Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oíche Shamhna

Being an Irishman, I thought I would share a little about what Halloween is to the Irish and to the Amyx Clan.

Halloween is very popular in Ireland, where it is believed to have originated, and is known in Irish as Oíche Shamhna, literally "Samhain Night". Pre-Christian Celts had an autumn festival, Samhain (pronounced /sˠaunʲ/from the Old Irish samain
), "End of Summer", a pastoral and agricultural "fire festival" or feast, when the dead revisited the mortal world, and large communal bonfires would hence be lit to ward off evil spirits.

Pope Gregory IV standardized the date of All Saints' Day, or All Hallows' Day, on November 1 in the name of the entire Western Church in 835. As the church day began at sunset, the holiday coincided exactly with Samhain. It is claimed that the choice of date seems consistent with the common practice of leaving pagan festivals and buildings intact (e.g., the Pantheon), while overlaying a Christian meaning. However, there is no actual documentation of any reliability, whatsoever, backing up the presumption. While the Celts might have been content to move All Saints' Day from their own previous date of April 20, the rest of the world celebrating it on May 13, it is speculated without evidence that they were unwilling to give up their pre-existing autumn festival of the dead and continued to celebrate Samhain.

Unfortunately, there is frustratingly little primary documentation of how Halloween was celebrated in pre-industrial Ireland. Historian Nicholas Rogers has written,

"It is not always easy to track the development of Halloween in Ireland and Scotland from the mid-seventeenth century, largely because one has to trace ritual practices from [modern] folkloric evidence that do not necessarily reflect how the holiday might have changed; these rituals may not be "authentic" or "timeless" examples of pre-industrial times."

On Halloween night in present-day Ireland, adults and children dress up as creatures from the underworld (e.g., ghosts, ghouls, zombies, witches and goblins), light bonfires, and enjoy spectacular fireworks displays, despite the fact that such displays are usually illegal. It is also common for fireworks to be set off for the entire month preceding Halloween, as well as a few days after. Halloween was perceived as the night during which the division between the world of the living and the other world was blurred so spirits of the dead and inhabitants from the underworld were able to walk free on the earth. It was believed necessary to dress as a spirit or otherworldly creature when venturing outdoors to blend in, and this is where dressing in such a manner for Halloween comes from. This gradually evolved into trick-or-treating because children would knock on their neighbours' doors, in order to gather fruit, nuts, and sweets for the Halloween festival. Salt was once sprinkled in the hair of the children to protect against evil spirits.

The houses are frequently adorned with pumpkins or turnips carved into scary faces; lights or candles are sometimes placed inside the carvings to provide an eerie effect. The traditional Halloween cake in Ireland is the barmbrack, which is a fruit bread. Barmbrack is the centre of an Irish Halloween custom. The Halloween Brack traditionally contained various objects baked into the bread and was used as a sort of fortune-telling game. In the barmbrack were: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin (originally a silver sixpence) and a ring. Each item, when received in the slice, was supposed to carry a meaning to the person concerned: the pea, the person would not marry that year; the stick, "to beat one's wife with", would have an unhappy marriage or continually be in disputes; the cloth or rag, would have bad luck or be poor; the coin, would enjoy good fortune or be rich; and the ring, would be married within the year. Commercially produced barmbracks for the Halloween market still include a toy ring.

Games are often played, such as bobbing for apples, where apples, peanuts and other nuts and fruit and some small coins are placed in a basin of water. The apples and nuts float, but the coins, which sink, are harder to catch. Everyone takes turns catching as many items possible using only their mouths. In some households, the coins are embedded in the fruit for the children to "earn" as they catch each apple. The Scottish and English have adapted the tradition to a game named "ducking", in which a participant quickly dunks in a water-filled container in an attempt to get a prize, without being submerged too long. Another common game involves the hands-free eating of an apple hung on a string attached to the ceiling. Games of divination are also played at Halloween, but are becoming less popular.

At lunch-time (midday meal, sometimes called "dinner" in Ireland), a traditional Halloween meal Colcannon is eaten, often with coins wrapped in grease-proof paper mixed in. In recent decades the practice of midday dinners in the home has declined and with it this traditional Halloween ritual. Irish children have a week-long Halloween break from school; the last Monday in October is a public holiday given for Halloween even though they often do not fall on the same day.


