Wednesday, January 3, 2018

'Tis a New Year, So I'm Told...

I know what it looks like but sorry, this is not the latest installment in the Panzer 413 saga. (Saga may be a bit overblown for the 47 some odd pages that I have so far, but you know me, I tend to exaggerate at times.) While I have been writing about a battle which took place in the dead of winter back in 1944, right now we're living in the dead of winter, 2018.

I spent some time today going back through the archives, seeing what I had written in past years concerning the changing of the calendar, when one year becomes another. Wasn't much really, then again, this is only sixth time this event has occurred since the inception of The Chant. Odd that it feels like I've been doing this forever, but in reality it's been only five years and ten months. Okay, that's close enough to six years but the reason still hurts, so I don't dwell on it. Much.

But another calendar has come down to be replaced with a new one. We're not just flipping the page but opening a whole new book, so to speak. Will 2018 be any different from 2017? Who knows, I don't prognosticate, nor do I put much faith in the prognostications of others. The ability to see the future is a curse, not a gift. (The ability to pick the right lottery numbers notwithstanding.)

The memories of the just passed Christmas are still warm and fuzzy, the injury to my ankle on Boxing Day aside. It was quiet, it was non-stressful, and it was cozy. It was just Your Humble Scribe, The Missus Herself, The Nuke and her faithful dogs Bear and Kodi. We didn't even really do a fancy meal - "just" steak, asparagus, and baked potato. Fine by me, 'twas the company that was important, not the comestibles. (Though the food was delicious!)

That and eggnog liberally flavored with Maker's Mark. We all got a bit goofy, watched movies on the telly, and played board games, something of a family tradition that latter bit. Some of you might be wondering what games we played. Well, there was Catan and there was The Oregon Trail. Yes, that Oregon Trail, the game of "you've died of dysentery" fame. Which I did when I wasn't dying of snake bite. Twice. Little bastards went straight for the ankle.

No, we never made it to Oregon. Sorry PLQ.

Now Catan is one of those build/resource games, you have to build stuff by using resources, and the resources always seem to be scarce. We played that a lot. It was fun and The Nuke always seemed to win, at least it felt that way and well it is her game innit? I shouldn't brag, but I did win, once. The Missus Herself came close once or twice, but never actually won.

So that was Christmas Day. Of course, Boxing Day put the kibosh on any thoughts of doing any real touristy stuff while in the D.C. area. I wanted to go to the Marine Corps museum, Arlington Cemetery, drive past the White House to see the Christmas tree, go out to Udvar-Hazy where one of those "friends I've never met" was going to be. (Which he did visit, I've seen his photos on koobecaF. Maybe next time Ian.)

So it was hobbled I was for half the visit. Coming home I was wheel chaired down to the gate at Reagan, small jet so I swung from seat to seat to board the plane (seriously, well kind of). When we returned to T.F. Green the car started (of course, the temps were right balmy at that point, still in the 20s they were), and the trip home was uneventful (save for the encounter with the basilisk departing airport parking).

It was a nice, quiet time. Now I'm still on vacation, still bellowing at the neighbors (in my mind of course) to turn their Christmas lights back on, the Christmas season doesn't end until Epiphany! Nope, house by house the world returns to "normal."

Yes, my lights are still lit.


  1. Our lights are still on, too.

    I kinda grumble when I hear or read about fresh starts at the New Year.
    It leaves the impression that a fresh start can’t be made any time.
    What if everything, births, new jobs, construction projects, you name it, had to all wait for a new year.
    Can you imagine.
    Just one little delay would put something off for a year and pregnant females could become a menace.
    On the other hand we would probably find out which spectator sport is really the most popular if the seasons all started on the same day.

    1. Fresh starts, bah humbug. Yes, a fresh start can be made at any time.

      I think New Year's should be in the spring, right around Easter. Talk about a fresh start!

    2. Well, it used to be. Until some Pope and some church-scientist-brain people decided that the previous calendar sucked stale eggs and fixed it.

      So, there, another thing people can blame the Catholic Church for. You know, all those horrible things like defending the middle east against the muslim hordes, fostering scientific thought, pushing advances in astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, physics (before it was physics.) And doing such things like trying to control warfare (no crossbows against fellow Christians, no fighting on Sunday or Wednesday (again, against fellow Christians).) Keeping previous knowledge alive through the various 'dark ages.'

