It’s that time of year again. Beaten down by rampant consumerism, we’re all left wondering how to balance work and pleasure. Laughter and Libations is a survival guide of sorts, helping people to drink and be merry during a season over-powered with puritanical messages. This year’s edition includes recipes for favorite winter drinks along with three categories of songs: Traditional Treasures, Simple Substitutions, and Ridiculous Rewrites. Traditional Treasures can be traced back to a less than pious origin whereas Ridiculous Rewrites takes an originally pious hymn and alters it to appeal to our most base and carnal instincts.
I am conflicted. I didn’t used to be. I used to know where I stood. Kneeling during the anthem was a-okay by me! But like John Kerry, I was against it before I was for it. Or perhaps it was the other way around, I can’t remember now.
It all started innocently enough. Continue reading
Being Pagan is difficult. Sure there’s discrimination, nasty comments, and the like, but you also have to figure out when to celebrate your holidays. Christians have it easy; the calendar is designed around their holy days, church happens every Sunday. But for Pagans it’s a bit more difficult. Astronomers have been kind enough to track the solstices and equinoxes for us and make those dates readily available, but when it comes to the cross-quarter days, we’re on our own.
‘Tis the season to make an ass of yourself. There is nothing like proclaiming the love of Jesus that brings out the downright-nasty-not-niceness in Christians each December.
Spiteful memes show up in Facebook feeds stating, “It’s Merry Christmas, say the fucking words, damn it!” “Stop the War on Christmas,” “Put Christ back in Christmas!” and my personal favorite, “When someone wishes you ‘Happy Holidays’ remind them that ‘Holidays’ are HOLY DAYS!” The problem with the holy days proclaimers, and the majority of Christians, is that they fail to realize there is more than one holiday in December and most of them pre-date Christianity.
When I was a child, somewhere deep within me, I knew I needed to celebrate ‘mid-summer.’ The drive was so strong that, when I was about 10 years old, I actually got out a calendar and counted all the days between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox. Ever since then I’ve been celebrating in early August.
This year the mid-point occurs on August 6th.
Imagine my surprise when, as an adult, I discovered there was an actual holiday, associated with a real religion in early August. Even more surprising was that they observed all my “made up” holidays. (The quarter days and the cross-quarter days.) Sometimes the call to honor the seasons runs so deep that even an unsuspecting 10 year-old in Idaho cannot help but heed it.
Since the scorching summer sun beats down on the fields, ripening the wheat, the Palouse smells faintly of baking bread every August. To observe the holiday I’m making fresh bread, then heading outside with a glass of wine to catch the beginnings of the Perseid Meteor Shower. (Peak is August 11 & 12, shortly after midnight.) I hope all of you find a way to celebrate the rotating wheel of the year, too.
From time to time I have random thoughts, which generally devolve into silliness owing my propensity to share them. Today’s random thought involved vodka, English weights and measures, and of course, coconuts. Social media is great for sharing random thoughts and the following was posted for the benefit of friends and strangers:
How much vodka is in a glug? As in, I found a big glass, added OJ, added grapefruit juice, added squirt, then dumped vodka in and the bottle went, “glug, glug, glug, glug.” How much is 4 glugs of vodka?