Monday, December 18, 2006

A Carnival Of Hijacked Holidays, IV - Christmas Edition

Welcome to the fourth edition of A Carnival Of Hijacked Holidays!

I'm just out-and-out thrilled with the submissions to the carnival for this edition. Not only is it a record for quantity (25 pieces and how appropriate is that for a Christmas edition?) but the quality is superb, also. Good job, folks!

In a not-so-subtle paen to A Christmas Carol, to which this blog owes its title, I'm going to present the submissions categorized by Past (as in Past Holidays), then Present(s), and then Future.


Jon Swift is a brilliant satirist. Or is he? In any case, Jon Swift gives us No Pardon for the Thanksgiving Turkey posted at Jon Swift, saying, "Most people emphasize the insipid and sentimental aspects of the origins of Thanksgiving, which is based on how the Wampanoag Indians helped the Pilgrims survive a difficult winter in the New World." None of that for Jon. He says that the President should... well, I don't want to spoil it. You should go there and find out. After all, that's the entire purpose of a carnival, isn't it? Yes, it is.

Next up we have Gavin, who presents us with the wholly objectionable Pilgrims & Indians: The Story of Thanksgiving posted at Reverend Qelqoth's Journal. If you have any morals whatsoever, you will find this piece to be filthy, disgusting, revolting, unsavory, inexcusable and a pox upon our consciousness as a whole. Since I have few morals, I found it entertaining. Your mileage may vary tremendously.

The wonderfully-named Sarakastic presents Who says I'm not grateful? posted at Sarakastic, saying, "I know it's almost Christmas, but I'm still angry about Thanksgiving." Many people are, my friend, so don't be ashamed to keep spewing the bile. As a matter of fact, we encourage that sort of thing here at Bah! Humbug!

Kate Baggott presents Two Days to Mark on Your Calendar posted at Babylune, saying, "National Child Day and Buy Nothing Day. They are connected." Holiday conspiracy theories! Yes! No, actually it's good parenting advice concerning teaching your children the value of money.

The lovely Peace Moonbeam presents Moonbeam Family Christmas posted at The Peace Moonbeam Chronicles, saying, "From last Christmas", and since it's from last Christmas, it gets listed here in "PAST". Good stuff, though, no matter when it's from.


What better way to start the PRESENT(S) section than with a few articles concerning what NOT to buy?

As a matter fact, the first piece, from Jennifer Miner is actually entitled What Not to Buy for Christmas: This holiday season's worst gift ideas. posted at What Not to Buy for Christmas.

Jennifer then follows up with The Jack Spade Frog Dissection Kit: Of the bad holiday gift ideas, this one is in a category of its own posted at The Jack Spade Frog Dissection Kit. Yuck!

Linda Freedman is an actual real-life therapist! Boy, lots of folks who submit to this carnival sure could use her help! She presents Holiday Post # 1- Bananas and Video Games posted at Everyone needs therapy? Lessons from a family therapist, saying, "Thanksgiving is SUPPOSED to be a happy holiday, but for many it kicks off the season with thoughts of, Oh, No, Where will I get the money to pay for all of the gifts I have to buy! Docs like me see so much of the holiday blues that I wrote this post to make a few alternative suggestions to spending money that you don't have." And, believe me, we thank you, Linda!

And here's some more good stuff from Linda! Take The Gift, Just Take It!

If you must buy something, then you should take along a bright and tenacious helper. That's what Magazine Man did. In his In Which The Brownie Use Her Powers For Good, he tells of a shopping expedition with his daughter. This man is, by the way, The Best Writer On The Internet. It says so on my other blog, so it must be true!

Daniel Brenton presents The Meaning of Existence (and all that): The Odd Little Universe of Daniel Brenton » Blog Archive » Whoever Dies with the Most Toys Wins posted at The Meaning of Existence.

Daniel, in explanation, said:

"Mr. 'dog --

Thanks for hosting a focus on "Hijacked Holidays." I have come to resent the mercantile expectations of Christmas, and to some extent Halloween, and will go so far as to include the onerous ritual of birthday gift giving. (I frankly don't enjoy being on the receiving end of this kind of societal obligation, because I don't care to be on the other end. If I want to give someone something, I just do it -- I don't need to be dictated to by a calendar.

(Yes, I have authority issues.)

I offer you my observations on what is probably the driving force behind all of this mindlessness, the attitude of "Whoever Dies with the Most Toys Wins."

For someone with authority issues, he sure gave me more respect than I deserve! Mr. Dog, indeed. Thanks, Daniel!

