Wednesday, October 27, 2021
The Dust of Bones
9:09 am pdt
Tonight is the night
when the dust of bones
beneath cold tombstones
They remember when
their bones had skin.
And they weren't
quite so deep.
They remember how
their fingers could
that dirt can move.
And they're not buried
quite so deep.
And they remember just why
they shouldn't've died.
And they're not buried
quite so deep.
And they remember where -
the alleys and the streets,
the course of their feet,
the light and the laughter inside.
And they're not buried
And know that when -
when the dust of bones
to their stones,
they never return alone.
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
9:18 am pdt
Sunday, October 24, 2021
12:01 pm pdt
Halloween and Satanism
– They Are Not the Same
year as Halloween approaches, there are those who decry it as a Satanic holiday that should not be celebrated by anybody,
much less by Christians. Certainly, there are those who call themselves "Satanists," and these folks celebrate
various holidays throughout the year. And, according to High Priestess Blanche Barton of the Church of Satan, Halloween
is definitely one of those holidays they celebrate. (Barton) As well, Halloween is one of the eight Pagan Sabbats that
Wiccans celebrate as part of their Wheel of the Year, those holidays that correspond to the planet's orbital position.
Halloween – Samhain – falls halfway between the Autumnal Equinox – Mabon – and the Winter Solstice
– Yule. (Wigington)
But just because a Satanist or a Pagan (and there is a difference) celebrates
any given holiday, including Halloween, doesn't mean that holiday is Satanic. A holiday can only be Satanic
if it were created with the purpose of celebrating Satan, or it is a holiday that existed before and now is only
celebrated by those claiming to be Satanists. After all there are Satanists who celebrate Christmas, but
that doesn't make Christmas a Satanic holiday. We just can't call Halloween Satanic because we think it
might be, or because some folks who should know better say that it is... and we believe them. This is not
a religious argument. It has nothing to do with faith. The object is to discover whether
historic research will show that Halloween derives from Satanic origins. And it doesn't.
Certainly there are many websites that claim Halloween is a Satanic holiday.
However, the majority of these appear to be written by Christian writers. Trusting a Christian source
for the "truth" about Satanism would be just as foolish as trusting a Satanic source for the "truth" of
Christianity. To determine if Halloween is a Satanic "holiday," we will need to know just what
"Satanism" is, as well as the history of Halloween itself.
Setting aside a day to celebrate "All Christian martyrs of Faith" – namely the Catholic faith –
dates to the Fourth Century of the Common Era. In 615 CE, Pope Boniface IV set aside May 13 as "The
Feast of All Martyrs." By 741, the feast had expanded to include all saints in heaven, not just martyrs.
By 840 the Holy Day's title was changed to "Feast of All Saints," both those known and unknown.
And in 844 the Feast of All Saints (or as it is commonly called, "All Saints' Day") was moved to November
1, (Miller) where it remains.
It was only after there was an All Saints Day that there could be an All Saints – or All Hallowed -- evening.
"Halloween" literally means "hallowed evening." (Donovan) When All Saints Day was moved to the first of November in 844, that
made October 31 Halloween. However, the word "Halloween" didn't come into existence until around
1745, and it wasn't until 1785 that the word became popular with the publication of the Scottish poet Robert Burn's poem "Halloween."
It is suggested that All Saints Day was moved to November First to coincided with the harvest,
so there would be plenty of food to feed those returning from their pilgrimages before winter set in. (Connelly)
More than likely, Halloween was moved as an "alternative" holiday for the Pagan festival of Samhain, which was on October 31. (Halloween 2019) Moving Christian
holidays to counter already existing Pagan holidays was common. For instance, Pope Julius I moved Christmas
to December 25 to correspond with the various holidays celebrated by just about everybody else on or around the Winter Solstice.
(The Celebration of Christmas)
Samhain (pronounced "sah-win") means "summer's end" in Gaelic, (Radford) and it pre-dates Christianity by more than a thousand years. (Celts)
Though a whole lot isn't known about the ancient festival, we do know that "it was an annual communal
meeting at the end of the harvest year, a time to gather resources for the winter months and bring animals back from the pastures."
Whether or not Samhain had anything to do with the dead is open for debate.
