We’ve reached that inevitable point in the middle of the summer months that dooms all bloggers. That is, the stretch of time where there is just nothing to write about. No movie or sports news—we are still waiting for a little bit of both. Because of that, I thought it was about time to finally set pen to paper on an idea I have had for a new television show, one that would combine history with the single item we can all find common ground on: food! There are an endless amount of documentaries on all time periods in history (though that number has been shrinking in recent years due to a mass-encroachment from mindless “reality”-based shows), but how many of them ever take the time to go into detail on the food consumed in whatever particular time period they are focusing on? The only one that comes to mind is one of my favorites, The Naked Archaeologist, hosted by Simcha Jacobovici, which I love for its simplistic, down-to-earth approach to archaeology, making it fun, interesting, and easy to learn for everyone. The reason why the show is titled as such is because he peels back the layers, so to speak, making the archaeology “naked”. Many times his shows will include little tidbits on food and lifestyles, which I always found fascinating. I think it is a topic that could do very well as a show of its own, because if there is one thing that can humanize a group of people who have been dead for hundreds or thousands of years, it would be details about, and demonstrations of how to cook the food they ate.
I would like to wish all of my readers here on From New York to San Francisco a very Merry Christmas, and an upcoming Happy New Year! It has been a pleasure blogging for you for a little less than two years now. Let’s hope that we all have an enjoyable day tomorrow with our family and friends, which shows what the real meaning of this holiday is all about. I have already recieved my first gift of the holiday, from a friend, which was a Henrik Lundqvist t-shirt-jersey with the Winter Classic patch on the top. I am really pumped up for that game, and will definitely be wearing that shirt on January 2nd. As for tomorrow, I will be spending it with my family as I do every year, one of the only days where everyone can get together for a meal at the same time. I hope everyone else will be experiencing the same.
P.S Christmas is sure a lot more enjoyable knowing that the New York Rangers sit in first place in the Atlantic Division, and Marian Gaborik leads the league in goals. Still a long way to go, but last night’s victory over the Philadelphia Flyers was one of the best gifts I could have gotten!
Ah, it’s that time of year again where political correctness drives people mad! Last year, we attacked the myths behind Frostie the Snowman and Santa Claus, and because they went over so well, I decided to continue it again this year, with a different holiday that no one ever goes after. Well, why should we leave New Year’s celebrations alone? Surely, somewhere, someone is offended by such a day/eve, and on this blog, we shall set out to exploit it!
Over the last few years, it has become ever-apparent that the Christmas season has undergone drastic changes. Long gone are the days when we can exclaim “Merry Christmas” to the general population, for fear of someone being offended. Everything has now shifted to “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings”; schools now have a week off for “Winter Break”. Just like everything else in this country, the situation has turned into a political soapbox. Those deemed liberal get their chance to step up and denounce the wishing of a certain holiday’s greeting to the masses, while those who society sees as conservative shove that person to the ground and climb up on the proverbial box to speak exactly the opposite. It is because of this hotbed that I address you today with a question regarding a phrase we are hearing more and more: is there really a war on Christmas?
Today was the unofficial start to the Christmas season in our house, as we began to put up decorations and outside lights, which we will finish tomorrow. Though I was never a fan of rushing things in November, I will be away next weekend (a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania) so we wanted to get things done now. This will also be our first holiday season with Lawrence, my ever-nosy and troublesome cat, who seems to always do something destructive on a daily basis. If you have read my “Week in Review” articles from the past summer and spring, then you are well aware of his antics, and how he was named after Union General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Over the last few weeks, I have been anxiously awaiting his reaction to my family putting up a Christmas tree. Whenever we bring something new into the house, he has to pretend he is Inspector Clouseau and check everything out—the “bomb-sniffing cat”, as we call him. Because he always finds ways to get into trouble and have fun with decorations, I was very nervous about our tree. We decided to not put up the big tree in the family room just yet, until we get back from Pennsylvania, because he would probably find a way to destroy it.
In about a week, we will celebrating everyone’s favorite day of encouraged gluttony: Thanksgiving! This was long the holiday that could not be commercialized, because nothing could be bought except food, and the activities for the day include eating, spending time with family and friends, and perhaps watching some football. In recent years, though, the actual day of Thanksgiving has been pushed aside, as merely the precursor to a day of insanity and lunacy, which is shopping on Black Friday. Sure, it used to be charming; waking up early and going to hunt bargains, but now, it has become madness, which has seen people literally being trampled to death in stores by nut jobs with shopping carts. This is yet another great day of traditions being destroyed in this country, in the name of the almighty dollar, and there is really nothing we can do to stop it. As I always say, “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying”, so I offer up this poem to you in order to help celebrate these two great days of destruction. I hope you enjoy!
‘Twas the day after Thanksgiving, it has come at last
The memories of yesterday’s feast, they are all in the past
Getting up at midnight to do your shopping
The blood vessels in your eyes are sure to be popping
The turkey you ate, it has not even been digested
And you know hundreds of morons will soon be arrested
Rush your family out of the house, you need to get your rest
Will you become immersed in Black Friday madness, the ultimate test?
Who really cares about Thanksgiving, it’s just an ordinary day
The pilgrims who we celebrate, they were murderers anyway
So come on, get your wallet, and fill it with cash
5 a.m shopping at Wal-Mart is going to be a bash!
