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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Information On Individual Assistance For Somerset County

As most of you know, the appeal was granted and Somerset County was awarded Individual Assistance, thanks in large part to the hard work of the Governor’s office, our federal delegation, and state and local leadership and also through the tireless work of Steve Marshall and the teams of inspectors from the county and the city who kept doing PDAs. Thank you to everyone who pushed for this appeal and made this happen.

Here is the most up to date information on where we should direct persons and businesses who are seeking Individual Assistance. The main thing to do is to encourage people to call the 800 number.

Toll free number. Persons seeking individual assistance should register by calling 1-800-621-3362 which is 1-800-621-FEMA. This is a simple process that requires them to provide their name, social security number, address, directions to their home, a description of their losses and insurance information. Here is a link to a checklist of information people need to have on hand when they apply. For the hearing and speech impaired, TTY is 1-800-462-7585.

Register online. An alternative to registering by phone is to register online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/ In addition to applying for assistance online, you can take an anonymous questionnaire to find out what programs are available to them.

Disaster Recovery Center. A disaster recovery center or “DRC” (FEMA loves acronyms) will be opening at the Lower Somerset Ambulance and Rescue Squad, located at 2 Mill Lane, Crisfield, Maryland 21817 on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 9 a.m. People can register online and can also speak with specialists for each type of assistance that FEMA individual assistance provides. The ambulance squad is between Jacksonville Road and Route 413, near Food Lion and Circle Inn.

Teams going door to door. This weekend, FEMA and MEMA teams will be going door to door to hand out cards and flyers to businesses and individuals telling them how to apply for assistance.

Community Town Hall. We continue to plan to host the Community Town Hall this Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 6 p.m. Now that individual assistance has been granted, a large part of this meeting will be a presentation from FEMA on the IA process and they will have staff on hand before, during and after the meeting to help people apply for IA who have not done so already.

If you have questions about what types of assistance are included within Individual Assistance, a helpful, but somewhat dated (July 2008) guide can be viewed here. It is also available in several languages.

TURN OFF THE NEWS.......


Morgan Freeman's brilliant take on what happened yesterday :

"You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here's why.

It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN's article says that if the body count "holds up", this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news."

Domino's Founder Sues Feds Over Health Care Law

DETROIT (AP) — The founder of Domino's Pizza is suing the federal government over mandatory contraception coverage in the health care law.

Tom Monaghan, a devout Roman Catholic, says contraception isn't health care but a "gravely immoral" practice.

He filed a lawsuit Friday in federal court. It also lists as a plaintiff Domino's Farms, a Michigan office park complex that Monaghan owns.

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Md. Revenue Grows Thanks To Income Tax Hike

ANNAPOLIS -- Maryland revenues are increasing more than expected -- with a surplus instead of a budget gap predicted for next fiscal year -- largely due to retroactive income tax increases on residents earning more than $100,000.

While many state leaders were celebrating the increase of nearly $161 million for this fiscal year and next, Comptroller Peter Franchot warned that there is still a long road before the economy has fully recovered.

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CHRISTIAN RADIO HOST SAYS GOD DIDN’T PROTECT KIDS IN SHOOTING BECAUSE WE’VE TOLD ‘GOD TO GET LOST’


Evangelical radio host Bryan Fischer is under fire after comments he uttered today during his American Family Association radio program. His statements, made in reference to today’s horrific school shooting in Connecticut, raised some eyebrows, particularly among liberal groups who view them as insensitive and wrong-headed. Mediaite has a recap:

Christian radio host Bryan Fischer took to his American Family Association radio show this afternoon to say that God didn’t stop the horrific Connecticut elementary school shooting spree because he does not go “where he is not wanted.”

Fischer made the case that, in his mind, God would have protected the shooting victims had there been a system of school prayer and a respect for the Ten Commandments in public classrooms.
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CELEBRITIES DEMAND GUN CONTROL ON TWITTER: ‘STOP DEFENDING YOUR RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. YOU’RE STUPID’

The Connecticut school shooting that left 27 people dead — including as many as 20 children — has prompted Hollywood celebrities to demand stricter gun control because they believe it will prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

“Too soon to speak out about a gun-crazy nation? No, too late,” far-left filmmaker Michael Moore tweeted. “At least THIRTY-ONE school shootings since Columbine.”

“The way to honor these dead children is to demand strict gun control, free mental health care, and an end to violence as public policy,” he added.

