Too much bad news, so here are some of the best Christmas Light Shows brought to you by some ambitious folks with huge electric bills and lots of time on their hands. With a h/t to Suzie Madrak who posted the the Star Wars light show at Crooks and Liars that led me to the others. And in case you can afford the electric bill and have the ambition and too much time on your hands, here is the link the video, How to Make Christmas Lights Flash to Music.
Post your favorite holiday music. Merry Yule, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Festivus and Merry Christmas, too all.
Apollo 8 was the first human spaceflight to leave Earth orbit; the first to be captured by and escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body; and the first crewed voyage to return to planet Earth from another celestial body-Earth’s Moon. The three-man American crew of mission Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders became the first humans to directly see the far side of the Moon, as well as the first humans to see planet Earth from beyond low Earth orbit. The 1968 mission was accomplished with the first manned launch of a Saturn V rocket. Apollo 8 was the second manned mission of the Apollo program and the first manned launch from the John F. Kennedy Space Center.
Originally planned as a second Lunar Module/Command Module test in an elliptical medium Earth orbit in early 1969, the mission profile was changed in August 1968 to a more ambitious Command Module-only lunar orbital flight to be flown in December, because the Lunar Module was not ready to make its first flight then. This meant Borman’s crew was scheduled to fly two to three months sooner than originally planned, leaving them a shorter time for training and preparation, thus placing more demands than usual on their time and discipline.
After launching on December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 took three days to travel to the Moon. It orbited ten times over the course of 20 hours, during which the crew made a Christmas Eve television broadcast in which they read the first 10 verses from the Book of Genesis. At the time, the broadcast was the most watched TV program ever. Apollo 8’s successful mission paved the way for Apollo 11 to fulfill U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade.
Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungoverwe’ve been bailed outwe’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.
Breakfast Tune: Mean Mary “Memphis Moon” (live session)
Today in History
Pilgrims land in Plymouth Massachuesttes; Pan Am flight 747 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland; Apollo 8 lifts off on first manned mission to the Moon; Actress Jane Fonda is born. (Dec. 21)
“The moral universe is not zero sum.” Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s All In, gets it.
“Now the appropriate response to this new what-aboutism is twofold. First, as a basic matter of both moral law and principle, killing enemies in combat is sometimes permissible. Torturing them, however, never is. The prohibition on torture is categorical.
In the American justice system, for example, you can sentence someone to death — though obviously I oppose that. You cannot sentence them to be tortured because torture occupies a special category of moral taboo.
The second response to these latter-day what-aboutists is more or less the same one I would suggest we give the Soviets. It’s true. Many aspects of this government’s targeted killing program — maybe the entire thing — are morally odious and constitutionally suspect. They deserve criticism — heck, they even deserve outrage, though I would note the people who devote outrage to them tend to be the people who devote outrage toward torture, like ACLU and Amnesty International, and not Fox News.
But that has no bearing whatsoever on whether it’s okay to pour water down someone’s nose until they foam at the mouth, to threaten to sexually abuse someone’s mother, or to anally rape someone with a feeding tube.
The shortest day, the longest night, for those of us who reside in the Northern climes Winter Solstice is here. The sun reaches is most Southern destiny and touches for but a moment, the Tropic of Capricorn and immediately reverses her course. That moment will occur on Dec. 21 at 6:03 p.m. EST.
The Winter Solstice is a special night for those who practice the craft and has a rich history from many cultures. In old Europe, it was known as Yule, from the Norse, Jul, meaning wheel. It is one of the eight holidays, or Sabbats, that are held sacred by Wiccans and Pagans around the world. In Celtic traditions it is the battle between the young Oak King and the Holly King:
the Oak King and the Holly King are seen as dual aspects of the Horned God. Each of these twin aspects rules for half the year, battles for the favor of the Goddess, and then retires to nurse his wounds for the next six months, until it is time for him to reign once more.
Often, these two entities are portrayed in familiar ways – the Holly King frequently appears as a woodsy version of Santa Claus. He dresses in red, wears a sprig of holly in his tangled hair, and is sometimes depicted driving a team of eight stags. The Oak King is portrayed as a fertility god, and occasionally appears as the Green Man or other lord of the forest.
The re-enactment of the battle is popular in some Wiccan rituals.
As we prepare for the longest night, we decorate our homes with red, green and white, holly, ivy, evergreen and pine cones. We honor the solar year with light. We place candles in the windows facing the North, South, East and West to ward off the darkness and celebrate the return of the sun/ With the setting sun, fires are lit in hearths and fire pits and kept burning to keep us warm until Sol returns at dawn.
There is food a plenty, roasts and stews and winter vegetables and sweets, chocolate and peppermint candy, apples and oranges and sweet breads. All these reminding us of the last harvest, the gifts of Gaia, Mother Earth and the hunts by Hern of the Wild Hunt. Of course there will be honeyed and spiced wine and hearty, dark beers, some made by friends who will join the festivities.
What ever your beliefs, or none, may the traditions and celebrations bring you peace and joy. Blessed Be. The Wheel Turns.