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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

April 2015

Why Are You Screaming?

It will not come as a surprise to many of you to learn that I have a cat calendar in my office.  This year's version features poems by cats, and while I've enjoyed them all, the one for April really makes me melt down. So here it is, with thanks to its anonymous author:

Why Are You Screaming?

Why are you screaming?
What did I do wrong?
Why are you crying?
How can I make it right?
Would you like it in a different color?
Would you like it in a different size?
Would you like it in a different room?
I just wanted to show my love.
I just wanted to express my thanks.
I just wanted to put a dead mouse on your sheets.
But now you are screaming
And i don't know how to make you stop.

What Do Eggs and Bunnies Have to Do with Easter?

There's been an interesting controversy on the Internet about that question.  Among the participants have been Richard Dawkins, an atheist and evolutionary biologist: several followers of Sylvia Plath's writings; one or two offended Christians; and a few medieval historians whose academic training has exposed them to as much history of religion as most theologians ever receive. [I leave it to you to decide where I fall in that august crowd.]

The following is an excerpt from the most rational discussion I have seen. It is reproduced here by invitation from its author. Read the whole article (language alert!) at:  http://bellejar.ca/2013/03/28/easter-is-not-named-after-ishtar-and-other-truths-i-have-to-tell-you/

Most scholars believe that Easter gets its name from Eostre or Ostara, a Germanic pagan goddess. English and German are two of the very few languages that use some variation of the word Easter (or, in German, Ostern) as a name for this holiday. Most other European languages use one form or another of the Latin name for Easter, Pascha, which is derived from the Hebrew Pesach, meaning Passover. In French it’s Pâques, in Italian it’s Pasqua, in Dutch it’s Pasen, in Danish it’s Paaske, in Bulgarian it’s Paskha, and so on and so forth.

In the Christian Bible, Jesus returned to Jerusalem from his forty days in the desert just before Passover. In fact, in the Gospel according to John, Jesus was killed on the day before the first night of Passover, at the time when lambs were traditionally slaughtered for the Passover feast (because Jesus was the Lamb of God, etc. – SYMBOLISM, Y’ALL). There are a few differing accounts of when Jesus actually died, but most Christian texts, philosophers and scholars agree that it was around the time of Passover. Easter is still celebrated the week after Passover, which is why it’s a different day each year, because the Jewish calendar is lunar rather than solar.

Her symbols (like the egg and the bunny) were and still are fertility and sex symbols (or did you actually think eggs and bunnies had anything to do with the resurrection?).

Actually, according to Jacob Grimm’s Deutsche Mythologie, which he wrote after journeying across Germany and recording its oral mythological traditions, the idea of resurrection was part and parcel of celebrating the goddess Ostara:

“Ostara, Eástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the Christian’s God. Bonfires were lighted at Easter and according to popular belief of long standing, the moment the sun rises on Easter Sunday morning, he gives three joyful leaps, he dances for joy … Water drawn on the Easter morning is, like that at Christmas, holy and healing … here also heathen notions seems to have grafted themselves on great Christian festivals. Maidens clothed in white, who at Easter, at the season of returning spring, show themselves in clefts of the rock and on mountains, are suggestive of the ancient goddess.”

Spring is a sort of resurrection after all, with the land coming back to life after lying dead and bare during the winter months. To say that ancient peoples thought otherwise is foolish, naïve and downright uninformed. Many, many pagan celebrations centre around the return of light and the rebirth of the land; these ideas are not new themes in the slightest.

And yes, rabbits and eggs are fertility symbols, and they are, in fact, associated with Eostre.

Look. Here’s the thing. Our Western Easter traditions incorporate a lot of elements from a bunch of different religious backgrounds. You can’t really say that it’s just about resurrection, or just about spring, or just about fertility and sex. You can’t pick one thread out of a tapestry and say, “Hey, now this particular strand is what this tapestry’s really about.” It doesn’t work that way; very few things in life do.

The fact is that the Ancient Romans were smart when it came to conquering. In their pagan days, they would absorb gods and goddesses from every religion they encountered into their own pantheon; when the Roman Empire became Christian, the Roman Catholic Church continued to do the same thing, in a manner of speaking.

And do you know why that worked so well? Because adaptability is a really, really good trait to have in terms of survival of the fittest (something I wish the present-day Catholic Church would remember). Scratch the surface of just about any Christian holiday, and you’ll find pagan elements, if not a downright pagan theme, underneath.

Know what else? Most Christians know this. Or, at least, most of the Christians that I’m friends with (which is, admittedly, a fairly small sampling). They know that Jesus wasn’t really born on December 25th, and they know that there were never any actual snakes in Ireland, and they know that rabbits and eggs are fertility symbols. But they don’t care, because they realize that religions evolve and change and that that’s actually a good thing, not a bad thing. The fact that many Christian saints are just re-imagined pagan gods and goddesses doesn’t alter their faith one iota; because faith isn’t about reason or sense, it’s about belief.

