Happy Christmas.

Another pop-in to wish everyone a merry Christmas, what’s left of it anyway, and recommend two pieces from today’s NYT.

The first, a piece on the Hoosier state’s conundrum as it pushes forward with an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment in the face of prevailing social winds.

The second, on Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish, my new role model, an Alvin Ailey alumnus nearly my own age, already in possession of an artificial hip but lacking both anterior cruciate ligaments, going back out there, on stage, to take another swing at her art:

And no, she said, she cannot do it exactly the same way she did when she was young: when she arches her back toward the floor while balancing on one leg and extending the other high into the air in one especially hard movement, for instance, she cannot bend back as far as she once did. “Alvin always said, ‘Ponytail to the floor,’ ” she said. “That’s not going to happen.”

She added: “When you’re younger, you have everything — you have the flexibility, you have no fear. But you don’t savor every step, every movement of every fingertip, every beat of the music. I feel like I’m tasting food for the first time.”

Atta girl.

Posted at 3:57 pm in Current events |

27 responses to “Happy Christmas.”

  1. coozledad said on December 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Elizabeth is gorgeous. Those are incredible moves for anyone any age.

    I can barely tie my shoes without tendons and ligaments shearing loose.

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  2. David C. said on December 25, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    It’s game over as far as stopping marriage equality. It keeps the rubes stirred up, so it’s useful as far as that goes. But legally, it’s over.


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  3. Deborah said on December 25, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Elizabeth Roxas-Dorbish is indeed gorgeous. So true how when you are younger you take so much for granted and as you age you savor every step.

    We had a lovely Christmas day, one of Little Bird’s friends backed out because of a cold, but it was appreciated because it would have exposed us all. We had our dinner and wine (lots of wine)) and now ready for a late afternoon nap, something I don’t do often anymore, but so miss.

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  4. Jolene said on December 25, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Wish I could see that New Year’s Eve performance. I saw Revelations two or three times when Judith Jamison was the star, and it was, well, a revelation. Still one of the most exciting performances of any kind I’ve ever seen.

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  5. Charlotte said on December 25, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Jolene — I’m with you. I remember seeing Judith Jamison dance Revelations at the U of Illinois in 1981/2 as if it were yesterday. Although I have to say too, that seeing Baryshinkov dance with the White Oak project in Berkeley as an older man was also really touching — my beloved aunt took me to see him in Chicago the year he danced with Balanchine, and to a 15 year old, half naked Baryshnikov leaping like that was …. revelatory. Sigh. I love dance.

    The highlight of Christmas so far, aside from food and family and all the glowy lovely ordinary things, is the sheer number of eagles I saw this morning on a deer carcass as I drove back to town. Four or five baldies, and a gorgeous, enormous, golden. Also, ravens and magpies (including these odd albino magpies we have near the cabin). Learned this weekend that the collective noun for magpies is a tiding. So tidings of magpies and joy to you all …

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  6. Deborah said on December 25, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    If there is such a thing as reincarnation I’d like to come back as a dancer rather than a designer. But having said that I’ll probably come back as a toad or something like that.

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  7. brian stouder said on December 25, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, y’all!

    And thanks to our Proprietress for the interesting NY Times article on the Hoosier hysteria over the unbelievably (and unacceptably) bold concept ‘equal protection under the law’.

    This passage struck me –

    Complicating matters is the language of the proposed amendment itself, which opponents say goes beyond banning marriage to threatening all legal arrangements allowing rights to same-sex couples. In addition to defining marriage as between a man and a woman, Indiana’s amendment says, “A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

    I guess this is what happens when the Cracker Barrel crowd takes power. If we’re going to go down the line and submit unalienable rights to popular election, I say we put religious freedom up next; and after that, how about let’s scrap the Fifth Amendment protections against double jeopardy and self-incrimination; and then the Fourteenth Amendment – hell, let’s get rid of that one, too.

