Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged Holidays

68 notes

Dec. 23, 2013

I took a seasonal delivery job this year. Two days before Christmas, I found myself trying to deliver a bottle of wine to a family that had to leave their house two days prior because they were foreclosed on by Bank of America. There was the detritus of a family with kids and dreams scattered outside, abandoned knick knacks and a large photo display grid with a few pictures removed.

They didn’t take their Christmas decorations down, and the dry legal letter posted in the front window said they had a few weeks left to retrieve the personal property they left behind or it would be destroyed. I felt like there was quite a bit destroyed there already. The house seemed vaguely haunted, and as I pasted the note stating I’d attempted to deliver the wine from a friend or family member who didn’t yet know what had happened, I could have sworn I heard someone run down the stairs littered with small boxes they likely had to leave behind.

Dismayed, I walked back to the car. Who could have used a bottle of wine more than these folks? The package will be returned to the shipper this week, and the person who placed the order will be notified that the people to whom he wished to send holiday greetings this year no longer exist at that address.

Filed under personal holidays foreclosure foreclosure crisis bank of america

96 notes

Wherein alcohol has feast days…

  kevindrakewriter replied to your post:   kevindrakewriter replied to your photo: So this…

  • When does BOOZE get a holiday?? BOX WINE FOR EVERYONE!!

Actually, booze has quite a few holidays. Your question made me curious…

Filed under reply kevindrakewriter BOOZE alcohol holidays

75 notes

I need your help

You folks came through for me in December and for that, I thank you. However, our rent is due and we’re down to our last $40. Our financial aid has still not come through, and there seems to be no one who knows what’s going on at the university. My rent is $725. I did not expect us to still be hurting so badly. If you can help, please do. I don’t know what else to do. I really don’t. I thought it was going to be ok.

Thanks,

Meg

cognitivedissonance:

Typically during Christmas vacation, I’m able to pick up odd jobs and photography work. This year, it hasn’t been coming through. My husband, Andrew, is working full time but it’s not enough. We’re falling behind rapidly in our bills and I’m appealing to the good readers of this blog for help. It’s becoming an emergency - we’re facing possible shutoff of utilities.

I’ve checked with local groups, and they’re stretched thin. Since we have no children, it’s tougher to qualify for assistance. Our families are unable to help, and many of my friends are in the same boat.

So I decided to ask the folks who read and appreciate this site to help if they are able. I know quite a few people are facing the same difficulties we are, and don’t think for one second you should feel guilty for not being able to help. If you can help, you have no idea how much the both of us would appreciate it.

You can help in 3 ways:

  1. If you’re in Central/Southeastern Wyoming and you need help with housecleaning, holiday party prep, etc. - I’m your gal. I’m cheap, email me at meglanker@gmail.com
  2. Need holiday photos on the fly? Visit my site, Meg Simons Photography, and let’s work out a holiday package to fit your needs. I also do engagement pictures, senior photos, pet photo shoots, etc. Travel within a 100-mile radius incurs no extra cost, outside of that is negotiable. Contact information is on the site.
  3. If you live nowhere near me, you can chip in to help. Jobs in Laramie are scarce, and my job as a tutor for the athletic department at the University of Wyoming is essentially suspended until school starts again. The widget below is compatible with PayPal and other methods of online payment. Your kindness will go a long way. (Click here or visit the link on the sidebar.)

We’re doing everything we can, including pawning possessions and selling clothes on consignment. But it’s just not enough. January will be better because I go back to work, and our financial aid will come through. This December is shaping up to be brutal. I will be most grateful for any help you can spare.

Happy holidays to everyone, no matter what you celebrate - or not! And thank you sincerely for reading Cognitive Dissonance.

-Meg

Filed under Please help Personal Thank you holidays crisis

81 notes

Anonymous donors pay off Kmart layaway accounts

Now this is heartwarming:

The young father stood in line at the Kmart layaway counter, wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. With him were three small children. He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn’t be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.

"She told him, ‘No, I’m paying for it,’" recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. "He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn’t, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears."

Most of the donors have done their giving secretly.

Dona Bremser, an Omaha nurse, was at work when a Kmart employee called to tell her that someone had paid off the $70 balance of her layaway account, which held nearly $200 in toys for her 4-year-old son. ”I was speechless,” Bremser said. “It made me believe in Christmas again.”

