Entertainment

Rain, Rain and More Rain

Ok, so it’s only been two days or so of rain. But there are areas in Central Florida that still have high water from Hurricane Irma. I realize we’re in much better shape than Texas and Puerto Rico but it still isn’t easy.

So here’s a video just because I want to…

Peace,
B

EDIT:  It’s now 1210 EDT and Wifey® informs me the sun is out! Guess this little post did its job! (As if I could influence the weather.)

Not Exactly A Useless Post

As I mentioned on my social media yesterday, my older brother and I have been texting about music. Single artists, bands you name it. We somehow ended up on women vocalists, and one of my all-time favorites, Linda Ronstadt, I had posters of her on my bedroom walls as a teenager. (Along with Anne & Nancy Wilson of Heart).

Then while browsing through YouTube I found this video of Linda and her first band The Stone Ponys.

After reading the Stone Ponys Wikipedia page I learned that “Different Drum” was written by Michael Nesmith before he became a Monkee.

Micheal was always my favorite Monkee. I watched the show every chance I got. Not only was the humor perfect for an 8-year-old, I really enjoyed the music too. It was later in life when I went back and listened to their music that realized that Micheal’s music was far better than the polished pop songs they also sang. Now those pop songs were written by some of the finest songwriters of the early sixties. Carol King & Gerry Goffin to name but two.

But it was Michael’s rawer edge that stood out to me. Plus the fact on most of his songs, he insisted that the Monkees actually played on the recordings and just not studio musicians (although they made extensive use of studio musicians on every recording).

A few interesting notes about The Monkees. Stephen Stills (of Crosby, Stills, Nash with or without Young fame) auditioned but didn’t make the cut. He did, however, recommend his friend Peter Tork to be auditioned.  Peter was the only band member other than Michael that could actually play an instrument.  The reason Michael wore a wool hat? It kept his hair out of his eyes while riding his motorcycle. And Michael’s mother invented what was later marketed as “Liquid Paper”.

So here is my favorite Monkee song of Michael’s. The video sucks, sorry. But you get two renditions of the song. The first part, take care to watch the studio musicians listed. The late Glenn Campbell is playing backup for The Monkees! Michael is producing this version, which was used on the show over the version produced by Don Kirschner.

Hope you enjoy it! Leave a comment or two, please.

Peace,
B

Samhain

(This isn’t an anti any religion post. Your beliefs are your beliefs. I’m not trying to push any of my beliefs on you, please don’t try to push yours on me. This is here to show the history of one of my favorite holidays.)

The season of Samhain (pronounced SOW-win) is upon us. The greatest of the ancient Celtic fire festivals, it is usually celebrated on October 31st or the full moon closest to that date (November 4th at 1:23AM this year).  It is from this ancient festival that we believe the modern-day Halloween comes from.

To the ancient Celts, Samhain marked the most important of four Celtic fire festivals. Located halfway between an equinox and a solstice, it is one of four cross-quarter festivals. Every year on the first frost after the full moon in October, families allowed their hearth fires to burn out. At this time, they brought back herd animals from grazing and completed gathering the harvest. After the fires died, they gathered with the rest of their tribe to observe the Druid priests relighting the community sacred fire using friction. The priests induced friction with a wheel and spindle: the wheel, representing the sun, turned from east to west and lit sparks. At this time, they made prayers and offerings or sacrifices related to their needs. The Crom-cruach came out: this was an emblem of the sun, and scholars are uncertain whether it represented a Pagan god or symbolized an aspect of nature embodied in a stone pillar. The villagers left offerings of food at the edge of their village for wandering spirits and faerie folk. There was also a sacrifice of a black sheep, a black sow, or cattle. At the end, every person returned home with a brand lit from the sacred fire, which they used to relight their own hearth and then to light bonfires or to set torches at the edge of their fields. These ancients considered it a sin to relight the hearth fire any other way. To the ancient Celts, Samhain marked the completion of the harvest and called them to put their energy into preparing for the coming winter. It also betokened a day when their ancestors would come to visit, followed across the veil by all sorts of creatures both good and bad that moved freely in the mortal world on Samhain night. Since faeries were often unfriendly, the Celts dressed themselves as animals or as other fearsome creatures as a way to prevent kidnapping by faeries and later by witches.