While some researchers claim that the Celts performed many "ritualistic ceremonies..."
including wearing costumes in an attempt "to connect to spirits," (Donovan) others claim that "'there
is no hard evidence that Samhain was specifically devoted to the dead or to ancestor worship.'" (Radford) In the end, it seems that "Samhain was less about death or evil than about
the changing of seasons and preparing for the dormancy (and rebirth) of nature as summer turned to winter...." (Radford)
then there's the age difference. The entire idea of "Satanism" is fairly recent relative to the
history of humankind, and especially that of the Christian religion. "The
terms 'Satanism' and 'Satanist' can be traced back to the 1560s — not as a religious designation one ascribed to oneself,
but as a way of describing someone with a 'satanic disposition.'" (Dickinson)
As such, "Satanism existed primarily as an accusation by various Christian groups
toward perceived ideological opponents, rather than a self-identity..." with no true evidence that the majority of those
accused of practicing Satanism were guilty of anything other than not being liked by those in power. (Satanism) Indeed, it is stated that "The concept of Satanism
is an invention of Christianity, for it relies upon the figure of Satan, a character deriving from Christian mythology."
Satanism, as a practiced religion, did not exist before 1966, when the Church of Satan was established
by Anton LeVey in San Francisco. (Dickinson) That's not to say there haven't been those
throughout history that did purposefully worship the idea of Satan. Throughout the majority of European
history, for instance, the concept of separating church from state was unheard of. So for the oppressed
lower classes, "Satanism was the ultimate anti-establishment party."
Those from the ruling class, on occasion, also sought out Satan as an alternative to the strict morals of the time. (Dickinson)
Therefore, the Celts did not create the original holiday
of Samhain to celebrate Satan, because they "...did
not worship anything resembling the Christian devil and had no concept of it." As well, by the time
the Catholic Church started persecuting those they deemed "satanic," the Celts were no longer celebrating anything.
They were long gone. (Radford) And what Samhain eventually became
– Halloween – was not created as a Satanic holiday, either. Far from it. It
grew out of a Christian holiday. If anything, Halloween is Christian, not Satanic.
In the end, Halloween is only Satanic if you want it
to be. But then, that's probably true of everything. Granted, if you hold out your goody bag and say, "All Hail, Satan!" instead of
"Trick or Treat," you're probably going to get far less treats.
Barton, High Priestess Blanche. "Halloween XXXIV."
Church of Satan. Church of Satan (2019): n. pag. Web. 22 July 2019 https://www.churchofsatan.com/halloween-xxxiv/
"Celts." History. A & E Television Networks, LLC (30 Nov. 2017): n. pag. Web. 22 July 2019 https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/celts
"The Celebration of Christmas." Mother Bedford. Mother Bedford (2006): n.
pag. Web. 29 July 2019 http://www.motherbedford.com/Christmas.htm
Connelly, Stephen. "The Real Meaning of Pilgrimage for Catholics."
Catholic Faith Store. Catholic Faith Store:
n. pag. Web. 22 July 2019 https://www.catholicfaithstore.com/daily-bread/real-meaning-pilgrimage-catholics/
Kevin. "The Origins of Satanism: A Humanist History?" Big Think. Big Think
(27 June 2019): n. pag. Web. 22 July 2019 https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/satanism
Donovan, Blair, and Marissa Gold. "Here's the Real History of Halloween and Why We Celebrate
It on October 31." Country Living. Hearst (24 June 2019): n. pag. Web. 22 July 2019
Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. (13 July 2019): n. pag. Web. 22 July 2019 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween
2019." History. A & E Television Networks, LLC. (18 Nov. 2018): n. pag. Web.
22 July 2019 https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween
Gregory. "History of All Hallows Eve." Catholic Culture. CatholicCulture.org (2003):
n. pag. Web. 22 July 2019 https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/months/10_2.cfm
Benjamin. "History of Halloween." Live Science. Purch (18 Sept. 2017): n. pag.
Web. 22 July 2019 https://www.livescience.com/40596-history-of-halloween.html
Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. (25 June 2019): n. pag. Web. 22 July 2019 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanism
Wigington, Patti. "The 8 Pagan Sabbats." Learn Religions. Dash (25 May 2019): n. pag. Web. 29 July 2019 https://www.learnreligions.com/eight-pagan-sabbats-2562833
Friday, October 22, 2021
9:32 am pdt
Bird Gets the Latte
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
10:09 am pdt
9:22 am pdt
Why I Hate My Job: Interview #149:
I am the inventor of the extra
large condom. No kidding. And I never even stepped in a laboratory. I’m
in marketing. You see, the only thing different about an extra large condom and a regular old condom is
the package. But who’s not going to buy the extra large condoms? You’re
not going to complain when you realize there is no difference, if you ever notice at all. I mean, who would
you complain to? And just exactly what are you complaining about? That it ain’t
as large as you thought it was? Now there’s something I’d like to have come out in public court.
That might even make national news. And once the ladies know what brand you’re using, you
can’t go back. We even charge more. We get twenty cents more for a three pack.
