without reducing herself to inanities. She can’t, however, and I have to take them as I find them. I purr an acknowledgement of the day and let her pet me for a minute.

We gradually make our way downstairs, and they head immediately for the stockings. I think I detect relief from Chris, no doubt he was expecting a potato or a lump of coal. He avoided that fate, however deserved I think it would have been, and happily digs into his treasure. Janet comes over a minute later with coffee for two and settles into her prize.

Once the stockings are exhausted and the coffee done, we go to the tree. Janet sits beside the tree and digs out a present for herself and one for Chris. I don’t want to miss any of the fun, so I settle myself on Janet’s lap, at least until there is some free wrapping paper I can play with. Soon, they are opening with vigour and I am playing merrily with a sheet of wrapping paper that has ribbon taped to it. It is then that I hear Janet say, “here’s something for Button. Chris, did you buy this for Button?”

“Yea right,” says Chris, “like I would actually buy the cat a Christmas present.”

“Then where did it come from?” says Janet “I didn’t buy it.” Santa’s parting words last night come back to me and I jump on to Janet’s lap. It is a plastic stocking with a toy mouse, a package of soft dry food, and a catnip ball, whatever that is. I don’t care what it is, I am the happiest Cat in town and I dive for my toys as soon as Janet gets them out of the stocking.

I leap on the mouse and start batting it around the room. Pouncing, jumping and whacking at it like I am playing a game. I chase it out of the room, and then back into the room. It bumps into the catnip ball and I pounce on the ball. Wait a minute, what’s that smell? Something smells incredible, a smell unlike anything I have ever smelt before. It’s definitely coming from the ball, and I grab the ball in my mouth to have a taste. Wow! This must be the catnip. This is incredibly, and I now chase the ball all around the room, grabbing it my mouth every chance I get.

Soon I am no longer Button the Cat. I am Queen Button the Lion. I climb to the top of the Christmas tree and wait for prey. It is not long before a warthog comes sauntering along. I wait patient and silent until he is in just the right spot. Claws out, teeth ready, I seize upon the warthog. Not a warthog! Chris!! Surprisingly, he acts like a wounded warthog and I find myself sliding across the floor of the room like a bowling ball. Good thing it’s a wood floor, carpet would burn. I jump to my feet and race into the kitchen where Janet is eating breakfast at the table. I jump up on to the table and slide across it, landing on the floor on the other side of the table. Now I could use some carpet.

I don’t know what’s going on, but I feel great. I run into the living room grab my ball and run upstairs, only falling twice, to chew on some more catnip. I leap up on the bed and … miss? I hit the side of the bed with some authority, and decide the floor is a good place for a nap, thank you very much.

Day One: Button and the Present
Day Two: Button Meets Santa

Tomorrow: Christmas Night

A Cat's Christmas, Christmas

Back to the Salt Mines

December 22nd, 2008

When I didn’t hear from the Prime Minister by the weekend, it was occurring to me that he was going to look elsewhere for Senate talent. Who would have thought the politician that owes the most to the blogging world, and the least to the traditional media, whom are always bitching how much he hates them, would put two members of the latter group in the senate? Seriously Prime Minister, your bread is buttered on the other side.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2008 Senate Appointments:

Mike Duffy, host of CTV’s Mike Duffy Live
Pamela Wallin, the former host of CTV’s Canada AM
Fabian Manning, Former Conservative MP
Fred Dickson, a lawyer
Stephen Green, a former chief of staff to Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald
Michael MacDonald, a Nova Scotia businessman
Percy Mockler, a former Conservative MLA in New Brunswick
John Wallace, a former Conservative party candidate and lawyer
Patrick Brazeau, the national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
Suzanne Fortin-Duplesis, a former MP for Louis-Hebert
Leo Housakos, the co-founder of the Montreal Hellenic Chamber of Commerce
Michel Rivard, a former MNA for Limoilou, Que.
Nicole Eaton, director and vice-chair of the National Ballet of Canada
Irving Gersetein, an Ontario business man and chair of the Conservative Fund of Canada
Nancy Green, an alpine skier
Yonah Martin, a former Conservative candidate in New Westminster-Coquitlam
Richard Neufeld, B.C.’s former minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Services
Hector Daniel Lang, a former Yukon MLA

At Home in the senate

A Cat’s Christmas: Day 2

December 22nd, 2008

One day a friend of mine says to me, “The wife wants me to create a web site for the cat. What am I supposed to put for content on a cat’s website?”

