birthday


bad_santa

There is a war for Christmas. No, not WTF but a War For Christmas. It is being threatened each and every single day. Year after year. And it is getting worse. Much worse. It is time to take Christmas back. It’s time to join the War For Christmas.

No, I am not talking about Bill O’Effing-Reilly. This is NOT a call to join Bill and his War On Christmas. Sorry Bill, you’re a stupid prick and saying anything positive about anything remotely associated with you will never happen on this blog. This is a war against your war. You like War On Terror? I like War For Peace. Yours was a War In Error. So this is my war. My war against your pathetic (again) misinformed half-arsed stupidity-induced right-wing-nut fake-Christian war. This is my War For Christmas. I want it back. And you have no choice. I was right back when we fought over the War On Terror and I am right again this time. So suck it up baby.

I like Christmas. I don’t like Xmas. Looks crap and sounds crap. Even though it comes from the Greek way of spelling Christ – Χριστός. It’s all Greek to me. I like good old Christmas.

Christmas – Christ’s mass… Not about presents and crap. It’s about mass. Getting together. Sharing a bond. Being the family we are meant to be. It’s about Christ. And it is about celebrating our Pagan heritage.

Huh?

Come on, Christmas isn’t even His birthday. In fact, we don’t really know when He was really born.

Maybe you should learn to celebrate Him and what He stands for every day. Make every day a day of Christ. Hum… That will mean loving instead of hating. Tolerance instead of war. No thank you. That will not do. It’s just too damn difficult hey? Let’s pick a date and act like we believe for a day.

So why pick the 25th?

Convenience…

Typical of some Christians, they were just too lazy to find the actual facts and just started invading. They liberated the Pagans from their little holiday. A crusade to bring Christ to all Pagans. Almost like when we try to take oil bring democracy to everyone today.

But let’s quickly step back to Bill’s Big Bitch – his (fake) War On Christmas…

The “controversy” is about people bitching about others (read governments, media, retailers, advertising and “other people like liberal-socialist-radicals”) not acknowledging the Christmas holiday. They bitch because people call it the Holiday Season or Festive Season instead of Christmas. It somehow takes away from Christian holiday… It’s mostly an American thing. Thank God for America yet again fighting on the side of the right and righteous. (Rolling my eyes…) Oh, a few people in Canada and the UK also bitches but that is more because they are Bill’s Bitches.

Sometimes they even bitch because people buy so much crap during this “holiday season”. The economy trumping Christianity’s religious celebration. But that is really fake. In so many ways.

On a minor religious point… Why the heck do you want to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the first place? I just don’t get that. You celebrate the fact that God had to send His own Son down because you messed up so badly and sinned so much that He had to offer His own Son up just to save your sorry arse? Yeah… be real proud people. You should feel ashamed by the fact that He had to do this in the first place. He went to the cross because you messed up big time. No – BIG TIME. Rather celebrate when He had to leave because that was the single act that saved your sorry soul.

Anyway… This isn’t meant to be a sermon. (But did you hear my voice booming from the pulpit? And the choir singing in the background? Damn, I heard my voice vibrate like those Southern Ministers! Hallelujah! Now cough up and fill those collection boxes. I need a guitar for Christmas…)

Look, I don’t give a damn whether calling it Christmas offends a non-Christian. I’m not too PC in that way. Grow up and grow a pair. Bloody hell, so many of our week days are named after Pagan gods and celebrations. Tolerances means letting people celebrate their religious holidays. I like it. More presents and more food to eat. And, most importantly, more days to party with my mates who are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist (and all other variations.) Party, party, party! Ha! The reason why I don’t like atheists is because they don’t have special party days. I’m easy that way – Call a party and I’m there. It’s called a free lunch. Who said we don’t have any?

Okay… Back to my rant.

It is a historical fact (ooh, I like facts…) that many of the “symbols” of  Christmas were taken from non-Christian traditions that pre-date the birth of Jesus – whenever that might have been. Decorating trees? Who did that? The wise men? And who kissed who under the mistletoe back in the manger? What? Were the shepherds gay? Holly wreaths? Was that one of the presents? And was it so cold they had to chuck a few more yule logs on the fire? Bet you that didn’t work too well. Christmas only recently “found” these WMD’s – Wreaths, Mistletoe & Decorations.

The season for a reason… Really…

The reason is to party and to get a guitar… Hum… I mean presents!

