Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Thursday, December 18, 2003
I’ve struck up conversations with a surprising number of people lately who tell me, “We’re not putting a tree up this year. Too much work, plus, it doesn’t at all feel like Christmas.”

I mentioned this to friends who said they had also heard this complaint from a surprising number of people both casually and at their places of work.
It’s sad but not surprising.
I know that sad feeling because in the last four years we here at planetsean Global HQ are 2 for 2 in the Christmas tree department.
We didn’t set up a tree last year, as I was too depressed after the midterm elections.
In 2001, to recover from the national nightmare of September 11, we had a huge tree.
The year 2000, of course, saw the disastrous Presidential election, the first of my post electoral depressions and my first treeless Christmas.
To be honest I was dreading the holiday’s approach this year and struggled against the idea even as we went to get the tree.
But, standing in the flurried chill of the tree lot, I heard a particular pine.
Dashing through the labyrinth of snow-dusted trees, I came upon a magnificent specimen and stood staring at it until my partner and the tree man found us.
The dimmed light of my soul was warming.
To deny Christmas is to deny our past and our culture and plays directly into the hands of the corporate yin and terror yang of the current world (ahem) order.

Crying like a baby, I watched my old favorite White Christmas last evening for the first time in several years.
Before the millennial horrors, I watched this movie, at least, every year, usually singing, and if Vera Ellen wasn’t watching my clumsy steps, dancing along with it.
Loved the cast with the added cachet of local girl Rosemary Clooney starring opposite Bing and all the big goofy Hollywood clichés that somehow, in this sweet innocent film, attain some degree of artistry.
In a normal year, the tears wouldn’t flow until the climactic moment at the film’s end when the veteran troops of Dean Jagger’s WW II command marched into the lodge hall singing We’ll Follow the Old Man.
Mary Wickes and I seem to have a similar tear threshold.
Last evening as old Dean played the movie’s first scene with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, I surprised even myself with an extremely premature We’ll Follow The Old Man tear flow that continued throughout the film.
I think I was crying for the innocent American exuberance that imbues this movie and feels so absent from the purposefully polarized mood of the present day.
We are, all of us I think, still in shock and grieving for the America that vanished four and then three years ago.
Much of today’s vehemence, no matter the bravado, is a manifestation of the fear we are supposed to feel in this “changed world”.
But has the world changed?
Are we a different people?
Or, are we just being misinformed and misled?
Looking at my Christmas tree, at ornaments from our past, smelling the assembled scents of this season and anticipating the holiday’s excitement, our poor world doesn’t seem so radically different nor our problems so unsolvable.
Consequently, even this new and more threatening world can be comprehended and integrated into our human experience.
So, please, America, close your festive frost-reddened ears to the fear-mongers and the endless rationalizers and complainers.
Allow yourself to celebrate a holiday season and your heart, like mine, will warm within the comforts of your family traditions and grow strong against the evils that threaten such peace.

From Wired News at, another camel-sized chunk of vital news that can’t fit through the eye of the corporate media:

An audit of Diebold Election Systems voting machines in California has revealed that the company installed uncertified software in all 17 counties that use its electronic voting equipment…The audit uncovered discrepancies between what Diebold said was installed in counties and what auditors actually found…the most serious issues related to the tabulation software known as GEMS, or global election management system. GEMS sits on a server in each county election office, counting the votes and producing summary reports of totals…”We were negligent”... Diebold president Bob Urosevich told the panel.

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