Tag Archive: Christmas


Most antiquities scholars think that the New Testament gospels are “mythologized history.”  In other words, they think that around the start of the first century a controversial Jewish rabbi named Yeshua ben Yosef gathered a following and his life and teachings provided the seed that grew into Christianity.

At the same time, these scholars acknowledge that many Bible stories like the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, and women at the tomb borrow and rework mythic themes that were common in the Ancient Near East, much the way that screenwriters base new movies on old familiar tropes or plot elements. In this view, a “historical Jesus” became mythologized. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-128 – Michael’s Blog

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What motivates employees to go above and beyond the call of duty to provide a great customer experience? Disney tells a story about a little girl visiting a theme park who dropped her favorite doll over a fence. When staff retrieved the doll, she was covered in mud, so they made her a new outfit, gave her a bath and a hairdo, and even took photos of her with other Disney dolls before reuniting her with her owner that evening. The girl’s mother described the doll’s return as “pure magic.”

The theme park team didn’t consult a script or seek advice from managers. They did what they did because going the extra mile comes naturally at Disney. Such devotion to customer service pays dividends. Emotionally engaged customers are typically three times more likely to recommend a product and to repurchase. With an eye to these benefits, many companies are making customer experience a strategic priority. Yet they are struggling to gain traction with their efforts. [Read the full article]

 

Most of us woke up to presents (and/or a welcome day off from work) on Christmas morning. The MV Akademik Shokalskiy ship, on the other hand, found itself trapped in ice up to 10 feet thick on all sides.

The research vessel sent out a distress signal, hoping help would arrive as quickly as possible, considering the 74 crew members were currently sitting in the Antarctic sea. [Read the full article]

 

I’m speculating here, but as we approach year’s end, I assume that Grover Norquist hasn’t been visited by Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future and found spiritual redemption. Nonetheless, I’m betting that Grover Norquist feels pretty good. Just not in a Santa Claus kind of way; more like one of those evil geniuses in bad movies who rubs his hands together and cackles, “At last, my plan is working!”

Norquist, president of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform, is infamous for his expressed desire to shrink government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” And even though the new budget deal takes a feeble swipe at sequestration and the indiscriminate slashing of government funds, his wish may be coming true. [Read the full article]

 

A few years ago at my second cousin’s bat mitzvah, one of my aunt’s friends approached me. She dispatched with three sentences of small talk before she placed her hand on my shoulder and leaned forward. “So, have you met anyone? Do you have a boyfriend?” she asked. Then she lowered her voice. “Or even a girlfriend?”

I guess I should have expected my extended family to publicly speculate about my sexual orientation. My aunt’s children all attained marital status in their 20s. Believe me, they had no choice: In that circle, you’re nobody until somebody has compromised your surname. [Read the full article]

 

You’ve heard about the “War on Christmas,” a cynical but largely successful attempt by grown men and women to drive up cable news ratings and sell terrible books. But what about an actual war on Christmas? If President Barack Obama wanted to take down Santa Claus*, how would he do it? And would it work? A classified report obtained by Mother Jones sheds new light on the Department of Defense’s plans. Take a look: [Read the full article]

 

Along with death and taxes, Fox News is one of the few things we can depend on in this world. Just as the sun rises and sets, it’s a given that, over the course of 12 months, many ridiculous, offensive, stupid and bewildering things will be said by persons seated in front of a Fox News studio camera. Whether it’s from the hosts, guests or mere contributors, you can be assured that someone is going to say something that was better left unsaid.

With that in mind, join us as we go through some of the lowest lows from Fox News, moments to remind us that when it comes to lizard-brained inanity, no one holds a candle to the guys and gals at Fox. [Read the full article]

 

Christmas in the post-War United States

 

Happy holidays, fellow soldiers in the War on Christmas. It is the time of year when many Americans are expected to spend some time with people they are related to. Maybe some of the people you are related to listen to talk radio or read Twitchy. That doesn’t have to be a problem — as always, the first rule of arguing politics over the holidays is never ever do it ever — but if some things come up, and you want to have your say, perhaps you need some help countering the easily digestible sound bytes of the conservative media machine. Here is a guide.

It has only been a few weeks since the last holiday argument guide, but in those weeks the right has moved on from criticizing the nationwide launch of a complex series of health insurance markets to … complaining about the persecution of a homophobic television character and making fun of a stock photo model. So let’s move on with them, I guess. [Read the full article]

 

An advent candle burning on the fourth day of ...

Merry Christmas – Frohe Weihnachten – Mutlu Noeller – Glædelig jul – Hyvää Joulua – Joyeux Noël – Καλά Χριστούγεννα – Merry Nollag – Buon Natale – メリークリスマス- 메리 크리스마스 – Sretan Božić – Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus – vrolijk kerstfeest – God jul – Wesołych Świąt – Feliz Natal – С Рождеством – Срећан Божић – ¡Feliz Navidad – З Різдвом – חג המולד שמח – عيد ميلاد مجيد

Although we are separated by languages, beliefs, confessions, views, oceans, border lines, color of our skin, passports or many many many other details of no importance…We should not be consumed by these differences. At the end of the day it all comes down to just being human with our strengths and weaknesses. Respect for other people and their “being human” (whether we like it or not). We are defined and united by our differences. They make us strong.

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge. […]

 

Amidst the imagined attacks on Christmas, Rush Limbaugh and some Fox News characters accused Pope Francis of being Marxist after he said some critical words about our economic system.  Never mind that Pope Benedict had similar complaints.  Everything has been coming up Pope Francis lately, who was picked as Time’s “Person of the Year” and was featured on the cover of the New Yorker.  Having been raised Catholic and having done plenty of cartoons about the scandals in the Catholic Church, I’m happy that we’re talking again about things like helping the poor, imagine that. [Watch the video]

 

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