I heard the Bells on Christmas Day December 3, 2015Posted by Retired Geezer in Family, Heroes.
I posted this back in 2013, it’s probably time to repost it.
This song makes Mrs. Geezer cry.
Here’s the story of the song, based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
By Greg Laurie, Christian Post ContributorDecember 21, 2013|9:45 am
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
– Luke 2:14
One of the most familiar carols we hear during the holidays is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” The story behind the song, based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, is very interesting.
In 1860, Longfellow was at the peak of his success as a poet. Abraham Lincoln had just been elected President, giving hope to many in the nation. But things soon turned dark for America and for Longfellow, personally. The Civil War began the following year, and Longfellow’s wife died of severe burns after her dress caught fire. Longfellow sustained severe burns on his hands and face from trying to save his wife. He was so badly burned that he could not even attend her funeral. In his diary for Christmas Day 1861, he wrote, “How inexpressibly sad are the holidays.”
In 1862, the Civil War escalated and the death toll from the war began to mount. In his diary for that year, Longfellow wrote of Christmas, “‘A merry Christmas,’ say the children, but that is no more for me.” In 1863, Longfellow’s son, who had run away to join the Union Army, was severely wounded and returned home in December. There is no entry in Longfellow’s diary for that Christmas.
For Christmas Day that year, Longfellow wanted to pull out of his despair, so he decided to try to capture the joy of Christmas. He began:
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men.
As Longfellow came to the sixth stanza, he was stopped by the thought of the condition of his beloved country. The Battle of Gettysburg was not long past. Days looked dark, and he probably asked himself the question, “How can I write about peace on earth, goodwill to men in this war-torn country, where brother fights against brother and father against son?” But he kept writing and what did he write?
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
That could be said of our day as well.
But then, catching an eternal perspective and the real message of Christmas and Christ Himself, he wrote:
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
May you hear these bells in the coming year.
Spinal Stenosis November 24, 2015Posted by digitalbrownshirt in Family, Personal Experiences.
Guess what I’m doing this morning? I could use any prayers or happy thoughts for the next few days. I’m headed to the hospital in a few minutes and even though I was pretty calm before, I’m starting to get kind of wound up about having my insides rearranged. The funny part is this won’t be the worst Thanksgiving I’ve ever had. At least my family can visit me at the hospital.
I look forward to six weeks of Fallout 4 when I come home.
Reflections on Veterans Day November 11, 2015Posted by digitalbrownshirt in Family, Honor.
I wanted to write something wordy and serious in honor of Veterans Day, but quite honestly there’s probably enough of that going around already. My father, myself and my son are all veterans. I’m just glad we’re celebrating our involvements in various conflicts with Veterans Day instead of Memorial Day.
The DBS 27 years ago. I was on a plane to Korea a few days later.
Wrong Side of History August 24, 2015Posted by Retired Geezer in Family, History.
Both Activities Have Their Merits August 19, 2015Posted by skinbad in Family, Humor, Literature, Man Laws.
So I clicked on a little news-nothing from Good Morning America about a boy who damaged a library book when it fell out of his bed after he went to sleep while reading. He sent a nice apology note to the library. While watching the clip, the captions were running and it went by kind of fast and I thought–“Did that say what I thought it did?” So, replay, pause, and screenshot. Nice job, GMA. He’ll probably appreciate the encouragement one day.
Till the Next Goodbye March 25, 2015Posted by skinbad in Ducks, Family.
I’m sure you can imagine why I have hesitated to share this anecdote with the group, but I guess as a last thought or tribute I want to just say a big thank you to Michael and Cathy.
When the original IBSBP was being concocted, Michael got to the “need a head count” phase and I watched some responses being sent to the blog. I talked to my wife about it and we just laughed because it wasn’t realistic. I sent an email to Michael and told him as much. He responded saying it might be a big deal for me, but it wasn’t for him because he had a million frequent flier miles he would never use and he could arrange a ticket for me if I would like to come.
