Saturday, December 19, 2009


Over the course of a year, I, like many people, donate money to various good causes and charitable organizations. There is one, however, that I enjoy helping out so much that I actually look forward to each Christmas season when I will be able to send them money again.

I am referring to the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee which manages the construction and placement of that city’s Christmas crèche display. This tradition was started in 1953 and it continues to this day where Wilshire Boulevard ends at Palisades Park which is located just north of the world famous Santa Monica Pier in Southern California.

What makes Santa Monica’s Nativity display so unique is “the number of booths which present the drama of Christ’s birth.” Whereas most Nativity displays in other cities have a single scene depicting the birth of Jesus, in Santa Monica, there are a total of 14 booths which can be viewed in sequence as one drives south along Ocean Avenue. The first scene shows ‘The Annunciation’, when the Virgin Mary met Elizabeth and John the Baptist leapt in the womb, and the story continues to unfold, ending with the Holy Family’s return to Nazareth. The classic Nativity scene which shows the baby Jesus in the manger surrounded by Joseph, Mary, angels, shepherds, cows and sheep is the seventh of the fourteen scenes in Palisades Park.

The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee has been dogged by a variety of problems and forced to overcome a number of challenges through the decades. There was the issue of Proposition 13 in 1978; a threatened lawsuit from the un-American Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her un-American ‘American Atheists’ organization and, of course, that communist front organization the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); and there was the dark days of financial crisis beginning in 1979. But one of the most frightening challenges came in 2002 and the proposal of a new city ordinance which would have banned the Nativity Scenes from being constructed in a public park. What made this particularly unnerving was Santa Monica’s notorious reputation for Liberalism. Back when I lived there, it was often referred to by conservatives as “The Socialist Republic Of Santa Monica” and “The People's Republic Of Santa Monica.”

I and other Nativity Scene supporters had received a November 24, 2002 letter from Committee Co-Chairman Reverend Clarence Crites which stated in part:

You may have recently heard a few rumors that the city was planning to deny The Nativity Scenes Committee a permit to use the Palisades Park for erection of its Nativity Scenes. We are happy to report that we were given a reprieve for this year so that the City Council could have time to more closely examine the language of the Ordinance that would curtail park usage. It appears that the Council is willing to take a more favorable stance for us on the issue in light of the 49-year pageant history. While we have the green light this year, it is still an issue that must be decided for next year and all further years. Your favorable thoughts expressed to the members of the City Council, the City Attorney, and the City Manager could be a helpful influence in their decision.

I immediately responded by writing letters to City Attorney Marsha Jones Moutrie and City Manager Susan E. McCarthy. Here is what I wrote to them:

When my Dad passed away in 1996, my cousin Steve wrote the following in a sympathy card: “Chuck was one of the nicest people that I have ever been acquainted with. My fondest memory of him was when we would drive around Santa Monica on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa Claus to visit ... that was about thirty years ago but I still remember it well.”

My cousin was referring to our yearly tradition of going to see the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes in Palisades Park while “Santa” was visitng my Grandparents’ house with a few early presents for the young kids.

The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes hold such a special place in my personal history that, although I moved to Arizona in 1992, I still look forward to donating several hundred dollars to the Nativity Scenes Committee every year in December. It is an important part of how I keep the true meaning of Christmas alive in my heart amidst all of the colorful commercialism.

The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes are not just a significant part of my past but also a rich tradition that has bound several generations together, becoming a notable aspect of Santa Monica’s identity every Christmas.

I understand that this tradition is now in jeopardy because a very small minority are offended by Santa Monica’s custom. What a shame it will be if the vast majority of the city’s citizens are deprived of this symbol which is so unique that it was alluded to in the song ‘Christmas In Los Angeles’, penned by the Disney songwriting team of Sherman and Sherman and recorded by Lawrence Welk.

As for the legal grounds for permitting a display of this nature on public property, I am sure that you are well aware of the fact that neither the phrase nor the concept of “separation of church and state” exists in a single document of our country’s Founding Era. In fact, in the case of The Church Of The Holy Trinity v. United States (1844), the Supreme Court ruled that “our civilisations and our institutions are emphatically Christian”, and John Jay, the very first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court called America “our Christian nation.”