    Crackers of the United States, get outa’ that barrel and unite! If we work hard enough, we can squander all our liberties in a fairly short amount of time

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  8. Kirk said on December 25, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Hope all have had or are still having a fine Christmas. Having had a good one myself, I’m working on the night shift. My wife and I go in opposite directions on Christmas, and my family wraps up all the package-ripping and feasting by early afternoon, so I volunteered. Add the fact that, as usual, I overcelebrated on Christmas Eve, and I’ll be heading for bed when I get home in a little bit.

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  9. Deborah said on December 25, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    I just signed up for healthcare coverage through healthcare.gov. But Little Bird hit a snafu and she has to call tomorrow. It wasn’t easy for me and Little Bird was really frustrated. Some of the questions were confusing, but maybe I was over thinking it. I wouldn’t say it was more confusing than other things I’ve signed up for on-line though.

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  10. MichaelG said on December 25, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    What a truly beautiful woman. And I’m not saying that simply to go along with the group. Something about her really rings my chimes.

    I’ve long thought that declared opposition to gay marriage was a mile wide and an inch thick. For the most part, people didn’t really think about it a lot and didn’t perceive a threat from gay marriage. If asked by a pollster they would say ‘No’ but didn’t really have a strong opinion. This transferred to the voting booth where there was no incentive to say ‘Yes’. In recent years there have been more and more gay people coming out and the general population has had more and more acquaintance with gays. Lo and behold, gays are just folks. People have always known that, despite what the Rev says, gays aren’t a threat to straight marriage and especially married gays aren’t a threat. The threat is Betty Sue down to the bowling alley or Jim Bob in shipping, just like always. People, other than die hard religious whack jobs have never given much thought to gay marriage or given much of a shit. It’s just not a factor in their lives. Now the tide is rapidly rising. The battle has basically been won and the mopping up goes on. From the tone of the linked article, even the pols in Indiana are conscious of that.

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  11. MichaelG said on December 26, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I have what I guess could be described as a ‘Cadillac’ health plan. The Kaiser coverage I have is truly wonderful. I remember signing something in my Social Security paper work concerning Medicare but can’t remember what other than it was to protect my current situation. Sixty Five is a dim number in my rear view mirror, I’m planning to retire in the next few months and now there’s the ACA. I guess I had better get on the stick and find out what I need to do.

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  12. Sherri said on December 26, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Philistine that I am, dance does nothing for me. But Roxas-Dobrish going out there with an artificial hip and no ACLs at age 55 and performing, that moves me.

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  13. alex said on December 26, 2013 at 8:30 am

    The establishment GOP in Indiana is shitting a brick. The last thing they want during an election year is the sustained negative national media attention that this particularly mean-spirited amendment will bring the Indiana GOP, not to mention the surge in Democratic voter turnout it’s likely to inspire. Looks like their wedge issue has them between a rock and a hard place. Even though it’s polling poorly, the amendment’s strongest backers don’t seem to be backing down. Good times.

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  14. brian stouder said on December 26, 2013 at 8:47 am

    A little Christmas bon bon


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  15. Judybusy said on December 26, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Nancy, thank you so much for the dance piece. Both my partner and I love dance, and there is a pretty active scene here. We haven’t been to much in the past few years, what with nursing school for her, and now adjusting to the nights schedule and being focused on our house projects. There is a project called The Glue Factory which began in Minneapolis, but is now in Pittsburgh. They bring together dancers over 40 to perform modern works. We caught a performance of them some years ago.

    Sounds like folks have had enjoyable holidays–we did as well. We always spend Christmas with just us two. We went to see newest Hobbit movie as part of the day. Ugh, I really don’t like these! The Hobbit was such great simple tale. All the stupid romance and fight scene after fight scene is getting tiresome. The only good thing: the projector crapped out with 45 seconds to go at the end, and it refused to work again, so everybody got two passes for any show, any time!Ok, that sounds like I had a bad day, but no. Aside from that, it was lovely. Coffee in bed, then present opening. For dinner, we always make tournedos Rossini, which is a piece of seared tenderloin on top of a slice of fried baguette topped with seared pate (supposed to be foie gras) and drizzled with wine/beef stock reduction. Heaven.

