The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    Yes Virginia, There is NO Santa Claus! Or is there?

    ‘Tis the season when no matter our age or political ideology, many of us will enjoy brief moments of childlike dreams and ideals; indulging in the fanciful possibilities of miracles, abundant goodwill and peace on earth. 

    But we’re big boys and girls now, so as quickly as these flights of fancy arrive, they disappear along with the visions of sugarplums and whimsical beings bringing us free gifts. 

    The good news is that we now possess, by our own power and means, the ability to create and deliver ‘miracles’ every day to everyone, without the illusion of a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. In reality, there are very few things we cannot ‘gift’ to one and all.  With barely a wink of an eye, we can heal the sick; feed the hungry and provide shelter from the tempests of life here on earth.  But, for the most part, we don’t.  The truth is, for the vast majority, a lump of coal is better than we deserve.  No Santa, but Scrooges and Grinch’s galore?

    But with this simple tweet from NBC News' Ann Curry - I have hope many will share the sentiment and follow thru with good deeds.

    Now, the movement to do random acts of kindness is spreading from coast to coast, all in an effort for friends and strangers to dig in deep and somehow, positively react in the wake of the horrific Newtown, Conn. shooting. On Friday, gunman Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 first-graders and six teachers and school administrators in an unspeakable tragedy that has gripped - and torn apart - the nation.

    Curry tweeted out: "Imagine if all of us committed to 20 acts of kindness to honor each child lost in Newtown. I'm in. If you are RT. #20Acts." That hashtag quickly morphed to also include the six adults killed. Now the second hashtag is #26acts. Some have even tweaked the effort more, adding a 27th act, as Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, too, before killing himself.


    (I think it should be 28 to include Lanza’s death, because his actions certainly call for additional acts of charity, goodwill and kindness in whatever small way, to attempt to counter his horrific actions.)

    Just maybe, for this brief moment in time, we could put the angst and energy we have been using to express our outrage and pain into delivering goodwill and cheer to those who too often are the recipients of neither.

    If you like Curry’s suggestion but have limited resources, how about doing 27 ‘good deeds’ such as baking 27 dozen cookies and delivering to those who are alone; or volunteer to collect donations for food banks and entities like toys for tots and/or anonymously donate $ 27.00 to a family who is struggling?

    If you are fortunate enough to be able to buy 27 toys for children in need, that would be a good thing.  Or buy 27 blankets for the homeless shelters; or 27 warm coats or even 27 pair of warm socks. 

    And really, is that new piece of glittery jewelry or that cashmere sweater or another electronic gadget something you need as much as a child needs a warm coat, food and shelter?  Will it give you as much joy as knowing by ‘doing without’ something you don’t need, there will be one less child hungry and cold if only in the short term?

    It’s important to express random acts of kindness and care for others not just at this time, but every day.

    If you have ideas for giving and sharing with those less fortunate and in need, please advise.



                       Begin with good, small purple plums.

    Start a large pot of boiling water and place the plums in a wire screen strainer.

    Gently immerse the plums in the boiling water just until the skins loosen, about 25 seconds.

    Remove, allow to cool 8 minutes.

    Then, simply remove the skins.

    Cut an X in the in the stem end and carefully remove the pit doing as little damage as possible.

    Shake the plums in a bag of granulated sugar*, and serve.

    *Some use the multi colored sugar granules or mix sugar with edible gold dust.

    You can use to make Sugar Plum shortcake; top a pound or ‘Angel’ cake; terrific on ice cream and/or for topping on vanilla bean pudding and/or custard.

    The Sugar Plum Fairy hopes you have a wonderful holiday too.


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