Dozens of other customers have received similar calls in Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Montana. The benefactors generally ask to help families who are squirreling away items for young children. They often pay a portion of the balance, usually all but a few dollars or cents so the layaway order stays in the store’s system.

The phenomenon seems to have begun in Michigan before spreading, Kmart executives said. ”It is honestly being driven by people wanting to do a good deed at this time of the year,” said Salima Yala, Kmart’s division vice president for layaway.

The good Samaritans seem to be visiting mainly Kmart stores, though a Wal-Mart spokesman said a few of his stores in Joplin, Mo., and Chicago have also seen some layaway accounts paid off.

The anonymous benefactors truly exhibit the spirit of giving and taking care of their fellow man. Makes me believe there’s some good people in the world, y’know?

Filed under Christmas Kmart Wal-Mart Humanity heartwarming beautiful holidays

24 notes

My sister-in-law, Beth, just posted this picture of my nephew Charlie. Immediately, this scene from A Christmas Story popped into my head. Basically, Randy is so bundled up, he can’t put his arms down. Somehow, Charlie doesn’t seem to mind.
I get to see everyone at Christmas and my mom said Charlie’s walking now. At Thanksgiving, he was just stumbling like a drunk. Three steps, fall, two steps, fall… etc, but he’s cruising now. I’m stoked to see Red (my brother), Beth, and Charlie.
Even though I’m not into the whole deity thing, I love seeing family at holidays. That’s why Tim Minchin’s “White Wine in the Sun” is my favorite (truly secular) holiday song. Take a listen - it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever:

Every holiday is also a reminder of who’s no longer there and how the faces around the table have changed. I’ve noticed my parents, my brother, and I are all aging. I’ve divorced and remarried. My brother got married and he and his wife have Charlie. My grandparents have all passed away. My great aunts and uncles have as well. My extended family is scattered around the US and we rarely see each other - if ever again. I haven’t seen many cousins in Ohio for over 10 years. 
But those of us nearby still make an effort to get together on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And every year, it’s perfect. Somehow, it’s always exactly how it is supposed to be, no matter who’s at the table. This year, it’ll be my mom, dad, my brother, my husband, Beth, Charlie, and (likely) Beth’s sister Jaime. 
The presents are nice, but the company is better. It’s just what I want this year.

My sister-in-law, Beth, just posted this picture of my nephew Charlie. Immediately, this scene from A Christmas Story popped into my head. Basically, Randy is so bundled up, he can’t put his arms down. Somehow, Charlie doesn’t seem to mind.

I get to see everyone at Christmas and my mom said Charlie’s walking now. At Thanksgiving, he was just stumbling like a drunk. Three steps, fall, two steps, fall… etc, but he’s cruising now. I’m stoked to see Red (my brother), Beth, and Charlie.

Even though I’m not into the whole deity thing, I love seeing family at holidays. That’s why Tim Minchin’s “White Wine in the Sun” is my favorite (truly secular) holiday song. Take a listen - it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever:

Every holiday is also a reminder of who’s no longer there and how the faces around the table have changed. I’ve noticed my parents, my brother, and I are all aging. I’ve divorced and remarried. My brother got married and he and his wife have Charlie. My grandparents have all passed away. My great aunts and uncles have as well. My extended family is scattered around the US and we rarely see each other - if ever again. I haven’t seen many cousins in Ohio for over 10 years. 

But those of us nearby still make an effort to get together on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And every year, it’s perfect. Somehow, it’s always exactly how it is supposed to be, no matter who’s at the table. This year, it’ll be my mom, dad, my brother, my husband, Beth, Charlie, and (likely) Beth’s sister Jaime. 

The presents are nice, but the company is better. It’s just what I want this year.

Filed under Charlie! family holidays Christmas personal my thoughts on Christmas Tim Minchin White Wine In the Sun

75 notes

I need your help

Typically during Christmas vacation, I’m able to pick up odd jobs and photography work. This year, it hasn’t been coming through. My husband, Andrew, is working full time but it’s not enough. We’re falling behind rapidly in our bills and I’m appealing to the good readers of this blog for help.

I know some of you folks helped me get to the conference in South Dakota, and for that, I thank you. I didn’t want to appeal for help, but it’s becoming an emergency - we’re facing possible shutoff of utilities.

I’ve checked with local groups, and they’re stretched thin. Since we have no children, it’s tougher to qualify for assistance. Our families are unable to help, and many of my friends are in the same boat.

