Archive for christmas

lavoris and the wizard people

well dear reader, it’s been a few days since i wrote anything on here.  last semester came and went. and then winter break (or as i rather enjoy calling it, christmas break) came and went (by the way, i happened to have a quite a fabulous break and did some quite fabulous stuff, but i’ll be letting you know about that later.  it isn’t quite the time for that yet).  and now i’m back here at the university of connecticut for yet another extended period of growth, learning, and education (it happens to be my sixth one of those in case you were wondering).  seeing as it’s a new semester with new teachers and new work and new toothpaste (i’m currently using the “original cinnamon flavor” paste that is sold by some company called “lavoris” [which seems to be owned and/or operated by another company known as “charlesflora consumer products, llc”].  interestingly, the company’s website mentions a bunch of different mouthwashes that they sell, but no toothpastes [you can, however, purchase a tube from cvs online. thank goodness].  even more interestingly, i happened to purchase this wonderful variety of paste at ocean state job lot.  that being said, with consideration toward the lack of representation on the company website, there’s a good chance that it’s toxic and/or carcinogenic.  oops.  but the flavor’s not bad.  you always have to take the cons with the pros, i guess), things have gotten a bit backed up.  there’s probably a good deal of laziness involved as well, but we’ll just blame it on lots of stuff to do.  if nothing else dear reader, it makes me look better, and seeing as i’m the one writing, looking better sounds like a good plan.

that being said, we can move onto the important (yeah…) stuff.  it just so happens that this semester, i’m taking my first ever university english class.  technically speaking, everyone is required to take an intro-level english class when they get into the school, but i took care of that requirement in high school, so i didn’t.  it’s been rather interesting.  it’s a fun little class about the bible.  uh oh… he said bible but didn’t have a disclaimer at the top of the page.  how does that work?  well you see, it is a bible class.  but it’s also called “the bible as literature”.  so it’s not really a bible class.  it’s like a normal english class with a normal english book but with many more biblical allusions (seeing as every word, theoretically speaking, is referencing the bible… because it’s in the bible).  that’s the way it’s supposed to work at least.  faith does creep into the discussions occasionally, often by accident, but those flames are usually quenched in a timely manner.  i must say, dear reader, it’s a really different way to take the bible and read it.  it’s kind of like trying to watch a uconn vs tennessee women’s basketball game and appreciate the good play of both teams from an unbiased perspective (in the terms of the laypersons [so politically correct], that means it’s hard to do).

just this past yesterday, we handed in our first essays for the class.  my decision-making skills were shown to be a bit hazy with this paper, dear reader.  basically, i wrote a thesis that contradicts thousands of years of jewish tradition and literary merit (and because i know you’re all so interested and curious, my paper was about how while abraham [normally seen as one of the uber-cool guys and big time patriarchs in jewish tradition and history] did do a lot of good stuff for the jews and set their big long journey in motion, he also cursed them with his mistakes and led to a lot of israelite woes long after he had died.  does it line up to anything that anyone thinks?  probably not.  but hey, college is all about experimenting).  as far as trying to make a good impression with your first paper goes, that was kind of, in a word, dumb.  but i had a genius idea as i was trying to decide what to write about and went with it.  i suppose we can just see how things turn out when i get it back.

the one thing that i really took out of writing this paper, however, was that coming up with ideas (even if they are crazy, and maybe even moreso if they are) and writing about them can be a pretty cool thing.  creativity, in a nutshell, is top-notch.  being in a major of quite a musical degree, dear reader, i don’t get to do that a whole lot.