What to Eat and Drink in South Carolina


South Carolina purists drink Fireball whiskey straight out of a bottle. Straight out of the the bottle is the only way to get the full effect of this spicy, cinnamon-flavored South Carolinian favorite.

In South Carolina, we know what things are important in life…and the order in which those things matter. Shrimp and Grits falls third on the list of the most important things to South Carolinians (first being football, second being whiskey…) While it might resemble white mush, grits are the backbone for any South Carolinian breakfast. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

South Carolina claims to be the home of barbecue, because Indians were pit-roasting wild hogs when the first explorers arrived.  Most parts of the country use a ketchup based barbecue sauce, while some places prefer a vinegar base. In South Carolina all of the best sauces start out with a mustard base. It gives this condiment a better zing than any sauce an out-of-towner will have had elsewhere.

Every South Carolinian knows that peanuts taste best when they’ve been boiled in extremely salty water for a long time. These peanuts can be purchased everywhere, from in cans at a grocery store to big restaurants to roadside shacks, but every local knows that the more rural the shop is, the better the final product will be.

Hot sauce goes on everything. South Carolinian taste buds love a little bit of spice in every bite. That being said, there are tons of awesome local hot sauce brands and there’s no reason not to try them all.

Wadmalaw Island is home to America’s only commercial tea plantation, American Classic Tea.Many people claim that Summerville, South Carolina was the birthplace of sweet tea. It’s no surprise this drink took off in the Palmetto State. It’s perfect for sipping while sitting on a porch on a warm summer day.If an out-of-towner is ordering tea with a meal, make sure they know it will probably come cold, with a load of sugar, and a slice of lemon in it.


Frogmore Stew has no frogs in it. While the word “frog” is in its name, it’s named after the community that came up with a popular recipe, not what’s in it.  Frogmore stew is a delicious seafood boil, typically consisting of shellfish and veggies. If it's authentic it will be poured out on a table covered with newspapers.

Hushpuppies are usually just deep-fried balls of corn batter but don’t let the simplicity of the recipe confuse you. These side dishes are all the rage here in South Carolina.  Out-of-towners first and foremost need to try hushpuppies as a side to seafood. It’s a match made in seaside heaven.

Some people across the country call them “crayfish” or “crawdads,” but in South Carolina, these bright red shrimp like creatures are called “crawfish”, and they’re delicious.

Everyone in South Carolina seems to have a family recipe for their biscuits. While they’re always delicious 99.9% of the time, insulting someone’s biscuit if there’s a bad batch is a quick way to make enemies.

In South Carolina, “supper” is the big meal at the end of the day. Most people around the country don’t use this word anymore and it might take a while for them to get used to it being so common in the Palmetto State.


While some parts of America have their Friday night fish fries, South Carolina has their oyster roasts. These gatherings are used as a great excuse to pull some loved ones together and throw back a few brewskis.


If You Want to Avoid Jail, You Need to Check the City Codes, Too.

As for silly laws that apply to just one city in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach wins the prize for the longest list. And I guarantee you these are not April Fool jokes. They are still on the books.

Myrtle Beach

  • It is illegal to urinate in the waters of any park.
  • Persons may not change clothes in a gas station without permission of the owner.
  • Sleeping on public beach after 9:00 p.m. prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to sleep on the beach within the city between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and sunrise.
  • Dogs:
  • (a) It shall be unlawful to allow any dog to be on the public beaches or boardwalks of the municipality from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the period from May 15 through September 15 of each year, except for assistance animals and law enforcement dogs. Owners shall be subject to arrest and the dogs may be impounded.
  •  (b) It shall be unlawful for an owner or keeper of any animal to take or permit the animal onto the right of way of Ocean Boulevard between 21st Ave. North and 13th Ave. South during the period from March 1st to September 30th of each year, except for the purpose of direct and expeditious crossing of the right of way. Owners shall be subject to arrest and the animal may be impounded.

Charleston

  • The Fire Department may blow up your house. Readers of "Damned Yankee" will understand the need for this law.
  • It is against the law to drive a motorized vehicle on King Street.

Clemson

  • Lifeguards must be present at apartment complex pools, but only after 11:00 PM. -

Fountain Inn

  • Horses are to wear pants at all times.

Greenville

  • The drinking age on Furman University campus is 60 years old. I'm guessing they have a lot of old faculty members there.

Lancaster County

  • It is illegal to dance in public in Lancaster
  • Eating watermelons in the Magnolia Street cemetery is forbidden.