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The World and Everything in It - November 23, 2021

WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It - November 23, 2021

A peek behind the curtain about why the tech devices we’ve come to depend on don’t seem to last as long as they should; an update on the conflict in Myanmar; and an introduction to a husband and wife learning to love through serious illness. Plus: commentary from Steve West, and the Tuesday morning news.


PAUL BUTLER, HOST: Good morning!

The tech devices we’ve come to depend on don’t seem to last as long as they should. Turns out, that’s not an accident.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Also an update on the conflict in Myanmar.

Plus, it’s National Family Caregivers Month and Myrna Brown introduces us to a husband and wife learning to love through serious illness.

And the things we do for our children.

BUTLER: It’s Tuesday, November 23rd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Paul Butler.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

BUTLER: Time now for news. Here’s Kent Covington.


KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Waukesha parade suspect has long rap sheet, no evidence of terrorism » Police in Waukesha, Wisconsin say the man who allegedly drove his speeding SUV into a Christmas parade on Sunday had a long rap sheet and was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute.

Police Chief Daniel Thompson said that dispute took place just minutes earlier.

THOMPSON: [Suspect] was taken into custody a short distance from the scene and we are confident he acted alone. There is no evidence that this is a terrorist incident.

The suspect is 39-year-old Darrell Brooks Jr. He has been charged with crimes 16 times since 1999 and had two outstanding cases against him at the time of the parade disaster. In one of those cases, he was accused of deliberately running down a woman with his vehicle.

At least five people died after being struck by the SUV. Thompson said Brooks will now face five charges of intentional homicide.

Thomas Kluka was at the parade with his 14-year-old daughter when the red SUV sped into the parade route.

KLUKA: When I noticed the car coming, I stood up and said ‘on no!’ And then my daughter stood up and I pushed her aside to the right, and then I just basically yelled get out of the way.

Officials said four women died in the incident, ages 52 to 79, and one 81-year-old man.

Another 48 people were injured, including two children who were in critical condition as of Monday night.

Biden to keep Powell as Fed chair, Brainard gets vice chair » President Biden is nominating Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chair.

The president on Monday said Jerome Powell, who often goes by “Jay”, was a steady hand through a brutal pandemic recession.

BIDEN: When our country was hemorrhaging jobs last year and there was panic in our financial markets, Jay’s steady and decisive leadership helped to stabilize markets and put our economy on track to a robust recovery.

Many progressives preferred Lael Brainard for the job. She is the lone Democrat on the Fed’s Board of Governors. Biden said he would nominate her as vice chair.

Progressives complained that under Powell, the Fed has weakened bank regulation and has been slow to take account of climate change in its supervision of banks.

In a second term that begins in February, Powell would face a difficult task of trying to rein in inflation without denting job growth.

October existing home sales hit fastest pace since January » Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes ticked higher in October, marking their strongest annual pace since January. That was in spite of the fact that fewer available homes on the market pushed prices higher.

Existing homes sales rose 0.8 percent last month from September. That came out to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.34 million units. That was stronger than expected.

Analysts say continued job growth, a bullish stock market, and low mortgage rates are helping to drive home sales.

Cuomo probe finds “overwhelming evidence” of harassment, other misconduct » The New York legislature released a report on Monday detailing the findings of its investigation of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The report found—quote—“overwhelming evidence” that Cuomo sexually harassed women. That echoed allegations in a report last summer from the state’s attorney general.

But it offered some new details on other matters, namely, Cuomo’s $5 million private book deal.

Cuomo had promised state ethics officials that no state resources would be used on the book. But the report outlined evidence that the governor ordered his staff to spend a great deal of time on the project.

The report also found that Cuomo’s staff “substantially revised” a state health department report on COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.

After 10 years in office, the Democratic governor resigned in August of this year under the weight of mounting allegations.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Attorneys make closing arguments in Ahmaud Arbery's death » In Georgia, attorneys made their final arguments Monday to the jury in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

Presuctor Linda Dunikoski told jurors ...

DUNIKOSKI: All three of these defendants made assumptions, made assumptions about what was going on that day, and they made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery because he was a black man running down the street.

In February of last year, father and son Greg and Travis McMichael grabbed guns and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck after spotting him running in their neighborhood. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase and recorded the video of Travis McMichael opening fire as Arbery threw punches and grabbed for his shotgun.

