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31 October 2005

Scary Samhain

Greetings, friends,
As usual for Halloween, I have some particular costumes I really like. This year the collection is really augmented by Mr. Watt and others, and thanks for that. Enjoy, and yeah, I know Halloween was yesterday. I went to work and wrote this big fun was last Saturday.

Today I take my annual trip to Hollywood Memorial to visit my grandparents & great-grandparents. To you it might be Day of the Dead, Todos Santos, Toussaint, Diwali, Eid, Allerheiligen etc., but to my Celtic Scots-Irish redneck's Samhain (pronounced SOW-EN), the first day of the New Year. If I could find a well to look in, I'd do it NOW. And again as usual, the list an Irishman sent me almost 10 years ago, when e-mail was still pretty rare; as usual, he saves the best for last:
Samhain! Irish Culture Conrad Bladey
What to do for the Samhain Holiday-The First day of Winter- Hallow Een, Hollantide oiche Shamhna ( Samhain Evening), Snapapple Nigh, P`uca - a time of feasting merrymaking and divination celebrated on the night of October 31 and Nov. 1-all saints day. Note- These are Traditional practices well researched and accurate,however there is considerable regional variation and in the modern age many customs have been lost.
1. Do not eat blight blackberries and other fruit which have been spat upon by the P`uca. lest the blight affect you too.
2. Children should not touch the fruit.
3. The fairies were let loose to visit all the plants and blast berries with their breath.
4. Leave some fruits outside for the fairies to ensure a good crop in the next year.
5. Sprinkle the animals with holy water.
6. Give church offering for Holy Souls.
7. Light candles on the night after Nov. 1 one for each deceased relative at a window in the room where death occurred.
8. Place a lighted candle in the window if it faces the graveyard.
9. Place a candle in a lantern left lit all night on the grave of a loved one.
10. Meet your lost friends at the graveyard gate at night.
11. Watch out you may meet those you have injured.
12. Place beans and nuts in the fire and watch them jump
13. Melt lead thro a key to form shapes suggestive of destiny in the water-shapes formed will indicate vocation.
14. Place your shift or shirt in front of the fire to see who turns it.
15. Throw a reel of thread into a lime kiln to find out who would wind it up again.
16. Place a snail in the hollow between two plates and watch for the slime trail to see a meaningful shape.
17. Eat a salt herring in three bites to see the future husband in a dream.
18. Play Snap apple suspend a chord with a cross stick with apple at one point and a lighted candle at the other twirl the stick and try to catch the apple not the candle in the mouth. In the case of children or lack of nerve substitute a dirty potato for the candle!
19. Duck for apples and coins in a tub
20. Eat cream pancakes, stampy,apple cakes,nuts and black-berry pie.
21. Find a ring in your cake and you will be next married.
22. Find a little boat and be blessed with a journey to Skellig rocks.
23. On the way to and from the gathering play tricks- take the wheels off of carts and place them on roof tops. Take Cabbages, Paint a man sleeping by the roadside.
24. Place a stake at the junction of two streams upright-look at it on Nov.1 to forecast the winter weather.
25. Look at the moon on the 31stst also to determine the weather.
26. Beware of the Fairies in their forts.
27. Put up a wood cross in the thatch or a Paershell
28 Sprinkle holy water on the door.
29. Spit on the animals to settle them down and remove the sprite
30. Crawl through a briar rooted at both ends making your request for the help of evil spirits.
31. Provide a feast for the poor
32. Do not eat meat on the vigil- the 31stst
33. Eat colcannon-potatoes and cabbage and onion.
34. Make stampy cakes from grated raw potato and sugar caraway and cream, boxty, oatcakes, dumplings.
35. No Hollantide without a pudding.
36. Give children apples and nuts.
37. Burn nutshells and foretell the future-place a nut for the boy next to the nut for the girl into the hearth- if one jumps from the other as they burn so will it be in life.
39. Hang an apple from a rope. Place a chair or box under it. with stick in hand and other hand on box or chair run as fast as possible around the chair under the apple then when done 7 times try to strike the apple with the stick.
40. Store crops and livestock for the cold season.
41. Get turf and wood for fires ready
42 Everyone has debts at Hallow Een - pay workers pay rents settle debts-
43. Have a fair-to spend the money collected!
44. Carry a blackhandled knife and have a steel needle stuck in the coat collar or sleeve in case of fairies you can turn your coat inside out and so disguised escape.
45. When throwing out water on the night call out Seachain (beware) or Chughaibh an tuisce (water towards you) to warn the gosts and fairies to step aside.
46. Listen for revelry from within ringforts.
47. Light a fire preferably at the crossroads(include in it tires)
48. Put crackers on the roadside to explode under cars.
49. Go door to door masked (a guiser) and ask for funds for the Halloween party. You may take clubs and sticks and invoke the name of Colum Kill saying: lay aside the fatted calf and bring forth the black sheep Blow horns to announce that you are coming Disguise your voice and chant your request.
50. Give above white bread and butter and milk -or money
51. Have a procession led by a person in a white sheet- the Lair Bhan the white mare-the messengers of the Muck Olla-you can also exact donations from merchants.
52. Play traditional wake games.-See O Suilleabhains study of Wake Amusements
53. Holliow out a great big turnip carve into it a face light it with a candle and suspend it from a wire or rope and walk from place to place.
54. Consult all of the many divinations.
55. Make an image of your ex and thrash it soundly.