Like I said – Jesus wasn’t born on 25 December. Live with it. And I’ll get back to that just now-now. (A South African way of saying just now.)

I do have one major issue with those against calling it Christmas. Some of them also wants to force government to not make it a holiday anymore. Hey buddy… Piss off… Don’t touch the holiday or party. There will be some fisticuffs. African style. Woman! Bring me my spear and shield! Time to circle the ox-wagons. Our party and presents are threatened!

But when did all this crap about the War On Christmas start? The bloody Puritans again!

Yep, good old grumpy Cromwell wanted to remove all the WMD’s. Not a tree in sight. I think it was just because he didn’t get kissed under the mistletoe… And you might notice that the decorations stayed. And so did the presents, thank God. And this is when all this crap about Christmas started…

Old Cromwell and his grumpy elves struggled with getting the Christmas trees burned and the presents given to the church in monetary form. So guess what they did? Man, they were brilliant. They did the classic Trojan trick. They took it over from the inside. They just picked this date to celebrate  the birth of Christ. This was when all the crap started. When Puritans were less than pure with the truth. Because we know Jesus wasn’t born on the 25th. But who cares? It’s not as if the churches haven’t pulled a few tricks for dough before right? And they still keep on doing it today…

But wait – how about those trees hey? You know where this comes from? “For the customs of the peoples are false: a tree from the forest is cut down, and worked with an ax by the hands of an artisan. People deck it with silver and gold they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move.” Hey? Jeremiah 10:3-4. Damn. I guess that’s why we went with a fake plastic tree. Biblical speaking I am not sinning…

Actually, the early Protestant bitched a lot about Christmas. During the various Protestant reformations (more regular than the a Meryl Streep Oscar nomination), these Paganizing elements were a source of controversy. Some sects, I mean Puritans, rejected Christmas as an entirely Pagan holiday. Others rejected certain aspects of Christmas as Paganizing, but wanted to retain the “essence” of the holiday as a celebration of the Christ’s birth – even though it wasn’t on this day. It was a bit like the war in Iraq – bitching and fighting about something that never really existed.  But the fighting about Christmas has been going on ever since. And Bill has been bitching ever since.

But I want Christmas back. I want to call it Christmas just to piss people like O’Reilly off. But this whole passing of presents and having a party at the end of the year started way back before they made up a date for Jesus to be born. It started with the winter solstice.

You know the winter solstice? It happens “when the Sun’s position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observer”. Actually, I have no clue what that means. And I have read Stephen Hawking a few times…. All I know is that it tends to happens some time between December 20 and December 23 each year in the northern hemisphere. And between June 20 and June 23 in the southern hemisphere. Yeah! Christmas in June in Africa! Take that Bill-O! I get presents twice a year! 

So what about the 25th of December then? Ha! winter solstice was established on the 25th by the Julian Calendar. But quickly banned by the Catholic Church as a Pagan practice. But it was too much of a good thing for them to pass up on a good party I guess. They banned the celebration party of the sun and made one up for the Son. And kept  much of the folklore and traditions of local Pagan festivals. So today, the old festivals such as Jul, Коледа and Karácsony, are still celebrated in many parts of Europe (Pagans, Bill! Pagans!), but the Christian Nativity is now offered as the meaning behind the holiday.

How about that Yule hey? You know that Yule or Yule-tide was a German midwinter festival about a sacrificial feast that was absorbed into Christmas like I do with a meat pie? Or a Yule log…

Actually, it came from a German dude called Odin who used to fly high in the sky on his way to a hunting party. Big beard and everything. He didn’t have any Rudolphs pulling his wagin though. No good for a hunting party. He had an eight-legged horse pulling him across the sky. Oh, and he gave the kids candy if they left some straw, carrots and sugar for his Chernobyl horse. Guess where they used to put it? In their boots next to the fireplace… Now swap that for a pair of old stinky socks hanging in front of the fireplace and you get…

Really, those early Christians were even lazier than the current bunch of Bible-bashers calling themselves the religious wing-nuts.

And how about the fat dude in the red suite?

Father Christmas, the dude I grew up with and who is older than Santa Claus, was first recorded in the 15th century, but was seen as a bit of a party animal who created havoc, got drunk and acted like a stupid wino. Ha! It seems as if some of our family members still celebrate this way – creating havoc, drinking too much and acting like a stupid wino. Some things just never change. The French Père Noëlwas also a bit of a raving and raging drunk; as was the Italian Babbo Natale. But that might just be the Italians being Italian. Wearing funny clothes, getting pissed and making a lot of noise.

