Embracing America’s Christmas Culture

As Orthodox Christians begin the days of fasting in preparation for the Christmas, a time sometimes called Winter Lent, the culture in America seems to go into overdrive with crazy feasting and partying. Why is it that McDonald’s has to bring back the McRib this time of year!? Every time I turn around it seems there’s another thanksgiving meal and Christmas party.

I’ve tried to look at this hustle and bustle and ever-present Christmas decorations as a welcome reminder of the season. While the chaotic lights and light up snowmen are missing the reason for the season, they do bring a smile to my face. It’s especially pleasing to hear the delight in the voice of my children when they see Christmas lights as we drive around town. Truly, we should practice our fast with a joyful heart. Perhaps these lights can remind us to be of good cheer as we ponder and prepare for the birth of Christ.

As I stopped by the grocery store the other night I heard the jingling of a bell — a welcome sound reminder of Christmas. The Salvation Army bell ringer reminded me without saying a word that I should be giving alms while I fast. As I reflected on it afterward I remembered that the bell ringers start almost the same time as the fast, usually the week before Thanksgiving. What a good time for the up front reminder that there are those in need. The bell’s sound got me thinking that Orthodox churches often use bells to call us to prayer. When I hear bells this time of year, I’ll be reminded to pray and give alms.

Fixing Firefox 1.0 Tabs

Almost immediately before the release of Firefox 1.0, the tabs were changed so that they were separated from the page by a thin line. (See bug 258884.) I’ve grown used to having them attached to the page as they were in 1.0PR. I guess the reason for the change is that there were complaints that the tabs didn’t work as well with web pages that had dark backgrounds. From what I’ve seen, the vast majority of pages use a light background color. I don’t blame the Firefox team for the last minute tweak—cleanup and polish before a release is great—but at the same time I miss the old style.

To restore the tabs to the way they were prior to the 1.0 release, I tracked down what exactly was changed in the bug fix. If you add the following to the userChrome.css in your profile directory, it will restore the tabs to the 1.0PR style. You may need to create the userChrome.css file.

.tabbrowser-tabs { border-bottom: 0 !important; }

Firefox 1.0!

As you’ve probably already heard, Mozilla Firefox 1.0 has been released. Mozilla Firefox is a fantastic browser and the 1.0 release is a major accomplishment. After years of work, and leveraging and improving on the already solid Mozilla layout engine used by Netscape 6 and 7, Mozilla Firefox is ready. Having followed the project from the early days, I’m glad to see how true it has remained to its original vision. It is a small, fast, and usable tool. It has been my default browser of choice for at least a year and it just keeps getting better. A big thank you to the team that produced it and to the tireless community that supports it.

Go get it! Take back the web.