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What Do You Think?

 

Are There Scrooges Among Us?

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Regular readers here know that every Christmas I share the best of the best seasonal stories, recipes, poems videos the internet, you tube, and the news feeds publish for children and for the young of heart.

The star of the show is always the North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD, who tracks Santa’s every move as he delivers toys and gifts around the world.

I am sure you all know what NORAD is. But just in case:

 

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 North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a combined organization of the United States and Canada that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and defense for North America.  Headquarters for NORAD and the NORAD/USNORTHCOM command center are located at Peterson Air Force Base in El Paso County, near Colorado Springs, Colorado. The nearby Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker has the Alternative Command Center.  Source: Wikipedia

 

In other words it is an operation of the U.S and Canadian militaries to protect and defend America and Canada and their1 A Norad 3 citizens from aerial attack from other nations. It was created in the late 1950’s during the Cold War. If so inclined, you can read more details at the Wikipedia link above.

I have always thought the NORAD Track Santa site was cool, fun, and educational for children and the young at heart.

A Mistake In an Ad Created NORAD’s Track Sanata

Following is a brief history of the Santa Tracking program for the uninitiated. It came about because of a mistake in 1955.

1 a 2 NoradSeems there was a misprint in a Sears Christmas newspaper ad. The ad published a telephone number for children to call on Christmas Eve to find out exactly where Santa was on his yearly trek and the expected time of arrival at the child’s home.

Unfortunately, it was a wrong number.

Fortunately, the wrong number was the number for NORAD.

And even more fortunately, the kind and good-humored Colonel Harold Shoup answered the very first wrong number call. He played along with the child and every child after and gave updates of Santa’s where abouts to every child who called in that night.

Thus a yearly tradition was born.

Today thousands of volunteers work every year to keep the tradition going.  Every year the program adds something new to the program. In the age of the internet NORAD adapted and now there are videos of Santa’s flight across the world for anyone to watch. This year one of the changes is 3-D map views of Santa’s journey and the places he visits. It is entertaining and educational.

What started in the United States is now a world wide entertainment and educational phenomenon. From MicroSoft Case Studies:

Educational Benefits

Helps International Students Learn About the World

Teachers and students can now learn more about other countries by using the site’s improved 2-D and 3-D maps, as well as full-screen video capabilities supported by HTML5. The site also provides links to YouTube videos that depict Santa flying by key landmarks, short presentations by NORAD personnel, and also videos submitted by K-12 schools around the world that want to contribute to the site. “As users watch Santa moving across a map, YouTube links appear so that people can watch videos that relate to that region,” says Knott. “We like providing interactive experiences for people, and I’m excited to see what we can do in the future.

 This Year Controversy

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However, this year there is controversy about the NORAD Tracking Santa site videos.

Seems this year NORAD has added fighter jets to accompany Santa and the reindeers and all the gifts to keep them safe from harm from the The Grinch and the Abominable Snowman on their trip around the world. Some people do not like this.

According to the LA Times.

 

 

 Santa means presents, good times and “everything else that is positive about Christmas, Allen Kanner, a child and family psychologist, told the Boston Globe. The co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood said the Pentagon has gone too far.

The associate director of the campaign, Josh Golin, goes a step further. He told CNN that it was “a back-door way to market” the military to kids. The Pentagon took this holiday tradition and added “violence and militarism,” he said.

 You Decide

Below  is NORAD’s teaser video for this year’s program. If you wait about 5 seconds after the first video ends you will automatically see and hear actual NORAD operators and how they work on Christmas Eve. Then after that second video is the Canadian NORAD Commander telling them how Canada will help keep Santa safe.

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Now I don’t know about you, but I have always thought jets, even fighter jets, are just way too cool !!!!

Maybe it is because I was born and bred in Dayton, Ohio, a neighbor of Wright Patterson Air Force base. I am used to jets flying over. And I will always love the Blue Angels!

Here is my take.

Number one, this is NORAD’S program. If they want to add jets to their program it is their decision to make. This is, after all what NORAD does 24/7 – protect all aircraft over North America from harm and to be on the watch out for aircraft that would do us harm.

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Santa and his sleigh of reindeers are aircraft too.

People will vote with their fingers and just not log on this year if they are unhappy. Over 22 million people visited the site last year. Americans are not a shy group. If they don’t like the fighter jets they will let NORAD know. Or they just won’t show up.

Two, maybe a few children will be interested in what they see and hear about the high tech jobs [see second video above] at NORAD and how it does protect us  and may want to have a career with NORAD. That would not be a bad job to have. Plus it would give children real life opportunities to see how important math is to real life experiences and jobs.

Three, no matter what the busy bodies, word police, and the Authoritarians among us say or want, most children are fascinated with jets just as I was as a child.

