Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

A toast to you all. May 2006 be all that you dream!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Will Be Back Shortly

Between Christmas and not feeling well, I am taking some time off. See you this weekend! In the mean time - a picture of lil geecheegirl Christmas morning.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Santa Has Arrived!

Lil GeeChee Girl is sleeping. Will post pictures of the aftermath later.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas

Don't Forget Our Heros

I had no Christmas spirit when I breathed a weary sigh,
And looked across the table where the bills were piled too high.
The laundry wasn't finished and the car I had to fix,
My stocks were down another point,
the Dolphins lost by six.
And so with only minutes till my son got home from school I gave up on the drudgery and grabbed a wooden stool.
The burdens that I carried were about all I could take,
And so I flipped the TV on to catch a little break.
I came upon a desert scene in shades of tan and rust,
No snowflakes hung upon the wind,
just clouds of swirling dust.
And where the reindeer should have stood before a laden sleigh,
Eight Hummers ran a column right behind an M1A.
A group of boys walked past the tank,
not one was past his teens.
Their eyes were hard as polished flint,
their faces drawn and lean.
They walked the street in armor with their rifles shouldered tight,
Their dearest wish for Christmas,
just to have a silent night.
Other soldiers gathered,
hunkered down against the wind,
To share a scrap of mail and dreams of going home again.
There wasn't much at all to put their lonely hearts at ease,
They had no Christmas turkey, just a pack of MREs.
They didn't have a garland or a stocking I could see,
They didn't need an ornament--they lacked a Christmas Tree.
They didn't have a present even though it was tradition,
the only boxes I could see were labeled "ammunition."
I felt a little tug and found my son now by my side,
He asked me what it was I feared,
and why it was I cried.
I swept him up into my arms and held him oh so near and kissed him on the forehead as I whispered in his ear.
There's nothing wrong my little son,
for safe we sleep tonight,
Our heroes stand on foreign land to give us all the right,
To worry on the things in life that mean nothing at all,
Instead of wondering if we will be the next to fall.
He looked at me as children do and said its always right,
to thank the ones who help us and perhaps that we should write.
And so we pushed aside the bills and sat to draft a note,
to thank the many far from home,
and this is what we wrote:
God Bless You all and keep you safe,
and speed your way back home.
Remember that we love you so,
and that you're not alone.
The gift you give you share with all,
a present every day,
You give the gift of liberty and that we can't repay.

(Hat tip Jimmco)

God Teaches Patience In The Strangest Ways

Bennie Wafers. A Charleston Christmas Tradition.

God teaches patience in the most unique ways. I love Bennie Wafers. If you are 'from off' as we say, you will not understand. Bennie Wafers are a very sweet cracker made from bennie seeds, brown sugar, butter (real butter), cinnamon, etc. Beenie Wafers are a Charleston tradition. No table is complete without this wonderful sweet. I usually buy them every year ($3.99 per oz.). This year I decided to make my own.

In the past week, I have mixed dough, adjusted my oven, adjusted the recipe, adjusted my mind! It has taken a week of having walking pneumonia, being on vacation, my child being on vacation with me, taking care of a sick husband, Christmas shopping, cleaning house, wrapping presents, doing laundry, cooking meals and taking an occasional nap to figure out how to make THE BEST COOKIE ON THE PLANET! I have thrown out 2 batches of dough that did not measure up. And I did all of these things by asking the Good Lord to help me with some patience and the ability to enjoy myself. As usual, the Big Guy came thru! Thanks!

In order to make the best cookie on the planet, you need approximately 3 to 4 hours totally free. I mean, no phone calls, no people at the door and very few bathroom runs (have to time them right).

Here we go: (This is where God will teach you patience - making 300 crackers 12 at a time!)

