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A Christmas Carol ~ A Capital Idea December 11, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, Less IS More, Life Balance, Writing & Writers.
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Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol. In Prose. ...

Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol

As may be apparent, Dickens is one of my favorite authors. 

His story, A Christmas Carol, is one of my favorite tales of all time. 

Judging from the plethora of film versions produced,  watched, and re-watched  over the years, I am not its only (or biggest) fan.

It is a delightful tale. 

A marvelous tale.

Like Shrek (and Gulliver’s Travels), A Christmas Carol is written in layers that readers can peel back, like an onion, and ponder:

* It is a delightful ghost story set at Christmas tide. 

* It is a tale of redemption, hope, and joy ~ a not-so-subtle reminder that even the most hard-hearted misers can change and grow in kindness, compassion, and benevolence toward others by making mankind their business. 

As we watch the movie and read the book, our hearts expand along with Scrooge’s heart until we’re filled with optimism and joy for the future of the planet and its inhabitants. 

Some time ago, I read a rant claiming that Scrooge’s story is intended as a diatribe against wealth and capitalism.  I disagreed. 

If Dickens had written A Christmas Carol as an anti-capitalist manifesto, Scrooge would have  closed his counting house, bequeathed his entire fortune to others, and lived happily ever after in an ashram or commune as a penniless pauper.  

That, he did not do.

Dickens did not view money or a capitalist economy as inherently evil. 

Just as guns do not kill people, money is morally neutral. 

Dickens viewed money as a necessary unit of exchange ~ allowing Scrooge to spread the wealth (and joy) on Christmas morning.

More specifically:

* Scrooge uses money to hire a boy to run to the poulterer’s shoppe. 

* He uses money to buy the prize turkey hanging in the window. 

* He uses money to hire a cab to take the turkey to Camden Town in time for Bob Cratchit’s Christmas dinner.  (Of course, as a vegetarian, I wish that Dickens had chosen a different symbol of his largesse).  

* Scrooge also uses money to donate to the gentlemen collecting on behalf of those without food and shelter.

Scrooge uses money the day after Christmas as well:  to raise Bob’s salary; to give a Christmas bonus to Mrs. Dilbert; to offer to pay for doctors for Tiny Tim; to buy another coal-scuttle; and to pay for a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop for himself and his clerk, Bob Cratchit.

The point is not that money (and capitalism) is morally wrong ~ it is that, once people have amassed enough money for their own needs, hoarding it (or spending it frivolously) will not add to their happiness as quickly and surely as using the surplus to help those less fortunate.

Dickens wanted to remind his readers that success in life does not come from having the biggest bank account, or the most profitable counting house.  It comes from sharing your wealth (both material and spiritual) with the world. 

Success does not come from laughing all the way to the bank, it comes from laughing over a bowl of Christmas punch with kith and kin. 

“Scrooge was better than his word.  He did it all, and infinitely more.  He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.” 

And . . . he did it all without divesting himself of his fortune or turning his back on capitalism. 

“May that be truly said of us, and all of us!  And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!”

Related posts:  Transformation and ReclamationWhat the Dickens! * 100 Books * Joy To The World10 Holiday ClassicsAusten & Dickens Had It Easy

The 12 Days of Christmas December 11, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Art & Photography, Nature, Poetry.
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On the 12th Day of Christmas, I noticed around me . . .

Twelve Anhingas nesting

Eleven Ibis strolling

Ten Cormorants sunning

Nine Spoonbills glowing

Eight Wood Storks pacing

Seven Pelicans paddling

Six Herons wading

F~i~v~e . . . 

       Raccoons . . . Fishing

Four Otters playing

Three Turtles floating

Two Egrets soaring

Under a Bright Blue   Cloudless Sky!

         * * * * *

Be Here Now . . .

Ever mindful of the many gifts of miracle and wonder which abound.

Related posts:  Ten Things We LOVE About Florida * Otters Outta Sight! * Why I Otter Kill You! * Florida Is For The Birds

A Bear Needs A Forest December 11, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Nature, Sustainable Living.
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A wonderful reminder from The Nature Conservancy about the need to protect habitat for wild animals . . .

Check out some of the problems that Florida mascot Barry the black bear confronts when he leaves the forest.

If you can’t help but laugh, please post the link into your social media outlets. You could help us raise the money needed to protect Florida black bear habitat!

Related posts:  A Pause For The Perdido * Wild America ~ Alaska * Warmth in a Winter Wonderland * If We Could Talk To The Animals . . .