I’ve been nominated for the Latex Award. What? Oh, I’m sorry.
I just thought this was for anybody. I love my job.
Monday, October 18, 2021
Bury My Bones
8:04 am pdt
There are certain days
when one does not want to dig graves;
they're cold, and wet, and gray,
inside is just a better place to stay.
But there are certain bodies
that just will not wait
for better weather,
bodies with no names
and no relations
to make the final
Down at the county morgue
Ed knew the body had been too
and there was no hope of the weather
ever becoming better.
And since no one was ever
to put flowers on his plot,
who would ever know if this poor stiff
were buried or not?
So laid out on the slab,
Ed commenced to split
that poor unclaimed body into parts
enough to fit inside
those plastic bags for the trash;
and when dragged up to the curb,
Ed went up to take
It could have been a tree in the wind slapping
the soft rapping
that sat Ed straight up in his bed.
He couldn't be sure.
It could have been footsteps
the downstairs floor...
And it could have been the wind,
Ed heard it again,
this time loud and clear,
calling out from the bottom of the stairs
with a voice that was
more a moan,
"Ed! Ed! Bury my bones."
No! No! It couldn't
Ed didn't believe in such things.
It was indigestion
or a hallucination -
all part of a bad dream,
that would explain...
But the footsteps started up the stairs,
and Ed felt the hairs
on the back of his neck
begin to rise,
as he heard once again that moan:
"Ed! Ed! Bury my bones."
Closer, closer to his door,
Ed heard the footsteps cross the floor.
Again and again he heard
"Ed! Ed! Bury my bones!"
There are certain
that science cannot explain:
pyramids and tombs
and mummified remains -
And that half-dug grave
in the county plot,
where was found the mutilated remains
of some poor sot,
in the mud,
and both very, very dead.
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
9:59 am pdt
Many years ago, at the first school I ever taught at, I carpooled with two other teachers, a man and a
woman – call them Gary and and Miss Corbell, both my age – young, novice teachers. And we – mostly
Gary and I – would tell jokes on occasion. So one day I told what I still consider to be one of the funniest jokes
ever – the "Sonofabitch Fish" joke.
Two elderly priests were fishing, enjoying a peaceful day
by an isolated lake. After a bit, one of the priests – call him Father John – pulled in a fish
and exclaimed, "What a magnificent sonofabitch!" The other priest – call him Father Tom
– was taken aback by Father John's language, but he said nothing. Pretty soon, Father John pulled
in another fish, this one even bigger than the first, and he exclaimed, "Aye! Another big sonofabitch!"
And so Father Tom said to Father John (imagine a strong Irish accent), "Aye, Father John, though we may be far
removed from the ears of man, we are never removed from the ears of God, and God finds such language offensive."
To which Father John replied, "Aye, Father Tom, think not that I would ever use such language unfounded, for I
would never choose to offend the Lord. But that is what the fish is called. That is
its given name. It is a Sonofabitch Fish." Father Tom was somewhat doubtful, but
he kept his tongue. When they got back to the church, Father Tom looked it up, and sure enough, the fish
was really called a Sonofabitch Fish. To say the least, he was relieved that Father John had not been cursing,
and disappointed in himself for ever having doubted the good Father.
That night they had those
fish for supper. At that meal, fresh out of seminary, was a brand new priest. It was
the first time he had ever broken bread with either Father Tom or Father John. Understandably, he was a
bit nervous. After the Blessing, Father Tom took a bite of his fish and exclaimed, "That is one delicious
Sonofabitch!" And then Father John, after taking a bite, replied, "Aye! That
is the best Sonofabitch I've ever eaten." To which the new priest said, "You know, I think I'm
going to like working with you motherfuckers."
Gary, who was driving, laughed so hard
I feared we might not stay on the road. Miss Corbell was offended. Not just a little
offended, but whole-heartedly offended. And she told me so in no short order, and, further, that I was
never to tell such inappropriate jokes in her presence ever again. Because it was just not funny!
apologized, but mostly, I wrote her off as being a humourless prude.
only worked at that school for a year, and after the Sonofabitch Fish joke, I rarely carpooled with Miss Corbell again.
And I sure as heck didn't tell her anymore jokes. But that joke followed me for the rest of my career.
At almost every school I ever worked at, there was invariably somebody who would realize that I was the one who had
told "that joke." Educators I met at seminars, people I didn't even work with and had never met
before, knew about "the joke." In more than one interview I had to talk my way out of telling
that joke – I had to sooth the interviewing principal or superintendent's fears that I would behave appropriately as
a teacher. That joke could very well be why I didn't get hired at any number of districts.