So, I did what any self respecting, introvert moocher would do when faced with the reality of an awkward social gathering–I asked if I could bring my wife. He said that would be fine. You know, what’s a couple of airline tickets between people who had never met or even spoken to each other.
We had a wonderful time. Some fake, internet friends became very dear, real friends to us. So thanks again to Michael, Cathy, Innocent Bystanders and assorted hangers on for a lot of laughs and thought fodder (that’s not to say I have to meet you to include you in the circle of friendship).
I have it on good authority that Michael is doing fine in the Mormon Re-Education camp. There are plenty of jello salads and casseroles at the mess hall and he has a part-time job skimming the pool and keeping the chemicals balanced. He’ll have it ship shape when we get there.
Old Friends March 24, 2015Posted by wiserbud in Family, Love.
(I know I’m not exactly a main commenter here, but since I still had rights (See, Michael? I promised you I wouldn’t abuse them!), I thought I would share just a few of my thoughts on the end of IB.)
So many memories… So much fun and so much love. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back and read some of the old threads here, to laugh at all the lame and not-so-lame jokes, but more importantly to remember. To remember the good times during so much bad. To see the names of those who have gone before us, all too soon.
To see the friends bicker and banter and tease each other. Like friends do. And to see these very same friends express support, caring, and love for each other in so many small ways. Sharing with each other, remembering the little things, as well as the epic.
I’m going to miss this place. I’ve enjoyed meeting so many of you, sharing so many laughs. I’ve always thought it was insanely cool how our two blogs evolved into something like bookends. We were different, but we were two sides of the same coin. (As an aside I have always found it interesting, at the meet-up on the CT River, how the H2ers and the IBers arranged themselves around the picnic table by blog, one crew on one side, one on the other. Cracked me up when that happened.)
So here’s to old friends. Those who are still with us and those who, while gone, still hold a very special place in our hearts.
I’m gonna miss this place.
L to R: H2, IB
My last two months March 8, 2015Posted by digitalbrownshirt in Ducks, Family, News, Personal Experiences.
All of this is written under the influence of Norco, Valium and Naproxen, so sorry if it seems like it’s all over the place.
Starting back in December, while I was visiting Southern California for Christmas vacation, I started noticing more pain than usual in my back and leg. I’m a fat, middle aged man. I kind of expect pain in the back. This was the kind that dropped me to the floor and had me blubbering like Michael Moore when he got banned from the local Golden Corral. I thought I’d dislocated my hip. So being a man, I immediately tried ignoring it. I even took my 17 year old daughter to do a last minute Christmas shopping early in the morning on 12/24. I took 3 steps from my car, collapsed in the parking lot, then crawled back to my car on my hands and knees. The pain was easily a 9 or 10 on the 1-10 scale. Still I didn’t want to disappoint my daughter so I said “Here’s a $100, buy whatever you need, but try to be quick.” After 5 minutes I start looking for ER’s or at least an Urgent Care that handles sports injuries (the closest thing to a dislocated hip). Five minutes after that I texted my daughter (that’s right, I know how to text now) “Wrap it up. We’ve got to go to an ER.” Before you think my daughter is being selfish for shopping, let me tell you that in our house, if I tell the kids to do something, it’s very difficult to argue with me. She was kind of between a rock and a hard place at that point.
We ended up at a place called Apple Urgent Care. I figured they picked the name “Apple” because it was one of the first words in their Spanish/English dictionaries that they recognized. I talked to several people there, all of them seemed really sweet, but I’d bet money all of them were half guessing at what I was trying to tell them. There’s a lot of places in California that a working knowledge of Spanish probably would help. We were in Hemet, which 30 years ago was a small, peaceful retirement town near the mountains. Now it’s gang banger central with drive-by’s, home invasions and a ridiculous amount of violent crime for a such a small city. I heard more crime stories waiting at the pharmacy later than we have back home in a year. Even the doctor seemed perplexed by my explanation of my pain. I told her I’d been taking Naproxen, but it barely had any effect, so of course she gives me a prescription for Naproxen (which isn’t even a prescription medication). She also gave me a prescription for Norco (which worked a little better). She also made me drive (keep in mind I can barely stand up) to another facility to have an x-ray of my hip done. I only found out the x-ray was “normal” because I called back 3 days later. Not too impressed with the professionalism.