So I went off and wrote A Cat’s Christmas for him.

Other years I have offered a taste, and a link. This year I am going to present A Cat’s Christmas in a five part series, starting today and ending Christmas morning. Enjoy:

A Cat’s Christmas
By Button Noseworthy
Part 2

It’s Christmas Eve and the house is silent. What’s the poem say, “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”? I can personally attest to the fact there are no mice in this house, stirring or otherwise. The people are upstairs sleeping, visions of sugarplums no doubt dancing in their heads; I never could figure out what a sugarplum is or why it would be dancing. No dancing down here though, everything is quiet. Unlike other nights, however, it won’t stay quiet for long.

I do a quick circle of the main floor to make sure everything is in order. The outdoor lights are on so that Santa can find the house and the Christmas tree is left lit so Santa can find it in the dark easy enough, good. The stockings are hung by the chimney; as usual, however, there are only two stockings. But what about that ball that fell off the tree. Better see if I can fix that. Unfortunately, every time I try and lift the ornament it rolls away from me. Soon I am chasing it around the living room, batting at it with my paws and pouncing on it, batting and pouncing.
I don’t hear him come in, the first I realize I’m not alone in the room is when I hear him Laugh. “Oh, ho ho ho. Button, you are such fun,” says Santa. “I am glad to see you again.” By way of greeting I rub my head against his big black boot, and he reaches down and strokes me behind the ear. He immediately sets to his work, and before you know it Chris and Janet’s stockings are stuffed full. Silent as a cat, Santa walks to the tree and starts piling presents under it. On his way back to the chimney, he notices the milk, cookies and carrots that Janet left out.

“What’s this then?” he says, as he lifts a cookie to eat. A minute later the cookies are eaten and the glass of milk is half-empty. “I bet you wouldn’t mind a bit of this Button.” He pulls over the plate that only a minute before had held three big cookies and pours a bit of milk on to it. I quickly run to the plate and lap up the milk as fast as I can, purring my pleasure at developments. Santa laughs and re-fills the plate before leaving. “And don’t you worry Button, I didn’t forget you live here.”

I look up from my milk wondering what that means, but he is gone. I can hear him on the roof feeding the reindeer Janet’s carrots, and then he is off. The excitement is over and I go upstairs and make myself comfortable at the foot of the bed. Sleep, however, comes difficult as Santa’s parting words to me run through my head and I try to make sense of what they mean.

Day One: Button and the Present

Tomorrow: Button Meets Santa

A Cat's Christmas, Christmas

A Cat’s Christmas: Day 1

December 21st, 2008

One day a friend of mine says to me, “The wife wants me to create a web site for the cat. What am I supposed to put for content on a cat’s website?”

So I went off and wrote A Cat’s Christmas for him.

Other years I have offered a taste, and a link. This year I am going to present A Cat’s Christmas in a four part series, starting today and ending Christmas Eve. Enjoy:

A Cat’s Christmas
By Button Noseworthy
Part 1

“Button! Get out of that tree!”

That’s twice. And he’s walking this way. Chris. He’s not even my person, he’s Janet’s person, and Janet is mine. None the less, Chris is walking this way and the second time was louder than the first so I have to respond; I look at him like he’s grown an extra eye in the middle of his forehead.


That’s three and he’s almost at the tree. I jump down and run to the other side of the room. Stop. Lick my paw, just to show I didn’t get down because of any old person told me too. I got down because I had some dirt on my paw that had to be dealt with right away.

“Janet! Your stupid cat has been playing with the presents!”

