Today is July 4, 2017. This is the day we Americans celebrate our birthday. We are not an empire, we are a country, and we are still young, and still suffering through our growing pains. We are still evolving. Things change. Even though we have an aging Nero wannabe in the White House, rest assured that this to will pass.” ~ Dave, Riding On
All I would add to Dave’s quote is to remind us that our country, our people—our ideals—are stronger than any one leader and have survived much worse than the willfully ignorant, narcissistic orangutan currently occupying the Oval Office. “This too shall pass.” Like a kidney stone, no doubt, but it will pass and the country will be stronger because of it.
The jack-o’-lantern comes from an old Irish tale about a man named Stingy Jack. According to folklore, Stingy Jack was out getting sloshed with the Devil when Jack convinced his drinking partner to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks without spending money. Jack then put the Devil, shaped like a coin, into his pocket, which also contained a silver cross that kept the Devil from transforming back. Jack promised to free the Devil as long as the Devil wouldn’t bother him for a year, and if he died, the Devil could never claim his soul. Jack tricked the Devil again later, getting him to pick a piece of fruit out of a tree and then carving a cross into the bark when the Devil was in the branches. This trick bought Jack another 10 years of devil-free living.
When Jack finally died, God decided he wasn’t fit for heaven, but the Devil had promised never to claim his soul for hell. So Jack was sent off to roam Earth with only a burning coal for light. He put the coal into a turnip as a lantern, and Stingy Jack became “Jack of the Lantern” or “Jack o’ Lantern.” Based on this myth, the Irish carved scary faces into turnips, beets and potatoes to scare away Stingy Jack or any other spirits of the night.
Kids are not stupid. They know that finding the kind of person who leaves out candy for you to take without monitoring what you take is a rare deal. Most kids will try not to mess up a sweet gig like that, unless of course they’ve been taught by their parents that it’s OK to ruin a perfect world for everyone if some sugar is at stake. That’s what YouTuber InternetLasers learned when a trip out of town on Halloween meant they wouldn’t be able to hand out candy. Not wanting to disappoint the local children, InternetLasers put out full-sized candy bars on a table outside their home with the note “Help yourself, but be considerate!” A hidden camera captured who actually followed this instruction:
First of all, there is a bright side to this video: the kids are alright. Literally dozens of kids pass the test before the violator shows up. Even the Edward Scissorhands kid who jokes about making off with an armful of candy bars puts them back. Then the worst fairy princess ever shows up, and it even looks like she argues with that same Scissorhands kid before teaching her own son an important lesson: when you’re faced with something as pure and innocent as a table of free candy, you better ruin it before someone else does.
Yeah, it’s that time of year. It kind of snuck up on me again. For most of my life I’ve been used to it being over 100℉ when it’s time to light the candles on my cake, and living in Denver—or even in San Francisco for that matter—I never got the usual seasonal clues.
I’ve reached the age where birthdays aren’t as big a thing as they once were; they’re more a realization that I’ve simply managed to survive another trip around the sun and that I’m one year closer to retirement.
That being said, this year will be a memorable one. After I initially located it (may the FSM bless the internets with his noodly appendages!), Ben managed to acquire the one gift I’ve been wanting for many, many months: the German language soundtrack of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Ever since I first stumbled across the This is Halloween on YouTube years ago (that I regularly repost here on the holiday) I was hooked and wanted more, more, MOAR!
I had three years of German in high school and an additional two in college. At that point I was relatively fluent, but over the years it’s faded. Back in 2007 or so I dived back in, getting out all my old textbooks and realized I hadn’t forgotten as much as I’d feared. At one point I even connected with a nurse at the hospital I where I was working at the time who was a native speaker, but just when my skills were getting decent—or at least passable—again, she left for parts unknown.
Even though my auditory vocabulary is once again failing me and at best I can only glean bits and pieces of spoken (reading is slow, but as long as I have a dictionary at hand I can manage) German now, that doesn’t mean I still don’t love the sound of the language, and discovering that there actually was an entire German language soundtrack available to one of my favorite movies literally made me squeal.
And for the occasion of this birthday, we also chose to support a local restaurant, The Creek Seafood Grill. Delicious is an understatement. I had the Cioppino, and Ben had the scallops. Both dishes were incredible. We’ll definitely be returning. Afterward we stopped by Milk&Cake, where I got as much of a birthday cake as I wanted or needed: