Saturday, December 08, 2007

Guide for the holidays........

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season. The Christians called it “Christmas” and went to church. The Jews called it “Hanukka” and went to synagogue. The atheists went to parties and drank.

These days, people say “Seasons Greetings”, which when you think about it, means nothing. It’s like walking up to someone and saying “Appropriate Remark” in a loud and cheerful voice.

Some of you may be unhappy with this dereligionizing of the Holiday Season and you may have decided that you’re going to celebrate the old fashioned way, with your family sitting around stringing cranberries and exchanging homemade gifts. Well, you can forget it. If everyone pulled a stunt like that, the economy would collapse overnight. The government would have to intervene, forming a cabinet level Department of Holiday Gifting, which would spend billions and billions of tax dollars to buy Barbie dolls and electronic games, which it would drop on the populace from Air Force jets, killing and maiming thousands. So, for the good of the nation, you should go along with the program. This means you should get a large sum of money and go to a mall.

When you get to the mall, the first thing to remember is that you should not park in the mall parking lot and walk to the mall buildings, because you will probably get killed. Instead drive your car right up to and, if possible, right into the mall building. This is perfectly legal, people do it all the time. In almost every mall I’ve ever been to, the corridors were littered with cars, RVs, snowmobiles and boats left by smart parkers.

Now you are ready for the actual shopping. Your goal should be to get it over with as quickly as possible.

Here is a very efficient shopping method: Divide the amount of money you have by the number of people on your gift list. So if you have $160 and you have 10 people on your list, your average is $16 per person. Now find something that costs $16 and buy 10 of whatever it is. You’ll find many useful gifts in this price range; for example, you could get 10 bottles of Vitamin B. Everyone can use Vitamin B and your children are sure to shriek with delight when they find it under the tree.

If you want to buy gifts that are a little more personal, here are some guidelines:

Gifts for Men

Men are amused by almost any idiot thing, that is why professional ice hockey is so popular. So buying gifts for them is easy. But you should never buy them clothes. Men believe that they already have all the clothes they will ever need and new ones make them nervous. If you give him something even as simple as a new tie, he will pretend to like it, but deep inside he will hate you. If you want to give a man something practical, consider tires.

Gifts for Women

Again, you should avoid buying clothes. Not because women don’t like clothes, the problem here is sizes. Women’s clothing sizes don’t mean anything,they vary from store to store, from manufacturer to manufacturer depending on the day of the week or the time of year. Trying to buy clothes will give you migraine headaches or cause you to spend time in the nearest bar. This means you will drink too much and end up having to go to AA meetings. Plus it really cuts into your available shopping time.

The safest gifts for women are expensive little bottles of scented liquids. These are sold at cosmetic counters under names such as “Eau De Water” and “Endless Nights of Heavy Petting”.

Gifts for Children

This is really easy, you never have to figure out what to buy for kids because they will tell you, over and over and over……………… Just make sure that you get them exactly what they ask for, even if you disapprove of their choices. If the child thinks that they want Murderous Bob, the toy with the face that you can rip right off, you’d better get it. Now you may be worried that it might help to encourage the childs’ anti-social tendencies, but you have not seen anti-social tendencies until you have witnessed a child who is convinced that they have not been given the right gift.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

All Hallows Eve

Spent sunflowers rustle in unison with the bleached cornstalks outside the window. Their bony stems and withered leaves mimic the stark silhouettes of trees rapidly losing their vestments of red, yellow and brown. Autumn passes away in the skittering leaves that fly just out of reach, like so many summer days.

Oidche Shamhna, “the night of Samhain,” approaches. The fire that lights the night on October 31 crackles brilliantly with disorder signaling harvest’s end, the end of autumn and the end of the Celtic year. As the bonfire leaps skyward, it rends the boundaries between worlds and years, stirring the souls of the dead and those yet living. When the great bonfire finally sees ashes on November 1, the new Celtic year, the winter and the season of Death have arrived.

The festival of Samhain is the origin of our contemporary “Halloween.” Too potent to be banished by time and Christianity, remnants of the original celebration remain. These “remnants” echo of still-living traditions powerful enough to open a door to the Otherworld.