Beenie Crackers:

1 1/2 sticks of butter
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup toasted bennie seed
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all together and drop 1/4 teaspoon 1 inch apart on parchment paper placed on a cookie sheet. Bake 325 degrees for any where between 8 minutes and 15 minutes, it's according to your oven. They are done when you see tiny holes all over the cracker. Be sure to watch carefully.

You will learn lots of patience standing in front of the oven. God helps you focus on the important things. I've done a lot of thinking standing in front of the oven. How family and friends are what matters. I've been thinking about why I make cookies for my family and friends. Why these wonderful people are so special and how my life would not be complete without them in my life.

Feeling So Good I'm Baking

Ok, before I start, I should let everyone know that I have 'walking pneumonia', which is not contagious. Thank the Lord for that cause the last thing I need is Lil GeeChee Girl and GeeChee Guy getting sick. I feel much better - not 100% yet but getting there. Antibiotics and steroids are wonderful!

Unfortunately, I am not sleeping well. Every time I try to go to sleep, I start trying to cough up a lung. So, I've decided to bake cookies. LOTS of cookies. Without further delay, here is the recipe for Ginger Snaps - a family favorite.

1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour *
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
Granulated sugar

Mix brown sugar, shortening, molasses, and egg. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Cover and refridgerate for at least and hour.

Heat oven to 375. Shape dough by rounded teaspoons into balls. Dip in to granulated sugar. Place balls, sugar side up, on greased cookie sheet, about 3 inches apart. Bake until set, about 10 - 12 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. About 4 dozen cookies.

* If using self rising flour, decrease baking soda to 1 tsp and omit salt.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Light Blogging For A Day Or So

I hate this. There is so much going on that I want to comment on but I just can't. Just got back from my MD - it's pnuemonia. On heavy antibiotics and am going to bed. Hope to be well enough tomorrow evening to finish shopping and get caught up here. See you in a day or so!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Sunday Night Speech

I am not sure I will ever understand the world. We are in the middle of a war and I have to justify myself for that belief. When did I become so alone? I feel very alone right now. I turn my TV on and all I here is that we have lost, our soldiers are baby killers and terrorist. It is time to fight back.





In case you missed the speech, here are some high lights:

To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor, and I will not allow it

My conviction is this: We do not create terrorists by fighting them. We invite terrorism by ignoring them and we will defeat the terrorists by capturing and killing them abroad, and strengthening new allies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Three days ago, millions of Iraqis went to the polls...One voter, after dipping his finger in the purple ink, stuck his finger in the air and said, "This is a thorn in the eye of the terrorists." Another voter, when asked if he was Sunni or Shia, said, "I am Iraqi.

I know that some of my decisions have led to terrible loss, but not one of those decisions has been made lightly...Next week, Americans will gather to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. Many families will be praying for loved ones spending the season far from home...We trust with them a love that conquers all fear...[Ends with citing Civil War Christmas Carol ,Longfelllow, I Heard the Beels On Christmas Day.]:

God is not dead
Nor does his sleep
The wrong shall fail
The right prevail
With peace on earth
Good will to men.

Friday, December 16, 2005

When I Become Queen Of The World...

The first thing I am going to do is to add more hours to the day during the Christmas season. How the heck am I suppose to work all day, Christmas shop (without Lil Geechee Girl), host a family party (tomorrow), clean house, bake, paint the bathroom, wrap presents, decorate the house? Not to mention the regular chores of cooking, laundry, yard work, etc. How the heck does anyone have the time to really appreciate the 'True Meaning Of Christmas'? Actually, when I become Queen of the World, I will not extend the hours of the day. I will outlaw all of this insane commercialism and get back to basics. It will be a season of reflection, of family and friends and most importantly, celebrating the birth of Jesus. It will be a time of remembering why we really celebrate Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I'm Prancer?

You Are Prancer

You are the perfect reindeer, with perfect hooves and perfect flying form.

Why You're Naughty: Because you're Santa's pet, and you won't let anyone show you up.

Why You're Nice: You have the softest fur and the sweetest carrot breath.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

This Is Beyond Sick!


