Tag Archives: holidays

Happy Thanksgiving

redneck%2Brockwell

Mr. Beale and I bugged out of the family get together early because we have a hockey game tonight (Go Preds!). That was a blessing because someone in the family decided it was a good idea to dress a 3-year-old in shoes which squeak every time the kid takes a step. After about five minutes I was ready to kill someone.

Here’s wishing all of my readers a wonderful, squeak-free Thanksgiving.

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Good Morning

This morning I walked the dog down my street and saw a blue men’s button-down shirt lying in a puddle at the end of someone’s driveway. A few doors down a very solid, very permanent brick mailbox lay in rubble at the end of another driveway. Clearly someone(s) had a happy new year last night. Not so the dead opossum I saw further down the street. I’m trying to decide if all three things were connected somehow (hit a possum, veered into a mailbox, took a shirt off because …?)

Anyway, welcome to 2013. There’s actually news! I have a fiscal cliff post up over at First Draft. Give it a look-see.

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Filed under Congress, Holidays

Tradition! Tradition!

I’m sure y’all will be shocked to learn that I’m not one to get hung up on tradition. I’ve already taken down the tree, packed up the Christmas crap, and returned the house to normal. This is a new record for me; usually I do it on New Year’s Day. But the way the holiday fell this year gave me an extra weekend to clean up and I am overjoyed to have everything back to normal before New Year’s Eve. You know what? Christmas is messy and a lot of work and involves turning my home inside out for a month and I hate it. Also, you people who keep your tree and lights up until Valentine’s Day? Just, no. Seriously, get a new hobby.

I’ve heard some pretty crazy New Year’s superstitions, like how you aren’t supposed to take anything out of the house on New Years Day because you might do without it in the coming year. Or how you’re not supposed to do laundry on New Years Day, as you could wash away the life of a loved one. Okay, who thinks that last one was invented by some overworked housewife who just wanted a day off?

The New Year is filled with lots of weird traditions too, and I don’t mean the “getting drunk and passing out in Times Square” kind, either. Someone told me that at midnight you’re supposed to open the back door to let the old year out and the front door to let the new year in. I think if we did that we’d spend the rest of the night herding cats back into the house. Also, I’ve heard of this thing where you put money outside the front door before the year goes out, then bring it back inside when the New Year arrives — all without crossing the threshold.

I do have one thing I do every New Year’s Eve. I’ve written about my New Year’s Eve burn list here before; that’s where I make a list of all the things I don’t want to take into the new year, then go outside and burn it. And people, it works! Last year I put the Tea Party and Sarah Palin on the list and look what happened. I rest my case.

I haven’t really devoted much thought to my list this year but we’ve got lots of candidates for burning. There are some Tennessee Republicans whose names will make the list this year for sure. Also probably the NRA, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and climate change deniers. Those last two are on the list every year, by the way. Some funk is just too nasty to burn off all in one year.

New Year’s Day has a lot of food traditions. In the South you’re supposed to eat black-eyed peas cooked with ham and collard greens; I think it’s supposed to symbolize good luck, love and money or some such. People, I have tried this tradition and I just can’t do it, I just don’t like the dish. Southern food and I do not get along, too bland, too starchy, too salty, too fatty. So Mr. Beale and I are going to start a new tradition. We’re making margaritas and tacos tomorrow. The green stuff can symbolize money, the golden taco shells and cheddar cheese can be good luck, the meat and tomatoes can be romance, and the onion can be excitement or something. Why the hell not?

So, I would love to hear what your New Year’s Eve traditions/superstitions are. What’s on the agenda for tonight?

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Silver Bells

I thought we could use a break from all the downer news out of Connecticut. If you’ve never heard an angel sing, well here you go. Mindy Smith is a true treasure. Enjoy and peace out.

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It’s Beginning To Feel A Bit Like Christmas

It was 70 degrees in Nashville on Sunday. And it was down to 27 degrees Monday night. That’s Nashville weather.

However, it’s finally starting to feel like Christmas. Without further ado, a touch of Christmas spirit on the ol’ blog to hold everyone over for a few days. I’ve got a deadline:

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Filed under Holidays, Tennessee

I Get Christmas Cards


I’m not quite sure how I got on Charlie Daniels’ Christmas card list, but every Christmas for the past 15 years or so I’ve gotten a card from the Daniels organization.

I have this story I tell people about Charlie Daniels and me, and it goes back to when I first arrived in Nashville, over 25 years ago. My first job was as a lowly little editorial assistant at a weekly entertainment trade magazine. I’d been on the job all of one week when for some reason they asked me to cover a press conference for Volunteer Jam, which some folks may remember as the big annual multi-artist music event Daniels staged in Nashville every year. It was a really big deal, and I’m not sure why I was sent to the press conference, except probably no one else was available and no doubt they just expected me to pick up the press kit with the list of that year’s artist lineup and sponsors, and then come back to the office to hand it over to one of the “real” reporters.

