Category Archives: Christmas

Alley Oop! – It’s All in the Listening, Or It’s About the Other

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Merry (belated) Christmas!

One early morning a couple of months ago the wife and I were going for a walk. Now, we’ve been married for almost 22 years, and, over time, there is little that one doesn’t reveal to the other. No, I’m not talking about shady secrets or anything like that. I’m talking about good things, fond memories, childhood interests, views on certain things of the world or not of the world.

The previous evening I had come across, on the ol’ internet, Alley Oop. Back in the late 70’s while my parents were contemplating moving the family to Tucson, AZ they subscribed to the Arizona Daily Star newspaper. In that paper’s funny pages was a strip called Alley Oop. It has been in constant production and syndication for many decades now. When I was reading it, Alley Oop was just transported by time machine into the present day by Dr. Elbert Wonmug. I was hooked on that storyline and eagerly awaited the Sunday edition of the ADS to show up every week.

Sometimes it wouldn’t show up for weeks!

It was one of the strips that got me into a somewhat brief interest in cartooning. I even produced an amateurish series called “Gepo” who was a butterball of an alien and his friend Tim. I think I may have been influenced by E.T. as well although my character style at that time was closer to Jim Davis (Garfield) and Mad’s Don Martin:

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Don Martin’s influence on Jim Davis is pretty obvious… I don’t recall which one I came across first.

Anyway time passes – about 30 years – and I come across this childhood love of mine that had totally left my mind. I blabbed about it (probably too much) as we were walking and then I promptly forgot about it again. But my wife, bless her, is always listening (even when I am pretty sure she isn’t!) and today (because bedtime is still several hours away for me) I got the first two volumes of the Dark House Comics oversize format release of the Sundays.

That she remembered blew me away, I didn’t remember.

Then I got a chance to blow her away. This is a little less frequent as I have a severe mental disability. I cannot, except at certain tasks, be on one task at a time mentally. If you are talking to me I am most likely thinking about a story, some philosophical idea (even if our subject already is philosophy) wondering about time and space, the meaning of life – or the particular moment we are in and its relation to the cosmos, or staring at my hand and trying to viscerally imagine it as it will be in the future – dead flesh. Sometimes I even have to go back 10 to 20 pages in my reading because it can be that long before I realize that even though I was, technically, reading, I was not there to register or retain it.

In case you wonder if I live near you (so to avoid me on the road) driving is one of the tasks I can focus exclusively on. The other two I can think of is playing guitar and writing (which includes editing and researching and all that), oh, three drawing. Those three will keep my full focus. Luckily my job demands I focus on 20 things simultaneously and then forgetting it.

Yuck, am I babbling about myself? I criticize other people for this kind of narcissism! Ah well, it’s not like I’ve got you cornered in a small room or something.

So my wife was talking about something really cool that she liked that her friend had showed her back in October. It was a small thing that would normally be grunted at behind a newspaper in television land. One thing I like about the iPhone (I don’t do other products, sorry) is you can jot down reminder notes for later use. So I was grunting while I had my face in my phone because I was jotting down the product she was talking about for Christmas purchase.

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That little figure sitting on the keys is called a Little Sad Keanu Reeves.

Score!

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Dr. Scrooge

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I think I will make this a Christmas season ritual until I exhaust it. Every year Capitalism Magazine republishes a diatribe by Leonard Peikoff called: CHRISTMAS SHOULD BE MORE COMMERCIAL.

Dr. Peikoff, for those who do not know the name (and most don’t) is the foremost protege of philosopher Ayn Rand. I was an acolyte of both for a number of years (never met either – through books, tapes, and so on). In my defense I was never a very good follower. I just wasn’t brought up to have the natural sentiments of a temper throwing, selfish ass!

This year I am going to pick on the last sentence of Peikoff’s article. Don’t worry if you didn’t bother to follow the link and read the article, you’re not missing anything but faulty history, jumps in logic, category errors, and the usual shoddy atheistic (mainly Objectivist) nastiness such as “…and self-sacrifice for Tiny Tim or his equivalent.” as if helping poor Tiny Tim out was like Scrooge taking a bullet for a stranger.

But in Objectivistland it is! Ebenezer Scrooge helping Tiny Tim is self-sacrifice. And self sacrifice is evil.

And thus we get to the sentence:

It is time to take the Christ out of Christmas, and turn the holiday into a guiltlessly egoistic, pro-reason, this-worldly, commercial celebration.

Now let’s have some fun and see what is left after you take out Christ from Christmas. Well, you have mass as in Mass, which is the sacrament of the Eucharist, Holy Communion. That can’t be what he means.

But joking aside, let’s take him at his word. Guiltlessly egoistic, this-worldly, commercial, pro-reason. This last merely means atheistic – it is part of taking Christ out of Christmas- being atheistic is pro-reason, being religious, or having faith is anti-reason (which in Objectivist speak is anti-mind and anti-life and the worship of death).

The key elements are (guiltlessly) egoistic and commercial.

What a fun holiday this would be! But I tell you what. I can guiltlessly buy myself commercial shit ALL YEAR LONG! And if I was a guiltlessly selfish sort wanting to revel in a commercial celebration why would I restrain myself to once a year? Am I not then practicing what you are arguing against the rest of the year? Or am I merely saving up for the giant orgy of shit-buying at the great annual atheist commercial celebration? And I have to ask that because why, if I am a guiltlessly egoistic man, would I buy shit for other people? So they would buy shit for me in return? Perhaps I buy better shit for myself than the shit they would buy for me? Why not skip the middle man and we’ll just go our separate ways and buy shit for ourselves?

You notice we’re halfway there on that already with people buying gift cards for each other. I know people who agree on a dollar limit and then get each other gift cards. How stupid is that? You are exchanging $50 for $50! Keep the money and go with my idea! Buy yourselves some shit!

How much more of an impersonal drudgery are we going to let the apostles of self-esteem make the excitement that was once Christmas?

And when that runty bastard Tiny Tim gets in your way (cuz the lad walks slow) on your walk home, shove past him. Outta my way, cripple! Guiltless, remember? Perhaps it is to my satisfaction to sneer at the bugger, what matters it you? I bought all my shit and I want to play with it. This low person is taking up my time, I only have so much of it to live and he is taking some. HE’S MAKING ME SELF-SACRIFICE!!!

Whether you are religious or not, this definition of Christmas is dead water. It calls for no different behavior than people generally display throughout the regular year.

To be continued….

…Unless I’m out buying myself shit….