Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Twelve Days of Gheorghemas: Day Nine

On the ninth day of Gheorghemas, Big Gheorghe gave to me...

Nine Small-Town Nimrods
Eight Songs I'm Loathing . . . or should be loathing, but I'm loath to say that I'm actually liking them instead of loathing them . . .  Seven Football Stories
Six Bits Worth Reviving
Five Awesome Gifts
Four Smokin' Rock Chicks
Three Blogging Concepts (Sports, Drinking, Elitism)
Two Footie Stories
And a Doofus on a Pony

In very many ways Loudoun County, Virginia is a wonderful place. It combines rural beauty with exurban convenience, mixing small-town charm with reasonable proximity to big-city cultural amenities (and judging by the patrons in this coffeeshop, it's got the requisite hipster population to mark it modern). As of 2007, the county boasts the highest median household income of any county in the nation, at $107,207. The county played a significant role in both the Civil War and World War II, as George Marshall allegedly conceived the Marshall Plan from his estate in Leesburg*.  The Washington Redskins, Patton Oswalt, and the founder of Gheorghe: the Blog call the county home, and the quality of life in the area has helped it become the 4th fastest growing county in the country over the past decade.

Loudoun's also a very artistic place, home to painters, photographers, and artists of all stripes.  So you can imagine our pride, then, to find Loudoun getting national exposure for the creative expression of one of our citizens.  Perhaps a bit of background is in order.

Several years ago, local residents protested the placing of a nativity scene on the lawn of the County Courthouse on the grounds that a public facility is an inappropriate venue for displays promoting a single religion. The nine-member Board of Supervisors ultimately agreed, and established a process that enabled county residents to apply to display holiday symbols of their choosing in a first-come, first-served manner.  Interestingly, the application process does not require submitters to include a picture or other visual representation of their proposed display. I see no way this could go wrong.

Last year's displays were fairly tame, with a few atheist groups sprinkled in with local churches, mosques, and synagogues.  This year, 18 year-old Jeff Heflin wanted to make a statement. The young man was saddened by Christmas' overwhelmingly commercial nature.  In his own words, he sought "to depict society’s materialistic obsessions and addictions and how it is killing the peace, love, joy and kindness that is supposed to be prevalent during the holiday season." How better to do that than clothe a skeleton in a Santa Claus suit and hang him on a cross?

Heflin's performance art was met by a perfect storm of outrage, with Christians aghast at the affront to their faith, parents pissed about having to explain it to their kids, atheists and agnostics angry at everyone else's reaction, and local politicians quickly (and, of course, loudly and visibly) taking to the media to express their righteous indignation and shock, shock that anyone would do such a thing. Supervisor-elect and blowhard Ken Reid was "utterly outraged", and expressed his “...intent as the new Supervisor for Leesburg to seek changes in the county policy so these outrageous anti-religious displays are not debasing the lawn of our beloved courthouse.” When a local woman disobeyed the Sheriff's Office and dismantled the display, she was alternately cheered and jeered by the opposing sides.  If only this could have been predicted.

Fortunately, at least for those who like entertainment, the Board of Supervisors declined to discontinue this year's remaining holiday displays despite pressure to do so. Freedom of speech may not be pretty, but it's worth protecting.  Me, I'm really looking forward to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster's presentation. And planning next year's Apostles of St. Gheorghe concept, because it sure seems like my little town could use an antidote to self-seriousness. I'm a churchgoing man, but I confess very little tolerance for people of any persuasion forcing their views on others. Unless their views are anti-Dan Snyder.

In 2011, the voters of Loudoun County swept much of the incumbent Board of Supervisors out as Republicans made a clean sweep of the nine Board seats. In what may be taken as a heel turn by my liberal fellow travelers, recent events have convinced me that this is a good thing. I'll take competence over ideology, especially when it comes to my neighborhood.

Merry Flying Spaghettimas.

* The 'conceived' part of this might be made up, but the good General's Dodona Manor is smack in the middle of downtown Leesburg. I run by it on a regular basis.

25 comments:

Dave said...

that skeleton-santa thing perfectly captures my feelings about christmas. i would love to put one up on my lawn, but my wife would kill me.

Danimal said...

Am wrapping presents where I've been given complete quiet and privacy. I will be wrapping presents for a while.

Igor said...

