Monthly Archives: October 2008

Ancient Origins of Halloween

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints’, All Saints’, and All Souls’, were called Hallowmas.

from history.com

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Drum Roll…..I am revealing my Halloween costume

So…the time has come to reveal my costume, but first a little mythology lesson….

Loki the Trickster

THE most unpredictable and certainly the most dangerous god in the Northern pantheon was Loki. His activities ran from the merely mischievous to the blatantly malicious. Supremely clever, Loki ensnared everyone in complicated problems, to which he always supplied a remedy – through his solution often engendered even greater troubles. Loki relished every opportunity to exert his contrary nature.

Loki is an immensely powerful magician, and shares with Odin the ability to sex- and shape shift at will. His parents were both giants (the perpetual enemies of the gods) and Loki had some unusual children, including the huge wolf Fennir, borne from Loki’s brief dalliance with a giantess.

Loki was fair of face, and took many lovers, despite his constant criticism of goddesses who did the same. His wife was the faithful and hapless goddess Sigyn, whose fidelity surely he did not deserve. After Loki had been bound in a cave with a venomous snake dripping poison upon him as punishment, Sigyn sat by her husband’s side and held a bowl over him to catch the drops before they hit him. When the bowl filled, she had to rise and empty it, and then the stinging drops fell directly upon Loki. It was said his twisting to escape the pain was the cause of earthquakes.


The Trickster:

In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and norms of behavior.


Frequently the Trickster figure exhibits gender and form variability, changing gender roles and engaging in same-sex practices. Such figures appear in Native American and First Nations mythologies, where they are said to have a two-spirit nature. Loki, the Norse trickster, also exhibits gender variability, in one case even becoming pregnant; interestingly, he shares the ability to change genders with Odin, the chief Norse deity who also possesses many characteristics of the Trickster. In the case of Loki‘s pregnancy, he was forced by the Gods to stop a giant from erecting a wall for them before 7 days passed; he solved the problem by transforming into a mare and drawing the giant’s magical horse away from its work. He returned some time later with a child he had given birth to–the eight-legged horse Sleipnir, who served as Odin’s steed.

The Trickster is an example of a Jungian archetype. In modern literature the trickster survives as a character archetype, not necessarily supernatural or divine, sometimes no more than a stock character.

In later folklore, the trickster is incarnated as a clever, mischievous man or creature, who tries to survive the dangers and challenges of the world using trickery and deceit as a defense. For example many typical fairy tales have the King who wants to find the best groom for his daughter by ordering several trials. No brave and valiant prince or knight manages to win them, until a poor and simple peasant comes. With the help of his wits and cleverness, instead of fighting, he evades or fools monsters and villains and dangers with unorthodox manners. Therefore the most unlikely candidate passes the trials and receives the reward. More modern and obvious examples of that type are Bugs Bunny and The Tramp (Charlie Chaplin)


Tricksters In Popular Culture:

Ferris Bueller from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Bre’r Rabbit from the Uncle Remus stories
Tyler Durden-Chronically ambiguous trick-player from Fight Club
Bugs Bunny
Felix The Cat – A transgressor of boundaries
Captain Jack Sparrow – from Pirates of The Caribbean
The Pink Panther

So there you have it. I am dressing as Loki this year for Halloween. Anyone think I can pull of “The God Of Mischief?” Come visit me tonight to see for yourself!




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Today’s Drink Recipe: Tokyo Tea

Tokyo Tea

3/4 oz gin
3/4 oz Midori® melon liqueur
3/4 oz vodka
sour Mix
Sprite®

In a tall glass, pour all ingredients over ice. Use equal parts of Sprite® and sour mix. Garnish with a couple of cherries, if desired. Enjoy!

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Disqus Test

A test post for my disqus feed

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Just in Time: Halloween Drinks

Shooters:

Pumpkin Pie
1/3 oz Kahlua® coffee liqueur
1/3 oz irish cream
1/4 oz Goldschlager® cinnamon schnapps
Cinnamon

Shake all ingredients and strain into a large shot glass. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Flaming Pumpkin Pie
1/2 oz Kahlua® coffee liqueur
1/2 oz irish cream
1/4 oz Goldschlager® cinnamon schnapps
151 rum
cinnamon-sugar

Prepare as a regular pumpkin pie shooter, combining the first three ingredients in a shaker and straining into a shot glass. With cinnamon-sugar at the ready, top with 151 and light. As the rum is burning toss cinnamon-sugar in, creating fun fire effects.

*Please be very careful when dealing with flaming shots. They are intended for party hosts and bartenders only, not for you to show your friends when you are already hammered from a night of drinking.*

Bloody Brain
1 oz peach schnapps
1 oz irish cream
grenadine

This is a visual shot. Pour the peach schnapps into a shot glass. Slowly pour the irish cream over the schnapps. DO NOT LAYER. Allow the irish cream to sink into the schnapps. It will clump together quite nastily. Drop in a few drops of grenadine from a bar spoon.
Depending on the glass…it will look something like this

Cocktails:

Green Demon
Equal parts:
vodka
rum
Midori® melon liqueur
lemonade

Combine all ingredients in a highball glass. Stir and garnish with a cherry.