Monday, October 29, 2007

La Partie de nuit des sorcières Deux

La nuit des sorcières

Thursday, October 25, 2007

L'obscurité De Christ

Mankind in his insatiable search for divine knowledge has discarded all biblical teachings realizing that the strength of religion is the repression of knowledge.

All structures of religion have collapsed.
Life prays for death in the wake of the horror of these revelations.

It was never imagined how graphic the reality that would be known as the end of creation would manifest itself.

We believe all this chaos and atrocity can be traced
Back to one single event.

We hold these truths to be painfully self-evident.
All men are not created equal,
Only the strong will prosper,
Only the strong will conquer,
Only in the darkness of Christ have I realized,
God Hates Us All.


Aucune Réponse à Tout

Talk to me, you never talk to me.
It seems that I can speak.
I can hear my voice shouting out.
But there's no reply at all.
Look at me, you never look at me,
I've been sitting, staring, seems so long.
But you're looking through me
Like I wasn't here at all.
No reply, there's no reply at all.
Dance with me, you never dance with me.
It seems that I can move,
I'm close to you, close as I can get.

Yet there's no reply at all...
I get the feeling you're tryin' to tell me,
Is there something that I should know?
What excuse are you tryin' to sell me?
Should I be reading stop or go, I don't know.
Be with me, seems you're never here with me,
I've been trying to get over there.
But it's out of my reach.
And there's no reply at all.

Maybe deep down inside,
I'm trying for no one else but me.
Too stubborn to say, "The buck stops here.
It's not the one you're looking for."
But, maybe deep down inside,
I'm lying to no one else but me.
But my back is up.
I'm on my guard - with all the exits sealed.
Listen to me, you never listen to me,
and it seems there's no way out,
I've been trying, but we cannot connect,
And there's no reply at all...


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Emotions Run Amok in Sleep-Deprived Brains

Charles Q. Choi

Special to LiveScience Mon Oct 22, 12:20 PM ET

Without sleep, the emotional centers of our brains dramatically overreact to bad experiences, research now reveals.

"When we're sleep deprived, it's really as if the brain is reverting to more primitive behavior, regressing in terms of the control humans normally have over their emotions," researcher Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, told LiveScience.

Anyone who has ever gone without a good night's sleep is aware that doing so can make a person emotionally irrational. While past studies have revealed that sleep loss can impair the immune system and brain processes such as learning and memory, there has been surprisingly little research into why sleep deprivation affects emotions, Walker said.

Walker and his colleagues had 26 healthy volunteers either get normal sleep or get sleep deprived, making them stay awake for roughly 35 hours. On the following day, the researchers scanned brain activity in volunteers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they viewed 100 images. These started off as emotionally neutral, such as photos of spoons or baskets, but they became increasingly negative in tone over time—for instance, pictures of attacking sharks or vipers.

"While we predicted that the emotional centers of the brain would overreact after sleep deprivation, we didn't predict they'd overreact as much as they did," Walker said. "They became more than 60 percent more reactive to negative emotional stimuli. That's a whopping increase—the emotional parts of the brain just seem to run amok."

The researchers pinpointed this hyperactive response to a shutdown of the prefrontal lobe, a brain region that normally keeps emotions under control. This structure is relatively new in human evolution, "and so it may not yet have adapted ways to cope with certain biological extremes," Walker speculated. "Human beings are one of the few species that really deprive themselves of sleep. It's a real oddity in nature."

In modern life, people often deprive themselves of sleep "almost on a daily basis," Walker said. "Alarm bells should be ringing about that behavior—no pun intended."

Future research can focus on which components of sleep help restore emotional stability—"whether it's dreaming REM sleep or slow-wave, non-dreaming forms of sleep," Walker said.

Many psychiatric disorders, "particularly ones involving emotions, seem to be linked with abnormal sleep," he added. "Traditionally people mostly thought the psychiatric disorders were contributing to the sleep abnormalities, but of course it could be the other way around. If we can find out which parts of sleep are most key to emotional stability, we already have a good range of drugs that can push and pull at these kinds of sleep and maybe help treat certain kinds of psychiatric conditions."