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  16. coozledad said on December 26, 2013 at 9:11 am

    The right is about to lose another phantom they can shit themselves to sleep over.
    They’ll still drag Gays out as a monster every once in awhile, like they do with the specter of communism (even though they’ve got their nose up Putin’s Stalinist crack) or Nazism (even though their policy directives depend on an ethnic cleansing of the franchise),
    but it’ll be more of a nostalgia for the good old fears that bound them together. They still have the blacks and the poors to hate, but they’ll need some more to fill the void. Maybe they can go back to hating Catholics and Jews.

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  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 26, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I would maintain that MichaelG is correct. Speaking from over here on the Right, not as monolithic or cretinous as some would have you believe, opposition to gay marriage is in large part, almost certainly the vast majority of it, a reflection of the fact that marriage has been and still is changing, and average folks have had nowhere really to voice their concerns about it. For lots of everyday folk, a “no” to a pollster or a ballot box on gay marriage is a “no” to divorce and cohabitation and unwed parenting and the fact that of their fifteen grandkids, three were born to married parents, and they’re not quite sure who the father of one of those three is, but everyone has agreed to only talk about that in the kitchen, or on the steps of the mud porch after dinner while Memaw directs the dishwashing.

    So we’re rapidly wearing out even that utility of the symbolic votes, but I’ve heard within my own churches for years a perfectly emphatic statement of “I don’t care what people want to do on their own” and usually an aside about cousin Jerry or the woman my granddaughter “has taken up with,” and if they go on to say “I can’t vote for this thing they’ve got on the ballot” it’s much less to do with gays, lesbians, polygamists (not just a Utah thing; you can find interestingly complicated household arrangements in every state and in every extended family) than it is a statement of concern about “how are we going to raise kids?”

    And while I have no problem voting for marriage equality because I see the practical side of it all too clearly, and know that so-called traditional marriage has been a niche phenomenon for decades already, I understand the desire on that part of many to want to register a note of concern about the dismantling of family bonds in favor of raising the role of CSEA to having become one of the county’s largest, most active, and personally most impactful branch of government — and every family has their stories about that, too.

    In Ohio, as in Indiana, when politicians figure out how to tiptoe between a nod to “what’s family going to end up looking like, anyhow?” and “simple justice & equity for all household arrangements,” it will pass in a rolling wave of acceptance. My congregation is pretty darn conservative, Cooze, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the people (all over 65) who would they’re against marriage equality. And in each case, I can say pastorally that they are also in the camp of people who think there are no gay members of their own family, and whose children are all married with kids, and at most have maybe one grandchild living in any kind of non-traditional arrangement. But I could do the math the other way around: in my whole congregation of 450 some, there are maybe four or five people who have all their kids and grandkids with standard-brand relationships.

    But for that new majority, if you ask them “how do you feel about how the institution of family is changing?” they will quickly tell you that they are scared to death, for their kids, for their grandkids. They don’t like the number of situations where CSEA is taking money from checks, nor do they like the number of situations where they are pitching in money to cover for baby-daddys not sending in theirs. It’s a mess, and they are uneasy about where it’s going next. So it isn’t that hard for pols and direct mail solicitors to make some hay out of the current debate, while they’re going to pivot and move on to a new source of unease the moment the wave crests and rolls from coast to coast.

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  18. Deborah said on December 26, 2013 at 10:17 am

    The thing that gives me hope in what you wrote at #17 is that the people who think that way are over 65, and they will eventually die off, and life will go on. We will eventually have universal healthcare in this country and there will be more income equality, because there has to be.