The best one comes from La Befana though. She was also a character during Christmas and was the bringer of gifts. Here is the Pagan clincher though. It is said that La Befana set out to bring the baby Jesus gifts, but got lost along the way. I think she was hanging out with old Father Christmas for too long… Too much drinking and partying if you ask me. Now, she brings gifts to all children. I guess she has been trying to suck up for the last 2,000 odd years…

Actually, Father Christmas is so Pagan that even calling him old comes from people bitching about the Church trying to take him away. He is “old” because of the antiquity of the old parties, which its defenders saw as a good old Christian custom that should be kept. So “old Christmas” was given a voice to protest the Church trying to kill him off. And they made him jolly just to piss off the Pope a bit more I guess. The opposite of the stern Pope? A pissed Father Christmas!

But President Bush would be happy to know that the old drunk has different names over in the liberated countries as well. Afghanistan calls him Baba Chaghaloo – my personal favourite because it sounds so funny when you are jolly yourself at Christmas. Baba Chaghaloo sounds like a drink, doesn’t it?

But Iran and Iraq is more in line with America. They both call him Baba Noel. Wonder if they’ve checked for WMD’s there? It might be under the red outfit. Hidden as a false fat stomach. Or under the Christmas tree? Or in that big bag he carries on his back! Quick Bill-O! I found the WMD’s!

I almost forgot another good one. You know that Saint Nicholas was the Christian inspiration for Santa Claus? He is a Greek Christian bishop who lived in the 4th-century. (Actually, the part he comes from is part of Turkey today.) He didn’t drink as much as his other European fictional counterparts, but he gave gifts to the poor. Creepy though as he gave more gifts to young girls… But he had the robe and beard to make him at least look a bit like Santa I guess. Here is the clincher for me. Old Saint Nick is also the patron saint for many diverse groups. Including… Pawnbrokers! For those unwanted presents! (Or thanks to the current economic climate?)

Sadly he is also the patron saint for both dope heads and corrupt bureaucrats. Sorry, I mean of Amsterdam and Moscow…

So now you know a bit more about Christmas. And that is why I want it back!

This is my War For Christmas. More drinking like Father Christmas and acting like a jerk afterwards. More handing out gifts like old Saint Nicholas. More trees from the winter solstice feasts. And more Yule logs from the Germans please. Did I mention the drinking and partying bit already? So it’s drink, trees, mistletoe, drinking, yule logs, trees and more drinking. Just like Father Christmas would like it.

Let’s keep on calling it Christmas. We’ll steal the name just the way they stole the party. But for the real reasons. The original paty time. Drinking and presents and a bit more drinking – and the family hanging out together. That’s authentic. That’s the real deal. 

Piss of Bitching Bill. Your War On Christmas is a joke bigger than you. And Father Christmas is funnier than you. And Odin will whip your backside with his one hand tied to his horse.

I’m taking Christmas back. Now where is my beer and guitar?

Actually, I want Odin back. I want those times back when we can sit around a fire and just be happy with each other. No pressure to shop or entertain or listen to Bill-O. He can have “Merry Christmas”. I just want to use the time to play with the kids in the snow, have some malt wine with my wife, stand around a fire with my friends – share good times and brag about the scars from our bad times. Just us and Odin. Laid back and not worrying about what to buy or what to call it. Call it what you want. Bill-O, you can have it. What you can’t have is the family, the friends, the fun, the love, the peace, the memories or the good times. That is mine. That is ours.

My War For Christmas. It’s not a war to call it Christmas. It’s not a war to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. It’s not a war for presents. Those are all fake. Stolen from the good times. Stolen to be corrupted by people for their own personal gain. Whether they are trying to sell you the latest Elmo or the newest Jesus.

My War For Christmas. It’s a war for us. It’s a war for ubuntu. It’s a war for peace, love and happiness.

And it is ours. Take it and own it. It’s my present to you. Love and be loved. Reach out and make new friends. Sit back and relax your tired bones. Smile and we will smile with you. Be with each other the way your always hope you could be. This Christmas… Just be what you want to be. Celebrate what you want to celebrate. Just remember to make memories and make peace with yourself and the world around you. Make memories you can believe in. Make you.