And I add, eat more sushi:
Love of sushi could help coastal ecosystem

I mean, how can Europeans knock the holiday? Didn't they help think it up?

Can I plug software for a second? I installed a new PC recently at my pal's studio, and with his broadband connection and high-resolution screen was able to run "Google Earth". This thing really blows my's basically a satellite photo rendering of the earth. I've spent hours of fun (I'm not joking) flying like a Halloween witch over the world. I've revisited wonderful places I've been to, from the Bobastro high above Malaga to the high cliffs of the Slieve League in Ireland, I've found my car parked at friend's houses, and I've been to places I've never been to, like the Ginza and the Kremlin. Because the program includes elevations of terrain and buildings, you can tilt it up and literally fly across the landscape, or position yourself at a familiar location and see a virtual skyline! Absolutely amazing...I am reminded of "Rigor in Science", a story by Jorge Luis Borges about a map so perfect that it was the same size as the place it represented, and thus became a virtual representation (PS this story was written in 1960!) Anyhow, it's been a wild ride and the program has practical benefits, like showing the locations of nearby gas stations, driving directions (with a speeded-up movie of the drive!) etc. If you have a powerful PC (sorry, Mac users) with broadband and a 1024x728 screen, try it out:

Speaking of interesting places I've been, here's a website about some excellent folk art sites around the world...I'm pleased to say that three of these sites are in California, I've been to all three and met the creators of two of them:

Off the Map

This presentation looks at the "backyard paradises" created by visionary artists (outsider or self-taught artists "who didn't necessarily go to school to be artists"). Includes profiles of the artists (from the U.S., France, India, and South Africa), images and videos of the art (such as Bottle Village, the Owl House and Camel Yard, and Watts Towers), a create-your-own backyard paradise feature, and related material. From Independent Lens and the Electric Shadows Project.

Still on the subject of Earth-travel, the other day I was watching one of my favorite travel shows, "Globe Trekker", where some rather goofy (and on occasion, amazingly brave) 30-something kids travel the world looking for trouble. They do all the things that Rick Steves doesn't: drink hard alcohol, go to gay clubs, eat bugs, find dark historical places and basically have a lot of fun. These travellers don't shirk from uncomfortable situations; a few nights back I watched in awe as Justine Shapiro (the cute Berkeley chick) walked through the main market in Mexico City wearing a miniskirt, trying to point out the more unusual foods. She kept smiling, but any of youse been to Mexico can imagine how many wolf whistles she heard in the background as she walked through the market. The next day, when she took the bus to the ruins at Teotihuacan, she was wearing a dress that came down to her ankles! Not
only did she eat bugs, but she also nearly got creamed by a luchador flying out of the ring at the Coliseo, met the infamous Doll Man of Xochimilco, and was nearly burnt by a nutcase in Taxco with an exploding rack of fireworks strapped to his back. Justine is a trooper:

