Christmas Video Blog For December 1, 2017

In what has become a bit of a tradition, I’m posting videos every Friday during December through Christmas. Not that you can’t find your own videos, but I’m guessing you won’t run across most of the ones I post.

They vary by artist, style, and era, but they all have one thing in common: I like them.

So, here we go again.

First up, Björn Again (ABBA Tribute) : Santa Clause Is Coming To Town

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Now that we’re cooking, it’s time for a classic: It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas By Johnny Mathis

Now, into the stranger, but still excellent, side of Christmas: Metallica – Carol of the Bells

And, finally, because you just can’t get enough cello in this world (There’s always room for Cello…):
Carol of the Bells (for 12 cellos) – The Piano Guys

So, inspired as you now are, go and do something nice for someone today. It is the reason for the season.
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Assault on Saint Agnes is available here. Just click this link!

When you finish reading any book (especially mine) please review it at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.goodreads.com. Your review increases the chances of someone looking for a new book greatly. Authors appreciate your review, even if it is just “I thought this was a good read and will give it to my dog to chew. I especially liked the ending, because it made me feel better when he killed all of the main characters. (no spoilers, please)” Those few words (more than 20, fewer than 1,000 is ideal), and a 1-5 rating, make or break how the search engines find us. Thanks in advance.

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I Wear #WhiteGloves. Time For Al Franken To Buy A Pair. (Double Entendre Fully Intended)

The subject is Al Franken – heinie grabber. Al’s defense is that he’s in a lot of photos every year and doesn’t remember grabbing any butts. Really. I couldn’t make it up if I tried. It also seems that he remembers sticking his tongue into actresses mouths differently than they do. Again, another amazing surprise.

I won’t bore you with details of conversations I’ve had, but the liberal folks seem to write it off as “just juvenile behavior” and “not so much like real sexual assault – you know, like other people” and similar excuses for him. Fine. You fly your flag that way, and I’ll fly mine my way. Just remember, this is a double edged-sword that you’ve been using on the the right for years, and now it’s coming back in your direction. Buck up, little cowboys, when you excuse it because it’s one of your team, you have to excuse the other guy’s players as well. Also, might I simply ask you this: what would your response be if Al Franken stuck his tongue in your mouth and grabbed your parts? Is he still just a high-spirited prankster? Is he still just a silly guy who never grew up? Or a guy who abuses women? Good. Now we know where you really stand. Let’s give others the benefit of the doubt on that one as well.

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In case you were wondering about the white gloves, they are an item I am never without in my other life: Santa. If you see a picture of me after the first few years of my being Santa, you will note the white gloves. You will also, with very rare exceptions, note the gloves visible in some part of the picture. Now, the exception would be if I’m at the back of a mob of people and the gloves are behind a row of flesh. But I’d wager that 98% of the photos I’m in, and it’s tens of thousands every year, you will see those white gloves.

Strangely, I have 0% doubt about ever grabbing any adult by the bum, breasts, or other non-negotiable parts. That’s ZERO. And, I’m almost willing to bet Mr. Franken a year’s pay that I’m in a lot more pictures than he is every year. I’ll even do a lie-detector test if he’ll do the same. The one caveat is babies and runaway toddlers: when they are placed in the cradle of my arms, it’s a good bet that I’m holding them along their entire length. That happens when you’re as big as I am and your hands are huge. Same with escapee children diving for the floor – you grab any handle you can to avoid cracked skulls and broken arms.

Here’s the concept Al is missing: it’s wrong to grab people the way he’s grabbed people. It’s vulgar. It’s intrusive. It’s reprehensible. It’s criminal sexual contact in some states (sadly, not in Minnesota, where you can grab a butt without consequences of a sexual nature. It’s still assault, but not sexual assault.) The “He’s an entertainer” defense doesn’t cut it, because I’m one as well – not on the same scale, but still in the public eye asking for smiles.

