Believe it or not Christmas is just around the bend!
"Bing's first one-hour Christmas Special for TV was broadcast on ABC on Dec. 11, 1961. Filmed on location, Bing wanders the streets of London encountering Terry Thomas, Marion Ryan, Dave King, Shirley Bassey and British street musicians, plus Bob Hope (in drag) who was in London to film "Road to Hong Kong." With original commercials. This excerpt includes the opening, Bob Hope sequence and closing Christmas song, the only one in the show. It was the first time Bing sang WHITE CHRISTMAS on TV, although the song and Bing on TV were already Christmas traditions from yearly showings of Holiday Inn and White Christmas. "
Artist Toby Atticus Fraley wrote in to share his latest project with us – a crowdfunded exhibit that is open in Pittsburg International Airport called Fraley’s Robot Repair. Here’s some more information from pitairport.com:
Story From Pioneer Days Illustrates The True Christmas Spirit!
Christmas Eve 1881 (Author Unknown)
"Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving."
"It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. "
"After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity. Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what." (CONTINUE)
"Many years ago, when the twentieth century and I were young, my father was pastor of the small Baptist church in Eatonton, the central Georgia birthplace of Joel Chandler Harris, creator of the legendary "Uncle Remus." Vile loved the town and the people, but Papa's salary of a hundred dollars a month was stretched past the breaking point for our family. We would have found it even harder to get by if Papa's brother Robert hadn't always sent us a five hundred dollar check on the first of December. In fact, all year we looked forward to that extra income."
"A small part of that windfall was always allocated for each of us at Christmas, and for weeks we planned what we most wanted to buy with our share."
"My seventh Christmas is the one I remember best. Uncle Robert's letter arrived on schedule. In our usual ritual. Mama and we children gathered around Papa's chair in the kitchen as he opened the envelope. But this time all was not as usual. Papa caught his breath quickly, then read in a shaky voice: " 'Dear George, It seems to me such an impersonal thing just to mail you a check at Christmas, so I'm sending gifts this year which I hope you will all enjoy. Love, Robert.' "
"Papa hid the dismay he must have been feeling. Mama couldn't help crying. Papa had a childlike faith in God to provide for his needs; oftener than not, God's provision was Mama. It was her worried-but expert management that helped answer his prayers. Now even she was helpless."
"The box with Uncle Robert's gifts arrived. We left it sealed and carried it into the parlor. For days we talked about what our gifts might be, and on Christmas morning we opened the box with unbridled hopes."
"Alas, our hopes were quickly dashed! The expensive, handsome gifts each and all missed the mark. I was a tomboy and I craved a pair of bloomers-that daring garment introduced by the suffragettes. My gift was a doll. A sissy one. Pudgy young Rob, marbles champ of the fifth grade, got a telescope."
"Papa had set his heart on new baptismal boots; his gift was a leisure jacket-and that was sad, because leisure was the one thing he had less of than money."
"Mama's gift was a shocker. She wanted one of the new electric motors for her sewing machine so she wouldn't have to power it with her foot. Her gift was a big, gleaming, super-elegant alligator handbag. Even I could see that she would look strange with a bag like the one the banker's wife carried to church."
"When the last present had been opened we sat with the gifts in our laps and bright wrappings around us, too stunned to speak. Finally Papa rose to his feet."
"Fannie, children," he said gently, "I'm sure we each feel that Uncle Robert hasn't understood our needs and wishes this Christmas, that he's disappointed us. But I'm afraid we are the ones who don't understand. As we all know, my brother is a bachelor. He's not blessed as we are with Mother and with one another at Christmas each year. I'm sure he must feel lonely at such a time, but he's gone shopping for us this year, tried to imagine what he would want for Christmas if he were a merry ten-year-old like Grace or a middle-aged parson like me. He has given from the heart."
"If we find our gifts a little apart from our usual interests, we can also find that they open new doors." Leading the way, he slipped the brocaded jacket over his faded sweater. "My leisure coat will inspire me to take more time away from my busy schedule."
"He suggested to us one by one how the gifts could bring a positive change to our lives. "Mildred's doll can lead her, we hope, to an interest in the domestic arts she'll need when her tree-climbing days are over. Rob's telescope can lift his eyes out of the playground sand for a look at the stars now and then."
"And turning to Mama, "Fannie dear, I'm sure you'll find your magnificent bag a welcome touch of elegance in what I'm afraid is a pretty dreary wardrobe."
"Each of us began to see our gifts and their giver with fresh vision. Love came into the room as an almost visible presence."
"Mama began exploring the alligator bag and describing its wonders. "There's a green suede lining and a little amber comb. Even a secret pocket with a snap!" She reached in a finger and drew out a bit of paper. It was crisp, folded and green. It was the five hundred dollar check!"
"Then Papa's voice rose in rich cadence, firm as if he'd been fully expecting a miracle. "Praise God from whom all blessings flow!" And we all joined in."
Ella Wheeler Wilcox, “The Year” (1910)
"If there is a New Year's Eve poem worth putting to memory, it is Ella Wheeler Wilcox's "The Year." This short and rhythmical poem sums up everything we experience with the passing of each year and it rolls off the tongue when recited."
What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?
The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.
We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.
We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.
We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.
We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.
"If you get the opportunity, read Wilcox's “New Year: A Dialogue.” Written in 1909, it is a fantastic dialogue between 'Mortal' and 'The New Year' in which the latter knocks on the door with offers of good cheer, hope, success, health, and love."
"The reluctant and downcast mortal is finally lured in. It is a brilliant commentary on how the new year often revives us even though it is just another day on the calendar."
I just learned today that there are two Kansas Cities.........
"There are two cities in the United States named Kansas City. Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO) was incorporated in 1852, and Kansas City, Kansas (KCK) was incorporated 20 years later. Kansas City is not a bi-state city that grew past its borders like St Louis or Louisville, it is two separate cities that share a border."
Clint Eastwood Drives a GMC Typhoon.....around the bend!
Fallon said that many people probably imagined him driving a! muscle car, which I think sounds about right. Eastwood seems like an AMX sort of guy to me, someone that won't take no shit from nobody.
But Eastwood doesn't drive a muscle car. He drives a truck that's faster than a Ferrari: The GMC Typhoon. When we tested the Typhoonwayyyyy back in 1992, it got to 60 in 5.6 seconds and ran the 1/4 mile in 14.3 seconds. Maybe not fast by today's standards, but in the early 1990s that was a scorching time for anything, let alone a small SUV.
It's the perfect choice for Eastwood: Something that's distinctly American that can knock the socks off of almost anything from other countries. Fantastic.