Bailey is having a hard time. The wounds on his head are swelling. Because of this, he is looking at having surgery on his ears. The Vet announced that is will probably be 6 months to a year before Bailey is well. Keep the little guy in your thoughts and prayers.


According to the local news, a man went to a neighbors home here in Charleston at 10pm last night to ask the 13 year old daughter out on a date. The mother, being an intelligent, concerned mother, informed the man that her daughter did not date and asked him to leave her yard. At approximately 1am, the mother heard her basset hound barking in the back yard. She looked out of the bathroom window and saw the man leaning over the dog, next thing she new, her dog was SMOKING! The dog was on fire!!!!! The total and complete waste of oxygen had poured gas on 'Bailey' and set him on fire! Thank You God, the dog will live. He is at home, bandaged and on heavy drugs. Bailey is in for a long recovery but he will survive. I have just heard that the piece of sh** is in custody and charged with ill treatment of an animal.

This is just sick people. He has set a dog on fire. What would he do to that 13 year old girl that he wants to date? As the SPCA stated on the news, crimes like this are a major warning sign. What is this idiot planning next? What is sad is this basta** will probably make bail in a few hours, pay a fine, and move on to his next target.

Lil GeeChee Girl Decorates

Lil GeeChee Girl informed us that she 'had' to have a tree in her room this year so ofcourse, we complied.

Will blog more later - busy trying to take care of sick geechee girl, finish decorating the house, buy presents, clean house, on and on and on!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Toast Man Strikes!

Check out what Lil GeeChee Girl and GeeChee Guy were up to today.


Kleenex Warning!

If this doesn't touch your heart and your soul, then you may need to evaluate your life.

Hattip: Fire_Ready


The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.

"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?

It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.

To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.



Saturday, December 10, 2005

Lazy Saturday

Actually, it hasn' been a lazy day. Little GeeChee Girl's cousin had her 2nd birthday party today and we put up Christmas trees in the living room and in munchins room. Unfortunatley, lil geechee thinks that now that the tree is up, Santa is suppose to leave presents every morning! It's going to be a long month!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Gullah Word Of The Week

Acually, let's do 2 Gullah words since I missed last week.

FAMBLY: family, families; family's, families'
I's spending time with the fambly.

TOWN: Charleston, "the City" (See "Chaa'stun")
I's goin to town to see the fambly.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Gov. Carroll Campbell - May You Rest In Peace

This morning, one of South Carolina's great statesman left this world to join hands with God. Former Governor Carroll A. Campbell Jr. died today of a heart attack at the young age of 65. For the past four years, Gov. Campbell suffered from Alzhiemers. I am praying for the family that they find comfort in this difficult time. I know that the Governor is with God and is at peace and is in no pain.

Carroll Campbell was a State Representative, Senator and SC Governor from 1987 - 1995. He will always be known for government restructuring and economic development.

He rightly pointed out to us all that it was a waste of taxpayer dollars to have multiple agencies perform the same duties and aggessively worked to streamline agencies, committees into a more effective entitity. His success in this endeavor is seen today in all levels of the state and is a model that our current Governor is trying to continue.

The greatest economic development Gov. Campbell is known for is bringing BMW to South Carolina. The economic impact to the state was unprecedented. Hundreds of jobs were created with a ripple effect felt across the state.

God Bless you Carroll Campbell. You loved your family, your friends, and the people of South Carolina. You worked tirelessly and sacrificed much. We love you and we will miss you. Rest now and be at peace.

December 7, 1941 -- A Date That Will Live In Infamy

The USS Arizona (BB-39) burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (12/07/1941)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Linus Knows The Real Meaning Of Christmas

"And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and goodwill toward men,' " Linus says. "And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

This is what Christmas is all about. It's not about racing around to the malls and stores. It's not about getting into fights over toys, being rude to each other, demanding bigger and better gifts. It is about the Glory of God.