Screenwriter Kevin Williamson agreed. “We need gun control. Stop defending your right to bear arms. You’re stupid,” he tweeted.

 More

Which Sign


President's Pot Comments Prompt Call For Policy

President Barack Obama says he won't go after pot users in Colorado and Washington, two states that just legalized the drug for recreational use. But advocates argue the president said the same thing about medical marijuana -- and yet U.S. attorneys continue to force the closure of dispensaries across the U.S.

Welcome to the confusing and often conflicting policy on pot in the U.S., where medical marijuana is legal in many states, but it is increasingly difficult to grow, distribute or sell it. And at the federal level, at least officially, it is still an illegal drug everywhere.

Obama's statement Friday provided little clarity in a world where marijuana is inching ever so carefully toward legitimacy.

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BREAKING NEWS: Obama Will Attend Memorial Service In Connecticut

President Obama will travel to the Newtown, Connecticut site of the deadly elementary school shooting on Sunday to attend a memorial service for victims. 

From Fox News

Now Open At Sea Gull Square


The Economy Impacts Local Toys For Tots Drive

The bad economy is having a major impact on the Toys for Tots program in the D.C. area.

Donations are not pouring in this year, which means more kids will be waking up on Christmas morning without anything under the tree.

Staff Sgt. Oscar Villegas is the Toys for Tots coordinator for northern Virginia, which serves Arlington, Caroline, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, King George, Orange, Prince William, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties.

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For The Guest That Won't Leave?

Yes they are real. You can get them from Amazon.

MD. HORSE RACING INDUSTRY MAKES 10-YEAR AGREEMENT

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — An elusive long-term agreement has been reached for Maryland's struggling horse racing industry that includes 146 live racing days next year at the state's major tracks and avoids the annual uncertainty in recent years about racing dates, negotiators and Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Friday.

In 2010, live racing was on the verge of collapse before the O'Malley administration intervened to work out a short-term arrangement to keep it going. Since then, the industry had aimed for a long-term plan to bring stability to horse racing.

The parties say they will ask the Maryland Racing Commission to approve the 2013 schedule on Tuesday.

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Entrepreneurship Center ShoreVenture Program To Help Eastern Shore

Small Business Owners Unleash Their Potential and Realize Their Dreams

(Easton, MD)
- Continuing its effort to help Eastern Shore entrepreneurs and small businesses prosper and grow, the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC) will continue its ShoreVenture entrepreneur training series with the expansion the FastTrac® NewVenture™ program at Wor-Wic Community College in January 2013. FastTrac® NewVenture™ is an intensive ten-week course that teaches individuals interested in becoming entrepreneurs how to start a business. Collaborating partners include Maryland Capital Enterprises, Small Business Development Center, and SCORE®,.

The next FastTrac® NewVenture™ session will take place at Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury one evening a week starting January 24 through March 28, 2013. The program is provided at a reduced cost of $195.00 per participant with a full 100% refund upon satisfactory completion of the program. The refund motivation is the result of grant funding from an area foundation that seeks to encourage individuals to start businesses and help improve the region’s economy and job opportunities.

To date, the FastTrac program has provided more than 300,000 entrepreneurs with the tools and support to enhance and expand their business.

“80 percent of past participants said that they would recommend the FastTrac program to other Business owners,” said Mike Thielke, executive director of ESEC. “FastTrac NewVenture participants not only leave the course with an executable plan to start their business, they also obtain a strong support network of fellow entrepreneurs to share resources, ideas and insights.”

During the course, start-up entrepreneurs create and develop an actionable plan for a business. Members of the Lower, Mid-Shore, and Upper Shore chapters of SCORE® as well as other successful entrepreneurs and experienced business coaches, help facilitate the weekly sessions as well as provide one-on-one assistance and expertise to explore and evaluate new business growth initiatives, such as the introduction of new products and services.

To be eligible to attend the FastTrac NewVenture program, individuals only to have an idea of a business concept and interested in exploring the possibility of starting a business. Participants also need to make a commitment to attend ten sessions – 30 classroom hours in the evening over the course of ten weeks – and complete all course assignments.

For more information and to apply for ShoreVenture courses, please visit www.ShoreVenture.com or call 410-770-9330.

ESEC is a nonprofit organization that works to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem on Maryland’s Eastern Shore through technical assistance, training programs, and improved access to capital.