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  19. brian stouder said on December 26, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Best sentence of the day –

    So it isn’t that hard for pols and direct mail solicitors to make some hay out of the current debate, while they’re going to pivot and move on to a new source of unease the moment the wave crests and rolls from coast to coast.

    The talent that Oxy-Rush and Karl Rove…and, not for nothing, the Duck Dynasty dingle-dorks (et al) possess is that of a surfer, riding Jeff’s “waves of unease” (and in Oxy’s and Ducky’s case, conjuring those waves, too) toward great (and ill-gotten) gains.

    As soon as the monetary calculus indicates that it’s time to stop surfing, and leave the beach for another day – i.e – when Eli Lilly and Cummins Engine in Indiana (et al) says that your rube-rousing “defense of marriage” antics are costing THEM money, why then, we can move forward.

    (see also “Reform: Immigration” – for the next Oxy-Rush/Fox News versus Real Republican bidness interests “Clash of the Charlatans” – coming soon to a cable news show near you!)

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  20. coozledad said on December 26, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Well, maybe the problem lies with marriage, when it’s just a means of enforcing a pattern of lucrative conformity on genetically similar groups of apes.

    As a means of protecting incorporated couples from the hosts of predators waiting to fill their pockets in the event of illness or death, it’s a boss institution. Everyone should have access to that ironclad protection from barrel scraping relatives, or goober churches, or check-farming rest homes. Everything about the marriage equality movement stands in contrast to the desires and aims of the affluent criminal class. One less avenue for them to shake down every piece of loose change.

    The passage of amendment one in North Carolina was spearheaded by churches, both mainline and goober. There were certainly congregations opposed, but they were all of the liberal theology bent, all of them in metropolitan areas. The same people who are staging the Moral Mondays marches against Art Pope and his Handjob(who, by the way, were behind the push for North Carolina’s anti-gay marriage amendment).

    A few Republicans tried to lathermouth their way into our meetings to discuss how they, as “good Democrats” could not abide giving equal legal status to the buttsechs (complete with Adam & Steve references!) They won their little battle, and they won the statehouses and the governor’s mansion with that hate speech.

    Now they’ve got power they’re just going after the family silver and shitting on the carpet, like white trash always does, because it cannot fucking help itself.

    It ain’t about no Jesus. It’s Jesse James without a hand, heart or brain.

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  21. nancy said on December 26, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I hear you, Jeff, and I understand the concern among the common people. My question back to them would be — well, there’d be a few. Among them:

    What do you think is driving this great delimitation of the American family? Morals, or economics? Do you think, if there was a well-paying job, or at least a non-disgracefully paying job for every American who wanted one, that we’d be seeing children born into such unstable circumstances? If you raised these kids who are now breeding with multiple partners across shape-shifting households, how do you explain how your moral teachings went wrong otherwise?

    Only, y’know, less judge-y and accusatory.

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  22. brian stouder said on December 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

    a negative “bon bon” (more like a turd-ball)


    The photograph alone is just about sickening, but you gotta love the lead paragraph:

    It seems that McDonald’s has finally realized how tone-deaf its internal employee resource website was. It has shut it down. The final straw? A tip on the site to employees to avoid McDonald’s fare. A graphic on the site shows a meal with a cheeseburger, fries and drink under the caption “Unhealthy choice.” Next to it is a picture of a sub, a salad and water under the caption “Healthier choice.”

    I bet the same contractors that worked on the ACA site are doing the McDonalds thing

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  23. brian stouder said on December 26, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Chloe – our 9 year old – was really(really!) looking forward to having a rechargeable mechanical dog named “Zoomer”…and she got it…and she loved it even more than we thought she would!

    At least, she did once we got it to take an initial charge. It is a somewhat captivating little interactive, mobile toy; and indeed, it got grandma laughing uproariously, when it “sniffed” a spot and lifted its hind-leg.

    It remains to be seen how our real kitty cats will get along with the automated dog

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  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 26, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Cooze and I stand together in decrying “Adam & Steve” rhetoric. Even ironically it just doesn’t work.

