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  • Archive for the 'Holidays' Category

    2013: “Let it be past and over, and among the things that I have put away.”

    Posted by Lexington Green on 1st January 2014 (All posts by )

    I set this post to go up at midnight.

    There is a faint freshness in the London night as though some strayed reveler of a breeze had left his comrades in the Kentish uplands and had entered the town by stealth. The pavements are a little damp and shiny. Upon one’s ears that at this late hour have become very acute there hits the tap of a remote footfall. Louder and louder grow the taps, filling the whole night. And a black cloaked figure passes by, and goes tapping into the dark. One who has danced goes homewards. Somewhere a ball has closed its doors and ended. Its yellow lights are out, its musicians are silent, its dancers have all gone into the night air, and Time has said of it, “Let it be past and over, and among the things that I have put away.”

    Lord Dunsany, Bethmoora

    As I said on a bygone New Years Eve:

    I wish all our ChicagoBoyz contributors, readers, friends, families, and all people of good will, a heaping portion of good luck in [2014] and a mere dash of trouble, just enough to flavor the dish.

    Fear God and dread nought.

    Happy New Year.

    Posted in Holidays | 5 Comments »

    Happy New Year

    Posted by Jonathan on 31st December 2013 (All posts by )

    Sunrise, New Year’s Eve, 2011.

    Red twilight immediately before sunrise, looking over Miami's Rickenbacker Causeway and Key Biscayne toward the Atlantic Ocean on New Year's Eve 2011. (© Jonathan Gewirtz)

    Posted in Holidays, Photos | 2 Comments »

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

    Posted by Lexington Green on 31st December 2013 (All posts by )

    [image]

    Posted in Holidays | 3 Comments »

    Christmas Day

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 25th December 2013 (All posts by )

    Merry Christmas to all. My youngest daughter drove 8 hours from Tucson and my oldest son 9 hours from San Francisco yesterday to be with the family Christmas Eve. We were all at my younger son’s house for their annual party but he had to work at the fire house. Today we will assemble at various houses and one restaurant for dinner. All are healthy and happy.

    My best to all.

    I have research subjects for this morning. My daughter-in-law wanted to know the value of the tetra drachma I had given my middle daughter as a birthday gift this year. I bought it from a workman at Ephesus a few years ago. It is the most perfect Attic Owl I’ve ever seen. I had it mounted in a necklace. This morning I’ve been researching the subject. What would a tetra drachma buy in 500 BC ?

    My son-in-law and I discussed the question of extra-terrestrial life last evening. I’m doing some research on Archea and extremophiles today. Lots to do on Christmas Day before dinner time.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Deep Thoughts, Holidays, Personal Narrative | 6 Comments »

    Father Christmas and the Provost

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 24th December 2013 (All posts by )

    (This is actually an episode from one of my books, redone as a free-standing short story for an anthology of Christmas stories by other indy authors, which never went anywhere, so is posted here as my own Christmas contribution.)

    It was Vati’s idea to have a splendid Christmas Eve and he broached it to his family in November. Christian Friedrich Steinmetz to everyone else but always Vati to his family; once the clockmaker of Ulm in Bavaria, Vati had come to Texas with the Verein nearly twenty years before with his sons and his three daughters.
    “For the children, of course,” he said, polishing his glasses and looking most particularly like an earnest and kindly gnome, “This year past has been so dreadful, such tragedies all around – but it is within our capabilities to give them a single good memory of 1862! I shall arrange for Father Christmas to make a visit, and we shall have as fine a feast as we ever did, back in Germany. Can we not do this, my dears?”
    “How splendid, Vati! Oh, we shall, we shall!” his youngest daughter Rosalie kissed her father’s cheek with her usual degree of happy exuberance, “With the house full of children – even the babies will have a wonderful memory, I am sure!” Her older sisters, Magda and Liesel exchanged fond but exasperated glances; dear, vague well-meaning Vati! All of Gillespie County was under martial law and Duff’s Partisan Rangers had despoiled so many farmsteads, claiming they were owned by Union sympathizers. Men of the town had been arrested for refusing to take the loyalty oath, refusing service in the Confederate Army, for even speaking against secession or refusing to accept Confederate money. How could a happy Christmas make up for all that?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, History, Holidays | Comments Off

    Christmas 2013

    Posted by David Foster on 24th December 2013 (All posts by )

    Newgrange is an ancient structure in Ireland so constructed that the sun, at the exact time of the winter solstice, shines directly down a long corridor and illuminates the inner chamber. More about Newgrange here and here.