So I thought, I could either tough it out with pain that ranged from 2-6 while using Norco or actually check into a California hospital. I decided I’d rather get killed by an Oklahoma doctor, at least they wouldn’t have to ship the body home. Oddly enough, the only position that didn’t seem to completely kill me was sitting in the car. The Norco bottle didn’t say no driving on it, so I just tried to take it easy as we started back on our 1500 mile trip home. I let my wife drive some and we actually stopped in a Holiday Inn Express in New Mexico.
My family doctor finally saw me around 1/8/15, gave me another prescription for Norco and sent me out for an MRI on 1/15/15. Big surprise, it was a herniated disk between the L4 and L5. So the results get back to my doc, who then sets me up with a specialist on 1/22/15. She takes a look at the MRI and say’s “Piece of cake. It’s right in the back of the spine, so it’ll be easy to get to. We’ll just grind off a little of each vertebrae and take that pressure off the disk.” So I’m thinking “Awesome, it’s not in my head.” I actually worry about that sometimes. It’s out surgery which is also cool because at 46 years old I’ve never been a patient in a hospital before. I have to get a few more test done on 1/29/15, then the actual the actual surgery on 2/5/15. It seemed like it went really well and they sent me home the same day.
It went really well for about 2 weeks at least. All the stuff I read up about the surgery suggested I’d have about a 3% chance of infection. Guess it was more like 100% for me. I had a high fever, got more delusional than normal and ended up going back to the hospital on 2/18/15. I ended up staying in the hospital for over a week. My white blood cell count was through the roof (apparently that’s bad, I had to ask) and they did another MRI on me that said it was either an hematoma or an abscess on my spine. They stuck a tube up into my spine to drain blood and pus. They also grew some cultures from my spinal fluid to find out what was actually trying to kill me. Amongst other things I had a staph infection inside of my spine. It’s the weirdest feeling when a doctor tells you that you can die or maybe just be paralyzed by something you can’t even see without a damned microscope. Luckily there’s apparently more than one type of staph and I only got the one that made you want to kill yourself instead of the one that actually does it. By the way, the windows on the 7th floor of the hospital don’t open. I was trying to figure it out at one point. I’m glad my doctor told the hospital to give me pretty much anything I asked for to control pain. Morphine was my best friend for most of the week I stayed. I finally got well enough to go home, which was my main goal, but I had to say good bye to morphine. It was a bitter trade. My pain was bad enough to keep using, but you can only get it in the hospital unless you’re in the end phase of cancer apparently.
I’m seeing the specialist that give me my antibiotics on Monday. I have to have to change out the picc line once a week and they’ll give me another weeks worth of antibiotics. They told me I’d get one of those temporary handicap parking tags too. I can’t drive anyway, but at least my daughter won’t have to drop me off, then go find a parking spot a 1/2 mile away too. My surgeon is supposed to get me a new prescription on the same day. They seemed concerned because apparently if you take a narcotic for too long the pharmacy police will come get me or something. Nevermind if there’s something obviously wrong with me or not. Hopefully they’ll either switch me to something else or I’ll get better before I run out of this prescription. Either way it’s disturbing that the government decides if you need a medication without even seeing the patient.
I don’t blame the surgeons or the hospital for any of these problems I’ve had. I know that sometimes shit just happens. The hospital’s entire staff always treated me with dignity and respect. I know that they really wanted to help me as much as they could. One of the night watch nurses told me it was probably because I was one of the nicest patients they’d ever dealt with. It must have been the morphine that was making me so friendly.
