Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Twelve Days of Christmas or Happy Holidays!

This may seem late for those who aren't familiar with the liturgical calendar,  the old celebration of Christmas, or what exactly the Twelve Days of Christmas happen to be.
 The 12 days of Christmas is the period that in Christian theology marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings' Day). The four weeks preceding Christmas are collectively known as Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on December 24.
The 12 Days have been celebrated in Europe since before the middle ages and are a time of celebration. 

So, my comment about taking the whole month of December off isn't too outrageous if we add the four weeks prior to 25th December to the time to Ephiphany (6 January). Christmas day is only beginning,  yet few families choose to mark the 12-day period by observing the feast days of various saints (including St. Stephen on December 26) and planning daily Christmas-related activities. Things go back to business as usual after December 25 for most people.

For those who are into the liturgical 12 days, each traditionally celebrate a feast day for a saint and/or have different celebrations:
  • Day 1 (25th December): Christmas Day - celebrating the Birth of Jesus
  • Day 2 (26th December also known as Boxing Day): St Stephen’s Day. He was the first Christian martyr (someone who dies for their faith). It's also the day when the Christmas Carol 'Good King Wenceslas' takes place.
  • Day 3 (27th December): St John the Apostle (One of Jesus's Disciples and friends)
  • Day 4 (28th December): The Feast of the Holy Innocents - when people remember the baby boys which King Herod killed when he was trying to find and kill the Baby Jesus.
  • Day 5 (29th December): St Thomas Becket. He was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th century and was murdered on 29th December 1170 for challenging the King’s authority over the Church.
  • Day 6 (30th December): St Egwin of Worcester.
  • Day 7 (31st December): New Year's Eve (known as Hogmanay in Scotland). Pope Sylvester I is traditionally celebrated on this day. He was one of the earliest popes (in the 4th Century). In many central and eastern European countries (including Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland and Slovenia) New Year's Eve is still sometimes called 'Silvester'. In the UK, New Year's Eve was a traditional day for ‘games’ and sporting competitions. Archery was a very popular sport and during the middle ages it was the law that it had to be practised by all men between ages 17-60 on Sunday after Church! This was so the King had lots of very good archers ready in case he need to go to war!
  • Day 8 (1st January): 1st January - Mary, the Mother of Jesus
  • Day 9 (2nd January): St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, two important 4th century Christians.
  • Day 10 (3rd January): Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. This remembers when Jesus was officially 'named' in the Jewish Temple. It's celebrated by different churches on a wide number of different dates!
  • Day 11 (4th January): St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint, who lived in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the past it also celebrated the feast of Saint Simon Stylites (who lives on a small platform on the top of a pillar for 37 years!).
  • Day 12 (5th January also known as Epiphany Eve): St. John Neumann who was the first Bishop in American. He lived in the 19th century.
Even if you are like me and are more pagan/Tudor about it all and just want to celebrate the season, you have Boxing Day, New Year's Eve (Hogmanay), New Years Day, and Twelfth Night.

Let's toss in that the Puritans pretty much wiped out the extended Christmas celebration. After all, it's not too far out to start preparing in November if your Christmas begins four weeks before the 25th of December.

But the bottom line is that the Solstice/Christmas Celebration tend to be long because it is intended to "drive the cold winter away". It is something to keep seasonal affective disorder at bay and seems really weird when celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere where the days are long.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Voting Green

Yes, I voted for Jill Stein and the Green Party in the 2016 election.

This is one of the many reasons I am skeptical about "Russian Influence". The other one was that Trump won in the Electoral College, not the popular vote. 

Of course, you won't hear from the likes of me in the Media. And I won't even let off supposedly unbiased sources like the Guardian or the BBC in this rant. Neither of these news sources has paid attention to the US third parties. This is sad since any truly unbiased new source should be interviewing people like me.

Instead, I see bullshit like this trying to point out how Green voters were duped. Toss in the attempt to make third party voters somehow responsible for the Electoral College fiasco.

Anyway, Jill Stein didn't need any social media help for her campaign. Most of the people who voted for her were so disenchanted by the two party system that we were ready to vote for the Greens, Libertarians, or Roque de la Fuentes. I've said it before, the only way I would have considered voting for Hillary Clinton would be if ranked choice voting existed. In that case, I would have cast my vote something like this:

Jill Stein
Gary Johnson or Roque de la Fuentes for Second or Third
A Write in for Bozo the Clown for fourth
And then I would have voted for Hillary Clinton.

So, the "Russian influence" horseshit tends to neglect that Hillary Clinton was one of the most unpopular candidates to ever run. But, never mind that the DNC and establishment democrats chose her over Bernie Sanders. There is another aspect to all of this which I have covered before and won't bother here about my disenchantment with the two party system.

So, any accusation of "Russian Influence" needs to examine how the two party system works since the bottom line of the whole argument seems to be that the Russians used it against itself.

So, any "Russian support" was pretty much negligible. I think Paul Jay of the Real News Network also does a great analysis of the Russian Influence issue.  As a lawyer, the standard for criminal convictions is "beyond a reasonable doubt" and no one has persuaded me beyond that that their assertion of "Russian Influence" outweighs any of the other issues (such as the Electoral College) for Trump being president.

Remember, persuasion require the person to be somewhat inclined to whatever you are trying to persuade them to do. I wouldn't have voted Green if the Dems had addressed: Climate change, election reform, and all the things Bernie was on record as being for. As Stein pointed out, You will love her if you liked Bernie.Toss in I am disgusted with the Democratic Party and its sham primary elections.

As for social media, pretty much everyone who supported the Green Party did so for the same reasons I did: disgust with the two party system (notice how the Media fail to talk about that Green talking point). The Green Party wasn't on the ballot in every state, which meant that a lot of people voting Green were doing so in the hope of gaining ballot access by getting 5% of the vote.

I'll toss in another reason I voted Green was that Hillary was supposed to win in a landslide, which she did if the popular vote actually mattered.

But the popular vote doesn't matter.

US elections are a sham.

And who better to make the baddie if the US wants to pretend it is the "Great Democracy" (or republic for that matter) than an actual "dictatorship".

In other words, distract the people as the world falls apart.

Sorry, I am one of the many people who isn't buying into the "Russian Influence" thing. And you can read all my posts to see why, but the bottom line is that nothing the Russians, or any other foreign power, have done tops the mess that is US politics.

See also: