Many are familiar with the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, commonly known as The Night Before Christmas, by Clement C. Moore, but Ottawa resident Tom MacDonald has re-penned it for COVID times.

A COVID Christmas by Tom & Ken MacDonal

‘Twas the night before Christmas, but COVID was here, so we all had to stay extra cautious this year.”

MacDonald, a retired diplomat for Global Affairs Canada, said he isn’t really a poet.

“I like poetry and every now and then, I do something. But it’s usually this sort of poetry that’s supposed to be more amusing than deep,” he said.

“I came in the door one day and saw the masks hanging there by the door frame. And I thought of a line and I just decided to do a riff on the old visit from Saint Nick.”

MacDonald said he wrote the poem “just to amuse my family and a few friends.”

The idea to make it musical came from his brother Ken MacDonald.

“I sent the poem to my brothers and sisters,” Tom MacDonald said. “My brother is very musical, a great piano player, sings in choirs, and a clarinet player. He made the video using my poem.”

MacDonald said he hopes his poem can give a few people a “good chuckle” this holiday season.

A Visit from St. Nicholas was first published anonymously in 1823, and attributed to Moore in 1837.

This poem was written and submitted to us well before the Omicron surge hit Ottawa. We are sharing this with you, as a bit of gallows humour – because if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.

A Covid Christmas Twas the night before Christmas, but Covid was here,

So we all had to stay extra cautious this year.

Our masks were all hung by the chimney with care In case Santa forgot his and needed a spare.

With Covid, we couldn’t leave cookies or cake

So we left Santa hand sanitizer to take. 

The children were sleeping, the brave little tots

The ones over 5 had just had their first shots, And mom in her kerchief and me in my cap 

Had just settled in for a long winter’s nap.

But we tossed and we turned all night in our beds

As visions of variants danced in our heads. Gamma and Delta and now Omicron

These Covid mutations that go on and onI thought to myself, “If this doesn’t get better,I’ll soon be familiar with every Greek letter”. 

Then just as I started to drift off and doze A clatter of noise from the front lawn arose.

I leapt from my bed and ran straight down the stairI opened the door, and an old gent stood there. 

His N 95 made him look pretty weird But I knew who he was by his red suit and beard.

I kept six feet away but blurted out quick” What are you doing here, jolly Saint Nick?” 

Then I said, “Where’s your presents, your reindeer and sleigh ?

Don’t you know that tomorrow will be Christmas Day? “.

And Santa stood there looking sad in the snow

As he started to tell me a long tale of woe. 

He said he’d been stuck at the North Pole alone

All  his white collar elves had been working from home,

And most of the others said “Santa, don’t hire us!

We can live off the CERB now, thanks to the virus”. Those left in the toyshop had little to do.

With supply chain disruptions, they could make nothing new.

And as for the reindeer, they’d all gone away.

None of them left to pull on his sleigh.  

He said Dasher and Dancer were in quarantine,

Prancer and Vixen refused the vaccine, Comet and Cupid were in ICU,

So were Donner and Blitzen, they may not pull through.

 And Rudolph’s career can’t be resurrected. With his shiny red nose, they all think he’s infected.

Even with his old sleigh, Santa couldn’t go far.

Every border to cross needs a new PCR. 

Santa sighed as he told me how nice it would beIf children could once again sit on his knee.

He couldn’t care less if they’re naughty or nice

But they’d have to show proof that they’d had their shot twice.

But then the old twinkle returned to his eyes.

And he said that he’d brought me a Christmas surprise.

When I unwrapped the box and opened it wide,

Starlight and rainbows streamed out from inside. 

Some letters whirled round and flew up to the sky

And they spelled out a word that was 40 feet high.

There first was an H, then an O, then a P,

 Then I saw it spelled HOPE when it added the E. 

“Christmas magic” said Santa as he smiled through his beard.

Then suddenly all of the reindeer appeared.

He jumped into his sleigh and he waved me good-bye, 

Then he soared o’er the rooftops and into the sky. 

I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight

“Get your vaccines my friends, Merry Christmas, good-night”.

Then I went back to bed and a sweet Christmas dream

Of a world when we’d finished with Covid 19.

211031-Book Report

I don’t always write book reports, but today I feel that I must. I just finished John Grisham’s novel titled “Sooley.” It has been one of the most enjoyable reads of the year. Grisham does such a good job on this one I kept thinking it was a true story, and a biography at that. Sooley is a fictitious basketball player from Sudan, Africa. In the beginning he is a simple high school kid that is six foot two and growing. He lives a happy life with his father, mother and three siblings. He is noticed by a fellow Sudanese basketball scout and convinced to join a special team headed to a special tournament in the U.S.A. He is pushed by his family to go for it. Then the real story begins. This is a feel good story with a surprise ending that turns into more good feelings. I recommend all to read it.

