The War on Christmas!

Cartoon by Rob Tornoe https://twitter.com/RobTornoe
Cartoon by Rob Tornoe

This is something I hear about every year. The idea that Christmas is under attack and we need to save it. This year it’s the Starbucks cup conspiracy, but it’s just another example of what people are calling, The War on Christmas! Or the Christmas Controversy.

Since the early 2000’s conservative Christians have gotten extremely upset with people wanting to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. There are other events like removing Christian iconology from secular institutions, or changing the lyrics to certain songs. The list goes on.

Effectively it’s marketers and governments trying to make the winter holidays more inclusive. Many different cultures celebrate a mid-winter festival around the winter equinox. It’s arguable that Christianity placed Christmas at that time to replace the winter festivals celebrated by converted cultures.

North and South America have been heavily dominated by Christian sects for the past 200 years. The Christmas Industry as we know it is a product of the mid-twentieth century. Like most things it’s grown and changed with each season, adding new things and getting rid of old things.

There is no war on Christmas only the inexorable march of change. Your parents’ holidays, if you celebrated them, was different than yours and will be different than your children’s.

In no other holiday than the winter one are people more stubbornly latched on to the past. Every movie, book, or play about families at this time of year is dripping with the near rabid need to recapture something from childhood.

The flawed and stressful ideal of the “Perfect holiday” drives people completely nuts. All to make sure that the season lives up to some form of unattainable ideal. I’m just as guilty as the next person. I have plenty of traditions that I refuse to let go.

*WARNING SAPPYNESS* In almost all the cultures that celebrate a winter holiday have the same goal, to be with those you love and thank the heavens you’ve made it through the literal dark times.

Beyond that it’s about appreciating the people who are around you. Saying happy holidays isn’t about hating Christmas, it’s about loving your fellow people and including them. Inclusivity is a good thing. More people to party with and get presents from. If you know the person is Christian say merry Christmas, if you know they’re Jewish, say Happy Hanukah, if they’re pagan wish them Happy Yule or Solstice. If you don’t know be respectful and say Happy Holidays.

 

What’s your favorite winter holiday tradition?

Later Days,

Éric

Coffee Bean Hack

I’m still fighting this damned annoying cold and once again writing to you from the place I plan on writing all my novels when I make it big or retire. Our library is awesome.

I’ve recently come into 8-10 lbs of coffee beans. If you’ve read my blog or talked to me, you know I prefer flavoured coffee over regular. It’s not that I don’t like regular coffee, most of it I do but why have a regular coffee when you can have cinnamon.

Making Flavoured Coffee Bean Hack

Ingredients

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Spread coffee beans on a clean cookie sheet
  3. Roast coffee for 1 minute in oven
  4. Remove and place in a bowl let cool 15-30 minutes until beans are warm
  5. Add oil to beans mix well and put in a covered container.
  6. Let the beans rest 24 hours.

Warnings

  • Over flavouring will result in a bitter maple taste. Let the bean rest in open air for 2-12 hours to mellow the taste
  • Certain flavours, like Banana Cream have a natural bitter taste that shouldn’t be mixed with dark coffee.

 

Enjoy and let me know how you like the recipe.

Éric

Coffee RAGE!

If you live in Canada or the US and you watch network television, you’ve probably seen this commercial or similar ones.

Why this makes me angry

I like coffee. I drink it with sugar and cream and that’s ok.

It makes me angry when someone believes that there is only one right way to do anything, especially when it involves food or drink.

I just want to grab them by the judgmental collar and yell. ARGGG!

The theory behind the commercial isn’t new, it’s playing on the feeling that coffee is no longer pure. It’s the same sort of sentiment you see in #Gamergate, #womanruinsciencefiction and #fakegeekgirl. It’s a feeling that you aren’t special anymore because other people like something.

It’s the stupidest reaction but common. Just because you can buy a Latte, Cappuccino, Espresso, etc; doesn’t mean you’re black coffee tastes any worse.

Coffee beans are an ingredient. Are you going to go yell at the French for making croissants because the only bread flour should be used for is white bread? No. If we can use an ingredient in a new way, that’s great, variety is awesome.

“We went back to the source.” I highly doubt they went to Ethiopia and asked the original farmers how they have their coffee.

Have some coffee knowledge:

Click on the image for the rest of the 15 Coffee facts at theOatmeal.com
Click on the image for the rest of the 15 Coffee facts at theOatmeal.com

Advertising Failure?

Now if you’ve tasted Nabob coffee you have your own opinions on it. On average I find it’s a step above battery acid. But that’s not important apparently.

In advertising, brand, name, and recognition are what you’re selling.

All this commercial does is reinforce the belief that brewed coffee is the best kind of coffee. Not that Nabob coffee is the best. The commercial is obviously trying to say that you should brew their coffee instead of buying a 5 dollar Starbucks drink. I think this is a mistake. I think they’re selling fear of change.

This commercial makes me so angry I rant at the TV every time I see it. My wife could probably repeat word for word my rage rants. But I had to spend fifteen minutes searching for the commercial because I couldn’t remember the brand. To me that’s failure.

Sure it’s memorable but only the content not the brand.

Is this really worth a 500+ word rant?

YES!

This commercial is a sign of what is currently most wrong with western society. Fear of change.

We live in a paradoxical time where new and amazing technology is being developed faster than we can keep up, but we are paralyzed in fear of that same technology. Technology and media is redefining our everyday lives in amazing and beautiful ways. We have instant access to the complete collection of human knowledge and we can communicate with each other instantly from anywhere, heck we can control a robot that’s on another fracking planet.

It’s time to stop being upset and sad that things aren’t the way they were. It’s one thing for an 80 year old to talk at length about the good old times but I’ve been hearing more and more 20 year olds decrying the death of society and how things were better in the past. (Yes I’m looking at you Pluto deniers.)

Things change… Get over it!

Nostalgia is a nice place to visit but don’t live there.

 

What’s your favourite nostalgic memory of “The Good Old days”?

Eric