so wait a minute here.  why the heck does he keep writing the stupid “dear reader” thing?  sure, maybe it’s an endearing thing to say… once.  but saying it again and again is just overkill.  with that thought, i agree.  and as such, an explanation.  i’ve actually been plagiarizing that phrase.  i know, not very nice, but it’s getting proper acknowledgment now, so that makes it okay(ish).  i came across a cute little link recently (with the help of the oh so powerful facebook mini-feed [which i’ve have been known to appreciate and, dare i say, praise in the past]) that happens to incorporate said phrase and that i feel shares and exposes my sentiments on creativity quite perfectly.  plus, it’s got harry potter, so how can you go wrong?  it’s a fantastic multimedia experience by some crazy dude named brad neely.  basically, mr. neely took the first harry potter film (which may involve the stone of a certain sorcerer and/or philosopher) and wrote his own script for it called “wizard people, dear reader”.  simply put, you turn down the volume on the movie, crank the volume on the audio file, click play on both at (approximately) the same time, and let the magic (no pun intended) unfold before your eyes.  i must warn you, our friend the narrator does have a bit of a potty mouth at times, but with exception to that, it’s quite a ride.  i provide you with  the “re-envisioned” (as they call it) audio here so that you can join the adventures of hp, the wretched harmony, and ronnie the bear.  you can “just say no” and leave here untainted or click the dazzling link and go for it.  the choice is yours.  all i can say, dear reader, is don’t choose incorrectly.

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you’ll shoot your eye out

 disclaimer: so this post is going to have some top quality christian propaganda in it; in my opinion that makes it all the better, but you can feel as you will 

christmas is coming.  the geese are getting fat.  please put a penny in the old man’s hat.  or so the lyrics go (those lyrics being from edith nesbit bland’s classic christmas tune “christmas is coming” [though many times the second line is sung incorrectly as “the goose is getting fat”, but we’ll forgive that for the time being]).  this song is in a dandy little collection of songs that i personally like to refer to as “christmas songs”.  that, of course, is based mostly (well, maybe more of completely) upon the fact that they are about (believe it or not) christmas.

 now, i’m not going to be very politically correct in these words.  basically, this post is about christmas.  not hanukkah or kwanza or festivus or boxing day or any of that.  and that’s pretty much because i celebrate christmas and not any of the others.  so why not just talk about what i know?  and for that matter, why not talk about what (apparently) 96% of persons in the lovely united states of america know (according to this article at least [and make sure to please note the fabulous 105% of people that participated in the poll.  i’m assuming that’s due to holiday celebrating overlap, but it would be much, much cooler if they actually questioned 105% of people]).  so from this point on, christmas.

first of all, christmas is pretty much doomed.  as far as being what it should be and is supposed to be, that is.  as far as being a big time money maker and a commercial juggernaut (which as you all know is a lovely english word derived from the sanskrit word “jagannātha” [meaning “lord of the universe”]), it’s top notch.  as far as making people spend lots and lots of their well earned and meticulously saved money, there’s none better.  but (yes, there’s a but)… well, i won’t even say it.  i’ll let our friends at the ever-superb wikipedia(.com) spell it out.  basically, if you had no idea what in the world christmas was and wanted to know, you might go to wikipedia to find out.  if you were to take a quick look at their “christmas” entry, you might only have time to read the first line (and yes, we’re talking about a very quick look).  and if you could only read that first line, you would read the following: “christmas is an annual holiday that celebrates the birth of jesus.” oh dear, they said the j word.

notice, for a moment, what isn’t in that line.  there is a lack of presents.  there is a lack of shopping.  there is a lack of stores in general.  there is a lack of monetary exchange.  there’s even a lack of christmas lights, christmas trees, and christmas cookies.  the only item on the agenda:  jesus.

i touched upon this fact last year, so i won’t beat it into the ground.  i’ll simply leave it in a way that would make my math teacher of a sister proud.

jesus > presents.