I thought Grisham was over doing it by describing too many basketball games, but it was necessary to tell the story of a developing player who very much reminded me of Michael Jordan. I’m almost positive that Grisham used Jordan as the model for his character.

I couldn’t tell what the scout Ecko Lam saw in Sooley, but he believed in the kid’s potential and pushed hard to get him a break. It wasn’t long before the seventeen year old kid from a mud floored hut in Sudan was in an airplane on his way to America. The story will keep you reading to the very last sentence.

211011-PSA-More Useless Info

In George Washington’s days, there were no cameras. One’s image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are ‘limbs,’ therefore painting them cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, ‘Okay, but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.’ (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint)  

As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October) Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn’t wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term ‘big wig.’ Today we often use the term ‘here comes the Big Wig’ because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy


 

*******
  

In the late 1700’s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The ‘head of the household’ always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the ‘chair man.’ Today in business, we use the expression or title ‘Chairman’ or ‘Chairman of the Board..’

*******
  

Personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee’s wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman’s face she was told, ‘mind your own bee’s wax.’ Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term ‘crack a smile’. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt . . . Therefore, the expression ‘losing face.’

*******
  

Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in ‘straight laced’. . Wore a tightly tied lace.

*******
  

Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the ‘Ace of Spades.’ To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren’t ‘playing with a full deck.’

*******
  

Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV’s or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to ‘go sip some ale’ and listen to people’s conversations and political concerns.. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. ‘You go sip here’ and ‘You go sip there.’ The two words ‘go sip’ were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term ‘gossip.’

*******
  
At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid’s job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in ‘pints’ and who was drinking in ‘quarts,’ hence the term minding your ‘P’s and ‘Q’s 

*******
  
One more and betting you didn’t know this!

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem…how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a ‘Monkey’ with 16 round indentations.

However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make ‘Brass Monkeys.’ Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled.

Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, ‘Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.’ (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn’t you.) 

If you believe all of these useless facts please go to the following link to fact check.

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/56017/10-wacky-whoppers-about-origins-popular-18th-century-phrases

American Dirt

STEINBECK: GRAPES OF WRATH. Wraparound jacket of the first edition, 1939, of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, John Steinbeck’s novel of ‘Okies’ forced to migrate from the Dust Bowl
American Dirt, Lydia and Luca

The title of this post is also the title of a book I am reading. A catch phrase by Don Winslow, a commenter, forced me to pick it up and check it out; the phrase, “A Grapes of Wrath for our times.” I loved the Grapes of Wrath as a story by John Steinbeck, and as a movie starring Henry Fonda. The story involves the futile migration of a family desperate to survive. Their story begins in the great flatlands of the midwest, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, or any number of states that are agricultural. The time frame is the Great Depression. Many farmers were poor share croppers, and during those years they experienced huge dust storms across the entire region causing them to lose their farms to banks. The Joad’s pile into their broken down truck and head to California to find work.

The story very explicitly details their experiences which get worse and worse as they head down the road like having to bury grandma along the road side. They reach California only to learn that the jobs they were envisioning didn’t exist, and the competition for the few that did was fierce. Locals treated them like garbage and made life even harder. The story had me hooked to the end.

America Dirt is a story about a family of two that must escape Mexico to remain alive. In this situation it is not nature that is causing the hardship it is a drug cartel led by a ruthless kingpin. The story is one which will grip you by the heart and keep you reading. The trouble the heroine undergoes trying to evade the cartel is relentless. She, however, stays strong and manages to evade the country-wide search for her. She has a bounty on her head, and can trust no one. Her trouble escalates as she proceeds northward toward the United States where she believes she will finally be free.

Many times, I have boasted about being a conservative and have written about the evils placed upon our country by the thousands of “illegal” immigrants sneaking across the border into our sacred space. Over the years, I have read numerous books extolling the cost of allowing these people to remain in the USA, and I even read one book about the life of a Coyote whose business it was to sneak these people across the line. This book, however is from the point of view of the immigrant. I have learned the conditions that have driven these people to flee. I am learning of the hardships they face to make the long trip across Mexico (as long as two thousand miles) to the border. I am finding that once they get to the border they meet another impediment in the form of a wall, ICE, US Border Patrol, and more.

I have not yet reached the point in the story to know what hardship they actually meet at the border, but the hardships along the trip are enough to change my mind about letting these people into our safe space. Anyone who can endure the difficulty of traveling with only the clothes on their back, shoes on their feet and perhaps a few dollars while dealing with the cartels, desperados, kidnappers, human smugglers and the many criminal elements all across Mexico have earned my sympathy. I am changing my mind about how we should deal with these immigrant people.

