This piece by MK Carroll is an, er, intriguing use of yarn. "Human anatomy is pretty amazing," she says, "but not always pretty. My interest in anatomy coupled with the Blythe dolls phenomenon somehow combined in my imagination to produce a cute, cuddly uterus doll." I can feel all sorts of knitting possibilities gestating...


Festivus Hath Come!

If you're a veritable Scrooge and prefer celebrating Festivus, here's a site for guidance: http://www.kwillis.com/festivus.html.

Happy Christmahanzakwanzakah to you!


Keep Saturn in Saturnalia

The same friend of mine who sent me the abysmal poem below also sent me an invitation to celebrate Baby Jesus' birthday this coming Saturday. Plastered across the top of the message was the entreaty: "LET'S NOT FORGET THE REAL MEANING OF CHRISTMAS!"

I couldn't agree more. But just what is "the real meaning of Christmas"?

It might have something to do with today, the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. After this, the days get longer, until we hit the Summer Solstice and they start getting shorter again. We no longer celebrate the summer and winter solstices or the spring and fall equinoxes. But our ancestors did. For millenia, people used the apparent turning of objects in the sky as a calendar for marking times to reap and sow, even attributing personal characteristics to some of the objects that moved overhead. Two of the most popular were the moon and the sun, each of which describes its own cycle in relation to the earth and Milky Way.

Another popular one was the planet Saturn. In Roman mythology, Saturn was a great agricultural god related to or perhaps derived from the Semitic god Kronos. He used to have a holiday around this time of year, celebrated throughout the Mediterranean, called Saturnalia, which this year comes on Saturn-day. It involved all sorts of familiar fun activities: eating, drinking, gift-giving, fucking. Lots of parties. Slaves got to boss their masters around, and a fool, the Lord of Mis-rule, was appointed to run things for a week. At the same time, Mithraists would sacrifice a bull to appease the sun god Mithra (sacrificial animals were often identified with their respective gods, like the "Lamb of God," Mithra, or Jesus) and bring in the new year in the form of a new-born baby who came forth from a cave.

It's no shocker that the Catholic (read non-Gnostic, non-heretical) Christians moved the celebration of the sun's rebirth—or the rebirth, or birth, of the god Jesus—to the 25th of the year. But long before Santa arrived they forgot about the holiday's connection to the heavens. They'd misplaced Christ in Christmas.

Which is not to suggest that Christ ever had a place in Christmas or that Christmas ever meant anything in particular. Christ, the sun, is born every year at this time, which you can take literally or metaphorically. One thing we can agree on: While there may be no place for the "meaning" of Christmas, we can say that until recently it had little to do with either shopping or corporate banking credit. So very well, deride shopping if you like; few of us will quarrel with you. Most of us are sick of Bing's crooning from Halloween on. But remember that if the meaning of the holyday has anything to do with some New Testament nonsense—even if that's just a metaphorical promise of Spring—it's a recent addition. Keep Christ in Christmas? Nigga, please; Jesus is an interloper. I'd rather put Saturn back in Saturnalia.


We Put the Christ in Christmas

An old college friend of mine sent me this alleged parody of The Night Before Christmas approx. the length of Ted Bundy’s confession. Some highlights:

'T'was the night before Christmas
and all through the town
Not a sign of Baby Jesus
was anywhere to be found.

The people were all busy
with Christmastime chores
Like decorating, and baking,
and shopping in stores.

No one sang "Away in a manger,
no crib for a bed."
Instead, they sang of Santa
dressed-up in bright red.

And, as they made their way home
From their trip to the mall,
Did they think about Jesus?
Oh, no, not at all.

On Wal-mart! On K-mart!
On Target! On Penney's!
On Hallmark! On Zales!
A quick lunch at Denny's.

Christ's eyes... how they twinkle!
Christ's Spirit... how merry!
Christ's love... how enormous!
All our burdens... He'll carry!

So instead of being busy,
overworked, and uptight
Let's put Christ back in
Christmas and enjoy
some good nights!

More on this later...