Now this is a bit tricky, he wasn’t supposed to notice that. What do they expect though? Has he ever stuck a piece of thread in front of me that I don’t play with? They know my weaknesses. So now he wraps up presents and puts shiny ribbon around it, and I’m supposed to know it’s not for me? It’s probably better if I just leave, but with dignity. No running away, walk slow, tail in the air to let them know I’m appalled by the accusations being made against me. Some things must be done right; just as a ballerina must point her toes when doing a pirouette, a Cat must raise her tail when leaving a room amid accusations and slanders.

I walk slowly out of the room, stopping at my food dish. Empty! Who do these people think I am Gandhi? Not in this life, although maybe in my last life I was Gandhi or Mother Theresa or Elvis. How else do you explain that I am a Cat in this life? I give off an indignant meow to protest the service at this establishment, but the staff here could care less.

Chris goes running past with the present I had been playing with ten minutes ago, wrapping paper, ribbon and bow torn to shreds in his arm. He must be planning on re-wrapping that one; this could be fun. He’s taking it downstairs so I follow behind, stealthily so he doesn’t see me. He sits at a table and pulls out wrapping paper, new ribbon and a new bow. I want the ribbon, but timing is everything when you’re a Cat. I settle about two feet behind him and start licking my paws; it is most important to be cleaning, in case he notices me here. My attitude must be as if I am saying ‘I always come here to clean, and what are you doing here?’ Of course, we both know what he’s doing here; he’s re-wrapping Janet’s present and he’s just putting the tape on. That means the ribbon is next, so I move directly under his chair. He wraps it around once, then crosses the ribbon and wraps the other direction. Just as he’s about to tie it, I pounce. He never saw me of course, until I was on the present and grabbing at the ribbon. Grabbing and chewing furiously I completely ruin another wrap job for him before running back up stairs. He throws the roll of ribbon at me and yells “Button! You stupid cat!” The ribbon misses, but it’s close enough that I pounce on the end and roll downstairs, all the while fighting off the offending ribbon. Once at the bottom of the stairs I jump back up on the stairs, being sure to go around the balustrade at the bottom. Success! I have completely un-wrapped the roll of ribbon and it winds up and down the stairs looking like the stairs had been decorated for Christmas by a dog.

Chris’s yelling brings Janet to see what is all the fuss about, and finds that the fuss is her Cat is being cute and her person is allergic to cute. At least that’s how I explained it, but these simpletons can’t, or won’t speak Cat, thus I come off sounding much worse than I was. She’s sympathetic to me anyway, and says, “She’s just playing Chris.” She’s technically right of course but she’s made a minor error of distinction: She thinks I was playing with the ribbon, but I was, of course, toying with her person. I don’t bother sticking around to correct her impression and I’m certainly not helping to clean up the mess I’ve created, so I walk upstairs and take a comfortable spot under the tree for a nap.

I love Christmas!

Tomorrow, Button Meets Santa.

A Cat's Christmas, Christmas

A Chrsitmas Carol

December 20th, 2008
An annual repeat post from Dec 23rd, 2006. All links are still active:

The Sun and have produced a downloadable version of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. It is newly illustrated by the Sun’s Pam Davies and is in pdf format. The illustrations are quite nice, and it is a beautiful and clear copy of my favourite Christmas story.

Written in 1843, this Christmas classic is amongst Dickens best work. The first of five Christmas books Dickens would release between 1843 and 1848 (Christmas 1847 being the missing year), A Christmas Carol tells the story of the reclamation of the miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge. It was immediately popular, selling all 6,000 copies by Christmas 1843, having been released on December 19th.

Christmas was apparently in decline in the mid-1800’s, one description saying it “wasn’t commonly celebrated as a festive holiday.” A Christmas Carol is commonly acknowledged to have “helped revive popular interest in many Christmas traditions that are still practised today.” With Christmas seemingly under attack in our own time, it is a story we would all do well to read. And once done, be sure to employ some Dickensian traditions in your own Christmas. Me? I always fret about the quantity of flour in the Christmas pudding, never mind overdoing it on the rum punch (or as Bob Cratchit said, “I make rather merry”).