The problem I have is that all my ideas involve changing the criminal elements along the way. Control the cartels, eliminate local government and police corruption, establish migrant stations along the major routes. All of these things that I believe have to change are outside the periphery of US control. We the United States cannot move into Mexico and clean up their centuries of graft and criminal activity. Even if we were able to clean up Mexico we would then have to move into Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and the remaining Central American countries to clean up their acts. We would have to annex them into the country as states. The cost would be more than we can afford, although the cost of allowing the thousands of migrants coming through illegally is nearly as high.

Everyone who has a problem with illegal immigrants coming from Central America should read American Dirt to learn first hand what the problems are.

It would be easy for me to promote American Dirt as a learning experience except that it is fiction, not a non-fiction story based on facts and real experiences. Just like the Grapes Of Wrath chronicled the Joad’s moving through the dust bowl to the land of eden called California was fiction. Both stories have parallel themes which are based on realistic happenings, but they do not contain hard evidence to support the truth with facts. I do, however, believe that both John Steinbeck, author of the The Grapes of Wrath, and Jeanine Cummins, author of American Dirt had to have some living experience with the peoples who became characters in their stories. If not, then my hat goes off to each of them for having the imagination to write very believable and moving stories.

Now, I must post this essay and return to reading the end of American Dirt. Perhaps the end of the story will become a topic for another post.

Green New Deal-Dream to Reality

While driving north on interstate 355 this week I passed a familiar air inflated dome on the East side. My mind was racing through many wild thoughts like a newsreel gone wild. Flashes of ideas burning their way through my brain. It seemed like the wheels on a slot machine whirling through waiting to settle on something. Then the images stopped just as the dome came into view. Emblazoned across the balloon was the name “Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports.”

What if we were to enclose the entire country under one giant humongous air building like Bo Jackson’s? We might actually be able to achieve the dream of the Green New Deal? Without any dirty air coming at us from different parts of the polluted world it could be possible. Constructing the cocoon over America would be easier than convincing countries like China to cut their emissions. We could definitely control the air inside our cocoon. Or could we? Then, the practical aspects of living in a balloon began to spin in my slot machine idea generator. How would we cover the mountains? Building the fence between Mexico and the USA was a large enough task, but it would be declared a piece of cake compared to covering the Smokies and the Rockies under a balloon. The idea generator began spinning again, and a new picture developed. What if we merely covered the cities and towns all around the States? In other words, just put balloon buildings where people live. That way they can breathe absolutely 99.9999% pure air and be allergy and asthma free. The town balloon can be connected by balloon tunnels between. Oh yeah, well what about all the emission you generate inside the balloon? Not a problem with electric vehicles. Where will you get the electricity? Also not as big a problem when all the balloon structures are also encased in photovoltaic cells generating as much power as needed. Also, it will be without the unsightly acres and acres of solar panels.

When millions of people are enclosed within a limited air building they will generate tons of exhaled carbon dioxide which will have to be dealt with, how? Well we could just displace the carbon dioxide with pure filtered air without pollutants. In nature, the trees and vegetation do that work for us by using the carbon dioxide to power photosynthesis. But still, we will have to dispose of the tons of exhaled carbon. Where? How about we build a balloon chimney to blow the needed carbon into the space beyond our stratosphere? One novel idea proposed by science is to convert the carbon into coal. Isn’t that where all this began? Coal? My idea generator stopped spinning at two cherries and a lemon. Thankfully, by this time I arrived at my destination and my mind was forced into thinking about other matters like lunch and where to buy gasoline.

The Tree of Life

All you need to know about life, the universe, everything

Nutsrok

The humor and humanity of storytelling.

Tracey J Boothe Publishing Blog

Nature, books, exploring, publishing, photography, video, short films, lifestyle

Jim Campbell's

"Inside Every Progressive Is A Totalitarian Screaming To Get Out"

Wavy and Anchored

The waves may come crashing down, but they will not break me.

Journeyman's Journal

This is a journal of the art of woodworking by hand

KetoJENic Vibe

🥓🥑🍳 Health and Wellness based, Easy Recipes, and Keto Product Reviews

The Lockdown Chef

A cooking survival guide for those who don't know how

My Serene Words

Seeking Solace in the horizon of life & beyond

MRS. T’S CORNER

https://www.tangietwoods

ESL Ventures

Teach ESL and Travel the World

Heart Felt

This platform is for the people who likes to talk straight from the heart🤩

Suzette B's Blog

Inspiration and Spirituality **Award Free**

Bhutadarma

Nothing is impossible (at least that does not violate the laws of physics). When you can..violate the laws of physics!

I Know I Made You Smile

cartoons/humor/fiction/nonfiction

galesmind

Come take a journey through my mind