Saturday, March 30, 2013

What Is Easter, Eggsactly?

As many of you, I, too, am preparing for tomorrow’s Easter. I have vases of fresh flowers on every table; there are rabbits, jars of jelly beans, chocolate carrots, and painted eggs decorating my home. It looks and feels very Springy. Now, I’ve never been raised to be a religious person and so when I see this kind of d├ęcor intertwined with crosses and crucifixes at some of my Christian friends’ homes, I think to myself: What does Jesus have to do with Easter? There’s a good rule of thumb—if you don’t know something—ask. And ask I did. Why, Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ! they said. So the rabbit represents his hopping out of the grave … and the eggs? Is that what he ate when he hopped out? And why are they painted? They didn’t know.
Another good rule of thumb: if you doubt the answer you get, do your own research. And research I did.

Easter is a Pagan festival, not celebrated on a Sunday, but on the Spring Equinox when the Sun (not the son) overcomes the powers of darkness (longer nights) and is “resurrected” or “reborn” in the constellation of the Southern Cross (and voila, we have longer days). This “resurrection” myth goes way back before our buddy Jesus. All the way back to the ancient civilization of Sumer, where the Sumerians celebrated Goddess Inanna who had been resurrected from the Underworld; the same Goddess was later renamed Ishtar by the Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians. And more resurrection stories, all based on the very same premise, follow, such as the Egyptian one about Horus, then we have Mithras, and how about Dionysus? And then Jesus. All reborn/ resurrected during the Spring Equinox.

The bunny—a leftover pagan tradition from the festival of Eostre, where the great northern Goddess whose symbol was a hare was celebrated.
Painted eggs—jeez, they go all the way back to Sumer and Egypt and other ancient civilizations where they were presented to Gods as a gift.
Hot cross buns, anyone? They go way back to ancient Israel where they were baked as a sweet bread to be presented to an idol.

So, this was just a very brief Easter Origins 101. If you’d like to learn more, and believe me—there is so much more to learn, you should do your own little research. You may be intrigued.

Now, you may know that my country, the Czech Republic, has always been desired (which is a fancy word for “occupied) by many nations; therefore, the influences for the Easter holiday are as colorful as can get. Let me tell you a little bit about what we do.

First: We don’t go to the mall to take pictures with the Easter Bunny. 
We eat him.

Then we paint eggs, but not with the artificial dye that gets all over your fingers and you can’t get it off for days, so you walk around looking like you’ve just stuck your hand up rainbow’s ass. We get together and do the most intricate designs that take skill, patience, and steady hands.

We also bake a cake in the shape of a lamb—white or chocolate, which is the most delicious cake I’ve ever had. And trust me when I say that because I know cake.

And then we get the crap beaten out of us. Well, the girls do. Boys come knocking on our doors with a long stick; they have to sing to us, then they spank us, and then we tie a ribbon around their stick and give them painted eggs. Whoever collects the most ribbons is the obvious macho man. The spanking is supposed to bring women good health for the upcoming year, but the way I see it, this last tradition is very suggestive of men’s aggressive sexual cravings—what, with flaunting their sticks and hitting women? Hello! We live in the age of feminism and gender equality! Enough is enough! I wonder what idiot came up with this tradition. What sort of egotistical maniac woke up one day, farted, wiped the drool off his chin, and said: “Aah, I think I’m gonna make a stick and beat the crap out of women with it and tell them it’s healthy for them. Oh, and I’m gonna have them put a ribbon around the stick, so everybody can see how many women I got. And then I’m gonna ask them to make me some hard-boiled eggs ‘cause I’m gonna be pretty hungry after beating the crap out of them.”   

