Spycraft and Christmas presents

Target has hired former CIA operative Jonna Mendez as an online “Kid’s Gift Detective” to help parents shop for their children and hide the presents. She was the “chief of disguise” with the agency, working in the Office of Technical Service, which she describes as having something like the function of Q in the James Bond movies.  Her husband, Antonio, was the CIA agent in Iran played by Ben Affleck in the movie Argo.

I was not aware that children are particularly secretive when it comes to what they want for Christmas, to the point that parents need cloak and dagger tradecraft to get them to reveal that information.  I guess the common element in being a spy and shopping for Christmas presents is a lot of sneaking around.  See some of the tactics she recommends after the jump. [Read more…]

Advent and the three-fold coming of Jesus

It’s Advent Season!  Here is a fine explanation of its different dimensions from Rev. Shawn Stafford:

The word “Advent” means “coming.” During the season of Advent, we celebrate Jesus’ three-fold coming: His coming in the flesh at Christmas, His coming now through His Word and Sacrament, and His coming at the end of the world as King and Judge. Advent is also a time of personal preparation for Christ’s coming through repentance and faith. [Read more…]

Have a grateful Thanksgiving

I hope you have a meaningful Thanksgiving, with the thankful part not overshadowed by shopping, football, gluttony, family spats, or other distractions.  Towards that end, this special edition of the Cranach blog will offer some meditations about things we really should be thankful for.  Remember that comment made by someone–Chesterton?  It sounds like Chesterton.  Please source it in the comments if you know who it was–to the effect that one of the sad parts of being an atheist is feeling thankful, without having anyone to thank. As for Christians, we do know Whom to thank and must never take even the commonest of His blessings for granted.  [Read more…]

The blessings of family

Someone has said (again, please help me source it if you can) that if you have a wildly successful career but have a miserable family life, you will be miserable.  And if you have a miserable career but have a happy family life, you will be happy. [Read more…]

The blessings of prosperity

Right now, people who lack health insurance and need a government subsidy to pay for it are being asked to sign up for the program on their computers.  Think of that.   It can be assumed that even those who need financial assistance have computers. Even us ordinary folks have a standard of living that goes far beyond what kings had not that long ago. [Read more…]

The blessings of liberty

We want to do things that we can’t do, for one reason or another, and we complain about every restriction.  And yet, we really do have an incredible measure of liberty in this country.  Let us count some of the ways. . . . [Read more…]


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