    Nancy, I’ve spent too much time thinking about this to no good end. While I don’t agree with Coozledad’s “lucrative conformity” spin on a Marxian analysis, which I don’t think holds up even to a caustic review of the bidding, there’s surely an economic angle to marriage customs and patterns. But I think (and this is where my thinking goes to hellandgone) that the problem is that there are multiple economic pressures from many angles, and any one answer just evokes new questions.

    Robert Heinlein, even before his more hedonistic late novels, put forward some interesting models of what marriage and family might look like, even in a still recognizably Western social context. “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” set on a lunar colony resembling a 2100s Australia has line marriages and other complex pairing set-ups just as incidental parts of the plot, and many of them make more sense than much of what I see around me.

    But Heinleinian or libertarian, the core question is “how do you ensure the security – economic & emotional – of children in their household arrangements?” And that’s a more Biblical question than “how to save the nuclear family.” If you no longer have sexual activity socially enclosed within marriage, and we don’t and haven’t for some decades, end of story: then you have a pair of issues to contend with. How to handle the results of male-female sexual activity before a formal parenting arrangement is made, and how do you handle responsibilities if an arrangement comes apart before the relative independence of the children born into it?

    Early America has sexual maturity largely happening simultaneously with first marriage, and the overwhelming majority of marriages ended with the death of one partner or another. Today’s America has, with the full consent and approval (admit it or not) of churches in general, sexual maturity happening in the early teens and first marriage in the late twenties. That’s still, socially speaking, new, and we haven’t even finished figuring out socially how that’s worked out, so our public language is hypocritical in the extreme. Wait for marriage, but we know you won’t, so pretend, sort of . . . and even that is crumbling into shrugs and sighs. Sex happens between formally independent men and women, and we deal with that through a) relatively easy to obtain birth control, b) less available but accessible abortion when birth control fails, and c) general acceptance of single mothers as opposed to the old but not forgotten “send her off to relatives for nine months” model. That was our American version of Philomena, and I have too many pastoral tales of elderly women weeping with me over lost children they may or may not know the location of.

    Governmentally, we complicate this first maneuver with concerns over welfare – formerly AFDC, now TANF – which has created accidentally but decisively the silent behemoth called in most states CSEAs, Child Support Enforcement Agencies. Because we don’t want men getting off scot-free, and who can argue with that? But it means if you are a single mother, you MUST name a father, and the state/feds will work to nail that sucka down and hit him with at least part of the bill. That contortion has the unintended consequence of being why so many low income families won’t even go for CHIP, let alone ACA, but that’s another post.

    And CSEA is both the boon and curse unto the second maneuver: when a couple is coupled in whatever way, formal or informal, when they break up, much of what happens with the kids is dependent on whether or not they choose to live within the same county. (Not all, but much.) Shared parenting means a huge – forgive me, I’m trying not to write novel here – inefficiency built into a massive number of homes that can least afford it: kids with two bedrooms, two sets of pjs and sheets and even clothes, two sets of toys and possibly Xboxes, and so on. The movie “The Santa Clause” gives you a glimpse if you’re not a participant into this whole secondary economy, but its mostly in smaller apartments, with less money and fewer assets than Tim Allen and Judge Reinhold have to put on the table.

    And that movie is twenty years old in a few months. So people of whatever faith or lack thereof know that the current young generation has precisely NO patience for preaching on who should live with whom or what they do nights and weekends. They know, they’ve seen, and “nuclear family” isn’t even the default model in Disney movies. What’s to preach, then?

