Hitting a Home Run


Here’s the president’s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance speech that I found on YouTube. I read Bob’s December 9 blog “Eyes on the Prize” where he made recommendations to the President on what he should and shouldn’t do in his speech and I thought Bob made some excellent points. Below I have taken Bob’s points one by one and then taken text from President Obama’s speech addressing each.

Bob wanted President Obama to point out that peace must be achieved by standing firm and fighting:

“I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaida’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

I raise this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter the cause. At times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world’s sole military superpower.

Yet the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions – not just treaties and declarations that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America had helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.”

Grade – A+

Bob didn’t want President Obama to criticize his predecessor:

There were no mentions in the speech about President Bush or his policies.

Grade – A+

Bob didn’t want the president to boast about policy changes that have occurred because it would not be good foreign policy:

“Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct. And even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe that the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength. That is why I have prohibited torture. That is why I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed and that is why I have reaffirmed America’s commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions. We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend and we honor those ideals by upholding them not just when it is easy, but when it is hard.”

Grade – A+

Based on this analysis one would have to think that Bob would have given the president a very high passing grade.

Calling for Christmas Cookie Recipes (Cont.)

I think assortments of cookies should be, well, an assortment.  Different kinds of cookies and treats should be mixed together, to provide the sampler with a meaningful choice with respect to taste, shape, consistency, and color.  Bar cookies, like this excellent recipe, are an essential part of the mix.

Almond Chocolate Bars

Ingredients:  1 8-ounce package of softened cream cheese; 3/4 cup softened butter; 3/4 cup sugar; 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; 2 cups all-purpose flour; 1/2 teaspoon baking power; 1 6-ounce package of milk chocolate chips; 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine cream cheese and butter in mixing bowl and beat well.  Gradually add sugar and vanilla, beating until light and fluffy.  Combine flour and baking powder, add to batter, and beat well.  Spread mixture evenly in an ungreased 9″ x 13″ baking pan and bake for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle chips immediately over baked layer and let stand for 5 minutes or until chocolate melts.  Spread chocolate evenly to the edges of the pan and sprinkle with almonds.  Cool and cut into bars.

Calling for Christmas Cookie Recipes (Cont.)

Calling for Christmas Cookie Recipes (Cont.)

Calling for Christmas Cookie Recipes (Cont.)

Calling for Christmas Cookie Recipes (Cont.)

Calling for Christmas Cookie Recipes (Cont.)

Calling for Christmas Cookie Recipes (Cont.)

Calling for Christmas Cookie Recipes (Cont.)

Calling for Christmas Cookie Recipes

Frost On The Boardwalk

This morning’s walk was frigid indeed, as the temperature has dipped down close to the single digits.  Still, even as a walker seeks to keep warm, it is impossible not to appreciate the brittle beauty of a quiet countryside sheathed in frost and glittering under the stars.

The Yantis Loop pond is largely iced over.  A small group of ducks huddled close together in one of the few remaining patches of open water, totally surrounded by ice.  The boardwalk around the pond is covered in a thick blanket of ice crystals that sparkled under the crescent moon and the dim light of a nearby street lamp.  As I walked on, the wooden slats creaked loudly in the cold air.

The only thing missing from the scene was snow.  We’ve had a few flurries so far this year, but nothing has stuck.  Nor is any snow in the immediate forecast.  Instead, tomorrow we are to receive our first allotment of sleet and freezing rain, which are the twin banes of the central Ohio winter.

Holiday Mix

Christmas is less than two weeks away and the signs of the approaching holiday are everywhere.  The Christmas decorations have been taken from the basement and put in their familiar locations.  This weekend we will get our tree, trim it with the ornaments we have collected over the years, and hang our stockings on the chimney with care.   At the office, Christmas cards are arriving and being displayed on doors, and people have started to add seasonal touches to their clothing.  Women get to wear festive sweaters and scarves; men make do with holiday ties and socks (of which I have a decent assortment).

And, of course, a big part of the holidays is the music.  As I’ve mentioned before, I love Christmas music, and it is well-represented on the Ipod in the Holiday Mix playlist, which is 293 songs and 15.8 hours long.  I like mixing up music and I’ve tried to do that with my Christmas music playlist — instrumental music with vocal, traditional carols with pop songs and James Brown, jazz-influenced treatments with the Salvation Army band, classically trained tenors with ’50s crooners and torch singers.  The first 20 songs on the Holiday Mix playlist are as follows:

Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental) —    Vince Guaraldi,   A Charlie Brown Christmas
The Christmas Song —   Linda Ronstadt,  A Merry Little Christmas
Gruber: Stille Nacht (Silent Night) —    José Carreras, Christmas Favorites From The World’s Favorite Tenors
Sleigh Ride —    Leroy Anderson,  Season’s Greetings-Disc 1-20th Century Masters The Millennium Colleion
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen —    Bing Crosby,  White Christmas
Jingle Bell Rock —   Bobby Helms, Season’s Greetings-Disc 2-20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection
O Come, O Come Emanuel —   Robert Shaw Chorale, A Festival Of Carols
The Holly & The Ivy —    Mediaeval Baebes, Mistletoe & Wine: A Seasonal Collection
Blue Christmas —    Elvis Presley, Billboard Greatest Christmas Hits
Go Tell It On The Mountain —   Mahalia Jackson,  Christmas With Mahalia Jackson
II – Redemption : Alma redemptoris —    Edward Higginbottom,  Nativitas
The Spirit Of Christmas —    Rosemary Clooney, Rosemary Clooney: White Christmas
What Child Is This? —    Oscar Peterson,  An Oscar Peterson Christmas
A Holly Jolly Christmas —    Burl Ives, Season’s Greetings-Disc 1-20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas —    The Carpenters, Christmas Portrait
O Holy Night (Cantique De Noel) —   Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Christmas With The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Let It Snow —   Dean Martin, Christmas With Ol’ Dino
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71A – Danses Caracteristiques: Marche —    Alberto Lizzio: London Festival Orchestra, Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Swan Lake (Ballet Suites)
Feliz Navidad —    José Feliciano,  Feliz Navidad
Please Come Home For Christmas —    James Brown,  Funky Christmas