In This Week’s Show, episode 268, ‘tis the season to merry and cheer, and Big Gay Jim gonna sprinkle festive… cheer.
Jenn’s got a quiz all about Christmas biz, and Shea’s here to sing a carol… but it’s sounding a bit feral.
Meanwhile I forgot my Santa hat, so I’ve officially contributed fuck all… rhyming is hard.
Now, grab a beer and help us test the god hypothesis — because, while Tiny Tim hasn’t struck us down yet, he’s too small to really worry about.
Shea’s Life Lesson
This week I learned that the song frosty the snowman is about an ice golem leading kids into oncoming traffic and then vows to return after the police’s pursuit of him leads to his destruction.
Jenn’s Actual Lesson
I’m Jenn, jenny jenn jenn, im awesome and hot, give us patron monies
I’m actually Jenn and I’m about to share so much festive knowledge that I’m not even gonna add to it here.
Jim’s Good Gay News
POP TV is advertising the final season of Schitt’s Creek with a billboard showing a gay kiss. A great big one! All over the side of a building in LA. Merry Schitt’s-mas everyone! https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/12/tv-show-advertising-giant-gay-kiss-billboard-los-angeles/
But before we get to all that, let’s have a beer!
This Week’s Beer
Unholy – Coppertail Brewing Co-From Travis
- BA Link: https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/33064/120191/
- BA Rating: 89
- Style: Belgian Tripel
- ABV: 9.2%
- Aaron: 8
- Jenn: 7
- Jim: Oh My! Glug Glug Glug… ;)
- Shea: 9
This Week’s Show
Enjoy the longer show! If you enjoy this week’s episode – or the patron exclusive clips in next week’s show – check out Patreon.com/w4w and for as little as a buck an episode you’ll get longer shows with unique stories and free episodes of 4 More Beers.
12 Ways of Christmas – Wacky World Winter Customs
How good are the W4W boys at figuring out global customs for the holiday most often thought of as Christmas in this country?
1.) Starting off on the creepy cloven hoof of our favorite demonic spirit of the season, what European city is known as the home of the annual, world’s largest Krampus parade?
a.) Berlin b.) Vienna c.) Prague d.) Frankfurt
It’s basically the freaky parade of hell. There’s also another event known as Krampuslauf (or Krampus run), where racers try to evade Krampus monsters positioned along the route.
2.) What Eastern European Country celebrates the Legend of The Christmas Spider, decorating their homes and trees with delicate strands to represent a spider web (that is supposedly the origin of tinsel)?
a.) Bulgaria b.) Poland c.) The Czech Republic d.) Ukraine
The legend is actually kind of sweet but also terrifying for anyone suffering from even the slightest arachnophobia. A poor widow did not have the money to decorate her home for her children so the spiders (multiple) living in her home decided to decorate for her. (Hey, poor widow, good housekeeping is FREE.)
3.) Speaking of Christmas trees, spider-related decor are not the only odd items hung in celebration. Germans traditionally have a particular not-really-thought-of-as-Christmassy item that they hide in the tree for a lucky kid to find. What is it?
a.) a pickle b.) a corncob c.) a sausage d.) a potato
Yes, that quaint little bit of ancient German folk fun has caused Americans to shake their heads in amusement…for at least a 120 years or so. But it would make most Germans shake their heads in confusion, bc they would have no clue what the Yank was talking about. That’s because the ‘German pickle legend’ was an invention of Woolworth’s department store sometime in the late 1800’s in order to cajole more people into buying ornaments. Just let them tell you the story about a president and his bathtub…
4.) While most of us in the US enjoy another round of turkey, some other game bird, or perhaps a ham, along with carb-y side dishes and lots of sweets, the Czech Republic has their own traditional Christmas meal. What pairing would this be?
a.) Chicken feet and grilled, flat bread b.) mutton with blood pudding c.) carp with potato salad d.) pickled herring with cheese curds
Traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve, Czechs want their carp FRESH. According to Newsweek “many Czechs buy their carp live a few days before and let it swim in the bathtub until its fateful day comes.” Then on the evening of the 24th a bell rings, signally baby Jesus’ arrival and time for the fishecution.
5.) What objectionable object’s appearance do children in the Catalonian region of Spain eagerly await on December 8th (the Feast of Immaculate Conception)
a.) a flatulent guitar b.) a horny gardening spade c.) a pooping tree truck d.) a vomiting flagstone
File this firmly under ‘Literal Shit I Didn’t Make Up’, but Caga Tio, a small log of wood with a painted face and two front legs, is really for real. The log shows up on December 8th and the children bring it into the house to keep as a pet, caring for it so it can be…harvested, on Christmas.