Pick a Stick

Yeah, I really want to find out whose idea this was, then resurrect him from the grave and kick his ass!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Nacho Libre.
Easter Scene.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Throw Away Your Television

I was flicking through channels last night and got fed up with my TV. Out of hundreds of channels Time Warner Cable offers us, 90% are reality show—which I loathe so don't get me started on those, and the rest is sheer crap. As I cursed incessantly at the liar box, squeezing the remote with all my might, and debated whether I should just cut the cable and thereby all the crap that was showing, I came across Guinness World Records Gone Wild on TruTV. Now, I usually skip anything that has “gone wild” in its title, having no interest in seeing girls acting like morons, criminals acting like morons, politicians acting like morons…you get my drift. “But this has Guinness World Records in the title,” I thought, “this should be good.” So I waited for the commercial to finish its advertisement for some medication that had more side effects than symptoms it would treat, and watched the show.

It was pathetic, but for some reason I was mesmerized by, you've guessed it, the morons on TV. Why would anyone want to set a world record in such useless things as crushing watermelons with thighs, or shoving whole hamburgers in the mouth, or running through panes of glass, or even blowing a marshmallow out of the nose just so another person can catch it in the mouth (boogers and all). How are normal, non-moron people supposed to have any drive and ambition to set a record in something meaningful if the expectations are so low?

Okay, so let’s expand on the above mentioned record attempts.

 A creature with a man’s body and a beautiful woman’s face attempted to crush watermelons with her thighs.  Record to break? 8 crushed watermelons. After crushing the first one, the creature’s thighs became slippery from all the juice, so the rest of the watermelons just popped up and rolled away. This was a FAIL.

A man who looked like he’d just swallowed a barrel attempted to break a record of 3 whole hamburgers being shoved in his mouth. He took 4, squashed them into one flat circle (I would have immediately disqualified him as this seemed like cheating) and started stuffing. Now the catch was this: the hamburgers needed to come out of the mouth in the exact same shape they’d entered. How do you think this fatty ended up? Yup, another FAIL. When he took the burgers out of his mouth, he laid out a disgusting mush of saliva covered bread and half chewed patties.

    A guy, who was very obviously just a show-off trying to land some air time for his fifteen minutes of lame, got dressed in a protective gear and attempted to break the record of shattering 18 glass panes by running through them. He managed to demolish 19, BUT the rules were to break one pane at a time. Unfortunately, he smashed two at once, so he only tied the record. And then he had the nerve to say, “It’s alright. My next record will be shattering all 19 at once.” He must have hit his head really hard despite wearing a helmet. FAIL!

And finally, the marshmallow blower. A guy has a best friend and a girlfriend. The latter two spend a LOT of time together. When the guy asks what they are doing, the blond (why do they always have to be blond?) girlfriend comes up with the dumbest story, “He’s blowing marshmallows, and I’m catching them in my mouth.” I bet that’s not all she was catching in her mouth! Hey! Watch your dirty mind! I was merely suggesting that she was catching his boogers, too. Okay, so the guy puts a mini marshmallow in his nostril, blows it into the air, and the girl catches it in her mouth. The record to break was a little over 16 feet and these two broke it. 17 feet and some inches. I guess that time spent together paid off. Now they are officially in the Guinness Book of World Records for breaking the dumbest record ever!

And the moral of today's blog is:
Throw Away Your Television

TGIF, peeps!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Review of Twin Flames

I just reviewed Debbie Christiana's novel, Twin Flames
Go to the Book Reviews section of my Pages, check it out, and pass it on!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Monday, March 4, 2013

It's a Mall World After All!

It’s been quite some time since I last visited the mall. So, on Saturday, I decided to meet my sister-in-law there. I entered through the Barnes and Noble bookstore, did story time (Dr. Seuss Day) with my kids, and thought to myself: Why don’t I come here more often? This place is not so bad. Then, as I walked out of the bookstore and into the artificially lit giant two-story monster of a building, I remembered why I stay away from this MADHOUSE.

