Can I Have My Christmas Present Now Please?

Last week I had a strange and somewhat shocking experience which inspired a post. I accidentally asked Erika Napolitana if she would be interested in running it and quite surprisingly (or not) she accepted, so it now lives here.

The short story: people hurt, people break, people struggle and life can be really tough.

But!

We all, no matter how poor we are, can give. In the spirit of Christmas and with the hope that you will all carry this into the new year and beyond:

All I Want for Christmas

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Spin Tops and Thanksgiving

img source: http://bit.ly/i9Pu23

So I’ve had the blogosphere positively bombard me with remarks, tweets, and articles about thanksgiving. Which is cool, if a bit odd for a European.

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe, unfortunately, though we do eat turkey.

Thing is, in Holland turkey is eaten at Christmas. Nothing wrong with that. What really sucks though is that the traditional way to cook the bugger is to first stuff is with a mix of minced meat and chestnuts, and then stick the whole lot in the oven.

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We're All Manipulators. Yes We Are

Twenty years ago when I was just a young, green, and clueless novice monk, our abbot called me in and sat me down.

“It’s not that you’re a liar, but you’ve got a problem with telling the truth. You need to change that.”

Of course, it was a bit of a blow, since I considered myself anything other than a liar, but seeing how obedience goes with being or becoming a monk, I got down to work and spent the following years contemplating ‘Truth’ and observing my behavior.

Slowly it dawned on me that he was right. I didn’t tell lies, but I tended to present things in a way that was beneficial to my goals and so I would bend the truth, rather than break it.

So I changed it. I resolved to never say anything that I knew was untrue, and never to misrepresent things in a way that suited my purposes.

Years later, after I’d become a truthful Ethic whose lips never uttered a lie (note the self-sarcasm, thank you) someone pointed out that I was manipulative. Another heavy blow. I only wanted the best for others, right? Win-win for the world etc? So why was I being accused of this?

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Nothing is as Bad as Good Advice

Yeah, I used to be flashy

Those of you who know me will remember that a few years ago, I used to drive a splendid red classic convertible. A Saab 900, 1987. Wonderful machine, wonderful handling and quite a mover. But it had some issues and it had to be repaired every now and then. My house mates at that time were unanimous: ‘Sell it. Get yourself a modern car, something decent. Martin, you’re going to burn your money on that car.’

So for once I thought I’d do something smart: I followed their advice. I’m not pointing fingers here, but it was the stupidest thing I ever did. That and perhaps that time I decided to see what would happen if I pulled the handbrake on a snowed-under road in the forest. (Not while driving my Saab though). Long cold walk to civilization, I can tell you.

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