Dunikoski said the defendants cannot claim self-defense, because they attacked Arbery. And she said it was the 25-year-old Arbery who was trying to defend himself.

But defense attorney Jason Sheffield argued that the men engaged Arbery not because he was black, but because they had reason to suspect he was a burglar.

SHEFFIELD: They told you that what was happening in their neighborhood scared them. It caused them concern.

The defense argued that the defendants only opened fire when Arbery violently resisted a legal effort to detain him until police arrived.

All three men face counts of murder and other charges.

No one was charged in Arbery’s death until a video of the incident leaked online two months later and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the unnaturally short lifespan of technology.

Plus, the magical twinkle of Christmas lights.

This is The World and Everything in It.


PAUL BUTLER, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 23rd of November, 2021.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Paul Butler.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

It will not surprise you to hear that it takes quite a lot of resources to do the reporting, the editing, and the production that ensures this program makes it to your device each morning. And we are so grateful for the faithful giving that makes it all possible. If you appreciate the program but haven’t taken the opportunity yet to send a gift of support, I’d ask you to consider making this November the time that you make your first gift.

BUTLER: We do recognize that might be difficult this year with the inflationary squeeze you may be feeling around your household. I’ve certainly noticed the rising prices of everyday items and I know that may hold you back. But I heard you yesterday, Nick, with David Bahnsen, so I feel a lot more comfortable saying, hey, two can play this inflation game: we’ll fight inflation with inflation. Meaning, we have a family who’s pledged a dollar for dollar match of all new gifts—up to $40,000.

EICHER: That’s inflation that’s working for you! A $50 gift goes twice as far becomes a $100 gift. But it’s just for first-time donors and it’s just this month—please visit wng.org/donate.

First up: built to break.

Livermore, California, is home to a very impressive piece of technology: the world’s longest lasting lightbulb. It’s called the Centennial Light, and it’s been burning since 1901!

BUTLER: Well, they don’t make them like that any more!

EICHER: True and some say it isn’t necessarily because they can’t. It may be by design.

WORLD’s Caleb Bailey reports on planned obsolescence.

MONTAGE: “How many iPhones have you had?” “I think five or six” “This current iPhone, how long have you had it for?” “I’ve had this I think a year and a half” “You always have to level up.” “It has lots of problems. It has problems both mechanically and in my life. "If I update one thing , then sometimes I have to update everything.” 

CALEB BAILEY, REPORTER: Every year, a new iPhone comes out. And not just one version. Buyers can choose from a variety of sizes, camera quality, and storage options. But even with all its bells and whistles, the latest and greatest iPhone can’t stay new forever. It gets old. Eventually it stops working.

And that’s no accident. It’s actually part of the design—a concept called planned obsolescence. Paul Poteete is a professor of computer science and engineering at Geneva College.

POTEETE: ​​Planned obsolescence is planning that something will fail, before it naturally would fail.

The concept of planned obsolescence dates back to the early 20th century. That’s when a group of leading lightbulb manufacturers gathered in Geneva, Switzerland.

POTEETE: They weren't making enough money off light bulbs back in the 1920s, and 1930s. So they were like, well, you know what, we’re not selling enough light bulbs, let's let's make these things fail.

They were known as the Phoebus Cartel, Phoebus after the Greek god of light, also known as Apollo. And their plan to shorten the lifespan of lightbulbs ignited a flame that would burst into other industries in decades to come.

POTEETE: So we can talk about Apple Corporation, their iPhones, they were actually slowing down the iPhone. So if your iPhone was getting old, they were literally throttling down your processor, so they were making your phone slower.

Poteete says Apple didn’t call its strategy planned obsolescence. Instead the company used phrases like, “steps to improve battery efficiency.”

POTEETE: In the Western society, I guess you could say it's, it's really important. And the way they word things, and the way we say things and that might be, might be good and bad.

No matter what they called it, consumers didn’t like it. Making products that are designed to fail isn’t illegal. But some people think it should be.

Activists in the so-called Right to Repair movement are pushing state and federal lawmakers to protect users from faulty equipment. They hope to force companies to create products that users can repair easily.

Right now, the effort to repair something like an iPhone is so complicated and expensive, it’s simply easier to buy a new one.