From USAToday:

The Christmas classic that almost wasn't
By Bill Nichols, USA TODAY

When CBS bigwigs saw a rough cut of A Charlie Brown Christmas in November 1965, they hated it.

"They said it was slow," executive producer Lee Mendelson remembers with a laugh. There were concerns that the show was almost defiantly different: There was no laugh track, real children provided the voices, and there was a swinging score by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi.

Mendelson and animator Bill Melendez fretted about the insistence by Peanuts creator Charles Schulz that his first-ever TV spinoff end with a reading of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke by a lisping little boy named Linus.

"We told Schulz, 'Look, you can't read from the Bible on network television,' " Mendelson says. "When we finished the show and watched it, Melendez and I looked at each other and I said, 'We've ruined Charlie Brown.' "

Good grief, were they wrong. The first broadcast was watched by almost 50% of the nation's viewers. "When I started reading the reviews, I was absolutely shocked," says Melendez, 89. "They actually liked it!"

How 'Peanuts' rate

A Charlie Brown Christmas drew 15.4 million viewers when it first aired in 1965,
making it the second-most watched program on television that week. The top show: Bonanza. Ratings last year for three cartoon favorites still airing:

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
(1964), 14.9 million viewers.
Tied for 15th place the week it
ran. CBS.

A Charlie Brown Christmas,
13.6 million. 18th place the
week it aired. ABC.

Frosty the Snowman (1969),
10.1 million. Tied for 38th place
the week it aired. CBS.

And when the program airs today at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, it will mark its 40th anniversary — a run that has made it a staple of family holiday traditions and an icon of American pop culture. The show won an Emmy and a Peabody award and began a string of more than two dozen Peanuts specials.

Last year, 13.6 million people watched it, making it the 18th-most-popular show on television the week it aired; CSI was first. One advertiser on the show, financial services giant MetLife, has contracted to use Peanuts characters in its advertising since 1985 and will continue through at least 2012.

Schulz, who died in 2000, never doubted the power of his tale of Charlie Brown's quest for the true meaning of Christmas amid the garish trappings of a commercialized holiday. "It comes across in the voice of a child," says Jeannie Schulz, the wife of the cartoonist, whose friends called him Sparky. "Sparky used to say there will always be a market for innocence."

Peter Robbins, now 49, was the voice of Charlie Brown. "This show poses a question that I don't think had been asked before on television: Does anybody know the meaning of Christmas?"

Parents like Molly Kremidas, 39, who grew up adoring A Charlie Brown Christmas, watch it with their kids. "It's the values in the story," says Kremidas, of Winston-Salem, N.C. She'll watch tonight with daughter Sofia, 6. "Would there be any programs for children on today that could get away with talking about the real meaning of Christmas? I don't think so."

Erin Kane, 36, is eager for her 3-year-old son Tommy to watch the program for the first time tonight in their Boston home. "The Christmas season doesn't start," Kane says, "until Charlie Brown is on."

Hip but wholesome

On paper, the show's bare-bones script would seem to offer few clues to its enduring popularity. Mendelson says the show was written in several weeks, after Coca-Cola called him just six months before the program aired to ask if Schulz could come up with a Peanuts Christmas special.

Charlie Brown, depressed as always, can't seem to get into the Christmas spirit. His friend and nemesis Lucy suggests that he direct the gang's Christmas play. But the Peanuts crew is focused on how many presents they're going to get, not on putting on a show.

"Just send money. How about tens and twenties?" says Charlie's sister Sally as she dictates a letter to Santa Claus.

Charlie goes to find a Christmas tree to set the mood. He returns with a scrawny specimen that prompts his cohorts to mock him as a blockhead. In desperation, Charlie asks if anyone can explain to him what Christmas is all about.

"Sure, I can," says his friend Linus, who proceeds to recite the story of the birth of Jesus from the book of Luke in the King James Version of the Bible. "And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and goodwill toward men,' " Linus says. "And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Scholars of pop culture say that shining through the program's skeletal plot is the quirky and sophisticated genius that fueled the phenomenal popularity of Schulz's work, still carried by 2,400 newspapers worldwide even though it's repeating old comic strips.

The Christmas special epitomizes the nostalgic appeal of holiday television classics for baby boomers raised as that medium gained prominence, says Robert Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University.

Thompson notes that other Christmas specials made during the same era — such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty The Snowman - also air each year to strong ratings.

"This is the only time in the year when TV programs from the LBJ years play on network television and do very, very well," he says. "For millions of baby boomers, these things became as much a holiday tradition as hanging a stocking or putting up a tree."

What makes A Charlie Brown Christmas the "gold standard" in Thompson's view is that it somehow manages to convey an old-fashioned, overtly religious holiday theme that's coupled with Schulz's trademark sardonic, even hip, sense of humor.

While Schulz centers the piece on verses from the Bible, laced throughout are biting references to the modern materialism of the Christmas season. Lucy complains to Charlie that she never gets wants she really wants. "What is it you want?" Charlie asks. "Real estate," she answers.

"A key element in all of Schulz's work is his sense of man's place in the scheme of things in a theological sense as well as a psychological sense," says Thomas Inge, an English and humanities professor at Randolph-Macon College who edited a series of interviews with Schulz released in 2000. "Then there's this slightly cynical attitude that makes everything work."

Parents say the combination of humor and bedrock values is what draws them and their children to the show. "It does provide a balance, but it's a balance that we as a society have forgotten about," says Patrick Lemp, 43, of West Hartford, Conn. He'll watch tonight with son Brendan, 13.

"This is one of the last shows that actually comes out and talks about the meaning of Christmas. As a society, we're taking religion out of a lot of the trappings of the holiday. This one is different."

A cultural footprint

Much about A Charlie Brown Christmas was revolutionary for network TV, even beyond its religious themes.

The voices of children had not been used before in animation, a technique Mendelson, Melendez and Schulz all wanted to try.

"Lee didn't want to use Hollywood kids. He wanted the sound of kids who didn't have training," says Sally Dryer, 48, who did the voice of Violet — the little girl who mocks Charlie Brown for not getting any Christmas cards. In later specials, she was Lucy's voice.

Mendelson sent tape recorders home with all his employees in Burlingame, Calif. Dryer, then 8, was chosen because her sister worked for the Mendelson crew. Robbins and Christopher Shea, the voice of Linus, were the only children with professional acting experience in the cast.

The show was also novel in that it used no laugh track, an omnipresent device in animated and live-action comedies of the era. Schulz strongly believed that his audience could figure out when to laugh.

Perhaps the most enduring aspect of the show has been its score — a piano-driven jazz suite that was absolutely unheard-of for children's programming in 1965.

Guaraldi, the composer and pianist, was best known for a 1962 hit called Cast Your Fate To the Wind. Mendelson liked it so much that he hired Guaraldi to score a documentary about Schulz that never aired. When the Christmas program was sold, parts of that music were incorporated.

The driving tune that the Peanuts children keep dancing to in the special, called Linus and Lucy, has become a pop staple that's been recorded countless time in the intervening decades.

A new version of the soundtrack was released last month for the 40th anniversary. It features Vanessa Williams, Christian McBride, David Benoit and others.

The song that opens the program, Christmas Time is Here, was written only for piano by Guaraldi, but Mendelson decided to add words to appease other network concerns. When he found his songwriter friends in California were all tied up, Mendelson wrote the words himself on the back of an envelope.

"So now it's a standard," says Mendelson, now 72. "Who knew? I tell people that I'm old and I'm lucky."

Jazz pianist George Winston, recorded a 1996 tribute album to Guaraldi, who died in 1976. He says that when he plays Guaraldi tunes at concerts, young children come up later and say, "Hey, that's the Peanuts music!"

