Tuesday, February 20, 2024

John Steinbeck quotes

In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror. It seems to me that if you or I just choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to our world. 

If you're in trouble, or hurt or need - go to the poor people. They're the only ones that'll help - the only ones.

You know how advice is. You only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyway.

No one wants advice - only corroboration.

We spend our time searching for security and hate it when we get it.

Time is the only critic without ambition.

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.

The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.

I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.

Men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Restoring equilibrium and peace by not watching the news

It is easier than you think to kill the joy and spirit in others and in the society around us. For starters, just count up the number of feel-good articles that make it onto the news versus the number of articles detailing wars, rapes, murders, mass shootings, aggressive behaviors of all kinds (especially in politics), all sorts of upcoming diseases and epidemics, and all of the other assorted miseries that define our 'civilized' society. If you spent most of your free time reading or watching the news, you'd slowly go crazy. You'd at least sink into depression. And yet that's what many people do--allow the drivel that passes for news--to invade and permeate their daily lives. There is no peace to be found in living that way. A continuous presentation of bad behavior will alter your world view for sure. If it doesn't make you cynical, it will make you fearful. There are a lot of people who live in fear.  

I'm not saying we should shut out news shows completely, we cannot, but I am in favor of shutting out a large portion of them in order to be able to live peacefully and peaceably with others. Society is done no favors if its members are continually distrustful, fearful, and ultimately cynical about said society's capability to take care of them should real trouble arise. I think we have reached that tipping point. I don't see how falling into an abyss of despair and nihilism helps anyone. Yet that's what we're being tipped into en masse

The losses of joy and the spark that keeps us alive and moving forward are not trivial or banal things. What is the motive of the companies who present (their version of) the news? Do they want to inform or do they want to destroy the basic goodness in people? I have to ask that question. I'm not likely to get an answer, but I am aware that I am being played. And it's not a good feeling. I spent one happy day yesterday 'offline', as in, I didn't go near my computer nor did I watch any news programs. Doing that for one day restored my equilibrium. I'm going to do it more often. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Snowdrops are the harbingers of spring

I can't wait for this miserable winter to be finished, done, over, caput. Hopefully it will soon be a distant memory, once spring comes and I can return to my garden. Today is a beautiful sunny day that reminds of spring. In the garden, the harbingers of spring are the humble snowdrops--so beautiful. It will be a while before they pop up in the garden (most of the snow has to melt first), but they don't seem to mind the chilled ground. 

I'm posting a a very nice little poem about snowdrops and a photo of them that I took some years ago. 

Have you heard the snowdrops ringing

Their bells to themselves?

Smaller and whiter than the singing

Of any fairy elves.

–Sydney Thompson Dobell (1824–74)

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Winter prison

Normally I have always liked the winter season. I'm a person who enjoys all four seasons. I may not ski or ice skate during wintertime, but I've never been particularly bothered by the cold or even snow, as long as it's possible to get out and walk, and as long as the temperatures hover around freezing. Neither have been the case this year. 

I have disliked every minute of winter this year, especially during January and February. In December we are distracted by Christmas, thankfully. I am neither handicapped nor am I elderly. I can normally get around with no problems, and a little bit of snow on the sidewalks does not usually bother me. It’s when the sidewalks are sheets of ice, no matter where you turn, that my dislike turns to anathema. I've written about the build-up of ice and snow in Oslo during wintertime in previous posts during the past decade: A New Yorker in Oslo: Slipping and sliding away (paulamdeangelis.blogspot.com)A New Yorker in Oslo: The sidewalks of Oslo in winter (paulamdeangelis.blogspot.com)A New Yorker in Oslo: Clear bike lanes and icy sidewalks in Oslo (paulamdeangelis.blogspot.com)A New Yorker in Oslo: Why isn’t it possible to shovel sidewalks in this city during the winter? (paulamdeangelis.blogspot.com).       

