(Revamping the blog. Please excuse the odd headings. Working on it!)

Writing History & Mysteries

When I'm not delving into historical research, I'm planning a character's demise.

The blog of Cindy Amrhein

Historian - Author - Abstractor

Silver Lake, NY at Sunset

Photo by Zach Amrhein

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Monday, December 19, 2005

The Conspiracy Against Christmas

What do you get when you combine borrowed customs, Pagan rituals, Christianity, and capitalism? The American Christmas! What’s worse then the CIA, FBI and DOHS? The PCPD! The PCPD being the “Politically Correct Police” Department. Actually, now that I think about it, the PCPD is probably a division of the Department of Homeland Security, and all those out there poo-pooing Christmas are probably agents! Christmas is the one time of the year people put aside their selfish ways, gathers together with family and friends, and helps their neighbor. The PCPD doesn’t want that. After all, the best way to control the population is to make us all the same, think the same and act the same. If they take away Christmas the common folk will have no reason to come together. That’s it! It’s all a conspiracy! The PCPD must be in charge of the covert operation “Code name: Kill Santa” to keep us from gathering in large groups!

Well I’ll have none of it! Force the Smart-card down my throat, kick me out of Canada because I’m from New York and don’t have a passport, send the DOHS to download the list of books I borrowed from the library and forgot to return; BUT I refuse to give up my artificial tree, my shopping at K-Mart at one in the morning, my Coca-Cola Santa, and my Christmas lights that send my electric bill through the roof! It’s my right as an American to send myself into bankruptcy every December and get sick from eating too many Christmas cookies! I shall not be denied!

Yes, it must be a conspiracy! The PCPD, their agents, and paid protesters are only stomping on Christmas to once again trounce on a large portion of our population’s religious beliefs, denying them their first amendment rights to celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas day. America has gone from the “Great Melting Pot” to the Great ‘Melding’ Pot. ‘Heaven’ forbid we be diverse and celebrate a holiday of our choice as we see fit, we might offend someone! So we are told anyway. Funny I don’t see the average folks making a big deal about it. It’s only those who are trying to ‘meld’ us all together so we are all exactly the same that have their skivvies in a pinch over it.

I’m telling you, it has to be all part of that secret covert operation; “Kill Santa”. The PCPD has sent their spies to infiltrate mainstream media to convince us that Christmas is ‘bad’. I could have swore I saw one of their cronies being interviewed on one of the Cable News channels wearing a pin that had Santa in a circle with a line through it! They have underground “Santa Cells” lurking in every community. They’re waiting, watching, for you to say Merry (dare I say it) C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S instead of Happy Holidays! If caught, they wait and catch you on your way to your car when your arms are full of presents so you can’t fight back, throw a body size Christmas stocking over you, and whisk you away, never to be seen from again. If you see presents scattered around the mall parking lot, that’s why!

Tongue-in-cheek humor aside, let’s get down to some historical facts. Since when is Christmas purely a Christian holiday? Not in America it isn’t, never has been. Christmas originally had no fixed date. The December 25th date for the birth of Christ was chosen by Pope Julius I in 350 AD, purposely to defuse the Pagan holiday celebrating the Winter Solstice which falls on December 21st or 22nd. It was his hope that the Christian rituals would replace the pagan ones. Regardless of his attempt, many of the pagan traditions carried over into traditional Christmas celebrations. Ask anyone who is Wicken, they’ll tell you.

Much like the PCPD, another group tried to eliminate Christmas festivities, their leader was Puritan Oliver Cromwell, one of the most notorious promoters of religious persecution in history, particularly against Catholics. Yes, Oliver Cromwell, the original ‘Grinch’ preached against Christmas celebrations from the pulpit forcing the holiday to be banned in England. The Puritans successfully transferred the ban to America. In fact in 1659 Massachusetts Bay Colony made it a law that you could not celebrate December 25th except for in a church. No tree in your home, no boughs of holly over your door; to decorate meant you were subject to a fine. It would take until 1843 when Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol to bring Christmas back into the home and remind us of the spirit of giving unselfishly.

