For the love of God Hallelujah is NOT a Christmas song!

By Guest Blogger Jennifer Fischer (my lovely wife)


To say I love Christmas is an understatement.  When Kevin and I were first married I spent the day after Thanksgiving eating leftovers and putting up our decorations.  As the years went on and my collection grew, it took me more than just one day to fancy up our house for the most important guest ever, the coming of our Savior.

Now that our daughter Kyla performs in a Midwest regional Irish dance competition (Oireachtas, pronounced “or-ROCK-tus”) over Thanksgiving weekend, it is the perfect excuse for me to start decorating BEFORE we leave.  I can easily justify this by saying I want everything done so we can come home to an extra pretty house.

I will even admit that during the debacle that was 2020, I was literally bringing up bins from the basement as the last Trick or Treater was leaving our driveway.  “We need a little Christmas,” anyone?  So yeah, I LOVE Christmas.

Growing up, all I had was a radio.  No Spotify, no YouTube, no AppleTunes.  How I survived, I don’t really know.  But I waited to hear the first carol played the day after Thanksgiving.  Back then there was no 24/7 format of carols.  The first one was played, and then you’d wait a few songs and managed to catch another.  Finally, by Christmas Eve, DJ’s were playing only Christmas songs and I was ecstatic.

Up until a few years ago, I clung to the tradition of not listening to Christmas songs before Thanksgiving.  I’m clearly not a Scrooge, it was just extra magical to wait until a certain day.  Yes, 2020 changed my listening AND decorating habits.  And I’m OK with that.

What I’m NOT OK with is when a totally non-Christian, non-Christmas, heck non-winter season song is played ad nauseam and forces me to turn off the radio station and reach for Spotify.  (Granted Mariah Carey gets the same reaction from me but at least she belts out an overplayed CHRISTMAS song!)

I’m talking about Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”  Honestly, I don’t remember hearing it when it was originally released.  I was too busy rockin’ out to some of these beauties (much to the chagrin of my husband whom obviously I was also unaware of at that time.)  The first time I heard it during the Christmas season, it was a cover by Pentatonix.  I was bewildered and thought perhaps I had tinsel in my ears because I couldn’t be hearing the lyrics correctly.  So I looked them up. Sure enough, I was both accurate AND vindicated.

Chris DeVille can take it from here.  Because everything else I want to say he has perfectly summed up for me

Today’s highly interesting read (12/08/22): Is Mainstream Media Broken Beyond Repair?


Today’s read is from Dr. Munr Kazmir, a Pakistani-American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and vice president of the American Jewish Congress, and Brooke Bell a Washington, D.C., writer/analyst.

Here’s an excerpt:

It isn’t even the one-directional nature of these constant “errors” in reporting, which only ever seem to benefit Democrats.

Those are merely symptoms. The underlying causes still elude us. One of the biggest problems with the mainstream media is a deeper pattern that is only just beginning to come into focus.

When one major media outlet gets a story wrong, they all get it wrong. And wrong in the exact same way.

We understand why —  or think we do: Anti-conservative bias.

But the real question is How?

Read the entire column here.

Today’s highly interesting read (12/07/22): If You Really Wanted to Destroy the United States, Then . . .

Today’s read is from arguably the best conservative columnist in America. Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare.

Here’s an excerpt:

It would be hard to imagine any planned agenda to destroy America that would have been as injurious as what we already suffered the last two years. 

First, you would surrender our prior energy independence. 

Read the entire column here.


Dec. 17 is Wreaths Across America Day. Will you help?

Today’s highly interesting read (12/06/22): USS Arizona survivor: Honor those killed at Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor survivor Lou Conter, 101, holds a framed replica of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin of Dec. 7, 1941 at his home in Grass Valley, Calif., Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. Conter survived the devastating explosion that destroyed the battleship, USS Arizona, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Today’s read is from the Associated Press. Here’s an excerpt:

Last year about 30 survivors and some 100 other veterans of the war made the pilgrimage to the annual event. But the U.S. Navy and the National Park Service anticipate only one or two survivors will likely attend in person this year. Another 20 to 30 veterans of World War II are also expected to be there.

Conter won’t be among them. He attended for many years, most recently in 2019. But his doctor has told him the five-hour flight, plus hours of waiting at airports, is too strenuous for him now.

“I’m going on 102 now. It’s kind of hard to mess around,” Conter said.

Read the entire AP article here.

Dec. 17 is Wreaths Across America Day. Will you help?



Dec. 17 is Wreaths Across America Day. Will you help?