The findings are detailed in the Oct. 23 issue of the journal Current Biology.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

La nuit sur la Ville (La partie deux)

La nuit sur la Ville (L'un séparer)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jurer au travail ‹ l'esprit d'équipe de poussées, le moral › (or...Swearing at work 'boosts team spirit, morale')

Wed Oct 17, 11:54 AM ET

LONDON (AFP) - Regular swearing at work can help boost team spirit among staff, allowing them to express better their feelings as well as develop social relationships, according to a study by researchers.

Yehuda Baruch, a professor of management at the University of East Anglia, and graduate Stuart Jenkins studied the use of profanity in the workplace and assessed its implications for managers.

They assessed that swearing would become more common as traditional taboos are broken down, but the key appeared to be knowing when such language was appropriate and when to turn to blind eye.

The pair said swearing in front of senior staff or customers should be seriously discouraged or banned, but in other circumstances it helped foster solidarity among employees and express frustration, stress or other feelings.

"Employees use swearing on a continuous basis, but not necessarily in a negative, abusive manner," said Baruch, who works in the university's business school in Norwich.

Banning swear words and reprimanding staff might represent strong leadership, but could remove key links between staff and impact on morale and motivation, he said.

"We hope that this study will serve not only to acknowledge the part that swearing plays in our work and our lives, but also to indicate that leaders sometimes need to 'think differently' and be open to intriguing ideas.

"Managers need to understand how their staff feel about swearing. The challenge is to master the 'art' of knowing when to turn a blind eye to communication that does not meet their own standards."

The study, "Swearing at work and permissive leadership culture: when anti-social becomes social and incivility is acceptable", is published in the latest issue of the Leadership and Organisational Development Journal.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Monde fou


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Put a little love in your heart...Mother Fucker

More and more these days I have noticed a fundamental breakdown in gratitude for the nice comments and well wishes of others. A sheer unwillingness to accept that someone is saying something nice, accept it for what it is and move on.

Ever tell a woman that she looks nice? What do we get...?

“Oh…pfft….no I don’t.”

Ever tell someone to have a good day so that they can reply to you that they won’t?

Ever say out loud that you think it’s a nice day to have someone reply that it in fact isn’t a nice day and then go on to tell you all the reasons that theirs sucks as if to say that yours isn’t allowed to be nice if theirs isn’t?

And, have you ever held a door open for some douche because that’s the way you were raised, with manners, only to have them walk through it saying nothing? We don’t do it for the thanks…but mother fucker…say something…a firm “fuck you” would at least make me laugh. Nothing is no longer acceptable. SAY SOMETHING!

In the mean time, the next time someone says “you look nice”, here’s an idea…say fucking “THANK YOU”


Monday, October 15, 2007

Apprécier le Silence


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Le Vidéo de Noce

Everyone's asked to see video of my sister's wedding which I attended this weekend. Here you go...


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ozark Empire (or...the Emperor's Return)

I'm headed off to Missouri tomorrow for my sister Samantha's wedding. This will be the first time I've returned to my home state and town since my ex-wife and I went back in 2002 before we were married. I do miss Missouri for all it's beauty and all my friends and family there and I am really looking forward to seeing a lot of those that I've not seen in so long.

Over the last few days I have had a ton of e-mails from people asking if I will be able to hang while I am there, and that makes me feel good...but I am going for my sister and while I would very much like to see everyone, I'm afraid this will be a short trip and I won't be able to see everyone who's asked me to stop by or call when I get there.

Once I get done with all the "crap" I have going on in Tejas...I fully plan on a trip back for a week or more so that I can visit with all the friends I've had and the friends I've made back in Missouri (it's not Missoura!) and will most definitely let everyone know when I come back.

So, Caveat lector will be left unattended for the next several days. In the meantime, check out the blogs of some of my friends in my link section and I'll have pics to show off when I get back.

Your humble mother fucker,


Monday, October 01, 2007

Hide your face forever...dream and search forever.