So I decided to ask the folks who read and appreciate this site to help if they are able. I know quite a few people are facing the same difficulties we are, and don’t think for one second you should feel guilty for not being able to help. If you can help, you have no idea how much the both of us would appreciate it.

You can help in 3 ways:

  1. If you’re in Central/Southeastern Wyoming and you need help with housecleaning, holiday party prep, etc. - I’m your gal. I’m cheap, email me at meglanker@gmail.com
  2. Need holiday photos on the fly? Visit my site, Meg Simons Photography, and let’s work out a holiday package to fit your needs. I also do engagement pictures, senior photos, pet photo shoots, etc. Travel within a 100-mile radius incurs no extra cost, outside of that is negotiable. Contact information is on the site.
  3. If you live nowhere near me, you can chip in to help. Jobs in Laramie are scarce, and my job as a tutor for the athletic department at the University of Wyoming is essentially suspended until school starts again. The widget below is compatible with PayPal and other methods of online payment. Your kindness will go a long way. (If widget doesn’t work, click here.)

We’re doing everything we can, including pawning possessions and selling clothes on consignment. But it’s just not enough. January will be better because I go back to work, and our financial aid will come through. This December is shaping up to be brutal. I will be most grateful for any help you can spare.

Happy holidays to everyone, no matter what you celebrate - or not! And thank you sincerely for reading Cognitive Dissonance.

-Meg

Filed under Please help Personal Thank you holidays crisis

17 notes

So this is a thing:

For some Arizona kids, photos with Santa come with the usual holiday cheer and some serious firepower.
Armed with assault rifles, grenade launchers, and pistols, the jolly old fellow is posing with families and their children at a Scottsdale, Ariz., gun club. Young and old can preserve the moment while gripping the high-powered weapon of their choice.
To gun enthusiasts like Bruce Stevens, the photo shoot is something to be joyful about. He plans to take his four children, ages 8 to 17, to take pictures with Santa and his arsenal. ”It’s a unique opportunity for a family that does enjoy shooting and the recreation portion of it and the history of it all,” he says.
But some say linking guns to a figure affiliated with Christmas sends the wrong message. ”It’s a time when you’re talking about peace and good cheer and things of that nature,” says the Rev. Brent Loveless of the North Valley Baptist Church in Phoenix. Although he is a hunter who supports the right to bear arms, the pastor says that arming kids with machine guns around Santa “is probably just a little too much.”
The cost of a sitting with Santa is $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers, with one print photo and one digital copy included.
To Eric Bowen, the father of an 11-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, the photo shoots are more of a novelty than anything else. “It all comes down to a personal right,” he says. “If you want to celebrate the Christmas season with Santa and your favorite rifle, then why should I stop you?”
At the photo session Nov. 26, people of all ages took turns standing next to St. Nick, grinning and toting AK-47s and modified AR-15s. The backdrop included an $80,000 Garwood Minigun, a heavy machine gun.

"If you want to celebrate the Christmas season with Santa and your favorite rifle, then why should I stop you?" Is this from the War on Christmas claim? Because I thought that was all about “Jesus is the reason for the season” etc. - not that gun-hating liberals want to take away the right to pose with Santa and guns. 
Did anyone else think of the "Red Sleigh Down" episode of South Park?
You know what actually surprises me about this? With 30.2 guns for every 100 people, Wyoming didn’t do it first.

So this is a thing:

For some Arizona kids, photos with Santa come with the usual holiday cheer and some serious firepower.

Armed with assault rifles, grenade launchers, and pistols, the jolly old fellow is posing with families and their children at a Scottsdale, Ariz., gun club. Young and old can preserve the moment while gripping the high-powered weapon of their choice.

To gun enthusiasts like Bruce Stevens, the photo shoot is something to be joyful about. He plans to take his four children, ages 8 to 17, to take pictures with Santa and his arsenal. ”It’s a unique opportunity for a family that does enjoy shooting and the recreation portion of it and the history of it all,” he says.

But some say linking guns to a figure affiliated with Christmas sends the wrong message. ”It’s a time when you’re talking about peace and good cheer and things of that nature,” says the Rev. Brent Loveless of the North Valley Baptist Church in Phoenix. Although he is a hunter who supports the right to bear arms, the pastor says that arming kids with machine guns around Santa “is probably just a little too much.”

The cost of a sitting with Santa is $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers, with one print photo and one digital copy included.

