Santa has sticky fingers. Via the Atlantic Wire: Hope you have a Merry Christmas, America, because you’ve been extremely naughty at the mall this year. After surveying retailers in the U.S., the…
It’s nice to remember that people around the world celebrate Christmas in different ways. Check out last year’s edition of the annual Christmas parade (“Krampuslauf”) in Graz, Austria, filled with local color as Krampuses (German Santa Clauses) go on parade:
A fascinating documentary from our friends at Gnosticmedia.com, The Pharmacratic Inquisition:
Did you know that for decades, jolly old St. Nick was a heavy, couple-packs-a-day smoker? According to prominent advertising of the twentieth century, at least. How to be a Retronaut has an…
John Farrier writes on Neatorama: Allegedly, this is a picture of a Godzilla-shaped Christmas tree that appeared in the Aqua City Odaiba shopping mall. Within minutes, it destroyed the mall. So, in…
Keepers of morality the American Family Association have released their annual list of companies that are “Christmas friendly” or “anti-Christmas” (the latter using the term “Christmas” sparingly and instead referring to “the…
What follows is an open letter to the President of the United States, extending my holiday greetings and providing a brief explanation of some perhaps ‘idiosyncratic’ gifts sent to Pennsylvania Avenue via…
The Fortean Times has a very interesting analysis of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” by Guy Reid-Brown, in which he investigates the possible mystical/shamanic inspiration for the classic Christmas story: No doubt…
One of the highlights of Graham Hancock’s lecture in support of his new book Entangled is when he shows us how the mythological character that he refers to as “Father Christmas” (better…
Science fiction writer Robert Anton Wilson once researched all of Santa’s “Crimes Against Humanity.” Jolly Ol’ St. Nick is guilty of more than just paganism, perjury, and trying to steal Christmas from…
My favorite part of Christmas is that every time someone plays a Bing Crosby song, I’m thinking about how he used to smoke pot with Louis Armstrong — and that he loved smoking pot his whole life!
He even recommended it to his son as a less-harmful alternative to alcohol. And this song from The Road to Morocco could be seen as a secret testament to how much how loved the mellow, laid-back life:
An update of ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ titled ‘Santa Will Take You To Hell,’ this is sure to earn a place in the modern believer’s seasonal songbook. Actually, it’s nice to see a Christian group that acknowledges that Christmas is a pagan holiday.
Christmas isn’t always accompanied with holiday cheer, sometimes it comes with death threats. MSNBC reports: Iraqi Christians on Wednesday called off Christmas festivities across the country as al-Qaida insurgents threatened more attacks…
The following article is an excerpt of “The Music’s Debt to Nonbelievers” by Dan Barker, one of 41 articles from the Disinformation anthology I edited, Everything You Know About God Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Religion. For more on Dan Barker, check out the Freedom From Religion Foundation (ffrf.org).
Irving Berlin (1888–1989)
How many patriotic Americans know that “God Bless America” was written by a man who did not believe in God? Or that it was intended as an anti-war anthem?
Irving Berlin is by any measure the greatest composer of popular American music, with hundreds of enduring hits, such as “White Christmas,” “Anything You Can Do,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “I Love a Piano,” “Always,” “Blue Skies,” “Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “Marie,” “Play a Simple Melody,” “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody,” and “Easter Parade.”
Born in 1888 into a Russian-Jewish family who came to New York City in 1893 to escape religious persecution, he quickly shed his religious roots and fell in love with America. “Patriotism was Irving Berlin’s true religion,” notes biographer Laurence Bergreen.
“Though he is not a religious person,” his daughter Mary Ellin Barrett writes in her family memoir, “doesn’t even keep up appearances of being an observant Jew, he does not forget who his people are.” Irving and his nominally Catholic wife, Ellin, were married in an unannounced secular ceremony at the Municipal Building, not a church or synagogue…
The Infinite and the Beyond — Podcast: Episode #018 — Low Magick
In the latest episode of The Infinite and the Beyond, we welcome back author Lon Milo DuQuette and talk about the rerelease of his Tarot of Ceremonial Magick and his new book Low Magick: It’s all in your head… You just have no idea how big your head is and we touch upon some of what he mentions in it; like his discomfort with the ideas of low and high magick, his concept of The Great G, pop goes Ganesha, and the celebrating of Christmas as a non-Christian.