and now back to where we started.  christmas music.  the reason i bring this up is because in my travels of late i’ve been going around (mostly, if not always) by car, and during those automotive excursions, i’ve been listening to the smooth sounds of lite 100.5 (which, by the way, is my “home for holiday music” [or something like that.  i can’t remember off the top of my head what their catchy line actually is]).  sadly, they don’t actually play any christmas music on the station.  they play a lot of holiday music.  but no christmas music.  which i think is weird.  even weirder, though, is the fact that the vast, vast majority of their holiday music is about christmas (and to be fair, i’ve decided to consider a song “about christmas” only if the word “christmas” is included at least once in the lyrics [or would be, i guess, in the tunes that are originally wordful but have been covered as instrumental]).

it is now time to be blunt (but not james blunt, as he has yet to release a fabulous christmas or holiday album [or any such album actually, fabulous or otherwise]).  in case you weren’t catching on to the witty sarcasm that was being employed in the above paragraph, i’ll make it easier.  lite 100.5 plays christmas music.  but they want to make everyone happy.  so they call it holiday music.  the end (or “that’s all folks”, as mr. porky pig would say.  your choice).  so is this really a big deal?  of course not.  but if it was, i’m sure i wouldn’t being writing (or typing, rather) about it.

the real problem with the whole “holiday music” deal is exactly the same problem as the whole present and money issue that we’ve already been over.  companies and radio stations and many other places and people have found an incredible loophole and are exploiting it for all it’s worth.  in our world and time (especially in the united states), religion is out and secularism is in.  and that is relfected about as clearly as anything around christmastime.  everyone wants to celebrate christmas (yup, everyone.  see, i told you this wouldn’t be politically correct) either because they like getting presents or it makes for booming business or whatever.  but very few people want to celebrate christmas in honor of what it’s actually there for (see above if you’ve forgotten already).  so instead of celebrating the “christmas season”, we now celebrate the “holiday season”.  but wait, that’s because we don’t want to discriminate against those who don’t celebrate christmas.  maybe.  but no.  first off, that would be 4% of americans (according to the stats we’re using).  this is a very, very slim minority, and if that was the real reason, it would be much more profitable to appease the 96% and push the others slightly aside for one holiday.  and let’s consider hanukkah for a second (or two, or maybe three).  it’s a lovely little holiday celebrating the maccabees and all that cool stuff, but as far as judaism goes, it’s not even one of the most important feast days.  so why then does the entire country bend over backward to make sure the small jewish population is happy around hanukkah but doesn’t pay any attention to any other jewish holidays?

i happened to take a course a couple years ago at the fun-loving university of connecticut with a professor who was an orthodox jew, and during the course of the semester we had at least three or four classes rescheduled because they were originally on important days on the jewish calendar and he couldn’t come to class.  the course happened to be about jewish history (hence the jewish professor), and because of that, a good percentage (probably about half) of the class was jewish.  now, on the days that my professor couldn’t make it to class, i still had to go to all of my other classes.  that would mean that all of the jewish students in the class probably had to do the same.  i’m sure that if they told their other teachers that they couldn’t go because of religious reasons they’d be excused from class, but i ask this:  why, if we’re so concerned about political correctness and keeping all people and all religions happy, didn’t we have those days off from school?  the only answer i can seem to come up with is that we don’t really care all that much (wow, that sounds really mean.  but sadly, may be rather true).  it’s not about being fair and understanding of all holidays during the holiday season.  it’s about dropping religion completely.  and honestly, it’s working.

so the next time you greet someone, think about things for a moment before wishing them “happy holidays”.  maybe you’d rather wish them a “merry christmas”.  and really, who cares what religion they are or what holiday they celebrate at this time of year.  if i was wished a “happy hanukkah”, i wouldn’t mind.  in fact, it would be pretty darn cool.  the only reason all those greetings are there is to say “hi. it’s great to see you” (or a similar variation thereof).  if you want to join in with all of the secularism and destruction of religion and all of that, i guess you’re free to do so.  someone has to do it.  but next time, at least think about it.  all that being said, i wish you all the merriest christmas you’ve ever had.  enjoy the family.  enjoy the friends.  enjoy the love.  and if you don’t get your official red ryder carbine-action two-hundred-shot range model air rifle, don’t worry.  there’s always next year.  and you don’t really want one anyways.  you’ll shoot your eye out.