I do not believe that the Nativity Scenes are antithetical to America’s Constitution, and therefore I am enclosing a couple of relevant tracts on this contemporary controversy written by David Barton who is an expert on it. I hope that you will review them in light of the impact your future decision will have on this touching tradition that we have literally grown up with.

If you should wish to investigate this subject in greater detail, I cannot over emphasize the importance of Mr. Barton’s thoroughly documentd and brilliantly presented book ‘Original Intent: The Courts, The Constitution, And Religion’ which stands as a rock-solid testimony to the Christian bedrock that undergirds our Nation.

Or, perhaps you may wish to contact Mr. Barton personally. He has written numerous position papers for members of Congress on this very issue, and I am sure he would welcome the opportunity to consult with you on this. (800) 873-2845

I and a great many others hope you will be guided by the Spirit of Truth when considering this question. I trust that you will represent the bulk of your fellow citizens well.

I thank you for your time and your consideration.

Most Sincerely,

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

P.S. –- According to the largest survey of religion in America, a 1990 poll commissioned by the Graduate School of the City University of New York, 86.5 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians.

I soon received responses from both Moutrie and McCarthy, and the latter wrote: “As we evaluate appropriate uses of City Park space and First Amendment protections we are mindful of community sentiment.”

Happily, one year later, in November of 2003, I received a letter from Co-Chairmen of the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee, Clarence Crites and Hunter Jameson. They wrote:

Dear Friends Of The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes,

Thanks to our gracious Lord and your prayers and financial support, the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes, a Christmas tradition since 1954, will take place again this year.

On September 9, the City Council passed without opposition an ordinance that put the display on firm legal ground for this year and the future. The Nativity Scenes Committee worked to bring about this result, and we thank God, scenes supporters, City Attorney Marsha Moutrie and the City Council for the outcome. …

The Nativity Scenes provide a clearly visible reminder to Santa Monica residents and visitors of what Christmas really is. The scenes are a witness of God’s love for man as demonstrated in sending His Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, to live as one of us, starting as a baby. …

Thank you for your assistance in the past and for your help this year to ensure that the true meaning of Christmas continues to shine forth in Santa Monica.

If anyone is seeking a grand way to help spread the true meaning of Christmas, I can think of few organizations working to do that which are more worthy of a financial donation than is the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee. This unique Christmas display must remain entirely funded by private contributions, and the Committee certainly puts those contributions toward a great, time-honored tradition that stands out like a brand new Holy Bible surrounded by soccer balls, Chinese-made Barbies, Transformers action figures, and video games underneath an artificial “Holiday Tree” on “Season’s Greetings Day.”

~ Stephen T. McCarthy


The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes: Website Home

The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes: History

Thursday, December 10, 2009


One of my yearly Christmas activities is asking you all to join my Brother and me by Making A Wish For Tiny Tim on Christmas Day. I have another tradition which, while just as serious, is of a more important nature. And that is: I feel the need to remind everyone that celebrating the birth of our Savior at Christmas shouldn’t mean that we also line the pockets of nations that have murdered and persecuted their own people and people of other religious faiths.

Unfortunately, a lot of people never give this a thought while Christmas shopping and decorating the house in December. But this Human Rights / Christmas Connection was perhaps never illustrated better than in this true story of Christian persecution which comes from the book “JESUS FREAKS; VOLUME II” by dc Talk and the Voice Of The Martyrs, copyright 2002 by Bethany House Publishers. Please read this short story, give it due consideration, and then ask yourself: Am I really celebrating the true meaning of Christmas in buying my loved one a gift made in China? . . .

Pastor Li De Xian speaks about suffering from experience. The man who said “I will preach until I die” has stuck to his word. Despite continued pressure from the Public Security Bureau (PSB), Pastor Li refuses to miss a service unless he is in prison, or change his message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

During the period of October 2000 to May 2001, he was arrested fifteen times for preaching in his unregistered house church in Guangzhou. He has been arrested so many times during the past two years that he has lost count. During one recent detention, jailers tied his arms and legs together and chained his arms and legs to a bedpost for three days. When they finally released him from this torture, he was forced to work on an assembly line in the prison factory PUTTING BULBS INTO STRINGS OF CHRISTMAS LIGHTS TO SEND TO AMERICA! He and the others had a quota of between 4 and 5 thousand bulbs a day. … Li has seen imprisoned Christians tortured so badly that their buttocks bled through their clothing. He spent 15 days in prison on this particular occasion.