Lots of people sit on my knees every year. Kids, men, women, grandfathers, grandmothers, the offensive line of the Vikings, and the occasional dog or cat. With the exception of the two years I had knee surgery, I’ve allowed people to sit on my knee because it makes a great photo. I’m a big guy with strong legs and can take it. I’ve never made anyone do it, always their choice. But the invitation is out there for anyone under 300 pounds. I do not allow them, however, to sit on my lap. Because no matter how innocent it seems, the potential for disaster is looming in the background. It’s called “standards.”

There is, if you are worth a damn, a moral code to dealing with the public. From my first day in the public eye as Santa, I have avoided situations that might compromise my integrity. I hate boozy adult parties. I’ve been propositioned more than a few times by both sexes (yes, I’m cisgender and proud of it.) and never let them get to phase two of the offer. Not worth it in any way. I love my wife. I respect my clients. I don’t need any strange diseases, angry spouses, shattered images, or, most importantly, guilt for not following my own rules. They happen to be the ones God put out there as well.

Al, and I think since you work for me I can call you that, you need to get a pair of white gloves. Wear them whenever you are in public so we can track your hands. And grow another kind of pair. The kind of pair that allow you to stand up for what is right and proper.

If you’d like to send Al a pair of white gloves to remind him of his responsibilities, you can mail them to: 60 Plato Blvd Suite #220, St Paul, MN 55107. Please be polite and stick to white gloves, and white gloves only.

Finally, a note of thanks to all who contributed to the last post’s funding campaign to help pay for my friend Arthur “Tweet” Williams funeral expenses. You were all very kind. The short story will be out to you in email form later this week.

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Assault on Saint Agnes is available here. Just click this link!

When you finish reading any book (especially mine) please review it at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.goodreads.com. Your review increases the chances of someone looking for a new book greatly. Authors appreciate your review, even if it is just “I thought this was a good read and will give it to my dog to chew. I especially liked the ending, because it made me feel better when he killed all of the main characters. (no spoilers, please)” Those few words (more than 20, fewer than 1,000 is ideal), and a 1-5 rating, make or break how the search engines find us. Thanks in advance.

Posted in photography, political, popular culture, Santa Stuff, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Arthur “Tweet” Williams Was My Friend. His Family Needs Your Help.

Today there will be no pitch for books or likes. Instead, I want to ask your help. I’d like you to click this link and donate to a fund to help bury my friend Arthur “Tweet” Williams.

My friend Tweet passed away at a young age this past weekend. I’d lost touch with him for almost 30 years, and found him again last year on Facebook. We went on an undersea adventure that was the genesis of the Bobby Kurtz legend. Tweet and I didn’t know it at the time, but a fictional character was born on that very exciting trip. Details remain classified, but it all ended with a near-bar-brawl in Naples. We won. If you want the details, (the unclassified ones) I’ll send you a special short story based on the incident if you donate to the go-fund-me for his burial.

Yes, his family needs help paying for the expenses of his burial. Tweet was an amazing guy, and a good sailor. I find it sad that we have to pass the hat to take care of him on that final voyage.

If you show up on the go-fund-me page as having donated, post a comment on this blog with your email address and I’ll include you on the special mailing of the short story. Truly a limited edition. You see, I want to make sure my shipmate gets a good send-off.

I don’t think this is a scam. You can see I’ve already thrown in my contribution. But his family needs a hand. Here are a few pictures of Tweet. My friend. Fair winds and following seas, shipmate.

Tweet toward the end.

Tweet back when we both had hair.

Please hit the link to donate. I’m thankful to have had friends like Tweet in my life. I appreciate your help.

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Where’d Jesus Go At Church This Past Year?

I have a lot of friends who are pastoring churches. I attend a fair number of different religious assemblies during any given year. I am privy to some of the backstage talk that pastors share with each other. Based on that, and the public postings of some of them on social media, I have to wonder where that Jesus dude went this past year? Because it seems to me that some members of the clergy can’t let it go that “their” candidate lost the election. As a result, they seem to feel that it’s important to take a swipe at President Trump every time they get a chance. Whatsisname is lost in the shuffle.

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Aside from the fact that I’m pretty happy with his foreign policy decisions at this point, I just like the fact that Donald J. Trump spends a bit of every day throwing grenades into the swamp. So it’s no secret that I’m a fan. Unapologetically, I might add.