Devil’s Advocate
1 1/2 oz Bacardi® Limon (or substitute lemon flavored vodka)
3/4 oz triple sec
splash of sour mix
dash of grenadine
cranberry juice

Combine all ingredients over ice, balancing with cranberry juice. Stir and serve.

Warm Apple Pie
1 oz Hot Damn® cinnamon schnapps
1 oz Apple Pucker® apple schnapps

Pour over ice in a rocks glass and stir. Enjoy!

Purple Devil
1 oz amaretto
1 oz triple sec
cranberry juice
sprite®

Combine all ingredients over ice, topping with a splash of Sprite® to make it bubbly.

Zombie
Note: The original recipe is very complex. Here is a cheater recipe that you can make in bulk.

1 oz light rum
1/2 oz amaretto (or creme de almond if you have it)
1/2 oz triple sec
equal parts orange juice & sour mix
1/2 oz 151 proof rum

Combine all but the 151 in a tall glass and stir. Top with the 151 and garnish with a cherry.

Vampire
1 oz vodka
1 oz Chambord® raspberry liqueur
1 oz cranberry juice

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Hang a set of vampire teeth on the rim of the glass

For my signature drink, Voodoo Koolaid, visit my drink recipes page.

Punch:

Sparkling Harvest Punch

2 cups chilled cranberry juice
2 cups chilled apple juice
1 1/2 cup chilled orange juice
2 cups chilled club soda
Orange slices
Frozen cranberries

Mix together everything in a punch bowl. Add a bottle of vodka for an alcoholic punch.

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History Minute: The Volstead Act

Celebrate Repeal Day with me at the Golden Lion on December 5th!!

Today in History

October 28, 1919

Congress passes the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. The Volstead Act provided for the enforcement of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, also known as the Prohibition Amendment.

The movement for the prohibition of alcohol began in the early 19th century, when Americans concerned about the adverse effects of drinking began forming temperance societies. By the late 19th century, these groups had become a powerful political force, campaigning on the state level and calling for national liquor abstinence. In December 1917, the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes,” was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. In January 1919, the 18th amendment achieved the necessary two-thirds majority of state ratification, and prohibition became the law of the land.

The Volstead Act, passed nine months later, provided for the enforcement of prohibition, including the creation of a special unit of the Treasury Department. Despite a vigorous effort by law-enforcement agencies, the Volstead Act failed to prevent the large-scale distribution of alcoholic beverages, and organized crime flourished in America. On December 5 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified, repealing prohibition.

*from history.com

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At Arm’s Length

OuterBanks2008 (21)

I consider myself a pretty good self portrait photographer….check out some of my faves in my flickr photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/tikitender/sets/72157608389119249/

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To ease the mood, some bipartisan election humor…

from my friends at www.superpoop.com & www.mccaincomics.com













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Today’s Drink Recipe: Pillow Biter

Pillow Biter

1 oz bourbon whiskey
1 oz peach schnapps

Pour over ice in a shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass to sip or into a rocks glass to serve as a shot. Sweet and hard at the same time. Hurts so good. 😉

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Today’s History Lesson: The Gimlet

gimlet

n. A cocktail, usually consisting of gin and lime juice
—Oxford English Dictionary

A Gimlet is one of those drinks where its beauty is in its simplicity. And since it has some historical significance, I thought I’d share it with you.

According to various sources, Sir Thomas Gimlette – a British surgeon, who was looking for a way to prevent scurvy in British sailors and later became the Surgeon General, invented the drink in the late 19th century. The Merchant Shipping Act of 1867 to require all ships of the British military and merchant fleet to provide sailors with a regular dollop of lime juice—leading to the nickname “limey” for English immigrants in the early British colonies. What made this possible was a now-ubiquitous cocktail mixer. By the time the act was passed, Lauchlin Rose had patented a method for preserving citrus juice in a sugar syrup without alcohol—Rose’s Lime Juice.

All of which leads us to the beloved Dr. Thomas Gimlette, who supposedly joined the Royal Navy in 1879. It took him eleven years, but Gimlette finally hit on a solution for encouraging sailors to drink their daily dose of lime juice—adding gin. The now infamous surgeon cum bartender was subsequently knighted and eventually retired as the British Surgeon General in 1913.

The gimlet, like the ubiquitious martini, is made with gin. Many, including me, enjoy a vodka gimlet. If you want a vodka gimlet in my bar, you better order it that way. Otherwise you will get gin and lime juice on ice.

According to Raymond Chandler, that there’s only one proper way to mix a proper gimlet, as Terry Lenox explains to Philip Marlowe:

“A real Gimlet is half gin and half Rose’s Lime Juice and nothing else. It beats Martinis hollow.”

Most drinkers today prefer 1 1/2 oz gin and 3/4 oz lime juice over ice.

I make my “gimlet” with 2 oz Smirnoff® vodka and half a fresh lime, over ice.

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