Saturday, December 25, 2010



December 25 is … National Pumpkin Pie Day

Before we get started;
1989- Billy Martin, NY Yankee manager, killed in a car accident at 61
1995 - Dean Martin, singer/actor (Return to Me, Rio Bravo), dies at 78
1996 - Jon Benet Ramsey, Colo child beauty queen, murdered at 6


The Christ child is born
This beautiful Christmas morn
The season is very jolly
Spruced up by the red hues of the holly
It is fun to stand under the mistletoe
As long as the person next to you is not Uncle Joe
Christmas Eve has come and gone
That was obvious at the crack of dawn
I started my Christmas with The Christmas Song
With that Nat King Cole tune you cannot go wrong
A little Bing Crosby and White Christmas
Sure helps to make the children listless
It is hard to beat ‘der Bingle’
Singing a Christmas jingle
Midnight Mass was always looked forward to when I was a younker
This was even before the time of Archie Bunker
St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Streator
I always thought it was neat because the sidewalks were melted by a heater
When you arrived home after Mass
We would always see the hoof prints of reindeer in our grass
My sister, her name is Patty
Always seemed to get a doll, often times chatty
My older brother, Terry
Never liked what he got, he was contrary
My other brother, Mike, much younger than I
Was easily fooled and if he didn’t see Santa he would cry
We only opened one present after church
We did not want to leave Santa in a lurch
On Christmas morning we always had presents and stockings to open
The ones Santa thought about and had chosen
My dad worked on Christmas day, like all the rest
But his hard work made our Christmas the best
The cookies and milk we left for Santa always seemed to disappear
Christmas was a wonderful way to end the Christian year
A Christmas Carol was always on the TV on Christmas Eve
And again on Christmas morning for those who had to leave
Bob Cratchett was always a bit behind his time on December 26th
He had made rather merry on December 25th
My parents, Mike and Alberta by name
Never seemed to get any presents when Christmas came
We tore into the presents after the lazy one awoke
By then the rest of us had had our first Coke
We never tried to save the paper or ribbons or bows
Patty always wore socks to cover her cold toes
By ten or eleven Christmas morning
We were headed out to play with our presents and a stiff parental warning
One of my favorite Christmas movies to watch
With my father, he and his scotch
Was  “The Lemon Drop Kid” with Bob Hope
I think this movie is liked even by the Pope
I do not remember a big Christmas family meal
But our stockings always had oranges to peel
Electronic toys were not a part of the scene
Laying under the Christmas tree so beautiful and green
Board games were a staple as a gift
And fun to play while the snow outside created a drift
Mixed nuts in the shell were an annual treat
And you felt so good when you removed a Brazil nut whole to eat
The best cookies in the world were made by my mother
Argue all you want but it is no other
My sister has kept much of the tradition going
But the busier times we live in are showing
My brother hosts our annual Christmas affair
It is always fun when we are there
My parents are gone
And life has moved on
I married my stunning wife
We have three children and our own life
Christmas has become complicated with the blending of more families
With the addition of my wife’s, my children’s, my brother’s and Patty’s
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, I do love it so
The ornaments, the lights, the cookies, the shopping and the snow
I read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to my kids every year
Before I am done reading I have to wipe away a tear
They are older now and don’t fit on my lap
And before I am through I am ready for a long winter’s nap
On Christmas while my children were still at home we woke up in our beds, it was a tradition
Unfortunately that has come to an end just by attrition
We always cut our Christmas tree down each season
We have now gone to artificial, old age is the reason
Our stockings are carefully hung by paperclips
We had to look through them to see the recent lunar eclipse
The stockings number more than our children
Our pets each get one, there must be a million
Of course my wife and I have the largest stocking
But then, my wife does a lot of the shopping
Fruits, nuts, candies and Santa’s gifts cause the stockings to overflow
One year a stocking even had a CD in it by Bobby Goldsborough
My wife makes peanut butter balls from an old family recipe
Whenever the kids see them, they yell yippee
My children saw mommy kissing Santa Claus one year
Ever since, each Christmas, I am met by a sneer
We can’t open gifts until everyone is awake
When it isn’t Hannah, this causes her to ache
My daughter is a control person who hands out the presents
She often makes her brothers guess the contents
Once the unwrapping is said and done
The fun of gift giving has just begun
Installing batteries and assembling the treats
Is completed while we nibble on Christmas eats
I have never lived on Abbey Road, Sesame Street or Santa Claus Lane
I have also never lived in Maine
Whenever the kids are in the vicinity
They stop by for mom’s divinity
My personal favorite is fudge
I know it is liked by my friend, the Judge
Silver bells, Silver bells
Sound beautiful around the Christmas smells
To all my family, friends and readers, Season Greetings
Tell your family and friends glad tidings while gathered at your meetings
While you are watching Jaws, drinking through straws or eating crab claws
Be sure to tell Virginia, Yes there is a Santa Claus.