We discuss my appearance on Beyond the Threshold with Gary Blackheart that occurred back in November. Gary took me beyond the threshold we discussed some touchy and often difficult issues that I have mentioned in the past on this podcast. I elaborate on my crisis of faith and come to some refreshing conclusions.
In A Corner in the Occult we learn about The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage and ceremonial goal of one attaining Knowledge and Conversation with their Holy Guardian Angel. The most familiar edition of the book was translated in 1900 by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers for incorporation into the curriculum of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The book reveals a ritual procedure that becomes a pinnacle goal for ceremonial magickians of the western esoteric tradition.
Later we talk about “words of power” in the Essence of Magick series and look into language, words, and meaning and the roles they play in magick and ritual. I also read listener email and we have a good time as always!
To message the show please go here.
Today is the winter solstice; the solar nadir in the northern hemisphere. This temporal event in Spaceship Earth’s rotations finds the sun take its lowest path through our sky and the daytime…
The BBC reports:
The Colombian army says it has installed a giant Christmas tree in Farc rebel territory, to encourage guerrilla fighters to demobilize. Special forces infiltrated the remote Macarena mountain range to dress a 25m (82 ft) high tree with 2,000 lights.
Movement sensors will make the tree light up when guerrillas approach. The army says it will put up trees in nine other rebel-held zones to spread the message that Christmas is a good time to abandon armed struggle.
The Colombian government says more than 2,000 guerrillas demobilized this year under a scheme that gives them amnesty and help to return to civilian life. “Operation Christmas,” as it was code named, was carried out by elite troops using Blackhawk helicopters.
First a Klingon opera, now this. Klingon (the language) sure has a lot of traction for one invented for a Star Trek movie in the ’80s. And this is also a non-Christianized version of the Dickens classic, because as I learned from the story, the Klingons killed their gods. Douglas Belkin reports in the Wall Street Journal:
The arc of “A Klingon Christmas Carol” follows the familiar Dickens script: An old miser is visited on a hallowed night by three ghosts who shepherd him through a voyage of self-discovery. The narrative has been rejiggered to match the Klingon world view.
For starters, since there is neither a messiah nor a celebration of his birth on the Klingon planet of Kronos, the action is pegged to the Klingon Feast of the Long Night. Carols and trees are replaced with drinking, fighting and mating rituals. And because Klingons are more concerned with bravery than kindness, the main character’s quest is for courage.
Casey Chan writes on Gizmodo:
The Faucher Family in Delaware have built extravagant Christmas lights setups for 25 years now. How extravagant? They use 1,000,000 lights. So how much does it cost them to run the lights for a month? $82,320. Gulp.
HouseLogic estimated the total cost by using the average price per kWh in the Faucher Family’s region and assumed each of their 1,000,000 bulbs were the average 5 watt C7 bulb. They then figured the lights to run for 4 hours each night and 30 nights in total. The estimated cost came out to be $686/hour and $82,320 for those bright 30 nights. A lot of money to get in the Christmas spirit!
The first Peanuts TV special followed six years of animated advertisements selling Ford motor cars, and originally, even “A Charlie Brown Christmas” featured two scenes advertising Coca-Cola!
One of the deleted scenes still appears in a YouTube video, which shows Snoopy tossing Linus into a sign which reads “Danger.” (According to Wikipedia, that sign originally read: “Coca-Cola” — and the hymn at the end of the program was interrupted by a voice-over thanking “the people in your town who bottle Coca Cola.”)
Maybe “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was ultimately the cartoonist’s own silent protest against the commercialization of his work…
Via Media Matters:
Fox & Friends reported that a school in central Florida had banned the “traditional Christmas colors” red and green from classrooms. In a statement to Media Matters, the school’s district spokesperson, Regina Klares, has denied this, stating, “There is not a ban on the colors red and green at Heathrow Elementary.”
[Continues at Media Matters]
One homeowner’s breathtaking homage to those titans of metal in holiday lights, makes me wonder what he had going for Halloween:
Funny how, back in 1929, we had a black Thursday and then a Black Friday as the market crashed, plunging the country into a depression. Now we have every retailer in every…