Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

Lovely BBC news piece on the traditional Catalan Christmas nativity scene: the usual thing, Baby Jesus, some animals, etc., plus one character redolant of that region and its culture. Every Catalan nativity scene includes a “caganer” – “the shitter” – a figure squatting with its pants down and a distinct pile of feces under its bare ass. Apparently it is hidden behind other parts of the scene and Catalan children make a game of finding the caganer every morning.

The traditional caganer wears a characteristic Catalan red cap; more modern examples often depict public figures such as sports stars, the Pope, the Queen of England, and President Obama (shown squatting on a little pedestal labeled “Yes We Can”). The BBC video interviews Spanish potters who specialize entirely in producing tiny statues of various people taking a shit for Jesus. Wikipedia also notes that the tradition appears throughout the Iberian peninsula, and references “Mr. Hanky, the Christmas Poo” from South Park.

Buy one today, or you’re contributing to the war on Christmas.

Traditional Catalan Christmas figure: the caganer.

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Patton Oswalt does the greatest dissection of the Worst Christmas Song Ever:

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Christmas Song of the Day

Since Kevin seems to be slacking this year, I figured I’d do the first entry, and make it something a little more obscure. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Pearl Bailey:

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Independence Day

Until I find something better, I’m just going to link to this every year:

Here’s hoping you enjoy your Fourth.

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Memorial Day

It’s not just about a day off of work and cookouts. Remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and work to ensure that this sacrifice is never again made in vain.

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What religion should you be? Via Dvorkin.

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Signs point to a done deal, and the White House says health care reform will soon be the law of the land. But the Democrats are, well, Democrats.

Truer words have rarely been spoken.

Other than that, Happy St. Patrick’s day. Open thread.

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Happy Holidays

Thank you all for reading and arguing with us over the last year. It has been a lot of fun, thanks to you. I hope you all have/had the Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Solstice or other holiday you always wanted.

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It is not a traditional one, but its a great song, sad and hopeful at the same time. It is good Christmas music. And by good Christmas music I mean music that captures either hopeful feeling of what Christmas is supposed to represent — peace on earth, charity, all the mushy liberal stuff — or the pissed off feeling you get when you realize that humanity hasn’t managed to come close to living up to those ideals. A Fairytale of New York. perfectly captures the disappontment that you have gotten to another Christmas completely messed up and the hope that maybe next year it can be better. It is also a great rock and roll song.

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won’t see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I’ve got a feeling
This year’s for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They’ve got cars big as bars
They’ve got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It’s no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging,
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing “Galway Bay”
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day

You’re a bum
You’re a punk
You’re an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it’s our last

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can’t make it all alone
I’ve built my dreams around you

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A classic repost to placate Dig:

Tom was absolutely, one hundred percent correct: Christmas Shoes is the most horrible, un-Christian Christmas song of all time. I just heard it today on LaunchCast, and was stunned by its sheer bloody awfulness. Not only is it ham-handedly manipulative, not only is it song by someone who never met a note they couldn’t kill, but it has the most appallingly amoral message of any Christmas song I have ever heard.

The premise is terribly shallow. A little kid wants to buy shoes for his dying Mommy so that she can look good for Jesus when she dies. The song starts out trying to tug at our heartstrings by advocating the notion that Jesus cares what you look like, as if the Jimmy Choos would sway St. Peter. It is not an auspicious start to a song supposedly about the meaning of Christmas. I might have been willing to overlook that if the rest of the song didn’t miss the point of Jesus’ ministry just as badly.

The end of the song was so stunning, so vacuous, so counter to everything that I have ever been taught about Christianity that I had to find the lyrics to make sure I had heard them correctly. I had. Unfortunately:

I knew I’d caught a glimpse of heaven’s love
As he thanked me and ran out
I knew that God had sent that little boy
To remind me just what Christmas is all about

The little boy in the lyrics is poor, his mother is about to die and he doesn’t have enough money to buy her new shoes. The singer-narrator thinks that God sent him the little boy so that he, the narrator, could be reminded about the true meaning of Christmas. Now, I am going to go out on a limb here a little and suggest that God’s plan does not include killing a young woman and leaving an orphan and widower behind so that some self-satisfied prick in a department store can feel a little bit of heaven’s love. How self-centered, how completely and totally disconnected from the spirit of the Gospels do you have to be to think that God would kill a person and crush a little boy’s heart so that you could learn a little lesson about the spirit of giving? This song couldn’t reek of privilege and clueless-ness any more if it had included a message from God to bet on the Vikings, because He favored them on Sunday. I seriously have to question whether or not this song writer would recognize a Bible if he saw one, because it certainly doesn’t seem as if he has actually read one.

God does not reward the faithful with SUVs, He does not punish the wicked with slum apartments, He does not care who wins a football game, and He doesn’t kill the mommies of little boys so that bored men in checkout lines can feel a little special Christmas glow.

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