It’s supposed to grow as it is cared for but, since that’s impossible, (from odditycental.com) “parents actually replace the logs every few days with larger ones. It’s easy for families who live in the country; they just go outside, find a piece of wood and paint a face on it. Urban parents have a tougher time. They have to trek into the woods to find larger Caga Tios. But mostly they just buy new ones from shops. The Caga Tio is done growing by Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. The full grown log is placed in the center of the living room and covered with a large red blanket. Children gather around, sing songs and hit the Caga Tio with sticks repeatedly, until it ‘poops’ out the presents. Earlier, the tradition was to place the log partially in fire, ordering it to defecate.”
He even has a song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLC-ixTv3mI
6.) For some reason here in America people have been giving fruitcakes as a tradition (perhaps it’s the same sad fruitcake, regifted every year in an effort to find someone who wants it). Fun me trivia fact, I grew up about 30 minutes from the “fruitcake capital of the world”, Claxton, GA. Anyway, Americans can’t be blamed for coming up with it originally, it has an older history. What time period did the fruitcake originate?
a.) Ancient Egypt b.) Ancient Rome 3.) Medieval France 4.) Elizabethan England
Though we inherited our current (apparently subpar) version from from England, it was a staple of the 18th century, not with the Virgin Queen. However, fruitcake itself dates (and nuts and raisins) back to Ancient Rome. It was called satura, a mixture of barley mash, dried raisins, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds, laced with condiments and honeyed wine. The word satire, a literary form invented by the Romans, derives from the dish: a mixture of many ingredients both sweet and sour.
7.) The US state of Virginia is the home of our first president’s historic estate, Mount Vernon. Apparently, old George was a bit of an eccentric, because in 1787 he brought a unique animal to his home that was such a hit, the estate still brings one in every Christmas to keep the tradition going. What exotic critter did Mr. Washington display, that you can still check out every December?
a.) a Kwanza Kiwi bird b.) a Yuletide Yak c.) a Christmas Camel d.) a Hanukkah Hippopotamus
GW paid 18 shillings back in the day to have his home camel-ready for the holiday and apparently, since it was such a gee-golly good time, the estate continues to this day. Since 2008 the same camel, Aladdin who just turned 12, has made the trek from his downtime home in Berryville, VA.
8.) If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to see the film ‘The Wicker Man’ (and I mean both the bug-bonkers insane 70s original and the Nick Cage remake.), then you’re halfway to envisioning one of Sweden’s most popular Christmas tradition: Gavlebocken. It’s sort of like the end of The Wicker Man without the sacrifice or the end of Burning Man without the music and naked people. Basically a huge straw effigy is erected, and is often times burned down. I’m sure to shouts of glee and lots of drinking. So what is the effigy of?
a.) a goat b.) a star c.) a devil d.) a ship
Now, the idea of a Yule Goat dates back to pagan times, but this particular event is more modern. Unlike a lot of the other items on this list (hold the pickle), this tradition only dates back to 1966. Also, unlike what we would definitely do here in America, it’s not technically supposed to be burned down. That hasn’t stopped many a most likely inebriated Swede: as of this year it has been burned down 37 since ‘66. And this is despite it being illegal and carrying a punishment of 3 months in prison for aggravated property damage.
9.) Back to customs with food: A traditional Finnish Christmas breakfast is something like rice grits. It rice and milk flavored with cinnamon or butter and no, thanks, I’ll just start drinking. However(!), there is something hidden in one bowl, so whoever finds it ‘wins’. No idea what the prize is, but apparently visiting a sauna later in the day is also popular. Anyway, what is the object hidden in the bland breakfast bowl?
a.) an acorn b.) an almond c.) an apple seed d.) an apricot
Good job to the almond finder and hopefully the good luck that it’s supposed to bestow starts early so Christmas doesn’t begin with a broken tooth or inhaled nutty choking hazard.
10.) Despite it not being a Christian country, of course the religion and it’s sublimated traditions have made it throughout the world, so this next example has started its own unique brand of the Christmas holiday. Hosiery are hanged for the presents that hopefully filled by their version of Santa, Lan Khoong-Khoong (the Nice Old Father). What is this traditionally not Christmas tradition-y country?
a.) Singpore b.) China c.) Taiwan d.) Vietnam
There is a lot of Western tradition crossover, with shopping, decorated trees and presents brought from a magical figure. Oh, Santa is also referred to in China as Dun Che Lao Ren (Christmas Old Man), but I preferred the first one I mentioned. One difference, instead of the day of being celebrated as an entire family affair, Christmas seems to be celebrated by couples and a more romantic time.
