Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Labor Day

September 3, 2018

Labor Day“Every dollar that the boss did not work for, one of us worked for a dollar and didn’t get it.”

William “Big Bill” Haywood

Related:

“What Is Labor Day? A History of the Workers’ Holiday,” Karen Zraick, New York Times

“Most Americans view unions favorably, though few workers belong to one,” Drew DeSilver, Pew Research Center

“Unions struggle in the courts, but they have a fighting chance in the streets,” Barry Eidlin, Washington Post

“Trump Celebrates Labor Day by Attacking Labor Leader,” Benjamin Hart, New York Magazine

“Trump rolls back worker safety rules,” Ian Kullgren, Politico

“Donald Trump’s war on workers,” Paul Waldman, Washington Post

“A Labor Day Reflection on Unions, Race, and Division,” Dan Kaufman, The New Yorker

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Labor Day Weekend: REAL Men Grill Meat

August 31, 2018

Labor Day Weekend: REAL Men Grill Meat

This is Labor Day Weekend, ceremonial End of Summer in the USA. During this three-day holiday adult American men are obliged to offer up sacrifices to their gods, incinerating animal flesh outdoors behind their homes. Families and  neighbors consume the charred remains, washing them down with copious libations of fermented grain or carbonated sugar-water.

This custom is said to bridge cultural differences and promote family and community cohesion, but the ceremony has a grave, unstated purpose. If American men do not burn meat for them on Labor Day, the angry gods will not end summer, preventing the start of the new pro football season.

More:

“Football: America’s national religion,” Chad Gibbs, Washington Post  blog.

“The Foodspin Cookout Reader,” Albert Burneko, Foodspin

“NFL Labor Day Cookout: Which Food Is Your Favorite Player Bringing?” Bailey Brautigan, Bleacher Report.

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Note: Canadian men sacrifice meat on “Labour Day,” which has something to do with their Ice Hockey cult. Or with “Curling,” maybe. Whatever that is.

Image (“BBQ Grill for Real Men”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Passover Seder: Greek Symposium?

March 29, 2018

Passover Seder: Greek Symposium?

The Haggadah (הַגָּדָה‎) is a Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover ritual meal, the Seder.

“There’s a reason the haggadah feels goyish: Formally speaking, it’s Greek. It’s a Judaicized version of a Greek genre called ‘symposium literature’. Plato loved the form. So did Xenophon. The symposium enshrined the most appealing traits of the Hellenic personality: conviviality, Epicureanism, a love of good conversation.”

–”Platonic Form,” Judith Shulevitz, Tablet Magazine

The ancient Greek symposium (συμπόσιον) was a drinking party; drinking four glasses of wine is a Passover obligation. Diners are supposed to recline while they do so, just like the Greeks.

There’s a cute Passover tradition, breaking a piece of matzoh (unleavened bread) and hiding half of it. The bread can only be eaten at the end of the meal, after the family’s children discover it. That piece of bread has a funny name, afikomen, but its origin isn’t Hebrew. You guessed it, it’s Greek:

“In Greek, the word is epikomen and is made up of two smaller words: epi, which means after (as in an epilogue), and komos, which means a banquet or merrymaking, and is the same word that inspired the English word comedy. For centuries, Jews have taken afikomen to mean ‘that which comes after the meal,’ more commonly known, of course, as dessert.”

– “Breaking Matzah,” David K. Israel, Mental Floss

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Groundhog Day

February 2, 2018

Groundhog Day

It’s February 2nd, time to monitor Marmota monax and dream of winter’s end. Whether or not you believe in woodchuck weathermen, one thing is certain: you can’t have groundhogs if you want a backyard full of fresh garden veggies.

Groundhogs (aka woodchucks, whistlepigs, and marmots) are insecto-vegetarians and confirmed locavores. If you plan to plant this spring, harvest those hairy beasts now. Celebrate Groundhog Day with critter cuisine.

Serving suggestions:

Woodchuck au Vin

Canadian Fried Woodchuck

Groundhog Pie

Woodchuck Recipes from Michigan (Oriental Groundhog,Waco Groundhog in Sour Cream,Woodchuck Stew, Woodchuck Meat Loaf)

More groundhog lore and recipes here and here.

