Saturday, December 20, 2008

Heartless (a prayer)

I wonder if perhaps you let me slide,
o thou my God, to such a boring, dull,
and wasteful Hell to get through my thick skull
what blind destructive movement seeks inside
me not just death, but vi’lent suicide.
The vision, clear and inescapable
disturbs, as glancing trepidation full
one cannon-blasted sees a gaping, wide
an emptiness where heart and breath should be.
“Our hearts are restless,” missing, torn to bits
and still, we think we have no need of thee.
Your cruelest mercy lovingly permits
my eyes myopic fearfully to view
the monstrous sight: my self apart from you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brandon's Conversion

The Christmas Carol movie with Patrick Stewart has filled Brandon (once a near-Scrooge himself, a lover only of melancholy, morbid and minor-keyed Christmas music, and a vocal advocate of "Bah-Humbug Day"), yes has filled Brandon with Christmas cheer! It's a great movie--definitely worth adding to your Christmas movie collection if you have not done so already.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Commercializing the Holidays

So, here it is Thursday of the week before finals, and instead of studying or writing papers, I am goofing off online--always a good idea. Now time for some inane musing, inspired by another blog:

Thanksgiving is kind of a lame holiday. Part of what makes holidays so great is that on them, you do the same special things, eat the same special foods, put up the same special decorations. But with Thanksgiving, sometimes you're with one side of the family, sometimes with another side, sometimes with just your nuclear family, or sometimes with friends, or with a family you're not related to at all, or with a bunch of homeless people in a church gymnasium. There aren't even standard Thanksgiving decorations to put up, or Thanksgiving activities to engage in (Brandon and I have worked on writing some Thanksgiving carols, but it's rough going). The only thing that stays the same is the food. Only the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams/sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce are absolutely inviolable Thanksgiving traditions.

The relative lameness of Thanksgiving is accentuated by its position between the two most fun holidays of the year--the most fun, and the the most commercialized: Halloween and Christmas.

People often talk about how horrible it is that Christmas has become so commercialized. (For a hilarious Onion News video on the over-commercialization of Halloween, click here.) But maybe there's an upside to the commercialization of the holidays, too. I mean, as long as you don't go overboard, keep your spending in check, look for "green" gifts, and all that jazz, it can be really nice that there are so many beautiful things, so many festive products to enjoy--and you don't even have to own all of them in order to enjoy them! (E.g. other people's Christmas light displays.)

The Christmas music, candles, colored lights, cookies and candy, gingerbread houses, holiday mugs, Christmas shopping, peppermint lattes (I've never had one, but the idea sounds wonderfully Christmasy!), wrapping paper, ribbon and bows don't distract from the "true meaning of Christmas,"--they just add to it! To quote from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's apostrophe to Christmas, "you are all this and more now."

That's one reason I love the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas albums (in spite of the strange fact that they often address or speak of the Christmas holiday as if it were some sort of demi-goddess or archangel); they are a fascinating melding of religious sentimentality and the magic of a commercialized Christmas.

Oh my, look at the time! I'd better hurry home and get my Trans-Siberian Orchestra fix before Brandon (a.k.a. "The Grinch") gets home ...