Christmas Miracles Happen in Trench Warfare and the Byzantine Empire

Christmas in USA #1 is arguably bipolar, sort of like the occasional female lead in anime. On one hand, there is consumerism and the excesses of capitalism; on the other, there is the warm sentimentality of gift-giving and family-celebrating. The bipolar nature of the holiday has taken on its own spirit throughout the world in places as far and weird as Japan – all in all very far removed from its quaint and ancient origins in the world of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

We should appreciate it all the while, regardless of whether we prefer to burn ourselves in the flames of consumerist greed or drown ourselves in the ocean of sappy family get-togethers and egg nog (I hate egg nog, actually). Either way, we’re still better off than those unfortunate men trapped in the battle hell of the Franco-German border 97 years ago, who had the luck of celebrating Christmas in arguably one of the stupidest and sh*ttiest wars in history. Yet every time I hear their story – the story of the Christmas truce – I almost cry a bit, literally, and am convinced that, somehow, humans are actually capable of being nice to each other for once.

The Christmas truce was, otherwise, very much like a Christmas miracle in every sense of the word, for 97 years ago – in 1914 – several months into World War I, things – for lack of better wording – sucked. Imagine this:

You have been sitting in (literally) a sh*t and mud filled trench for days, weeks, months even. And when you have been let out, it was only so that you could run at a blizzard of machine-gun fire, artillery shells, grenade shrapnel, and poisonous gas. And as winter dawns, as snow begins to fall, nothing has changed: you still sit in your trench, perhaps fresh from another run over the trench that killed or wounded half your buddies. Yet it’s Christmas, and you sorely miss your mother, father, lover, siblings, and everyone back home, and you miss celebrating the holiday with them. But perhaps you’ve been at war for too long that you don’t even know it’s already Christmas.

Suddenly, you hear laughter and singing in the far distance. You and your surviving trench buddies poke your heads slightly above the trench (but not too much, in case – as you’ve learned the hard way – there are snipers). And there, not too far away, you see candlelights, makeshift Christmas decorations, wine, cigarettes, warm food… and British, French, and Germans arm in arm, singing carols to each other.

An impossible sight. You’ve been shooting at these inhuman enemy imbeciles for months – and to make merry with them? Isn’t that treason? And yet. They – your friends and enemies over there – beckon you over. Come, join the fun, there is no war, no battle here, for now.

You still miss your mother, father, lover, siblings, and everyone back home. And chances are you will never see them again (it’s a miracle you lived this long). Your new family, in actuality, is here, on the battlefield, of all places. And so, putting behind your suspicions, nationalist bigotry, and raging war spirit, you decide to jump over your trench and cross over to the other side.

And very soon, instead of firing guns and throwing grenades, you are laughing and singing with your friends and enemies on Christmas. It sure beats killing each other.

AND so, The Christmas truce, as it was called, lasted for several days on some parts of the war front, and I suspect it would have lasted longer had not the commanders forced their troops to return to fighting. During the few days of the Christmas truce (or even just one day at some parts of the war front), soldiers trained to kill or be killed engaged in what to us would have been mundane Christmas activities: singing carols, giving little gifts to each other, even playing football (the normal kind, not the American kind). But to these men, it certainly beat blasting each other’s brains out. And amazingly, despite discouragement and condemnation from the higher-ups, Christmas truces occurred again – several times – on both the Western and Eastern fronts of World War I in succeeding years.

And so, this Christmas, we always hear about Christmas miracles or the true meaning of Christmas: perhaps we’ve heard of some douchey old bourgeoisie capitalist learning how to be nice, or how you shouldn’t commit suicide because people care about you, or how it’s okay to be different and special, or that Santa Claus is real. All nice and all, but nothing special, in my opinion. If we can be nice and friendly to each other on just one day, I’m pretty sure we can be nice and friendly to each other most days of the year anyways.

But the Christmas Truce was a true Christmas miracle. Men decided to be nice and friendly to each other even though they were supposed to kill each other and even though they probably had already killed each other’s friends and relatives. It takes a miracle to turn the other cheek. It’s hard, certainly, but possible.

And so, the Imperial Senate wishes everyone a Merry Christmas/Hanukhah/Kwanzaa, a Joyous Secular Holidays, and a Happy (Gregorian) New Year.

And actually, Santa Claus was real. Saint Nicholas lived in the Byzantine Empire.  How awesome is that?

Further reading: http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/christmastruce.htm

I don’t know if they actually bothered to build snowmen.

US Congress, Even Genghis Khan is better at Totalitarianism: You’re Not There… Yet.

In case you didn't notice, they're both Republicans and Democrats in here. Yay for bi-partisan opposition.

Give these guys a pat on the back. They figured it wasn’t cool to be part of an Authoritarian government.

The New Age-y hype about the 2012 Mayan prophecy might not be so far-fetched after all.

