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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firebucket1

Sorry about being so quiet over the last few days. I haven’t been feeling too well. That’s why I have this heading today…

Do any of you watch Monty Python? More specifically their movie The Meaning Of Life? I used to love them. Actually, I still love them. I met John Cleese once! But that is for another day. Do you remember the scene in The Meaning of Life where this huge guy called Mr Creosote is in the French restaurant eating? I mean really huge. Larger than life in so many ways. Anyway, the waiter asks him how he feels. Actually, here is the sketch:

Maitre d’: Ah, good afternoon, sir; and how are we today?

Mr Creosote: Better.

Maitre d’: Better?

Mr Creosote: Better get a bucket – I’m gonna throw up.

Well, that’s how I have been feeling the last few days. But I am better now. Not “better”, really better…

Oddly enough it’s only the third time that I have ever asked my wife to “better get a bucket”. Really surprising if you know my willingness to try anything at least once – mopane worms, horse steak, kapenta nibbles, frog legs, “mystery” meat of various looks and flavors. You name it and I’ll try it at least once. Only thing I will never eat again? Cabbage.

Anyway, the “better get a bucket” scenes follow the story of my life. At least the signs that I am getting old. Let’s go through my three times of “better get a bucket” experiences.

First time was at my bachelor party. Big surprise hey? Actually, it was a cool party. I have some weird and wonderful friends so I knew it would be safer to have it somewhere where I would be safe. Just in case they decide to put me in a cast and ship me off on some train to nowhere. You don’t know my friends… They’ll do stuff like that.

So I decided to have it at my regular watering hole. De Akker. My home away from home. Man, I have stories about that place for you… But that is also for another day. Oh the memories… Jose, still the owner today, played soccer with me and I knew I could trust him. At least trust that he would not allow me to be carried away into the night and never to be seen again. Not because he was worried about me. More that he (and many others) was sh*t scared of what my (then future) wife would do to them.

The evening started off well. I made a few rules. Only whiskey (John Daniels – what you call Jack Daniels if you are really good friends), beer and Tequila! Anything else would get me… hum… better get a bucket… So I had a few shots and a few beers. It was going very well. All according to plan. And then bloody Christie had to do his Christie rules. Christie was a legend in my town. A huge guy. And I mean HUGE! Always had this XXXX large multi-colored jersey on (sweater for the Americans). He taught politics at the local university – that’s where we met – we both studied and taught politics there. He was a few years ahead of me though. In many ways. Anyway… He got up and shouted in a booming voice, “Listen everyone! It’s his bachelor party and you all better buy him a drink! Tequila, whiskey or beer! Now!” And no one argues with Christie. No one. Not even me. But it was a Saturday night and the place was packed. And everyone bought a bloody drink…

Now, I knew I had certain limits. I have never been a heavy drinker. But I’ve had my fair share at university. And this was the time to show my metal. But 18 tequilas lined up? Come on people! And a few beers and a few whiskeys? I knew I wasn’t going to make it through this night. Not without a trusty bucket.

I lost count somewhere along the way. Count of everything. I have no clue how I made it back to our flat. But I wasn’t feeling well. In all honesty, I never get physically ill from alcohol. I feel bad and might have a huge hang-over the next day, but never physical ill. But I knew that I might just drive that lorry with the white steering wheel later that night…

And that was where my (future) wife found me. I still wasn’t sick, but I felt awful. And she walked in, looked at me driving the truck and asked, “How are you feeling?” I looked at her and had no clue who she was. No idea! A little wet face cloth was given and I got up to lie on the couch for a while… And she was brilliant with me. She never saw me like that before. And she was great when I asked softly, “Better get a bucket…”

Haha! Surprise, surprise. I never actually used the bucket that night. The next day I felt like a truck hit me and only had some grape juice at the wedding we had to attend (not ours). But that was the first time I asked for it. I was young and still in top shape. The next time it happened I was a little bit older…

De Akker again many years later. We went there for a drink with a friend. All I had was one beer, one whiskey and one tequila. Nothing too heavy. Stretched over a few hours. But I started feeling ill very early on. Very ill. We took our friend home. I stopped the car and said good night. And then I opened the car door and leaned out to be sick. Right there in front of their home. Needless to say I haven’t lived that one down yet. I am reminded of my sorry state whenever they get the chance to mention it. Me barking like an Alsatian in the middle of the night at the cars driving past… Sorry about that. That’s just how it happened.

Again I had to say “better get a bucket” when we got home. I wasn’t feeling well. And this time I needed the bucket…

The reason for this? Bloody antibiotics. No one told me that I couldn’t drink while on antibiotics… My age was catching up to me. I was at the age where I needed antibiotics every now and again for a major middle ear infection I kept on getting. From swimming to much. Yeah… Surfing was becoming a hazard to my health and my ability to handle my drinks…

And this time? Why did I say “better get a bucket” this time? Popcorn. Bloody stupid popcorn…

We went to watch the new Bond movie on Saturday and I had some popcorn. Of course I had to go all American and decided to add some of that buttery stuff on my popcorn. I gulped down the popcorn during the movie and fell slightly ill afterwards. But I was still okay. I should have known better. I am not used to junk food. We eat healthy stuff at home. I am not a health freak, but I like home cooked food – no crap and no deep fried stuff thank you. My delicate African system can’t handle the rich food over here…

But that wasn’t what made me call for the bucket. No. It’s because I am bloody stupid. That’s why I needed the bucket the next day…

We took the girls to the movies the next day to go and watch the new Madagascar movie. It was cool – hey, it was all about Africa! Anyway… I had more popcorn. With that buttery stuff on it. Even more than the day before. Yes, I didn’t learn from the warning signals of the day before. And this time I really felt like sh*t when we got home. I had to lie down for a little bit. My lovely suffering wife gave me some stuff to “settle” my stomach. And then asked the question… And my answer? “Better get a bucket.”

I didn’t need it in the end. I was fine after a few hours of sleep and some more medicine and ginger ale to “settle my stomach”. But I knew… I just knew… Old age is starting to catch up with me.

Gone are the days of eating a whole pizza on my own and not even blinking. Or not putting on any weight if I eat until my shoulder hurts. (That’s the sign that I have eaten too much.) No more drinking as much as I can. One half of a beer and that’s it really. That little piece of fat that is so nice and crispy on the meat that just came off the braai? No more…

I am getting older. Some call it mature. Yeah right… Better get a bucket. I think I might be sick…

popcorn