Seasonal Shenanigans print version

Well here we are in a brand new year. Actually as I type this it isn't yet 2018 but you know what I mean, I think. I've been under the weather on and off depending on the time of day for about a week now but decided to get this going when I'm “in a good place,” as the saying goes.

As many of you realize, I have a goofy yet somewhat entertaining YouTube series where I go live on the weekends and generally play some sort of themed trivia game. This last weekend on Christmas Eve (so glad Trump gave me permission to utilize the word Christmas—what a relief—YES sarcasm to the max), I formulated a game which consisted of questions of a holiday nature. Oops, I said “holiday” by mistake, please forgive me. Actually it was about ancient holidays that morphed into Christmas, regular Christmas jazz and other stuff so using “holiday” is appropriate. (I've become afraid to say “happy holidays” due to the snowflakes and PC police who comprise a “certain segment of society” which I won't mention by name because I'm trying desperately to get people to DROP political identities. WOW talk about a digression. It appears that I am starting this year off with a bang and by possibly angering some people but I am an equal opportunity offender. I see “snowflakes” and banks of snow galore on both so-called SIDES, so there.)

Moving beyond my “snarky” comment above, I am going to do what I've done from time to time in this space and place some of the questions here for your new year pleasure, or pain. I made up 70 questions but clearly will not be plunking all in this space. Some people enjoy playing this game in the column space and by watching the “show” later after it has been archived on YouTube. I've been told that it aids in helping individuals keep minds sharp, etc. I find that it's not really helping with mine, but I digress. (Actually I have learned a lot doing this because I have subscribers from “across the pond,” and in other locations on the globe. Therefore I try to include questions of a “non American” nature as well, which helps me to learn of other cultures. Isn't that precious? OK I think I might be feverish so bear with.)

I'm basically doing this because I'm still not up to par totally but really, when am I now that I ponder? I will do what I've done before and use the spelling of the numbers so it won't get messed up when I email it to the chief. Answers will be at the very end and NO cheating is permitted. I will provide additional info for some of this jazz at the end as well. I will place a * or ** near those when I do this. Paragraph breaks will be odd and some of this might not be totally grammatically fabulous. I just love being a rule breaker here in the column space. It brings me total joy! These are not super difficult by any stretch but are more or less great for conversation starters and things like that. Without further bloviating, here you go:

One: This Roman emperor is recognized for merging pagan customs with Christianity.

Two: In England under Oliver Cromwell, __________ and other saint's days were banned and in New England it was illegal to celebrate this for about 25 years in the 1600s.

Three: Many people clutch pearls and hide in another room when one approaches the door. However, they are known for adhering to strict rules and do not celebrate Christmas. The one at your door will not be encouraging you to shop till you drop nor will he/she be telling you of the birth of Christ.

Four: In the classic “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” he ended up in this region with a bunch of others who didn't mold to societal norms, so to speak. I joke that this channel brings people together in the same manner. What is the name of this bizarre locale?

Five: This group banned Christmas in the 1600s era due to the pagan elements of said holiday.

Six: In the classic song “Frosty the Snowman,” what makes him live?

Seven: Some clutch pearls when the abbreviated version of Christmas is used but in reality the object used for said abbreviation is Greek for CHRIST. What is this thing?

Eight: *This wild and crazy winter festival shaped the modern day Christmas celebration. Some festivities included gift giving, feasting and singing naked in the streets! The holiday is an ancient Roman pagan festival in honor of the agricultural god Saturn. What is it?

Nine: According to the goofy song of the same name, this person got run over by a reindeer.

Ten: In the holiday classic movie “A Christmas Story,” what did Ralphie want more than anything for Xmas?

Eleven: Many people are surprised to learn that prior to 1931, this individual was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. During the Civil War a cartoonist named Thomas Nast drew him for Harper's Weekly. In 1862 he was depicted as a small elf figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw him for 30 years changing the color of his coat from tan to the red for which he's known today.

