As it is December 17, today we begin the celebration Saturnalia, the Roman festival for Saturn, god of the harvest, running through December 23, and landing, as most winter celebrations do, around the time of the winter solstice.
Saturnalia, of course, is the pagan observance from which many modern Christmas traditions are derived, including the prevalence of red and green decorations, hanging evergreens about, and the exchange of gifts. Also interesting is the tradition of treating slaves like masters for the duration of the festival, which is troublesome in modern parlance, but kind of cool in a historical context.
It’s also one of those interesting little barbs that gets thrown around during the annual modern holiday skirmishes, with “Keep the Saturn in Saturnalia” sometimes being employed as a response to the use of the passive-agressive “Merry Christmas” tribal challenge. This year’s most interesting action (so far) is in Pittman, NJ (home of a friend of mine) involving a billboard and political challenges.
So, Happy Saturnalia to all, as well as a reminder that winter holidays come in many forms, and that someone else’s is just as valid as yours, particularly since they’re all about being warm and comforting to one another at a dark time of the year, and are all kind of muddled together in terms of traditions anyway.
So, you know, be courteous and polite…that’s all I’m saying.
In the interest of trying to find beauty in odd places, I present below a selection of phrases from my comment spam folder, arranged, more-or-less, as free verse poetry. I figured I’d make some use of it before I purged it all. Enjoy, or not.
Excellent afternoon, beauties!
Sex scenes are dynamic and also the right amount of speed lines creates an expression of energy.
If you want to get married outdoors, make sure you have a backup plan.
You see, words need to be correctly spelled to convey your message,
also a blazer, practically screamed Debbie Harry
Examine the spread of beg bugs in your home
can xanax pills be injected?
your lady obtained unnatural that will put a long period of an important part of their a lot of money
within your girlfriend boy’s outstanding command and / or disposable canada goose carryout rapidly had become
intolerable towards this coaches.
As the guy opted for vagabond to always be,
Any soul’s diseases is in order to the nation’s disaster can come,
Maggots and flies appear to be more prevalent this summer as many municipalities
ramp up their kitchen scrap disposal programs.
Any kid of which sings that will music seemed to be eating his particular dad’s lambs,
regarding my own the mother is usually Mrs. Bat’s-eyes.
Paint Branch just has too many weapons!
I prefer your girlfriend the more effective for doing it.
The girl adolescent get good at, the lady believed, possessed experienced an undesirable collision by the show up out of their mount.
Your dog initial mistreated, and next abjured, his particular residence,
any cock-pit, along with all even more serious rendezvous in folly and even dissipation,
plug in the belly of a fish people found pretending to fox spirit in the night shouting.
Kyleigh tried on her new dragon outfit (the dragon blanket was old).
Beyond the usual modest slate of individual gifts, our household traditionally also manages to find a collective gift for the whole family to enjoy; it’s a nice little reward for getting ourselves through the year. This year, rather than grabbing some large entertainment purchase (We’ll wait a while on a next-gen console, for example), we found a decent collective experience that we could all enjoy.
Thus, last night, we caught the local exhibition of the Mythbusters “Behind the Myths” tour, featuring intrepid television hosts and STEM advocates Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman live on stage, answering questions, demonstrating clever scientific principles , and generally being entertaining.
Certainly entertaining enough to keep my kids occupied for two hours, even if they didn’t blow anything up on stage.
Adam did, of course, whack himself in the face with a friction-phone-book climbing rig (by accident), and then there was the 500 rounds per minute paintball cannon business, which helped keep them entranced.
For me, though, the favorite piece of the whole evening was the exuberant enthusiasm for science, experimentation, and making things exhibited by these guys – you could tell they were having a blast up there, and do so every day, having the privilege of doing the jobs they do. When one the audience volunteers (“a female college student without glasses”, which they needed for a particular experiment/gag) turned out to be a civil engineering major at the nearby university, Adam’s genuine pleasure at discovering this fact, and his geeking out about engineering with her for a few moments before the bit isn’t something you can fake. Adam, Jamie, and everybody involved with this production, and the Mythbusters television show in general are wonderful and admirable, offering something we don’t get enough of in mainstream American culture, especially “reality” television.
These guys make learning about science and engineering fun and pleasurable, because they genuinely love it, and believe in the value of education, and exploring and learning about the world. They’re a great example to emulate, and for that reason, I was more than happy to drag the whole family into the city to brave traffic and crowds in order to expose them to it.
That the whole thing was a thoroughly entertaining experience was merely a bonus.
So, the big weather system that was supposed to cause such havoc ended up just being kinda wet and cold around here. Didn’t stop a bunch of things from being cancelled this weekend, though – which means, among other things, something I was hoping to be clear of after about 5pm on Sunday ended up dragging on another week. It is, however a good learning experience for the kids, and it provides the perfect opening to introduce Waiting for Guffman into conversation a lot, so it’s not entirely bad.
I’ve spent much of the previous week supporting kid efforts, organizing and stashing holiday gift shipments, and driving out to Chesapeake on Saturday to hang with some excellent folks for a great little Christmas party, featuring the Creepy Christmas music of my friend Jonah Knight (seriously, buy his records), and hosted by KT (seriously, buy her books) and Kevin, some friends from the con circuit who I don’t see nearly enough. A good time was had by all, strange double-entendres were exchanged (a standard risk when several attendees are erotica authors), and at least one adipose was hand-crafted from marshmallows. thanks for the invite, you guys!
I’ve also been sick as a proverbial sick person with some sort of upper respiratory thing that’s had me barking like a kobold for the last week, but other than mainlining cough drops and blowing my nose constantly, I’ve been otherwise mostly functional. It was bad earlier in the week, but is now largely confined to creating unpleasant vocal inflections.
Two weeks ago now (didn’t get around to mentioning it before) – I did hit the VA Comicon, getting some neat stuff and meeting friends old and new, like the crew from 21 Sandshark, finally meeting Alt-World’s Nick Davis, a longtime online acquaintance, having a nice conversation with Pop Mhan, an excellent artist who just finished up a run on DC’s Masters of the Universe book which was way better than I expected, and meeting and talking to David Landis, a local graphic designer who creates amazing papercraft projects at Desktop Gremlins, which the youngest and I have had lots of fun building and putting together. I highly recommend picking up volume 1 (which I proudly own, and have given as a gift) if you like making cool things, and also recommend kicking in on his current kickstarter for the Papercraft Inventor’s Activity Book, which is in the home stretch, and could use some support, because I really want my copy of this book!
In any case, that’s the story of my life, other than the kitten chewing through one of the HDMI cables in my home theater rig this weekend. She’s really living up to her name, which, at least in this case, is kind of a shame. Good thing she’s cute.
Being mid-December, all those great year-end lists are rolling out (stay tuned for mine after Christmas). My favorite, though, is av club’s “year in band names” list, which collects the best(?) band names from all the promo stuff they receive over the course of the year, handily organized by categories such as “anatomy”, “food and beverage”, and “Will never be pronounced or spelled correctly.”
Some of this year’s favorites:
- Chainsaw Penis
- Goddamn Draculas
- Whales in Cubicles
- Humfree Bug Art
- Another Dead Clown
- Spears and Gears (A steampunk Britney Spears tribute band!!!)
The week itself has been busy, but there aren’t any particular events to which I can point which have exhausted me so. Played some music with friends early in the week, did a lot of user support and document review at work (plus our section Thanksgiving luncheon yesterday), and ran kids all over the county for all sorts of interesting kid things.
I’m rather exhausted. I’ve got to go out today and take care of some shopping and errand-type things (otherwise, the cats will eat my face off in hunger, for instance), but I really just want to take a day to sit and relax, spin the new discs that came from Netflix…you know, the things I don’t get to do very often.
Some kid things going on this weekend, plus I want to stop by and see my friends, old and new, at the VA Comicon, who are doing their big two-day show this weekend. They put out a nice spread, and it’s good to support local fan organized cons.
That’s about it, really. Tunes now:
- “Superman’s Song (live)” – Crash Test Dummies
- “Ride” – Lana Del Ray
- “You Make Me Hot” – The Donnas
- “Leslie Anne Levine” – The Decembrists
- “Mary” – Patti Griffin
- “Danny’s Song” – Anne Murray
- “The Dark Before The Dawn” – Witherwings
- “Falling In Love (live)” – Lisa Loeb
- “Punk Rock Girl” – The Dead Milkmen
- “Ballad of Jayne” – LA Guns