I have recently begun worrying about recent legislation by the US Congress which, to put it bluntly, are atrocious in nature and intention. In other words, I am denouncing the US Congress for their attempts to destroy vegetables (yes!), the internet, and, most alarmingly, the so-called “freedoms” America was (supposedly) founded on. There’s a reason they’re even less popular than Paris Hilton.

Originally I thought about discussing the Pizza thing and the SOPA/Protect IP Act, but people have been ranting about that enough online, and you can look at the links at the bottom of this post for more. There’s something even more serious here, something more sinister, and something a lot of people haven’t really heard about, compliments of the media.

The US is at War

“The United States has struggled to craft laws and procedures to prosecute the unprecedented kind of war that came to our shores on Sept. 11, 2001.”

Senators Levin and McCain

I didn’t know America was waging an “unprecedented kind of war”. Well, yes, America is at war with “Terror,” a vaguely defined military concept (like “War on Near-Sub-Machinegun Speed Crossbows,” “War on Trench Warfare,” “War on Tanks,” “War on Ancient Chinese Strategems,” or “War on Bombs”). But I digress.

The so-called National Defense Authorization Act has already been passed by both houses of Congress. It has bipartisan support. And bipartisan opposition – from people and groups ranging from Democrats and Republicans to Tea Partyers, the FBI, the secretary of Defense, the directors of national intelligence, and Obama himself (who threatens to veto it should it pass).

The Christian Science Monitor nicely summarizes one of the most controversial parts of the bill which

“require[s] military custody of a terror suspect believed to be a member of Al Qaeda or its affiliates and involved in attacks on the United States.  […]the bill would deny US citizens suspected of being terrorists the right to trial, subjecting them to indefinite detention […]”

Furthermore, as a Republic Senator (Lindsey Graham) says, the bill will

“say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield.”

So, to put it simply for those of us who don’t comprehend authoritarian rule of the likes of Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great, basically, if you are even suspected of being a terrorist, you’re locked up indefinitely. The “war” (what war?) is coming back home.

For those of us too young to remember, similar things happened before, most notoriously during World War II. Several times. And it wasn’t pretty. And this isn’t even a WWII situation we have here currently, and America already needs more or less de facto internment of “suspected terrorists”? I thought America was already doing a “good enough job” dealing with “terrorists” already? Guess pulling out of Iraq doesn’t mean much, then.

When the people against this range across the political spectrum, including Glenn Beck, Rand Paul, Al Franken, the ACLU, General Petraeus, Ron Paul, you know that something is definitely wrong. The President threatened to veto the bill earlier… then decided not to veto it after all. Too bad, too bad. Fortunately I never had high hopes for him nor McCain. History rolls on, folks!

Thankfully I couldn't vote for either Obama or McCain in the previous election.

Conclusion

Welcome to the future, folks. For years, I thought sci-fi dystopia was a bit wacky and fantastical, the ideas of having mega-corporations and/or corrupt police states lording over everyone a tad bit far-fetched. I was wrong: dystopia is on our doorstep, very close, just like it always was. That being said, the bill might not be so dangerous as it may seem, and things will roll along as they always had since there’s no one to detain anyways. Then again, I don’t think that gamble is worth taking.

And so, history rolls on, and I will have to worry about my schoolwork for the next quarter. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about a huge war threatening the lives of every single one of us. Right? Now I just need some good war music to soothe the soul and bring peace and prosperity to the illustrious and hope-filled future of mankind, a place where we can go beyond the mere barbarity, cynicism, oppression, and Byzantine-haters of the past.

Of course, all that said, Genghis Khan would laugh at what weaklings Americans are.

 

Further Reading

Pizza

Internet

War

 

If Theodore Roosevelt was considered un-American, the world would explode through his rage.

Dear America: Great Shame Comes to the Asian Race when We and our Foods are Confused

Not two hours ago, embarrassed was I when I read this article. Great anger and shame overwhelmed me as the journalist suggests that all Asians are alike. Great rage enveloped me: could these white devils really think that glorious People’s Republic is the same as wanton Japan?

The proper and honorable reaction to reading this article, the demonstration by honorable Jackie Chan.

Dear readers, the dishonor of this article is great. Necessary is it to withhold ire when reading this article. Necessary is it to withhold ignominy when reading this article. Normal Americans were lied to, told that the progeny of the exalted Obama-san will eat Japanese food on the day of Pearl Harbor. These are deceptions of the greatest shame!

Do the white devils have no honor? Do they have no understanding? Do they have no culture? Time will be wasted if we argue with the ignorant, but we must counter their ignorance. Let us confer the facts and reveal the deceptions.

The article says that the progeny of Obama-san eat “Japanese food” on this day, the 7th of December. The article says that Obama-san’s progeny eat such Japanese food at their school cafeteria. This is deception!