Had I not told that joke, my career could've – and probably would've – taken a very different path.
Looking back on it all, if I had the chance to go back and not tell that joke,
I'm fairly certain that I wouldn’t change a goddamned thing.
A Priest and a Rabbi
had been fishing together for years. One day, they invited the town's Baptist minister along. They were sitting
in a boat in the middle of a lake, all patiently waiting with their lines in the water, bobbers gently rocking, when the Rabbi
says, "I think I'll go back to the car and get some more coffee." So he gets out of the boat, walks across
the water, gets the coffee, and returns, once again walking on water. The Priest doesn't say a thing. He doesn't
even look up. It was as if nothing unusual had happened. The minister, understandably, was freaked. But
he kept his composure. Pretty soon, the Priest says, "I don't know about you boys, but I'm ready for a sandwich."
And then he got out of the boat, walked across the water, and returned with the sandwiches, once again walking on water.
The minister is really freaking out now. A Catholic and Jew has just walked on water. The fate of the entire Protestant
faith may very well be in his hands. There was nothing to it. He had to walk on the water, too. So he says,
"I just realized I forgot my favourite lure." After which he stepped out of the boat, and "Whoosh!"
– he goes under. As the minister was splashing about in the lake, the Rabbi turned to the Priest and said, "Do
you think we ought to tell the fool where the stumps are?"
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
12:02 pm pdt
Monday, October 11, 2021
9:15 am pdt
And Now a Word from the Reverend Bidwell:
Remember, brethren, Jesus loves you. But that doesn't mean he likes you.
Friday, October 8, 2021
11:07 am pdt
Douglas Bennett's statue of Columbus on the Seattle Waterfront
a country where we carved a monument to four of our presidents (two of whom owned enslaved humans) on a mountain in the middle
of what many Native Americans consider their most sacred ground, it really shouldn’t surprise anybody that we still
celebrate Columbus Day.
We all know the story of Columbus. After all, he discovered America!
Never mind the millions of people who were already living throughout North and South America and the Caribbean.
Never mind that the Vikings had been here on numerous occasions and even had established outposts in the New World.
(Columbus Day in the United States) And never mind that there is fairly conclusive evidence that
the North and South American continents had been reached by both Chinese explorers (Kolesnikov-Jessop) and quite possibly
even Polynesian explorers. (Jones) It’s Columbus whom we give the credit to! And
why not? After all, it is his “Discovery” that led to the European conquest of the New World.
actuality, Columbus “discovered” very little of the New World. Instead of being seen as an
intrepid explorer, he should probably be seen more as a “hapless navigator [who] misjudged the circumference of the
Earth and landed instead on the Bahamas. He later sailed on to Cuba and to Hispaniola (now Haiti), which he mistakenly believed
to be the East Indies,” (Columbus Day: Celebration and Controversy)
but he never got as far as mainland America. (Columbus Day in the United States)
places that Columbus actually made it to, as well as those he left for others to “discover,” were not barren lands
devoid of human life. It is estimated that there were between 90-112 million people living in the Americas
prior to Columbus’ arrival. That’s more than the entire European population at the time. (Dangl)
But not for long.
Columbus almost immediately forced the natives
into slavery, and he reportedly “imposed barbaric forms of punishment, including torture” on those who resisted.
(Columbus Day) Indeed, on his very first day in the New World it is reported that Columbus used “violent force to enslave
six natives.” And, “While ruling as Governor and Viceroy of the Caribbean, Columbus killed
[and then] paraded dead natives through the streets to deter unrest by the natives. Columbus also used force to make native
peoples search for gold and to convert them to Christianity.” (Columbus Day: Celebration
And this is consistent with Columbus. Before he became an explorer, he
was in the business of transporting people from “West Africa to Portugal to be sold as slaves.” Indeed,
Columbus has the distinction of being the first person to bring slaves to the New World. (Transform Columbus
Day 2011) As well, Columbus was the first to bring slaves from the New World back to Europe, shipping off
“thousands of peaceful Taino 'Indians' from the island of Hispaniola to be sold into Spanish slavery.” (Columbus
Day: Celebration and Controversy)
But then, in all fairness, Columbus didn’t
come to the Americas to celebrate diversity. “Gold and conquest were the driving reasons behind the
historic voyage.” (Columbus Day: Celebration and Controversy) That the native
population was dying off in droves seemed to matter little to the Europeans.
