Selwyn DukeHe was small in stature but big in heart — and, presumably, faith. His name was Adam. And he is among the youngest of Christian martyrs.

Are the American people willing to give up the comforts of the Nanny State in exchange for self-reliant individualism? Before the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Americans did indeed rely on their individual efforts to maintain home and family. My parents came to this country in the 1920s, before there was a welfare state, and my father had to support his wife and five children without the aid of the government. And so, with the help of a nephew, he got a pushcart and started selling vegetables at the open-air market under the New York Central railway el on Park Avenue.

Chip WoodHave you read a really bad book lately? No, I don’t mean one of those “beach books” with poor plotting, inane dialogue and pitiful characterization. Lord knows there are plenty of those out there.

The FighterThe Fighter is based on the true story of professional boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg). It tells the tale of Ward’s relationship with his half-brother Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale), and how the brothers helped to put their city of Lowell, Massachusetts, on the map, though not always in the best way. The movie is exciting and gripping, but explicit language, heavy drug use, and violence orient the film to a specific type of audience.

This coming Christmas promises to be a little more joyous than the last, which reminded me of Christmases during the Great Depression. Although the holiday is as commercialized as ever, we can expect the response of the public this year to be as cautious and frugal as ever. Eighty-five percent of the work force still have jobs, and sales are up a bit. Many retailers are offering big sales and discounts to encourage more buying. Nevertheless, for many Americans, economic survival is still on their minds, which might lead many worried Americans to start thinking of the real meaning of Christmas.