    3. I get that, and the precious calendar did suck. (Pope Gregory XIII who fixed that wasn't it?)

      My objection to the New Year being in the dead of winter is precisely that, nothing is growing, all is dormant. Nothing comes alive until spring. Then again, that's my northern hemisphere bias speaking. Our first day of spring is the southern hemisphere's first day of fall. So I guess January 1st is a fair compromise. (On the record, I am a big fan of Holy Mother Church. Seriously.)

    4. It could have been a worse date, but it works (unless you are Neil Degrasse Tyson, who apparently has to tell everyone that Jan 1 as New Years is a fictional, made up date with no astronomical reason. Like who cares what that ass-hat Sagan wannabe says. Yeesh, some people.)

      And yes, having gotten in trouble defending Mother Church during my school days, I am a very big fan of the Church. Commie Pope, helping Nazis, kid trouble, not so much. I kinda wish most of Vatican II would be repealed, and the Mysteries of the Mass brought back. Oh well. (Kinda bummed because Christmas Mass, which we went to specifically at my mom's church to be with the whole extended family, was me and Mrs. Andrew and Mom and Oldest Brother, and the priest was from Nigeria and was less comprehensible than if he had said the mass in Latin, and he really needed to be sent to the local synagogue and enrolled in Cantor school (really, beach side church, I think the whales and dolphins headed away from the 'sound' of his 'singing.'

      Oh well, better luck next year and all that.

      Big fan of Mother Church. Wish they would bring back the Orders Militant. Really. At least the Hospitalers and Lazareens. Maybe the Templars. And the Teutonics really need to reform. Along with the Order of Dracul, for those eastern countries.

      Off of my soap-box to hide from the crud.

    5. Does Tyson realize that all calendars, dates, the names of months, etc, have absolutely no basis in astronomy? (As you, I cannot stomach that fellow, even Sagan made me sick at times. The wonder of the universe in front of them and they both think it all occurred via random chance.)

      I like it when you climb up on your soap box, Andrew.

    6. Well, the solstices and equinoxes are astronomically based. The rest, faith based, which since he's a big atheistic poopoo head, almost as much as Sagan, he disaknowledges their usefulness.

      And Sagan, that pompous lefty fart-blossom? Tyson wishes he could be as up-scale and snobbish as Karl. Mrs. Andrew loves watching 'Cosmos' and 'Son of Cosmos' (or whatever it was called) but I can't stand that crap. A whole show named after a Russian space project. How much more obvious can you get?

    7. True about the solstices and equinoxes, but the names we give them, and the significance we place upon them, are lost on the left leaning I suppose.

      Left fart-blossom, I love it.

  2. Other than the ankle issue, it sounds like you had a great Christmas. I'm one of those hardcore Christmas types, my lights stay on and the tree stays up until the end of January!

    1. End of January?!?

      I would do that but The Missus Herself will not have it.

      It was a very special Christmas, all those I spend with family are.

  3. Thanks for the post. Sorry you didn't make it to Oregon ( in the game or real life ). We have both of those games, but we played Mille Bornes on New Years Eve. Stayed up 'til midnight. Went up the street to a friend's house and we had our own ball drop down his flag pole. Much more fun than watching that tv thing.

    Take care of yourself,
    Paul L. Quandt

    1. That game sounds quite fun, might have to pick up a copy for the next gathering of the tribe.

      Watching the ball drop on New Year's Eve. Nah, missed it. The Missus Herself and I, along with the feline staff, had a quiet evening at home.

  4. Yay, another person who keeps their lights up for the Wise Men to find their way! Yay!

    Old family tradition was to harvest a tree two days before Christmas, and take it home and hang it upside down and shake it to get rid of loose needles and snakes and bird nests and such. Then decorate on Christmas Eve, then up for the 12 days and down on the Epiphany. Neighbors thought it was really weird us hanging our tree, especially with us little ones asking it strange questions in fake German voices (hey, the late 60's were full of WWII shows like Combat, Hogan's Heroes and Rat Patrol.)