Both young and old appreciate the wreaths provided to national, state, and community cemeteries across the country.  (Courtesy of Wreaths Across America)

Both young and old appreciate the wreaths provided to national, state, and community cemeteries across the country. (Courtesy of Wreaths Across America)

Wreaths Across America Honors US Veterans

How one couple’s act of patriotism turned into a national annual event

BY DAVE PAONE, OCTOBER 25, 2022
The Epoch Times

In 2008, more than 60,000 volunteers placed 100,000 wreaths on veterans’ headstones nationwide. Recognizing the impact, the U.S. Congress unanimously voted to declare National Wreaths Across America Day to be held annually on the second or third Saturday of December.

A total of 60,000 volunteers and 100,000 wreaths didn’t just come together overnight. It was a grassroots movement that started with a married couple’s desire to honor our nation’s deceased veterans in December 1992.

As the owners of a wreath-making company in Harrington, Maine, the couple found themselves with a large surplus of inventory. With the help of then-Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and a volunteer with a truck, the husband and two of his teenage children made the 13-hour trek to Arlington National Cemetery to lay 5,000 wreaths on the graves of fallen Civil War veterans.

They didn’t know it at the time, but this act would soon be repeated nationwide by far more people than just the four of them.

Beginnings

The genesis of Wreaths Across America actually occurred decades earlier in 1962, when 12-year-old Morrill Worcester, a paperboy for the Bangor Daily News in Maine, won a trip to Washington. While there, Arlington National Cemetery became an inspirational location for him.

Decades later, Morrill founded Worcester Wreath Co. He and his wife, Karen, were the couple that laid the wreaths in Arlington in 1992.

To this day, Morrill’s pilgrimage as a preteen serves as a consistent reminder to him that opportunities stem from the values and freedom afforded to us by our nation’s veterans.

Each December following 1992, the Worcesters continued to lay wreaths in Arlington.

Epoch Times Photo
A wreath from Wreaths Across America marks the grave of veteran Lambert Wouters. (Courtesy of Wreaths Across America)

Going Viral

In 2005, a photograph by a Pentagon photographer of Arlington covered in snow and adorned with wreaths circulated on the internet, starting on the Pentagon’s website. It “went viral” long before the term was coined.

Soon after, thousands of requests poured in via email and phone calls from people wanting to help emulate the Arlington success at the local level, prompting the official formation of Wreaths Across America as a national nonprofit in 2007.

Wreaths Across America currently conducts ceremonies at nearly 3,500 locations in all 50 states, as well as abroad and at sea. Last year, it placed 2.4 million wreaths and anticipates placing more than 2.7 million this year.

“We do most of the national cemeteries, we do most of the state cemeteries, but our largest growth is in community cemeteries,” Karen told The Epoch Times. “It brings communities together.”

Epoch Times Photo
Volunteers help distribute wreaths provided by Wreaths Across America. (Courtesy of Wreaths Across America)

Saying the Names

Banksy, the British street artist, once said, “They say you die twice: one time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.”

With that sentiment in mind, when a volunteer lays a wreath at a marker in a cemetery, he says the name of the veteran out loud and thanks him for his service and sacrifice, thus preventing his second death.

Making It Happen

This year’s Wreaths Across America Day is Dec. 17, and the cost to sponsor a wreath is a donation of $15. The charity has a “five-dollar back program,” where $5 of the $15 is donated to a local civic group, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars or the American Legion.

“Through that program, we’ve given back into communities over $18 million to date,” said Karen, who serves as the charity’s executive director.

Coordinating tens of thousands of volunteers and 100,000 wreaths for a one-day event is an enormous undertaking.

For starters, they need the wreaths. Although Morrill founded the charity and owns a wreath-making company, he’s not an officer of the 501(c)3, and he’s not a board member, either. He submits a bid each year through a third party, and whichever company is chosen to supply the wreaths is paid for them.

But perhaps the unsung heroes of the operation are the truckers who transport the wreaths to the far corners of the nation, paying for the fuel out of their own pockets.

“If we didn’t have 95 percent of the delivery donated by truck drivers and trucking organizations, it would cost more to deliver them than it ever would to make them,” Karen said about the truckers.

These days, when the Worcesters make the December trip from Maine to Arlington, it’s no longer a 13-hour drive in one truck. It’s a week-long journey (stopping to meet with various groups along the way) with 150 or more people in a convoy of trucks and buses, often with police and motorcycle escorts, which Karen refers to as a “hoopla.”

“We went through one city; they had 800 kids on the side of the road with American flags hollering, ′USA!′” Karen said.

She noted that on that occasion, the buses carried Gold Star mothers and wives, who said the actions of those children made them proud and helped them to heal.

Youth for Troops

Wreaths Across America also depends on local sponsors.

One such local sponsor is Youth for Troops in Phoenix. It’s a youth-led, service-focused nonprofit that offers community service opportunities for all ages to support veterans and deployed service members. It has been sponsoring Wreaths Across America since 2017, with 25 or more volunteers laying wreaths in the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona each December.

