The Elf on the Shelf

I just read an article on Yahoo News about this phenomenon that started in 2008 with a mom-and-daughter self-published book, titled “The Elf on the Shelf”.  The book is all about how Santa is too busy to watch everyone on his own, so he sends elves out to watch kids and report back on whether they are naughty or nice.  The book even helpfully comes with a little plushy elf that you (as the parent) are supposed to put on shelves, counters, and other areas (move him around to keep the kids convinced that he actually does report back to Santa every night).

There are two GLARING problems, in my humble opinion (IMHO).  The first is that parents spend their children’s entire lives trying to teach the kids to tell the truth – be honest – and the example you’re going to set is to lie to their faces about this Elf?  Brilliant strategy – no wonder kids grow up distrusting their elders and rejecting everything they were ever taught.

The second is a bit more subtle – surveillance.  With all the information in the news today about the privacy abuses of the NSA, and similar governmental organizations around the globe, do you really want your kids to get comfortable with the idea of being spied on by anyone?  That is what the Elf on the Shelf is doing – telling kids that it’s a good thing to be spied upon.

I think the smart money would be on telling kids the truth about Santa and Christmas (which isn’t a Christian holiday – it’s origins are more than a thousand years older than Christianity) – and saying “NO” to the Elf.

If you already have an Elf in your home – stage a “meltdown” in front of your kids and tell off the Elf.  Denounce his spying and general invasions of privacy, and kick him out.

What to do about Jerusalem . . .???

I’ve been reading about the current hopes for peace in the Israel/Palestine conflict zone, and while I was reading about the elections the Palestinians had today, and President Carter’s comments on his observations, I also was remembering something of the history of Jerusalem.

First off, I don’t think it would be very disputable at all for me to claim that Jerusalem is the #1 most fought-over city in the world. The current dispute between Israel and Palestine is only a recent crumb in the turmoil that city has experienced. It is a holy city to no less than 3 different religions, each radically different than both of the others.

I don’t know enough about the pre-Israel times of that area, but I think it “might” be safe to say that Israel built that city – about 2500-3000 years ago??? After the exodus from Egypt (I have a theory about that, also, but that’s for another post).

Anyway – looking at the present-time scene for Jerusalem, I have an idea. Make it a true cosmopolitain city – one with no nationalist ties. In other words, by decree of the World Court and the UN, make Jerusalem a city outside of all nations. Provide enough additional land for a good international airport, and sea port access. Restore all sacred groud within the city to the religious group capable of documenting the oldest claim to that site. Any religious groups displaced by that decision would be allocated ground to rebuild the church/mosque/temple they lost.

Finally, here is the real controversial proposal. Nobody in Jerusalem would be forced to surrender their weapons, or alter them in any way. Every citizen of Jerusalem would have a 100% right to own, carry, and use weapons of all kinds – unless CONVICTED of using them in a criminal manner. That would be the only reason to take away the right to own/carry firearms, blades, etc.