Fandango’s Flashback Friday — December 24th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 24th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


Being that today is Christmas Eve, I thought it appropriate to reach back to a post from my old blog that I posted on Christmas Eve in 2009.

Christmas Competition

As I compose this on the eve of Christmas, I was struck by the apparent heated competition between two Christmas icons, Jesus and Santa. I remember passing a church a few years ago on my way to work, and a large sign outside of the church asked, “Who is better, Santa Claus or Jesus Christ?” I wasn’t sure if that was supposed to be a rhetorical question or a trick question.

The competition between Santa and Jesus is apparently heating up. According to one site I came across, people in a California neighborhood are upset about a controversial Christmas display a local man constructed. It depicted Jesus holding a shotgun standing over a dead Santa lying on the ground. I guess in that instance, Jesus won.

I discovered another site dedicated exclusively to this competition. This site, “Why Jesus is better than Santa Claus,” is sponsored by Just4kidsmagazine.com, which touts itself as “The First Online Christian Magazine written Just 4 Kids.” So why is Jesus better than Santa? According to this magazine for Christian kids, Santa lives at the North Pole, but Jesus lives everywhere. Santa rides in a sleigh, but Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water. The list goes on and on and on.

Yet another site I found actually offers helpful instructions to parents faced with the dilemma of explaining to their kids the difference between Santa and Jesus. This is apparently hard work. In fact, the site suggests that “separating Santa from Jesus is one of the hardest tasks a parent will have to do….” Forget about potty training or talking to your kids about sex or drugs, Mom and Dad. This is the biggie.

There are some folks who take this competition very seriously. For example, cuttingedge.org, a site dedicated to “spiritual insights into the New World Order” (yes, the New World Order), warns that Santa is a counterfeit Jesus who has been created to replace Jesus in too many people’s lives. Its article, Jesus Christ vs Santa Claus, claims that Santa Claus is really Satan. Yes, these folks believe that “Satan, the Master Marionette, is pulling the strings above the world, leading adults and children alike away from Jesus Christ and toward Santa Claus.” Honestly, I am not making this shit up!

And one more site, which I promise will be my last link in this post, Christmas Carnivals, confirms this, suggesting that Santa Claus is a well-devised plan, a conspiracy to relegate Jesus to the background.

I never realized the intensity of this rivalry between these iconic characters. Just look at the two posters advertising the Christmas bout shown at the top of this page. It’s the biggest fight since the “Thrilla in Manilla” between heavyweight boxers Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975.

On the lighter side, an early, controversial cartoon short from the creators of South Park showed a bloody confrontation between Santa Claus and Jesus.

Fortunately, Brian Boitano saved the day for both Jesus and Santa that time. You know, What would Brian Boitano do?

So, to all of you out there who are wondering and worrying about who is better, Jesus or Santa, I say get a life. Seriously. Oh yeah, Happy Festivus.

Friday Fictioneers — The Scarecrow

“Look at that,” Jeremy said. “That’s sacrilegious!”

“What is?” Archie asked. “You mean that scarecrow over there?”

“Scarecrow? That’s not a scarecrow, you idiot,” Jeremy said. “That’s Jesus on the cross.”

“Nah,” Archie said. “It’s a scarecrow.”

“Scarecrows have straw hats, straw coming out from their shirt sleeves, and wear overalls,” Jeremy said. “Do you see a straw hat or overalls on that? No you don’t because that’s Jesus being crucified.”

Archie laughed. “You see Jesus everywhere, Jeremy. Didn’t you tell me last week that you saw Jesus’ face on a piece of toast? That thing’s just a simple scarecrow.”

(100 words)


Written for the Friday Fictioneers prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Photo credit: Sandra Crook.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — December 4

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 4th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on my old blog on December 4, 2009.

Oh the Iron-y of it All

Christmas is 21 days away and the insanity has already started. No, I’m not talking about Black Friday mall shopping or Cyber Monday web-shopping. I’m talking about the crazies who believe that Christmas is under siege by non-believers. I’m talking about the radio stations that have converted over to all Christmas music all the time. (Hey, I don’t mind an occasional Christmas carol every once in a while, but constant Christmas music? Fuhgeddaboudit!)

I’m also talking about what also seems to occur with some regularity around this time of the year: the sightings of images of Jesus and/or the Virgin Mary in very unlikely places. Back in July I posted about a rash of Virgin Mary sightings. She was seen everywhere, from bird droppings on a truck’s mirror to a grilled cheese sandwich to a restaurant’s griddle to a building’s window.

The Jesus Iron

The latest holy sighting, though, is not the Virgin Mary, but her immaculately conceived son, Jesus. As we enter this year’s holiday season, Jesus apparently chose to show himself on the bottom of an iron! Indeed, Mary Jo Coady of Methuen, MA saw the image of Jesus staring back at her on the slightly stained bottom of her iron. She then did what anyone would do. She took a picture of it.