The upper level is built on some kind of a sliding structure—at least that’s the best I can describe it—so it constantly shakes and glides back and forth. This, apparently, was the genius idea of engineers who in order to prevent the building from collapsing during our frequent earthquakes decided to make people sea sick. Remember back in the day when you were a child and your sibling wanted to torture you, so s/he would jump up and down on your bed while you were asleep, throwing your motionless, resting body into the air in awkward intervals? No? Was it just me? At least imagine, and you’ll see how I felt walking through the upper level of the mall. While my dizzying body tried to sustain its equilibrium, I became very much aware of the echo. Oh. My. God. People, please stop having so many kids! On every corner, I could hear screams reverberating off the high ceilings, puncturing my ears. Parents with four, five, six children! Being dragged, yelled at, whined, nagged…I want a pretzel, lemonade, ice cream, that teddy bear, those shoes…! No? Okay, then I’ll just throw myself in front of this lady’s feet and block her way and bang my head against the floor! My sister-in-law translated the Spanish speaking tantrum. Although I feel like it wasn’t necessary as all tantrums look and sound the same in any language.

Finally, when my legs have turned into a gelatinous substance and my ears began to bleed, we escaped by taking the escalator downstairs. I could no longer stand the brightly illuminated floor above, which now from below seemed so white and peaceful. Like a slice of heaven. But I already knew what kind of hell was going on up there. Making our way through the lower level, we did not expect any more drama. No. No drama. Only murder. As we turned the corner and headed through what looked like a “main street” of the mall, I heard whistling behind me. Not the kind you’re thinking. This was nothing flirtatious. It was more like a whistle from a train engine you buy at the toy store. Great! I thought to myself. Now, we’ll be followed with some more parents and their six children, who just got a toy train and will be whistling at our backs with it until we move out of the way. As the noise got louder and annoying, I turned around to politely tell them to shut the hell up, and OH SHIT! There was a train coming at me! Who the fudge puts a train in the mall? What is this—a carnival? There was an actual train, with a toothless conductor in blue overalls, pulling and tugging on a string connected to a whistle. As I stood there, mesmerized and frozen to the floor, he gave out a gummy grin and rang the bell. Round One! In the blue corner we have a conductor with no need for a mouth-guard, and in the red corner we have a woman falling into a tunnel-vision. If my sister-in-law hadn’t pulled me aside, I would have been knocked out by a train. I glared at the conductor and then at the happy children waving at random strangers from the wagons.

I was ready to flee. The mall is a dangerous, noisy place! But it wasn’t finished with me yet. As we headed toward the exit, sounds of children’s music drifted toward us. Now it was my sister-in-law and I who were being dragged toward the songs by our children. Luckily, between the two of us we only had three. Having lost my trust in the surroundings, I approached cautiously. What a sweet thing to do for kids on this special Dr. Seuss' day, I thought when I saw that tables were set up in a large circle and children and their parents were decorating cookies, coloring Dr. Seuss’ characters, and reading his many wonderful books. Of course we wanted to join the festivities to ease our anxiety of the mall. Just as we stood in line to collect our activity kit, Mr. Cat in the Hat himself came out of nowhere to greet everyone. My seven year old son immediately squeezed my hand and even my twelve year old daughter hid behind my back. I mouthed at my sister-in-law, “This is the scariest cat I’ve ever seen.” AND I’m a dog person. 

Mr. Cat in the Hat was really a tall, lean, flat-chested girl in a costume that must have been a remnant of a clearance at some shabby Halloween store. She wandered back and forth among the children who were forced to put on a smile so their parents could snap a photo of them with the famous cat. And as soon as the Cat in the Hat’s smeared eyeliner pointed in our direction, we hastily threw our coloring kits on the table and frantically ran for the exit. 

The polluted air of the parking lot seemed like a breath of fresh air in comparison to the atmosphere of the strange dimension from which we just came. I can honestly say that I admire other people for their bravery to enter the mall world. As for me, I think it’ll be quite some time again before I show my mug there.

P.S. If you’re going to Hollister, take a flashlight.