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Michael Gracie

Something Clement Clarke Moore wrote in 1823

The reindeer are fueled up …

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blixen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too –
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight –
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

MG signing off (wishing all a merry Christmas)

(more…)

Something Thoreau wrote on February 14, 1851

“We shall see but little way if we require to understand what we see. How few things can a man measure with the tape of his understanding. How many greater things might he be seeing in the meanwhile!”

Observation for the sake of it; the genesis of many a new idea is actually tripping over one during the process.

MG signing off (with eyes wide open)

Cancellations

Dichotomous reflections of the aforementioned noun …

cancellations

MG signing off (without further comment)

Things That Will Kick Your Ass: Tasty Snack Edition

Another reason to like Louisiana (besides the redfish) …

Slap Ya Mama Hot Sauce

Poured over Aidells Cajun Style Andouille, it is not only a tasty snack but will ensure sweat is beading off thy forehead for thirty minutes following consumption.

MG signing off (because heat is good almost anywhere BUT the jungle)

Beautiful Bird Shot(s)

No words required …

Beautiful Bird Shots

Click the photo to see the entire gallery by field master Tosh Brown

MG signing off (to check them out again)

Something Thoreau wrote on October 23, 1852

“What men call social virtue, good fellowship, is commonly but the virtue of pigs in a litter, which lie close together to keep each other warm. It brings men together in crowds and mobs in barrooms and elsewhere, but it does not deserve the name of virtue.”

Regardless of venue, groupthink effort rarely matches in value the one-on-one exchange of ideas between parties who have like-minded interests and goals. Brainstorming efficiency is inversely related to the size of the crowd.

MG signing off (to avoid the inhibitor otherwise referred to as “noise”)

Things That Will Kick Your Ass: Written Word Edition

Over the years I’ve given away every copy of this thing that has passed through my hands …

The Elements of Style

… but after perusing a whitepaper-in-progress have decided that generosity is no longer an option.

MG signing off (with the work cut out for him, not due to difficulty as much as volume)

Something Thoreau wrote on April 21, 1854

“How can a man be a wise man, if he doesn’t know any better how to live than other men?-if he is only more cunning and intellectually subtle? Does Wisdom work in a treadmill? Does Wisdom fail? or does she teach how to succeed by her example? Is she merely the miller who grinds the finest logic? Did Plato get his living in a better way or more successfully than his contemporaries? Did he succumb to the difficulties of life like other men? Did he merely prevail over them by indifference, or by assuming grand airs? or find it easier to live because his aunt remembered him in her will?”

Generally speaking, the more grandiose the manner or title, the more the actor is compensating for thinly disguised shortcomings.

MG signing off (thinking Plato didn’t need his aunt’s money – the Academy would have happened even if he was broke)

Things That Will Kick Your Ass: Core Strength Edition

If you have been formally introduced to this thing, you have already felt the pain.

Ab wheel

MG signing off (because regular use is somewhat addictive too)

Editor’s note: Follow Pulp Fly’s Things Found On a Desk if getting your ass kicked just isn’t your thing.

Something Thoreau wrote on March 15, 1854

“I am sorry to think that you do not get a man’s most effective criticism until you provoke him. Severe truth is expressed with some bitterness.”

Candor is most often the first sign that you are about to learn something meaningful.

MG signing off (as dialog should not be confused with riot, or taken too seriously with poker opponents)