To make sure she wasn’t imagining Jesus’ appearance on her iron, she called her daughters and shared the photo of the Jesus iron with them. Both of Mary Jo’s daughters confirmed seeing the image of Jesus on the iron, proving without doubt that “it” runs in the family. Mary Jo then posted the picture — where else? — on her Facebook account.

Ultimately, a local newspaper heard about it published the story about Mary Jo and her iron, including a picture of the appliance. The Associated Press picked up the story and, well, now Mary Jo’s Jesus iron is famous.

Unlike others, though, such as, for example, the New Mexico café owner who erected a shrine around her Virgin Mary griddle or the Florida woman who auctioned her decade old, half-eaten Virgin Mary grilled cheese sandwich on eBay, Mary Jo says she’s not planning to enshrine her iron or to open up her home for public viewing and praying (or for an opportunity to iron with Jesus). But she does plan to purchase a new iron and to retire the holy Walmart-brand iron and put it aside for “safe keeping.”

I found it interesting that her church pastor, Rev. Thomas Keyes, who has not yet seen the divine iron, seemed a bit skeptical. He believes that God or saints might choose to appear “in person, as opposed to on a toaster, a cinnamon roll, a car’s windshield, a Frito, or whatever. But then, God does what he wants.” Good for Rev. Keyes, but isn’t it a bit ironic (pun intended) that a Catholic priest expressed cynicism about this holy iron? After all, if you look carefully at the bottom of the iron, you could argue that it wasn’t the image of Jesus, but that of Howard Stern, that was pressed into the bottom of that not-so-stainless steel Walmart iron.

Jesus or Howard Stern: who is the real “iron” man?

That said, I wish all of you a happy holiday season, especially to those who get offended when people use the inclusive “season’s greetings” or “happy holidays” instead of the exclusive “Merry Christmas.”

Fandango’s Provocative Question #29

FPQWelcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration. By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

Today’s provocative question occurred to me when I read a quote from Thomas Jefferson that I was originally intending to use for my One-Liner Wednesday post. But I decided to use it here, instead. Why? Because (1), the quote is actually a two-liner, and (2), I think it might generate some provocative responses. Let’s see if I’m right.

BC7626CA-C702-4FC1-9BEB-C010C89F4E91Thomas Jefferson said, “It does me no injury for my neighbor to tell me there are 20 gods or no gods. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

As you probably know, Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, and Founding Father. He was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and served as the third President of the United States.

Jefferson was also known as a deist who said that he was a Christian “in the only sense in which Jesus wished any one to be.” Jefferson defined being a Christian as one who followed the simple teachings of Jesus and he wrote the Jeffersonian Bible, which compiled Jesus’ biblical teachings while omitting biblical miracles and supernatural references.

So with all that as background, here’s my question:

“Do you agree with Thomas Jefferson that it doesn’t matter or hurt you if people believe in many gods, in one god, or no gods? Why or why not?

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

The issue with pingbacks not showing up seems to have been resolved, but you might check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

SoCS — Mysterious Ways

e2cd22fc-d18b-40ab-b028-3accb7270d21“It’s less than three months away!” Brian exclaimed. “I’m not ready.”

“Not ready for what?” Ben asked his roommate.

“The Rapture.”

“The what?”

“The Rapture,” Brian repeated. “Here, take a look at this full page ad that was in today’s paper.

Ben read it out load. “Get ready for the Rapture. April 23, 2019 AD.” He handed the ad back to Brian. “Isn’t that what you call ‘end times’ or something like that? Where all true believers who are alive will be saved and will rise, along with the resurrected dead believers, into heaven to join Jesus?”

“Close enough,” Brian said. “And it’s happening in less than three months. I’m not ready, Ben.”

“Well, you know that I don’t believe in all that religious mumbo jumbo, Brian,” Ben said. “But you’re a believer, so what are you worried about? I’m sure you’ll float up to heaven with all of the other good boys and girls for fun and games with Jesus for the rest of eternity.”

“It just doesn’t add up, Ben,” Brian said. “Anna and I are supposed to get married on May 5th. But that will be too late.”

“Why will it be too late?” Ben asked. “Anna’s a good Christian, right? Maybe you and she can float up to heaven together, hand-in-hand, and get married once you’ve settled in. Hell, maybe Jesus, himself, will officiate at your wedding.”

“It’s not funny, Ben,” Brian whined. “I’m not ready for this. Why didn’t God give me some sort of sign so I could have planned for this?”

Ben pulled the newspaper ad from Brian’s hand and held it up. “Isn’t this a sign?”

“I don’t mean a physical sign,” Brian said. “A spiritual sign.”

“I don’t know, Brian,” Ben said, “but haven’t you been telling me ever since we met each other how God works in mysterious ways?”


This little sacrilegious tale, one that I hope doesn’t offend anyone, was written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. We are asked to use “ad/add/AD” (Anno Domini) in our post. We can use one, two, or all three.