TFLW 52

27 12 2011

This is the 52nd week I have done “Thoughts From Last Week,” so this should be my one-year anniversary of this CAPSLove installment. But it’s not, as I haven’t kept up with it for 52 consecutive weeks. Instead, this can just act as a faux anniversary. Rather, this is the final TFLW of the 2011 year. It’s been swell y’all. Here goes nothing…

——

Reasons (pertaining to technology) as to why I could be classified as a Hipster:

  • my TV screen is the same size/smaller than my laptop screen (roughly 15-17″?)
  • not only do I own a VCR, but I use it regularly
  • I also regularly use a portable CD player as a means to listen to music.
  • I recently brought to my apartment, my record player and extensive record collection. While other people are getting iPhones and iPads for the holidays, I’m looking into trying to get my antiquated technology to work.

I’m seeing The Muppet Movie and (so far) I’m the oldest non-parent person in the theatre. Now that takes talent.

I think it’s funny that Christians are celebrating the birthday of a Jew. Because that’s what Christmas is really all about, no?

Why can’t you really say, “Happy Christmas,” but saying “Merry Christmas” is the way to go? Why can Christmas only be merry and not happy? Is ‘happy’ not good enough?

I read the first three chapters of, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and I was surprised how I couldn’t put the book down. I’ve never read the book before, but I feel like if I were to read it in public, I’d have to get a book jacket or something since the book is so controversial.

Best New Years movie ever: The Hudsucker Proxy.

You know, for kids!

 





Not An Ugly Christmas Sweater

15 12 2011

Last weekend I was pretty excited when I got to show off my ugly holiday sweater. But to my surprise, instead of receiving compliments on how ugly and how appropriate my attire was, instead I was greeted with comments about how it wasn’t that ugly and how it wasn’t “seasonal” enough.

My goal when I was looking for an ugly holiday sweater was not to get something blatantly Christmas-y, but rather something that was generic for the holiday season and the winter months. I ended up finding a fantastic sweater that had a blue and white color palette and that showcased winter symbols, without a Christmas tree or a Santa in sight. I thought this was a major score.

But at the party, people were suggesting that the sweater could be improved by adding some red and green decorations to it. Excuse me, but the whole point of this sweater that it wasn’t for Christmas. I was under the belief that a sweater could be both hideous and for the holidays, without having to represent a religion. Plus, what really bothered me was that when I reflected on what my peers were saying, it seemed that they only thought that sweaters for Christmas were ugly. If there was an obviously unattractive sweater but it didn’t portray the Christian holiday at all, then it had to be an approving garment.

I’m sorry folks, but I’m sure there are many “holiday” or winter-themed sweaters that are also quite unattractive. Let’s look at these examples, shall we?

A family of snow-people

This snowman's just chillin'!

Generic winter symbols.

Just a couple of dogs and snowmen.

What a jolly looking snowman!





A Christmas Exorcism Part Two

7 12 2011

Last night I was watching the movie of, “A Christmas Carol.” It was the original movie, and I had never seen it. When I turned on the movie, it was at the end, where Scrooge encounters the third ghost of his night; the Ghost of Christmas Future. It got me thinking about another moral to the well known story.

At one point in the story, this ghost shows the Scrooge that he will die if he continues about in his mean, old ways. This wake-up call really rattles the Scrooge and is basically the reason he changes his ways. But to me, it was basically like telling Scrooge that if he doesn’t celebrate Christmas- he’ll die. A little harsh, isn’t it?

What if the story was a metaphor for racism? You could imagine that perhaps Scrooge didn’t like partaking in the celebration of Christmas because he didn’t believe in Christmas. For example, let’s say Scrooge was Jewish. Well, shunning him for his beliefs isn’t very nice, now is it? And telling Scrooge that he’s going to die for being Jewish in a Christian world, is pretty much the ongoing story of the Jews’ existence in history. Now, I can’t say this latter example for a fact however, because I haven’t read Dickens’ story. But from the play and the movie of, “A Christmas Carol,” it does not say anywhere that Scrooge is Christian.

This was just another thought of why Charles Dickens’ story might warrant a closer look. Sure, many people like to focus on the message of promoting good cheer to all, but I still hold true that this story is a pretty dark one. If you look more into it, you can see why it’s more of a haunting story better suited for Halloween, than for Christmas.





TFLW 19

27 12 2010

This week’s edition of Thoughts From Last Week is going to be a little abbreviated. You may notice that there are not as many thoughts here. Or at least, there are not as many that I have kept track of for this here blog. Reason is, that this week has been cut off at Friday, excluding the weekend.