In olden days – my childhood – TV stations began their day by playing the Star Spangled Banner with news reel movies of America and the world and jets, and war ships and shots of the armed forces. This did not scare me or warp me. I thought it was neat and cool. In fact, I wish more stations did that still today.

If I had children I would say nothing about those planes in this year’s videos unless specifically asked.

And then I would say something like this:

 

They have always been there, hon. They just never showed them before. Santa is a very important person and we want him to be safe. You know how we have police on the streets to keep people safe? And we have Secret Service to keep the President safe. And we make sure that where ever there are large crowds that people are safe from nuts who want to harm us.  What do you think? Is protecting Santa a good idea or a bad one? Why or why not? How would you keep Santa safe?

Now Your Turn ~ What do you think?

Should NORAD use fighter plane escorts for Santa or not? Leave your opinion in the Comments Section below.

Featured Recipe
Chicken with Lime Vinaigrette on a Bed of Greens

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As I have said before I love the flavor of limes. I love that puckering sweet tart kick. The last lime chicken recipe I shared had real Pucker Power. Today the tartness of the limes are toned down with the addition of sugar.

Today I use chicken things since they are very inexpensive, thus budget friendly, and tasty. Since they are so small cooking time is much less than with chicken breasts. You can use any chicken pieces you want or an entire cut up chicken. This sauce is also good over pork chops. So you have all sorts of options.

You can also grill the chicken if you prefer that to frying.

All of the options are exceptionally budget friendly.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

4 chicken thighs

4 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying

½ cup lime juice

¾ cup vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic

1 shallot

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup diced parsley

lettuce

Salt and pepper to taste

IMG_7875Here is what you do:

Press the garlic, chop the shallot and the parsley.

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Juice the lime and place in a bowl that is large enough to hold the chicken thighs.

NOTE: If your limes do not have much juice, as mine did not today, you can use bottled juice. I always have a jar of this in my fridge for just such an emergency. After squeezing as much as I could get I added bottled to get to the ½ cup lime juice.

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Add the oil, garlic, shallot, sugar, and the parsley too the lime juice and gently mix together. Add a smidgen of salt and pepper too if you like. Set aside.

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OOPPS:  Don’t  forget to add the sugar as I did.

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Mix the ingredients together until the sugar is dissolved.

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Heat the frying oil in a skillet large enough to hold all fry the chicken thighs over medium high heat. You want the skillet hot enough to sizzle when you add the chicken.

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Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Place the flour and a bit more salt and pepper if desired, on wax paper and lightly dredge the chicken in it.

IMG_7905Fry the chicken until it is done to an internal temperature of 160 degrees and is brown on both sides, about 9-10 minutes per side.

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While the chicken is cooking, wash the greens and dry and place greens on each plate.

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When the chicken is done let it sit for five to six minutes to let juices redistribute and to cool down just a wee bit.

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Then place it one or two pieces at a time in the vinaigrette and turn several times to coat the chicken.

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Place the chicken on top of the greens. Spoon some more of the vinaigrette on top of the chicken and over the greens.

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The chicken can also be served as a stand alone dish with sides such as potatoes and stewed tomatoes.

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No matter how you serve it, this is one delicious dish!

Bon appétit!!!

Cost

4 chicken thighs                   $3.33

4 tablespoons flour               $0.08

2 tbspn vegetable oil             $0.12

½ cup lime juice                  $2.00

¾ half cup vegetable oil        $0.24

3 cloves garlic                      $0.33

1 shallot                              $0.99

¼ cup sugar                        $0.28

¼ cup diced parsley             $1.49

lettuce                                 $1.29

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $10.55
Cost per person = $2.54

Quote of the Day

Though defensive violence will always be ‘a sad necessity’ in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men.

Saint Augustine

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6 comments to What Do You Think?

  • Super yummy chicken recipe! I plan to try it. I love the Norad tracking Santa thingy. It’s totally cool. I just hope budget constraints don’t make it go away.

    • Roberta

      Do not worry or fear the program will go away due to lack of funds. According to Wikipedia:
      “NORAD Tracks Santa relies on corporate sponsorship, and is financed by neither American nor Canadian taxpayers.[17][4][18]”
      You can read the entire article at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NORAD_Tracks_Santa

      I Love this program too. Too Cool!

      Thanks for the nice words about the recipe too, Julia. 🙂

  • I think the NORAD Santa tracking is a lovely thing to do. When we’re all looking for terrorists under the bed, isn’t it wonderful to have an outfit like them to show their humanity? Jets or not, I hope they never stop exciting children.

    Your chicken recipe is perfect for my summer because anything that looks like a salad makes me happy!

  • Cheryl

    A. Like the tracking system- I especially like how they keep up with the times- and these days safety and protection is part of our lives, so Santa’s too.