The sad thing is that the situation hasn't changed much in the past ten years. Sidewalks are sheets of ice, some of the roads likewise. We're told to buy shoes/boots with spikes in order to walk on the icy sidewalks, which I find infuriating. These shoes are expensive and are often sold-out. They are also annoying to wear, as sometimes the spikes get stuck in the ice (meaning your foot gets stuck). I and many others have chosen to walk in the (for the most part, ploughed) streets rather than use the sidewalks. The emergency rooms are filled with people, young and old, who have broken bones from falling on the ice. Actually, I'm guessing it's mostly young and middle-aged people who have broken bones, because elderly and handicapped people are just plain trapped in their homes during wintertime. They don’t get out, and how they stand it, I don't know. I find it appalling that more people don't react, don't get angry, and don’t criticize the city government for failing to do the job they should be doing. You can find all these kinds of criticisms on social media post, where people vent and rant and rave, but the regular media--newspapers and tv--just seem to ignore the problem. We're constantly told that this is a winter country and that we should be used to snow and ice. Yes, that is true. And so what? If this is a winter country, that means that Oslo should know how to get rid of snow and ice on sidewalks. It doesn’t mean that the city has a free pass to ignore shoveling, salting, and setting out gravel. There is so much passing the buck in this city. The city government has a budget; that much I understand. But this is not your proverbial small town; this is a big city. People of all ages and people with special needs, need to get out to shop, go to doctors’ appointments, go to work, etc. Someone has to take responsibility. Yes, snow removal, salting and spreading gravel cost money. Perhaps more than what was budgeted. So what? Spend it. But they can’t, because they’ve already used up much of the budget to keep the bicycle lanes clear, so that the very few younger people who bike all winter long can do so without problems. God forbid they should slip and injure themselves. This is typical of the Green Party thinking that permeates this city. The main focus is on eliminating all dangerous emissions from fossil-fuel vehicles. That means riding bicycles year-round. Additionally, they've become obsessed with electric everything--cars, buses, scooters, etc, all of which function properly in the spring and summer months. But not during the winter months. Come wintertime, the bitter cold destroys the proper functioning of the batteries. So buses come to a halt. Trams and trains, which are electrified, have always had problems. Frankly, I used to care about climate change, but it’s no longer a main priority. I just care about having a functioning city during the wintertime, a city where people of all ages and with special needs can get out and walk, shop, take public transportation that actually functions, and use their cars if necessary. In other words, escape their winter prisons that have been foisted upon them by this city. 

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Two good pieces of advice

"I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”

Joan Didion


“Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but 'steal' some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.”

Albert Camus

The bad news that envelopes us

Just a sample of the bad news that is available to us 24/7. This is just today's list of the negativity that defines the world at present. Everything is 'catastrophic, problematic, alarming, deeply troubling, staggering, on the verge of collapse, deadly, etc'. 

Atlantic Ocean is headed for a tipping point − once melting glaciers shut down the Gulf Stream, we would see extreme climate change within decades, study shows (msn.com)

Atlantic Ocean Currents Could Collapse and Shut Down, New Study (businessinsider.com)

What Does the 1.5 C Marker of Global Warming Mean? - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Mary Sanchez: America must choose – Aging man with bad recall or the one with evil intentions (msn.com)

How Old Is Too Old to Be President? Biden Report Raises Uncomfortable Question Again. - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Why Does Everyone Seem To Have The Flu Right Now? (msn.com)

The deadly fungal disease C. auris spreading across the US explained - symptoms, treatment and outbreaks (msn.com)

'No common symptoms' for deadly fungal disease sweeping US, public health agency warns (msn.com)

Measles Now Spreading in 9 States Amid 'Staggering' Outbreak, CDC Warns (msn.com)

Costco, Trader Joe's, Walmart products recalled amid listeria outbreak (msn.com)

California knows the way to end homelessness. It's time to find the will. (msn.com)