Is it possible “The 12 step program to eliminate Christmas” that is used by today’s Politically Correct Police as a guide for their “Kill Santa” operation, the plot to destroy the celebration of Christmas was written by Cromwell? You know what they say, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” Speaking of the number twelve, lets look at the twelve days of Christmas.

The twelve days of Christmas has many meanings. Although Pope Julius declared Christmas as December 25th, many celebrated on January 6th when the three Kings arrived in Bethlehem. Hence, twelve days from Christmas to the eve of the Epiphany. It also has Pagan roots steeped in superstition, and traditions from Europe that carried over to America. Yule celebrates the Winter Solstice. The Yule log was put on the hearth to keep away evil spirits as they waited for the longest night of the year to turn to sunrise. Later the Yule log was cut on Christmas Eve morning and brought in at twilight. The heath was kept going through the twelve days of Christmas. This went out of popularity with the advent of stoves, but true to American style the Yule log was turned into something else. Although it looks similar you now find it in the frozen food section of your local Super Market chain as a Christmas dessert.

Aside from the burning of the Yule log, Christmas Eve is also celebrated by Christians at Midnight Mass. Retailer’s also celebrate it. Macy’s Department store started that American Christmas tradition on December 24,1867 by leaving his store open until midnight.

What about that famous fellow who comes to visit on Christmas Eve? You can call him St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Pere Noel, Chris Cringle, or Santa Claus. It doesn’t matter. He has been around since the beginning of time in every country in some form or another, religious and otherwise, from tall and thin to elf size. The “right jolly old elf” was immortalized in a poem written in 1822 by another Christmas rebel, Clement C. Moore. It was written for his children and titled A Visit From Saint Nicholas, later published as The Night Before Christmas. ‘Santa’ had as many different looks as he did names in his early years. The plump Santa in the red suit and hat we know and love today however is American made making his first appearance in 1930 in a Coca-Cola ad. By the following year the company decided they wanted Santa to be more warm & cuddly looking. Inspired by the afore mentioned poem, artist Haddon Sundblom came up with the standard modern Santa image we see everywhere today. He would paint him for the Coca-Cola Company for the next 35 years, turning him into the most famous American symbol of Christmas.

Let’s not forget Rudolph. Every year Montgomery Ward gave out Christmas coloring books to the children. To save money in 1939 they asked one of their employees, Robert L. May, to come up with an idea. His story was a success, and Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer was born. The first year they went through over two million copies. It was printed commercially in 1947 and turned into a nine-minute cartoon in 1948. The story was put to music by Johnny Marks, born in Mt. Vernon, NY, and recorded by Gene Autry in 1949 and is still an American Christmas classic. In 1964 the animated Christmas special, narrated by Burl Ives, was created and still airs every year on television. Rudolf, beloved by us, our children and now our grandchildren, remains an American Christmas Icon.

To the poo-pooers of Christmas I say, if you don’t like my holiday that’s fine, I will not be the least bit offended if you make up your own. That’s how Kwanzaa got its start. It was invented in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga to bring African-Americans together after the Watts riots in Los Angeles. It is a non-religious holiday that celebrates family and the community and is observed between December 26th and January 1st. If that isn’t to your liking you can come up with your own traditions around the term credited to the Virgin Mobile Phone Company, Christmahanukwanzakah. A cleaver marketing idea to include Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukah, and of course, to sell phones. They even have humorous songs that were developed for their commercials. You can find them at http://www.chrismahanukwanzakah.com/ .

To the Politically Correct Police and their ‘Cromwell Cronies’ I say, “The one thing I’m not buying this ‘holiday’ season is the line of malarkey that the word Christmas can’t be said without offending somebody.” If someone says to me, “Happy Holiday.” I will simply ask them, “Which one?” I will demand an answer! To the Christians of America I say, make a joyful noise unto the Lord and make it loud. Don’t ever stop. Celebrate the birth of a King; it is your right. It is your freedom to worship as you please because this is America. I will not be offended in any way and neither will most other folks who think all of the negative hoopla being pushed in the media over Christmas is a farce. I will celebrate Christmas with my husband and children, Linus, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Santa Claus, Rudolph, Bing and all my other friends. We will sit back and enjoy the twinkle of the lights on our Christmas tree as we eat our Christmas cookies and watch the same Christmas specials I’ve been watching for the last forty years. When we open our presents we will remember who’s party it really is, and be thankful. Try as the might to take away Christmas, it will never happen.