Twelve: This “reason for the season” sees the days getting longer. Some equate it with the rebirth of the sun which has been repackaged by the early church as the son.

Thirteen: This autobiographical saga about his time spent in Alabama as a youth with distant cousins had a main character named Sook declaring that it was “fruitcake weather.” Although he was known for his award-winning “In Cold Blood,” his short stories are delightful and noteworthy, to say the least. Who is the author of whom I speak and for extra credit, name the story in question.

Fourteen: This is also a name pertaining to Santa and could be associated with an actor with the last name Cage, if only he were so angelic.

Fifteen: **St. Nicholas is commonly linked to _____, one of the major gods in Germanic mythology who was depicted as a white-bearded man with magical powers.

Sixteen: Which corporation that sells a rather unhealthy product for which Perpetual (fiance) lives is the most responsible for bringing us the Santa Claus we all know and love?

Seventeen: The return of this to the northern hemisphere is another reason for the season.

Eighteen: Who wrote the holiday classic which was first published in London in 1843 and featured a disabled character named Tiny Tim who did NOT burst into song with “Tiptoe Through the Tulips?”

Nineteen: ***According to the “book of many books,” who said this: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by the signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them. For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.”

Twenty: From where did eggnog originate or at least this place is credited with bringing it to us for our holiday drinking pleasures?

OK that is all the room I have. As I said above, I made 70 of these questions and there is no way I could utilize all of them. I shall now give the answers and after that will address the doodads which are called asterisks but hardly anyone pronounces it correctly. It's like Bush with his NU-CULUR or whatever instead of NUCLEAR. Sorry, I just ranted a touch—how out of character.

ANSWERS: One is Constantine. Two is Christmas. Three is Jehovah Witness or JW will be approved, LOL. Four is Isle of Misfit Toys or Isle of Misfits will work.

Five is Puritans. Six is Hat. Seven is X. * Eight is Saturnalia and here is the extra info: During Saturnalia work and business came to a halt. Schools and courts of law closed and the normal social patterns were suspended. People decorated their homes with wreaths and other greenery and shed their traditional togas in favor of colorful clothes known as synthesis. Even slaves did not have to work during Saturnalia but were allowed to participate in the festivities; in some cases they sat at the head of the table while their masters served them. Instead of working, Romans spent Saturnalia gambling, singing, playing music, feasting, socializing and giving each other gifts. Wax taper candles were common gifts during Saturnalia to signify light returning after the solstice.

Nine is Grandma. Ten is Red Ryder BB Gun or just BB gun would be OK. Eleven is Santa. Twelve is Solstice or Winter Solstice.

Thirteen is Truman Capote and extra credit is A Christmas Memory. Fourteen is St. Nicholas. **Fifteen is Odin and here is extra info about that jazz: Odin's ties with Santa Claus may be more pronounced. The winter solstice, also known as Yule, was a time when Odin led a hunting party, known as the Wild Hunt, in the sky with an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir. The 13th century Poetic Edda said the mythical horse could leap great distances—a trait reindeer possess. Children would leave their boots by the chimney filled with carrots and hay to feed Sleipnir. Legend has it that whenever Odin flew by he would leave gifts by their boots. After Christianity took hold, this practice was later adopted in relation to St. Nicholas. Children would leave their shoes on the windowsill or bedroom door on the evening of December 5 for the saint to reward them with nuts, fruits and sweets, as points out. (Wow that sounds familiar!)

Sixteen is Coca Cola or Coke. Seventeen is Sun. Eighteen is Charles Dickens. ***

Nineteen is The Lord God or just God would be fine. Check Jeremiah 10:1-5. Twenty is England.

Wow, this column is pretty long. I hope you remained alert throughout but if not, I won't cry. WAAAAAA! I lied. Happy New Year everyone!

THE END (Interstate Crosscheck, AIPAC, Geoengineering, War is a Racket, A Christmas Memory by Capote – thought I'd add something different this time.)