Rajchel, Diana. Samhain: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Halloween (Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials) (Kindle Locations 154-168). Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.. Kindle Edition.

Not only did this festival mark the end of the harvest, it was a time the “veil between the worlds” thinned. This “thining of the veil” was of great import to the ancient Celts. (And it’s pronounced Kelts, with a hard “C”).  It was a time to welcome lost family members back to ask questions of them, or just sit in remembrance of them. It was also a time that creatures of all sorts, good and bad could cross between worlds. I would like to think that when I’m gone, on this day I will be able to stand at the veil and watch my family. To see how they’re doing and maybe, somehow, let them know I’m thinking (if that’s the right word) of them. John Lennon (he of Beatle fame) is said to have told his son Julian that if he can communicate from the other side he will float a white feather in front of him. That would be cool.

In today’s world “fairy” brings up images of “Tinkerbell” and other cute little sprite-like creatures. That was not the thinking in the 3rd – 5th centuries CE. In more ancient times (maybe as far back as 30,000 BCE) these fairies and sprites were looked upon as belonging to the Mother Goddess (Cerrwiden for most of Isles) and were usually benevolent. It wasn’t until the coming of the Celtic Christians (which was separate from the Roman Catholics) that these fairies were taught to be mischievous at best, evil at worst.

Most of the “Old Gods” of the Druids (which were stolen by the patriarchal religions) were manifestations of the matriarchal religions’ Mother Goddess (or Mother Earth). To try to convert the pagans of the British Isles, the priests either turned these old Gods and Goddess into saints, as in “Saint” Brigid or claimed they were evil and cast them to live in the hills underground.

 

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Our Jack o’Lanterns from 2016

 

So the Catholic church tried to change all the pagan holidays, Samhain being only one, into a Christian holiday. They didn’t invent these “holy days” so much as usurp them from the pagan calendar.

When Christianity spread throughout Europe, the church officials went about converting the area heathens by converting their holidays. Sometimes church officials did this by scheduling an observance for a different time of year. Other times, they simply renamed the old Pagan holiday for a saint’s day. In the fifth century, Pope Boniface attempted to repurpose the ritual of honoring otherworldly spirits and the dead, identifying it as a day to honor saints and martyrs, and moving the holiday to May 13. When the late October/ November fire festivals continued anyway, in the ninth-century Pope Gregory decided to move the saints and martyrs day back to the same day as the secular festival of the dead. In the case of Samhain, rather than negate the festival of the dead, the church resorted to declaring November 1 All Saints’ Day, alternatively called All Souls’ Day. Later the church added All Souls’ Day on November 2, possibly because All Saints’ Day failed to displace the Pagan rituals. Eventually both All Saints’ and All Souls’ became distinct holidays unto themselves, with All Saints’ an observance for souls believed already ascended to heaven, and All Souls’ as a day to honor souls possibly still working out some issues in purgatory. In Ireland, these days marked a time for family reunions after cow-milking season finished. Over time the night before November 1, called among many names Hallowe’en, Allhallows eve, or Hallowmas, became the repository for most of the original Pagan practices.

Rajchel, Diana. Samhain: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Halloween (Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials) (Kindle Locations 169-179). Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.. Kindle Edition.

As you can see, it didn’t really work. We pagans are a stubborn bunch. But I have to admit, that when I did call myself a Christian All Saint’s Sunday was an especially meaningful day for me. To hear the names of the “saints” that had left us the previous year and to have a bell chime for each name was very moving.