Maryland Capital Enterprises provides services to self-employed small business owners who are committed to their businesses, but who otherwise lack the collateral or credit history that virtually denies them access to conventional loans and other financial products.

The Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is dedicated to helping individuals establish and expand their business. We accomplish this by providing a variety of management and technical assistance programs designed to help aspiring and existing small business owner.

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed nationwide. SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and has been mentoring small business owners for more than forty.

What John Boehner's Deficit Chart Means

At his press conference today, John Boehner showed this classic chart, in making his point that the U.S. faces a big spending crisis.

Speaker John Boehner

Jim Pethokoukis at AEI asks: What do we make of this chart?

Among his answers: Taxes might need to rise a little bit; Medicare reform needs to start NOW, and a lot of liberals aren't buying the CBO's analysis here.

Three alternate thoughts:
Medicare costs are making the red explode, because healthcare costs are surging. That seems like a tautology, but it's an important clarification. In terms of the overall impact on the economy, the "entitlement" is a distraction. The costs are going to be humongous whether the government pays for them or the private sector does. If we want to not see the red boom like that, then the underlying healthcare inflation needs to be bent down.
It's still not clear what the "problem" is. The insinuation is that deficits like that are unsustainable, but neither the chart, nor Boehner actually make that case. Yes it's conventional wisdom that deficits that large are a problem, but they might not be.
The chart assumes a bit of a fantasy world, where healthcare spending can grow like crazy (due to real growth and inflation) and yet nominal GDP continues along this normal glide path. The problem is, with healthcare getting that big, the denominator of the deficit/GDP ratio would grow significantly, and the inflation from healthcare would boost nominal GDP. Remember, these charts are CBO budget baselines, not real macroeconomic forecasts.

For more on Boehner's comments, see here >

Preflight Update


4th Amendment Over: Public Buses Adding Microphones To Record Conversations

Believe it or not the article [3] itself is actually a lot worse than even the title implies. These microphones are in many cases being coupled with cameras in order to gain an even greater level of surveillance. All with grants from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Now honestly, does anyone really think this is for Al Qaeda? This is a great follow up to my piece from last week titled: Coming to Your Car: Mandatory Black Boxes That Record Everything [4].

From Wired:
Transit authorities in cities across the country are quietly installing microphone-enabled surveillance systems on public buses that would give them the ability to record and store private conversations, according to documents obtained by a news outlet.

The systems are being installed in San Francisco, Baltimore, and other cities with funding from the Department of Homeland Security in some cases, according to the Daily, which obtained copies of contracts, procurement requests, specs and other documents.

The systems use cables or WiFi to pair audio conversations with camera images in order to produce synchronous recordings. Audio and video can be monitored in real-time.

In Eugene, Oregon, the Daily found, transit officials requested microphones that would be capable of “distilling clear conversations from the background noise of other voices, wind, traffic, windshields wipers and engines” and also wanted at least five audio channels spread across each bus that would be “paired with one or more camera images and recorded synchronously with the video for simultaneous playback.”

The 4th Amendment is dead. I repeat, the terrorists won.


3rd Friday: Art & Entertainment In Downtown Salisbury

Salisbury, MD – What is December 21, 2012? The Mayan Apocalypse? The Galactic Alignment? Well… we don’t really know. All we know is its 3rd Friday in Downtown Salisbury! We will be ringing in the Holidays and Doomsday together this Friday from 5- 8pm. A strange combination to be sure, but add in some art, fabulous shopping, live music and fantastic restaurant specials, and you have yourself a great reason to head downtown for another awesome 3rd Friday! The Plaza lights will be lit, creating a gorgeous backdrop to enjoy strolling between the various activities being held.

The 3rd Friday artists will fill The Powell Building, on the Plaza, with Fine Art displays, as well as, plenty of handmade items and crafts, right in time for last minute holiday gifts! The City Center building will also be buzzing with activity, with a last minute Holiday Shopping Bazaar, Kids Crafts hosted by SWAC, fabulous food and drink specials at Aqua Bar & Restaurant, and live holiday music and an Open Mic Night hosted by B&B Music! Enza’s Organic Salon will also be celebrating their 6th year anniversary with specials sales, hors d’oeuvres and live music with Alex and Shiloh from 6 – 8pm.

Still looking to shop? Stop by Art Institute and Gallery for the special 3rd Friday Shopping Night with the Arts, and take advantage of special sales, and free gift wrapping! Perfect way to cross of last minute gifts! Then head on down to Season’s Best Antiques for their Ugly Sweater Party from 5 – 8pm! The first 30 people wearing their ugliest sweaters will receive a free gift, and their huge inventory of unique antiques is certain to contain perfect presents for everyone on your list.