    The tradition sadly ended when we moved to Kwajalein, as the base PX sillily bought 7' artificial trees, when a good portion of family housing was travel trailers that were only 7' tall. (Hey, at least someone noticed, 7' to 7', apparently forgetting the tree topper.) So expensive artificial trees went on sale, and suddenly everyone bought one, and cut off the bottom foot and discarded the lowest section of branches. So we got our tree, and didn't have to cut it down as we lived in actual cement block quarters, and thus began the tradition of decorating earlier, like by the 12th or, gasp, by December 1st. Still the tree came down on the Epiphany, or the day after, depending on work schedules.

    Ah, the memories of Christmas (trees) past.

    1. While out and about today, I saw the first discarded Christmas trees. Nothing cuts straight to my heart like seeing a lovely tree, doomed to die by being selected as a Christmas tree, decorated with colorful lights, and such. Surrounded on Christmas morning by a loving family, then to be dumped before the Epiphany. Out by the curb like so much unwanted trash.

      In my youth we took our old trees up into the forest, a more honorable thing, we thought, then throwing them out. Yes, we would go visit the Christmas tree graveyard at other points in time. My brother, who still lives in the ancestral home, still does this.

      Can't bear to see a discarded Christmas tree.

    2. I have always cut up my now-dead live tree for kindling, leaving the trunk and the top and putting it up in the back yard and used it for a bird feeder.

      I like it when they are used for erosion control, or other decent purpose.

      Dead on the side of the road, abandoned with no hope, is truly sad. I agree with you about seeing a discarded tree.

      (And I always found it funny that all the people, after a storm, have their trees hauled away, and then buy firewood. I heated my house for years (when I ran the fireplace) from other people's storm leavings.)

    3. Using them for a good purpose doesn't bother as much as using them for landfill.

  5. I like to leave the Christmas lights up, but my HOA frowns upon that. One year I got a Nastygram from them about it. Yesterday I removed the lights from the palm tree out front. Today I'll probably take down the "icicle" lights from the eaves, pondering the irony of the absence of icicles the rest of the year.
    I did both resolutions and prognostications this year. So far, doing pretty well with both!

    1. Ah yes, HOAs, a thing I am very glad to NOT have where I live. While I understand the reasons, I have no wish to live under the sway of old retired Nazi wannabes. (Or are they Commies? Take your pick.)

    2. National Socialists vs International Socialists. Hmmm. They both suck rotten eggs and have caused too much pain and suffering in the world.

    3. And that's just the ones in Proof's Neighborhood.

  6. Man! When Andrew gets on a commentary roll, he's as unstoppable as an avalanche. I haven't chuckled at commentary as much as this thread in a long time.

    1. Indeed, Andrew is a jewel of a commenter!

    2. Thank you, gentlemen. I am as wordy and mouthy via computer as I am tongue-tied and shy in real life.

      And it's hard to stop commenting once a bee gets up my bonnet.

    3. No, please, don't. I don't really have a bonnet, and the bees go somewhere else starting with "B"...

      Hurts, so hurts...

    4. I'd think that one would want to act in a calm, collected fashion with a bee in one's bonnet. The thrashing and gnashing approach is liable to result in stinging, no?

      Who invents these sayings, anyways?

      Wasp in your woolies?
      Hornet in your hairnet?

    5. Juvat - cancel the order for more bees.

    6. a bear - it has often made me wonder who came up with all these sayings. 'Tis a constant burr under my saddle. 😉

    7. Having had Yellow Jackets up my jeans (due to stupidly stopping on the hole to mow under a bush,) my care is not who invented said phrases but to avoid said insects.

      And, yes, the image of a large fat man running through the yard while stripping off all his clothes and screaming in abject pain should be filling your head now. My left leg only swelled to half again it's normal size. Amazing what 8 Benadryl and the joy of soaking the ground in gasoline and setting it on fire and then shooting the little bitches (they are female after all) down with wasp spray, to watch them fall into the flames like little commie jets over Asia, was at least somewhat satisfying. Being reminded by Mrs. Andrew, of the Running of the Naked Swamp-ape through the yard (of course it had to happen in the farthest corner which is the farthest away from a household point of entry) screaming, removed any satisfaction incurred.

    8. Yup, that's gonna be stuck in my head for a while. Makes me feel less guilty for laughing at that mental image though.

  7. Whatever the date, we need to get up and start putting one foot in front of the other.


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