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
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — 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 — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

November 29, 2013 - 11:46 a.m.

My Favorite Holiday

So it's that time of year again, my favorite holiday, Festivus! Actually the Festivus annex began last night at sundown, wherever you are. Festivus begins the day after Thanksgiving but it includes Chanukah and Chanukah began last night so we've added a temporary annex. We're tearing it down tonight.

I'm not going to write my usual Festivus entry where I do my favorite thing; the game is to never admit that the game is a game. I'll never do better than I did here, The Festivus Edition of the Horvendile Inquirer .

Today is Thanksgiving so I'll say why I'm thankful for Festivus. As per tradition here are the Principles of Festivus.

  • Peace, love, and understanding
  • Freedom
  • The never ending fight for truth and justice
  • Appreciating nature
  • Caritas
  • Accepting that others will balance the competing principles differently
  • The only orthodoxy is that there is no orthodoxy
  • Presents
  • Music! How could I forget the Festivus Carols?
  • Chocolate! If you dont think chocolate is a principle you dont understand chocolate.

These principles are ancient and immutable. I change them at whim. They remain ancient and immutable. That as much as anything is the essence of Festivus.

While the name Festivus and certain surface features come from Seinfeld what I celebrate comes out of the imagination of my friends and myself. Notice there is no hint of the airing of grievances and feats of strength in the principles. The plane aluminum pole has been replaced by one festooned with Pez dispensers and other toys.

We created Festivus to work around the problem of what should you call a gift from an atheist Jew to a lapsed Catholic and other similar quandaries. We're all celebrating something at around the same time. There's some common principle at work. That's what Festivus is. I know some people take it totally the wrong way. They think of it as mocking Christmas and Chanukah. Nothing can be further from the truth. I go caroling. I teach people Chanukah songs. I love the holidays and just wanted a way of doing so that can be shared by everyone.

Each year I set up a Festivus Event on Facebook. For the first time Facebook is letting make the event more than a month long. Every year to my delight people say they are going. So far 67 people say they are attending this year and I just posted the event last night. I am delighted to see the people I'm closest too attending as it makes me feel loved. And I delight when total strangers attend because it shows that Festivus has its own appeal.

How can I not be delighted when I get a message like this from Carolyn.

Can I celebrate Festivus by splashing in puddles?
Of course she can! Celebrating the way you want IS Festivus. Carolyn is a college student who is going to make a Festivus pole in her dorm. Schoolmates of her are among the strangers attending. It's a movement I tell you. the Festivus movement and all you have to do to join is sing it next time it comes along on the guitar. And some day they'll be a White House Festivus Pole. And nobody will say there's a War on Christmas when they are greeted in a store with "Whee Festivus!. They'll know that if you celebrate Christmas that's what it means. And if you celebrate Chanukah that's what it means, the same for Solstice and Sol Invictus. Or if you celebrate nothing at all, it's a wish to be happy.

Festivus is something I get to be proud of. It's something that makes me think of people that make me happy. It's a time I can go to holiday markets and see things people I love would love. It[s a time when people are nicer to each other than the rest of the year. And You can appreciate that whether or not you take the side order of mythology.

I'm writing this on the train up to Norwalk for Thanksgiving. My sister Alison will be there It's at the home of her friends, and mine, Louis and Sylvia. They and their daughters, Marjorie and Denny, are my once and sometimes twice-a-year family. My Most Astute Gentle Readers will recognize them as the people I celebrate Passover with.

And to all My Gentle Readers, no matter if you celebrate Festivus or not, I'll leave you like I always do with the words of Charles Dickens in the unexpurgated version of his classic book, "A Festivus Carol."

As Tiny Tim observed, Festivus bless us, Every One!

Whee Festivus!

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile November 29, 2013
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