Tradition without essence is meaningless, at best, empty sentimentality. The black cats, grinning pumpkins and trick-or-treats of Halloween satisfy little except a sweet tooth and possibly the temporary atmospheric appreciation of a moonlit, windy night. However, coupled with the archaic remains of the Samhain festival, these simple conventions become compelling indeed.

Marking the end of the year, Samhain heralds the disintegration of the old order and the calends of the new. Let us look at some traditions that honour the arrival of the Otherworldly host such as divinations, feasting, masquerades and the use of harvest symbols.

The harvest that began at Lughnasadh (first harvest) is seconded at Mabon , the autumnal equinox, and finds its fruition in the third and final harvest at Samhain. Fruits and nuts are the last gifts of nature to be gathered. Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit-bearing trees holds the apple as her symbol. At the horizontal centre of the apple is a five-pointed star, sacred to the Goddess. Mythologies the world over are replete with sacred fruits and precious apples, often located in otherworldly groves or gardens such as Avalon, Tir na nOg or the Garden of Eden.

Divinations at Samhain reflect the need to discern the germ of new beginnings from the whirling debris of dissolution at year-end. Both apples and nuts find an enduring role of love and fertility in these traditions. Halloween is also known as “Nutcrack Night,” for the hazel and walnuts that are placed on a fire or stove to foretell the fidelity of lovers. Hazel nuts and water are particularly divinatory, harking back to the Well of Connla, where the nine hazel trees of wisdom drop their nuts into the murmuring waters.

The predominant colour of Samhain is black. Black is the winter, the moldering leaves, the rich underworld womb to which seeds of plants and ideas close their eyes for the winter. Black is the waning moon, the magnificent darkness of the crone of wisdom, the Cailleach (Old Woman), the bone-rattling Baba Yaga(fearsome witch of Russian folklore) and our Halloween “witch.” Long sacred to the moon goddess and the world of spirit, cats find their natural place alongside the Cailleach, as well as the owl, a bird of wisdom.

Carved pumpkins are a delightful Halloween tradition, brought to the United States by 18th century Irish immigrants. The pumpkin made a good substitute for carved turnip lanterns and introduced the Jack’o'lantern to the new world.

The Feile na Marbh (”fayluh nuh morv”) is the origin of our trick-or-treat tradition. As the veil between worlds thins, all manner of spirits walk abroad on Samhain, including those of loved ones passed on. An empty chair by the fire, porridge and tobacco were left along with a candle in the window to guide the hungry ghosts home for comfort and to seek their blessing in the coming year. Spirits who found their homes less than inviting were inclined to withhold their blessing and misfortune often befell those so uncivil.

The wearing of masque and costume on Samhain is to deceive wandering spirits, lest they recognize and call you to the Otherworld before your time. Wearing masques and dressing as an animal is also very old magic for assimilating the strength and spirit of a revered creature. The carrying of noisemakers fractures the ordinary drone of this world and opens a space for Otherworldly messages to break through.

A very old aspect of Samhain is sortilege, the act of deciding something by casting lots. While the burning ““Wicker Man” tales are probably not fact-based, it is likely that sacrifice by lot was performed throughout the ancient world. The sacrifice of a king or other designee imitated nature and dedicated life energy in a time of seasonal decline. The modern interpretation of this custom is the baking of cakes, Colcannon (mashed potatoes, cabbage with either ham or bacon) or Barmbrack (Irish spicy fruit bread) with tokens within to select a festive “Lord of Misrule” or otherwise divine the future by the type of token found inside.

By enlivening the human senses through divination, disguise, propitiation, sound and imagery, a temenos is created, a divine common ground, wherein the ordinary and the universal exist as one. In the death of days and outlived ways of being comes renewal and the living promise of rebirth in even the darkest seasons of mortal life.

This Halloween, light a candle, tell a story, embrace the beautiful chaos of Samhain - the rattling leaves are speaking to you. Blessed Be, Happy New Year.

