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It’s December 10th


I’m avoiding Christmas Carols like the plague.

Yeah, I know, it’s a very curmudgeonly attitude to have.  All this “Bah-humbug” around Christmas.  But there are reasons for this, I can assure you.

From 1989 to 1998 I worked in broadcasting.  Five years of that as an on air announcer.  Also known as a disc jockey.  I wanted to be Dr. Johnny Fever (WKRP In Cincinnati reference).  Needless to say, I became more akin to Les Nesman (one of my news jobs even had tape on the floor where walls would be).  But, that time while I was an on air announcer, there was many a Christmas of late night and weekend afternoons filled with multiple versions of Jingle Bell Rock, Rockin’ ‘Round the Christmas Tree, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, and various other Christmas songs which could work on Adult Contemporary, Hard Rock, or Country format radio.

I will admit, I loved Twisted Sister’s Christmas album, that was awesome.  But one can only take hearing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer before threatening bloody murder if the song comes up again for the 50th time in a day.

Many people might not know this, but the average length of time for a Christmas song for Adult Rock, Hard Rock or Country is about 2 minutes in length.  In an hour, that’s 30 songs.  With talking and commercials, maybe 20.  Keep in mind, this is late night and afternoon weekends.  Six hour shifts.

Which only got worse the closer to Christmas you got.

The format was as follows.  December 1 to December 7: One Christmas song per day.  December 8 to December 14: One Christmas song per shift.  December 15 to December 20: One Christmas song per hour.  December 21 to December 23: One Christmas song per quarter hour.  December 24 and December 25: No other songs except for Christmas songs exist, play nothing but Christmas songs.  December 26: Never play a Christmas song again.

For me, a lot of times I was the guy who had to work Christmas day.  Which meant an 8 hour shift, not a 6 hour shift like usual.

So, I have my reasons for my “bah-humbug” attitude with regard to Christmas songs.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2014 in Fun, Life, randomness

 

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The Miracle of Christmas


If you believe that the paintings in your local church that depict Christ as a white man, then you need to re-examine this.

Jesus Christ, born to a single mother, poor, and a father figure who’s only income was carpentry, was born in the Middle East.  A Jewish man born in the Middle East.  And, of course there are white Jews, there are thousands that live in Europe and North America.  But Christ was born before the famed Silk Road began taking merchandise from the Middle East to North Africa, India, China and even into Europe.  At this point, many Jews, Arabs, and North Africans began moving and settling in new regions.  This was done as well during the height of the Roman Empire, but often if anyone came back to the central location of the Empire, it would have been Rome, not the Middle East.

So if you’re miracle of Christmas is that Jesus Christ, a Jewish man born in the Middle east to a Jewish woman, is that he was white, then I have news for you friend.  You’re racist.

Jews in the Middle East, those who were born in that region all those thousands of years ago, are people of colour.  Even if they would have had relations with others, such as those of Arabic or North African or even Greek or Italian ancestry, they still are people of colour.

So trying to argue that Christ looked like some long haired version of Kenny Rogers or a young Chris Christopherson is complete bullshit.

You’re just a racist.  Unless you’re willing to learn.  If that’s the case, then there’s hope for ya.  If not, then you’re just a racist.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2014 in Life, randomness

 

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Winter Doldrums


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Almost two weeks since New Years has past.

Okay, actually just a little over a week.  But that’s how slow the past nine days has been, it’s actually felt like two weeks.  In autumn, there seems to always be some urgency, something to anticipate, something to expect with wonder and awe.  It actually begins once the school year starts in September.  There’s Thanksgiving for us Canadians in October, followed closely by Halloween.  For the adventurous, there’s also Talk Like A Pirate Day in September.  November rolls around and for the extremely adventurous, the entire month is one long attempt to get in 50,000 words or more.  Of course, let’s not forget things like Remembrance Day, or even Thanksgiving for those south of the border.  Then comes December, and like a switch the talk is all about decorations, carols and shopping.  Mostly focusing on ‘have you finished yours yet’.  Then the big day hits, Christmas Day arrives, sandwiched neatly between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.  The celebrations seem to die down but not entirely as there’s a New Year to celebrate in there as well.

Maybe it’s time we started recognizing and learning the cultures of others.  Not for appropriation, but just something to break up doldrums of this time of year.  After all, we’re currently in the midst of the Ukrainian Christmas season.  Ukrainian Christmas was just yesterday, after all, and Ukrainian New Years isn’t that far away.

I remember the first time I was exposed to Ukrainian Christmas.  I lived in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, which was part of the Parkland Region and held a high concentration of Ukrainians that stretched from Yorkton, Melville and Invermay all the way east into Manitoba to what is known as the Canadian Ukrainian capital.  People in that region take pride in their Ukrainian heritage, though, it should be dubbed Saskrainian, due to the fact many of these people are second and third generation living in Saskatchewan.  Still, I remember the first time working at CJGX Radio in Yorkton, on Ukrainian Christmas day, and trying to go shopping and finding everything but convenience stores closed.  For those who celebrate this time of year, it’s probably a wonderful time.  But for someone like me, I was bored stiff and left without milk, peanut butter and cigarettes.  Though, I did learn for the next year, and made certain to stock up appropriately.

Around here, where I live now, there’s not really much of a celebration that sort of breaks things up.  No mid winter festival to talk about.  We have a hockey team, but I doubt they’ll make it to the playoffs, or rather deep into the playoffs this year.  Sure there’s things like the February long weekend, which I personally think is a government plot in Canada to sell more beer.  Honestly.  Canadians don’t need a long weekend to go out and buy beer.  We even have Valentine’s Day, which is rather dull and quite lonely for some of us, myself included in that.  Yes, there’s a trade show in March and Easter long weekend as well, but by the time those two events hit, the thing we’ve been trying to get past, the thing we’ve been living through, is soon gone.

Winter can sometimes be the hardest time of year.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Way I See It: Holiday Rant


I’m gonna try and do more of these over the course of the new year. Mostly because from time to time I’ll see something that will make me wish to comment, and sometimes I’ll write it down, but other times I’ll have a need to spew verbal tirades because I can’t formulate what I want on paper (or wordprocessor).

Tumblr: http://timholtorf.tumblr.com/

WordPress: https://taholtorf.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in video

 

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So this is Christmas


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It’s Christmas morning!

You can tell because I have a candy cane in my hand while I read a book on my Kindle.  It’s a little after 8 in the morning, still dark outside, and in a couple of hours I’ll make my way to Saskatoon to visit my parents for Christmas morning.

This is the first year that I can remember where Christmas didn’t creep up on me like before.  I didn’t rush around and do things, I just did stuff I needed to do.  Like yesterday, I did three loads of laundry.  I know, not exactly Christmas Evey type activity, but it was something I needed to do.

As I’ve grown older, a lot of things have come into better focus (even though my eyes continual grow weaker every year).  I hate driving long distances, I don’t like travelling, even going to Saskatoon.  I figure Elbow and the beach on the lake is a good journey for me.  Sure I’d like to travel to exotic places, but it’s not high on my list.  Mostly because I’ll probably have to take a plane and that thought terrifies me.  I hate the phone, I find it an intrusion into my life.  Though, it is necessary, and I even have a cell phone for those times that I do have to travel a great distance.

That’s stuff I hate, but the list of stuff I like has gotten better.

I’m not so down on the Kindle or other ereaders like I used to be.  I can see how it is awesome to carry around 40 or more books in your coat pocket.  The bonus: less stuff to dust.

I’ve grown comfortable in the place where I live.  I enjoy this small town and really don’t wish to move to a larger center.  Cities terrify me, after all, so I’m content living here, in Outlook.

I feel very privileged in that I wrote a book.  Sometimes I get down on my writing and find it difficult to get motivated, but I look back and realize that I actually wrote a book.  It actually is put together and there are actually people reading it, whether that be the printed version or the electronic version.  It isn’t perfect, but it’s there and it’s mine.

I have my aches and pains, but I sit back and realize life could be a lot worse for me.  And really, in the end, I just hope there’s others out there that as they grow and as they deal with the inevitability of life, that they’ll learn from it, find some way to make it easier, and get to a point where they are happy.

Social happiness is one thing, that contract the government signs when they take office to ensure that people are cared for, that’s one thing.  That’s something we all need to remind our respective governments about.  But individual happiness, that takes a lot of hard work.  For some it might come easy, others will be a little harder.  And, in a few cases, it may not come to realization until you happen to be the age of the answer to life, the universe, and everything.  Sorry, reading a lot of Douglas Adams lately.

Well, that turned rather philosophical in a hurry.  I didn’t mean that to go down that road after taking a goofy picture of myself holding my Kindle and a candy cane (which, as of this paragraph, has been devoured).  All things considered…

Happy Holidays and the best in the New Year.

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Life, randomness

 

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It’s beginning to look a lot like…


I’ve been neglectful in posting up anything here in the last little while.  Mostly because I’ve been spending a great deal of my time working to finish the upcoming Christmas issue for the newspaper.  There’s also been the need to keep warm, because it’s gotten freakin’ cold out in the past several days.

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I do have new stuff coming up, and I’m working diligently on writing.  No, I haven’t given up on that, it’s just hard to write while your fingers are wrapped around a nice hot cup of cocoa.  I did manage to finally get something that caught me up with a few people.  I’ve been thinking about getting a tablet or ereader a lot lately, and for a time was swaying toward an iPad.  I finally came to the conclusion that an iPad is fine, but I wouldn’t really get the full benefit out of it that I don’t already get with a laptop.  But, I did take the plunge and get a Kindle.  Just the pocket book sized one.  I figure when I go out on long trips or even just to the beach in summer (oh, how I long for summer) I can take my Kindle and not worry about which book to take with me.  I’ll have a whole bunch of them with me at the same time.

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Ah yes, it is that season, isn’t it.  That time of year when we get ready to spend with friends and family.  Christmas time.  That is, if we survive the 21st of December.  According to lunatics, this Friday is the day the planet will self destruct.  Because the Mayans said so.  You know, the ancient people who predicted the end of the world but never saw the Spanish coming.  I’m not knocking the Mayans, heavens no.  But I’m really not sure about the sanity of those who put any stock in the myth that the Mayans were some mystic people who read see the future.  Just not their own.  I fully intend to laugh at all people who believe this Friday is the apocalypse.  Granted, I’ll hold off on that until Saturday morning while I’m enjoying a nice cup of coffee.

That’s all that I have to say today.  Just letting everyone know I’m still alive, just very cold.  I had to walk to work yesterday when my car wouldn’t start.  My fault entirely, I forgot to plug it in.  I felt very much like that Grumpy cat going around the Internets lately.

Grumpy-Cat-Purring-Meme

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Life, randomness

 

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The Day After Christmas


I spent a lovely time with family and friends over the past three days.  Which is one of the big reasons why I was not around on tumblr for the past little while.  And boy did I have an enjoyable time.  Food!  And a haul of gifts.

My favourite so far…

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My CBC Shirt!  That wasn’t the only gift of apparel I received…

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It’s called a pooque!  A toque.  Only with… attachments.

My biggest haul, however, came in the form of reading material.

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First, there was the Hunger Games Trilogy.

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Then, a collection of books from R. A. Salvatore’s Legend of Drizzt.  Yes, I’m a Forgotten Realms geek.

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Books in the above form weren’t the only things I got.  I raked in a haul of comics as well.  First of which, the first four issues of Batgirl.

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Then, because it was already known I have Batwoman started…

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…issue number four of Batwoman.  Followed by…

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…issue three of the Huntress mini series.  Books and comics weren’t the only things I got!  I have videos to watch as well.

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Russel Peters, live at the O2 Arena in London, and…

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…Alfresco, which features early sketch comedy from Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.

But, I think the thing that made me the happiest was something my mother informed me of.  I was informed that my book, The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider, is available for lending at the Francis Morrison Library in Saskatoon.  That’s the main library for the City of Saskatoon.  Mom said she saw it there in the new arrivals section while she was looking for books herself.

So that’s my Christmas, I hope everyone else had a great holiday!

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Fun, Life, randomness

 

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My version of Christmas


At this time of year, many will look to Christmas with joy and hope and laughter.  I do to.  Many will also partake in the touring of Christmas lights, and I admit I enjoy taking the usual tours around communities to view what people have crafted with their light displays.  Can’t forget food.  Having a wonderful feast is great and satisfying.  There’s also Christmas music.

Which I tend to distance myself from.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Christmas music.  For about three hours on Christmas day itself.  But the rest of the time, I can totally do without it.  My aversion from Christmas music can be blamed on my working ten years in radio.  From December 1st right up until Christmas day, the frequency of Christmas music increases.  At a few stations I worked for, it would start with one tune a day for a week.  Then one tune an hour, then two tunes an hour, followed by three, and then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were crammed solid with 100% Christmas music.  There’s only so many versions of Jingle Bells one person can take.

So my tastes changed.  I lean more toward classical fair.  Dramatic music of certain movies, or video games, that come out around Christmas or announced around Christmas, and I listen to those.

The following is a large sampling of music I listen to around this time of year.

From Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

From Guild Wars 2

From The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Also from Guild Wars 2, the Norn Theme.

