On Being Spoiled Rotten (A Tribute to Great Grandma Allen)

Being a military brat, it is a rare moment when something gives me a feeling of familiarity or nostalgia.  Most past houses and places have been rented out to other people, relatives have moved, I always move – times have changed.  I have by and large accepted this: it is natural and the way we survive and adjust as human beings.  For an afternoon last November, however, this plan went on hold.  As Great Grandma Allen’s face lit up upon seeing me and Zach, I was suddenly six years old again.  I was suddenly 3 feet tall, tearing open Christmas presents by the fireplace as she watched, impressed at her great grandson’s ferocious gift-opening insanity.  I was sitting on a barstool telling her with a sigh beyond my years that I “sure could use some Life”. (And though everyone was laughing, I knew that she understood that I wanted a bowl of cereal.)  I was stuffing my face at the dinner table, knowing that it would be another year until I had the best cooking on the face of God’s green earth again.  I knew that she was tough enough to beat up any of my friends’ grandmas.  I knew that given any situation, she would know exactly what to do.

Grandma was kind, understanding, wise, humble, and as I grew older I began to appreciate that she had a great sense of humor.  Her marriage with grandpa was a tremendous example of love and commitment for me.  I am strangely comforted by the fact that I can only hope to come close to living a life more whole and authentic than hers.  I was only in this world for part of the same time she was, so I will never fully know all of the various remarkable and intriguing anecdotes and details that comprised her time down here.  I do know, however, that she spoiled me rotten, and she would have done so every day for 24 years if she had the chance.  I will always treasure that.  I knew she did.

AT&T, Comcast, Verizon All Agree They Need Friends, Work out Douchey Contract to Impress Music Industry.

Three of the biggest ISP names are all on the verge of signing a contract that will make a lot of people unhappy, and a tiny amount of mostly wealthy people really happy.  Essentially, ISP’s that suspect a customer of pirating software will dish out warnings, followed by cutting back on bandwidth or limiting the user to the… top 200 websites of the internet.  So, luckily, you will still be allowed to check Facebook, Twitter, and your favorite porn site.

Comcast’s son taking after daddy, already hitting the bottle. Or whatever this is called.

What this means and why it will make everybody hate these guys more than they might already, is that there are major concerns of due process.  For all we know, they could just choose any user to accuse of wrongdoing and punish them, without hearing their side of the story.  It makes the big guys seem more menacing, un-relatable, and unlikable.

“This is why nobody likes you guys.”, they are told by peers.

Sadly, they will get just enough affirmation from the music industry people that it will encourage future attention-seeking desperation and self-destructive tendencies.  AT&T will start spray-painting profanity all around town. Comcast will buy a Harley and pump the gas without going anywhere.  Verizon will start to be attracted to the flighty rebellious types.  When you’re this insecure, you’re liable to do some pretty stupid things.  You would think pissing everybody off would teach them a lesson, but no, this is apparently what they thrive on.  This is why the world needs good counselors?

The War On Christmas, Revised

@Jesus_M_Christ I can see why you’d make
Christmas about Santa. He brings you cheap plastic toys. All I did
was die for your sins.

The fake Twitter Jesus might have a point.

As Christians, we tend to declare war on things. (both figuratively and literally speaking) With good intentions, of course.. i think… ironically enough. We are famous for declaring war on democrats, people who follow non-protestant religions, and anything that has a European feel to it. We even declare war on people that declare war on things; and when we respond to a cashier that has been told to say “happy holidays” or get fired with a firm, resounding “And Merry CHRISTmas to you too”, we feel that the battle is ours. I don’t know. It’s dumb, but these are our orders, according to James Dobson and Glenn Beck.

But while we’re busy declaring war on neutral things that we subjectively dub as the enemy, a real enemy gets away scott free. The one thing we don’t declare war on that we probably should: consumerism.

Everything that Christmas has become in western society is entirely anti-Christmas. Whether it’s giving or getting, the media has helped us redefine a successful Christmas by what we buy.

Essentially, spending = loving.

And when this is the case, sorry Dr Dobson, Christ has already been taken out of Christmas. We profess Christianity, when really we are consumed by the religion of buying stuff. If the things we desire are the things that we worship, and if the object of our worship is indicative of our religion, well then aren’t we just a bunch of pagans come December each year?

I’ve been reading the book “Advent Conspiracy” which talks about countering this consumerist religion with a dose of spending less on gifts for Christmas and instead giving to charities and orphanages and clean water missions. Given the amount of brainwashing we’ve been raised in as good American citizens, this has a bit more a crazed feel to it than should naturally exist for followers of Christ. It’s a sad but true state.

I think instead of being afraid of the war on christmas, we should embrace it. A war on everything that Christmas has become. We should actually declare it ourselves. Yeah, don’t worry, it’ll have a very intuitive feel. Just replace “Obamacare” with “Wal Mart”.

oh, and happy holidays! 😉