Monday, June 04, 2007

More Levity

A man died and went to heaven. As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him. He asked, "What are all those clocks?"

St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie clock. Every time you lie, the hands on your clock will move."

"Oh," said the man, "whose clock is that?"

"That's Mother Teresa's. The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie."

"Incredible," said the man. "And whose clock is that one?"

St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire life."

"Where's Hillary Clinton's clock?" asked the man.

"Hillary's clock is over there", St. Peter pointed, "We're using it as a ceiling fan."

"And over there is Bush's' clock, we are using it as a hedge trimmer."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A bit of levity

In the year 2007, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in the
United States, and said, "Once again, the earth has become wicked and
overpopulated and I see the end of all flesh before me. Build another
Ark and save two of every living thing along with a few good humans."

He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, "You have six months to build the
Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights".

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard
. . but no ark.

"Noah", He roared, "I'm about to start the rain! Where is the Ark ?"

"Forgive me, Lord," begged Noah. "But things have changed. I needed a
building permit. I've been arguing with the inspector about the need for
a sprinkler system. My neighbors claim that I've violated the
neighborhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard and exceeding
the height limitations. We had to go to the Development Appeal Board for
a decision. Then the Department of Transportation demanded a bond be
posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead
obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark 's move to the sea. I
argued that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing
of it.

Getting the wood was another problem. There's a ban on cutting local
trees in order to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the
environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls. But no go!

When I started gathering the animals, I got sued by an animal rights
group. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their
will. As well, they argued the accommodation was too restrictive and it
was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.

Then the EPA ruled that I couldn't build the Ark until they'd conducted
an environmental impact study on your proposed flood.

I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission
on how many minorities I'm supposed to hire for my building crew. Also,
the trades unions say I can't use my sons. They insist I have to hire
only Union workers with Ark building experience. To make matters worse,
the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I'm trying to leave the country
illegally with endangered species.

So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least ten years for me to
finish this Ark. "

Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow
stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked, "You mean,
You're not going to destroy the world?".

"No," said the Lord. "The government beat me to it."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Which Tarot card are you?

You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.
Find out which Tarot card you are.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


When you think about it, words can be very funny things. Depending on the context and intent of the user, they can mean different things.
Take the word, truth for example. The dictionary defines truth as:

Conformity to fact or actuality.
A statement proven to be or accepted as true.
Sincerity; integrity.
Fidelity to an original or standard.

Reality; actuality.
often Truth That which is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence.

Sometimes I find it amazing that people can convince themselves that they can bend, mold or ignore the meaning of words to suit a situation. Kind of the end justifying the means.

Sometimes I have words or the meaning of the word get stuck in my thoughts. I think of the person that has used a particular word recently, and I wonder just what their intended meaning really was. Words can be so powerful, hurtful, liberating, or deceptive.

Deceive is another very interesting word, ( deceive, to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid ) along with one of its synonyms, beguile.
Beguile stresses the use of charm and persuasion in deceiving.

Occasionally we need to stop and look at the way we use words. At the very least think about the way that words are being used by others.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Insanity Continues

What do I see when I go to look at news today? More coverage of the dead blond bimbo.
Let to go.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Puppet Theatre

The talking heads on the so called news have latched onto more crap. Who really gives a crap about a dead blond druggie Marilyn Monroe wanna be? Other than her family?
Who really cares if another blond druggie wants to shave her head and get a tattoo?
This crap is news? Not by a long shot.
But the folks who pull the strings of the talking heads are focusing on this manure and presenting it like it really was news. What about the real things that are going on in this country and the rest of the world?

This is just a newer version of the old bait and switch. A person turns on the news expecting, well news. Instead they get a load of crap. The same sort of nonsense that is discussed in beauty shops, which is where it belongs.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Just a thought

For a while I thought about just abandoning this blog, but in retrospect I think that I will use this as a medium to post things that I feel do not belong on the blog I keep about our gulch.
Sometimes I just need to rant about things, and those just do not belong in my gulch blog.

So this will serve a different purpose , and probably a good one. It will help to keep me sane in an ever increasingly insane world.