Thursday, December 25, 2014

For Unto Us...

...A Child Is Born...

Merry Christmas, 2014.  As Linus quoted from Luke chapter 2 in A Charlie Brown Christmas:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And that's what Christmas is all about...

Quiet morning here so far...I'm up before everyone else as usual, enjoying the solitude of the early morning darkness...
...also enjoyed a Christmas cigar...remarkably similar to the Christmas Eve cigar I enjoyed yesterday, and the Two Days Before Christmas cigar I enjoyed the day before that...gotta love Arturo Fuente Short Stories.

In a few hours we'll exchange gifts, make Christmas brunch, and in general relax on this holy day.

It is in fact a wet Christmas...no rain changing to snow flurries, just cloudy and starting to get a little breezy...still very mild.  Strange weather this year...snowiest November on record, followed by a mild December without any measurable snowfall at all so far, and only a week left in the year.

Big changes ahead in 2015, and for the first time in quite a few years, I'm actually getting excited about what's ahead at work.

But for now, my thoughts are centered on the birth of our Savior from whom comes the gift of eternal life.

Merry Christmas, mcm fans...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I'm Dreaming...

...of a Wet Christmas...
...which is apparently what we're having this year.  Oh well, statistically here in the lower peninsula we only have white Christmases 6 out of every 10 years...not sure how many of the 4 out of 10 "non-white" Christmases are actually wet, but this is one sure is...at least right now on Christmas Eve.  It is possible some of this rain will turn into flurries later on, so we'll see.  From a meteorological standpoint, it doesn't count as officially "white" until there's an inch of snowfall...not likely this year.

So I think we're as ready as we're going to be for the big day.  Seems like Christmas is a distant pinpoint on the horizon for 11 months out of the year, then it's a speeding stealth bomber that races upon us before we know it.  This year was worse than most due to the insanity at work from Thanksgiving until early this week, and now, suddenly, here we are.

Tonight we will at least play, if not actually watch, Scrooge...
...as well as "It's A Wonderful Life"...
...and finally, "The Bishop's Wife"...one of the best movies I've ever seen:
...a fabulous movie from the 1940's.


Merry Christmas Eve, mcm fans...


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Decorating...

...almost complete...note the stockings now hung by the fireplace with care, just 5 days before St. Nick should be there.

Our Fedora Guy has switched his chapeau to the more traditional Santa Hat, even if he is on the naughty list...love the santa stocking.

The view from the dining room, now complete with festive table setting.
...and even the trip upstairs is now imbued with holiday cheer...gotta love stockings at Christmas time.

Tomorrow we'll string lights outside on some trees, hang some oversize ornaments on them, and finally - four days before Christmas - call it good..

We're late this year, but I guess everything old is new again.  When I was a kid in the 60's we'd stop by a gas station on our way home from shopping three days before Christmas and buy a tree for two bucks.  When we got home my dad would saw off a couple of inches to even off the trunk, then fashion an X style tree stand using one by fours and a big spike through the boards into the tree trunk...

...the next night we'd put silver tinsel, those big, so hot they'll burn you lights, and a bunch of 10 year old ornaments on it, then stand back and marvel at the glorious symbol of Christmas Cheer standing in our living room.
Ok, so it wasn't that big and it was real, not artificial, but you get the idea.

No one slept the next night as we waited for the Jolly Old Elf himself to deliver the goods
Christmas morning we reveled in Rock'em Sock'em Robots, Mr. Machine, Frankenstein, Mr. Mercury Robots, Marx trains, footballs, basketballs, etc, etc, etc...


...of course I'm combining a half dozen Christmases, as we weren't wealthy and families didn't spoil kids then like we do now...two or three gifts was a big haul back then, more than you dared to hope for...throw in some candy in your stocking and you were living like the Rockefellers.

So today (Sunday) we got the ornaments on the deciduous tree and the lights on the two 2 fir trees in our front yard:
the view from our living room looking out, and...