You see, beginning Saturday (or for many of you- Christmas) I went away on a fabulous trip to Florida. Miami, to be exact. By the time this is posted, I should probably be getting on a cruise to the Bahamas actually. (I know, lucky me. But I’m sad I’m missing potential snow!) Anyways, below are a few juicy tidbits of TFLW…

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“‘I’m so excited for this random day in December! Oh. It’s Christmas…’ -My little brother because he didn’t know what day Christmas is.”

“I just chewed a piece of gum for 5.5 hours. That is a new record. Update: the next day my jaw really hurt. Go figure.”

“What is it about women who sing in the bathroom stalls?! Even when they know they are not alone. So odd. But thanks for the concert!”

“‘I just took your brother out to breakfast.’ -My mom

‘At 4PM?’ -Me

‘Well, at 3PM…- My mom”

“I think it’s weird that I will never experience Christmas the same way Christians do. I will never consider it a “National Holiday” like Christians do. I will just never be on that mutual wavelength as so many people are with Christmas.”

[At the Caps-Pens game] “Papa Johns is giving away pizzas to those who are loud and excited. That’s what she said!”

“I dreamt my family was moving into a huge three story apartment. For some reason the apartment had a enormous public restroom as big as a Wall-mart and all of the stalls were out of toilet paper. But I did find one stall with toilet paper, but instead of a toilet there was a chamber pot-colander. Yes, a chamber pot with holes in it. And the stall door was a flimsy shower curtain. You had to like pee into the colander which had a funnel to be directed into a drain. So I dreamt we were moving to this (otherwise) grand place and I was really excited to show it off to all of my friends. But I kept forgetting that it was a six hour drive away… in Ohio.”





Christians Treated Like Jews

23 12 2010

I read a pretty sad article in the newspaper this morning about Christmas in Iraq this year. Since the attack on Christians back in October, where a church in Baghdad was targeted, leaving 68 dead, Christians have been living in fear. Apparently Islamic extremists are to blame, bringing about a lack of religious freedom in a country already in enough turmoil.

I think it’s pretty sad that there are people who have to live in fear because of their religion. It’s not enough that living in Iraq is frightening enough. Currently however, those who in most other countries would be considered the majority, fear their lives because their religion is not accepted by everyone to an extreme point.

Some people may think that it’s odd for me to be writing about Christians and Christmas with it being a couple of days away, and since I do not celebrate the holiday. But that’s not the point of this current event. The point is that since I too, am considered a minority by my religion, I can almost relate. -Almost, since luckily, I don’t have to fear my life during the holidays, but I do acknowledge that there are many who have to deal with that.

Actually, the fact that Iraqi Christians have been restricted to their holiday festivities is pretty reminiscent of basically every plight that the Jews have been through in their religion’s history. From the Pogroms to the Nazis, to Skinheads and the KKK, Jews have been threatened because of their not accepted religious choice. But at least the choice was (sometimes) present.

You know what this post calls for though? A song. Music brings people together, and I haven’t included a song on my blog in a while. So, happy holidays, and may you cherish your freedom. Be thankful that you have freedom and choice and your life!





My Issues with Christmas

14 12 2010

Q: What stereotypical thing do most people think of when they think of December?

  • a) Snow
  • b) Holiday shopping
  • c) Christmas

A: If you answered, Christmas, you sir, or madame, are correct. Notice though, how I did not include any other holiday like, Channukah or Kwanzaa or Ramadan or Festivus. No sir, the general consensus doesn’t care for the “other options.”  It’s the Christmas-way or the highway. And this really bugs me.

Growing up in the United States has taught me some interesting things about the way people think. For one, many people treat the Christmas holiday as an American holiday. Many people claim that all Americans can get into the “Christmas spirit” by decorating and singing and spreading cheer. But I’m sure many religious Christians can argue that Christmas is really more about that and (ahem) the public is missing the forest for the (decorated) trees.

This image sickens me.

There’s also the issue of timing. I’ll let you in on a little secret: while Christmas always falls on the same date, Channukah does not. (I can’t say for other holidays, since I don’t know.) Channukah, a Jewish holiday, follows the Hebrew calendar which unlike the secular calendar, is lunar. This means that holidays fall on different dates when they are converted to the American calendar. Alexandra: haha, yeah, you’re like my favorite non-family personThis year Channukah occurred during the first eight days of December, making it come pretty early in the month. Christmas however, isn’t for a few more weeks after Channukah ended. So, wishing someone a “happy holidays” days or weeks after say, December 8th, means that you are not knowledgable about when other holidays are / you are ignorant.

I'm not one to insult Disney, but isn't "Happy Holidays" only conveying Christmas here?

