Manbij, in northern Syria, lies just a short drive away from Dabiq. The Prophet Muhammad is believed to have said that "the last hour will not come" until Muslims vanquished the Romans at "Dabiq or al-Amaq".
So it is no small coincidence that Manbij is capable of triggering a world war.
Twas the night before Christmas
And no one was willing
Not a creature was stirring
Against the wars and the killing
Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.
The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot -- say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance -- literally to astonish his son's weak mind.
In general I have to thank a few of the voices on this site for really opening up my eyes to the urgency of the antiwar efforts. It's not just about war -- as horrible as that is. It's also the single largest carbon producer on the planet. It's also the reason why we can't have nice things. It's also the reason things like terrorism are so prevalent and the west figures so prominently in the targets. And so when I stumbled across this little gem in newsweek, on Christmas Eve no less, I just wanted to spit.
Like many members of this online community, I'm somehwat of a music freak. I've worked in the media (ad, p.r., journalism, etc.; corporate, political, non-profits/community org's, etc.) and tech-related sectors my entire life; but a significant portion of the work that I've done in those fields, as far as the music/entertainment industry is concerned, has been for little or no compensation (although there were more than just a few exceptions to this last statement).
Ho, ho, ho. Time for my annual ek'smas visit where I find out who's been naughty or nice.
Sometime around December 23rd, but canonically any time between December and May, we celebrate Festivus.
Symbolically represented by the Festivus Pole (seen at right) an unadorned aluminum pole between 3' to 6' high stuck in some drab and out of the way corner. It can be used as a weapon and frequently is. Traditionally it is stark and entirely unadorned and the stand crudely fashioned. Under no circumstances should any 'presents' be placed near it unless they're of the sort a too long ignored pet would leave.
There are several rituals that accompany the celebration of Festivus.
I think I'll spare you the feats of strength, though if you think I'm dead you can poke me with a stick and see.
Oh Holy MEss, Stuck in the Mud, and Grateful for Gifts
Today, I would like to look at the Middle East Melee and Israel's undue influence on US policy. This week I had two trucks get stuck in the mud on my place and I think it is a good analogy for our situation. Then I want to end on a more upbeat note of recognizing and making use of our gifts. My partner of 40 years was a teacher of the gifted. Our teaching careers both confirmed everyone is gifted. The trick is in recognizing and using those gifts.