Says Winston: "Vince made a stamp on our popular culture that will never go away. For an artist, that's the ultimate tribute."

A sweet memory

The Christmas special has become a key part of the Peanuts marketing empire, which racks up $1.2 billion in annual retail sales, $350 million of which come in the USA. Millions of VCR tapes and DVDs of the program are in circulation worldwide.

The 40th anniversary has spawned a long list of spinoff products, including a "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" at Urban Outfitters and a paperback version of a book Mendelson wrote, The Making of a Tradition: A Charlie Brown Christmas. And the Charles Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, Calif., where Schulz lived, plans a special commemoration on Dec. 17 with Mendelson and several cast members. The museum also has an exhibit on the Christmas show that runs through Jan. 9.

"It's a tradition, along with White Christmas, A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life," says Marion Hull, 77, who toured the exhibit on Friday. "It's simple, it tells a simple story, and it's something that both adults and children can get something out of."

For those who worked to make the program — as well as fans who watch it — its material success seems ancillary. The word that keeps coming up is "sweet."

Robbins, who is single, has no children and manages an apartment building in Encino, Calif., loves that kids of friends squeal with delight each Christmas that "Uncle Pete used to be Charlie Brown."

Jeannie Schulz, who was the artist's second wife when they married in 1973, says their five children, 25 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren see the show as a holiday tradition as well.

"The reason it's endured is because of its simplicity and its very basic honesty to real life," she says. "Who would have thought this would last 40 years? How did that happen?"

For many viewers, it is the speech by Linus from Luke near the end that packs the biggest emotional wallop.

Christopher Shea was just 7 when he did the part and credits Melendez's coaching and his mom's doctorate in 17th-century British literature for Linus' lilting eloquence with a Biblical text.

Shea, who now lives in Eureka, Calif., with two daughters, 11 and 16, answers quickly when asked why the special has proved so enduring. "It's the words," he says.

Shea says that for years, in his teens and 20s, he didn't quite understand his soliloquy's impact.

"People kept coming up to me and saying, 'Every time I watch that, I cry,' " he says. "But as I got older, I understood the words more, and I understood the power of what was going on. Now I cry, too."

Contributing: Editor's note: USA TODAY reporter Bill Nichols first watched A Charlie Brown Christmas on Dec. 9, 1965. He was 7. This Thanksgiving, he watched a tape of it with his son, Charlie, 3, for the first time.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Joshua Sparling: A Brave Man At Walter Reed

Words can not describe just how upsetting this is. One of our brave soldiers is recovering at Walter Reed and receives this card. Wishing someones death while his is protecting yours is just evil. The author of this card would do well to remember that it is brave soldiers like Joshua that allows him his freedom of speech.

Via Foxnews:

Insult to Injury
Monday, December 05, 2005
By Brian Kilmeade

First things first: The issue that's getting so much attention — and rightfully so — is the hate letter written to PFC Joshua Sparling.

In case you missed the show, Josh was wounded in Iraq on November 20, and by the time he arrived at Walter Reed Medical Center he was almost immediately carted in for surgery. With a down moment he opened up a card which — on the surface — seemed like a patriotic "get well soon" kids' note, only to open and see it said this verbatim:

Dear, Soldier
Have a great time into he war and have a great time dieing in the war from Solider Miguel

This was the only card on his wall. As much pain as he is in he insisted on leaving the card up and in view. He, by the way, is proud of his service misses his buddies and wants to go back and fight — as did everyone I met last Friday. Please write him and his fellow wounded war fighters Christmas/holiday/get well cards to let them know that Green Day and this sadist does not represent the America public.