Most of all, enjoy. This is a great Christmas book, and yes Virginia, it is better than the movie. I especially recommend it to everyone who just isn’t in the spirit quite yet (don’t sweat it Joanne, Dickens was known to question the politicians in his time – some things never go out of style).

The Sun’s downloads are:


If you don’t like pdf files, an HTML version of the story (not the sun’s version) is available here (click on the book):

arley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don’t know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.

The mention of Marley’s funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate…

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dogdays; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.

External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often “came down” handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, “My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?” No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o’clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blind men’s dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, “No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!”

But what did Scrooge care? It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call “nuts” to Scrooge.

Once upon a time — of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve — old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already — it had not been light all day: and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale.

The door of Scrooge’s counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn’t replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed.

“A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!” cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge’s nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.

“Bah!” said Scrooge, “Humbug!”

He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge’s, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again.

“Christmas a humbug, uncle!” said Scrooge’s nephew. “You don’t mean that, I am sure.”

“I do,” said Scrooge. “Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.”

“Come, then,” returned the nephew gaily. “What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You’re rich enough.”

Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said “Bah!” again; and followed it up with “Humbug.”

“Don’t be cross, uncle!” said the nephew.

“What else can I be,” returned the uncle, “when I live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas! What’s Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in ’em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will,” said Scrooge indignantly, “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!”

“Uncle!” pleaded the nephew.

“Nephew!” returned the uncle, sternly, “keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.”

“Keep it!” repeated Scrooge’s nephew. “But you don’t keep it.”

“Let me leave it alone, then,” said Scrooge. “Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!”

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew. “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

The clerk in the tank involuntarily applauded: becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, he poked the fire, and extinguished the last frail spark for ever.

“Let me hear another sound from you,” said Scrooge, “and you’ll keep your Christmas by losing your situation. You’re quite a powerful speaker, sir,” he added, turning to his nephew. “I wonder you don’t go into Parliament.”

“Don’t be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with us tomorrow.”

Scrooge said that he would see him — yes, indeed he did. He went the whole length of the expression, and said that he would see him in that extremity first…

A Christmas Carol, Christmas

Happy 65th birthday…

December 18th, 2008
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It’s hard to imagine that Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards lived to 65, and it would be easy to fire off a cockroach and Keith Richards joke and call it a birthday greeting. But I’ll leave that to others.

It would be easy too, and entirely consistent with the tone of this blog, to comment on Keith Richards the guitar player. Maybe note that he is very underrated, talk about his use of open tunings, his sense of timing. But that’s not what I’m going to do.

All fun aside, when your feting Keith you have to discuss the body of work from 1971 to 1974 at the least, from Sticky Fingers to It’s Only Rock and Roll. Perhaps you could extend it backwards to 1969’s Let it Bleed or 1967’s Their Satanic Majesties Request or generously extend it forward to 1978’s Some Girls.

But I will stick with 1971 to 1974, when Keith Richards was the driving creative force behind some of the greatest Rock and Roll ever produced, at any time, by anybody. It’s for Gimme Shelter, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, It’s Only Rock and Roll, Angie, Wild Horses, Brown Sugar and Can’t You Hear Me Knocking to name a few. Great Rock and Roll that bears the creative imprint of Keith Richards more than any other person.

At Home in Hespeler wishes an unqualified happy 65th birthday to Keith Richards. However you got here, enjoy the day and thanks for the music.

Birthday Wishes, Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin', Thank God I Wasn't Born a Rap Fan

Christmas Dog

December 18th, 2008
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Work is done for the year and I’m in the middle of my Christmas postings. Today, here’s an old favourite from children’s author, songwriter and poet Shel Silverstein. I first saw this one about ten years ago, and have always remembered it.

Christmas Dog
Shel Silverstein

Tonight’s my first night
as a watchdog,
And here it is Christmas
The children are
sleeping all cozy
while I’m guardin’ the
stockin’s and tree.