Consequently, my radar sends out a return every time someone from the pulpit slaps at the president. These slaps come in the form of snide comments, outright accusations of bad behavior, accusations of racism, accusations of hypocrisy.. the list is virtually endless. For purposes of this blog, I include social media from people who publicly identify as clergy as being the pulpit.

You might ask what’s wrong with that? After all, Bonhoffer … etc. The fact is, if you have something legitimate, and can point to a specific instance, with proof, of something that he’s done that’s in opposition to my faith values, I’ll be glad to look at it. But if you want to repeat what you read on the MSNBC website, or take The Grio as your solid foundational base, I’m probably not all that interested. Unless you have video, and it’s in context. That part counts – the sound bites, and edited clips of him dumping fish food on orphans of color are usually not quite accurate.

Why, you might ask, am I holding the pulpit to a higher standard than I observe myself? That’s easy – I’m some bozo author and blogger. These people are charged with spiritual welfare, and their petty grievances against the sitting president are detrimental to my worship experience. As a matter of fact, if they are in a Christian church (With the notable exception of Hispanic Catholics) they’re hurting the majority of their parishioners. But since I like facts, perhaps you should Google the election results of 2016 by faith group. Never mind – here’s a pretty well written item for you.

The vitriol you carry out of the voting booth should not be a part of Sunday, Wednesday, or Facebook services. People listen to you if you’re any good, and your political differences should not be a part of the sermon unless it’s a fundamental issue of evil. Now, I know many of you don’t like the man, but actual, documented evil is not the issue in the cases I’ve seen. Boorish behavior? Not evil. Twitter rants? Not evil. His party removing the adoption exemption in the first budgeting round? Again, not evil, and not even his to own. The list is pointless to enumerate, but you get the idea.

What happened to the frequent citations of 1 Timothy 2? Did that go by the wayside when Obama left the Whitehouse? Is not that imprecation as valid now as it was twelve months ago? Or should you be condemning and judging from the pulpit, in contradiction of what you preached just a year ago?

I’m not asking you to like the man. I am asking you to let it go because of your position in the public eye. It’s not just rude, but it’s hurtful. I know more than one ordained member of the clergy who has broadcast their request to be unfriended if you voted for Trump. My friendship, fellowship, shared faith, and history with you is nothing in comparison with this one vote? I think more highly of you than to take you up on that offer.

Next time you think about saying some of those things you’ve said of late, reflect for a moment. Because if you’re showing the same animus from the pulpit as you did on Facebook (and some of you are) you’re not just throwing away friends, you’re throwing away members of your congregation. You’re throwing away souls that came to you for nurturing.

I know you can do better.

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Assault on Saint Agnes is available here. Just click this link!

When you finish reading any book (especially mine) please review it at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.goodreads.com. Your review increases the chances of someone looking for a new book greatly. Authors appreciate your review, even if it is just “I thought this was a good read and will give it to my dog to chew. I especially liked the ending, because it made me feel better when he killed all of the main characters. (no spoilers, please)” Those few words (more than 20, fewer than 1,000 is ideal), and a 1-5 rating, make or break how the search engines find us. Thanks in advance.

Posted in leadership, political, popular culture, ranting, Sincere Stuff, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Veteran’s Day Unlike Any Other For The Last 30 Years.

I’ve been writing about Ranger 12 for several years. Some posts drew more views than others. Here are two: Bangles On The Radio, Reagan In The White House, Memorial Services Back Home & I Stopped At The Spot Bar For A Drink With My Friends Pat & Craig.

Before I do anything else, I must apologize to the Rudolf family for hosing up their name all of these years. Yup. The author can’t spell.

This year, on a Veterans Day that looks to be cold and snowy in my home town, I am pleased to report that there is finally a permanent marker for my friend Craig Rudolf in Texas, at the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery. Craig’s younger sister reached out to me after discovering those blog posts, and we have corresponded a bit. It was nice to be able to tell her about her brother – she was not aware of what a great guy he was to his peers, and how important his missions were to national security. Perhaps most importantly, I was able to clear up the issue of whether he was remembered. He is. The fact that hundreds of people have reacted to the Facebook post, and thousands have watched the video, is testimony to that fact.