By far the biggest killer
was the diseases that the Europeans brought, such as smallpox and influenza, “which ‘would likely have traveled
much faster than the European settlers themselves.’” (Than) For instance,
it is estimated that 90% of those native people living in coastal New England died from Hepatitis A within three years, and,
overall, “Within [the] first years of European contact, 95% of native populations died.” (Dangl)
That’s between 85 million and 106 million people who died as a direct result of European contact – as a
direct result of Columbus.
And this is consistent with studies published
by the National Geographic Society. Research based on genetic studies shows that within just a
few years of Columbus’ arrival in the New World the indigenous population reached an all-time low, which was caused
by “a wave of disease, warfare, and enslavement in the New World that had devastating effects for indigenous populations
across the Americas.” (Than)
If we give Columbus credit for discovering America, then perhaps we should give him credit
for the genocide of upwards to 100 million people. If so, he is probably the biggest mass murderer of all
time... hands down. What a guy! In all fairness, Columbus is an historical figure that
represents perhaps the worst in all of us. But why do we celebrate such a figure? For
that, we give credit to the Italian-American community.
The first official celebration of Columbus
Day in the United States was in 1792, “when New York's Columbian Order–better known as Tammany Hall–held
an event to commemorate the historic landing's 300th anniversary.” (Columbus Day) One hundred years
later, In 1892, “President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation encouraging Americans to mark the 400th
anniversary of Columbus' voyage....” (Columbus Day) It was in 1937 that Columbus
Day was declared a national holiday by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, (Columbus Day in the United States)
“largely as a result of intense lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, an influential Catholic fraternal benefits organization.”
(Columbus Day) Not content with just a national holiday, in 1971 President Nixon declared Columbus Day
to be a Federal Holiday, meaning that federal employees, among others, now get the day off. (Columbus Day: Celebration
and Controversy) It was also in 1971 that Columbus Day moved from being observed on the traditional day
of October 12 to the second Monday in October. (Columbus Day in the United States) Columbus
Day continues to be celebrated across the United States through various events, such as parades and even special church services.
Although, “Most celebrations are concentrated around the Italian-American community,” especially in San
Francisco and New York. (Columbus Day in the United States)
Day is, understandably, not without opposition, which “...dates back to the 19th century, when anti-immigrant groups
in the United States rejected the holiday because of its association with Catholicism.” More
recently, Columbus Day has been opposed by Native Americans, who see it as “...an event that indirectly resulted in
the colonization of the Americas and the death of millions. (Columbus Day) The result of this opposition
is that many communities across the United States, and even entire states, have stopped celebrating Columbus Day.
For instance, Columbus Day is no longer “a public holiday in California, Nevada and Hawaii.” (Columbus
Day in the United States) In Hawai‘i it has become Discoverer's Day, “which commemorates
the arrival of Polynesian settlers,” (Columbus Day) in South Dakota, Columbus Day is now known as Native Americans’
Day, and in Berkeley, California, it is known as Indigenous People’s Day. As well, Columbus Day is
known as Dìa de la Raza (Day of the Race) in many Latino communities, both in the United States and throughout Latin
America, and since 2002 it has become Dìa de la Resistencia Indìgena (Day of Indigenous Resistance) in Venezuela.
(Columbus Day in the United States)
Columbus Day, regardless of what you call it, will be observed in 2021 on Monday, October
11th, which means that for this year, the Federal Holiday and the actual "holiday" are on the same day,
and that means you can only celebrate it once.
“Columbus Day.” 2012.
History.com. 02 Oct. 2012. http://www.history.com/topics/columbus-day
“Columbus Day: Celebration and
Controversy.” 12. Oct. 2009. Education Insider. 02 Oct.
“Columbus Day in the United States.” 2012. timeandate.
com. 02 Oct. 2012. http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/columbus-day
Dangl, Benjamin. “1491: The Truth About the
Americas Before Columbus.” 10 June 2006. Upside Down World.
02 Oct. 2012. http://upsidedownworld.org/main/international-archives-60/320-1491-the-truth-about-the-americas-before-columbus
Jones, Terry. “Abstract: Polynesian Contacts with the New
World.” 2012. Archeological Institute of America. 02
Oct. 2012. http://www.archaeological.org/lectures/abstracts/5824
Kolesnikov-Jessop, Sonia. “Did Chinese Beat Out Columbus?”
25 June 2005. The New York Times. 02 Oct. 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/24/arts/24iht-chinam.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Than, Ker. “Massive Population Drop Found for Native Americans,
DNA Shows: Genetic data supports accounts of decline following European contact.”
05 Dec. 2011. National Geographic. 02 Oct. 2012.
“Transform Columbus Day 2011.” 2011. Transform
Columbus Day Alliance. 02 Oct. 2012. http://www.transformcolumbusday.org/