Perhaps the erudite reader can inspect the menu itself and inform him or herself of the Japanese nature of this Asian menu featured in the cafeteria of Obama-san’s progeny:

Asian Mushroom Soup
Oriental Noodle Salad
Classic Spinach Salad
Teriyaki Marinated Chicken Strips
Szechuan Tofu & Veggies
Garlic Roasted Edamame
Vegetable Fried Rice
Fortune Cookies

Ground yourself in the manners of critical reasoning! Only “Teriyaki Marinated Chicken Strips” are vaguely Japanese! Placed on the menu are also many “Chinese” foods: “Szechuan Tofu & Veggies” and “Fortune Cookies”!

Perhaps Americans imagine Chinese and Japanese to be the same? Perhaps Americans forget that China fought much the cruelty of Japan in WWII? Perhaps Americans forget that the squint of the eyes of Asians differs in each of us? Should Kung Pao Chicken be Japanese? Should Pho be Japanese? Should Kimchi be Japanese? Such deceptions are most shameful.

Most shameful is it that America continues to misunderstand the Asian race. Is Japan the same as China? Is Korea the same as Vietnam? Shall Mongolia and Thailand be the same? I call to honorable and intelligent Americans: letting not your devil countrymen confuse the Asian peoples must now be your great quest.

How terrible! Upon reading this article, the questions that must grapple the mind: shall the delicacies of Asian food be considered unpatriotic on December 7th? Shall I refuse rice and soybean on this day to appear “patriotic”? Shall I refuse afternoon tea when comes the day of the War of 1812’s anniversary?

I am greatly dishonored today, but fret not. There is an even greater deception here.

How can there exist a delicious-sounding and nutritious school lunch at all?

I like Homestyle tofu, actually. Once I ate like 3 entrees of this or something when I was 8.

I wish I had that in high school.

Denounce Bicyclists: Bicyclists are Imperialists of the Road

The people’s roads are a marvel of modern, socialist thought and engineering, a wonder for all noble workers to share. Yet there are those who seek to destroy the peace of the masses’ pavement. These are the imperialistic cyclists.

Cyclists are the scourge of our noble, socialist roads where reside and travel our noble, socialist automobiles. I do not mean to say that all cyclists are ignoble, capitalist bourgeoisie. Some of them, however, are certainly so. The following scenario is one I encounter often, and one I am sure you too, comrades, have experienced:

I am sitting in my red car, driving peacefully on our glorious people’s roads, singing praises to the people’s democracy. As I am driving on my lane – as dictated by the most worthy people’s collective law – and only my lane – no further to the right, no further to the left – I see a cyclist, sometimes two, sometimes three, sometimes a hundredfold that, riding their bicycle(s) down the road. Here is a danger! The problem is I do not want to run over the cyclist; yet he is riding directly on the road where I drive, and he rides his bicycle so dangerously close to my lane. Thus, I have to swerve around him – sometimes gently like the sweet songs of socialist utopia, sometimes violently like the raging war cries of the people’s revolution – to avoid catastrophe for both the cyclist and I. Yet even so because of the bicyclist’s dangerous proximity to me, I am made unnecessarily anxious and fearful, like as if the imperialists were coming to destroy the workers’ factories.

The cyclists, through their imperialist desire to steal the pavement, puts all – be they drivers, pedestrians, or the cyclists themselves – in danger. By placing themselves too close to other cars, they increase the chance of automobile incidents. I have wondered why they have never bothered to use the sidewalk instead of the actual road. In many places, our people’s roads have sidewalks large enough that a cyclist can easily go around fellow pedestrians and cars.

I do not say that all cyclists are filthy capitalists or imperialists who always steal roads from drivers and pedestrians. Many have no choice in their actions; some need it to go to work for the betterment of the workers of the world, for instance. Here, however, I denounce those cyclists who merely do so for entertainment (bourgeoisie recreation!), for instance, and those who continuously have no regard for the drivers they may encounter. The driver is going 200 miles an hour, the cyclist 10 mph: only the latter has more time to think and stop or pull his vehicle to the side! And yet cyclists rarely do, almost ignoring that drivers, too, exist on the roads. Do the cyclists imply that the road is theirs for the taking? Imperialists! They have no regard for drivers and pedestrians with whom they share the roads with. Mao Zedong thought stresses: “If we are to respect diverse peoples and cultures, we must do so by equally sharing the sadness and the happiness of the worker’s paradise.”

Thus, if you are a loving, Marx-fearing, people’s hall-going cyclist, I applaud you for continuing to be wary of drivers and pedestrians. But otherwise, it is imperative that the masses awake and denounce the capitalist, imperialist, bourgeoisie threat on our roads.

Denounce the corrupt, imperialist bicyclists! Denounce them and free our pavement!

P.S. The only imperialist who deserves to use his bicycle in an imperialist manner is Theodore Roosevelt.

P.S.S. Further reading, for no reason at all:

The People's Soviet Bear demonstrating how to fight the cyclist-imperialists.