Send your get-well and holiday wishes to:

Joshua Sparling
C/O Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

If you have the time, please try and include the others I met along with Col. North and Col. Hunt at Walter Reed:

Capt. James Ollinger
Sgt. Zavian Simspon
Specialist Brian Radke
Specialist Jason Braase
Sgt. David Nevins
Sgt. Jose Ramos
Cpl. Todd Bishop
Sgt. Ryan Donnelly
Sgt. Eva Diane Cochran


Sunday, December 04, 2005

Christmas Parade

The GeeChee Family went downtown today to the Christmas Parade. GeeChee Guy & Lil GeeChee Girl waiting patiently for the parade to start.

The Citadel Marching Band - Looking great as usual.

These dogs were precious!

Santa Bling-Bling. Nuf said.

You can't tell in this pic, but it looked really cool with the white chistmas lights on the inside of the bus.

Ofcourse, no Christmas Parade is complete without Santa.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Our Men & Women Over Seas

Sometimes we forget the sacrifices that our armed forces endure. Go to this site to remember.

Ok, So I'm Not A Rocket Scientist

You know, I can tear apart a computer and put it back together in a matter of minutes (the nascar of computers), but I am having problems getting certain things to work the way I want them to on this blog. For some reason, I can't get hyperlinks to work and I somehow lost most of the comments that had been made here. Please be patient with me as I figure this mess out.

Tis The Season...

For people to try and remove Christ from Christmas. This just drives me bananas every year. I personally make it a point to say Merry Christmas (or Happy Hanukkah if the person is Jewish). Happy Holidays? I'm sorry, but that is way too generic. Are we becoming a society where every one is alike? That is certainly what the salutation happy holidays makes me think of.

Here in Moncks Corner (for those of you from 'off', MC is a small town about 30 miles inland from Charleston), Berkeley High School has decided to change the name of its Miss Merry Christmas Pageant to the Miss Winter Wonderland Pageant. Also, one of the young ladies that wanted to compete was told that she could not dress as an angel in the pageant tonight - she could not dress in a religious costume for the character portion. Now they have decided to drop the character portion of the competition all together.

This is just so out of hand. Political correctness has gone to far. Christians tolerate, even celebrate and stand up for people of other faiths, people of other faiths or no faith at all should be tolerant of Christian beliefs. How can you have diversity when you attempt to silence a group of people.

From today's Post & Courier (aka The Worthless Courier)

The Post and Courier

Is it Christmas or is it a holiday?

Folks across the Lowcountry weighed in Thursday after a local high school took the word "Christmas" out of its traditional beauty pageant, sparking a renewed debate over the use of "Christmas" versus "holiday."

"It's part of the insanity that seeps into a new culture in America," said state Rep. John Graham Altman, a Charleston Republican who's known to have plastic pink flamingos with reindeer horns decorating his front lawn. "It is worse than the bird flu. I never thought we would go that crazy in Charleston."

The controversy, which has flared in cities across the country, became a local issue when Berkeley High School decided to change the name of its Miss Merry Christmas Pageant to the Miss Winter Wonderland Pageant.

The move upset Moncks Corner resident Erica Fann, whose 15-year-old daughter, Jordanne Layman, wanted to dress as an angel in tonight's pageant. Fann said Jordanne was told she couldn't dress in a religious costume for the character portion of the competition. That part of the event later was dropped altogether. Fann said the school's decision denied her daughter's right to express her beliefs.

"I don't want to take those rights from anyone else," Fann said. "I just want to make sure no one infringes on my rights.

"We live in America. We have to be acceptable to everybody's religion and say, 'OK. That is your choice' rather than saying 'You can't.' "

Fann signed a petition being circulated around Moncks Corner in support of changing the name back for next year's pageant.

The competition judges beauty and poise and has never been a religious celebration, said Berkeley County School District spokeswoman Pam Bailey. After "thoughtful consideration," she said, the school administration decided the name change more accurately reflected the event.

Herb Silverman, an atheist and leader of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, said it's a person's right to express his "freedom of conscience" and to celebrate his beliefs in private. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any religious celebration, though, has no place in government functions or public schools, said Silverman, who celebrates the Winter Solstice.