What’s that now—

footsteps on the
Could it be a cat or a
Who’s this down the
A thief with a beard—
And a big sack for
robbin’ the house?

I’m barkin’, I’m
growlin’, I’m bitin’ his
He howls and jumps
back in his sleigh.
I scare his strange
horses, they leap in the
I’ve frightened the
whole bunch away.

Now the house is all
peaceful and quiet
The stockin’s are safe
as can be.
Won’t the kiddies be
glad when they wake up
And see how I’ve
guarded the tree.


Life is Like the Big Leagues

December 17th, 2008
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… if you want to survive here, you have to learn how to handle the curve ball.

Other than that bit of nit-pickery, this is my favourite Canadian Christmas Song (Yes, even more than Honky The Christmas Goose). A nice message and three top notch musicians, Murray McLaughlin, Paul Hyde and Tom Cochrane. Great stuff.


Comment Away

December 17th, 2008
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I hesitate. Yet I can’t not do it. It came to my attention today that commenting was a problem for some people. I find comment moderation, commenting permission &tc. to be a tricky juggling act, and I’m always playing with it.

As of now, comments are wide open, and unmoderated. However, I have reservations about this. I don’t like moderating because I’m often away for long stretches of time – what with having a job and all. It kills the conversation if comments don’t appear for 10 hours. So unmoderated it is.

I’m less pleased with the idea of unregistered users. But it appears it prevents some people from commenting at all, and that’s no good. So I will try it.

I offer this warning once. Anyone who comments anonymously, and just shoots off a smart ass remark, calls people stupid, &tc. will be deleted. No questions asked! I don’t like it, and it won’t do. Any racist comments of any kind will be similarly deleted.

OK Ron, comment away.

Blog Administration

Why Stephen Harper Should Want Me in the Senate

December 17th, 2008
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Last night I posted that the effects changes to Employment Insurance in the mid-90’s had a dramatic cost on the auto Industry, the payments for which have now come due. Mere hours later, The National Post hit the street with a front page comment by John Ivison that expands on my thesis.

Significantly about federal government plans to add stimulus through the EI system, Ivison notes:

…he expects the government to create a more level playing field across the country when it comes to who qualifies for EI, so that an unemployed auto worker in Southern Ontario can access the same amount of benefit, for the same length of time, as an unemployed fisherman in Newfoundland. At the moment, Ontario workers are disadvantaged when it comes to coverage and benefit period.

Lets be clear, when Ivison talks about Ontario workers, he means the auto industry.

Now here’s what I had to say on EI, just last evening:

Paul Martin balanced the budget in part… on the back of the auto companies, who every party now seems to agree need a bailout…

When Stephen Harper sits down to sort out the EI mess that Paul Martin & The Supremes have just handed him, and Jack Layton calls him to ask what he’s doing about the auto jobs, he should look at the changes made to EI that affect the auto companies and consider undoing them.

So you see Mr. Harper, I write tomorrow’s headlines, today. The perfect candidate for team Harper up in Ottawa. Why would you give a red velvet seat to some Toronto Red Tory?

Auto Industry, National Post, The Media Following My Lead.

BBS Blogging Tories Site of the Week

December 17th, 2008
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The Blue Blogging Soapbox Blogging Tories Site of the Week for December 14th is:


Fuschi’s Canadian Forum

“They that can give up essential liberty to gain a little safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

My friend Rick with his pitch for a Senate seat.

Further let me identify some advantages inherent to my candidacy. I do not own a Mexican villa and will not be able to identify its upkeep as a necessary reason to avoid Senate meetings. I am not a hockey player. Aside from a temporary bout of Trudeaumania, have never exhibited any of the characteristic ravings of a liberal. Also, my selection to the Senate will insert a Conservative federal representative into Windsor’s back door – a door to which the local union-sponsored monopoly on parliamentary representation, does not have a key. Hence we would have a Conservative spokesman to offset the drivel flow of misinformation from Windsor’s NDP MPs.

Blogging Tories Site of the Week