Sam presents Shopping Hijinx and Stunts. Shopping Can Be Funny. Surfer Sam posted at Surfer Sam and Friends. And hilarity will ensue!

And who delivers the presents? Why, Santa Claus, of course! Except some folks may not want him to do so. For instance, Rob Sharp presents Would you let this man into your home? posted at The Sharpener, saying, "Is Santa a leftie?"

Well, if you don't let Santa in the house, then you have to go out and get the stuff yourself, right? Maybe so, but Silicon Valley Blogger wonders Are Black Friday Bargains Worth It? posted at The Digerati Life.

And then, if you never want to have to bother with presents again, michelle presents Jewelry That Helps Say " I HATE You" posted at

Finally, if you've received a certain type of gift and you don't know what to do with it, then some clown named Suldog presents Suldog's Home For Wayward Fruitcakes posted at Suldog-O-Rama.


Here's hoping you've already had your Christmas Party at work, and that you didn't impregnate someone or stab the boss or anything like that. However, if your party is yet to come? Here are two articles which may help you.

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Office Party Follies posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog, saying, "If you have to attend a holiday office party with your spouse or significant other, this contract may come in handy."

Then, Stefan presents How To Survive A Christmas Party posted at German Impressions.

What if you just want to survive, period? Then the following may prove helpful to you.

Maria Yu presents Loneliness and Solitude posted at Life. A lovely little piece concerning being in unfamiliar surroundings amidst people who don't appear to be too friendly.

Kenton Whitman presents A Zen Helper for Christmas posted at -- Zen-Inspired Self Development. Interesting way to look at things. As you may know, I'm one of those who will not go quietly into that good night - as a matter of fact, this entire blog started as a response to the too-damned-early advertisements and store displays. Perhaps Mr. Whitman has a better way to deal with it?


On my side in this argument, more or less (not moral-less), we find Gen, who supplies us with Calvinism, Materialism & The Temporal vs The Eternal posted at Real Clear Religion.

History lessons never hurt and sometimes they're even helpful. So let's all go to visit David Parker who presents Born on Christmas Day posted at Another History Blog, saying, "This is a new blog (my first), just a week old!" Of course, David, if you'd waited until the 25th to start your blog, then... well, actually I don't have anything tremendously witty to end that thought with - as if I ever do, really - but there's probably something clever floating around in your head, so feel free to keep thinking it.

A story concerning the ridiculous lengths to which we've gone in order to be politically correct may be found via Richard who graces us with Religious Symbols and Holidays posted at Shadowscope.

Why is everybody so easily offended these days? Take a chill pill, folks.

If your supply of chill pills is short - and whose isn't - maybe Nurse Hilary can help you out. Mother Jones RN presents Let Nurse Hilary Help You Beat the Holiday Blues posted at Nurse Ratched's Place.

Dana presents The War on Christmas posted at Principled Discovery, saying, "Not entirely sure if this fits or not...let me know if not and I'll do something more relevant. I haven't done much with the holidays, but am contemplating a post about evil elves, so if that would fit better, I'll email it and you can substitute."

Well, as I told Dana, it's all good. Sure would like to see that "evil elves" piece, though.

Oh, wait a minute! Here it is!

(Those of you who just couldn't resist counting, to see if there really were 25 articles, now know that there were 26. Oh, well. That's what you get for being a nitpicker.)

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition using our carnival submission form.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Solomon The Milkman

What with the first night of Hanukkah coming up this weekend, I thought it might be a good opportunity to tell you about my Jewish roots.

My grandfather Sullivan was a milkman for H. P. Hood for many years. He told this story, which took place during the days when he did his route on a horse-drawn wagon.

His route travelled through the Mattapan section of Boston, which at that time was almost exclusively populated by Jewish families. Now, some of the people to whom he delivered milk thought he was Jewish. They thought his name was Solomon, not Sullivan.

I'm not positively sure how this assumption came about, but it's not a stretch to imagine what might have happened. Someone in the neighborhood probably asked what his name was and he (or, more likely, one of his customers with perhaps an Eastern European accent) said, "Sullivan", and whoever had asked the question, with the idea already in mind that he might be Jewish, heard "Solomon". That person told someone else, and so on.

It was possible. My grandfather didn't have the map of Ireland on his face like I do. He could have passed. Since he delivered milk in a Jewish neighborhood, his customers might naturally have assumed that he was Jewish, too. I don't suppose he would have had any reason to disabuse them of this notion. He probably figured it wouldn't hurt business to let them keep on thinking it.

Anyway, one day while he was doing his route, some of the older Jewish men called for him to come down off of his wagon so that he could help them meet the required numbers for a minyan; that is, so that they could have enough for prayer service, which required at least 10 men.