    I’ll still preach this: when you have sex with someone, anyone, I will maintain the essential truth of what I consider the actual Biblical reality taught there, which is that you become in a very real way “one flesh” with that person. Biology, by the way, has some interesting agreements with that observation. But emotionally and bacteriologically, and yes spiritually, you create a connection that has some lasting (maybe even eternal) consequences. Consider that well before you try to treat sex as a “healthy outlet” or “release of tension.” It’s more than that. And if you have sex with a person of the opposite sex, you are quite possibly giving yourself a connection that will pragmatically last not eighteen years, but as any parent can tell you, forever. And no matter how much you say you hate that fellow parent, no matter how separated you want to be from them, if you have a child with them, you have a relationship with them. So I would earnestly and humbly ask anyone, young or old, to consider all that potential entanglement before you become intertwined with someone in what you think is a more incidental fashion.

    Sex connects, and kids connect us all. Any arrangement of adults in a household that is set up so that the needs of the children are more important than the desires, or the needs of the adults, is thereby a family. I can’t give you a verse to cite, but I can tell you I believe and preach that it is Biblical. And we need more families.

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  25. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 26, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Coda – in my county, as of 2011, of all court-ordered payment plans, 77% of them are three months in arrears or MORE. (Over a third have a total of three or less payments recorded.) So CSEA is today’s Lidless Eye, constantly searching out men (and a few women, but very few) to collect back payments from. And steadily more and more of them take refuge in an underground economy no one wants to measure, acknowledge, or deal with. “They should pay for their children!” is a battle cry, and who can argue? And I weary of hearing tales of “she don’t use that money right, I won’t give it her no more” across my conference table, when the reality is . . confused. But he’s not paying, and she’s got a boyfriend, and everyone’s angry, no one less than the kids.

    Which gives me AWESOME job security as a juvenile court mediator.

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  26. Prospero said on December 26, 2013 at 11:56 am

    The dancer is a babe. No disrespect intended. She is smoking.

    Brian@22, same people that told Honda that Americans want to hear Michael Bolton on their ads. Holy crap is that a bad idea.

    I’m cohabiting with my roomie, and have no intention of ever marrying again. We’ve been together 15 years, but there is no common law here. S. would like to do it, but she’s given up on even bringing it up. I also cohabited with the woman I married. Claiming that somehow damaged the institution of marriage is freaking loony. Marriage is fine, just not for me. Jeff, should people suffer injustice because other people get nervous about whom and how they choose to love. That is decidedly as non-Christian as anybody can get. People used to think WWJD was kind of silly, but marriage equality is an issue I have no doubt about what Jesus would say. In fact, He did say it as quoted in the Book of Matthew Chapter 22, verses 36 through 40. Pretty unequivocal. And I’m still waiting for somebody to identify the biblical stricture against homosexualtiy. The destruction of Sodom? OT don’t count. It must be in there somewhere. Meanwhile marriage needs defending about as much as Christmas does. Back in the day, a guy called Thomas Massey rose in the House of Commons to suggest that the name Christmas should be changed to remove “Mass” because that is what Catholics attend on the holiday. His better idea? Christide. One of his more astute colleagues pointed out that Mr. Massey would then be referred to as Thomtide Tidy. You can’t always get what you want, but you might find, you get what you need.

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  27. Julie Robinson said on December 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Judy, I’m so with you on the Hobbit movie. Long & boring. I felt slightly more engaged than the first one, in which I just didn’t care about any of the characters. But it was the movie we could all agree on, so I was happy to go along.

    As usual, Nancy has summed up my thoughts and with more eloquence. I’ve long felt that most of the right-wing blather is simple distraction from the real and intractable problems in our country and world. It’s much easier to decry out of wedlock children than address the education and economic realities of poorly paid, dead end jobs and desperation for any kind of distraction, be it chemical or sexual.

    As I look around our church, I’d say Jefftmmo’s numbers are not far off. Even, and perhaps especially, among the “best” families. That’s the new reality.

    Whoa, that sounds grim, and it isn’t meant to be. I’m looking forward to my birthday and Christmas present, which is a trip to Toronto to see Les Miserables in a Broadway-bound production. The weather looks favorable, and it’s time to go pack. Have a great weekend, everyone.

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