They did set me up with a picc line which is something I’d never heard of before. It’s like a catheter that goes in near your elbow, travels up that big vein in your arm stops just short of entering your heart. I had to sign a form saying that they’d explained how it goes in and I was still willing to do it. They also asked me a few questions to make sure I wasn’t too loopy to sign a contract. Anyway I now have to have an anti-biotic injected into my picc line every 8 hours for the next 6-8 weeks. I also have to use a walker to travel more than about 30 feet. I think the psychological trauma of going from a stronger than normal 46 year old man to being almost like a 2 year old in strength has hurt worse than the surgery itself. I’m just thankful for my family that has been taking care of me, especially my daughter. She wants to be an RN someday and it’s obvious that she’s got the right mix of compassion for the hurt, plus she’s not putting up with any bullshit from her whining dad. That’s a mix that should serve her well.
I also want to thank my wife for helping me bathe. It’s not as sexy as it sounds, but being clean helps me psychologically. She even shaved me. (I’m talking about my face pervs.) I almost felt human afterwards. I can’t do it on my own because of the big cut in my back that’s still healing.
Anyway, thanks for giving me a chance to have some catharsis for the last couple of months. I’m still not sure I’ll ever be able to go back to my old job. I’m a machinist. At the very least I’ll be out for 6-8 weeks and even when I’m OK to go back to work I’ll be on light duty. If, God forbid, I’m considered too damaged to keep working my current job (which I actually enjoy) then I hope I can get into some kind of rehab training. I’ve thought about going back to school before, but I always used the excuse that I had to earn a living to take care of my family. Now most of my family takes care of themselves and I’ve got enough dough stuffed away in my 401k (assuming the commander in thief doesn’t steal it) to pay off my house and some other small bills. Maybe this is some kind of sign that I should start a new chapter in my life. I better do some serious prayer about this.
Dogs Eating Christmas Dinner December 22, 2014Posted by Retired Geezer in Family, Food.
The Humane Society of Utah loaned a filmmaker a dozen dogs for dinner.
Yeah it’s a commercial… so?
Sent to me by Adrienne in Nevada.
Compare and Contrast: Papaoutai December 15, 2014Posted by Retired Geezer in Family, Humor.
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I find this video oddly fascinating. *
I don’t speak French and I’m not quite sure what’s going on but this video has been viewed 211 Million times. Oh, here’s the Wiki:
The video shows a young boy trying to interact with his unresponsive father (played by Stromae), who sits motionless, his expression and body resembling that of a mannequin, while outside, other fathers and sons dance together. In the end, the son joins Stromae on the sofa, assuming a rigid, lifeless position identical to his father’s. It refers to the absence of Stromae’s father, who was killed in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
More Wiki explanation:
The music video accompanying the release of “Papaoutai” was directed by Raf Reyntjens and released on YouTube on June 6, 2013. The video has received around 200 million views.
In the video, the boy’s father is represented as a lifeless mannequin, so he is present physically, but not emotionally. As the boy looks outside, he sees that the other parents always do something together with their sons, while his remains motionless. The boy reproaches his father with the words of the song about how a parent should raise their son, and the boy then works to involve his father in dancing, like the parent-son couples he had seen before. First, the boy dances at home in front of the father; then, both of them are seen dancing in the square, but that vision is actually just an imagination of the boy, who in reality is dancing alone while his father stays motionless in the car. In the end, the boy surrenders and also becomes an empty mannequin like his father, as that is the only thing his father has taught him.
Here’s a new version of the song from September 2014 featuring Lindsey Sterling and Pentatonix.
*(see Michael’s posts of Rolling in the Deep)
Father of the Bride speech June 21, 2014Posted by Retired Geezer in Family, Gardening.
Maybe Dave in Texas should start brushing up on his speech.