Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thoughts on Christmas Trees

So, tonight I went with my dad to see the Christmas (good word to describe them) Trees that the Congress and the White House put up. I'm surprisingly technophobic (I scored a 52% on the Geek Test) where cameras are concerned, so I have no pictures. Sorry, go find it yourselves.

The Congressional tree was the first one we went to. It was nice. It was a tree given by a native tribe from out in the northwest. I forget which one. They used ornaments probably made by talented school children, which were cool, but I'm not sure exactly who made them because it was dark and I couldn't see a sign. The tree was kind of strange, because it had a trunk like a birch tree, and evergreen needles. There was also a surprising lack of branches. It was a fir, but unlike any fir I've seen in Maine. The lights were led lights. I like leds, but they didn't work perfectly here. Instead of using colored leds (they come in many colors now, in fact, white light was one of the more recent innovations in the technology), they used white leds inside colored globes. This made the lights shine not so brightly.

Overall, in this grade-inflated world, I give it a B-.

The White House tree was much cooler. It was huge, there were many train sets running around the base. Also, in the area around the tree, there were 56 smaller trees decorated by an organization from each of the 56 commonwealths/territories/states of the Union. Quite impressive, and cool, to boot. They also had an amazingly hot fire, in place of the traditional "Yuletide log." The lights were of the normal variety, and it worked quite well.

Overall, it gets an A-. Not perfect, but cool none-the-less.

However, some of the states had interesting ideas about who should give the ornaments. There were a couple states that decided to make ornaments that related to their states - Mighigan had ornaments with "the mitts," and Maine school kids decorated sea urchins (which we're trying to push as a sideline industry with Lobsters) - props to them. Others had local artists make some pretty things. That worked well.
Other states - the usual suspects - decided to make statements. New York (and some others) had origami cranes, for peace. A good idea, and in keeping with the season. That was fine. However, one state decided to use triangle folded American flags as their ornaments. This doesn't have much to do with their state, but is I'm sure intended to comment on the Iraq deaths. Protest is fine, and I encourage it. However, a Christmas (or holiday) celebration meant to bring the nation together in celebration should probably stay away from controversial subjects. There are plenty of other avenues for that kind of thing. Even if you insist on using the venue for a protest, you could choose to do it with some class, like New York and others did. Using an image that is meant to invoke scenes of military funerals is pretty inappropriate.

Any guesses as to which state it was?

If you guessed Vermont, you were right - 10 points to you.

If not, try not to feel bad. There was only a 1 in 56 chance of getting it. A 1 in about 20 if you pay attention to state politics and what I said above. And, if you cheated and saw it, so you knew, then no points. Just cause I feel like doing it that way.

If I'm reading this wrong, please let me know how and why, and if you have more information than was apparent to me, I'd love to hear it. But, based on what I know, I have to condemn Vermont for their decision.

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