    Grim has an Arthurian passage about the Solstice.

    Don Sensing has thoughts astronomical, historical, and theological about the Star of Bethlehem.

    A wonderful 3-D representation of the Iglesia San Luis De Los Franceses. Just click on the link–then you can look around inside the cathedral. Use arrow keys or mouse to move left/right, up/down, and shift to zoom in, ctrl to zoom out.

    Vienna Boys Choir, from Maggie’s Farm

    Lappland in pictures, from Neptunus Lex

    Snowflakes and snow crystals, from Cal Tech. Lots of great photos

    A Romanian Christmas carol, from The Assistant Village Idiot

    In the bleak midwinter, from The Anchoress

    Rick Darby has some thoughts on the season. More here.

    A Christmas reading from Thomas Pynchon.

    The first radio broadcast of voice and music took place on Christmas Eve, 1906. Or maybe not. But on the other hand

    An air traffic control version of The Night Before Christmas.

    Ice sculptures from the St Paul winter carnival

    O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, sung by Enya

    Gerard Manley Hopkins

    Jeff Sypeck on a winter garden

    Posted in History, Holidays, Music, Religion | 6 Comments »

    Merry Christmas

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 24th December 2013 (All posts by )

    May your stocking be filled with bones and other tasty treats!

    Posted in Holidays, Jameson | 7 Comments »

    Bah humbug!

    Posted by Helen on 24th December 2013 (All posts by )

    Time to spread my usual Christmas gloom and misery with a few side-swipes at a couple of iconic works of art. Read it on Your Freedom and Ours.

    Merry Christmas to one and all.

    Posted in Holidays | Comments Off

    Santa Bandana

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 30th November 2013 (All posts by )

    It even makes a little jingle-jangle when he walks around the house.

    Posted in Holidays, Jameson | 5 Comments »

    Thanksgiving

    Posted by Lexington Green on 28th November 2013 (All posts by )


     

    In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc.
     
    Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
     
    In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620
     
    The Mayflower Compact
     

     
    May God bless all our ChicagoBoyz and -Girlz, our families, our readers and their families, our friends and our enemies (turn their hearts to righteousness, O Lord!), and an extra slice of God’s love to everyone who cannot be with their family on Thanksgiving, or has no family to go to, and is noshing at home, or is on duty on land or sea, or is stuck somewhere, and may be noodling on the computer and see this … .

    May God grant safe travels and happy reunions and kindness and all good things, great and small, including but not limited to turkeys not being overcooked, and the gravy coming out correctly, and nothing burnt, and everything on the table on schedule and looking and tasting good, and many willing and cheerful hands making light work of the cleanup afterward, and a nice walk in the dusk and the cold air after dinner.

    Thank you Lord for this great country, still a “civil body politic” after almost 400 years, and thank you for all who took risks and made sacrifices to give us what we have. Please grant that we may we be worthy to keep it and preserve it and improve it and to pass it on even greater than it has been given to us.

    God bless America.

    Posted in Holidays | 9 Comments »

    Happy Thanksgiving Day

    Posted by Helen on 27th November 2013 (All posts by )

    Happy Thanksgiving Day to all Americans and happy Hannukah to all Jewish readers and contributors to this blog.

    Posted in Holidays | 9 Comments »

    Veterans Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 11th November 2013 (All posts by )

    God bless our veterans.

    Thank you.

    God bless America.

    (The photo is from this incredible page of World War I images.)

    Posted in Holidays | 1 Comment »

    Veterans Day 2013

    Posted by David Foster on 11th November 2013 (All posts by )

    The war was in color

    Posted in History, Holidays, Music, Photos, USA, Video | 1 Comment »

    History Friday: The 1973 Yom Kippur War…Plus 40 Years

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 13th September 2013 (All posts by )

    There are few places in history where you see a stand unto death by western militaries that rivals that of the Spartans at Thermopylae. It takes a very special kind of “morale” and “moral” character for any military unit to fight effectively until killed. In 1973, on the Golan Heights, the IDF Armored Corps did just that.

    In western military writings you hear a great deal about Avigdor Kahalani’s 77 Regiment of the 7th Armoured Brigade holding off the Syrians with fewer than 25 tanks and almost no ammunition at the end on the Golan Heights. What you don’t hear about is the 188th (Barak) Brigade, which held the southern Golan Heights and was wiped out, but did the following before it died, from this link:

    http://www.historynet.com/yom-kippur-war-sacrificial-stand-in-the-golan-heights.htm

    Dead IDF Centurion Tank on the Golan Heights

    Dead IDF Centurion Tank on the Golan Heights

    The Syrian 1st Armored Division was advancing up the route toward the Golan HQ at Nafakh. Colonel Yitzhak Ben-Shoham, the Barak Brigade’s commander, realized his brigade was for all intents and purposes destroyed. He therefore organized and led a small group of surviving tanks in a holding action that slowed the Syrian advance on his HQ for several hours until he and the rest of the defenders were killed. With the brigade commander dead, no reserves in sight and two Syrian brigades advancing toward the Golan HQ–and with some units having bypassed the base on both flanks–the situation could only be described as grave. Lead elements of the Syrian brigades actually reached Nafakh and broke through the base’s southern perimeter. One Syrian T-55 crashed into General Eitan’s HQ, only to be knocked out by the last operational tank in Gringold’s platoon.
     
    At that point, Eitan evacuated his headquarters to an improvised location farther to the north. Those left to defend the base manned two trackless Centurions from the camp repair depot and fired bazookas in a final stand that knocked out several Syrian tanks until those last Israeli tanks were destroyed.
     
    The 188th Barak Brigade was no more
    .

    That was very much a “Thermopylae” any way you cut it. There is a reason the “Valley of Tears” happened in 1973 as it did.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Holidays, Israel, Middle East, Military Affairs, Morality and Philosphy, War and Peace | 6 Comments »

    Shana Tova / שנה טובה

    Posted by Jonathan on 5th September 2013 (All posts by )

    5774. A bit late to this, and recycling 5773′s photo. Best wishes to all for a sweet and healthy year.

    Shana Tova

    Posted in Holidays, Judaism | 4 Comments »

    Bastille Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 14th July 2013 (All posts by )

    Vive la Republique.

    Vive la Révolution.

    Vive la France.

    You and I belong to the only two republics among the great powers of the world. The ancient friendship between France and the United States has been, on the whole, a sincere and disinterested friendship. A calamity to you would be a sorrow to us. But it would be more than that. In the seething turmoil of the history of humanity certain nations stand out as possessing a peculiar power or charm, some special gift of beauty or wisdom or strength, which puts them among the immortals, which makes them rank forever with the leaders of mankind. France is one of these nations. For her to sink would be a loss to all the world. There are certain lessons of brilliance and of generous gallantry that she can teach better than any of her sister nations. When the French peasantry sang of Malbrook, it was to tell how the soul of this warrior-foe took flight upward through the laurels he had won. Nearly seven centuries ago, Froissart, writing of the time of dire disaster, said that the realm of France was never so stricken that there were not left men who would valiantly fight for it. You have had a great past. I believe you will have a great future. Long may you carry yourselves proudly as citizens of a nation which bears a leading part in the teaching and uplifting of mankind.

    Theodore Roosevelt, “Citizenship in a Republic” (The “Man In The Arena” Speech), given at the Sorbonne, Paris, France, April 23, 1910.

    Posted in France, History, Holidays | 10 Comments »

    Shall It Be Sustained?

    Posted by David Foster on 4th July 2013 (All posts by )

    For the last several years, on July 4th I’ve posted an excerpt from Stephen Vincent Benet’s poem Listen to the People. On July 7, 1941–five months before Pearl Harbor–this poem was read over nationwide radio. The title I’ve previously used for these posts is It Shall Be Sustained, which is from the last line of Benet’s poem.

    Narrator:

    This is Independence Day,
    Fourth of July, the day we mean to keep,
    Whatever happens and whatever falls
    Out of a sky grown strange;
    This is firecracker day for sunburnt kids,
    The day of the parade,
    Slambanging down the street.
    Listen to the parade!
    There’s J. K. Burney’s float,
    Red-white-and-blue crepe-paper on the wheels,
    The Fire Department and the local Grange,
    There are the pretty girls with their hair curled
    Who represent the Thirteen Colonies,
    The Spirit of East Greenwich, Betsy Ross,
    Democracy, or just some pretty girls.
    There are the veterans and the Legion Post
    (Their feet are going to hurt when they get home),
    The band, the flag, the band, the usual crowd,
    Good-humored, watching, hot,
    Silent a second as the flag goes by,
    Kidding the local cop and eating popsicles,
    Jack Brown and Rosie Shapiro and Dan Shay,
    Paul Bunchick and the Greek who runs the Greek’s,
    The black-eyed children out of Sicily,
    The girls who giggle and the boys who push,
    All of them there and all of them a nation.
    And, afterwards,
    There’ll be ice-cream and fireworks and a speech
    By somebody the Honorable Who,
    The lovers will pair off in the kind dark
    And Tessie Jones, our honor-graduate,
    Will read the declaration.
    That’s how it is. It’s always been that way.
    That’s our Fourth of July, through war and peace,
    That’s our fourth of July.

