I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me โ that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter โ except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
December 26, 2013 - 12:17 p.m.
So what's a Jew to do on Christmas. What's a Jew to do when he's all alone on Christmas? Now the traditional answer is a movie and Chinese food. I have done that but when it falls on Christmas my personal tradition is to see Sean Altman. For the last bunch of years the show is called Jewmongous. It was at the Cutting Room this year, always an expensive show because of the minimum but in the end I couldn't resist the lure and went.
I left a bit later than I planned and got there after doors were supposed to open. I wanted to sit down front so I could take pictures and videos. I got there a 20 minutes after doors were supposed to open but they hadn't.
Some people sat at the bar or tables but I stood by the door. some late arrivals just pushed in front of me as if there were no line. This was not a polite crowd.
When doors opened I did get the seat I wanted. The rude people that cut ahead sat in the back. I went to the table front row center, Well OK I wanted the table next to it but that was taken, hung my bag off the back of the chair and took off my coat. As I was about to sit down a woman came over and put her stuff on the seat next to mine. The first words out of her mouth were, "My friend is sitting there." She saw I was there before her and thought she could just kick me out of my seat. I guess she knew how important she was and how unimportant I was. I told her that I was there first and sat down. Later when they brought her water she put the bottle and the cap right in front of me so as to leave space in front of her seat. I moved it. She glared at me but didn't say anything. I wish she had as I had my retort planned. "Did you kill your parents and plead for mercy as you're an orphan?"
It was Christmas and they had trouble staffing and then one of the waitresses got sick. So there was but one waitress, who was delightful, for everyone. Now yes the service was awful but what she did her best. She came boy for our drink orders and told us that we'd have to wait to order the food as she was the only one there. The women I was sitting with would have none of that. As soon as the waitress left she started complaining and called over a busboy and told him that she was read to order and to send someone over. She really did think she was the most important person there and should be treated specially.
I felt sorry for the waitress. Sure I never got the ketchup or water that I asked for but I understood why. I grabbed the ketchup bottle from the next table and used my Perry the Platypus water bottle. The woman was not as low maintenance. I posted all this on Facebook in real time. That was not in the Festivus spirit but it made me feel better. And it made me feel less alone.
This was a simple Jewmongous, just Sean backed by Hunter, who is not Jewish, on the Cajon and vocals and Jewmongous regular Cynthia Kaplan.
The show has been evolving over the years. Most of the songs have been done in previous years but there have been so many years that there aren't many from the first one I went to. And as I only hear them once a year I am far from tired of them. It's very much like Christmas Carols. I've been doing warm Christmas stuff this season, it's about time for some cynical Jewish material. Yes these are my people. Sean did a song about something I'm ashamed to say I didn't think of. It's 2013, so it's been 2000 years since Jesus's Bar Mitzvah! I was not invited. I really felt I should have been. How come his Bar Mitzvah isn't in the gospels? Did you realize that New Year's Day is the day of Jesus's Bris? Well that's if you accept his being born on Christmas. And you accept his existence.
The show can get a bit edgy. Here's Sean dressed as Pope Anti-Semiticus singing "Blame the Jews."
When I started going to these shows I found thought Cynthia Kaplan's song "Merry Fucking Christmas" was offensive. Now I sing it all to myself every time I go caroling. This is the one time a year I see her and she's a big part of why I go. Doesn't her shirt scream "Star Trek?"
My plan was to record some videos including Cindy's "Bride of Christ" but while remembered to bring my portable charger I left the usb connector at home and used up the battery complaining about the woman I shared the table with before the show. My favorite part of the song about a dream of marrying Jesus, is when she says,
I find that hysterical. I love the notion of treating Christ as Jesus's last name. It is such a Jewish point of view. With all my caroling and Christmas activities it still all strikes me as foreign.
She did a new song that I wish I could have videoed. It's about God going to Notre Dame and not carrying about football. I immediately knew I had to send it to Carey. That was confirmed when Kevin was the name of God's classmate. But alas I couldn't.
I have one more pic to post. I might as well do it here. It's from the finale.
I was debating if I should go but I knew I should and I was right. Sure I had some anxiety moments but I would have had them no matter what I did. this way they were surrounded by good things.
After the show I went over to talk to Sean and Cindy. I said to her, "Last year I wrote on my blog that I didn't talk to you after the show and you commented 'Next year talk to me.' so here I am." She said, "You're Gordon?" Blogging makes you famous! Well OK I just mentioned her yesterday morning and tagged her so it's more like, screaming for attention gets you attention. And she said that she'd send me an mp3 of the new song so Carey you'll get to hear it.
I met Sean's mother. She said she recognized me form previous shows and commented on how into it I was. I do sing along and bop to the music. I'm a strange audience. I often don't applaud loudly and I'm often late getting started but I show my appreciation in other ways.
I wrote a note to myself to write about something but I've already written enough. It will have to wait.
It's the day after Christmas and once again I did not get my official Red Ryder carbine action bb gun with a compass in the stock and a thing to tell the time. I actually thought I might get it this year but I didn't Well there's still almost a month of Festivus left so perhaps I will. This year I also hoped for something even better. I don't have a clever name for it. I didn't get that either. As often as I'm disappointed I never give up hope. Remember the first 999,999 positive integers are less than a million but none of the rest are. Things can always change. I hope each of you got your Red Ryder .
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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