MONDAY 12-24-2012 Guests are Michael Barone, AEI, Kevin Starrett with more analysis on arming teacher, Dr. Dennis Powers and a history of the valley's pioneer Christmas.

Dec 24, 2012 -- 9:55pm

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Thanks for all your bids on my vintage radio auction for the Salvation Army. Here is just a small portion of food purchased with the proceeds. The Salvation Army folks were thrilled with the haul, which was dropped off earlier today (12/24). Merry Christmas! Now I have to get back to work and fix some more radios for next year. (Darn! ;-)


6:35 Michael Barone - American Enterprise Institute. His new e-book is "Can Big Government be Scaled Back".  (Download it for free at the link) Political analyst and journalist, studies politics, American government, and campaigns and elections. The principal coauthor of the annual Almanac of American Politics (National Journal Group), he has written many books on American politics and history. Barone is also a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner.

7:35 Kevin Starrett, Oregon Firearms Federation - More discussion on the Richardson proposal, and the delusional response from educators to Dennis Richardson's proposal to arm teachers who volunteer to carry weapons and be trained.

8:10 Dr. Dennis Powers "Visiting Past and Present", and today it's a history of Christmas in the valley.  More on Dr. Powers at DennisPowersBooks.Com.

Christmas Eve and Day: Past and Present

By Dennis Powers

Christmas Eve and Day during State of Jefferson pioneer days were simpler and important, but difficult. Winters in cold cabins could be rough, as storms and snow banks were not that merry. Nor driving in a “one-horse-open-sleigh.” Remote families cut down a small fur tree or decorated their small cabin with freshly-cut boughs. If a small tree fit inside, strung popcorn, small wax candles (a bucket of water kept handy), and red Madrone berries decorated it; the families sung Christmas carols around the fireplace or read from the Bible.

Starting days ahead, women cooked a special meal for Christmas Day. They brought out preserved fruits and vegetables, cooked up fresh meat (ham or beef) or venison, and even left a plum pudding to age. Gifts could be home-made, such as carved wooden toys, sachets, footstools, and even corn-husk dolls. If the family had a good year, their children could find Santa had left candies, nuts, or cookies in their stockings. The presents could include new shoes and shirts for the boys, and dresses or homemade dolls for the girls.

If living in a small town like Golden or Gold Hill, the community could come together. Children helped decorate a town Christmas tree at their church or gathering place. They cut out cardboard stars, wrapped them in silver tinfoil, and hung them to join the strung popcorn, dozens of tiny, different-colored wax candles, and small gifts on the tree. Larger gifts were placed underneath.  

On Christmas Day, the families attended church, returned home for their traditional meal, and spent the day visiting with friends and neighbors--one of the most important aspects. A larger “city” like Medford could have a “Grand Christmas Ball.” One newspaper advertisement read: “A Grand Ball will be given in Byers' Hall, Medford. On Christmas Night--December 25, 1885. A fine Supper and the best of Music will be provided. The services of a first-class caller have been engaged...A good time is anticipated. Come one! Come all! Tickets $2.50.”

When we fast forward to modern times with the constant bombardment of carols in supermarkets, shopping centers, and stores, the holidays certainly have a commercial feeling. Although many families enjoy the festive and religious times, the stress of jobs, family responsibilities, Christmas parties, and how much to spend can lessen this. But have no fear, let’s look at the spirit of giving--and receiving--in a larger way.

For example, luxury retailer Neiman Marcus continues its tradition of the “His & Hers” fantasy gift; this year it’s a set of “Poetic Wish” watches (with a diamond shooting star; artist-painted scenes animate on demand) from Van Cleef & Arpels, paired with two business-class tickets to Paris and Geneva to tour the Van Cleef & Arpels boutique and watch-making workshops, all for a mere $1,090,000.

For more value, there is the Neiman-Marcus-Edition, 2013 McLaren 12C Spider at a “cool” price of $354,000. This sports-car, open-top version of McLaren's supercar has gull-wing doors, 618 hp, weighs a shade under 3200 pounds, sprints from zero to 60 in 2.9 seconds, and tops out at 207 mph. One of only twelve so made, it is available in “Volcano Red” with a McLaren luggage set. For this low price, you will also receive a business-class trip to England for a “VIP dinner with McLaren Chairman Ron Dennis and a tour of the McLaren Technology Center (February 6–8, 2013).”

For the lesser amount of $250,000, the “lucky buyer” will host a “Private Dinner for Ten”, at a home feast prepared by four of the “culinary world’s most notable chefs—Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Jerome Bocuse, and Richard Rosendale.” As an extra incentive, the evening includes tequila tasting with personalized, engraved crystal bottles.

For a mere $150,000, one has the “Bulleit Frontier Whiskey-Woody Tailgate Trailer,” a party on wheels in a miniaturized trailer, tear-drop shape. Only two of these limited-edition trailers are available, complete with flat-screen TV, Blu-Ray player, state-of-the-art sound system, leather furniture and wood finishings--plus a one-year supply of Bulleit Bourbon and Bulleit Rye, among other assorted gifts. 

The $100,000 “Heritage Hen Mini-Farm” is a custom-made, multilevel hen house, complete with nesting area, a “living room” for nighttime roosting, a broody room (for little chicks), a library with chicken and gardening books for the owner, and, of course, an elegant chandelier.

For under $100,000, there is: the Jetlev R200 – a water-propelled jetpack – at $99,500 (200 hp trailing boat/engine with 200 feet of tube intake); the custom-made Pinel & Pinel Arcade PS Trunk (“the ultimate gaming machine” with leather chairs, joy sticks, and a home cinema) costs $90,000; a video portrait by artist Robert Wilson, dubbed “Snowy Owl,” is also a limited edition with a $70,000 price-tag; while for a lousy $30,000, one lucky buyer will be “taking the stage (as walk-on performer) in one of theater’s most beloved plays, Annie: The Musical!”

For the rest of us, we are simply happy to buy that iPhone, watch, or even a power saw and pay it off over the New Year. Plus enjoying the holidays with football games, great food, and the family, saying to all, “A good night.”  

Sources: See “Legends of America--A Pioneer Christmas” at A Pioneer Christmas; see also “Extravaganzi-Neiman Marcus 2012 offers nine fantasy, most expensive gifts” at  Nine Fantasy, Most Expensive Gifts.  

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