When you cannot buy your favorite items, you are filled with sorrow
You’re too dumb to realize, they’ll be there tomorrow
You lash out at the cashier, you attack your loved ones
A barbarian you look like, even to Attila and his Huns
Running through the store you go, a maniac with a cart
Like a killer you pounce, with a black hole for a heart
In the sporting goods section, someone was strangled with a fishing net
Hey, it beats getting run over by a shopping cart in Target
Every store offers such great discounts
In hospitals and trauma centers, the number of wounded amounts
People just don’t understand, this is the American way
Destroy all that you want, just make sure that you pay
The stores open so early, they call it “Moonlight Madness”
The crazed psycho shoppers fill me with sadness
Trampled to death someone will be
As they always are, by a 400 pound woman who has a bum knee
When you get to the checkout line, you realize the store told a lie
Remember when you came through the turnstiles wondering if you were going to die?
But you don’t care, you got what you came for
Just make sure to get dad’s gift at the discount liquor store
The Macy’s Parade, you had watched it the day before
When all you wanted to do was shop, my, what a bore!
You come home late at night, and watch the news reports of all the shoppers that died
But you got your child the latest toy, and are more than satisfied
Pretty soon, it will be the Christmas season
We have to call it the “Holidays”, for a non-offensive reason
A month later, the stockings will be hung by the chimney with care
As I hope the apocalypse soon will be there
All kidding aside, I truly hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, one spent with your closest family and friends. Remember, as tempted as you may be to go out shopping at ungodly hours the next day, or even that night, remember there are more important things in life than hunting that great bargain.
Well, less than two hours after I expressed my affection for Halloween, I now have to express my anger. Over the last few years, we have seen a growing number of schools across the country banning students from wearing costumes on Halloween, and some even going so far as to ban mention of the day all together. Most recently, a public school district in Springfield, Illinois has been added to the list, because administration cites the costumes as being “disruptive”. While that very well may be their reason, most likely, the reasons from other schools are a lot more political. Before we go blaming the liberal left for being too politically correct, let me just point out that if anyone would want to ban children from celebrating this holiday in school, it would actually be the religious right, because Halloween began as a pagan holiday, and there are still many sects of Christianity that believe the celebration of it today is evil, unholy and godless. Gee, such strong words for little kids going around asking for candy, I know, but this is the world we live in. Either the left is trying to destroy Christmas, or the right is trying to destroy Halloween, it all amounts to the uneasy world that the children of this generation are growing up in.
Both sides to the story are asinine, and I believe that people of all faiths should be able to express their feelings on the day of their major holiday. As I wrote about last winter, when I tackled the political correctness of the
Christmas Holiday Season, do people really get upset, or do they just have too much time on their hands? What would happen if the horror of a Jewish person saying “Happy Hanukkah” to a Christian would ensue, or vice versa? Would both people suddenly spontaneously combust? We are seeing it with Halloween now, where people who do not care to partake in such a fun holiday are upset by seeing those who do. Basically, it’s like, “If I can’t have any fun, neither will you.” When I was in elementary school, I distinctly remember a girl in our class who was a Jehovah’s Witness. She was not allowed to wear a costume or eat any of the candy/food we had during our party. But she was not nasty about it, and she actually enjoyed looking at the costumes worn by the other children. She did not seem too upset at all—she had her religious convictions, and was perfectly fine with seeing those who differ from her celebrate the holiday. I gather her parents were fine with it too, because otherwise they would have kept their child out of school that day, because there was never any real work given out to begin with.
But no, now it has to eclipse that. Saying that costumes disrupt schoolwork is not a good enough excuse. Halloween is only one single day out of the entire year. What that amounts to is 179 other days for children to work in school. Maybe they can have the teachers plan “fun” work that day, involving the holiday and how it has transformed from the pagan, Celtic feast of Samhain to what we all know and love today. Heck, maybe they will even learn something and not even know it. There are plenty of documentaries and activities to do on that one day that would make everybody happy.
Throughout my life, the celebration of this day has transformed right before my very eyes. When I was in elementary school, the wearing of costumes was encouraged, and we even had contests throughout the day. Then, when I got to 5th grade, our district shifted schools around, and my new school became K through 6th. The principal specifically told us that we 5th and 6th graders should not wear costumes, because it was something for the younger children only, and we should show “maturity”. That pissed off our parents some, because we were still only 10 or 11 at that time. When I moved on to middle school, costumes were once again encouraged, and the same in high school, where many of the teachers put us students to shame with the extravagant costumes they came in with. There was little or no work that day, and it was actually a fun time to be in school. While I cannot say what my former schools are doing now, except for that episode I experienced while in 5th and 6th grade, Halloween was generally a positive day, and if it fell on the weekend, we would just dress up on the nearest Friday.
Halloween is yet another holiday being destroyed by politics. I am not going to lay the final blame on a particular party or ideology here. The two sides continuously ruin the lives of adults, but now they are ruining the lives of the kids. The world is terrible enough as it is, so do we need to keep going that extra step? One day out of the year, people are allowed to dress funny and have fun at work or school. It is a tradition that has been around for generations, and it is one that needs to stay in place. This holiday is a part of our American culture, and it is time more people stood up to protect it.