Epoch Times Photo
Youth for Troops volunteer Alexandra Ceren stands before the grave of Korean War veteran Arthur R. Coldsmith Jr. at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in December 2019. (Courtesy of Youth for Troops)

“We were especially honored to place wreaths the last two years on all of the killed-in-action markers at our local cemetery,” Tonya Piatt, one of the Youth for Troops founders, told The Epoch Times. “This is especially meaningful because we know the brother, also a veteran, of one of these heroes.”

Hannah Piatt, Tonya’s daughter and another founder of the nonprofit, told The Epoch Times that “it means a whole lot more when you can put a face to the family.”

Tonya is also acquainted with the fallen soldier’s mother and surviving brother.

“He takes his mom out there to visit, and to know that the wreath was waiting for them is nice,” she said.

In addition to volunteering to place the wreaths each December, a smaller group of volunteers from Youth for Troops returns to the cemetery each January to retire the wreaths and brush any detached needles off the markers.

Tonya’s other daughter, Heather Piatt, is also a founder of Youth for Troops. When she lays a wreath on a grave, she looks at the veteran’s birth and death dates and calculates his age in her head. At 20 years old, many of the fallen were roughly her age, and she assumes they most likely had plans for a career and family, just as she does now.

“I can’t imagine not wanting to take a few moments out of my day to respect that and honor that and say their names, so their family knows that these 18, 19, 20-year-olds aren’t forgotten for their sacrifices,” she told The Epoch Times.

While Youth for Troops volunteers on the local level in Phoenix, Tonya is glad to be part of a national movement.

“There are opportunities for people and families in every part of the region to volunteer on that December date,” she said. “It’s a great thought that all of these people are volunteering on the same day to honor our heroes.”

—Dave Paone

This past Saturday the US Army Band promoted the campaign during their annual Christmas concert:



MORE DETAILS HERE.



The latest pro-life news (12/05/22)

THIS WEEKLY BLOG POSTED EVERY MONDAY PROMOTES A CULTURE OF LIFE

Don’t miss our heartwarming closing story every week!

From WI Right To Life

ALSO:

Catholic Bishop Blasts Hillary Clinton on Abortion: “Please Don’t Listen to This Evil Woman”

Some Republicans say the midterms were a mandate for further abortion restrictions

In case you missed it: Today’s highly interesting read (11/27/22): Abortion trauma a reality for some of Charlotte therapist’s clients

Our falling birth and marriage rates reflect the lie that only singles have fun

AND FINALLY, LOVIN’ LIFE…


Thanks for reading!

What did Mozart die of?

He is one of the greatest composers of all-time.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died on December 5, 1791. The musical genius was only 35.

Mozart was the subject of a 1984 Oscar Best Picture-winning drama that included the famous maestro’s undignified burial.

That was more than 230 years ago, and what Mozart really died of has remained a mystery.

Of course the most popular rumor for a few centuries has been that rival composer Antonio Salieri murdered Mozart in a fit of jealousy. That’s just one theory. More than 130 post-mortem diagnoses in medical literature have been suggested.

Poisoning.

A fever.

Edema caused by retention of body fluid.

Tuberculosis.

Syphilis.

Kidney failure.

Arthritis.

Abdominal pain.

Trichinosis from eating poorly cooked or raw pork.

Strep.

We may never know.

Martin Hatzinger, Jurgen Hatzinger, and Michael Sohn wrote in the National Library of Medicine:

Next time we listen to Mozart, we should remember that this apparently happy person was actually a precocious boy, ripped of his childhood, whose short life was an endless chain of complaints, fatigue, misery, concern, and malady.

My good friend and former colleague at WUWM-FM, classical announcer and author Obie Yadgar now hosts a weekly Sunday morning music program, “Obie’s Opus.”

On his recent November 27th program Obie told a revealing anecdote about Mozart. Click the play button below and scroll to the 35:10 mark to hear it:


This 1986 album was the ensemble’s debut recording and sold nearly a million copies.

My Most Popular Blogs (12/05/22)

Here are my most popular blogs from last week, Sunday – Saturday:

1) Ridiculous claim of 90%

2) UPDATE: Waukesha judge Jennifer Dorow for WI SUP CT? Not so fast

3) I thought Milw. Co. Supervisor Patti Logsdon was soooo conservative?

4) UPDATE: My COVID journey: In the hospital I took (gasp) ivermectin

5) Best Cartoons of the Week (12/03/22)

6) Best Memes of the Week (11/27/22): UPDATED

7) UPDATE: The PR around marijuana is all lies

8) The latest pro-life news (11/28/22)

9) Today’s highly interesting read (11/29/22): Coolest high school science class ever takes students hunting

10) UPDATE: Culinary no-no #513