Wassail: Drink Recipes

Originating in the southwestern counties of England,

 
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Here We Come A-Wassailing; The Roots of a Christmas Tradition

It’s not Christmas without Christmas carols.  Many of our most traditional carols are filled with lyrics and lines that leave the modern caroler bewildered.  One of my favorite holiday tunes is “Here We Come A-Wassailing,” also commonly known as “Here We Come A-Caroling.”  Just what is wassailing?  Is it just an archaic word for Christmas caroling?  Actually no, it isn’t.  While the two terms have become generally accepted as interchangeable, caroling is just one aspect of a much deeper and more profound tradition of wassailing.

Shadowyze; Native-American Hip-Hop’s Activist, Advocate

            Shadowyze is not the typical Grammy-nominated hip-hop celebrity.  Though his dress may be in the current urban fashion his attitudes certainly are not.  Upon first meeting him, many hip-hop officiandos take immediate note of his lack of gold.  In fact he has been accosted for ‘not sporting more bling in his game or his grill.’  “Some people just want to challenge your hip-hop credentials” Shadowyze explains; “for not being absurdly materialistic or boastful.  But I want my listeners to be inspired to do more than just be showy and greedy.  I mean, financial success is a good thing, but with the more bling you can afford, I think the more you should be focused on making your community better.  Besides, gold really bothers me.  I relate so much negative history to it regarding conquistadors pillaging Indian communities for gold throughout the Americas.  That’s what greed does to people and I don’t want to encourage that.” 

            From a background of Muskogee Creek and Scots-Irish heritage, as a writer and producer Shadowyze represents in many ways an atypical strain within an extremely active and empowering … (Read More)

Eight Christmas Characters Most Americans Don’t Know

Santa Claus is the American face of the Christmas season popularized most heavily by the poem ‘Twas the Night before Christmas which essentially codified the Santa tradition.  He is based heavily off of the earlier European models Sinterklaas, Father Christmas, Old Man Winter, and of course St. Nicolas.  The poem took these old world variations and developed the jolly old elf we know and love today, complete with his sleigh and eight reindeer.  Rudolf would have to wait until much later to be introduced to the mythology.  But throughout Europe there is a broad range of Christmas characters less familiar to Americans who reveal the richness of this holiday tradition.  Here are eight Christmas characters most Americans don’t know.

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins; Book Review

Dawkins, Richard, (2006) The Selfish Gene, 30th Anniversary edition, New York: Oxford University Press

Reviewed by Jay Moody 

     The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins is a remarkable and engaging journey through evolutionary theory.  Dawkins’ “selfish gene theory” challenges what he considers common and incorrect notions that the “important thing in evolution is the good of the species.”  Dawkins asserts that evolution is in fact a survival and replication strategy of the gene.  Written most especially for the layperson, Dawkins’ prose abandons much of the technical jargon of science and replaces it with an informal and metaphorical language designed to be read with the same enthusiasm and comfort as science-fiction.