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Do you celebrate Christmas?















Have done since the 1340′s. Didn’t have much choice. Church mandates and legal restrictions and all that. Recently, it’s become more enjoyable, if a bit less pithy, or substantive. Back then it was a lengthy ordeal about the preservation of the soul and misery and canning and staving off death. Now it’s pretty music, feasting, gifts, and companionship.

And more awkward visits with family, thievery, and boundless commercialism.

Well, to be fair, you would have spent your entire life with your family and never left. Thievery has always been there, and commercialism to some degree, as well. I know that currently it’s all about the new toy, but in my day it was Simony and astrology, so…most things have happened before.

Merry Christmas I got you the head of John the Baptist!

Wait, I got YOU the head of John the Baptist!

Uh oh….


Puts me in mind of a story I heard. When living in Normandy, there was a monk who’d make all these claims about shriveled saint’s fingers from the holy land he’d somehow acquired through rigorous negotiations with the church. He’d go round selling them off to churches or nobles, and finally one day a clark had the wherewithal to ask him to whom he’d sold the other nine fingers.

He began prattling off his list, but forgot to remove one. The saint apparently had eleven fingers.

He covered marvelously well by saying one of the names from the list had gotten another finger of another saint by mistake, and wasn’t it lucky, because that left this one for him?

To which the Clark said, “Are you sure you haven’t lost a toe into the bargain?” as he politely walked away.

I can tell you that some of them were human. Some weren’t, but who bothers to look too closely when someone says it’s a dead man’s finger and someone else says that bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ if a priest looks at it sideways? Have a man bless it and it could be a shriveled up sausage, but it is the finger of a man who was eaten by lions! So says the pope, so say we all.

So the saint’s day in my anniversary is St. Lucia and I heard people prayed to her as the patron saint of olives because she’s depicted holding her own eyeballs on a plate and people incorrectly figured she really liked olives.

Ah yes…The immovable saint. The story goes she plucked out her own eyes and offered them to her fiance to keep because he thought them so beautiful, tough she had intentions only for the faith. Her eyes magically grew back, of course, and her boy was so dismayed he turned her over to the Romans.

They tried to drag her, tried to burn her, and finally succeeded in stabbing her, because apparently God only had three miracles up his sleeve. Seems to me that was a solstice celebration.

If you want my opinion, they were olives and she was terribly clever.

*sips martini*

*eats pickled eyeball*


Now, how does one pickle an eyeball? In a regular brine? In vinegar? Do you have to use nitrates like in corned beef?

There are many ways, but my favorite is to de-pickled a glass jar of Vlassic kosher dills and drop them in with a few Thai chilies

Huh, I do the same with garlic cloves and green tomatoes.

My child…you are wise beyond your years.

I make quick pickle slaw that way too. So perfect with bread and butter pickle brine.



Y’all are making me aspirate my wine.

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