11.) The Welsh have a mid-winter custom that predates Christianity known as Mari Lwyd (Mah Ree Lou Id), or The Gray Mare. Basically it’s a ye olde festive rap battle, where “the tradition involves the arrival of the horse and its party at the door of the house or pub, where they sing several introductory verses. Then comes a battle of wits (known as pwnco) in which the people inside the door and the Mari party outside exchange challenges and insults in rhyme. At the end of the battle, which can be as long as the creativity of the two parties holds out, the Mari party enters with another song.”
Unfortunately Wales doesn’t actually have sly lyrical ponies, so one of the revelers fill in as ‘the mare’. What does that person carry along to mark themselves as the requisite equine?
a.) a saddle b.) a bridle c.) a bundle of hay d.) a horse’s head
Well, technically a skull, but close enough. And it’s usually atop the person’s head while the rest of them are covered in a white sheet. And you thought the Krampus parade was scary.
- Final Question and/or tie breaker. No hint.
Remember the Catalonian region of Spain, where kids beat an anthropomorphic log until it shits itself to death? Well, they really like traditions with their own spin. They decorate with figures of a nativity scene, but they add a unique one, presenting a unique gift to the baby Jesus.
What is this unique figure?
Known as the Caganer (or “the shitter” in Catalan), it’s a guy with his pants around his ankles, presenting a decidedly different, and far grosser, type of offering. Also, this region of Spain is obviously ruled by an 11 year old boy.
Patreon: Shea’s Story-
The 13 days of Yule and other winter songs
No matter your religious affiliation we all hum and sing along to all the Christmas and Holiday songs. From “Last Christmas” to “I have a little dreidel” we all have our favorites, and since they have been playing on the radio since Halloween we also have many stuck in our heads. In between the fa la la’s and the silver bells you might have noticed some ancient lyrics that no longer make any sense.
Jingle Bells has a clear message of the jingling bells on sleighs and a lovely ride through the forest. But what the fuck are bells on bobtails? Not bobcats or on Bob’s tail as I thought, bobtail actually refers to the style of the horse’s tail—a tail cut short, or a tail gathered up and tied in a knot, which you sometimes see in horsey events. Later in the song we learn that Mr. Sleigh Driver is absolute shit, because “The horse was lean and lank, misfortune seemed his lot, we ran into a drifted bank, and there we got upsot.” Upsot means upset or overturned, as you can probably guess from the lyrics. Also judging by its use in other poems and songs of the era, it can also mean upset in the emotional sense.
We also have the great song “Deck the Halls” telling the story of a merry group of decorators messing up the house. The lyrics “troll the ancient Yuletide carol” in today’s internet speak would mean a group of trolls changing the carols and being outright dicks but when it was written troll actually meant to sing loudly and clearly. I just picture a group of dickens carollers screaming at houses at the top of their lungs for some reason.
Ding dong merrily on high,
In heav’n the bells are ringing:
Ding dong! verily the sky
Is riv’n with angel singing
All that works out and angles fill the air also singing at the top of their lungs, a terrifying sight I’d imagine. Then later in the song “Pray you, dutifully prime Your matin chime, ye ringers,May you beautifully rhyme Your eve’time song, ye singers”
what is a matin chime? Matin refers to the morning prayers of the Anglican church.
From “Away in a manger” lyrics are often mistaken for the cattle are lonely, and though they may be the actual lyrics are the cattle are lowing, now if you haven’t grown up around cattle you may not know that lowing is the deep, low sounds made by cattle. When a cow goes “moo,” it’s lowing.
We also can’t forget about the most repetitive annoying Christmas song in the lot “The 12 days of Christmas,” which when sung, averages more than 4 minutes of the same lyrics over and over and over again. Did you know there is an alternative version in Scotland called the “13 days of Yule?” The best part of this version is that there is an extra day so, lucky you, there is an extra verse! Or maybe the best part is the weird shit the Scott’s like to give as gifts. Day one the King sends his lucky lady a papingoe, commonly mistranslated as a peacock but is actually a parrot, more annoying and less tasty than a partridge, also he doesn’t come on a festive pear tree but instead learns your carol and then flies away. Then much like our version you get a shit ton more birds and some farm animals, but by day ten the king must have run out of ideas and decided to send his lady a baboon, specifically an Arabian baboon, because why the fuck not. The song ends on day 13 with the best and most thoughtful gift of three stalks of merry corn, at least you can ferment it and turn it into booze because after these gifts you’re gonna need it.
Letters From Santa – https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/deli-owner-receives-and-responds-to-400-lett
‘Stick Library’ for Neighborhood Dogs – https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/dad-turns-tree-branches-into-stick-library-for-dogs/
Non-YouTube video for some reason: https://www.air.tv/watch?v=_xtA9wsnQ-G9JBiq4mOlKA
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