Christmas Craft You Can Do With Your Kids

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Here is an easy but really pretty little something you can put together with your children to bring a little more Christmas sparkle into your home. You will need:

silver platter or other type of tray

assorted pillar candles of varying sizes

small red ornaments or jingle bells

assorted nuts with shells on

paintbrushes

glue

glitter

The “crafty” part involves jazzing up those nuts with some glitter to make them SPARKLE!! My kids were able to do this step on their own (we let Josiah have a paintbrush and a container of water to encourage him in the illusion that he was helping too. which in fact he was since he didn’t get into the glue and glitter and make a mess!!)

So…give each child a tiny paintbrush, a small cup of glue and a little bowl of glitter. Paint nuts with glue (you don’t necessarily need to cover the entire surface), roll or shake them in the glitter, and lay them on newspaper to dry.

When the nuts are ready, arrange your candles on your tray at varying intervals, and fill in the spaces between with the jingle bells and sparkle-y nuts. Light the candles and enjoy the happy looks on your children’s faces when they see how clever and crafty they are!!

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Aging Rockers Who Rock

Over the last year or two, I’ve bought numerous albums from bands that I had ignored (at least all their new stuff) for a decade or so. And in many cases I have been very pleasantly surprised. Downright thrilled by a few of them. Here’s a quick selection of aging rockers who rock.

Iron Maiden: Wow! Just wow. Brave New World (2000) showed a return to form with some great tracks, Dance of Death (2003) was okay, and then A Matter of Life and Death (2006) blew me away. I’d easily put that last one in a top 5 list of best Maiden albums ever.

Dream Theater: They never really slowed down, but I didn’t know it, because I wasn’t buying their albums. They pretty much all rock, with Systematic Chaos (2007) being no exception.

Rush: Some of the best stuff ever on their latest. When Snakes and Arrows (2007) opened with “Pariah dogs and wandering madmen/Barking at strangers and speaking in tongues” to a heavy hitting sound, I was floored. I need to go back and pick up Vapor Trails (2002).

King’s X: Ogre Tones (2005) is glorious, full bore King’s X, with the diverse sound of the early albums that includes both Doug and Ty on lead vocals, but with much of the more hard-driving sound that was developed on Dogman.

Savatage: Probably need a separate entry on them, as their music is all over the map. But it used to rock, and it still does.

Megadeth: I only have a few tracks from The System Has Failed (2004), and I have not heard United Abominations (2007), but what little I have heard makes me glad Dave Mustaine recovered from his radial neuropathy.

Here’s a couple bands that didn’t make the list even though I have their newer stuff and still listen to them.

Dio: Killing the Dragon (2002) and Master of the Moon (2004) are okay, but don’t compare to Dream Evil (1987) and some of his other earlier work (not to mention Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules from his Black Sabbath days).

Queensryche: I like many of their more recent albums, but I just don’t think they stand up to Operation: Mindcrime (1988) and Empire (1990).

I’ve probably missed some good ones. What other established metal bands survived the grunge movement and have put out a great album recently?

Pandering

It is shocking to hear a modern politician refuse to pander. Not merely so, but to mock the very notion that pandering is healthy.

Dumb

Let’s see. We are running a huge retail business. We need to cut costs. How should we go about cutting back costs without hurting sales?

I know, let’s come up with an incredibly simple scheme that ensures we fire all our top sales people. Every last one of them.

It boggles the mind.

Here’s a chart of Circuit City’s stock performance over the past couple years. I’ve marked the spot at which they took this bold cost saving action with a little red explosion. Yeah, that really helped stop the bleeding.

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A crumbling foundation

My brother comments:

Here’s a confession: I actually don’t know what I think about Ron Paul when I think of all the responsibilities of a president. And I, frankly, get tired of hearing about what a perfect document the Constitution is and how it should be followed forever and ever world without end. But sometimes I don’t care. I just want to vote for the guy who will spend his term trying to destroy these bureaucracies.

I’d add a clarification. In my opinion, Ron Paul doesn’t represent the constitution per se, but rather the state of being constitutional. It’s the rule of law that is at stake, not the specifics of the document as currently written. We have a means of amending the constitution, and it has been amended quite a few times. I’m fairly certain Dr. Paul would want to amend it himself if he had his druthers. But the rule of law transcends the particulars of the document, and that is what is at stake today. The rule of law is, as far as I can tell, a necessary foundation for liberty, and as the foundation goes, so goes the house built on it.

Christmas Picture Out-takes

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Tricia and I constituted a small portion of the 24,940 new donors to Ron Paul’s campaign during yesterday’s Tea Party, a group effort that led to over $6,000,000 in contributions within 24 hours. The party is over, but you can still donate and join the revolution.

Baby Jesus Ain’t Feelin’ the Love Around Here

So last night while I tucked him into bed, I excitedly told Nicolas that I was hard at work on the top portion of his stocking, to HOPEFULLY be finished by Christmas Eve (such a terrible parent am I that my poor, sweet children have never had their own, “personalized” stockings, but this year, it’s gonna happen!!). Interested in this development, Nicolas said, “Great!! So — What’s on my stocking?”

“Well, there is a Mary and Joseph, and a Baby Jesus in the stable with the star of Bethlehem over them.”

“Huh,” Nicolas replied. And then without skipping a beat he declared in a disappointed voice, “You know Mom, I was REALLY hoping for a stocking with Santa Claus and all of his reindeer on it instead!”

May have been a tactical error

Tricia asked me to post our latest eBay auction. I was overcome with helpfulness and took the liberty of rewriting the description.