Dear Santa,

Here is what I want for Christmas this year:

1. Eagles throttle Cowboys today.
2. Jets throttle Giants today.
3. Redskins do as you see fit. Win would be nice, draft position is nice.
4. Next week, Cowboys build a big lead on Giants, then lose in embarrassing fashion and regret it all summer.
5. Eagles, scoreboard watching, let up, thinking their hopes are dashed, then lose to Redskins in embarrassing fashion and regret it all summer.

It's a season of ill-wishing.

Merry Christmas,
Igor

Mark said...

Unlike Dave, I love Christmas. Especially when it affords me two straight days of live sports to watch on the weekend.

In other news, Greg, Vitas and I started drinking at 7 art night. By the time we finished up at 2:30 am we'd hit 5 bars, elected a new pope and finished up by meeting some other friends at the Canadian ballet. A successful night, by any measure.

Dave said...

wherefore this rooting against the giants, igor?

Dave said...

i'm loving the giants game but there's all these "people" walking in front of my tv set.

Danimal said...

Canadian Ballet sounds interesting.

Trying Guinness Black Lager for first time. So-so.

Danimal said...

Re-introducing the bourbon milk punch this xmas.

Mark said...

Care to give me a recipe for that Danimal.

Igor said...

Dear Santa,

I am also hoping you give Dave the deductive reasoning powers to recognize I am rooting for the Giants to win the division.

I know that is asking for a lot. But Bobby next door is asking for a Lamborghini. So I figure I got a shot.

Thanks again.

Igor

Danimal said...

Mark....
1 tsp honey
3 oz milk
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 dash vanilla extract
"1.5" oz bourbon
Helpful hint---nuke the honey for about 5-10 seconds prior.

Dave said...

sorry igor--

i didn't read your points carefully enough-- it was christmas eve-- and i commented before reading the final steps . . . plus i don't need that kind of stress and it was more fun for the giants to beat the jets b/c i know a lot of jets fans-- even if they make the play-offs, they aren't going anywhere . . .

Igor said...

Merry Christmas, friends.

God bless us, everyone.

T.J. said...

Merry Xmas, Gheorghemas...and an early Kwanza to all.

Greg said...

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, a Kwazee Kwanzaa, a Terrific Tet and a solemn and dignified Ramadan.

Dave said...

merry christmas to all-- the giants blessed us with a win, but then my children cursed us by getting up at 4 AM this morning.

4 AM?

we made them go back to sleep, but i don't think they did, and catherine and i couldn't get any rest either. and apparently you need all your cylinders working to assemble a "marble track."

TR said...

My kids slept until 745 AM. Pretty sweet of them, considering I got sneaky-bombed last night.

Hangover cure:

24 oz coffee
16 oz water
3 Advile
1 pint-sized screwdriver*

*key to a good screwdriver is a splash of ginger ale

rob said...

my kids slept until 6:45, little bastards. now i'm in pittsburgh, hiding from my wife's family.

one yuletide highlight for the masses: during last night's christmas eve service, a young boy gave a scripture reading about jesus coming to save the jews and the genitals. hurray, genitals!

Mark said...

My parents instituted a rule stating I could not be up until 6:30 AM on Xmas morning based on one especially early Xmas morning similar to what Dave experienced today. I have carried on said tradition/rule.

Didn't matter today though since we didn't get my stepdaughter until noon. Which was good, as I too might've been wrecked by 1:30 last night.

zman said...

People who use their fog lamps on the highway deserve a slap.

rob said...

making my maiden voyage to primanti brothers for lunch. if you don't her from me by late afternoon, send a search party.

TR said...

I have to say that my hatred of all things NBA strike-related pretty much evaporated last night. While there's a clear line separating the "haves" from "have nots", there are a lot of good teams that are very fun to watch in both conferences. Didn't catch as much action as I would've liked y/day, but I may go out and buy my James Harden jersey today. Dude is a lot of fun to watch, and his Kimbo Slice meets Black Eyed Peas facial hair look is pretty awesome as well. Knicks, Heat, Bulls, Clips, Mavs, Thunder, Celts, Lakers, Nuggets and Pacersn are all intriguing/entertaining teams. That's a pretty deep group in a shortened season.

rob said...

i need 47 points from matt ryan and julio jones tonight to win my fantasy league. looking for a day after christmas miracle.

Igor said...

Johnny G winning our fantasy league -- especially after some of his blunders -- would be a far greater miracle, Father Guido, so you'll likely get the 47.

T.J. said...

New holiday filler up...