Merry Christmas everyone.

africamerrychristmas

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Note: And this last one is just for Bill-O. One of my favorite Christmas song ever. By The Pogues – Fairytale of New York…

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This is not AA, but I thought I would hijack his page and wish him a very happy birthday! Thank you for all you are and all you want to be and making us better for knowing you and the world a better place for being here!

I love you.

Abroad

(Note: Click and then click again to see the video – not a double click. It will take you to the YouTube page of the song. The Dido YouTube link can’t be embedded.)

I pick stoopid...

I pick stoopid...

An amazing thing happened a few days ago. On Tuesday evening. Just a regular day. My daughter’s birthday…

It started because someone was bored. Doing nothing. Hanging out at his house and bored stiff. So he decided to do what he always does when he is bored. He went surfing. The internet, dudes and dudettes.

And he Googled. He Googled “What are we doing here on earth”. Just to look for some theories. You know, to look at while he was bored. And he found my blog. Or rather, he found “What are we doing?” (I know, my regular friends over here will roll their eyes and feel sorry for the guy. Of all the places in the world… Some people just don’t have any luck or catch any breaks.) But somehow it made a connection. He found value in it. It made him rethink… I don’t know… how we are in life. You know. What are we doing?

He didn’t stop there though. He went a little step further. He created a Facebook Group – What are we doing? (Join in!)

Let’ me put it in his words:

The text below is nothing more than a simple blog post by someone I’ve never met before; I just happened to stumble across their written thoughts. It changed the way I look at life.

Forget being too cocky or cool to read it and really try to understand what the writer is talking about: Us. As living things, as human beings, as people, as a global society. I think a lot of people in this world need to slow down and understand what it really means to be alive and enjoy ourselves and each other.

Read the text. Join the group. Invite your friends. Hope that others read it and understand it as much as you have. You might be able to change someone’s perspective on life. Thank you!”

As simple as that. And something happened.

More than 2,500 members and growing.

And people putting it up on their blogs and sites. And translating it into Spanish. Sharing with others. Asking the question. Doing something.

People asking “What are we doing?” And maybe getting inspired to do something. And talking about what they are doing or what they are going to do. They talk change. They talk about being the change. Because they know it starts with each and every one of us.

A few people have asked who I am. Even saying I should get more credit. But that’s where they are getting it a bit wrong. Firstly, he gave me credit. Left a link. And gave the ultimate compliment by finding inspiration in something I wrote. It’s an honor beyond belief. But the most important part of the question is that it is not about me. Who wrote it is unimportant. Who I am is unimportant. Anyone could have written it. I just had the time. And some words. The important part is – What are you doing? Just do anything really. Okay, anything good. To make a difference. Five minutes. One smile. Anything. Really.

It’s not about me.

Most of the people who joined just see it for what it is. A blog written in frustration. Written because I just don’t get it. Don’t get why we aren’t all just trying a little bit harder. It’s our only little ball of rock and crap floating in the middle of nowhere. It’s all we have. Shouldn’t we at least give it a shot? Should we at least try to do something to leave it a bit better when we go? Leave a legacy people can look back at and smile? Something we can be proud of even if we are dead?

But there are a few people complaining that it isn’t “scientifically” correct. That I didn’t get all the “facts” right. You know – science will save us all… They complain that I said our little patch is a few billion years old instead of saying that it is 4.5 billion. I didn’t get all the facts right… Nit-picking. Playing the fiddle while Rome burns.

Okay. You are brighter than me. So what? Tell me. What are you doing? And I don’t want to hear about quantum mechanics or the general theory of relativity. (I don’t like conflict.) I don’t want to know if you are a scientist building a new kind of bomb, testing on animals or creating a super drug to heal us of hair-loss. I just want to know what are you doing as a human being to make our little patch a bit better.

I don’t care if you think the earth was build in a day or seven. Or a billion. Or that we are heading for disaster. Or that God made earth. Or Allah rules. Or no one rules but you. Or that it is in our nature to rule. The fittest will survive. Or that we shouldn’t eat meat anymore. Or that we should eat meat. Or J-Z rules. Or Paris is so yesterday. Or all the other cool things you know. (I like your t-shirt, by the way.)

But all that? Is nothing. It’s minor details. It’s noise. It’s excuses. It distractions. It’s the glasses you put on while watching life go by. It’s the fiddle you play. It’s you being Nero. It’s not doing. Anything. It’s just blah-blah.