New problem found on Boeing 737 Max planes | CNN Business

How production pressures plunged Boeing into yet another crisis | Reuters

California earthquake: Millions in Los Angeles and Malibu feel quake after Hawaii tremors (msn.com)

Vladimir Putin wants 'massacre across Europe' after 'deranged' Tucker Carlson interview (msn.com)

Thursday, February 8, 2024

What Erich Fromm wrote about extremely narcissistic people

I am currently reading The Heart of Man: Its Genius for Good and Evil by the psychoanalyst and social psychologist Erich Fromm. Published in 1964, it describes his view of what he calls the syndrome of decay and its opposite, the syndrome of growth. The syndrome of decay is comprised of extreme forms of the following: necrophilia (love of and fascination with death); narcissism; and incestuous symbiosis. When these are combined to excessive degrees in a person, he defines that person as evil. Hitler is his primary example, but he also lists others--Caligula, Nero, and Stalin, among others. 

He writes:

There are other examples in history of megalomaniac leaders who 'cured' their narcissism by transforming the world to fit it; such people must also try to destroy all critics, since they cannot tolerate the threat whcih the voice of sanity constitutes for them.........we see that their need to find believers, to transform reality so that it fits their narcissism, and to destroy all critics, is so intense and so desperate precisely because it is an attempt to prevent the outbreak of insanity. Paradoxically, the element of insanity in such leaders makes them also successful. It gives them that certainty and freedom from doubt which is so impressive to the average person. Needless to say, this need to change the world and to win others to share in one's ideas and delusions requires also talents and gifts which the average person, psychotic or non-psychotic, lacks. 

In other words, political leaders who behave like this have a desperate need for their followers to share in their beliefs and delusions. They are never cured of their narcissism, and it's doubtful that they understand that they are narcissists. They simply mold the world around them to fit their brand of it. Their followers reward these types of leaders for their lack of self-doubt (total self-assurance, arrogance), their solipsism (self-centeredness--they are the centers of the universe), and their xenophobia (in this context, fear of anyone who doesn't share the leaders' beliefs, also parochialism, insularity, intolerance). 

Sound familiar? Look at some of our current world leaders and would-be leaders. Again I ask, how did we get to this point? Perhaps the better question is why. Why did we get to this point? Why do so many people want to abdicate personal responsibility in order to follow these types of leaders, to become little more than toadies? I can only conclude that following such leaders is preferable to thinking for oneself and to taking charge of one's own life. It's easier to place one's decision-making in the hands of someone who promises you complete and utter security and certainty (a fantasy), who promises you the past (also a fantasy), and who promises you that nothing has to change--lack of change and growth. Lack of change and growth is important to those who do not want to focus on personal development or bettering themselves, which involves change and growth. 

Fromm's book is worth reading. He's a good writer who can take complex ideas and clarify them for his reading public. When we were young adults, his book The Art of Loving, was very popular. I remember reading it then, but I never ventured further with his other books until now. Reading The Heart of Man is helping me to understand the current political situation. It may not provide solutions, but it's good to know what we're dealing with and what's at stake. 

Saturday, February 3, 2024

More Joseph Campbell quotes

Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.

I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.

Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.

When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.

Sit in a room and read--and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time.

Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.

Regrets are illuminations come too late.

We're in a freefall into future. We don't know where we're going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you're going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It's a very interesting shift of perspective and that's all it is... joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes.

Not all who hesitate are lost. The psyche has many secrets in reserve. And these are not disclosed unless required.

Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.

