Atlanta (18/12 – 12)
The Rabbit is about to be devoured by a snorting, writhing, fire-breathing Dragon, come 10 February 2024 (Lunar Calendar, for lunatics). While the dreadful 2023, known by the philosophical Chinese as the “Year of the Rabbit”, is characterized as “thoughtful, tender, considerate, kind-hearted, and talented in language” for folks born in 1939 / 1951 / 1963 / 1975, Dragons born in 1940 / 1952 / 1964 / 1976 are reputedly “…confident, intelligent and enthusiastic – not afraid of challenges, willing to take risks”. That sounds more like this year of living dangerously, don’t you think? “…aggressive, angry Dragon, not open to criticism, nor aware of just how irritating and arrogant they are…”
No matter where you may be, no matter what your religious conviction or cultural milieu, the end of a calendar year is a suitable moment for reflection, memories, stock-taking and the envisioning of an oncoming year. Assuming, that is, that we have a future, and do not all go up in a merry thermonuclear flash, the coda of an ancient Cold War quarrel.
Up at the cold cold North Pole, Santa’s reindeer are giggling, as they hark to sleigh bells jingling in the snow. Alas, not all the human race will share the happy bounty: a Holiday Season means little if you are broke and cold and sick, and your children look at you like you betrayed them – the story in much of our sad world today – like the displaced Christians of Armenia. Better to avoid Christmas promises that cannot be fulfilled…
In temperate zones an end of the year entails the blessings of snow, in our tropics but a myth. I write to you from six degrees below the equator, with the prediction of a snowy, stormy, and early winter in Europe this year – one might even extend to northern Asia.
Records are being set! Extreme cold and snow permeates Russia and Siberia, where temperatures have plummeted to as -57 degrees Celsius, exceptionally cold for this early in the winter. Where is the Global Warming in all of this! Did it run off to the tropics to keep warm?
The glorious Alps are buried in an above-average snow cap, with some locations approaching record highs for this time of year. Hey girls! Wax those skis and head for the lodge.
This month Germany has recorded their largest snowstorms since March 2006 – among the greatest of any on record. How are the Germans going to stay warm without the nice cheap Russian gas? Will the politicians provide enough hot air to a shivering electorate to avoid frostbite?
We are told that the extreme cold is connected to a negative Arctic Oscillation (AO) which sweeps winter from the North Pole southward, down across the British Isles to Southern and Central Europe. Very often this frigid jetstream cavorts over Eastern Europe and Asia, with a neutral phase and even a thaw in Europe. Maybe, maybe not.
Ideally the cold weather will cool the mood of the head-choppers and missile launchers, determined fanatics whose antics promise to ruin the mood, although “Christmas” won’t mean much to Muslims eternally fighting Jews and Jews retaliating against Muslims. What a broken record: if the world was not sick enough of the meaningless slaughter in Ukraine, now they must deal with the eternal quarrels of the Arab crescent.
Across the Atlantic, Americans can treat all the sad action like a Hollywood thriller, as an entitled folk with a habit of thinking that two oceans insulate them from all the bad acts descending on Europe, Africa and East Asia. Continental isolation will not, however, keep the Yanks warm, as heavy snow is forecast, with a winter weather advisory covering 13 states, amid whiteout conditions and risk of hypothermia. What’s more, vicious tornadoes are ripping through Tennessee, as severe storms head south – hey you righteous Christians aren’t praying hard enough! Get down on those knees and pray harder!
Meanwhile, Australians are enjoying a resilient summer – “So pop me another shrimp on the barbie, Sheila, and get me a fresh beer while you’re up!” Burp.
En fin, kindly tell me, Santa Claus – or Krampus, more likely, considering the angry state of the planet at the moment – where is the global warming and why isn’t it keeping us as warm as the Russian gas used to do?
A Merry Merry Christmas to all our Christian readers in every country, Peace on Earth, Good Will toward one another… and relax: we are but visitors to this world.