POTEETE: So if you change out the piece of hardware, it no longer matches what the operating system or what that code would look for inside the hardware or inside that software.

Even without legislation, the Right to Repair lobby is having an effect. Apple announced last week it will begin to sell the parts needed to repair its products, along with instructions on how to do the work. These resources have always been confined to the Genius Bar and any repair had to go through Apple, or an authorized technician.

While planned obsolescence is costly for consumers and can create unnecessary waste, it does have some benefits.

Jason Thacker is the chair of Research and Technology Ethics at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

THACKER: ​​ But at the same time, we also know that this practice, or this theory, in some sense, also creates jobs, it creates economic growth, it promotes innovation, it produces cheaper devices, so even luxury goods. Now some of the innovations that happen on luxury goods, or high end devices, make their way down into cheaper and more available devices for all people.

Thacker also says it’s important to distinguish between planned obsolescence and what’s called perceived obsolescence. Much of what we see as a product becoming obsolete is psychological. And behind that marketing science is our innate desire for the next great thing.

THACKER: Often I remember, especially around certain technology companies, devices, having a certain type of headphones, or a certain type of phone, or certain type of wearable, like a watch, or even glasses for that matter, or clothing. connote some type of identity, it can connote some type of status.

And in our increasingly consumerist culture, the line between need and want gets blurred really early.

THACKER: I talk to my 5 year old a lot about this, he says, I need this. And I have to teach him even at 5 years old, well, you don't need this, you want this, there's a difference between need and want.

Even if tech companies don’t heed the call to make devices that last longer, buyers still have a choice about when and whether they’re going to upgrade. And as we debate our next big tech purchase, Jason Thacker says that’s a great time to check our beliefs about what gives us value.

THACKER: It isn't tied to the type of technologies or the ways that they dress or things like that is that the church, the Body of Christ comes together to recognize our value is in the image of God. It's in the being created in God's image, having that inherent dignity, value and worth as human beings.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Caleb Bailey.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: the continued struggle for democracy and justice in Myanmar.

American journalist Danny Fenster returned home to suburban Detroit last week after months behind bars in Myanmar. Former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson helped to negotiate his freedom. That spared him a sentence of 11 years hard labor on what the State Dept. called trumped up charges. The U.S. government said the journalist’s only crime was telling the truth about what’s happening in that country.

While Fenster avoided serving the unjust sentence, it was still more evidence that the military in Myanmar rules with an iron fist.

PAUL BUTLER, HOST: While he made it home, for most of the 54 million people who live there, there is no escape. Injustice there is the norm, and abuses and atrocities are again on the rise.

The United Nations recently sounded alarms about a “human-rights catastrophe” in Myanmar with no end in sight.

Joining us now with more on the crisis is Olivia Enos. She cofounded the Council on Asian Affairs in Washington D.C. She has published numerous papers on human rights in Asia, and she serves now as a senior policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation. Olivia, good morning!

OLIVIA ENOS, GUEST: Good morning. Thanks for having me on, Paul.

BUTLER: Well first of all, catch us up a bit on what's taken place this year in Myanmar. There was a lot of hope in 2015 when Myanmar held its first free elections in 25 years but what are some of the things that have been happening since?

ENOS: Yeah, well, Paul, you're absolutely right. I think this year has been a huge turning point for the people of Myanmar—also known as Burma. The Burmese people went and cast their votes last year and delivered a landslide victory for the National League for Democracy, which was the civilian government that was ruling in Burma. And that landslide victory was essentially entirely disregarded by the Burmese military when they carried out a coup on February 1. Since that time, we've really been bearing witness to, as you mentioned, atrocities. We've seen a lot of clamp downs on freedom of speech, freedom of association and the like. And we've seen a rise of a, you know, a reemergence of a historic civil disobedience movement within Burma that is seeking to stand on the side of freedom.

But ultimately, I think many people in Washington and around the globe are fearful of what it means to have the Burmese military in power, because we know what the Burmese military has done in the past. And just in 2017, we saw what the United Nations deems genocide and crimes against humanity carried out against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma. And I think now we're starting to see some of those atrocities occurring against other communities within Burma, just as experts have been warning since the coup began.

BUTLER: So you mentioned the attacks against the Rohingya. There are many reports that attacks like that are again on the rise. What can you tell us about that?

ENOS: Yeah, so especially in the recent weeks and months, we've seen several attacks against the Chin minority in Chin State. This is a predominantly Christian minority. And, of course, within Burma, there's a long standing history of disputes between the military and ethnic armed groups all throughout the country. But we've really seen these types of efforts escalating. We've seen homes burned, people being displaced. This looks actually quite similar to what we saw happening against the Rohingya. But what really worries me about this is, you know, I had called on the Trump administration and continue to call upon the Biden administration to issue its own atrocity determination, saying, what took place against the Rohingya back in 2017? And for whatever reason, there's been a reticence to there's been reticence to call a spade a spade, and to say, yep, genocide and crimes against humanity happened against Rohingya. When entities don't face consequences for atrocities committed in the past, they're going to be even more emboldened to commit them in the future. And so I think that's why we're seeing what we're seeing today.

BUTLER: Now it does seem to me that I've seen some people who shy away from the term of genocide refer to this as just a civil war. What are your views on that?

ENOS: Yeah, so I think that the international community has been casting about for how to describe the exact situation in Burma, some people started out calling it a failed state. Now, some people are saying that it's a civil war. I'm not exactly sure what term I would give it, other than the fact that the government is failing to represent the will of the people. But I think that the U.S. government either way has a responsibility to support those pro democracy elements, those groups that are in favor of reform in Burma, and also to hamstring the efforts of those actors like the Burmese military, and many of the military-owned subsidiaries that line the private coffers of the military and embolden them to continue to carry out those atrocities. I think there's been some really great work on this. I put out a report earlier this year, highlighting different potential sanctions targets, including the Myanmar oil and gas industry, which to date has not been sanctioned by the U.S. government. But also that there's the prospect of designating various banks as primary money laundering concerns or applying secondary sanctions to businesses even beyond Burmese borders, that are facilitating ongoing wealth generation for the Burmese military in a variety of sectors.

BUTLER: Well, you've just mentioned two things that the US could do. Are there other actions that you think we should be taking?

ENOS: Absolutely. I mean, I think there are a lot of actions that can be taken. As I mentioned, issuing an atrocity determination is absolutely critical. And I think also not just issuing that atrocity determination, but also watching for early warning signs of other atrocities, like what we're starting to see in Chin State, maybe even happening in other states like Shan State and otherwise.

The second, of course, I mentioned were sanctions to cut the Burmese military off from all international financial funding.

The third thing—and I think this is very important, I haven't raised this before—is that when a government or a self-declared government like the Burmese military fails to protect the rights of its citizens, the U.S. has a valuable, practical, tangible tool at its fingertips. And that's the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. We've long been advocating at Heritage for priority to refugee status for Rohingya. But I think that should now be extended to individuals who have been a part of the civil disobedience movement or who are at risk purely due to their previous affiliations or associations with the U.S. government now that the military is in power. I think offering refugee relief that is quick and expedited but still requires stringent vetting is a means of offering safe haven to those who cannot find it within their own borders.

We will keep our eye on this story. Olivia Enos has been our guest. Olivia, thanks for joining us this morning.

ENOS: Thank you so much for having me, Paul.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Collectors are just going to collect.

But so too are the people who sell to them, they’ll collect cash and lots of it.

Especially from those who crave rare athletic shoes.

One pair brought a record-breaking price recently—appropriately enough—they were shoes that belonged to a guy who, well, broke lots of NBA records.

It was a pair of autographed red and white Nike Air Ships, 37 years old, game worn by Michael Jordan back when he was rookie with the Chicago Bulls.

The final bid: nearly $1.5 million!

That broke the record for the most valuable game-worn shoes from any athlete.

The previous record: just over $600,000 for a pair of sneaks also worn by none other than Michael Jordan.

It’s The World and Everything in It.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

PAUL BUTLER, HOST: And I’m Paul Butler. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Caregiving!

November is National Family Caregivers Month. According to Family Care Alliance statistics, more than 34 million people provide unpaid care or regular assistance to an ailing family member.

EICHER: And the sacrifices often go unnoticed. The hours are long, the work back-breaking and at times heartbreaking.

A few weeks ago we asked a caregiver and her husband if they would record parts of their day using their smartphones—the good and the bad. WORLD Senior Correspondent Myrna Brown has their story.

ALARM CLOCK GOING OFF

ANGELA: Good Morning….

MYRNA BROWN, REPORTER: It’s a chilly November morning in Loganville, Georgia.

… you ready to get up? Uh huh… uh huh… tired? Huh..are you tired? oh my goodness. I’m exhausted. It was such a late night...

Angela Chapman is already behind schedule. It’s 7:45 and she’s just getting her gloves on.

AUDIO: PUTTING ON GLOVES

ANGELA: I need to bathe your private parts...

Steve Chapman, Angela’s husband of 21 years has Multiple Sclerosis and is in a wheelchair. Their daily routine begins with Angela bathing Steve and emptying his overnight catheter extension bag.

AUDIO: EMPTYING BAG IN BATHROOM

ANGELA: What color shorts do you want to wear today? (Steve yawns)... I don’t care. You don’t care? Oh my goodness (Angela yawns) gray is the color of the day. That rhymes. Yes it does…. Nope, nope, nope… you gotta get that leg out.

MS has made Steve’s legs as stiff as a board. So, Angela uses her 5’7 frame to pull them apart so that she can get him into his undershorts. Steve tips the scale at 205.

ANGELA HELPING AND STEVE AND DESCRIBING WHAT SHE’S DOING: Alright, so now let’s pull these up… nope, nope… Then he has spasms and his legs will just jump up, curl under and then go out completely straight and trying to get them apart is a booger.

But Angela manages to get the shorts to Steve’s knees. Now she needs to turn him over to finish the job.

ANGELA HELPING/DESCRIBING: Alright babe, ready 1,2,3… because Steve can’t move at all, he can’t help me roll himself over, so I have to roll him myself with all my strength...

And with every tug, twist and turn, there’s a sweet aroma of tenderness.

Whew, I’m so strong. (Steve inserts) And you smell good, too. Thanks!

ANGELA: 1,2,3…. Ok again… 1,2.3… 1,2,3.. Ok. alright

Then Angela pulls Steve’s legs down the bed to get him closer to the Ferrari. That’s what they call his $85,000 motorized wheelchair.

ANGELA: Let me put a pad in your chair so that if you have an accident it will not get on your cushion.

ANGELA: Ready? I’m going to pull your arm up and we’re going to try and get in the chair, 1,2,3… good!

Using a sliding board and a bit more of her back than she’d like, Angela gets Steve seated and they make their way to the bathroom.

ANGELA: He has gotten heavier and it’s because he can’t really do anything to exercise. So I think I’ve torn or sprained my rotator cup or something because I’m having a lot of pain in my arm. But I haven’t got to the doctor for it, just because I don’t have time.

Angela has to make the most of every minute. While Steve brushes his teeth, she combs her hair. And then, there are the tasks only she can tackle.

ANGELA: So, he can’t sit up by himself so I have to lean his chair up some and pull his body up to get his shirt off of him. Alright… now, deodorant…. Arm up… good job...arm up good job. OK!... (Steve inserts) You said good job me or good job you? (Angela responds)Haha… we can say both on that.

MYRNA TO ANGELA: How do you keep from treating him like he’s a baby or a child? How do you balance that because you are doing things that you would do for a child?

ANGELA: Balancing the husband and the caretaker is really difficult. It’s hard to look at him some days as my spouse but it’s also hard to look at him other days as the caretaker because I’m both roles. I want him to be my spouse. I want him to be the leader of the house. And he is, but I want it to be where I’m not doing everything.

ANGELA: Let’s go to the kitchen… figure out breakfast and lunch. I’m going to let the dogs out.

It’s a few minutes past 8:30. Angela needs to leave the house by 8:45 to get to her full-time job outside of the home, a family-owned business.

ANGELA: Come on… (sound of dogs scrambling on hardwood floors)

But first she has to deal with the stack of dirty dishes and organize Steve’s medication.

ANGELA: Your son got in here again in the kitchen. Looks like he whipped him up some kind of egg breakfast… Alexa, add eggs to the shopping list please.

ANGELA: Alright two (some difficult medication to pronounce)... four maclaphen

MYRNA TO ANGELA: Angela do you ever fear that you’ve forgotten something? It’s not like an item that I think I’ll forget, it’s an activity.

And there are several to juggle. Jonathan and Abby, the Chapman’s teenage son and daughter, have full schedules. Steve also has his doctor’s appointments and there’s church and chores.

ANGELA: I will be 100 percent honest, when I have a bad day, it shows and I’m not always the nicest… wife or caretaker. And Steve, he knows that I get like that. And I’m just so thankful that he knows it’s not directed at him, it’s the situation that we’re in.

And despite the circumstances, Angela says they’re still committed to the promises they made to each other two decades ago.

ANGELA: When you got married, you got married for better or for worse, for rich or poor, sickness and in health. So that’s the role that I have as his wife and I’m also to be there no matter what happens. And he would do the exact same thing for me.

It’s 8:45. With Steve’s breakfast and lunch prepared, Angela is heading out the door.

ANGELA: Alright… gotta load up mine… and then hopefully I’ll be home around 3:30. Have a good day.I love you. I love you, too.

(smooch) Door closes shut.

Tomorrow, Steve’s perspectives on needing this level of support. Plus, what happens while the primary caregiver is gone? We’ll hear that side of the story tomorrow.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Myrna Brown.


PAUL BUTLER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, November 23rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Paul Butler.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and that means it’s time to start getting out the Christmas decorations. Here’s commentator Steve West.

STEVE WEST, COMMENTATOR: When I began lighting trees in the lawn surrounding my home for Christmas, I was a young man. There was a certain excitement about sinuous cords and electricity, star lights in a winter chill. And for the lights, foreign born and cheap, it was their month of glory. No longer mute, they sang from the trees with their humming electric hearts.

But I’m older now.

A few years ago, I was at work with the tree lights on the eve of Thanksgiving. I woke them from their hibernation in the attic where they lay coiled and cabined. I untangled them from their long sleep and juiced them to see if they lived on, lit for another year. Those that didn’t I consigned to the rubbish bin.

Once I separated the wheat from the chaff, I dragged the box containing those that remained down the stairs. Laying on the driveway, they buzzed with growing anticipation. I gathered electrical cords, laid the infrastructure in the beds of pine straw, and plotted my work of creation. Using a six foot orange pole of unknown origin, I began carefully, like an artist at canvas, hoisting the strands and draping them over the tree. But I soon tired and reverted to throwing handfuls over the tallish upper branches. Viewed from a distance, through squinted eyes, it looked like an impressionist painting.

This year I said to my wife, as I said to her in past years, "Maybe we can just not put up the lights this year." And she said, "But the children would be disappointed." Oh yes, the children. For a moment I imagined our laconic cats watching from the windows, noses pressed to glass, dispassionately observing us in empty-headed wonder. But perhaps even such as these desire to look into such things.

Oh, but the children. Their disappointment. About that, she is probably right. So I reconsidered. Last Sunday afternoon, after a nap, we tackled the first tree. She climbed to the top of a teetering ladder, wrapping an unlit cord around the treetop. Then, we plugged it in. Nearly half the strand remained dark. She looked at me. I looked at her. "Don't curse," I said. But of course she wouldn't. We smiled slight smiles and let go the curse. "Let's jiggle it," I said, a remedy for most mechanical malfunctions. We did, but that failed to revive it. So we ripped it down. I smiled at the crunch of glass under my feet.

Finally, after dusk, we finished one tree. She stood back, smiling. "It looks wonderful, the best ever," she said, unfailingly cheerful. Well, it’s a start, I think.

But, the children. In the end, it will all be worth it, I think, their lit faces basking in the window candles, the buzz of electricity humming in their ears, and the starry cheer of a lit lawn lifting their hearts on a cold and rainy day. In that light, even the melancholy brighten. Christmas, after all, is coming.

I’m Steve West.


NICK EICHER, HOST: President Biden and Xi Jinping made nice during last week’s virtual summit. But behind the scenes, the tension between the United States and China is only rising. We’ll talk about that on Washington Wednesday.

That and more tomorrow.

I’m Nick Eicher.

PAUL BUTLER, HOST: And I’m Paul Butler.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

Reminder, if you’ve never given before to support the program, would you consider doing that today? November is the month we encourage first-time givers to join the army of more than 10,000 others who keep all of our journalism strong and supplied.

Proverbs 17:17—A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.

Go now in grace and peace.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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