I have been writing this column since August 10, 2010. During that 137 days I have written one every day but one. This takes a little time and thought to come up with a new column every day. I obviously have a slant and persuasion to my thinking but I still have to be fresh. Luckily, the internet gives me and most writers an enormous research source. Of course, the politicians often provide fodder for me. Some columns are better than others. That is true from my view as the writer and from the view of the readers.

Thank you for giving me a small portion of your busy day I hope I have entertained you, made you think, occasionally cry and often laugh. I need a little time to charge my batteries. I will not be writing this blog until Jan. 1, 2011. I may see something too good to ignore and write a column but the regular column will not resume until January 1, 2011.

Merry Christmas to you and yours and I hope you have a Happy New Year. God Bless.

Bruce A. Brennan
December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!

DECEMBER 24, 2010

December 24 is … National Egg Nog Day

Don’t worry tonight if you hear on the lawn such a clatter. Soon you will know it is not much of a matter.

I wish everybody a Happy Christmas Eve. Let the party begin! If you are about driving, be careful of reindeer around the roads. They often use roads as runways. We don’t want any accidents to interfere with the joy of the season.

Nothing too serious will be written about today today. It is time to relax and enjoy good fellowship with family and friends. I did hear three wise guys were seen in Bethlehem. Apparently they are not Greek since they were bearing gifts and on one was concerned.
On this date:
1818 - Franz Gruber of Oberndorf, Germany composed the music for Silent Night to words written by Josef Mohr. The traditional song was sung for the first time during Midnight Mass this night.
1867 - “Oh by gosh by golly!” Is it that time already? It was Christmas Eve that R.H. Macy’s department store in New York City remained open until midnight to catch last-minute shoppers. The store took in a record $6,000, giving itself a very Merry Christmas.
1871 - Opera-goers in Cairo, Egypt were treated to Verdi’s Aida in its world premiere. The composer was commissioned to write the opera for festivities celebrating the opening of the Suez Canal.
1889 - Daniel Stover and William Hance, of Freeport, Illinois, were up late putting together bicycles for their tiny tots when, lo and behold, they patented the back pedal brake! It would later be known as the safety brake and became a standard feature on most brands of bikes. Today, we have 18 gears on a bike (more than on a big rig truck!). We need two hands to use the brakes instead of just pedaling backwards with our feet. Ah, those were the days.
1906 - Professor Reginald A. Fessenden sent his first radio broadcast from Brant Rock, MA. The program included a little verse, some violin and a speech.
1924 - Notre Dame football coach (1918-1930) Knute Rockne said he opposed elimination of the forward pass since it has helped “to curb the brutality of football.” Knute knew a little something about football. His record for highest winning percentage in Division I-A football (.881) still stands. Oh, they decided not to eliminate the forward pass (just in case you hadn’t noticed).
1928 - The first broadcast of The Voice of Firestone was heard. The program aired each Monday evening at 8:00. The Voice of Firestone became a hallmark in radio broadcasting. It kept its same night, time (in 1931 the start time changed to 8:30) and sponsor for its entire run. Beginning on September 5, 1949, the program of classical and semi classical music was also seen on television.
1948 - The first completely solar-heated house was occupied by the first solar-heated people -- in Dover, MA.
1950 - Coach Paul Brown won his fifth straight pro-football championship as Lou Groza kicked a field goal in the final 20 seconds. The Cleveland Browns edged the Los Angeles Rams, 30-28.
1951 - NBC-TV presented the first opera written for television. Amal and the Night Visitors became a Christmas classic.
1953 - Dragnet, starring Jack Webb as Detective Joe Friday, became the first network program to be sponsored. Dragnet was on NBC-TV, for you who want the facts, just the facts. “Who was the sponsor, you ask?” Fatima cigarettes!
1955 - The lovely Lennon Sisters debuted as featured vocalists on The Lawrence Welk Show on ABC-TV. They became regulars with Welk within a month and stayed on the show until 1968.
1976 - Takeo Fukuda became prime minister of Japan. He was the political boss until Dec 1978.
1977 - The Bee Gees spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve at the top of the music charts. How Deep is Your Love became #1 this day and stayed that way for three weeks.
1981 - Reggie Jackson picked Christmas Eve to announce that he would join Gene Autry’s California Angels for the 1982 season.
Chart Toppers on this date:

1945 It Might as Well Be Spring - The Sammy Kaye Orchestra (vocal: Billy
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
It’s Been a Long, Long Time - The Harry James Orchestra (vocal: Kitty
Silver Dew on the Blue Grass Tonight - Bob Wills
1953 Ebb Tide - The Frank Chacksfield Orchestra
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Ricochet - Teresa Brewer
Let Me Be the One - Hank Locklin
1961 The Lion Sleeps Tonight - The Tokens
Run to Him - Bobby Vee
The Twist - Chubby Checker
Walk on By - Leroy Van Dyke
1969 Leaving on a Jet Plane - Peter, Paul & Mary
Someday We’ll Be Together - Diana Ross & The Supremes
Down on the Corner/Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival
(I’m So) Afraid of Losing You Again - Charley Pride
1977 How Deep is Your Love - Bee Gees
Blue Bayou - Linda Ronstadt
(Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again - L.T.D.
Here You Come Again - Dolly Parton
1985 Say You, Say Me - Lionel Richie
Party All the Time - Eddie Murphy
Alive & Kicking - Simple Minds
The Chair - George Strait

You better hurry. Today is a great day to buy my book. It makes a great gift for anyone including, yourself. Buy it while you still have money. There is just one shopping day left before Christmas; buy now and beat the rush.

DEKALB, IL 60115
Go to web sites below to buy books by Bruce A. Brennan (do a quick search, Title, my name) Do a Title or author search, Check this site out.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

True Grit and St Nick.

DECEMBER 23, 2010
I went to see True Grit on Wednesday afternoon with my wife, 20 year old daughter and my youngest son, a 24 year old law student. Growing up in my household, it was hard not to be a John Wayne fan, so they had seen the original. The 24 year old used to write a movie review column for his law school newspaper at Valparaiso. He used a two step rating system; “See it” or “Skip it”. He gave True Grit a highly rated “See it”. I concur. The movie is pretty true to the original version while adding a little more depth from the book by Charles Portis. My wife and daughter also enjoyed the film. At less than two hours, it was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The Coen brothers will be getting a few award nominations for their work. Steven Spielberg was also involved in the project.

The story of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

“He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.” There’s hardly a soul alive who couldn’t identify this as the description of Santa Claus. These words were published for the first time on this day in 1823 in the Troy (N.Y.) Sentinel (now the Record). The poem we know as The Night Before Christmas or A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement C. Moore, was published anonymously under the newspaper editor’s title, Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas.

Moore’s poem, which he had written on Christmas Eve one year earlier, took a circuitous route to the Troy paper. The story has it that Moore penned the poem, inspired by the bells on the sleigh in which he was riding, the sleigh’s jolly driver, and the new fallen snow on the streets of New York City, as he was running a last minute errand for his wife. That evening, he read his now-famous words to his six children as they sat in front of their fireplace where “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hope that St. Nicholas soon would be there.” The children were so delighted with their father’s images of “a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,” that they saved the poem.
Some other interesting events on this date: Did you hear about Vincent van Gogh?

1783 - George Washington returned to Mount Vernon, after the disbanding of his army following the Revolutionary War. His first words upon returning home, “Hey, Martha - what’s for dinner?” And, in a very deep voice, she replied, “BEEF!”
1888 - Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh arrived at House of Tolerance (brothel), asked for one Rachel, and handed her -- his ear, saying “Keep this and treasure it.” Then he disappeared. Informed of this action, which could only be that of a poor lunatic, the police went to the man’s address the next morning and found him lying in bed and giving almost no sign of life. The unfortunate artist was admitted to hospital as an emergency case.
1942 - Bob Hope agreed to entertain U.S. airmen in Alaska. It was the first of his many famous Christmas shows for American armed forces around the world. The tradition continued for more than three decades.
1957 - Actor Dan Blocker made his debut on television in the Restless Gun production of The Child. Two years later, Blocker starred in the very popular Bonanza on NBC, as Hoss Cartwright.
 1997 - Carlos the Jackal, aka Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, was convicted in France of the murder of two French agents and a Lebanese informant in June of 1975. Sanchez was sentenced to life in prison.
Chart Toppers - December 23
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
Don’t Fence Me In - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
I’m Wastin’ My Tears on You - Tex Ritter

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - Jimmy Boyd
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes - Skeets McDonald

Are You Lonesome To-night? - Elvis Presley
Wonderland by Night - Bert Kaempfert
North to Alaska - Johnny Horton
Wings of a Dove - Ferlin Husky

I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
For Once in My Life - Stevie Wonder
Stormy - Classics IV featuring Dennis Yost
Wichita Lineman - Glen Campbell

Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright) - Rod Stewart
The Rubberband Man - Spinners
You Make Me Feel Like Dancing - Leo Sayer
Thinkin’ of a Rendezvous - Johnny Duncan

Like a Virgin - Madonna
Sea of Love - The Honeydrippers
Cool It Now - New Edition
Why Not Me - The Judds

Today is a great day to buy my book. It makes a great gift for anyone including, yourself. Buy it while you still have money. There are just three shopping days before Christmas; buy now and beat the rush.

DEKALB, IL 60115
Go to web sites below to buy books by Bruce A. Brennan (do a quick search, Title, my name) Do a Title or author search, Check this site out.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

True Grit and the Census

DECEMBER 22, 2010

Take less than three minutes and watch the video at the address below;

I have been waiting for the remake of True Grit with Jeff Bridges in the John Wayne role for nearly a year. The Coen brothers have made some very good films over the years. They have also made some stinkers. They have worked with Jeff Bridges in the past, making The Big Lebowski together. From what I have read so far, they hit pay dirt with True Grit. I have not seen it yet but will soon. I have not read a review that was not positive. Matt Damon, playing the inept Texas Ranger first played by Glen Campbell, gets high marks along with Jeff Bridges. Not many actors want to redo a John Wayne character but Bridges pulls it off. The newcomer who plays Mattie Ross, Hailee Steinfeld, is supposed to be magnificent in her debut. It would not be hard to out act Kim Darby from the original film. Westerns are not made that often any more. I hope everybody goes to this one, making it a success and hopefully reviving the genre. Kevin Costner can’t do it alone.

Steve Landesberg, who played dry, intellectual detective Arthur Dietrich on the classic ABC sitcom 'Barney Miller,' has died. He was 65 years old at the time of his death. I always thought he was hilarious on the show, always trying to one up the rest of the detectives in the squad room. RIP.

The 2010 Census information is being released over a period of time. It is accurate through April, 2010. There are 308 million people in the United States. We are still growing but our growth is the smallest it has been since the Great Depression. For a little fun and a good conversation starter when family and friends are over for Christmas or New Years, go to;


Type in your name or any name and this census site will tell you how many people in America have the name you typed in. Be sure to answer the question that you are over 13 years old first or you will not get an answer! Have fun; make a guessing game about the answer. No cheating.

Other census facts released on Tuesday included;
·         The five largest states by population are California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois. New York is the only state that has ranked in the top five since the first census in 1790.
·         The five least populous states are Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska and South Dakota.
·         The Northeast maintains its 40-year run as the most densely populated region. Five of the original 13 states -- New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland -- have the most people per square mile. The states with some of the largest land mass -- Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota -- are the most sparsely populated.
·         The geographic population center of the country continues to go west and south. In 1790, it was in Kent County, Md. Today it is in southern Missouri and, while the Census has not done the calculations, may be heading south toward Arkansas.
One of the new features of a census site is;


Go to this site; type in your city or zip code. It will tell you if your city or area will survive a nuclear attack. It is very uplifting.
Number 1 musical selections and the year!

December 22
1951 Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Slowpoke - Pee Wee King
Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way - Carl Smith
1959 Heartaches by the Number - Guy Mitchell
Why - Frankie Avalon
The Big Hurt - Miss Toni Fisher
El Paso - Marty Robbins
1967 Daydream Believer - The Monkees
Woman, Woman - The Union Gap
Boogaloo Down Broadway - The Fantastic Johnny C
It’s the Little Things - Sonny James
1975 That’s the Way (I Like It) - KC & The Sunshine Band
Let’s Do It Again - The Staple Singers
Saturday Night - Bay City Rollers
Convoy - C.W. McCall
1983 Say Say Say - Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson
Say It Isn’t So - Daryl Hall-John Oates
Union of the Snake - Duran Duran
Black Sheep - John Anderson
1991 Black or White - Michael Jackson
It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday - Boyz II Men
All 4 Love - Color Me Badd
My Next Broken Heart - Brooks & Dunn
Today is a great day to buy my book. It makes a great gift for anyone including, yourself. Buy it while you still have money. There are just three shopping days before Christmas; buy now and beat the rush.

DEKALB, IL 60115
Go to web sites below to buy books by Bruce A. Brennan (do a quick search, Title, my name) Do a Title or author search, Check this site out.