I went to an office holiday party this afternoon and the administrator wished everyone a “Happy Holidays.” And while I definitely prefer this over a wishing of, “Merry Christmas” which is so not P.C., it still doesn’t ring well in my ears. Thanks for trying to appear better, but my holiday was over a while ago. (But like I said, Kwanzaa, et. al, could yet to happen too, so it’s not the worst.) But where’s the justice for Channukah?

Speaking of treating Channukah and Christmas with the same respect, then there’s the displays. Christmas lights are seen everywhere once Thanksgiving is over. Christmas decorations and decorated trees take over the visual senses in the wintry months. Some of you might say, but it’s ok because The White House has a menorah. Yet, the White House menorah is so boring and dull looking. It’s as if the White House staff sought to display the least decorative and pretty menorah they could find. And other places put up small, unnoticeable Channukah displays off to the side and partly hidden. So you, Christians think it’s totally fine as long as there is some other religious recognition. No matter the size comparison.

Very simple and minimal in the decorations here.

Well here’s some news for you: Channukah is known as The Festival of Lights. That’s right, lights. Last I checked, Christmas did not claim the same nickname. Christmas is the “birthday of Jesus Christ.” Am I right? Christmas is basically a birthday celebration. And while I’m not saying that birthdays shouldn’t be celebrated with decorations, I am saying that Christians shouldn’t take away the lights that the Jews should have. Channukah = lights. Christmas = birthday.

A lights display for, "10 Lords A-Leaping," taken from the song, "The 12 Days of CHRISTMAS."

And while I’m on the subject of Christmas decorations, I want to bring up the idea of decorating trees. I have no beef with decorating trees, but when you kill something and then decorate it? That’s a little crazy. I am not a supporter of killing trees and then bringing home the say, “carcass” to adorn for all to see. To contrast, Judaism values trees very highly. There is even a holiday celebrating trees, sort of like the under-looked Arbor Day.

So as you can tell, I have my issues with Christmas. But I don’t think my reasons are unjustified. I feel like more people should be knowledgable of other religions. With knowledge comes respect, and with respect could hopefully come, recognition. I’m not going to make Christians surrender to Jews for Channukah, because in all honesty, it doesn’t matter that much, since Channukah isn’t even a major holiday in Judaism. But it just seems that Christians have to make their holiday into such a fuss and a competition. So maybe Jews can just realize that such a competition is silly, but I still believe that like the Maccabees, the heros of the Channukah story, the Jews should be able to fight back for their (religious) say and in the least, equality.





Anti-Semitic TJ Maxx?

22 12 2009

A very strange and annoying thing happened to my brother, my mom, and I as we were shopping at TJ Maxx yesterday, on Monday.

I had expressed my desire to my mom during Chanukah for a fire-less menorah. While strolling through the discount-laden aisles of TJ Maxx, we came across a shelf of all things for Chanukah, including a couple of electric menorahs. There was even a sign acknowledging that (since Chanukah was over) the Chanukah items (also including a few dishes and decorations) would be discounted even further at the register. We thought it was a great deal and proceeded to the long check-out line.

When my mom went to pay for the menorah, the discount wasn’t applied and my mom sought out an explanation. We were directed to a few people who couldn’t seem to answer our problem. We finally were taken to a customer service representative who explained to us what seemed to be the following…

The additional discount is only for holiday aka: Christmas items. (Even though the sign clearly said Hanukkah items.) The discount will be applied on Christmas, not now. (So why was the sign even posted?) The Holiday-Christmas discounted items include a Jewish menorah and Jewish items. (This makes no sense.)

What we seemed to have gathered from this employee was that she was thinking that while we pressed that Chanukah was already done, that really, Chanukah is the Jew’s version of Christmas and that it occurs the same time as Christmas. There would then be no such reason why there would be a different discount for different items. Or maybe, they thought that the different spellings of the Jewish holiday meant that there were different holidays. Hanukkah (from the sign) and Chanukah (from the box) could not be the same holiday.

The thing that frustrated us the most was that this employee was getting upset that we didn’t understand (no, it was she who clearly didn’t know what she was talking about) and kept telling us sternly, “you don’t understand.” Listen- if we don’t understand your nonsense, then why don’t you explain it to us, instead of just simply repeating to us how we don’t understand. Of course there seems to be a misunderstanding on someone’s behalf. But if you’re not helping, how do you expect us to figure out what you mean?

It basically seemed that the store’s workers were anti-Semitic and were making things up which were incorrect about Judaism. We still bought the menorah, since my mom insisted on getting it even after the ordeal we went through. I think if I were her, I would have refused to give into the store’s nonsensical and possibly anti-Semitic ways, but my mom’s will was stronger and her patience was not. I am glad about the belated purchase, but I don’t think I will be returning to the store to shop there.








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