    And a lean farmer on a stony farm
    Came home from mowing, buttoned up his shirt
    And walked ten miles to town.
    Musket in hand.
    He didn’t know the sky was falling down
    And, it may be, he didn’t know so much.
    But people oughtn’t to be pushed around
    By kings or any such.
    A workman in the city dropped his tools.
    An ordinary, small-town kind of man
    Found himself standing in the April sun,
    One of a ragged line
    Against the skilled professionals of war,
    The matchless infantry who could not fail,
    Not for the profit, not to conquer worlds,
    Not for the pomp or the heroic tale
    But first, and principally, since he was sore.
    They could do things in quite a lot of places.
    They shouldn’t do them here, in Lexington.

    He looked around and saw his neighbors’ faces

    The poem is very long, and is worth reading in full. The full text was published in Life Magazine; it is online here. The Life text may be a little difficult to read; I posted an excerpt which is considerably longer than the above here.

    Benet’s poem ends with these words:

    We made it and we make it and it’s ours
    We shall maintain it. It shall be sustained

    But shall it?

    Posted in Civil Liberties, Civil Society, History, Holidays, Poetry, Political Philosophy, Politics, USA | 3 Comments »

    Happy Independence Day

    Posted by Helen on 4th July 2013 (All posts by )

    To all from this side of the Pond. The third English Revolution.

    And here is the other side of the argument. Dr Johnson’s Taxation No Tyranny.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Holidays | 3 Comments »

    Memorial Day 2013

    Posted by David Foster on 27th May 2013 (All posts by )

    The war was in color (music video) originally via the late and very great Neptunus Lex, who observed: They all are. See Lex’s Memorial Day post for 2006, here, and his Memorial Day post for 2007:  We remember them…eloquent even by Lex’s own high standards. Also at The Lexicans, a visit to the A-6 Intruder memorial.

    Here are some other Memorial Day links from around the web…most of these are from 2011 and earlier.

    America the Singularity, from Dr Sanity

    The warriors among us, from Bookworm

    Lest we forget, from Reflecting Light

    A nice picture of the WWII memorial at night

    A memorial in Afghanistan. Story and incredible photographs by Michael Yon.

    Cassandra, eloquent and thoughtful as always.

    See also Walter Russell Mead and Chicago Boy Lexington Green.

    UPDATE:

    From Blackfive–remembering Major Matthew Schram: He saved everyone but himself.

    Posted in History, Holidays, USA, War and Peace | 1 Comment »

    Memorial Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 27th May 2013 (All posts by )

    Thank you to all who served.

    God Bless America.

    Posted in Holidays, USA | Comments Off

    Yom Hashoah

    Posted by Jonathan on 9th April 2013 (All posts by )

    A bit late to this. Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust remembrance day, was April 8.

    Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors has twenty questions for American Jews:

    Do you believe that the lesson we should learn from the Holocaust is one of tolerance?
    Do you believe that the mainstream media reports fairly about Middle East issues?
    Do you believe that Israel practices apartheid?
    Do you favor the two-state solution?
    Do you believe that the unrest in the Middle East would end if a Palestinian state were established?
    Do you believe that Israel should compromise more for the so-called peace process?
    Do you believe the settlements in Israel are an obstacle to peace?
    Do you doubt that Islam desires to establish global dominance?
    Do you believe that continued sanctions and negotiations will deter a nuclear Iran?
    Do you believe that the international community has the right to dictate Israel’s appropriate response to terrorism in defense of its citizens?
    Do you believe that you can be anti-Israel and not anti-Semitic?
    Do you believe that the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe is caused by Israel?
    Do you believe that Islamophobia in America is far worse than anti-Semitism?
    Do you believe there would have been no Holocaust if a Jewish state had existed in Hitler’s time?
    Do you believe Franklin D. Roosevelt was a hero to the Jews during the Holocaust?
    Do you believe that American Jewry did all they could to stop the slaughter during the Holocaust?
    Do you believe your life as a Jew would be unaffected if there were no Jewish state?
    Do you believe social justice should be taught in public schools?
    Do you believe that you are safer if only the government is armed?
    Do you believe that another Holocaust can’t happen?