Ian Wright, one of the English travellers, is funniest and the most adventurous traveller, and I've watched him play football on the street in Iran and stay in a yurt above the Arctic Circle in Norway. But another English traveller, the very hot Shilpa Mehta, has a tendency to try exotic foods and then start choking. She went to northern Spain along the pilgrim's trail and nearly spit out the orella (pig's ear) she'd ordered in a bar, while the bartender and the old men in the bar laughed their asses off at her. Poor Shilpa.

Of course, everyone in California knows the ubiquitous Huell Howser by now, the gay ex-Marine who has done more to promote the state than anyone since the Gold Rush:
I give him credit for going everywhere in the state I've been and/or wanted to go to, including Salvation Mountain, the salt mines near San Jose and Le Conte Falls in the Hetch Hetchy. Huell gets around, but I'll bet almost no one remembers the show that inspired him, "The Happy Wanderer". The Happy Wanderer was an impossibly jolly retired reporter named Slim Barnard who used to cruise around the Southwest in a camper with his equally jolly wife back in the 1960s, and all I remember of this television show was the theme song ("Happy Trails"), and also that it made me want to take long drives in the desert, and so for that I am deeply indebted to Slim.

Another guy who likes to take long drives in the desert is David Yetman, the host of "The Desert Speaks" out of Tucson, Arizona. Yetman is very typical of the kind of people you actually meet wandering around out in the middle of the desert, always thirsty and hungry, but with a great sense of humor and always ready to drive his all-terrain vehicle off-road in search of useless things, like ruins and old battle sites.

Anyway, that's my public service for this week. "The Happy Wanderer" has mysteriously disappeared from everywhere, even the Internet, but the other three shows are recommended if you have a trip in mind and are all on PBS.

Without further ado (and minimal explanation) I give you the weird world of Samhain...yeah, it's NOVEMBER.
Dead man gets parking ticket from Australian cops

Corpse Involved in Mexico Motorcycle Crash
Biker with dead passenger starts Mexican murder hunt

Paris Hilton says, hot for a cold winter:

Hot Topics: James Bond

This site provides a light scientific evaluation of selected gadgets employed by fictional spy James Bond (007) and villains in the James Bond movies. Gadgets include X-ray glasses, jetpack, face recognition security, and night binoculars. Also includes some related information about the movies. From the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

This is all the James Bonds I need this winter, an entire survival kit stored in an Altoids tin; I've always sought some reason to hang onto these tins (thanks, Geri):

Need a survival kit?
Biological Alarm in Washington
By Mark Benjamin
Did terrorists attack Washington with a deadly pathogen?

Need a watch? Read to the end of this article to see what Kennedy really thought of Marilyn Monroe...
Monroe watch gift to JFK sold for 120,000 dollars

Halloween may not be a legal holiday in the US, but Samhain is for our men in uniform (thanks, Robert)!
Something Wiccan This Way Comes

Speaking of pagan rituals, you can learn a lot (well, not really) about Scientologists from these absurd Flash movies (thanks again, Geri; you will prefer a broadband connection to view this cruel website):
and for even crueler fun...

They've got nothing on Christian intelligence...
Missing Links
By Peter Dizikes
The Boston Globe
Proponents of Intelligent Design have exploited a vexing question at the heart of Darwin's theory. Now, say two leading biologists, scientists can - and must - answer back.

More weirdness (thanks again, Robert)...
Sweden's new funeral rite - bodies freeze-dried, powdered and made into tree mulch

Hard partying...
Brazilian couple's wedding ends in brawl with Malaysian royalty

Good costumes in Victoria, Canada (thanks again, Mike):
Man costumed as feces has case in court to settle

And finally, in case you still haven't, a lesson on how to carve a pumpkin:
http ://

Vive le screed!

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

This is the most influential paper that I have read all month.

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