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December 21, 2011     Hays Free Press
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December 21, 2011
 

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Hays Free P?eSs EDITORIAL Let it rain, Let it rain, Let it rain BYJEFF BARTON Despite a wetter than average December, clima- tologists say Central Texas is still in the grips of a historic drought and this month's rain is not nearly enough to lift it. - News reports With due respect to Bing And all our holiday bling, What we're dreaming of this Christmas night Is not the stuff that turns us white. Rather, without regret, We dream of getting wet. Sure the recent drizzles have been fine. They.came, in fact, in the nick of time. But fears of a dry-eyed La Nifia still feel prophetic Since our lakes and creeks look just pathetic. Yes, we'll take any sprinkles we get- But here's to getting really wet. You can have your elves and your reindeer, Your grog, and nog, and Hanukkah cheer, Ifyoulive in this part of Texas you don't have to explain: Your neighbors know you've asked Santa for rain. Oh, you bet, you bet, We dream of getting wet. With every Christmas card we write, Sent off to lands decked in white, We step to the mailbox across cracked ground, Through fields and yards tainted brown. Together with our livestock and our pets, We dream of getting wet. Watering the potted plants, watering the grass, Bathtubs full of water more precious than gas. It's not sugarplums that whet our fetish, Dancing in our heads are thoughts of getting wettish. Like a Christmas marionette who can't forget: We dream of getting wet. O for a Christmas like the ones we used to know- And of course here we're not talking of snow. But for days that now seem oh-so-charming, Back before we knew of global warming, We'd dream of what beneath the tree might be set. Now our dreams are simpler: of getting wet. So if you live where treetops glisten, Call round the children and have them listen To our stories of drought and pain. Send us not presents, but prayers for rain. We love this land where we live and yet, We're scared of yuletide fires. We dream of getting wet. ]eff Barton is an urban planner and a shareholder in the Hays Free Press. He writes this column once ev- ery blue moon, more or less. THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "It's like that TV show 'Hoarders.' I think I'd have been a drug addict or a gambler if I'd ever gotten started. I'm a bit obsessive." -Donna Helm, Santa collector Page 3A D .see For years, I've been complaining about the onslaught of Christmas carols that begin pounding our eardrums in early November and continuing non-stop until the day after Christmas. You can go into a store to buy half-price Halloween candy on November 1 and hear"Frosty the Snowman" coming from the ceiling. That's way too early for Christmas carols, plus it's hard to get the Christmas spirit while looking at discounted Lady Gaga costumes and other scary stuff. Now, here it is, just a few days before Christmas and most radio stations are playing ' holiday music. There are carols being sung by artists of every genre. Lots of country stars have a Christmas album, and I'm sure they are all quite good. Several pop stars have recorded Christmas albums (or do we call them CDs now?). There's some fella named Michael Buble who has a top-selling album as well as that creepy Justin Bieber who somehow reminds me of the kid in "The Omen". Still hot items in record stores are Christmas albums by Elvis and B'mg Crosby. It seems like everyone has a Christmas album these days, so I was thinking, as I was sipping cider (yeah, just writing "cider" made me chuckle, too) out at the Crow's Nest; why not make my own Christmas album? How hard could it be? Well, after a tittle research, it so happens that there is something called a copyright, and ifI use these dassic carols in my album, I'd have to pay big bucks to some songwriter. And since I was going to have to hire a singer since I can't even carry a tune with the help of a pack mule, this project was golma cost me a fortune. Then, out of some cobwebbed, dusty region of my skull, I got the idea ofwriting my own versions of classic Christmas carols and selling the lyrics to rich recording artists who haven't made a ChristlImS album yet. How brilliant is that! And since I've recently acquired the Christmas spirit (it's on sale at Twin Liquors, by the way), I am going to let all my falthfifl followers have a sneak peak at what may well be the top-selling Christmas album of 2012. Now, remember, the law says I must publish my own work and can't use the title or lyrics from the original songs. Well, that wasn't a big problem since I can't remember song rifles, and mytin ear scrambles up the actual lyrics before setting in the artsy section of my cider-soaked brain. So I had to make some subtle changes to the original songs. Besides, who's a better writer, me or Irving Berlin? So, straight from the Crow's Nest, here is my Christmas album: "Kringle Bells" is the first of many beautifully written songs on my album, Christmas Songs from the Crow's Nest. Here's a little sample of its lyrics that will flow from your mouth: "Dashing thru Old Crow, in the back of an old Chevrolet Chasing an armadillo, my shotgun blasting away..." Now, doesn't that get you in the Christmas spirit? Nothing says Christmas like an old fashion armadillo hunt on Christmas Eve. Good times, good times. Next up on this album is a soulfifl rune "I Came Upon a Midnight Beer," followed by the jovial song "MyVISA Bill's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas." Next in queue is one of my favorites, "Silver Bullets," a song that I wrote with the help of Adolph Coors. This album is loaded with songs dedicated to friends, family and folks I don't even know. To the homeless guy down on Padre Island, I