Yet rather than this experience teaching him to be afraid, it has taught him to be prepared. He travels at all times with a small black duffel bag that he keeps packed with a blanket and a change of clothes – the things he will need for prison whenever he is arrested next. “Arrests will come at any time, but we are not afraid, as we have prepared ourselves, and we have not done any crimes.” Whenever possible he will spend his time in prison reading THE BIBLE, something he manages to smuggle in with amazing regularity.

His wife, Zhao Xia, strongly supports him in this and refuses to worry. “God will take care of him,” she says, “so there is no need to worry.”

“Don’t feel sorry for us,” Zhao Xia says of their lifestyle. “At least we are constantly reminded that we are in a spiritual war. We know for whom we are fighting. We know who the enemy is. And we are fighting. Perhaps we should pray for you Christians outside of China. In your leisure, in your affluence, in your freedom, sometimes you no longer realize that you are in spiritual warfare.”

One year, I included a copy of this story in the Christmas cards I sent out to friends and family. My Ma tried to persuade me not to send the story, fearing that I would just bring everyone’s Christmas celebration down. But I felt it was too important that people be reminded of what’s going on in “the real world” at this time of celebrating in America. I included the story again with my Christmas cards the following year or so, and have since begun posting it on my Blog.

This Christmastime, as we shop for gifts that express our love to others, let’s keep in mind that China embraces Communism, a failed economic/social system responsible for murdering approximately 100 million human beings worldwide and torturing and starving many millions more. Perhaps we shouldn’t monetarily support nations with the worst human rights violations. Speaking for myself, I would rather receive NO Christmas gift at all than to receive one made in China. And I would prefer to hang NO Christmas lights on my house (or tree) than to hang lights that might very well have been strung together for my enjoyment by a Christian in another country who has been forced into slave labor due to his faith in Jesus Christ. I don’t need blood lights shining a hypocritical Christmas message into the night from around my roof.

Below is a list of some of the places guilty of the worst human rights abuses. I boycott all of these sources:

Afghanistan; Algeria; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Bhutan; Brunei; Chechnya; China [incl. Hong Kong & Tibet]; Colombia; Comoro Islands; Cuba; Egypt; Guinea; India; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Kuwait; Laos; Libya; Malaysia; Morocco; Myanmar; Nepal; Nigeria; North Korea; Oman; Pakistan; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Somalia; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Syria; Tajrkistan; Tunesia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; United Arab Emirates; Uzbekistan; Vietnam; Yemen.

Enjoy Christmas but please buy responsibly.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy
"As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."
~ Proverbs 26:11

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


[From the STMcC archive; 2005, November 13th.]

A Review Of The Compact Disc . . .


Thanks to the magic of modern communications, I am able to share with you this E-mail I recently received from Santa Claus in response to a letter I sent him. I copied and pasted it below for your perusal.

Deer Stephen:

I thank you for the kind letter and many compliments. To allay your fears: no, I do not suspect you of "kissing up" to me (as you so delicately phrased it).

I have looked over your Christmas Wish List and regret to inform you that we have never made those types of things up here at my workshop. You'll need to seek out another source. We're a little more "family" oriented, don't you know-ho-ho?

I can, however, happily fulfill your request for my most highy recommended Holiday music. I'll be brief beclaus - I mean, because - this is my busy time of year, what with overseeing the work at the elves toy factory and coal mine, and with the Missus constantly shoving food at me and insisting that I "Eat! Eat!"

Mrs. Claus and I have always been partial to the JOHNNY MATHIS renditions of most Christmas standards. The Missus says they're "Wonderful! Wonderful!" And though It's Not For Me To Say, Chances Are you'll enjoy them, too. Little Johnny's voice is a "gift" that originates from regions even higher than the North Pole!

THE CHRISTMAS MUSIC OF JOHNNY MATHIS: A PERSONAL COLLECTION is a readily available single-disc compilation of songs personally selected by Johnny from his previously released Christmas albums.