The First Annual Salisbury Houses of Worship Open House Tour will also be taking place during 3rd Friday. This self-guided tour takes place from 4-7pm and includes six gorgeous and historical churches all surrounding the Downtown Area, including Bethesda United Methodist, Chipman M.E. Church and Cultural Center, St. Francis de Sales, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Trinity United Methodist and Wicomico Presbyterian Church. The churches will be open during these hours and historical information will be presented, as well as musical performances. Tour information and music schedules are available at each of the churches in advance.
3F is an all-volunteer effort, a downtown economic development initiative and a project of the Salisbury Arts & Entertainment District Committee. There is no charge for local artists to set up, only registration is required. For more information: mailto: 3rdFridaySby@gmail.com or Visit www.3rdfridaysby.com 

The Fed's Cloak Of Invisibilit

When it comes to the Federal Reserve, it’s not a matter of what you see is what you get. It’s more a matter of what you don’t see is what you’ll end up getting.

Getting, as in up the you-know-what!

I’m talking about getting socialism shoved up our capitalist backsides, for one thing.

It’s simple: We are about to go over the so-called fiscal cliff. Why? Because Congress can’t figure out how to stop spending money it doesn’t have.

Forget the whole revenue side of the equation. It’s only part of the mix of fixes, and the only fix that matters ain’t fixed.

Stop spending money you don’t have and you don’t have to tax people more to pay for a bunch of crap they don’t need, don’t want, and don’t even know they’re getting.

Oh, that would be because on top of what we are getting there’s even more that we’re not getting. Congress’ paymasters are getting pork and beans for whatever they want because that’s how our Congress gets elected, by greasing the wheels of insiders to get taxpayer money for their private purses, enough to plentifully pay for campaigns.

But that’s only the “private” side of spending.

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From Bernie Madoff To Steven Cohen, Enabling Suspiciously High Returns

To have one employee tied to insider trading may be regarded as a misfortune. But, with apologies to Oscar Wilde, to have six looks like carelessness.

Poor Steven A. Cohen, the powerful hedge fund manager who heads SAC Capital Advisers. People he employs just keep getting swept up in the sprawling insider trading investigation that has spanned years now. In addition to the six who have gotten in trouble for activities when employed at SAC, at least six others have been ensnared by insider trading investigations after leaving the firm. The latest arrest, of the pharmaceutical industry analyst Mathew Martoma, is the first that ties Mr. Cohen to trades the government says were illegal.

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BREAKING NEWS : Clinton Unable To Testify On Benghazi

FOX NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be unable to testify on the Benghazi raid next week in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee due to her recent concussion.

THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR WELFARE SYSTEM FROM A WELFARE OFFICE WORKER

“Here is the truth about welfare from one who works in a PA welfare office. While welfare is designed to provide assistance to those who are at the lower end of the economic spectrum. The program was designed to supplement people’s efforts in supporting themselves not being their sole support. Reality is that there are some that by no fault of their own will never be able to fully support themselves, but the number of people who could have supported themselves but due to poor decision making (and suffering the negative consequences of those decisions) only continues to grow. The truth is that welfare, though an assist for some is a trap for too many. There are some who escape the trap, and more power to them, but for most it is a trap. It is far too easy to become complacent and begin to rely on the system. There is little to no incentive to leave the system. I have seen too many people come through our doors ashamed to be asking for help, and years later are fighting to remain on the welfare rolls and seeking more. Without serious reform the future will only consist of more and more people receiving benefit and fewer and fewer paying more and more taxes to support them.”

Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/#RvOTbHZH5UuXCB0g.99

DO YOU EAT?

These charts should make you nervous
You may remember the last time food prices spiked: the entire Middle East exploded in an inferno of Muslim Brotherhood-fueled unrest. Democrats and the media -- but I repeat myself -- called it the "Arab Spring".

Not to get you overly paranoid or anything, but the race to devalue global currencies -- spearheaded by one Ben Bernanke and his magical printing press -- is touching off more inflation in food prices as evidenced here and here:




Now that the Federal Reserve has monetized trillions in debt, it's safe to say that there is no viable exit strategy. Other than inflation and/or economic collapse, that is.