Craig was lost at sea, along with his fellow crew members, when Ranger 12, a Navy EA-3B, crashed on the deck of the U.S.S. Nimitz following a mission, and slid off the edge and into the deep. No bodies were ever recovered. The ceremony is directly below. Please watch, and then hop to the next segment for some comments I want to share with you all. (I apologize that this video may be unavailable unless you are logged in to Facebook. The video was posted as part of his sister’s Facebook account, and because of that, it’s the only place it exists. Facebook does not easily allow you to export it. If you’re already on Facebook, please hit the like button on the post for this blog, and then hit the share button to open it up to your friends. Liking the author page on the right side of this page also helps me justify my blog to the I.R.S. every spring!)

Posted by Jamie Gordon N Familia on Monday, October 30, 2017

Please follow me on Twitter, and “Like” the Facebook author page. Don’t forget to subscribe (the box is on the right side of the page) to be eligible for free e-books and other benefits! Oh yeah – grab a copy of Assault on Saint Agnes if you’re of a mind.

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What does all of this mean? It means that 30 years after his death, Craig Rudolf, Cryptologic Technician Interpretive Third Class, NAC (Naval Aircrew) (Arabic Linguist) and the rest of that crew will never grow old. They will be remembered by all of us that knew them as young men. Men who put it all on the line when they took the oath of office. It also means that 30 years later, thousands of views of this service have taken place on Facebook. Veterans who never met any of the crew of Ranger 12 are brothers and sisters through their service. That is what this Veterans Day means to me: shared sacrifice.

Think for a moment about the fact that five thousand people took a half-hour to remember a man whom they’d never met, but who left us all too soon. And they mourned the loss as though they’d sat side-by-side with him through typhoons, rocketed off the deck of an aircraft carrier in the dark with their knees touching, stomped their feet (and traded lies) while trying to keep from losing toes to frostbite in the Fulda Gap on a dark and snowy January night, carried 110 pounds of armor, weapons, and radios out of some remote base in Afghanistan so they could rescue the crew of an MRAP hit with an IED, or hacked their way through the jungles of Vietnam right behind him.

You see, it’s a bond that only a select few truly understand. We may fight and squabble between the services, but behind it all we’d die for each other. And sometimes some of us did just that – or offered ourselves up so that others might live. A large number of my comrades have wounds – physical and mental – that impact their lives every day. They were there when Uncle Sam called them and cashed the check they’d written. The check that was made out in the amount of their lives. Some got change back – others closed out their accounts. All of them, from the supply clerk that never got past the Des Moines Army National Guard Armory, to the crew of Ranger 12, were willing to go when called. All deserve our respect.

Decades later, the bonds are still firm and resilient. It doesn’t matter if you served seventy-five years ago and fought Hitler, or just got back from fighting ISIS – you’re my brother and sister by dint of that service. And our friends, who never grew old, are here among us in spirit.

Today, don’t just thank someone for their service (we appreciate it, please don’t misunderstand). Instead, take a moment to reflect on what these people actually promised to do: die for you if need be. I think we’ll close this out with Toby Keith’s American Soldier. It seems to put a perfect touch on the day.

Oh, and since this post will already be up on that day most sacred to the United States Marines: Happy Birthday to you, and I am glad to have served alongside you. Semper Fi.

 

Assault on Saint Agnes is available here. Just click this link!

When you finish reading any book (especially mine) please review it at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.goodreads.com. Your review increases the chances of someone looking for a new book greatly. Authors appreciate your review, even if it is just “I thought this was a good read and will give it to my dog to chew. I especially liked the ending, because it made me feel better when he killed all of the main characters. (no spoilers, please)” Those few words (more than 20, fewer than 1,000 is ideal), and a 1-5 rating, make or break how the search engines find us. Thanks in advance.

Posted in Love, military, Sincere Stuff, Uncategorized, veterans, video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments