I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Santa's Snowblast in Hialeah.

Sick. Someone come to this with me. It sounds awful.

Santa's Snowblast in Hileah, where they make 50 tons of snow.



THEY'LL all be in Shorts and flip flops! BA-HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!

No, really. It's 5-10. We can TOTALLY go and be done in time for Erik's party...

In Goodlet Park, Hileah. One of you out there has to be down to going to this trainwreck with me!

On Christmas.

Some of you may have read this. Some of you may have not. I wrote this about three years ago (baked) but I'm pretty sure it still rings true.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Christmas seems like such a good idea. I'm glad I'm a Jew.

So here's the deal. Even though I'm a raging Jew, Jappy McYid, I love the idea of Christmas. I love the holly and yew, and spruce. I love red and green. I love popcorn and cranberry garlands, white lights on dark spruce trees. Trees and shiny sparkly glass ornaments and white snowflakes. I love candycanes, big and small, red and green (especially the green ones), jars tied with red and green tartan, and candles, deep red or buttery white, and those ornaments that bubble (I used to call them up-and-downs when I was really little). I love hearing ancient christmas carols, dark choral voices echoing solemnly through cavernous medieval cathedrals in England or Germany, or a brass quartet playing Renaissance ayres. I could fall asleep to Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby, and Brenda Lee, and The Andrews Sisters, all crooning lulling Christmas Cheer into the microphones. I love Burl Ives and Currier and Ives. I love Christmas smells -- cinnamon and pie spices, dark and clovy, and sagey, with allspice. I love smelling fire smoke and mulled cider, and citrus and coffee and hot whiskey and pine and cold. I love that all the stores are decked out with red glasses and green and white tablesettings, and there are "Great Christmas Gifts!" everywhere, and people bustling in and around the mall, dressed warmly carrying bags of gifts that they're going to give to their families, as they swarm the mall at NINE at NIGHT! I love seeing your breath as you're crunching over ice and snow walking through the neighborhood at night to see other people's christmas lights, and when the entire neighborhood is covered in luminaries, the street looking like it's a runway for Santa's sled... I love seeing smoke curl out of chimneys, and I love the blast of hot air opening the doors to the fireplace, and burning my hands as I rake the coals in the fireplace evenly, before adding more logs. I love cheesy christmas commercials with glazed turkeys and hams and bowls of other christmassy, fatty, New Year's-Diet-Resolution-causing food, bowls of punch, trays of muffins and bars and individual cherry cheesecakes, and chocolate cheesecake minibites, and bowls of nuts and candy, and slices of fruit cake, rummy and gross, stuck with iridescent red and green and orange and yellow candied fruit peels. I love leftovers and christmas cookies, wrapped in red and green Saran wrap. I love getting cards from other people, who you know sat down one night wearing red flannel pyjamas -- the dog at her feet and snow falling outside. On the desk, a lamp with a red shade lights her as she smiles and lovingly pens your card. I love people going to midnight mass, the vaulted hundred-year-old interior of the church mighty in its dignity, softly lit so that shadows swoop through ribs of flying buttressed arches, candles burn still, and red ribbons adorn the pews, a large christmas tree off to one side, wreaths on the doors, a red mantle on the pulpit. O Come O Come Emmanuel echoes through the church, as well as Mendehlsson's "Hosianna in der Hoh," "Heilig, Heilig, Heilig is Gott der Herr, Sebaoth..." echoing as the chords build. Afterward, everyone drinks eggnog laced with nutmeg and rum.

That's my romanticized christmas. I know that Christmas is stressful and frenetic, cooking and cleaning, toys and wrapping paper, traffic jams, and sleet, malls packed with nasty, ill-tempered, swollen gouty fat people yelling at their crying children.

For the last 13 years, I've spent most Christmasses in Florida -- we used to visit my grandmother, and in the 3 years since her death, I've been sort of home for christmas, and have realized -- just how much I love not being in a Christmas-centric environment. I've realized I love the idea, and not the reality of christmas. When we'd spend Christmasses in Ft. Lauderdale, everyone was Jewish. Christmas was a day on the beach, a movie, and chinese food later that night, ivory colored menorahs with orange or blue lights shining out from screened-in porches and small double-hung Florida-Condo windows, with flamboyant yellowed 70's windowshades half-down above the electric menoras. Palm trees rustled, lit from below with yellow and blue floodlights, and as fountains in the pools of water recirculate the water to keep it from stagnating.