Source

Honest Obama Xmas Card


Violent, Racist Union Thugs Destroy Hot Dog Cart

This is apparently OK with the Legacy Media, since the violent, racist union thugs funnel money to and vote Democrat
(The Blaze) A man running a local hot dog stand in Michigan’s state capital was among those attacked by protesters of the state’s “Right to Work” legislation while he served food in a tent that was torn down yesterday. The man was also allegedly taunted when he tried to salvage some of his property.

During Tuesday’s protests — the day Gov. Rick Snydersigned into law what he said is “pro-worker” legislation — the equipment Clint Tarver uses to run Clint’s Hot Dog Cart and Casual Catering was destroyed by people some have called “union thugs.”

According to the Lansing State Journal, Tarver was hired by the pro-Right-to-Work group Americans for Prosperity to serve hot dogs in the tent. TheBlaze reported about the tent’s destruction Tuesday — and how protesters were reportedly cutting up and distributing pieces of it as “souvenirs.”

Prescott And Ohanian: Taxes Are Much Higher Than You Think

The combined levies on labor income and consumer spending have seriously reduced the hours that Europeans work. The U.S. isn't too far behind.
President Obama argues that the election gave him a mandate to raise taxes on high earners, and the White House indicates that he won't compromise on this issue as the so-called fiscal cliff approaches.

But tax rates are already high—much higher than is commonly understood—and increasing them will likely further depress the economy, especially by affecting the number of hours Americans work.

Taking into account all taxes on earnings and consumer spending—including federal, state and local income taxes, Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, excise taxes, and state and local sales taxes—Edward Prescott has shown (especially in the Quarterly Review of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, 2004) that the U.S. average marginal effective tax rate is around 40%. This means that if the average worker earns $100 from additional output, he will be able to consume only an additional $60.

Research by others (including Lee Ohanian, Andrea Raffo and Richard Rogerson in the Journal of Monetary Economics, 2008, and Edward Prescott in the American Economic Review, 2002) indicates that raising tax rates further will significantly reduce U.S. economic activity and by implication will increase tax revenues only a little.

Too Late To Apologize: A Declaration

QUOTES OF THE DAY 12-15-12

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

“Experience has shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
Thomas Jefferson

“No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious & charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful.”
Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”
Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome

“To oppose corruption in government is the highest obligation of patriotism.”
G. Edward Griffin

"Republicans Are Stupid"


OBAMA - MASTER OF THE PLAUSIBLE LIE

Fiscal Cliff Notes: Part IIBy Thomas Sowell
One of the big advantages that President Obama has, as he plays “chicken” with the Congressional Republicans along the “fiscal cliff,” is that Obama is a master of the plausible lie, which will never be exposed by the mainstream media— nor, apparently, by the Republicans.

A key lie that has been repeated over and over, largely unanswered, is that President Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich” cost the government so much lost tax revenue that this added to the budget deficit— so that the government cannot afford to allow the cost of letting the Bush tax rates continue for “the rich.”

It sounds very plausible, and constant repetition without a challenge may well be enough to convince the voting public that, if the Republican-controlled House of Representatives does not go along with Barack Obama’s demands for more spending and higher tax rates on the top 2 percent, it just shows that they care more for “the rich” than for the other 98 percent.

What is remarkable is how easy it is to show how completely false Obama’s argument is. That also makes it completely inexplicable why the Republicans have not done so.

The official statistics which show plainly how wrong Barack Obama is can be found in his own “Economic Report of the President” for 2012, on page 411. You can look it up.

You may be able to find a copy of the “Economic Report of the President” for 2012 at your local public library. Or you can buy a hard copy from the Government Printing Office or download an electronic version from the Internet.

For those who find that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” they need only see the graphs published in the November 30th issue of Investor’s Business Daily.
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HISTORICAL COMMENTS BY GEORGE CHEVALLIER 12-15-12

The Christmas Tree

A long-held practice has been to put up a Christmas tree at this time of the year. Over the years, there have been many different ways to accomplish this. People used to go out and cut down their tree. This was fine if you knew who owned the land where you were getting the tree. Or, you could just go out and hunt the public lands for that most perfect of trees. Either way, it was always a good adventure for the father and the kids to spend a Saturday at this time of the year. It sort of added to the excitement that children always had. Sometimes, the children would pick one out that was somewhat less than perfect. It didn’t matter to them, it was their tree, and the decorations would more than make up for any defects nature had bestowed upon it.