...the view from outside.

all lit up at night
Later, mcm fans...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Company...

...Christmas party at the Richard App Gallery at 910 Cherry Street...an elegant setting for our get together.  Enjoyed cocktails, good food, and music.



Black tie, so we dressed for the occasion:


Best part was looking at some very cool, rare prints in the gallery.  Richard App showed me some new ones they just acquired of Joe Dimaggio, Ted Williams, and Mickey Mantle in the 1950's.  The Cuban government owns the negatives, so no more prints are being produced.

My favorite, however, is this one of Rocky Marciano:
That split nose is gruesome, but a testament to what a warrior he truly was in the ring.  It's from 1954 and his rematch with Ezzard Charles...the fight was in danger of being stopped due the severity of his injury but he fought on and knocked out Charles in the 8th round.  Marciano retired as the only undefeated, untied heavyweight champion in history.

This Christmas season has been very hectic at work, and thus muted from a holiday standpoint...but K did get our 9 foot Christmas tree decorated a while ago:

She also came home with a box of Krispy Kreme donuts the other day and we both liked the box cover...probably doesn't qualify as great art, but it's got a retro cool holiday vibe going:




Merry Christmas, mcm fans...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas...

...with some of the grandkids...it was good of them to attempt a group photo.  Here are some individual pics of the kids:
Isaac, age 10

Isaiah, age 13

Marcellus, age 16

Miriam, age 8

The Mighty Quinn, age 4

Silas, age 2

Simeon, age 6

Tionna, age 15

K and I took the sleigh to their house and dropped off some gifts...I even dressed up as the Jolly Old Elf himself for the occasion:
me looking ridiculous in a rented SC suit...dig those boots with bells...
Love that aluminum tree...here's another video of the trains under the tree...added a 1930's Marx M-10000 train to the mix:

It's company Christmas party night...black tie...at least we have more to celebrate this year than last...we've performed pretty well during the insanity that is the Christmas rush at work.  If people drink too much this year, it won't be because of any work related disasters.

Later, mcm fans...


Friday, December 5, 2014

The Ugly Truth...


...but it is a nice fedora...a Stetson Chatham Teardrop hand made in the good ol' US of A


The well dressed gentleman's ensemble should always include a classic chapeau.

So Cyber week is coming to a close...
...and I am bloody but unbowed (with apologies to William Henley and his delusional poem Invictus:

"In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed!" )

Another week will tell the tale for this year's season, but so far we are holding our own.  Of course, those are the last recorded words of Captain McSorley of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

...but I trust our similarities end there.

Shifting gears to something more pleasant, here's a pic of a Yuletide favorite:
...the Charlie Brown Christmas tree...classic.

It's a short Christmas season this year with Thanksgiving falling late in November, so I'm feeling behind already.  This weekend should involve more decorating and some shopping, but we're also working both Saturday and Sunday...the joys of the holidays.


...sitting by my 1960's aluminum christmas tree at 2 in the morning and contemplating life...

Here's a closer look at the trains under the tree:
That's a 1960 Schuco monorail, and a 1950s American Flyer O gauge "Haiwatha" train.

Stood outside after midnight, sipping a whiskey and smoking a cigar...a mild, peaceful night, and didn't see a soul...
...all those lives in darkened homes, resting up for whatever the new day brings...

Got a Christmas gift from Bob Adams of www.RonsonRepair.com:
Looks like a Union Pacific train around the lighters...but they're actually boxes of matches that Bob's had for 25 or 30 years...very cool...he said he's kept them safe and dry for the better part of 3 decades and now it's someone else's job...guess that would be me...don't tell anyone, but I opened one of the train cars, took out a box of matches, and struck one...lit first time...love that smell.  Thank you, Bob!

Here's a pic of #5 son, sharing God's Word with the faithful:
If I may embellish Kipling...
"...by the Living God that made you, you're a better man than I am, Benjamin!"

Later, mcm fans...