Marriage is not a love affair. A love affair is a totally different thing. A marriage is a commitment to that which you are. That person is literally your other half. And you and the other are one. A love affair isn't that. That is a relationship for pleasure, and when it gets to be unpleasurable, it's off. But a marriage is a life commitment, and a life commitment means the prime concern of your life. If marriage is not the prime concern, you're not married....The Puritans called marriage "the little church within the Church." In marriage, every day you love, and every day you forgive. It is an ongoing sacrament – love and forgiveness.... Like the yin/yang symbol....Here I am, and here she is, and here we are. Now when I have to make a sacrifice, I'm not sacrificing to her, I'm sacrificing to the relationship. Resentment against the other one is wrongly placed. Life in in the relationship, that's where your life now is. That's what a marriage is – whereas, in a love affair, you have two lives in a more or less successful relationship to each other for a certain length of time, as long as it seems agreeable.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Rush - Tom Sawyer

Just had to hear some Rush......What a great band. This song from 1981 brings back some really good driving memories. They don't make music like this anymore. And when you read the lyrics, you just know we need more Tom Sawyers in the world today. 

A modern-day warriorMean, mean strideToday's Tom SawyerMean, mean pride
Though his mind is not for rentDon't put him down as arrogantHis reserve, a quiet defenseRiding out the day's eventsThe river
What you say about his companyIs what you say about societyCatch the mist, catch the mythCatch the mystery, catch the drift
The world is, the world isLove and life are deepMaybe as his skies are wideToday's Tom Sawyer, he gets high on youAnd the space he invades, he gets by on you
No, his mind is not for rentTo any god or governmentAlways hopeful, yet discontentHe knows changes aren't permanentBut change is
And what you say about his companyIs what you say about societyCatch the witness, catch the witCatch the spirit, catch the spit
The world is, the world isLove and life are deepMaybe as his eyes are wide
Exit the warriorToday's Tom SawyerHe gets high on youAnd the energy you tradeHe gets right on toThe friction of the day
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Alexandar Zivojinovich / Geddy Lee Weinrib / Neil Elwood Peart / Paul Phillip Woods
Tom Sawyer lyrics © Anthem Entertainment

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Greed will be the death of us

Boeing has had its share of problems recently. This quote is from The New York Times article published today: Opinion | Boeing’s Problems Started Long Before the Alaska Airlines Mishap - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

"What Boeing has missed, as it tried to dump costs and speed production, was the chance to ensure that safety was a cultural core and a competitive advantage. Corporations can choose to push back against the Wall Street-driven notion that safety equals cost and thus lower profits".

This type of thinking--cutting costs and speeding up production--has invaded every corner of the business world. It's a disease without a cure. Every time I turn around, I read or hear about more budget cuts that result in fewer employees and more work for those employees who remain. When the emphasis is on keeping costs low, something gets compromised, and that is usually quality work and eventually safety. Even employees who want to do their absolute best (and more) will not be able to get it all done in the best possible way. Corners will be cut in the name of saving money and time. After all, time is money. Those employees with good ethics and a conscience know that this type of thinking won't work in the long run, and they leave. Highly-competent employees who don't want to compromise quality and safety leave to take other jobs that won't force them to compromise their ethics. But what happens when the majority of companies behave in this way? What happens when companies that prioritize ethics and quality work become a minority?

As always, Wall Street figures into the picture. What would happen if companies delisted from the stock market and focused on the business they were created to do, rather than on corporate profits and having to satisfy shareholders (investors)? Would they lose all of their investors? I understand that companies need investors who will provide the money needed for the company to grow. And of course investors want their money back via profits. I don't understand enough about how the stock market works to really discuss this in detail. My only question is: when is enough, enough? If and when investors are paid back, do they need more money? The Norwegians have a saying: 'mye vil ha mer'. It means the wealthy will always want more. I guess that's part of the investment deal. As long as companies have to consider their shareholders first, employees and quality work will take second place. Budget cuts, fewer employees hired, outsourcing to cut costs, loss of competent employees and eventually substandard finished products are the result. 

Greed will be the death of us. 

Friday, January 12, 2024

The waning of common sense

Actions speak louder than empty words, strange ideas, or half-baked theories. When you put any of the latter into action and the results are underwhelming or even foolish, you have to ask why. The answer is found in the waning of common sense. Society is losing its ability to think, discuss, and act rationally. 

People are talking about how AI (artificial intelligence) is going to be the undoing of the human race--that AI technology/machines are going to wipe us out. As far as I can see, the human race is doing a bang-up job of wiping itself out all by its lonesome. AI doesn't worry me half as much as does the bad behavior of human beings. Let's list up the bad behavior: greed and more greed, lust, envy, stealing, cheating, murder, lack of peace, warmongering--all of which will be our undoing.  

Climate change hysteria has invaded and permeated every aspect of our lives. While I don't deny that there have been increases in different types of climate changes (global warming, rising seas, melting polar caps), no one can say for sure if the causes are due to man or to natural changes or both. I would guess both. We should make adjustments to the way we live, yes. That we should uncritically swallow every new idea that is put forth as to how to eliminate climate change, no. 

Pertinent to the previous point, here in Norway, electric cars are overtaking gas cars, which will likely be phased out in a few years. The politicians are totally on board with this way of thinking. There is little to no discussion of why electric cars are better than gas cars. I understand that the carbon dioxide emissions from gas cars can contribute to a greenhouse effect. But what about the production of the huge lithium-ion batteries needed to run these cars? What about the mining that is necessary to obtain the metals needed for these batteries? What about the disposal of these huge batteries? And additionally, let's get real, Norway is a winter country with snow and bitter cold from November until April. Cold temperatures reduce the efficiency of these batteries which in turn affects the performance of electric cars. Heating electric cars is a drain on the batteries, so in the wintertime the cars can be quite cold so as not to drain the batteries. Also, I've read that the production of lithium-ion batteries results in more carbon dioxide emissions compared to gas car usage. So tell me again, why are electric cars better? Why not push hybrid cars that can run on gas fuel in the winter and on battery power in the summer, if you've got to push anything at all? The goal is null emissions from gas-fueled cars, but it's ok if the emissions come from electric car battery production. This makes no sense to me since the emissions from the latter are only going to increase as more and more transportation vehicles (cars, boats, planes) 'go electric'. 

I am on board with using public transportation more, rather than using our cars for everything. Better yet, get out and walk if you can. Interestingly enough, Oslo has invested millions of dollars in electric buses and is phasing out its biofuel/diesel buses. But do the electric buses run in the wintertime when it is bitter cold outside, like it has been the past few weeks? No, they don't. They've stopped running, they're cold inside because to warm the buses up drains the batteries, the distance range (how long you can drive before the battery needs recharging) is abysmal, and the bus drivers are fed up. Do the bus company managers listen to their drivers? No, they don't. They continue to push their agenda, that electric buses are the future, no matter what. The same problem has occurred with the electric ferries that run between the Oslo fjord islands. Who wants to be out in the middle of the ocean when the ferries stop due to battery problems? These problems don't inspire confidence at all. I don't even want to think about the airline companies; eventually they'll be pushing electric airplanes. I won't be flying on them. 

Oslo has invested millions of dollars in bike lanes. Admirable, yes. You can really get around the city using your bicycle. We can thank the Green Party for that. But again, this has been their focus to the exclusion of other equally important issues. And during the wintertime, the bike lanes are cleared of snow and salted. The sidewalks are another story. Walking is just as healthy for you as biking, perhaps more so. But no one is going to get out and walk when they fear falling and breaking an arm or leg on slippery snowy sidewalks. It makes no sense to me, this strange prioritizing. Additionally, very few people except the diehards bike during the wintertime. 

