Sunday, December 25th

Christmas Sheezy

I worked on Christmas Eve from 7:00 until 12:06 AM because of people who wanted to pay for their last-minute booze and graham cracker crusts with personal checks. I drove out of Arcata as fast I could. Within minutes, I was back in good old McKinleyville, where I live now. McKinleyville is totally what I was thinking of when I moved up to Humboldt County, not the hippie hellhole of Arcata. I tried to change my zip code in my preferences, but it still says Arcata, which is really annoying. I live at the end of a dirt road, I can't see any of the neighbors, and a rail trail is literally next to my house, all for $12.50 more than splitting a small box near HSU.

So as I was saying, I drove back really fast to McKinleyville for some reason, and I drove past the Catholic church near my house. They were having Midnight Mass. I was 18 minutes late, but I went in at the urging of a Sheriff who was coming out of the church. It was the most intimate Catholic church I have ever been to, with maybe 10 rows of pews. I saw a girl I work with there. There was no Christmas decorations except for one- baby Jesus in the manger. No shepherds, just Jesus.

I went home and I read the two passages of the New Testament that talk about the birth of Jesus. Nobody was there except for Mary and Joseph (and the sheep I guess). The Magi, aka three Zoroastrian astrologer priests, arrived a few days later from Persia (aka Iran). They went to King Herod first and told them of how the star had led them there. Before they left, Herod asked them to come back and tell him where the baby was, so he could pay homage to him as well. After paying their respects to the baby Jesus, they left town by a differnt route so they didn't have to see Herod. These three Zoroastrian Magi were the first ones to worship Jesus. The shepherds were told about the meaning of the star by an angel, so they hadn't been waiting for this moment for thousands of years like the Magi, but they honored Jesus as well.

So then I went to work today from 12-5, and it was a zoo as we were one of the only stores open for miles around, and checked out people who looked angry and frantic. Theoretically, most of the people there were Christians of some sort, but they were not happy that Jesus was born today. In fact, it was probably the furthest thing from their minds. They were too busy buying crap for people they don't even like anyway so nobody will think they are weird for questioning the American consumer holiday known as "Christmas," which has nothing to do with the fufillment of Zoroastrian prophecy.

So I'm home from work now. I am celebrating Christmas alone. I have no tree, nobody to see or hang out with. I got 4 Christmas cards, some cool presents, a Bible, and a copy of "A Charlie Brown Christmas." I already called my family (who are 3,500 miles away) and EJ. A mellow contemplative evening lies ahead.

So riddle me this: who is celebrating the birth of Jesus and who is celebrating "Christmas?"

santo26 on 12.25.05 @ 09:43 PM PST [link] [4 Comments]

Friday, December 23rd

Johnny Damon Sucks, Then You Die

I heard about Johnny Damon leaving the Red Sox via a text message- how 2005. My initial reaction was anger at Johnny Damon, but after I calmed down, I realized that he had done something even worse: he has made me question whether I even like baseball any more. Johnny Damon did something that all pro atheletes should hate him for. He broke kayfabe, which is a professional wrestling term for the old code of silence around preserving the notion that their sport is "real." Back in the day, when pro wrestling was considered real, the fans would get really into the matches, and would often try and physically assault the wrestlers they did not like. Doesn't this sound eerily similar to the comically absurd levels of hatred that Red Sox fans have about the Yankees?

It is widely known that most pro atheletes hate their fans much in the way that William Shatner despises the Trekkies. Johnny Damon, by signing with the Yankees, has revealed for once and for all, that pro sports are, in their own way, just as fake as pro wrestling. The major league sports zealously maintain kayfabe about this. If Johnny Damon doesn't give a shit about hitting those two home runs against the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, that it was just another day at work to him. So if Johnny Damon doesn't really care, why should I care the next time the Red Sox play the Yankees, or when any other sports team plays another?

When I was a kid, I used to see Red Sox games for $5. Now that same bleacher seat costs $50. Every seat in Fenway is filled with people wearing at least one item of Red Sox memorabilia, eating overpriced hot dogs and Coors Lite. This money goes through the Red Sox organization until it ends up in some player's paycheck. Consumer culture took what was once something fun that even a kid could afford and made it so you can only go to a sporting event if you know someone who'll let you use one of their company's season tickets or you have premium cable TV.

In a bizarre turn of events, professional wrestling seems more real to me right now. The other night, I watched TV for the first time in months and saw the WWE Raw show that was filmed in Afghanistan for the troops. The troops were so happy to see them, and were shocked that they actually came. A wrestler named Shawn Michaels said that one of the best moments of his life was when some young female Marine at a lonely oputpost burst into tears when he showed up. And you know what? I believe him. Or at least, I can believe in his sincerity. After all, he was "at work" too. Johnny Damon has peed on all those little blonde girls with their pink Sox caps that loooved Jawnee. Do you think they're ever gong to watch baseball again?

I am truly going to have a hard time caring about professional sports after this. Sure it's business, but at least my Dad explained to me that wrestling was fake when I was a kid. I don't know what to make of this realization that all that time and money I invested in caring about baseball was a waste. I could have been learning how to keep bees or repair transmissions, but I sat drunk around a television cheering for Johnnny Damon beating the Yankees. I urge you to boycott these sports leagues and refuse to buy their products, just as you should boycott Sony for putting spyware on their CDs. One way to start the revolution is to refuse to consume.

santo26 on 12.23.05 @ 12:43 PM PST [link] [3 Comments]

Saturday, December 3rd

The Slow-Motion War: santo26 on Iraq, part I

It is vitally important that we begin to look at the big picture in Iraq, and take into account all the events which have led up to the events of today. Forgetting to see it is easy to do because there is so much to learn and so many places you can start talking about it. Should we start with Mesopotamia? The Crusades? The Ottoman Empire? World War I? WWII? For the purposes of our discussion, lets start where I tuned in: the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979-80.

Why here? What do events in another country from 26 years ago have to do with Iraq? In 1979, a revolution in Iran led by religious conservatives (Iran is a Shi'a majority country) toppled the ruling government led by CIA puppet Shah Reza Pahlavi. Respected Shi'a cleric and author Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni was voted the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. A group of students stormed the American Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979 and took most of the embassy staff and military contingent hostage. Several escaped due to help from Canada, and on January 20, 1980, President Jimmy Carter authorized Operation Eagle Claw, a mission that sent US troops into Iran on a rescue mission. The mission was aborted because of sandstorms which caused one of the helicopters to crash in the Iranian desert.

Saddam and Khomeni knew each other quite well. Khomeni had lived in exile in Iraq from 1964 until 1978, when Saddam had him expelled. Khomeni did not appreciate Saddam's efforts at secularization, and Hussein did not like the radicalizing influence of the Ayatollah on the Shi'a Muslims in Iraq. Saddam Hussein formally became President of Iraq on July 16, 1979. Iraq invaded Iran on September 22, 1980, wich was the beginning of a war that would last for eight years. Due in part to his mishandling of the Iran situation, Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan in November 1980.

The majority of the American hostages in Iran were held until January 20, 1981, hours after the inauguration of Ronald Reagan as President. Special Envoy Former President Jimmy Carter met the remaining hostages in West Germany after they were freed. The Iran Hostage Crisis was a watershed event in American history that for me marks the beginning of our current involvment in the events of the region. The question is: What did America learn from it?
santo26 on 12.03.05 @ 12:49 PM PST [link] [1 Comment]

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