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So many years Chanukah and Christmas do not overlap, but this year in 2012 they do. The 6th night of Chanukah falls on Christmas day and I love it when they merge.
What better way to celebrate everything Christmas and Chanukah is supposed to be about then with a day of Cranukah?!
After all, Jesus was Jewish.
Chanukah or shall I say Hanukkah, (both correct I believe) is the festival of lights, the eight-day holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem,
is a time of celebration. It is a time of family and gift giving, good-deed giving, love and kindness and a good excuse to eat lots and lots of Latkes. Delicious although I have come to understand slightly constipating. Do chase with a lot of applesauce and a prune.
Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of Christ is also a time of celebration of family, of love, of kind-ness, of gift-giving of good-deed giving and really honeys Christmas in New York City is the only time of year when New Yorkers really will slow down long enough to smell the roses, well hmmm at least the pine-needles of all those Christmas trees for sale on every other block!
And yes, it would be nice if the Christmas season could be a tad less commercial and a whole lot more about good-ness but ya know at least most folks get the holiday spirit.
Growing up I always felt left out of Christmas. Most of the folks in my home towns (we moved a lot) were having grand Christmas eve parties and waking up to a bounty of gifts on Christmas day, then celebrating all day long. All the movies and the Charlie Brown cartoons were dedicated to Christmas too.
There we were, eights days of sitting around the dinette set while my mother handed us gifts, 3 out of five were socks,generic shampoo and school note-pads, really my dears the kinds of things parents are supposed to give their kids anyway, not make gifts out of. Then owing to the Grants-going-out-of-business sale, we’d get the dolls. Oh they might have a broken arm or an ink mark on their cheek, but they’d been purchased for pennies on the dollar.
“They’re almost as good as new as you get three dolls instead of one for the same price!” Mom would shriek delighted.
I would think of my school pals opening up packages including brand-new, full priced top-of-the-line dolls, everything on their Santa wish list, while they drank hot apple cider or egg nog and ate warm cinnamon buns. We were drinking diet-right cola in paper cups and eating stale matzo with peanut butter on it. NOT FAIR, NOT FAIR!
One year I wrote a Santa Wish list too. I only put one thing on it. GET ME OUT OF HERE!
After I moved out (escaped) I had Christian girlfriends and room-mates and sometimes Christmas trees in the apartments I lived in. One year, in my 6th-floor-walk-up pre-war apartment in the west village, my roommate Terry spun gold tinsel around the small Christmas tree in the living room. When we shut out the lights, it twinkled and blinked in glory and was a beauty to behold! But it didn’t feel right to me. I kept thinking a bolt of lighting would come thru the window and strike me down, not from g-d, no g-d is a loving merciful being who loves people of all religions equally, I hope. No the bolt of lighting would come from a far more frightening being…..my mother.
The next morning the gold tinsel was gone! We looked everywhere and it was nowhere to be found. Terry was bewildered. I was terrified! Had Harriet (my mom) broken in and stolen the tinsel? Would I find tiny star-of-David’s sprinkled on the linoleum?!
A few hours later the mystery was solved. JD, the black longhaired cat I’d rescued from the ASPCA a year earlier, let out a cry as he came darting away from the litter box. As he ran across the living room, I noticed a foot of gold tinsel trailing out of his ass.
I called the vet. “Don’t pull it whatever you do! Just keep snipping it off with scissors. It will work it’s way out!” the vet replied. “Whatever you do, just don’t pull!”
Many cuttings, and one horrified cat later, the tinsel was fully pooped. JD avoided the tree ever after and I never looked at tinsel quite the same way again.
These days I am tree-less and cat-less, JD and my tabby Lu Lu are in kitty heaven, where they can eat all the tuna coated tinsel they want poop free.
This Christmas I am sitting in front of the fire with my sweetie, an Italian Catholic beauty from Bensonhurst. We are listening to Christmas music on the classical station and eating oatmeal. I am willing to get her a tree if she so chooses especially now, that they will probably be half-off or perhaps even free. I am my mother’s daughter after all. But mostly, I think right here and now, looking at the menorah on the fireplace mantel, listening to the violins of the gorgeous Christmas classics on the radio and watching this kind lovely woman stare at the fire in delight that the holiday season whatever you believe in, is really just about love. However you slice it, dice it or splice it. I’m fairly sure Harriet who is now in Jewish mama heaven where you can buy anything, anytime, 50% off, doesn’t care whether or not I have a tree anymore, only that I’m happy.
Mom, I’m working on it, but I’m Jewish after all and we have to have something to complain about. Kvetching is how we breathe, but yeah aside from a strained back, a slight sore-throat, a mild head-ache, a few friends who don’t appreciate me and a fear of Al Pacino’s hair, I’m happy mom, I really am.
Here’s hoping, you all find joy on this day, Merry Cranukah to all and to all a good night.