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the reason for the season

disclaimer: so this post is going to have some top quality christian propaganda in it; in my opinion that makes it all the better, but you can feel as you willchristmas is coming. or so i’m told. that’s what the signs say. and the television ads. and the radio stations. and the internet. and the upcoming school break. christmas is here.now i could go into a sort of rant about the “reason for the season” (p.s. it’s jesus), but i think it’s fair enough to spare such a lecture. there’s always next year to do that. but at the same time, that concept brings up a rather interesting point. you see, i happen to be a large fan of the veggietales video franchise. in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with some good old fashioned “sunday morning values, saturday morning fun” as their little motto puts it. and i mean, how can you beat vegetables acting out bible stories. it’s top quality. and hilarious to boot. a good time all around.i happen to be on the veggietales email list, and i received an email from them the other day. it looked a little something like this. actually it looked exactly like that. apparently, i’m a mom or a dad now, but we can just look past that little flub for the moment. the real concern we have is in the content. and as far as the content goes, this email seems to be broken up into two basic sections. the first section (found on top) is nice. it presents a nice point about how christmas has become such a market-based holiday and how kids are bombarded with the idea of presents, presents, presents. the bottom of their little lecture about the issue (see, i didn’t have to do it. the veggies had it covered) even goes so far as to thank parents for teaching their children about the true meaning of christmas. it’s nice. it’s short, sweet, and gets it’s point across well. okay, end of blog post.nope. not quite. as i mentioned, this email is broken up into two sections, and we’ve only covered the first. the second (which just so happens to take up about 3/4 of the space of the email) isn’t exactly what you’d expect after reading what you just read. and i quote, “we know that you know christmas is not really all about getting stuff…” they said that. they expanded on that. they made it very clear. so what do the lovely people at big idea (the makers of veggietales) do? they try to sell you stuff. are you serious? you just made this big deal about looking past all of the artificial commercial-driven ideas that have become christmas. and then you make your email all about just that? i don’t get it. they make this seemingly important point about slogans like “great deal!” and “buy now!” being thrown toward kids. and then they do the same exact thing (or maybe not. maybe giving away a free copy of “the star of christmas” with every order is completely different. maybe using flashy colors and slashes to show your lowered prices has nothing to do with that concept). it just doesn’t make any sense in my head. why, in an email all about trying to not be focused on gifts and shopping, would you include all the great deals offered in the “ye olde veggie christmas shoppe”? to me, that seems to be a bit foolish. yeah, i went there. foolish.i don’t see anything wrong with some good veggie merchandise. in fact, i have a good deal of it at home. but if there was ever a time to not put that stuff in, it was in this email. it makes it seem like whoever was in charge didn’t care about what the words on top actually said. like it was all some cute fluff to make the christians happy. and what’s worse is that this email basically came out right after all those loyal veggietales fans complained to the high and mighty powers at be over at nbc about taking god out of their veggietales episodes. and in turn made those same powers at be change their minds (here’s what phil vischer, one of the original creators of everyone’s favorite christian vegetables has to say about the matter [and for those of you who have absolutely no idea what i’m talking about, which is probably the vast majority, here’s a little video summary presented by “vent with michelle malkin”]). oh big idea. that email was definitely one of the smaller ideas you’ve had. if you hadn’t just come out with a video about a christian vegetable marching band (which i certainly intend to pick up sometime over break), i might be mad or something like that. you’re lucky this time.and so with that, i wish you all a lovely advent season (i think the email may allude to that somewhere between the $3.95 bob baseball and the $3.50 veggie bubbles). use it to reflect. use it to prepare. use it to relax. and based upon what we’ve learned here today, i suppose you can use it to shop as well. just don’t forget the real meaning of christmas. not until the bottom 3/4 of the email at least.

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