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Gender: Male
Hometown: Northern VA
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 10:34 AM
Number of posts: 40,384

About Me

I've been a member of DU for over 14 years, but now it is time for me to check out. The glee people on this site took over bashing Gov Northam is too much. EW Jackson, VA's version of a RW troll is being respected and his options considered while the Gov who expanded medicare to 800,000 citizens of my state (including an adult son) is bashed over a 35-year old indiscretion. I see DU as being infected by RW trolls and ratfuckers while the admins are largely absent. See 2016 if you don't believe me. While Northam was being bashed, threads appeared bashing Harris (she took a hard stance against Franken) and Booker (he's corporate) and promoted people who will never be elected in America such as Gabbard and Sanders. Their indiscretions are ignored. For what reason? Their unelectability? The members here that aren't RW trolls or ratfuckers are attempting to achieve some type of purity that will never happen due to mankind's flawed nature. People ar human and prone to mistakes. The rhetorical tools that attack people such as HRC, Franken and Northam will be turned on people like Kamala Harris and Justin Fairfax. It is only a matter of time. I refuse to help the RW and the PURE destroy people and our party. DU was a noble idea, but is a tool on the internet being used to ruin the Democratic Party, suppress the vote, and destroy decent candidates. I won't take part in this crap any longer. To my couple of friends here, so long, it was nice chatting with you. You know how to reach me if you want.

Journal Archives

FSogol's 2018 Advent Calendar Day 2: Gramado, Brazil - The Christmas City

Brazilian newlyweds Jķlia and Marcos Muniz found what they were looking for when they picked Gramado for their honeymoon: peace, quiet and a refreshing break from the heat and humidity back home in Rio de Janeiro. And quite by accident, the couple's late-October visit coincided with the opening ceremony of Natal Luz, or "Christmas Light" ó a pull-out-the-stops festival of traditional Christmas cheer that lasts nearly three months and is often referred to as the biggest in the world.

"Christmas is in December," said Jķlia Muniz, standing in a plaza beside the Catholic church, where a large nativity scene had already gone up. Of course she didn't expect this to be going on in October.

In October, though, spring is in full, glorious bloom, with summer just around the corner. Not that this does anything to deter Santa Claus from jingling into town each evening in full red-robed finery or stop the choir on opening night from singing "White Christmas." There are flowers, there are chirping birds, there are giant nutcracker dolls and there are lights festooning the streets, where tunes such as "I Saw Three Ships" emanate from cleverly hidden speakers and tourist hordes snap selfies by the terabyte. (The selfie has come to rival soccer as Brazil's national mania.)

Imagine a Christmas of the most traditional, Hallmark sort, translated into Portuguese and stretched out over 81 days on either side of the summer solstice in a little Brazilian town channeling serious Swiss vibes. Depending on your holiday proclivities, the overall effect might either be irredeemably kitschy or simply enchanting.

By Andrew Jenner of the Washington Post

By Wait! This prosperity is causing other Brazillian cities to imitate.

From Forbes:

If green Christmases are your thing, but palm trees wrapped in white lights donít put you in the spirit of the season, then boy does Brazil have a town for you. Actually, make that two towns.

Gramado and Canela enjoy a Christmas rivalry like no other. You know how it is when an American neighbor buys the big blow up Frosty the Snowman from Lowes, then the guy next door has to buy the entire cast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to reinstate his dominance? Itís like that. Only this is a more sophisticated display in one of the richest parts of South America. The German architecture here make Gramado and Canela look more like towns in the Bavarian Alps than Brazil. With Christmas just days away, the friendly competition has turned these two small neighboring towns into hotspots for people looking to get their holly jolly on.

Both towns have a combined population of roughly 80,000. But this time of year, it swells to five times that. Foreigners havenít discovered Christmas in the Gaucho Mountains of Rio Grande do Sul state yet. Despite the female dancers in red Santa skirts and the colorful, independently designed nutcrackers lining Hortensias Avenue, the entire shebang manages to be authentic even to northeastern Americans raised on Currier & Ives.

Gramado has its Natal Luz event. Canela has its Sonho de Natal event, a five minute drive away. Both towns are loaded with picturesque hotels and restaurants Ė the family kind and the romantic, foodie kind. Both towns have so many Christmas attractions going on that it would take a week to see them all, and cost thousands of dollars. But this is Brazil, not Monaco, and so in the spirit of sharing, there are plenty of free shows in decorated settings.


(For an explanation of my advent project and a link to last years posts, see
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181152160 )

FSogol's 2018 Advent Calendar Day 1: A U.S. soldier dressed as St. Nick for kids in war-torn

Luxembourg. They never forgot him.

St. Nicholas Day was approaching in 1944 when Harry Stutz and Richard Brookins, corporals in the U.S. Armyís 28th Infantry Division, arrived in newly liberated Luxembourg.

The two soldiers had survived a harrowing battle in Germanyís Hurtgen Forest, where their unit suffered 60 percent casualties. Now their division had been sent to Wiltz, a small town in northern Luxembourg, to recover.


ďA young corporal from the U.S. Armyís 28th Infantry division called Richard Brookins decided to bring cheer to the children of the town by dressing up as St. Nicholas,Ē Juncker said.

ďI didnít know who Saint Nicholas was, so I didnít know what he did, and I didnít want to spoil it for the kids,Ē Brookins told The Washington Post. After some cajoling by Stutz, Brookins relented, but he balked again when he realized that he had to wear a costume: the local priestís robes, a beard made of rope, a staff and a bishopís miter. On Dec. 5, Brookins was driven through Wiltz in an Army jeep flanked by two local girls dressed as angels. They visited the townís schools where children sang and G.I.s passed out sweets.

The town revered Brookins so much that they reenact the event yearly and have invited him back several times.

Entire story by Patrick Martin here:

Video, including footage from 1944 here.

About my Advent Calendar Project: I started this last year (2017) and wrote something about Christmas each day of the advent. I started it with: Put me in the group that loves Christmas. While not being particularly religious (I did have a Lutheran upbringing), I've always enjoyed this time of year. To count down, I'll post a daily post here in the lounge with something, usually offbeat about Christmas.

My index of stories from last year with links:

1. The Scientific Reason Why Reindeer Have Red Noses
2. Deleted scene from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
3: The origin of writing letters to Santa
4: A Brief History of Gingerbread
5: History of the Kissing Ball
6: Santa's Home, Workshop, and Mailbox
7: Vintage Christmas traditions from the 1950s and 1960s
8: Don't Forget Santa's Milk and Cookies
9: Things you might not know about tinsel
10: Dreaming of a Green Christmas
11: Origin of the Christmas Tree
12: Who invented electric Christmas lights?
13: Creation Myths of the Candy Cane
14: How did coal become the gift choice for the naughty kids?
15: A Brief History of Advent Calendars
16: Why does Christmas get abbreviated to Xmas?
17: The Nutcracker
18: Life Lessons From Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer'
19: Why is Christmas Day on the 25th December?
20: The origin of Christmas Cookies
21: Origin of The Yule Log
22: Origin of Santa's Reindeer
23: The Origin of Santa Claus
24: Twas The Night Before Christmas
25: Merry Christmas and the Origin of the Nativity Play

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