The Pirate George Advent Calendar: Day Twelve

The Christmas tradition I miss most is making cookies with my Grandma Carney.

Although I’m sure that cookies for the holidays is quite traditional, the feeling of tradition I’m speaking of is more personal than global.  The current global traditions surrounding Christmas cookies is a good one: The Baking Exchange, where you bake your specialty and swap them with others.  But the tradition of cooking with Grandma Carney had a special resonance: I was allowed in the kitchen. Continue reading “The Pirate George Advent Calendar: Day Twelve”

The Pirate George Advent Calendar: Day Thirteen – Gimme 5: British Christmas Traditions

(Note: this day is dedicated to John Sewell (the one in England.  I have two…), in thanks for letting me bug him about cultural topics.  And for not having me assassinated for calling him Johnny Seaweed.  Thanks, John, for great musical introductions, superfluous “u”‘s, and tolerance.  Happy Christmas.)

1. The Ashen Faggot

Yes, you can say it out loud; it’s a real thing.  Wassailers(think “drunk carolers”) carry around a bundle of sticks from an ash tree, which is ceremoniously tossed into the fire.  When one of the willow stems that bind the sticks burns and pops?  Drink!  Nothing says “Happy Birthday, Jesus” like fortified cider punch and fire. Continue reading “The Pirate George Advent Calendar: Day Thirteen – Gimme 5: British Christmas Traditions”

The Pirate George Advent Calendar: Day Fifteen

Spending seven weeks in bed is boring.  I felt like J Alfred Prufrock, trading coffee spoons for IV bags of Zosen, peaches for visions of hop-scotch.  Paint dries faster than incisions heal, and that was all I had to do; watch my foot heal.  I did watch some TV, but was barely entertained.  I did it totally as a perfunctory act, like I did everything: eating a measured amount of protein and carbs at a certain time, taking measured drugs every 10-2-4, pissing in a graduated urinal so it can me measured.  No changes.  No fun.  It’s not like I go to the hospital every year, but it was boring, quick.

At one point, though, I had to receive three units(pints?) of blood.  And of all the procedures done to me, or at least the ones I was conscious during, the administering of the blood seem to have the most safety checks and protocols to follow.  There were two nurses, double checking all the information.  Patient ID?     Check.  Order ID?  Check.  Blood type A+?  Check.

But my blood type was O+. Continue reading “The Pirate George Advent Calendar: Day Fifteen”

The Pirate George Advent Calendar: Day Seventeen

I was part of a psychological experiment once, in which I was asked to think of a year filled with good events, and write those events down.  The year I chose was a recent one, and it was fun to recount activities and emotions that had happened.

Then I was asked to write down bad things that happened the same year.  Surprisingly, I could think of quite a few.  I can not remember what the rest of the test questions were, and I can not think what the purpose or focus of the test might have been.  I am sure, however, that I can play the same game with Christmases past.  If I can remember great ones(and I can), I’m sure that bad things were going on then, too, on some level(I think I keep Christmas squeaky clean in my psyche and consider my birthday some of the most emotionally troubling times of my life, even though they are only a week apart).

That being said, I can’t remember a Christmas this bad… Continue reading “The Pirate George Advent Calendar: Day Seventeen”

The Pirate George Advent Calendar: A Prelude

Before I talk about Christmas, let me talk about AC/DC.  And Wal-Mart.  And serial killers.

My prime rock-n-roll infancy was a time when music was not only scary to conservative America, but “satanic”.  A good case in point?  Richard Ramirez, the “Night Stalker”, an infamous murderer in the late Eighties.  He rampaged through California in an AC/DC tee-shirt, killing dozens.  His favorite song was “Night Prowler”, by AC/DC.  He flashed a pentagram on his palm to the members of the court during his trial.  AC/DC, it seemed, had a friend in the Devil. Continue reading “The Pirate George Advent Calendar: A Prelude”