Despite the best efforts of the ninth century Christian Church, Samhain did not so much return as it remained. That, alongside Halloween, speaks to humanity’s enduring need to acknowledge fear, death, uncertainty, and loss. Samhain offers a chance for renewal and a chance to connect lovingly with the dead again. Halloween offers a release from the norm— often exactly what people need after enduring powerful grief. Pagans celebrate life, and with Samhain they do so by revering the dead, celebrating the chain of lives that brought us all together.

Rajchel, Diana. Samhain: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Halloween (Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials) (Kindle Locations 423-427). Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.. Kindle Edition.

I have quoted extensively from Samhain: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Halloween. This book is part of a series “Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials”.  While I couldn’t find a link to the entire series (there are several books) this particular book can be found here on Amazon. From there you should be able to find the rest. While I found the “recipes & crafts” section rather boring, you may enjoy that kind of stuff. The rest of the book was quite interesting to me.  If you buy it I hope you enjoy it!

Peace,
B

P.S. Long live the Celts!

More End-Of-The-World Craziness

This morning over on Twitter (@beachdaze if you want to follow me), Emily Miller (@emmillerwrites to follow her) of RNS (@RNS to follow them) posted the daily Slingshot. It’s a short roundup on interesting religious articles. I usually find at least one, if not more articles that I find  more than amusing.  Today’s was about Nibiru or Planet X as it’s been called.  Supposedly this “Planet X” is going to collide with earth on September 23, 2017. Yes friends, we have but days, no, just hours to live! Why were we not informed of this earlier? Surely NASA (more likely Elon Musk) could have come up with a rocket to whisk at least a remnant of humanity away to safety.

But no. And why? Because it’s all BS anyway.  David Meade, the crackpot behind all this is using numerology to decipher the dates.  Numerology? And the number 33 specifically. I just can’t make this up!

Read the entire article here.  Make up your own mind. I’m pretty sure come September 24th, around 5:30PM, I’ll be opening a craft beer as usual. Feel free to join me.

And of course there’s a video for you too.

Peace,
B

Nothing To Say…

I have nothing to say today other than we finally had power restored last night, one week after Hurricane Irma hit.

So I figured I’d post a video for the way I’m feeling.. although I’m way past 45…

Peace,
B

Never Mind….

(With apologies to Three Dog Night)

Last night I had a great idea for a post. But after about two minutes of writing it had already turned into something I couldn’t control. It was nowhere near what had intended. Not only had the train become derailed, it crashed and burned. There were no survivors. But since I have completely forgotten where my post was headed (much less where it came from), I deleted it. So now, after a very busy morning at work, all I have left is the video that was supposed to tie in with the original title.

So here it is, “I’ve Never Been To Spain” by Three Dog Night…

Peace,
B

Now I bet you’re wondering just what the hell was I going to post to tie into this song???

Random News…

Just three “Today in History” things I’ve picked from my Twitter feed (@beachdaze) today.

Gene Wilder passed away one year ago. Most you, of course will always remember him as “Willy Wonka”, but believe it or not I have never watched that movie (either version with Gene or Johnny Depp).  For me, one of my favorite movies of his is “Blazing Saddles” as “Jim” the gunslinger.

wilder

But my favorite has to be “Young Frankenstein” where he has the title role of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein.  Not surprisingly, both are Mel Brooks movies.  Seen here with the great Peter Boyle as “The Monster”.

gene-wilder-young-frankenstein

Also today would have been The King of Pop, Michael Jackson’s 59th birthday.  I couldn’t decide which was my favorite video of his, but in the end I went with “Man In The Mirror”. Just due to its message. It’s not as flashy as some of his other big videos like “Thriller” or “Beat It”, but it has a better message.

 

And finally, Netflix premiered 20 years ago today. Twenty years of people binge watching entire seasons in a single sitting.  I think all I’ve seen on it was the BBC’s “Sherlock”.  TV is not my “thing”…

Peace,
B

P.S.  I almost forgot this gem:

https://www.pushtrumpoffacliffagain.com/

B