As Tiny Tim would say on Christmas morning, “God bless us, everyone.” No matter who your God may be. Merry Christmahanukwanzakah!


(Please remember that published works are held in copyright by me the author, and in this case, the newspaper they write for, the Akwesasne Phoenix Sundays.” Printed in the 12/18/2005 issue.

"Covert Operation” logo©2005)

For more links on the history of Christmas visit:

Coca-Cola Santa

Holidays at the History Channel

All things Christmas

Huron Cristmas carol

Great American Christmas Quiz


Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Drama & Traumas of Chain Letters

I got a chain letter today in my email box. I hate them. Some people think if they don't answer them something terrible will happen. This one was very long with a lot of spaces. The idea was to scroll down, and as you did, make a wish. By the time you got to the bottom the phone was supposed to ring, and you were to get your wish, IF you did exactly what the chain letter said. I posted the short version here without the spaces. You will understand after you read it what my dilemma was with all of this.

> >>this truly is freaky,
> >>my cell literally rang as soon as I read
> >>the last word of this email!!!!!
> >>
> >>
> >>I am taking the bait -
> >>what do I have to lose right?
> >>
> >>
> >>Hope it works!
> >>
> >>
> >>Supposedly The Phone Will Ring
> >>Right After You Do This.
> >>
> >>
> >>Just read the little stories and
> >>think of a wish as you scroll all
> >>the way to the bottom. There is
> >>a message there - then make your
> >>wish.
> >>
> >>
> >>No attachment on this one.
> >>
> >>
> >>Stories
> >>
> >>
> >>Im Kevin im 13 and am in 7th grade. lots of girls like
> >>me but i cant choose which one i really like. i love
> >>doing things with my friends and girls say i really
> >>hot.
> >>
> >>
> >>I'm 13 years old, and I wished
> >>that my dad would come home from
> >>the army, because he'd been having
> >>problems with his heart and right
> >>leg. It was 2:53 p.m when I made
> >>my wish. At 3:07 p.m. (14 minutes
> >>later), the doorbell rang, and
> >>there my Dad was, luggage and all!!
> >>
> >>
> >>I'm Katie and I'm 20 and I've been
> >>having trouble in my job and on the
> >>verge of quitting. I made a simple
> >>wish that my boss would get a new
> >>job. That was at 1:35 and at 2:55
> >>there was an announcement that he
> >>was promoted and was leaving for
> >>another city. Believe me...this
> >>really works!!!
> >>
> >>
> >>My name is Ann and I am 45 years
> >>of age. I had always been single
> >>and had been hoping to get into a
> >>nice, loving relationship for many
> >>years. While kind of daydreaming
> >>(and right after receiving this email)
> >>I wished that a quality person would
> >>finally come into my life. That was at
> >>9:10 AM on a Tuesday. At 9:55 AM
> >>a FedEx delivery man came into my
> >>office.He was cute, polite and
> >>could not stop smiling at me. He
> >>started coming back almost everyday
> >>(even without packages) and asked me
> >>out a week later. We married 6
> >>months later and now have been
> >>happily married for 2 years.
> >>
> >>
> >>What a great email it was!!
> >>
> >>
> >>Just scroll down to the end, but
> >>while you do, think of a wish.
> >>Make your wish when you have completed
> >>scrolling. Whatever age you are, is the
> >>number of minutes it will take for your
> >>wish to come true. ex.you are 25 years
> >>old, it will take 25 minutes for your wish
> >>to come true).
> >>
> >>
> >>However, if you don't send this to
> >>people in 5 minutes, you will have bad
> >>luck for years!!
> >>
> >>
> >>Go for it!!!
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>*
> >>
> >>
> >>**
> >>
> >>
> >>***
> >>
> >>
> >>****
> >>
> >>
> >>***
> >>
> >>
> >>**
> >>
> >>
> >>*
> >>
> >>
> >>STOP!!!
> >>
> >>
> >>Congratulations!!! Your wish will
> >>now come true in your age minutes.
> >>
> >>
> >>Now follow this carefully....it
> >>can be very rewarding!!!!
> >>
> >>
> >>If you send this to 10 more
> >>people, other than the 5 that you
> >>already have to send to, something
> >>major that you've been wanting
> >>will happen.
> >>
> >>
> >>Message: This is scary!
> >>
> >>
> >>The phone will ring right after
> >>you do this
Drat! My computer crashed and it took me longer than 5 minutes to even read it! So now what does that mean? I will have bad luck for years? But it doesn't say how many years! That's not fair! It wasn't MY fault my computer crashed! It took me too long to figure out who else to send it to when I realized I only knew 14 people!
Is there an exception clause in this somewhere? Like, "HOWEVER, if it takes you longer than 5 minutes to read this you will not have bad luck for years if you still send it to 15 people. The only bad luck you will have is the 15 people will be annoyed at you for the rest of your life for sending them a chain letter. If however you do not know the required amount of people we will double your bad luck per year for every person you do not have."
Is there a warranty with this? Can they guarantee I will get good luck? If I don't can I sue for false advertising? Would I sue the Make a Wish Foundation? What if one of the people I send it to doesn't do it, and they are so distraught about not sending the letter and dwell on having bad luck for years, and jump off the Empire State Building!! Am I responsible because I sent it to them in the first place? Is there Chain Letter Insurance to cover this?
What to do... what to do... send it or not send it? Gosh I just HATE these major life altering decisions! OK, I’ve decided. I am going to.......
rinnnnnggggggg.... Ringgggggggg.....
"I'm sorry, but your time limit is up. This is a recording."

