I am taking some (well deserved) time off around the Holidays, and would like to read up on the German occupation of France during WW2. I know it is a big subject but just let ‘er rip. Thanks in advance.
So it appears that we are to have a new federal holiday – that day, following on the final defeat of the Confederacy that slaves in Texas were informed by the arriving Union troops that they were now free. I think it’s marvelous, noting the day when the last slaves in a Confederate state were notified by Republicans that they were no longer slaves.
With apologies to Wm. Shakespeare…
New Year’s Eve, 2020/21
A thought from the late and very great Neptunus Lex:
“I’ve often wished that you could split at each important choice in life. Go both ways, each time a fork in the road came up. Compare notes at the end, those of us that made it to the clearing at the end of the path. Tell it all over a tumbler of smokey, single malt.”
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.
Vienna Boys Choir, from Maggie’s Farm
Snowflakes and snow crystals, from Cal Tech. Lots of great photos
In the bleak midwinter, from King’s College Cambridge
The first radio broadcast of voice and music took place on Christmas Eve, 1906. (although there is debate about the historical veracity of this story)
An air traffic control version of The Night Before Christmas.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, sung by Enya
A Christmas-appropriate poem from Rudyard Kipling
I was curious as to what the oldest Christmas carol might be: this Billboard article suggests some possibilities.
Mona Charen, who is Jewish, wonders what’s going on with the Christians?
The 2017 Christmas season, in combination with the Churchill movie Darkest Hour, reminded me something written by the French author Georges Bernanos: A Tale for Children.
Here’s a passage I’ve always liked from Thomas Pynchon’s great novel Gravity’s Rainbow. The setting: it is the grim winter of 1944, just before Christmas. The military situation in Europe is not good, and WWII seems as if it will never end. London is under attack by V-2 rockets and V-1 cruise missiles (as they would be called today.) Roger and Jessica, two of the main characters, are driving in a rural area in England and come upon a church where carols are being sung. They decide to go inside.
Santa Arriving, Texas-Style
(Yesterday, at noon, at Christmas on the Square, in Goliad. A wonderful time was had by all, even the very tame longhorn.)