During a conversation that was nice, but not interesting enough to share here, the fellows and I concluded something interesting. We declared; the four food groups shall henceforth be known as “Wheats, Meats, Teats, and Beets.” Why can’t the FDA come up with mnemonic devices like that?
Folks, it is time for your annual reminder. ‘Tis the season for felicitations. We have previously discussed the whatfors, wherefores, and why-nots (you can find them in Decembers past on this web site), so this year, you just get the reminder and a story. Last Christmas-time, I actually had someone ask me “What about folks who don’t celebrate Christmas?” As it almost never happens, I was prepared for that question by a recent discussion. I simply said, “Well, Jesus is for everyone.” He said, “Good answer.” So, splash around a few “Merry Christmases” this year and when you have the chance, remind someone why Jesus came in the flesh.
Consider this. About half of the covers of What Child Is This? that I have heard within the last five years have changed “ox and ass” to “ox and lamb.” What would William Chatterton Dix think of this? We shall never know; but in my humble and sometimes wrong opinion, it is presumptuous to arbitrarily alter a word in a 150-year-old song for fear of offending someone with the word ass. I will grant that different hymnals often have different versions of songs. In fact, Wikipedia lists variations on nine lines of What Child is This? based on five hymnals. It is interesting, though, that none of those alternatives includes “ox and lamb.”
Here’s the nub. As an erstwhile songwriter, I can’t hear that song anymore without listening closely to that line to see what the performer has chosen to do. I can say with certainty that any good songwriter (and Mr. Dix was one) would not arbitrarily pick “ox and ass.” He picked those words because those were the ones he wanted in the song and we may reasonably assume that he thought about using lamb somewhere in that song. Mr. Dix knew that lambs are found in a fold, while oxen and asses are found in a stable, where the Son of God was born.
You may say that the presence of shepherds in verse one justifies the reference to a lamb in verse 2. This is a good argument, but I would counter: First, the songwriter indicates that these two are feeding; if a lamb did follow his shepherd to the stable, it would not be his normal environment for feeding (I’ll submit my judgment there to anyone who knows more about sheep than I do). Second, and most importantly, changing a super-classic song out of fear is simply a bad idea.
We attended our son’s “Holiday Concert” the other night and an introduction by the SNL Al Roker may have been in order, “So in the spirit of diversity and fear, please welcome the [Eagles 2nd Grade Singers] with and all-inclusive Holiday medley for everyone.” The scholars sang We Wish You a Merry Christmas wherein the words were changed to “We wish you a swingin’ holiday…” and “good tidings of a merry holiday and a happy new year.” Could it be more obvious that there’s a songwriter somewhere that feels guilty that there’s a poor schmoe in an audience somewhere who does not celebrate Christmas and feels left out?
Interestingly, they also sang a traditional arrangement of O Come All Ye Faithful. So the school was not afraid of Christmas songs, but perhaps afraid of too many Christmas songs. Anyway, since the vapidity, the vacuity, and the vanity of these revisions are blatant, I’ll leave the explanation and execration up to those with more time for that. Just remember that, even though not everyone celebrates the birth of our Lord, Jesus is for everyone.
CP and I had an evening without the boys and had not planned anything specific so we decided to do some “window shopping” and wound up playing Rock Band for a half hour at Best Buy, just the two of us. Now that’s a high quality cheap date!
Someone pointed me to this far out video produced 40 years ago by the FAA called General Aviation: Fact or Fiction? You totally want to watch it. My friends who are plane nuts will be intrigued by all fifteen minutes, but even if you aren’t a nut, you won’t be sorry you watched the first five minutes, just for fun.
The narrator closes the film by saying “No matter whether you are the most experienced pilot, or the least, you are needed to help dispel the public myths that undermine general aviation’s continued growth, and to help separate the fact from the fiction.” It is interesting that the same message needs to be heard again today because the myths are being renewed, we might say this time more maliciously. The second video below comes from the recent GA Serves America campaign to remind the general public that general aviation is a revenue producer and good for a community. You can go to the GA Serves America site for more videos, featuring Morgan Freeman and others.
During the last year or so, I have noticed that with increasing frequency, G and B have been coming home with these underground rhymes that I learned when I was in grade school. I think it was probably natural for me to assume as a child that these were just going around during my few years in grade school and we had discovered something new and it would peter out. Yet these boys are coming home and repeating these rhymes (mostly verbatim) as I learned them and I know they didn’t learn them from us and assume the other boys didn’t learn them from their parents. So they are passed from child to child through the generations. Well, now I wonder whether my mom and dad ever noticed this phenomenon and whether my dad learned the same rhymes in grade school. I shall be sure to ask, but I shall also list a few here because I believe the chances are that you learned these in grade school also:
“[So-and-so] and [so-and-so] sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.” (Yes, everyone knows that one.)
“Here comes the bride, big fat and wide. Where is the groom? He’s in the bathroom.” (G and B did not know the next two lines, so I had to teach them. “Why is he there? He lost his underwear. Where did it go? He flushed it down the hole.”)
“Made ya’ look, made ya’ look, now you’re in my baby book.” (I learned it as, “made ya’ read a story book.”)
“Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg, Batmobile lost a wheel and Joker got away.” (This one even made it into Batman the Animated Series and The Simpsons).
See if you can finish this one: “Deck the halls with gasoline, fa la la la la la la la la…”
What underground rhymes can you remember from the grade school playground?
One of the joys of flying is taking folks up for their first flight and seeing the joy that it brings. That joy is one reason I have concluded that “since the moment of Creation, God has intended that man would learn to fly.” In other words, I do not believe it would give man such pleasure to fly unless God had designed in him the hard-wired ability to take pleasure in it. So I derive my reason number the first from the reaction we have to flying. I derive my reason number the second from one source of our desire — birds. Seeing birds fly down through the years has given man the desire to fly and helped him to figure out how. God knew that birds would do this and I honestly believe it was one of his designs for that creature. I can’t really prove this, but it makes total sense to me.
Last week, I was able to go up with RK for his first ride in a small plane. Yesterday, I got to take my friend EK for his first flight in any plane, small or large. E is mostly bound to a wheelchair, so I think this was huge for him. Normally, he is a talkative fellow, but I think he enjoyed the flight so much he was speechless! Anyway, is it even possible that one could experience this without coming to believe what I wrote in paragraph one?
1. Heading to the airport.
2. Loading up.
3. Firing up the ship
4. You don’t get this perspective from the ground.