    Good questions.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Holidays, Israel, Jewish Leftism, Judaism | 18 Comments »

    Christo Anesti! – Eastertime in Greece

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 31st March 2013 (All posts by )

    (This piece was part of a much longer essay about life in Greece when I was stationed at Hellenikon AB in the early 1980s. I posted it originally on The Daily Brief, and also rewrote much later to include in a collection of pieces about travel, people and history for Kindle.)

    Christmas in Greece barely rates, in intensity it falls somewhere between Arbor Day or Valentines’ Day in the United States: A holiday for sure, but nothing much to make an enormous fuss over, and not for more than a day or two. But Greek Orthodox Easter, in Greece – now that is a major, major holiday. The devout enter into increasingly rigorous fasts during Lent, businesses and government offices for a couple of weeks, everyone goes to their home village, an elaborate feast is prepared for Easter Sunday, the bakeries prepare a special circular pastry adorned with red-dyed eggs, everyone gets new clothes, spring is coming after a soggy, miserable winter never pictured in the tourist brochures. Oh, it’s a major holiday blowout, all right. From Thursday of Holy Week on, AFRTS-Radio conforms to local custom, of only airing increasingly somber music. By Good Friday and Saturday, we are down to gloomy classical pieces, while outside the base, the streets are nearly deserted, traffic down to a trickle and all the shops and storefronts with their iron shutters and grilles drawn down.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Book Notes, Civil Society, Deep Thoughts, Europe, History, Holidays, Personal Narrative, Recipes, Religion | 3 Comments »

    חג שמח – Happy Passover

    Posted by Jonathan on 25th March 2013 (All posts by )

    A stack of matzos or matzahs used in a Passover seder. (© 2012 Jonathan Gewirtz / jonathan@gewirtz.net)

    Posted in Holidays, Photos | 11 Comments »

    Musical Selections for St Patrick’s Day

    Posted by David Foster on 17th March 2013 (All posts by )

    …at Grim’s Hall.

    The Celtic harp

    Some songs

    Speaking of things Irish, there is an interesting Dublin-based blog called Sibling of Daedalus. Check it out.

    Posted in History, Holidays, Ireland, Music | 2 Comments »

    Presidents’ Day: Amity Schlaes’ biography of Coolidge

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 18th February 2013 (All posts by )

    Very little attention is being paid to the holiday today, except as a traffic annoyance. When I was a child, we still celebrated Lincoln’s birthday (February 12) and Washington’s birthday (February 22). Since the holidays were combined and made into a long weekend, like most other American holidays, interest has declined in the subject. It has been for many years the weekend of the Midwinter yacht races in southern California, so I enjoyed it as much as anyone.

    Amity Schlaes’ new biography of Coolidge, which has been delayed for nearly a year from the original date promised, is now out and I have begun reading it. It has also attracted a hostile review in the New York Times by Jacob Heilbrunn author of such profound works as God Bless Bernie Sanders, an encomium on the Socialist Senator from the “people’s republic of Vermont”, as it is known in New Hampshire, and another tiresome attack on Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife.

    Mr Heilbrunn does not seem to be an economist and I am not certain of his qualifications to criticize President Coolidge, other than the obvious invitation by the New York Times.

    James Ceaser, a political scientist at the University of Virginia and a regular contributor to The Weekly Standard, said it was important to revive the “moral stigma” of debt, and added, “I want to go back to Coolidge and even McKinley.” The Claremont fellow Charles Kesler, author of “I Am the Change,” a recent book denouncing President Obama and liberalism, agreed: “We’re in for a Coolidge revival.”

    Indeed we are. Coolidge was a figure of sport in his own era. H. L. Mencken mocked his daily naps — “Nero fiddled, but Coolidge only snored” — and Dorothy Parker reportedly asked, “How could they tell?” when his death was announced. But such quips have only heightened the determination of a growing contingent of Coolidge buffs to resurrect him. They abhor the progressive tradition among Democrats (Woodrow Wilson) and Republicans (Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover) as hostile to big business and prosperity. Instead, their aim is to spread the austere doctrine of what might be called Republican Calvinism.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Biography, Blogging, Book Notes, Business, Civil Society, Conservatism, Coolidge, Economics & Finance, History, Holidays, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Politics | 9 Comments »