Christmas Memories

Do you have a favorite holiday memory?

When I was little, my mother told me that when Santa visited, all my toys came to life and had a party. On Christmas morning, even the ones we took to bed with us would be all arranged in the living room, around the fireplace and Christmas tree, as if frozen the moment Santa left.

My grandmother had 8 children, and so with all the children and grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, spouses, it was quite a crowd. Family holiday parties were held in a school, and of necessity were pot-luck. Grandma and others worked on making ham or ham and cheese buns for the entire group. Warmed and wrapped in tinfoil. Mom made baked beans. I probably remember the cookies best. That and running around the school halls and gymnasium with my cousins.

My grandmother made 7 layer bars (or were they 6 layer bars?), my all-time favorite Christmas cookie. I sometimes make them for myself now.

I don’t have her recipe, but the internet is the repository of all such knowledge. These would be five-layer bars, unless we count the butter or margarine added to the graham cracker crumbs as one layer. Some recipes call for the addition of butterscotch morsels, which I detest. Peanut butter morsels, on the other hand, are awesome. I use either pecans or walnuts or both. With the peanut butter chips and two types of nuts; I think that counts as 7 layers.

Security Theater

What do you think about the TSA body scanners? I won’t go through them.

Thank you, I’ll take the invasive pat-down. That, at least, makes it clear to everyone that my privacy is being invaded.

I am polite and cooperative with the TSA agents, but inside I fume; this is ridiculous. We spent $8.1 billion on TSA in 2011. What has it accomplished aside from long lines and invasion of privacy?

There’s a difference between security and security theater. Reinforcing the doors between cockpit and cabin: that was security. Making everyone go through a body scanner, that is security theater. It is easy to bypass the body scanner. It is hard to get through the locked cockpit to cabin door.

Most people go through the scanners without a second thought. Even I haven’t done much to protest aside from my insistence on the alternative pat-down. Will writing to our representatives in Congress and the Senate and our president help? I fear TSA has too much momentum behind it.

The money spent on TSA could be spent in many better ways. To help the poor and unemployed. To fix and replace aging infrastructure. To promote alternative forms of transportation that would lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and drive funds away from sources that fund terrorists.

For more information, take a look at Smoke Screening and Loaded Gun Slips Past TSA Screeners.