They yelled to him, "Solomon! We need another for a minyan! You got time maybe?"

My grandfather was sharp enough to know what they were talking about. He had been delivering milk in that neighborhood for some time, so he was familiar with words and phrases and customs that an Irishman might otherwise not be expected to know. The question was, what should he tell these men? Should he spill the beans and let them know that he wasn't really named Solomon, but Sullivan? That he wasn't Jewish, but Catholic, and that his ancestry was Irish and French?

Well, my grandfather figured it this way: Who did it hurt if he helped them out? As long as they thought he was Jewish, God wouldn't be mad at them for including an Irishman in their prayer service, and he also figured that God would probably look kindly on him for doing the old Jews a mitzvah. So, my grandfather parked the wagon and made the minyan for them.

He faked his way through by following the lead of the others. Having attended Catholic mass for many years, he knew he could probably get by with indistinct mumbling as long as he did the right body motions, so he kept his voice low and bowed when they did and so forth. Afterwards, the old men thanked him and he got back on his wagon and finished his route. Of course, from that day forward there was little doubt along Blue Hill Avenue that Tom Sullivan (that is, Solomon The Milkman) was Jewish - and a fairly devout Jew, at that.

Therefore, if someone calls me "Solly", instead of "Sully", I won't complain. My grandfather wasn't really a Jew, but he played one on his milk route.

Happy Hanukkah!

P.S. Keeping up my end of the family tradition, I've been invited to dinner Friday night with my Jewish friends Matt and Stu Stone and Freddy Goodman. I'll say the blessing, if they want.

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh. (Amein)

(Of course, I may be getting ahead of myself. Maybe I'm just the Shabbos Goy.)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Suldog's Home For Wayward Fruitcakes

[Those of you who have visited my other blog - Suldog-O-Rama - may recognize this piece. It is from last year during December. As a matter of fact, I should probably give you a general warning: the longer you go there, the more often you'll find out just how lazy a bugger I am. As long as nobody shoots me or anything, I'll just keep reprinting the same stuff, over and over.

(This goes for the "new" pieces, too. I'll recycle jokes enough times to get an award from The Sierra Club. However, I digress.)

Be that as it may - and it usually is - here is my heartfelt plea, from last year, for fruitcake clemency.]


I am about to make an extremely shocking admission, even for a reprobate like me. You should probably be sitting down. You might even wish to take a medicinal belt beforehand, so that the enormity of this truth I'm about to tell you doesn't send you into immediate cardiac arrest.

Are you ready? OK, here goes.

I love fruitcake.

There, I said it. It's not something that very many people would admit to these days, what with the unabashed fruitcake bashing that goes on every Christmas season, but I've never been very reticent about bringing up my peculiarities, so there it is. Little fluorescent green pieces of unidentified fruit? Love 'em. Cake with the approximate equal weight to lead? Bring it on! Cherries of a red hue unfound in any part or portion of nature? I plain cannot get enough.

I realize this makes me one of an extremely tiny minority these days. Most folks seem to have no better use for fruitcakes than to launch them with catapults or other such desecrations. At best, they are used as doorstops or perhaps something with which to whack an intruder over the head.

I, on the other hand, like to eat them.

Say what you will about my tastes, or lack thereof, I just love fruitcake and it pains me every time somebody makes the blanket assertion that nobody eats them. Saying something like that makes it just that much harder for me to find one when I want one, and makes it damned near impossible to get one as a present (which I very much appreciate, by the way.) It seems that almost nobody is willing to risk incurring the wrath of the snarky jokesters who have made "fruitcake" some sort of holiday swear word.

MY WIFE used to make a really great fruitcake, but she hasn't for a few years now. This is because she lost her recipe. Oh, the tears I've shed! That was my best shot at getting fruitcake for Christmas, without having to actually buy one. My sister-in-law gave me one a couple of years ago and that was nice.

Look, if you have fruitcake that you want to get rid of, please don't hurl it into space or relegate it to anonymous doorstop duty. Send it to ME. I'd love to give it a nice home (in my belly) and I will sing your praises should you send me one. Here's an address, and you can feel free to forward it:

Suldog's Home For Wayward Fruitcakes
93 Winsor Avenue
Watertown, MA 02472

No joke - send it! Believe me, you'll build up whole bunches of karma points if you do.

[2006 addendum: I have already received one fruitcake this holiday season. It came from my Uncle Jim - which, by the way, sounds like the title of a really campy horror flick. However, as delicious as it looks, it will not be enough. More! I need more fruitcakes! Send them, NOW! And I thank you.)