*This has been something of a frustrating period for me. I'm glad to have a couple of weeks to get away from work (paid vacation!) and visit family and friends, but I also spent nearly two whole days of my hard-earned leave sitting in the Philadelphia airport waiting for the snow to stop. This caused me to miss lunch with some friends in Atlanta, as well as attending an NFL game with my family. Weather is one of those things you can't control, but as Calvin said, "I'm still going to gripe about it."
*I don't really buy the whole "war on Christmas" that a lot of people complain about. I don't think that there is really a major cultural movement to stop people from celebrating Christmas. The holiday is too popular, too ingrained in the culture, and too much money is involved for it to be swept under the rug. However, there is a war on many of the things that Christmas represents: goodwill to those with whom we disagree, the recognition of our common failings in the light of better ideals, the importance of people over things. These have been under assault for a long time.
*Every year, there is an effort by someone to get some sort of holiday symbol removed from public property. They like to invoke the First Amendment, claiming that a nativity scene in front of a building is "government endorsement of a religion." Well, government should be a reflection of its people and if the majority think that it isn't an imposition, that should settle it. The "establishment clause" means that the government can't officially sponsor, or be sponsored by, a church. It does not mean that members of the government can't express their solidarity with others of similar beliefs. When people want trees and mangers taken away, it says more about their selfishness and insecurity than it does about the people celebrating a time-honored tradition.
*Yes, most Christians know Jesus wasn't born in December. We know that Yule was a pagan celebration of the winter solstice. Stop trying to take our joy from us by pointing it out in a snarky, holier-than-thou manner. It just makes you look like a jerk. People who believe Christmas is important are the same type of people who founded the nation that allows you to live your life of non-belief quite comfortably, so stop complaining about how the culture of freedom that you enjoy inconveniences you because you're tired of looking at manger scenes.
*Some people oppose massive legislative bills because they are rushed through without time to be properly evaluated, and then they vote for the bill anyway because they got a deal too good to pass up. Some others plan to vote for it, but will hold out until they manage to extort as much as possible from the taxpayers. Neither speaks well for a person's character. So why do we keep electing them?
*The trick with taking vacation in the hopes of seeing people is that everyone is on vacation, so they all have plans and commitments. Thus, it is difficult to actually get together with the people you wanted to see. Like I said...frustrating.
*I did discover that there is a Chick-Fil-A in the Philadelphia airport. Yep....closed on Sunday.
*My deepest gratitude to the USO, which provides an area in many airports for traveling members of the armed services to relax, have free food and beverages, check email, sleep, etc. during layovers, especially when flights are delayed. It makes a difficult trip much easier. Thanks.