To Eric Bowen, the father of an 11-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, the photo shoots are more of a novelty than anything else. “It all comes down to a personal right,” he says. “If you want to celebrate the Christmas season with Santa and your favorite rifle, then why should I stop you?”

At the photo session Nov. 26, people of all ages took turns standing next to St. Nick, grinning and toting AK-47s and modified AR-15s. The backdrop included an $80,000 Garwood Minigun, a heavy machine gun.

"If you want to celebrate the Christmas season with Santa and your favorite rifle, then why should I stop you?" Is this from the War on Christmas claim? Because I thought that was all about “Jesus is the reason for the season” etc. - not that gun-hating liberals want to take away the right to pose with Santa and guns. 

Did anyone else think of the "Red Sleigh Down" episode of South Park?

You know what actually surprises me about this? With 30.2 guns for every 100 people, Wyoming didn’t do it first.

(Source: csmonitor.com)

Filed under Arizona guns politics Christmas xmas Santa Santa Claus St. Nick guns and santa really? This is a thing? Second Amendment Seriously? x-mas holidays

1 note

"What's Queer?" Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

What’s “queer”? Here’s one train of thought about it. The depressing thing about the Christmas season—isn’t it?—is that it’s the time when all the institutions are speaking with one voice. The Church says what the Church says. But the State says the same thing: maybe not (in some ways it hardly matters) in the language of theology, but in the language the State talks: legal holidays, long school hiatus, special postage stamps and all. And the language of commerce more than chimes in, as consumer purchasing is organized ever more narrowly around the final weeks of the calendar year, the Dow Jones aquiver over Americans’ “holiday mood.” The media, in turn, fall in triumphally behind the Christmas phalanx: ad-swollen magazines have oozing turkeys on the cover, while for the news industry every question turns into the Christmas question—Will hostages be free for Christmas? What did that flash flood or mass murder (umpty-ump people killed and maimed) do to those families’ Christmas? And meanwhile the pairing “families/Christmas” becomes increasingly tautological, as families more and more constitute themselves according to the schedule, and in the endlessly iterated image, of the holiday itself constituted in the image of “the” family.

The thing hasn’t, finally, so much to do with propaganda for Christianity as with propaganda for Christmas itself. They all—religion, state, capital, ideology, domesticity, the discourses of power and legitimacy—line up with each other so neatly once a year, and the monolith so created is a thing one can come to view with unhappy eyes. What if instead there were a practice of valuing the ways in which meanings and institutions can be at loose ends with each other? What if the richest junctures weren’t the ones where everything means the same thing? Think of that entity “the family,” an impacted social space in which all of the following are meant to line up perfectly with each other:

  • a surname
  • a sexual dyad
  • a legal unit based on state-regulated marriage
  • a circuit of blood relationships
  • a system of companionship and succor
  • a building
  • a proscenium between “private” and “public”
  • an economic unit of earning and taxation
  • the prime site of economic consumption
  • the prime site of cultural consumption
  • a mechanism to produce, care for, and acculturate children
  • a mechanism for accumulating material goods over several generations
  • a daily routine
  • a unit in a community of worship
  • a site of patriotic formation

This is a brief, yet excellent look at Christmas and what it means for queer individuals, and further, what queer means - holidays or not. Thanks to my friend Aneda who sent this to me.

Filed under Christmas Queer GLBTQ Family What is queer Christianity Christians Holidays 'tis the season

19 notes

Merry Whatever-the-fuck-you-celebrate! (Or not, that’s cool)

I went to Wal-Mart earlier, and wished the elderly cashier a Happy Holidays. She narrowed her eyes at me and nearly growled, “Merry CHRIST-mas!” Just like that, Christmas as two words. I told her I was Jewish and left her stuttering. I was already irritated after driving across town in a foot of snow to buy cat food. That just made my day, right there. 

I’m not really Jewish, but this supposed War on Christmas is really getting on my nerves like it does every year. It doesn’t exist. Suggestions from my friends included telling her I celebrate Kwanzaa, preaching about the FSM, and wishing her a Happy Boxing Day. I like this one from my buddy Josh: “I probably would have ended up saying something like ‘Yes, Christmas. Because that hippie Jesus stole the spotlight from Mithras.’”

So spread the joy this holiday season. I will. 

Filed under Holidays Happy Holidays Merry Christmas Whatever Wal-Mart Wal-Mart is going to destroy everything old people War on Christmas