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Can the United States pass BIA standards?

After I voted the other day, and after not being able to get into Canada this summer because I didn’t have a passport, I thought, how do I prove what nation I come from? I’ve never had much time for the genealogy of my own family, after all, I already know what I am, I don’t need anyone to tell me I’m American. But what if I had to prove it? As the custom agent pointed out, my NYS driver’s license only meant that I could drive in New York State. Although I had to show all kinds of proof of me-ness to get that license, none of it said I was an American. Since a passport only gives me the right to travel from one country to another, there must be some kind of color-coded card I am missing out on right?

So I decided, well, since the BIA has deemed itself the ultimate authority and judge as to what a Native American tribe is, surly they would know? Since a tribe is an “Indian Nation” with it’s own separate government, the same criteria should work for me as an American from my nation with it’s own separate government. So, I went to the BIA website and saw they had a handy list of seven things you need to prove. Well that sure seemed easy enough. After all, I’m here, I’m a person, I have ties to my community in which I vote, my parents were born here, and their parents were born here so I must be part of my nation the tribe of the United States of America! This shouldn’t be too hard to do. I’m sure my family had something to show that they demonstrate that they have a membership and know they are on the membership list” like the BIA wanted from the Abenaki. So all I needed for one step was to find my family’s membership in the tribe of the United States of America.

I went to my file cabinet and pulled out my family genealogy files. I pulled out my birth certificate, my mother’s, my dad's, my grandparent's, and nothing, not even a color-coded membership card in my file! Although the certificates said what town they were physically born in, nothing said they were members or citizens of my nation. I next went to the census records to see if I could prove my family’s lineage back to 1900 in my tribe of the United States of America. I started with my father’s side. On his side I found mostly British. Eek! That can’t be good. They had been the enemy! I then tried the other branch of his family and hit a dead end.

Things were not looking good so far. I then tried my mother’s side. Well let me tell you my shock to find that my early ancestors on one side of my mother’s family didn’t have any boxes checked or dates in the citizenship and naturalization column. In fact it said they were born in Ireland or Scotland! So that branch of her family didn’t work. I then tried the other side and lost all hope. Not only were they from Austria, they did not even get here until 1920! So I could not prove a continuous link to my nation back to 1900.

According to Channel 3 News in Burlington, Vermont the Attorney General there said, “a scientific study funded by the state proved the Swanton-based Abenakis have no historical or genealogical history as a tribe -- and the federal authorities have agreed.” Nor could they show, “blood relationship between the group seeking recognition and an historic Indian tribe.” I’ve never heard of genealogy being scientific. Obviously my genealogy wasn’t proving a thing for me either, so maybe I did need to try something scientific. There was only one hope left to prove continuous existence. I went down to my doctor’s office and requested a DNA test.

“Are you pregnant?” the doctor asked.

“Pregnant? At my age? Of course not,” I replied. “Don’t be silly.”

Looking a little confused now she questioned, “Then what do you need a DNA test for if not for paternity?"

I matter-of-factually replied, “To prove I’m American of course."


“You know, I’m trying to prove I’m an American. I’m hoping I have at least a quarter American blood in me.”

Well, I’m sorry,” she said, looking at me like I was nuts as she wrote me up some state controlled prescription, “No DNA test is going to prove you’re an American. If you’re born in America, then you’re an American.”

Hummm.... easy for you to say, I thought as I took my little cup of water and pill from her. You try and prove sometime you got a membership in the nation of the United States of America, especially without any American blood!

As I calmly floated out of the doctor’s office, to now walk home since I couldn't drive with whatever she gave me for my "condition", I thought I would at least look at the other things on the BIA list of criteria to see if I could qualify. I knew certainly that I did not belong to any other nation, so that at least was one down on their list, nor had I applied for citizenship in any other nation. Plus I was pretty sure no one in my family had any thought of opening a casino so that shouldn’t sway any votes unfairly against me, not that it should have anything to do with it. I guess the next thing to look at was my nation’s existence itself per BIA specs.

In looking at the list I couldn’t give my nation’s “present governing document” because I’m not sure what it is any more. I thought it was the Constitution of the United States of America but they don’t seem to follow that much anymore. Then I looked at “maintained political influence or authority over its members”. Yes, OK, that applies. Political influence has definitely played into who has authority over us. Except for when they argue among themselves, then the media usually tells us who must be right and who should be in charge. Then there was “has existed as a community from historical times to the present” being the time immemorial thing. Well if you don’t count when the British, French, Spanish, and Dutch were in charge in different parts of my nation I suppose so. Oh, but wait, there was the Civil War wasn’t there, when we didn’t know who was going to end up in charge because the nation was split. So I guess I can’t include that criteria either can I?

I guess what I have learned from all of this was my "nation" of the United States of America could not pass the ridiculous criteria of the BIA test. It shouldn't be for them to decide. It is absurd after all this time that any Indian Nation has to prove to my infant nation that they still exist.

HISTORY-SLEUTH © 2005 C. Amrhein

Friday, November 11, 2005

If you didn’t vote ... I’m blaming everything on you

Yep, you heard me correctly. I am directing this at the non-voters, and blaming you for what happens until the next election, in hopes you will redeem yourselves and vote next time. No more excuses will be accepted as to why you didn’t vote. Let’s just admit you will stand in a long line to get your lotto ticket, but will not get off the coach to stand in a line at the polls. If you try and use the, “My vote doesn’t count anyway.” line, I will not accept that either. If there are enough of you non-voters in an area it will make a difference in the outcome.

Now the “my vote doesn’t matter” idea has been in practice for some time now. I think it is obvious that the theory has proven itself wrong. All one needs to do is look at what’s going on in our government. The apathy of the American public when it comes to voting has left us with people in office that bicker more then my children. Yes, these are our elected leaders. You cannot complain about them however, because you didn’t vote. You did not vote to make sure it didn’t happen. Instead, you turned your back and left it to the rest of us to fend for ourselves, and fend for you, and fight off those in the big business of campaign funding. You can bet all their “buddies” made sure they got to the polls, but you? Nope, you didn't bother. You left the rest of us to float in a boat without a paddle. We didn’t have your support to help us get the best people in office to represent us, regardless of how much money they had available to use to get elected. It is now whoever has the most $$$$$ to pay for ads and campaigning that wins, and not the best man or woman for the job.

Because you did not take the time to look close at ALL the candidates who were running, and drag yourself to the polls to cast your vote for the best and brightest our country has to offer, you opted out, and left us all with the richest and the most spoiled. I used to watch the various debates on CPAN, but I just can’t do it any more. It is like watching a bunch of kids in a playground who can’t get along, calling each other names, and arguing for the sake of arguing. I was waiting, I thought for sure, at any moment, I would see a spitball fly across the room and hit the guy who was speaking right in the eye. We have a bunch of spoiled brats running our government, who got into office because their backers had the bucks to fund their campaigns. I expect you, the non-voter, to quit griping and whining and get up off the coach the next time around, and help us average folks do something about it. If you’re not registered, register. If you are registered and still didn’t vote you darn well better the next time. We can no longer carry your weight. The money machine us average citizen voters already have on our back has become too heavy to carry, to continue to carry you too.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Welcome to my World

Welcome to my world. First let me say you do not need to agree with me to post a comment to my blog. Just keep it clean and intelligent. Sometimes it may seem that even I do not agree with myself. I may post an opinion on a subject, then in the next entry post a totally different viewpoint on the same subject. Do not take this as my being wishy-washy, or that I change my mind with the wind. I am a historian so I tend to look at more than one side of an issue.

Unlike journalism, which usually shows one side or the other, history should be presented with many views, and in a perfect world, based on facts. This way, fifty years from now, someone can look back, see all sides of an event, and come to their own conclusion as to why something happened the way it did. Nothing about journalism has changed. Newspapers have had the same format for the last 150 years. Many were a dead giveaway on their political viewpoint by using the words “Democrat” or “Republican” in the newspaper’s name. This is something to keep in mind when you do your own research via newspapers. You need to look at several publications to find out which group of people were thinking what, and why.

In the very complex world of today, it is especially important to read many viewpoints of a topic, even if it pains you to read the writings of “the other side”. This way, you can come to a better understanding of events as a whole, come to a more informed conclusion, and maybe find some new ways to solve old dilemmas. Know thy enemy as they say. It is easier to find a solution to a problem if you can understand the other side’s point of view. You don’t need to agree with it, but at least look at it. You may change your mind or you may discover solid reasons as to why you disagree, rather than disagreeing just to disagree, or because your friends say so. In other words, truly form your own opinion.

I will do no name calling or slamming of politicians, whether I personally like them or not. I may, on occasion, be unable to resist poking fun at politics in general though. Who can resist that? You will find a variety of subjects here, not just history, not just politics. Like any blog, the subject is subject to my whim.


Available in paperback and eBook formats

Available in paperback and eBook formats

Now Available At:

Barnes & Noble
The History Press

Carried by over 20 college/university libraries across the county, according to daily updates by worldcat.org, including Columbia University, Oklahoma State, Texas A & M, and Yale University Law Library.


APRIL 2nd,11-1 PM
The Book Shoppe - Medina, NY

APRIL 16th, 2 PM
Barnes & Noble - Pittsfield, MA

APRIL 19th, 7 PM
Tonawanda Indian Reservation Historical Society,
Tonawanda Indian Community Center- Akron, NY

MAY 14th, 1 PM
Seneca Iroquois National Museum - Salamanca, NY

May 17th, 6 PM Warsaw Public Library - Warsaw, NY

AUG 9TH, 7 pm Hoss's Country Corner -2016 Author's Night- Long Lake, NY

AUG 25TH 6 PM Akwesasne Cultural Center - Hogansburg, NY

More to announce as they are confirmed.

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Cindy's bookshelf: read

Waiting for Harvey
4 of 5 stars
Alone, in a cabin in the woods, with a ghost. Who could ask for more in a ghost story? Harvey starts right out with a hint of foreboding in a conversation between brothers John and Erik. Already my curiosity is roused as to what happened...
tagged: books-i-read-to-me
James Potter and the Curse of the Gate Keeper
3 of 5 stars
I randomly downloaded this on my iPad when I hit the wrong button being a bumble fingers, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I've never read fanfic before. It was pretty good. But like many other people, it still can't compare to J. K. Row...
5 of 5 stars
I beta read a few chapters of a different book by this author (one that isn't out yet) so when this one was out I had to read it as it was the same character in the one a betaed a bit of--the character of Track. I have a fondness for thi...
tagged: books-i-read-to-me