You are smarter than me. So much more intelligent. You are cooler than me. You know it baby. I give it to you. I hope it makes you feel better. Can we agree and get a move on?

I’m just a guy. Born in South Africa. Writing on the train going into Boston. I’m the guy you walk past while you listen to your iPod. I’m the guy who serves you your dinner. I’m the girl who helps you at the bank. I’m the guy who works in your garden. I’m the girl cleaning your house. I’m the girl you work for. I’m the guy who works for you. I’m the guy who is trying to sell you a newspaper or a packet of cigarettes. I’m just a guy. No one special. Just a guy who wrote a blog. You are the cool one. You are the smart one.

Now tell me. What are you doing?

I know what Nathan did. And he was bored. And decided to go surfing. And do something.

__________________________________

To Nathan: Thanks. It’s the best birthday present my daughter got on her birthday. She won’t even know it. But thanks to you she has a better shot at having a bit of a life when she grows up. Salt man. Salt.

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Today was the birthday of my youngest daughter. She turned the Big Five. Yes 5. So I took the day off. To spend with the girls. But let me tell you a bit about me as a dad before I tell you about today.

My permanently suffering wife always tells people that we had kids so I can have friends to play with. Someone at my level. Someone to grow up with. And then she rolls her eyes and laughs. My friends just nod their heads knowingly.

I am a joker. I know. I am just not the “tough dad”. I can’t discipline them at all. I wish I could (not really), but I just can’t. My oldest daughter (11) even jokes about it. She’ll say something like “Yeah, and what are you going to do about it?” But not in a nasty way. In a joking fun way with lots of laughter. They listen to me. Sometimes. They know that dad is fun and a joker. And we’ll have fun as long as we are nice to each other and listen to each other. Respect and love each other. Continue to be a family.

I even joke about being becoming an “all tough new dad” and frown – and flip up one eyebrow. And then we burst out laughing. Cue my oldest daughter with a snap of her finger, “Like that’s ever going to happen”. Being strict just doesn’t flow in my blood. I always joke with them. And we always tell jokes – even the youngest one. We go to the park. I read for them at night. We dance to silly songs. Dress up. Pull faces. Wrestle and flip them over. Wise crack – always. Fart and burp – and then say “Good one” before mom tells us to say “Excuse me please.” Tickle. Run riot. Eat funny in restaurants. Dive into the pool fully clothed. Just havoc whatever we do and wherever we go – one rule: HAVE FUN. Wave at people we don’t know. Giggle at everything. Love and hugs 24/7. And lots of laughter. In general, just drive my poor wife crazy. All she can do is shake her head and laugh. She married a crazy one. But I think she likes it. I bloody well hope so. I am NEVER going to let her go.

But I also work. I get up at 6 and leave before they are awake. Sometimes my youngest will be awake and give me a hug and a kiss and say, “I love you dad”. But they are generally asleep when I leave. And I get back at around 7:30 – just in time for us to sit together and eat. And then I bath my youngest one and read her a story. And they are off to sleep. “I love you my angel” – my last words to them in the evening and the first in the morning.

We still have fun, but we have less time. And I don’t see everything they do. I miss the dance classes. And the summer camps. And the trips to the shops. And the hanging out at the house. And the school trips. And the…

And we wait for the weekends. Or “mom and dad days” as my youngest calls it. That’s when chaos hits the house. That’s when we go wild. And when my poor wife suffers the most. The three kids and a suffering mama.

So today was a special day in more ways than one. Dad was home in the middle of the week. We had fun. We got up and sang “Happy Birthday” and opened presents. We had breakfast and went to say a quick hello to the teacher across the road. Family phoned in from South Africa. Off to swimming to see the girls in their swimming classes – it was the first time I came to watch. Back home for a lunch together. Played some Wii and other games with the new toys. Off to the party across the road with all her friends – and more presents to open. Played outside with the friends for while and then back home. It was a great, great day. A full day. They had a blast. And they did loads. She had fun. And so did her sister.

And then we got together to sit and have dinner together. It was a favourite of hers – mash, sausage, butternut and chicken in crumbs. And we joked a bit more and pulled faces at the table and ate funny. Mom gave up and just put her face in her hands and laughed – this is when we know she is the matriarch looking after her den. And we looked at the girls and asked, “So what was the best part of the day for you?”

And they both said, “When dad came to watch us swim”.

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