In his book Groundhog Day, Don Yoder reprints a classic groundhog recipe from Cooking with the Groundhog, published as a fundraiser by a hospital auxiliary in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, home of the “official” Groundhog’s Day Festival (there are more than a few others ). A Georgia groundhog is on Twitter.

Seven years ago, whilst stalking the elusive picture book Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather, we espied an ad for the Range Kleen Preseasoned Cast Iron 10 Inch Fry Pan on the book’s Amazon.com page and cooked up today’s graphic. There’s obviously no “storybook ending” to this post if you’re a groundhog.

Related:

“Eight Things You Didn’t Know About Groundhogs,” Jason G. Goldman, Scientific American blog

“Groundhogs and Ground Squirrels: Winter Prognosticators,”  Sharol Nelson-Embry, Quest

“40 years of groundhog forecasts, mapped,” Kennedy Elliott and Shelly Tan, Washington Post

“Punxsutawney Phil: incompetent — or evil?” Phil Edwards, Vox

“Depressed Groundhog Sees Shadow Of Rodent He Once Was,”The Onion

“Where Did Groundhog Day Come From? ” Mental Floss

“A Short History of Groundhog Day,” Danny Lewis, Smithsonian.com

“Groundhog Day Explained,” CGP Grey (video)

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Image (“Marmot sauté, after John James Audubon”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Health Care

January 15, 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Health Care

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane.”

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressing the Medical Committee for Human Rights, 1966

Image source: Library of Congress.

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2017: Have a Lethal Christmas!

December 17, 2017

Have a Lethal Christmas!

Francis X. Clines in the New York Times:

“For the single-day binge of gun sales measured annually after Thanksgiving, the F.B.I. received 203,086 requests for background checks. This is the most ever in a single day, topping last year’s Black Friday high of 185,713 requests. (No immediate tweets from President Trump, the candidate of the National Rifle Association, that this is huge in making America great again.)

There were undoubtedly even more guns actually sold, since an F.B.I. request can cover a buyer’s multiple purchases. All seasonal evidence indicates that AR-15 assault rifles, the battlefield knockoffs familiar to so many Americans in the relentless tales of mass shootings, will be under many Christmas trees. ‘Bang for the buck!’ enthused the blog post of one seasonal shopper. ‘I picked up a Bushmaster carbine with rebate for around $400 … I couldn’t be happier.’”

More:

“Guns were Black Friday must-haves, going by the FBI’s record 203,086 background-check requests,” Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post

Related:

“Sandy Hook mom slams Trump for hosting NRA head on anniversary of shooting,” Jacqueline Thomsen, The Hill

“Americans Don’t Really Understand Gun Violence,” David Bernstein, The Atlantic

“America’s gun problem, explained,” German Lopez, Vox

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Christmas Wrapping

December 14, 2017

“Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses, first released in 1981. Vocalist: Patty Donahue (1956  — 1996). Writer: Chris Butler. The title is a play on Kurtis Blow’s “Christmas Rappin’,” as is the spoken delivery. There are versions by The Spice Girls and the cast of the TV show Glee.

More:

“Scrooge Writes a Christmas Song: The ‘Christmas Wrapping’ Story,” Carl Wiser, Songfacts

“NE Ohio Band The Waitresses Score a Christmas Favorite,”IdeaStream.org

“The Roots of Indie: The Waitresses,” James Stafford, Diffuser.fm

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Please Come Home For Christmas

December 13, 2017

“Please Come Home For Christmas,” written by  Charles Brown.and Gene Redd, performed by New Jersey’s Jon Bon Jovi (John Francis Bongiovi, Jr.) and his band, Bon Jovi.

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Big Savings!

November 24, 2017

Big Savings!

The Friday after Thanksgiving or ”Black Friday“ is reserved by global corporations for whipping Americans into a frenzy of over-consumption.  Millions camp out and line up for hours hoping for bargains. Most end up buying things they don’t need at prices they can’t afford.

Save big today. Don’t buy a single thing. If you want to spend something, spend the day with friends and family. Spend time at the library; borrow a book and spend time reading it. Spend time making something. You’re not what you buy. You’re not a “consumer.” You’re a human being.

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Thanksgiving Greetings from William S. Burroughs

November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Greetings from William S. Burroughs
A holiday poem from Williams S. Burroughs: “Thanks for the wild turkey and the passenger pigeons …”
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