When your mother tells you the thing she really admires and finds so clever about Bill O'Reilly is that you can't tell what he is--a Democrat, a Republican, a Liberal--keep the chopping knife steady, focus on the onions and garlic or the gentle rolling of pie dough. Do not make eye contact.

When buzzwords like "vouchers," "accountability" and "all that wasted, dead talent from aborted babies" zing through the air, go check your e-mail. Or fantasize about Benicio Del Toro and wonder what he is doing for the holidays.

When the talk turns to politics during dinner, say, "How about that Boston Babe Ruth curse lifting?" or "Anyone see Ray yet?" If that fails, turn up Frank Sinatra CD. Loud.

When the talk turns to politics over dessert, do not threaten to leave early if it doesn't stop. Don't have a breakdown and scream, "WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?!!" Just don't. After all, it's the holidays.Fine, Mr. Giuliani, Now Tell Us How You Define 'Bravery'

Bernard Kerik resigned yesterday from his mentor's firm so his problems don't further damage Rudy Giuliani's reputation. The comment from America's Mayor:

I think he made the right decision for himself and his family. No one or anyone can take away from him the incredible bravery.
No. Consider Joseph Darby, the Abu Ghraib whistleblower who (say I) should have been Beliefnet's Most Inspiring Person of the Year--now that's bravery. [Pat Tillman? Sorry. Tillman was a peculiarly American hero--unlike all the other soldiers in our volunteer army, he alone gave up money--who had the bad luck in the final seconds of his life to discover how chaotic war can be. Before you get all bothered, please remember: I'm the guy who mourned the life of every soldier a long, long time before Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush got around to feeling bad for the grunts.] But don't worry, Beliefnet readers, you voted with the great majority--in the AOL poll featuring Beliefnet's Most Inspiring candidates, only 2% voted for Darby.

"Kerik" and "bravery" in the same sentence? Let's Google the guy and see what comes up.

Here's Les Payne, in Newsday:

It was the then Lord Mayor in 1993 who first took Kerik on as bodyguard and chauffeur. The undercover detective had an uncanny nose for whose head to knock and whose rear to kiss. The troubled, high-school drop-out and martial arts expert attached himself to the law-and-order mayor as only a chauffeur could.
But then, when you look into America's Mayor, you see that "Giuliani" and "bravery" also don't belong in the same sentence. Here's Jimmy Breslin:

As the mayor, he had a detective driving one of his girl friends out of the Gracie Mansion driveway while another detective was arriving with another girl friend and was waved off to prevent a domestic riot.

All the while upstairs there were his wife and children.

Giuliani then showed appropriate behavior by walking in a parade on Fifth Avenue with his girl friend and all the while his children could sit and watch him on television.Sorry, fans of 9/11 myth, but our worst tragedy was the best thing ever to happen to three people: Bush, Giuliani, and Kerik. Suddenly you didn't have to be tough--you just needed a big mouth.

One thing we know about heroes: they are the last to tell you about it. Not to sound like an O'Henry Christmas story, but "bravery" is the guy who used to work one job and now works three--and sticks it out because he loves his wife and kids. It's the woman who leaves her abusive husband, the drunk determined to get sober, the gay kid who feels good about him/herself. It's the believer who ignores dogma and has a personal relationship with his/her God. And it's the seeker who doesn't know but presses on. And, most probably, in a way only you know, you.

But not Kerik. As far as I can tell, he did one brave thing--he resigned from Giuliani's firm without telling the boss, "Hey, Rudy, I know the worst about you--I could bury you with the stories. You really want to keep me on the payroll." Or maybe he did say that, and he's being paid off. But in the spirit of the season, let's forgive this frail bully. And, then, because we're human, hope he unloads on Rudy.

The Beauty Part

Delicious, easy, affordable: Holiday Ham.

Thought for Today

And Mary said,
'My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for God has looked with favor on the lowliness of God's servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is God's name.
God's mercy is for those who fear God
from generation to generation.
God has shown strength with God's arm;
and has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
God has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
God has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.'
--Luke 1:46-53

The Ultimate Holiday Gift

Find out how you can become an organ and/or tissue donor. When, of course, you no longer have need of your body.

Fool's Paradise

I am waiting for the Solstice to bring the light to my soul.

Not to be a grinch, but I am having a hard time feeling good about Getting and Spending when our troops in Iraq are dying--and killing. And, of course, when our government paints a smiley face on the whole shameful operation.