Food prices continue to increase. The increases seen are for the healthy foods--fruits and vegetables, fish, etc. I can attest to that. But a box of gingerbread cookies after Christmas in one of the Oslo supermarkets was selling for less than a dollar. Go figure. The Green Party is pushing us all to eat less or no meat. But I don't see them pushing the supermarket owners to lower the prices of healthy foods. I don't see them making that their focal point. The thinking is that we should continue to pay higher prices for them. Is it any wonder that people eat at fast food places where they can still afford the prices? The thinking that 'I should pay more for the quality food that is best for me' only goes so far. Most people have a food budget. I feel sorry for families of four or more. Their food budgets must be very high. And while I'm on the subject of food, salmon has been pushed and is still being pushed as being very healthy for us. Wild salmon, yes. Farmed salmon, not so much. The open tanks for fish farming use antibiotics and pesticides to keep the salmon 'healthy'. Sick fish find their way into the processing plants. What is healthy about keeping fish swimming around in crowded conditions in tanks compared to having them swimming wild in the ocean? The answer given is that it isn't possible to catch enough wild salmon for human consumption, thus we need fish farms. My answer--eat less salmon, eat less tuna, eat less meat. You don't have to cut them out completely from your diet. Just cut down. We're overfishing the oceans as it is. 

Norway is very good at recycling plastic bottles and plastic items in general. However, plastic waste is exported to other European countries that presumably have ways of dealing with this type of waste. I'm not sure of the percentage of plastic waste that is exported, but it seems to me that in a country as rich as this one, that a solution could be found so that Norway could take care of its own plastic waste, rather than export it. Apparently, many countries have previously exported their plastic waste to developing countries which have found themselves overwhelmed by the sheer amounts. So these countries have dumped the waste they cannot process into the waterways and oceans. So what has been accomplished? It is not correct to say that Norway (or the USA or other European countries) are not polluting the oceans. They are, just not directly. Each country should take care of its own waste. Rich countries should lead the way, and the Green Party in this country should prioritize that. 

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Oh Christmas tree

At Christmastime, we usually buy 'edelgran' (noble fir in English) trees, and this year, the tree is an exceptionally healthy one. It's still drinking about a liter of water each day. So we'll keep the tree up until it stops drinking water. I can't picture Christmas without a tree; I know some younger people who don't put up a tree, mostly because they travel home to family during the holidays and there's no one to give the tree water. But if that were the case for me, I'd put up an artificial tree instead. When I was single and living on my own in New Jersey, I did just that. Like my mother, I love pretty much everything about the Christmas season.

For as long as we've lived in our apartment, the Christmas tree always has been a holiday fixture in the dining room area, which also has a sitting area with a comfy couch. When it gets dark out and the tree's lights are on, I like to stretch out on the couch and just look at the tree. It's peaceful, calming, and meditative. Sometimes I turn on the flameless candle on the table near the couch, and the combination of both is very soothing. Puts me right to sleep. One of the nicest things I know of is waking up after a short nap to see the tree standing there, with its lights and decorations. A constant in a world of inconstants. A reminder that all is right with the world if we choose to look at it that way. Of course, I'm not naive, I know the world is drowning in problems. But I can't focus just on them. Before Christmas, I was rather despondent due to the lack of peace and all of the problems in the world. But when I traveled to Dresden and met my friend there, I got back some of my Christmas spirit. When I get a bit depressed or sad, I try to remember what it was like when I was younger and going through troubled times. I had faith that life would change, and it did. I hold out the same hope for the world, because I don't know how much worse it can get. 

Many people before me have had the same thoughts about their Christmas trees. I'm including the lyrics to Oh Christmas Tree, a traditional carol (written by German organist and composer Ernst Anschütz who called the song Oh Tannenbaum which means Oh Fir Tree) that we sang as children. You can read more about it on Wikipedia. I still love hearing the song now. 

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!
Not only green in summer’s heat,
But also winter’s snow and sleet.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
Of all the trees most lovely;
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
Of all the trees most lovely.
Each year you bring to us delight
With brightly shining Christmas light!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
Of all the trees most lovely.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
We learn from all your beauty;
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
We learn from all your beauty.
Your bright green leaves with festive cheer,
Give hope and strength throughout the year.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
We learn from all your beauty.


John Steinbeck quotes

In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their ...