There are a few songs that were regrettably overlooked - most notably, his emotionally stirring, O HOLY NIGHT from his first release, 'MERRY CHRISTMAS.' Leaving that off nearly landed Johnny on my "Bad Boys" list! And there's no I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, nor THE CHRISTMAS SONG. That's ho-ho-horrible!

Missing from the album 'FOR CHRISTMAS' is Johnny's spirited JINGLE BELL ROCK. Also, GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN which - while too slow - concludes with two indescribably joyful notes!

I think we can both agree that JINGLE BELLS is overrated beclaus - I mean, because - it is too simplistic and has been played to death. But Stephen, did you ever hear Johnny's version from the 'CHRISTMAS EVE WITH JOHNNY MATHIS' album? It's even superior to the rendition that the Jingle Dogs barked out many moons ago! It has a marvelously updated arrangement that makes me want to stuff the Missus into the sleigh and go for a Winter ride. Alas, we can't BOTH fit into the thing side-by-side anymore. But then JINGLE BELLS isn't included on this disc either.

To really do Johnny's Christmas music justice, this should have been conceived as a two-disc set. Nevertheless, what IS included is truly classic Holiday music that's been widely celebrated and publicly played since you were nose-high to an elf. We deerly love it up here at "The Pole." Of course, the elves don't pay much attention to it; they're forever singing their nerve-racking elf songs. But my reindeer team just can't get enough of it - especially Rudolph! You should see his face light up every time the Missus puts it on! Why I even saw it bring a smile to grumpy ol' Blitzen once. (Or else he had gas, and that was only a grimace.) You really should own all of Johnny's Christmas music. But if you're inclined to buy just one Christmas music CD, this disc is the way to go-ho-ho.

Well, I'd better close now beCAUSE we're way behind schedule as it is, and I've got trouble brewing over at the toy shop: two elves recently got caught sniffing snow; one elf ran off to become Denver's most diminutive dentist; another one has a ribbon fetish, and yet another is in therapy because she insists that she's a reindeer. And the whole lot of them are threatening to unionize! Yeah, ol' Santa's got his troubles, too.

I hope this letter has been some help to you. Stephen, be a good boy between now and December 24th, and perhaps you won't be unwrapping another lump of coal this year.

- Saint Nicholas

P.S. - Please don't forget to leave some milk and cookies this time. A heavy man gets hungry flying around the world in one night, and Mrs. Claus says that I must "Eat! Eat!"

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Monday, December 7, 2009



It is my great pleasure to inform everyone not reading this Blog that ‘FERRET-FACED FASCIST FRIENDS’ is the recipient of the prestigious MITIBA. As I’m sure everyone is already aware, MITIBA is pronounced “MY-TEA-BUH” and it is the acronym for one of the most respected honors in Blogland: the ‘Most Informative Totally Ignored Blog Award.’

I was informed just this morning that ‘Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends’ had been nominated by Mr. Frank X. Farrell of the MITIBA board of directors and that it won the award after receiving unanimous approval by the MITIBA election committee.

Unfortunately, the MITIBA is just an honorary thang – I mean, it doesn’t come with a cash award, a gift certificate, or even a case of Mad Dog 20/20. In fact, there isn’t even a trophy to display alongside my old Little League ribbons. Nevertheless, I consider it a great honor to have had my Blog named as a MITIBA winner; I feel quite proud of this accomplishment and I hereby vow to continue to conduct myself personally and continue to direct this Blog in a way that is synonymous with the high standards set by former MITIBA recipients.

I wish to thank Mr. Frank X. Farrell and the entire MITIBA election committee for bestowing upon ‘Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends’ and myself this illustrious award. And, naturally, I wish to thank YOU, my nonreaders, for making it all possible.

Sincerely Grateful,
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
Benevolent Dictator Of ‘Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends’

Sunday, December 6, 2009


[From the STMcC archive; 2007, Dec. 3rd.]