Basically, this is usually what I’ll listen to.  Not that I don’t like Christmas music, I just got very tired of it after ten years working behind a mic and playing tunes at radio stations.

However, in whatever way you celebrate the season, whether that be Festivus, Christmas, Hanukkah, the Solstice, or just getting together for good food, good friends and good times, have a Happy Holiday Season.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Fun, randomness

 

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Let it snow, let it snow


English: Path to Cragg Wood on Christmas Day C...

Image via Wikipedia

For a while, it was looking like a brown Christmas.  We had snow a while back, but thanks to the constant up and down temperatures, that went away quite fast.  This past Sunday, however, that changed.

I woke up, went to get my coffee started and have an orange (because I spent Saturday feeling deathly ill and couldn’t stomach anything) and stopped to look out the window.  It was hard not to.  The sight of white covering everything was really quite odd.  Not in the “what the hell is that” kind of way (I save that for May if it snows), but more like the “wow, is it ever bright out” kind of way.

Having the snow before Christmas is sort of the thing to have.  I grew up always seeing snow, always having snow on the ground in December.  But going away in March (as it should, because by then most of us are sick of it, except for those crazy snow mobile enthusiasts).  It just wouldn’t be Christmas if the ground was bare.  Which I’ve seen in the past.

English: Business district of Rosetown, Saskat...

Rosetown, looking down main street. In summer, not winter. Prairie Centre Credit Union building in the foreground. Image via Wikipedia

I think one of the strangest times was a little over ten years ago, when I lived in Rosetown.  We had a good deal of snow and some odd weather patterns.  We already had a white out early December, which made for an exciting time at work and a little harrowing.  Christmas came and went, and then along came New Year with some incredibly warm weather.  So warm, in fact, that the city of Swift Current and the town of Leader had a New Year’s Eve Golf tournament.  I never heard about the results, but I did hear a lot of people went, mostly to say they went golfing in Saskatchewan on January 1st.  The lead up to the New Year had been really warm, so the organization was fast, and grounds cleaning took a couple of days so things were ready.  And, naturally, most everyone hoping that the temperature wouldn’t just plummet by the time of the tee off.

I’m not holding out much hope that this snow we have now will stick around.  According to Environment Canada, we’re supposed to have a high of 5 Degrees Celsius (41 F).  A temperature that warm, snow will melt.  Won’t completely go away, but the rest of the week looks to be in the same range.  Which is kind of odd for December.

Just hope January and February is kind.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Life, randomness

 

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The Christian Right is at it again


This could conceivably be done in a 31 Days of Ghosts type post, because it’s horrifying what some people’s stupidity will lead to.

Yes, that’s right!  They’re coming after Halloween!  With the constant cries of “War of Christmas” that the Christian right always states is true (which, is bullshit), they are now suggesting that this Halloween, give out Bibles to all the trick or treaters.

 

Photo of a Halloween trick-or-treater, Redford...

Image via Wikipedia

Okay, first.  Halloween is a kids’ holiday.  It’s not even a real holiday, like Christmas is.  And yes, you could argue that Christmas is for kids, but Christmas is for the whole family.  I also know that Halloween has it’s roots that go back to times before the middle ages when groups of people would go from house to help ward off evil spirits.  Now, Halloween is a time for kids to go house to house and trick or treat.  I do believe that in some areas if October 31 lands on a Sunday, then trick or treating is done on a Saturday.  That’s fine, I really don’t have a problem with that at all.

 

mixed bag of characters. Characters at a Hallo...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s also a time when adults might go to costume parties at their offices or down to the local pub, or even get together and watch classic horror movies.  Nothing as extravagant, however, as is Christmas.

Now, second of all, I believe I have mentioned before that I am a Christian.  I also am of the belief that your faith is personal to you.  If someone asks, that’s fine.  I find it rude to talk to others and seemingly push your faith onto them.  I don’t think there’s some tally for the number of people we convert to Christianity, but I do believe we get major points for trying to help our fellow man without question and without want for payment.  So, by dumping Bibles into kids treat bags, this is sort of the reverse effect of the Jehovah Witnesses.  Instead of them coming to our doors, we’d be going to theirs.

The common reaction will be “but children need to know about God”.  I’m pretty sure if a child wants to know about God, then that child has all sorts of resources available to learn about Her.  Their parents are also there to help them answer any questions that they might have.  They don’t need outside influences pushing it onto them.  So, as noble intentioned as this is, you probably could have done a lot more good by handing out toothbrushes and toothpaste instead of Bibles.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Life, randomness, Rants

 

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