I don't want to go home this year for Christmas. Christmas for Jews is sort of a dull ache when you're not completely removed from it. In Maryland, Christmas is so deathly boring. NOTHING is open. It's usually gray outside. Everything is brown. There's dirty snow in piles on the side of the road, left over from a storm two weeks before. You have no tree. You have no meal prepared. We always have other Jews over, and we all sit around, eating crackers and dip and some crazy Gazpacho my father made. There's usually a dry poundcake or apple monstrosity for dessert. Why do we EAT apple desserts?! They're AWFUL. No more apfelkuchen. The mothers get drunk and laugh at everything, the kids play in the basement, everyone has coffee, and has a great time, thinking -- would I be having even MORE fun if I were a Christian, sitting around in a green sweater eating ham?

I think the answer is probably no. For Christmas, I usually sit on the beach and eat ice cream. I don't have to go to church, and I don't have to say grace. We eat orange beef and sweet and sour chicken, and hot and sour soup, and then we go to bed, knowing that the next day, we won't have to take down the fire hazard spilling needles all over the carpet, and most importantly, that when we wake up, EVERYTHING WILL BE ON SALE!!!

Yeah. My memories are the same. My love of Christmas is the same. And my gratitude that I don't have to get thrown into the mix endures.

Here, Read This.

Morally Speaking, Many Actions Far From Christian

By: Diana L. Eck
"On Faith" panelist Diana L. Eck is Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University and Director of The Pluralism Project.

America is not a Christian nation in more ways than one.

Numerically? Of course, in terms of numbers America is about 85% Christian. There are smaller numbers of Jews and growing numbers of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs. Some of our Native peoples describe themselves as Christian, but others speak of a multitude of lifeways. And don't forget the many people who describe themselves as secular. Our "we" in the U.S. may be that of a Christian majority, but "we" are increasingly a multi-religious nation.

Constitutionally? Definitely not. Our constitution is not about numbers and percentages. It is about principles, one of which is the non-establishment of religion –any religion. Our "we" in the US is governed by a Constitution that promises no state-sponsored religion and the free exercise of religion –a prescription for religious tolerance and a recipe for religious diversity. Not only is religious freedom protected, so is the freedom not to be religious. When it comes to religion, our "we" is not to be subject to majority rule. No indeed. Freedom of conscience is sacred –especially for those who are not majorities and do not win elections.

Morally? Are we morally a Christian nation? This is a matter for some soul-searching for those of us who are Christians. Can our nation's priorities in foreign policy and foreign aid be described as Christian? Have we demonstrated Christian principles in war-making or peace-making? I don't think so. Is it a moral good to consume far more than our share of non-renewable energy resources, creating for ourselves a standard of living that does not know the meaning of the word "enough" and that acquiesces in a world of unconscionable economic disparities? Perhaps we should remember that the most fundamental teachings of the Gospel proclaim that we will be judged by what we do "for the least of these" –for the stranger, the prisoner, the homeless, the hungry.

As for Christmas, are the lights and trees, the holly and mistletoe "Christian?" I far prefer to think of them as the season's substructure of ancient paganism that we share widely and happily with people of many faiths and none.

In WhoGivesAFuck News:

For your edification: In a piece of groundbreakingly current news:

Princess Diana's death has been ruled an accident.


It took almost ten years for them to figure out that she died in an Accident? Sounds like SOMEONE was trying to string a "three-second-long" jobtask into a career.

Now don't get me wrong. I was just as sad about Diana's death, as I was sad about Steve Irwin's death (read: Very.) Hell, I even woke up at 5 a.m. to watch the funeral LIVE on T.V.

But why is she suddenly all over the news? She died like August 31, 1997 (during my little brother's bar-mitzvah reception, actually, whenever that date was...) Her ten year anniversary still a loooong way off. Yeah, her kids are throwing her a benefit concert... but... Know what I thought when I found out she died? "Oh, Diana died in a car accident that's very sad.

It must be a R.E.A.L.L.Y. slow news day. There's been a report done on this? Whether her death was an accident? Her Mercedes slammed into a pillar in a tunnel. And she died. Regardless of whether someone hit her or not, that's an accident. Even if someone hit her car on purpose. Still called a "car accident," also called a "wreck."

In other "No-Shit" and "Amazingly outdated" news stories:

1) John Wilkes Booth's ankle not healing.
2) Weight may have played a factor in Marlon Brando's death.
3) Baby found among reeds and raised by Royal Egyptian Family not Egyptian, Jewish.
4) Alzheimer's Disease Caused Reagan to be Forgetful During Last Years of his Life.
5) Hindenberg Disaster May Have Been Avoided If It Did Not Land When It Did.
6) Titanic's Watertight Bulkheads Not-so-watertight.
7) President Taft Was Fat.