But of course this was my first press conference of any kind, ever. And what do reporters do at press conferences? They shout questions! Of course they do, that’s what they do in the movies, right? So instead of keeping my yap shut I shouted out to Charlies Daniels what I thought was an appropriate “question” for my entertainment trade magazine. With TV cameras rolling, and radio reporters holding up their mics, I shouted out to Charlie Daniels, “who is the promoter?!”

I mean hey, sounded like a good question to me, right?

And swear to God, Charlie Daniels looked at me, sneered, and said: “Yer not from around here, are ya?”

Swear. To. God. Could we be a bigger cliche of a Southern redneck asshole?

In my one week on the job I hadn’t yet learned that Charlie Daniels had an in-house promoter which produced every Volunteer Jam, and had been doing so for years. Ah well, then there is such a thing as a dumb question. My bad. But you didn’t have to be such a jerk about it, dude.

So fast forward a couple decades and I’m no longer a lowly editorial assistant, I’m writing for some bigger magazines and somehow they got my address and now I’m one of the thousands getting a Christmas card from the guy who so graciously welcomed me to Nashville so many years ago. Ain’t that a laugh.

Daniels’ Christmas cards have gotten more Jesus-y every year. This year, if you can read the message, he ends with, “May the peace of Almighty God rest on your home and family as we celebrate the Birthday of the Savior of Mankind.” It closes with a hearty, “Happy Birthday, Jesus!”

This is a huge pet peeve of mine, because December 25 is not Jesus’ birthday. The date is nowhere in the Bible, and such as the historical person Jesus existed, there is no record of his birth date. But December 25 is conveniently located on the calendar near the winter solstice and the Roman Feast of Saturnalia, so it’s pretty much accepted that December 25 was picked by the early Christian church to make it easier to convert pagans.

Mr. Beale says I’m being pedantic: no one knows Jesus’ actual birth date, so December 25 is the day we have picked to commemorate the event. But I certainly didn’t pick it. Why December 25? Why not March, that’s a month that really needs a holiday! Or, what about August? August really sucks, it’s insufferably hot and boring. It’s my least favorite month of the year. August could use a nice holiday, too.

Before you scoff, the magazine Biblical Archaeology Review says the early church actually suggested August or March as plausible dates for Jesus’ birth:

Finally, in about 200 C.E., a Christian teacher in Egypt makes reference to the date Jesus was born. According to Clement of Alexandria, several different days had been proposed by various Christian groups. Surprising as it may seem, Clement doesn’t mention December 25 at all. Clement writes: “There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20 in our calendar]…And treating of His Passion, with very great accuracy, some say that it took place in the 16th year of Tiberius, on the 25th of Phamenoth [March 21]; and others on the 25th of Pharmuthi [April 21] and others say that on the 19th of Pharmuthi [April 15] the Savior suffered. Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21].”2

The fact that the Bible and the early church record is not at all specific about the date of Jesus’ birth just shows you how unimportant the event was. The big day was always, always Easter. You know, the Resurrection? The Passion? The Bible is very specific about when Easter is celebrated, it’s tied to the Jewish holiday of Passover. For hundreds of years the Christian church could care less about when Jesus was born; it was when he died that mattered. The American Protestant church holds a similar tradition: I have friends born and raised in the Church of Christ (a very conservative Southern Protestant denomination) who tell me when they were growing up, things like Christmas trees were a no-no. You might have a small acknowledgment of the day, but really the Big Deal was always Easter.

So what happened? Well, of course, America’s True Religion – consumerism – asserted its primacy over the faith tradition. It’s kinda hard to consumerize torture and a crucifixion (though lord knows they are doing a masterful job of changing that over at Free Market Jesus Central.) But all of those pagan traditions associated with the solstice — lights, trees, gift-giving, etc. — well let’s just lump those in with Christmas and call it a holiday, shall we? And now we even have a War On Christmas, because if consumerism is our first religion, then surely war is our second. It’s just all so perfect. Or, as the good folks at the Christian Left put it:

And if this seems sacrilegious, well don’t get me started on that whole myth of the “virgin birth” thing. That is a product of a translation error, which turned the Hebrew word for “young woman” into the Greek word for “virgin.” Woopsies.

So with that, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, glorious Solstice, wonderful Kwanzaa or just have a good, relaxing weekend. Whatever floats your boat, because life’s too short to worry about which December holiday is the baddest ass on the block.