Following this practice was the advent of the Christmas tree lot. These were usually trees that had been cut as early as September, and it was only a knowledgeable father that could tell if the tree would fall apart as soon as it was brought inside. Making sure the needles were supple was of the utmost importance. If they weren’t, you might have a very scraggly-looking tree within a few days of putting it up. Cutting the bottom few inches from the base was very important as that is where the tree would absorb water. Watering the tree was a daily ritual and one that was usually assigned to a child because of their small stature making it easier to get under the lower branches.

The old-fashioned decorations are not seen much anymore, and that is a shame. Strings of popcorn took a lot of time but provided activity for the children. There were also the strings made out of construction paper. Strips about one inch wide were cut from different-colored sheets of construction paper and then glued together to make a long string that would then be hung on the tree.

Electric lights replaced candles many years ago and they were always the job of the father. Along with the standard bulb-shaped bulbs, there was the occasional bubbling candle light. I can remember we had only one of them and, when it heated up and started to bubble, we were properly amazed. In the old days, when a light burned out, you just replaced it. The new strings all go out when any one light burns out.

The next-to-last accoutrement of the tree was the tinsel. The tinsel of the 1950’s was made of aluminum, and my mother always saved it from year to year. It was quite a job to take off all that tinsel and store it properly, but it was aluminum and that was something like gold is now. I, myself, am particularly fond of tinsel. One year, I put on 11,000 strands of tinsel when my boys were small. When the lights were off, it looked like a large silver tree in our living room. But when evening came and the lights were on, it was the most magnificent tree ever. Pictures and memories of that tree are all I have left now.

The absolute last ornament to go on the tree was the Christmas angel on the top of the tree. When that was proudly resting on the topmost branch, the tree was ready for the season.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

R.I.P Sandy Hook Elementary School Children

I hope this poetry offers some sort of comfort to some aching hearts: 

This morning I woke up,
looked at the Connecticut sky.
I had a good feeling
I can't tell you why.

I kissed Mommy goodbye,
and told Daddy I love you.
And before we separated at the sign,
I told sister see you soon.

The bell rung,
we all rushed inside.
It was warm and loving
like a campfire light.

The teacher smiled,
my friends waved hello.
We started class,
but before you know..

The door busted open,
a man with a gun.
I was scared and broken
I looked at the sun.

The same sun I saw
with so much love.
Now brought me worry
but I'd stay tough.

I felt a pain
go through my whole body.
I saw a light
and an awful goodbye.

I saw Mommy's face,
her beautiful, soft lips.
I kissed her this morning,
she was something I'd miss.

I smelled Daddy's cologne,
when he hugged me today.
He left for work,
not knowing what life would take.

Sister was only a few blocks away,
in a classroom, I could see
I'll never get to say
how much she means to me.

My 6th birthday was coming soon,
I was dreaming of ponies
dolls
and shoes.

Then I felt a hand
touch my face.
I was overwhelmed
in an amazing grace.

God said to me,
"don't be worry, child.
you've been here before.
it's just been a while."

I looked on my back,
where I found wings.
I felt a halo
and clouds under my feet.

With me, when I looked,
were my friends by my side.
That man sent us here,
but I"m alright.

Maybe he was sick,
maybe he was crazy.
Maybe he hurt us
because he was hurting, maybe?

I watch the tears
all over the country.
Over the few years
their pain because of me.

I watched my family
break apart.
but they knew
I was in their hearts.

I don't know much,
but I know this;
my mommy should've never
had to bury her own kid.

Although it's tough,
although it's hard
I think God would want us to forgive
th killer in our hearts.

What you dont know,
but what I'll tell you,
is I'm just fine.
in this heaven of mine.

Maybe this will teach you
to never regret a thing.
Be happy with what God gave you,
because you could've been me.

Now, maybe I was young,
maybe I didn't deserve it.
But maybe I taught a lesson,
now please...learn it.

Love with everything,
always smile a lot.
Remember this lesson,
that I taught.

Wipe the tears,
enjoy the years.
Time goes by fast,
you don't know which day is your last.

Pray for my famlily,
for my friend's family, too.
I'm sure they'll be grateful,
and thankful to you.

I'm an angel,
all brand new.
I came up here
this afternoon.

I would be 6 years old,
but God has a plan.
Remember this feeling of distraught,
remember this lesson that I taught.

Written by J.J. 12/14/12
Edited by S.Z. 12/14/12