Considering the devalued state of the American Dollar, it has become increasingly difficult to find Christmas gifts for our loved ones that are truly meaningful and yet reasonably priced. But fear not, my dear friends, for I have created this list to help every Christmas shopper out of their Yuletide dilemma. Below you will find potential Christmas gifts to satisfy just about every person on your list. Best of all, these items will not drive you into the poorhouse because every one of them is a good value, priced well under 100,000 greenbacks. So, forget about purchasing that expensive sports car; these gift ideas will give you plenty of bang for yer buck! Alright now: Ready? Set! GO TO SHOPPING, DUDES AND DUDETTES:

Christmas Unleashed
by The Jingle Dogs

Annoy friends and antagonize enemies with a gift that's not too ruff on your wallet. "Oh! You shouldn't have!" they'll bark (and they'll be right).

HP 12C Platinum Calculator
by Hewlett-Packard

When you need to give a gift that really counts.

Omron Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor with ComFit Cuff
by Omron

When you need to give a gift to "The Count."

MLB Boston Red Sox - Mr. Potato Head
by Hasbro

For the Mr. Potato Head on your list who loves his darned Sox.

SewPro SP-402 QuickStitch Sewing Machine
by Sew Pro

Put the romance back in your marriage: give her a gift that says, "Honey, I love you AND my darned sox."

Deluxe Ed Wood Angora Box Set [VHS]
by Ed Wood Junior

Give 'em masterpiece cinema from Old School Hollywood; give 'em the faux angora-covered Ed Wood box set. They'll be "tickled pink."

Claxton Fruitcake Five Pound Regular Recipe
by Claxton Fruitcake

Give the fruitcake fruitcake.

[In truth, Claxton is the only fruitcake I've ever tasted and detested. Without a doubt, the very best fruitcake I've ever found is made by these dudes HERE.]

Monty Python And The Holy Grail (Special Edition) DVD

Get King Arthur for the jester in YOUR court, because everyone should be historically educated! (*Stephen T. McCarthy used to be a newt, but he got better. Oh, never mind - ya gotta know da movie.)

Lily Of France Women's Microfiber Seamless Padded Push-Up Bra
by Lily Of France

Give her something uplifting that will be near and dear to her heart!

Rubbermaid Tough Tools - 16 Ounce Claw Hammer
by Rubbermaid

And you give him something uplifting, too!

Elvis: 30 #1 Hits
by Elvis Presley

Get "The King" for the queen on your list. OR . . .

Sweatin' To The Oldies DVD
by Richard Simmons

. . . get the queen to keep your queen svelte! She'll appreciate that you care as much about her physical appearance as she does. (Give it to her early and she might also give you the hammer early. Don't forget to duck!)

Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular
by Bushnell

Dick and Harry may not be overly thrilled by this, but you won't hear a disappointed peep out of "Tom."

This Is Spinal Tap (Movie Soundtrack)
by Spinal Tap

Why settle for some "mediocre head-banging bullshit"? Don't your friends deserve the very best head-banging bullshit?

Ab Lounge 2 Abdominal Exerciser
by Ab Lounge

In your own subtle way, let your man know that you would love him way more if he would only weigh less.

14K White Gold Genuine Heart Ruby And Diamond Ring
by Jewels For Me

A ring for your mistress.

Motorola Motofone F3 Cell Phone With Dual-Band GSM 850/1900
by Motorola

And give your wife a new ring, too.

The Ethel Merman Disco Album
by Ethel Merman

What could be more HIP? For the connoisseur of really classy American pop music on your list. Disco: it's not just for people under 85 anymore.

Mack's SafeSound Soft Foam Earplugs
by Mack's

Give her some rest, relaxation, peace and quiet with an Alaskan cruise. Too expensive? Then just give her the quiet.

First Alert Fire Extinguisher
by First Alert

For the cook in your life (or the pestering spouse in your bedroom).

'NASCAR Illustrated' Magazine Subscription
by Street and Smiths

For the intellectual on your Christmas list.

55' 1/2" Static Rappelling Rope

Give 'em enough rope . . .

Holy Bible: From The Ancient Eastern Text
Translated by George M. Lamsa

Be politically incorrect and give someone the perfect CHRISTmas gift this year: the best translation of God's Bestseller.

I'm hopeful that you found this list helpful.

Your Personal Christmas Shopping Guru . . .
~ Stephen T. McCarthy