wrote the poignant melody "Oh, Tanning Bum", and for all the unshaven fishermen out there in the surf, on track 6 we have "Hark, the HairyAnglers Sing." Next up on this symphonic fruitcake is a campy rune dedicated to my cousin and his annualYuletide gift of his homemade mesquite-roasted pecans. I call it"Jeff's Nuts Roasting on an Open Fire." Following this cheery song is the jingle I penned for all my Republican friends out there, especially my pal, Mitt. I rifled this ttme "We Wish You a Perry Christmas." Now you know that I could never write a Christmas album without including a song or two dedicated to my loving wife. So, just for all you, Sweetie, I have included three joyful ditties. The first is the soon-to-be classic "Maw Got Rim Over by a John Deere," followed by the humorous "I Saw Maw Kissing Santa Claus." Then, we shift gears to the spiritual melody "O Holey Nightgown." Thanks, Maw, for your inspiration and restocking of my liquor cabinet. For my last Christmas carol, I collaborated with a dear friend up in the hills of Tennessee on the amusing adaptation of the Twelve Days of Christmas. I rifled this song "Twelve Days of Facebook." For a little taste of this ttme, I have included the last line for your bemusement: "On the 12th day of Christmas my Facebook gave to me: 12 friends I'm blocking~ 11folks jast watchinb l O corny topics, 9 dog photo postings, 8friends complaining 7 stalkers stalkinb 6 party invites, five Drama Queens! 4 game requests, 3 photo tags, 2friends a pokin' and a virus sent to my PC." I hope this compilation of loony tunes give you some joy this Christmas. From the bottom of my heart and the dark recess of my mind, I want to wish each and every one of you a very, merry Christmas and a happy NewYear! Clint Younts will soon be yodeling at the top of his lungs, when he finally finds the liquid holiday spirit that he buried in the barn. rockytop78640@yahoo.com [] [] in [] "s Christmas really a pa- gan holiday? Not quite. .Christmas began in the 4th century as a Christian feast commemorating the birth of Christ. December 25 may have been chosen to compete with various pagan feasts in mid- December, and especially "Sol Invictus" which had a brief run in Rome 250 years after Christ. But Christmas was never a pagan feast. Recent research suggests that Decem- ber 25 was actually decided by counting exactly nine months from a traditional date for the conception of Christ. (Biblical Archeology Review, December 2010) Nordic and Germanic pa- gan traditions, which we now associate with Christmas, de- veloped several hundred years later. They were incorporated into the more ancient Christ- ~ ~U~T seasonal nostalgia. Ironi- God didn't make a low-pass, cally what distracts most from or send an angel or pick a ~L~ the meaning of Christmas is representative-human. Like partially rooted in Christian- the saying goes, "If you want ity: Santa Clahs. But that's a the job done right..." subject for someone to write The God-Man was given about who can afford body- no perks in his birth and life. guards! He was born to a poor fam- mas feast practices through typical cultural syncretism, minus their pagan mean- ing. As add-ons, they never affected the core Christian Christmas meaning. The core meaning of Christ- mas survived quite well in spite of the pagan barnacles. There aren't too many people today who worship fertil- ity gods through the Nordic symbols we associate with Christmas, but there are mil- lions who either honor Christ at Christmas, or for whom the pagan symbols are merely There's no reason to strip Christmas of pagan-related symbols and traditions. They have been long emptied of their pagan meanings and in many cases were transfused with Christian meaning. The Apostle Patti had no problem eating meat routinely dedicat- ed to idols because there was no real pagan meaning left in that act. But he drew the line at joining pagans at the feasts to idols. Christmas is for contem- plating the most amazing truth: that infinite God came for us by becoming one of us. fly of a subjugated race, in a backwater district. He had no political connections, no armies or money. By the sheer power of his perfect personal- ity, his teachings, miracles and resurrection he split history in half- in three years of pub- lic ministry. Holy, immortal, invisible God became our servant! Even serving us to the point of dying on a filthy cross for our sins! It's a truth that leaves even the angels flabber- gasted! (1 Peter 1:12) David Sweet is the pastor at Hays Hills Baptist Church. "Say it ain't so, Joe." That's what America is saying to Joe Patemo. Of course, the saying is not original for the Penn State icon. Sports fans first heard the phrase in 1919 when Shoeless Joe Jackson was implicated in the Chicago Black Sox scandal in which the White Sox were accused of throwing the World Series. Still, the phrase fits for the Penn State mess. For the mo- ment of course, it is so. Joe Paterno did not rise to the occasion. He wishes he had done more. So do I. So does the nation. What's the story? Joe Patemo, the winningest coach in col- legiate football, had coached at Penn State University for nearly 50 years. He got fired for not taking appropriate action when one of his assistant coaches was accused of raping a ten-year- old boy. Patemo informed his athletic director of the event and took no further action. Let's be honest. We live in a culture where it is rare to see punishment for sins of omis- sion. Whether or not we like to admit it, making the boss look bad is not a recipe for success. The trial of Billy Mitchell goes to prove the point. Mitchell ad- vocated for increased air power in the mid-1920s and he was court martialed for insubordi- nation. He resigned his Army Air Corps commission when he was found guilty and punished with a five year suspension from service. Of course, Mitchell accu- iiii : :iiiiiiiiiiifi!p iiiiiiiiiiii: i!iiiiiiii rately predicted the attack on both the Phillipines and Pearl Harbor, and it might have been a good idea to have listened to him. Franklin Roosevelt also has been accused of having advance knowledge of Pearl Harbor. Despite the accusation, there was no public outcry that might have lead to his im- peachment. The original witness in the Penn State case, Mike Mc- Queary, compromised the whole deal once he left the premises. Had he intervened, everything would have been different. But, once he left, Sandusky was able to say, "Boy? What boy?" So, all things con- sidered, the episode went south the moment McQueary did not intervene. Byvirme of the fact that McQueary is currently receiv- ers coach for the Nittany Lions it can safely be assumed that he had his eye on a hill-time position on the coaching staff; physically confronting San- dusky would have made that career difficult. When we value loyalty above all else, it be- comes a national illness. Incredibly vindictive supervi- sors are part of the employment picture throughout the land. Wrongly, McQueary probably thought more of his career than he did of the ten-year-old boy. Had he physically intervened against Sandusky he probably would have never coached. Because he did not physi- cally intervene he will probably never coach again. McQueary was never given a good set of options. Then there is Joe Paterno. We can't find it in us to forgive Joe, butwe are sorryhe did himself in. Again, after going to his athletic director, it would have been monstrously poor form for hm~ to announce to the public, "You know, I an'ned this over to my boss, and he dropped the ball, so nowI am going public with the matter. And by the way, you can fig- ure out that my boss is incom- petent." No, ]oe Paterno did not have whatever it took to do that. Old Joe was given a poor set of choices. Having been around crimi- nal investigations all my life I suspect that, somewhere along the line, some secrecy on the part of law enforcement was involved. Investigators usually implore witnesses not to talk to anyone about cases. The athletic director may have had such instructions and passed them on to Paterno. The disappearance of one of the prosecutors on the case considerably confoimds the matter. This man just vanished. What are Penn State and Pater- no's critics going to say if it turns out Patemo gave this prosecu- tor all the evidence he had? The prosecutor's disappear- ance adds to the problems of this snake-bit fiasco. I have a long-time friend who knew the prosecutor on a professional basis and described him as "strange." What it all boils down to is that careerism tnmaped decen- cyin this case. We have seen it before; we'll see it again. Let's be definite: by careerism we mean placing career and job opporm- nhies ahead of ordinary ethics and commonly held standards of behavior. Did McQuearyinform the Penn State university police about the incident? That agency says it has no record of that transaction. Somebody is lying about that matter and getting to the bottom of that thorny ques- tion comes close to be'mgjob one in this problematic disaster. At the end of the day, even the sorriest spectacle of career- ism does not normally lead to the rape of children. But we, like Joe Paterno, could have- should have -done more. Those of us not involved should insist on laws making it unla ul to fail to report to law enforcement directly when we have knowledge, direct or indirect, of child abuse.And this beast of careerism needs to find disfavor with the American public. After all of this, the Nittany Lions could well be advised to change their mascot to the Nit- wit Rodents. R works for me. COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSITE The sidewalks and biking lane going along side "Hometown Kyle" would not be redun- dant. The purpose of these improvements is to provide walking and biking access for ordinary citizens, not for long range biking enthusiast such as Mr. Garcia. These improvements will allow thou- sands of Hometown Kyle, Sil- verado and even Plum Creek residents, safe non-motorized access to Gregg-Clarke Park, The City Pool and down- town businesses. Silverado residents could actually allow their children to walk to Kyle elementary. Avid long range cyclist (most of which origi- nate in Austin) could continue their popular loop through Buda and Kyle via 2770 and Old Stage Coach Lane onto San Marcus, Wimberly Dripping Springs and back to Austin. The avid east side Kylinian bikers would simply continue through downtown Kyle on Center Street and access "the loop" at old Stagecoach. Redundancy only exist for them, not the average Kylinian, whom the city is targeting. I do hope in future years the same im- provements will be developed around communities on the east side of Kyle as well. -coolkkas on "Coming soon to Kyle: Sidewalks, bike lanes" TI _ rre rr s MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Co-Publishers Bob Barton and Cyndy Slovak-Barton Office Manager Connie Brewer business@haysfreepress.corn NEWSROOM Editor Wes Ferguson wes@haysfreepress.com Staff Reporters Sean Kimmons Jonathan York School Reporter Jim Cullen Community Reporters Sandra Grizzle Myrtle Heideman Pauline Tom Brenda Stewart Sports Editor Jason Gordon Columnists Bob Barton Bartee Hails Phil Jones Clint Younts Donn Brooks John Young Brenda Stewart Proofreaders Jane Kirkham Brenda Stewart ADVERTISING Tracy Mack tracy@haysfreepress.com CIRCULATION/CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfreepress.com Distribution Gigi Hayes Carolyn Harkins Pete Sizemore PRODUCTION Production Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Jorge J. Gamia Jr. Contact Us: HaysFreePress.com news@haysfreepress.com business@haysfreepress.com BUDA 512.295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 Fax: 268-0262 www.haysfreepress.com + +