I’m kind of busy this week, so blogging may be lighter than usual … or not, you know me. I can’t quit you. Just keep it merry, everyone!

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Filed under Christianity, country music, Holidays, music, Nashville, War On Christmas

Decking The Halls, 2011

The first casualty in the War on Christmas. The elf always gets it.

We’re a little behind schedule here at the Beale household; travel and work and a winter cold put us behind with all of the holly-hanging. But on Friday I pulled the Christmas crap out from its storage place and yesterday we got our tree and gave it a good 24 hours to shake out and right now Mr. Beale is hanging the lights.

The thing about our Christmas tree is that almost all of our ornaments are food-related. I’m not sure how I started doing that but it began well before I met Mr. Beale. So now everyone knows to get us food ornaments, and when I say food I don’t mean the usual fruits or even confections, but the most offbeat, off the wall food items you can find. On our recent trip to New York we found an ornament that is a tray of sushi. Mr. Beale also got me a strip of bacon ornament. Because everything is better with bacon!

Christmas at the Beale house means one thing: unhappy puppy dogs! Every year we try to enlist them as soldiers in the War on Christmas. Every year they affirm their right to be conscientious objectors:

"Hurry up and take the damn picture, there's only so much humiliation a dog can take in one lifetime."

Here’s Riley, the Before:

…. aaaand about two seconds later, the after shot:

Also, Animal Cruelty Santa comes out from hiding to provide our cats with a cautionary tale about what happens to bad kitties. And if I find out who peed on my Christmas tree skirt, they are going to have a personal introduction to Animal Cruelty Santa.

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I Hate Halloween

Halloween is, without a doubt, my least favorite holiday.

It’s not even a holiday, it’s a faux holiday. A Fauxliday.

It’s nothing more than a chance for Wal-Mart and Target to sell more cheap Chinese-made crap that no one needs, and a chance for Big Sugar to rake in big profits on cheap sweets none of us need. As usual, some Christians have responded in a predictably hilarious fashion, while others see it as a chance to engage in a little advertising for Jesus. Conservatives, bless their little hearts, see it as yet another chance to blame liberals and political correctness for why everything sucks right now, while liberals want to play costume police.

Basically, Halloween is the one holiday where people feel justified in behaving like assholes. Take, for example, the employees of New York foreclosure mill Steven J. Baum, who last year mocked the homeless and those they’d foreclosed on — in short, the sort of people finding themselves on the streets thanks to companies like Steven J. Baum. Ouch.

Or, you know, the teachable moment spawned by this cultural sensitivity campaign, “We’re A Culture, Not A Costume.” I have no problem with students reminding everyone that stereotypes do not represent a culture but you just know Rush “Ching Chong” Limbaugh is going to mock this campaign — he never overlooks an opportunity to be offensive to boost his ratings — and I’m going to have to agree that he has a point.

Truth is, stuff like this resonates because yeah, it even annoys me when people are so hypersensitive. You know, it’s all about context, people. Is dressing up as a belly dancer or member of a Mariachi band really that offensive in this multicultural nation of ours? I can see why costumes that reinforce negative stereotypes are a no-no — leave the blackface or suicide bomber costumes at home, people, I mean really — but let’s remember, America is a multicultural place. Throughout our history we’ve co-opted pretty much every cultural symbol immigrants have brought to our shores, it’s just how we do it. It’s why pizza and tacos and egg rolls are staples of American cuisine and you can belly dance for exercise no matter what your ethnicity. It’s our way of paying tribute to the pluribus who make up our unum. This is how multiculturalism is expressed in this country: we take what may at one time have been symbols identifying a cultural group, and make them belong to all of us. So lighten up, it means you belong.

Anyway, this is all just another chance for people to get stabby with each other. I really hate it.

Don’t come knocking on my door tonight; I won’t answer.

[UPDATE]:

What was that I said about Halloween giving people license to be assholes?

The Republican Party of Virginia is strongly condemning an e-mail sent by Loudoun County’s GOP committee that shows President Obama as a zombie with part of his skull missing and a bullet through his head.

[…]

The e-mail, first reported on the blog Too Conservative, has “Halloween 2011” in the subject lines and has several other images, including one of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, whose face has been made to look deformed with one eye bulging out of its socket.

You know, every Halloween some Republican Party official does or says something offensive. It was only a matter of time.

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The Truth About July Fourth

Hah.

Corn is from Mexico, hot dogs and hamburgers are German, fireworks are Chinese and barbecue is forbidden in Leviticus. Truly, July Fourth is an all-American holiday, embracing the best of our multicultural traditions.

Have a good one!

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