The issue comes down to tolerance, said Joel Sawyer, a spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford. "We live in an overly politically correct age," Sawyer said. "The governor believes, just as Christians tolerate people of other faiths, people of other faiths or no faith ought to be similarly tolerant of Christian beliefs."

Dale Surrett, administrator for Moncks Corner, said diversity is lost by stifling different beliefs. The town holds an annual Christmas parade and tree-lighting ceremony.

"It is this ongoing attempt to not offend somebody, and I think it is futile," he said. "It's trying to pretend a community is this blend of generic people. They are not. They are people of distinct backgrounds, religions and specific beliefs."

Sena Sutton of James Island said beliefs are an individual's decision, and people need to be respectful of others.

Lowcountry celebrations run the gamut of political correctness:

--Charleston's monthlong celebration is called Holiday Magic at Marion Square and features a 60-foot Christmas Tree of Lights, a larger-than-life Hanukkah Menorah and a Kwanzaa Kinara.

--"Whether it's sacred or secular is really up to the individual," said Ellen Dressler Moryl, director of the Office of Cultural Affairs, which runs the event.

--Walterboro holds a Christmas parade and tree lighting, and organizers said they keep Christmas in the title because it's the "reason for the season."

--"We have never ever considered (changing) it," said Bennie Ordel, director of the Rice Festival Committee that runs the parade. "It has never come up."

--The Charleston County School District has no policy for the proper way to reference the holiday break, but about a decade ago, school leaders recognized the need to respect the diversity of school students, district spokeswoman Mary Girault said. The districtwide school break from Dec. 22 to Jan. 2 is referred to as winter break. Any seasonal item is referenced by saying holiday rather than Christmas, she said.

--North Charleston is "sticking with calling it a Christmas parade," according to Denise Benton, who organizes the event. She started to call it a holiday parade "to not offend anybody" but decided to leave it as a Christmas parade.

--The James Island County Park Holiday Festival of Lights has a praying hands display sponsored by Bishop Gadsden retirement community. The festival, however, is more about celebrating the holiday season than focusing on a religious theme, Donna Gueldner, director of operations, said. "That's not the goal of the show," she said. "The goal of the show is to celebrate the holidays."

Staff writers Warren Wise, David Slade, Diette Courrégé, Andy Paras and Prentiss Findlay contributed to this report.

Contact Yvonne M. Wenger at 745-5891 or


On a related note:

This is great. I have my card addressed and ready for the postman.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Movie To Watch This Weekend

Bet you think I am going to go thru the listings at local theaters and give a review of my favorite movie. Wrong. From everything that I have been reading, the movie to see this weekend is "John Paul Times II" on CBS Sunday at 8pm EST. Even if you are not Catholic, this is a movie you should see.

"Pope John Paul II" makes palpable the panic gripping the Poles as the Nazis approach and then occupy their country. Wojtyla is sitting in a Krakow classroom in 1939 when soldiers burst in, rip a cross off the wall and drag away the teacher. His last words to his students as he is carried off: "Do not forget who you are!" This has tremendous resonance throughout the film, especially when, as pope, Wojtyla returns to his native land and lends support to the Solidarity movement and leader Lech Walesa."

John Paul was one of the most amazing men to walk the face of this planet. He was so incredibly gifted not only spiritually, but also with a great sense of humanity. He was serious, yet had a wonderful sense of humor. He believed in the good of the world, that good will triumph over evil.

Join me Sunday evening. Monday, let's have a discussion. Let us all do what Pope John Paul always did, reach out to others to hear their voice.

Learning Curve

Since I am so new to blogging, every day is an adventure. I am not really happy with the setup of this blog. I also need to take a timeout and learn how to do a trackback. Soooo, this weekend, you will probably see some changes. Hopefully, it will all be good. Please be patient - I'm just a computer geek who repairs computers, not one of those geeks that actually gets creative with the software! (FYI - all computer geeks are amazing!)