Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 21:14:31 -0500
From: Bob Rankin 
To: Multiple recipients of list TOURBUS 
Subject: TOURBUS - 21 Dec 1995 - Two Miracles

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Today's TOURBUS is the last one for the year, and it's been quite
a ride so far!  Let me say that it has been truly heartwarming to
receive notes of thanks from so many of you - I look forward to
driving the 'Bus into 1996, with all the surprises that will bring.

Since we're right in the middle of Hanukkah, and just a few days
away from Christmas, let me wish all of you the joys of the season
and may you enjoy the blessings of the year to come in good health.

Both Hanukkah and Christmas represent a celebration of the miraculous.
In one case it's the festival of lights - a remembrance of the time
when a small kruse of oil lasted for eight days instead of one; in the
other it's the celebration of the miraculous birth of a Saviour.  I
believe in both, though some may jeer.

So let's embark on a holiday voyage into the ether - we'll have a bit
of fun and maybe learn something too!  No hanging out the windows, we
headin' for the T3 Tunnel...

The Compleat Hanukkah Site

I want you to know I looked hard for Hanukkah sites on the Net, but came
up with only one really good one.  That's all right because this one
seems to be quite comprehensive in terms of the history and traditions
of this Hebrew holiday.

Just ahead you may be able to make out nine tiny points of light.  That's
the menorah on the ORTnet "Festival of Lights" web site at:

Here you'll find detailed information on the history, symbolism, and
tradition of Hanukkah.  There's also a nice discussion of the dreidel, and
some designs you can use to make your own.  "Nun, gimel, hey, shin, let's
spin that ol' dreidel agin!"  (Judeo-Southern phrase of the day, with
apologies to Patrick.)

Oh, I just found one more interesting Hanukkah site, from the "Illustrated
Tour of the Holy Days".  Check this out at:

Was That a Reindeer I Just Saw?

Now let's slide on over to a couple of Christmas sites.  The first is an
extremely nice stained-glass Advent calendar depicting the nativity of
Christ, with surprises at every click of the mouse.

Although we're arriving late in the month, all of the calendar days
around the border of the ornate window are still clickable, but if you
try clicking on a day that hasn't yet arrived you'll get a light-hearted
electronic rebuke!

Even the individual panes on the stained-glass window are wired.  My
favorite is the angel in the upper left, which transports you to
Varian's Angel Dreams - lots of cool angel links and graphics there.

Have Yourself an E-lec-tronic Christmas

There are just too many Christmas sites online for a single mortal to
visit in one December, so I've picked out a few that I thought were
particularly well done.

  * Christmas.Com

    - Find out how many Days, Hours, Minutes and Seconds until Christmas
    - Santa's PGP keys Personal Hotlist
    - Merry Christmas in 33 languages
    - Lyrics to popular Christmas Carols

  * Worldwide Christmas Calendar

    - This page constructed by school children in Denmark and other
      places is well worth a look-see.  Christmas traditions from around
      the world are just a click away.  The tree and gifts underneath are
      linked to the written works of elementary school children who
      give us an idea of what it's like to celebrate Christmas in
      their own country.

  * Uncle Bob's Christmas Page

    - Remember Uncle Bob's Kid's Page?  Here's another winner from Bob
      Allison, chock full of interesting links to all things yule-ish.
      A definite must-click.

  * Merry Christmas!

    - Santa's "official" website.  You have to go here just to try the
      "Naughty & Nice" thing.  See if Santa has any dirt on you!

There's Still Time to Send Your List Northward

Word has it that Santa is still accepting requests.  E-mail your wish
list to the North Pole using one of Santa's many e-mail addresses, and
you just might get a letter in return.

The Final Word

  "Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely
  more.  He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good
  a man, as the good old city knew..."

  "And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas
  well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly
  said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless
  Us, Every One!"

  (Full text of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens can be found at )

See you all next year!  -Bob

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     TOURBUS - (c) Copyright 1995, Patrick Crispen and Bob Rankin
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