December 25, 2011
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Almost Nine years later, the last American troops, prepared to leave Iraq
How did they feel that morning, putting on their uniforms, getting in their vehicles, going through one last march, the last march before leaving the war zone that had been home?
800 plus billion dollars spent, 4,487 American lives lost, over a hundred thousand Iraqi lives lost, years and years of war.
All those families knowing that finally their son, husband, brother, father, mother, daughter, wife, friend is coming home.
All those families who found out quite the opposite, or who opened their arms to their loved one and found a person very different then the one who had left, crippled in the body, in the heart, in the mind or all of the above.
The only rejoice war ever really offers is it’s ending.
Did we win?
Well certainly we took out Saddam Hussein, a terrible monster and dictator if ever there was one, but the reason Cheney and Bush led us to war, the weapons of mass destruction were a lie and neither man (monster) was ever brought to justice on this lie. Thousands of lives were lost on this lie.
But America is the good guy. We are supposed to stick up for the little guy and take out the bullies.
But we were shoved into a war with no exit.
If you ask the Iraqis you will get mixed answers about their feelings about our leaving. Many felt we were bullies and occupiers and are rejoicing at our exit, many are frightened about the future and are angry that we left them with a broken country filled with widows and orphans. Many are grateful to us for taking out Saddam but felt the war simply went on too long.
Oh how grand we were in 2003 “Shock and Awe” was the avalanche of thunder and missiles George Bush Junior sent to Iraq and we watched it live from our televisions. The first real fully covered live war in Technicolor! How brave we were, how strong, how masterful.
But then what…the war dragged on, the weapons never appeared, the baby bush and his war monster Cheney blamed everyone but themselves and quickly switched the PR machine away form weapons of mass destruction to saving this country, protecting the innocent, making Iraq a safer place for democracy.
This was the largest troop withdrawal since Vietnam. I wonder how different and how similar it felt, these two wars to the people leaving them.. On their way home were they wondering if we won, wondering exactly why we were there?
Do they wonder just what they are leaving behind?
What will happen to Iraq now?
Obama kept his promise and took us out of the war Bush Junior dragged us into.
Did we stay too long, did we not stay long enough? That’s an argument that the politicians will make for years to come.
Was it worth it? Iraq certainly does not seem ready to stand on its own two feet. With political infighting galore. After the dust settles will a democracy stand?
1.5 million Americans served their nation in this war. I am quite sure none of them wounded, killed or not is the same person they were when they left America.
I don’t know if years from now we will say it was worth it or if that it was a tragic waste of human life.
What I do know is this.
Regardless of whether or not we should have been in Iraq, or how long, every one of those 1.5 million men and women we sent there is a hero.
They did not ask why, but rushed to defend our country when asked.
I can only say this to those men and women today
thank you for your courage and your loss
I hope you find peace from this point on
I hope we all do
Happy, happy holidays to you all
December 18, 2011
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I rarely like new talent when it comes to music. I think the last great band I loved was U2. I am a late 70’s early 80’s rock, punk and new wave lover thru and thru. Give me some Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, Blondie, Joan Jett or Patti Smith and I’m just pleased as punch, but I have to say I am loving, loving,, loving, Lady Gaga.
I think it was “Born this Way” her tribute to the gay community and a torch song for gay teens to NOT give up, NOT kill themselves and know that they are great and gorgeous just as they are, that really made me start to dig her.
She’s a singer and a dancer but more of a New York performance artist who proudly gives homage to all those she has learned from, clearly ( I MEAN CLEARLY) Madonna being one of them.
She’s a freak and I love a freak, but it’s her constant stand against bullying that has really won my heart.
And now she’s offered her help with the Obama administration’s anti-bullying campaign.
The lady is becoming a role model. She openly admits to being bullied as a kid and now burns to help others. Her message is simple. You can be different and you can be glorious! LOOK AT ME!
Oh my darlings it is time. I have often said, that even though I have lived in neighborhoods so dangerous that you could be killed in broad daylight quite easily, experienced many crimes, by many people, some of the cruelest acts I have ever experienced were done by kids in the 7th and 8th grade.
I don’t think very many teens read my blog, but their parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, neighbors and teachers might.
So it is to you that I ask, I beg and I demand “do what you can to put a stop to bullying!” SAVE OUR KIDS!
As a teen punk-rocker in a super uptight, super white, right wing, little town, where you could be run out of town, for having pink hair or being gay, or dating someone black if you were white, and honey I was all of the above and more, I know all about fighting back.
I’m still fighting.
Sometimes I feel like I’m winning, but every time I see another headline of a teen suicide due to bullying it’s a black stamp on my heart and on all our hearts.
teach the kids around you to not bully others and if they are being bullied teach them just how special and wonderful they really are.
and to the lady gaga
well honey all i can say is ROCK ON!
December 8, 2011