Happy Twelfth Night

“Food and drink are the center of the celebrations in modern times, and all of the most traditional ones go back many centuries. The punch called wassail is consumed especially on Twelfth Night and throughout Christmas time, especially in the UK, and door-to-door wassailing (similar to singing Christmas carols) was common up until the 1950s. Around the world, special pastries, such as the tortell and king cake, are baked on Twelfth Night, and eaten the following day for the Feast of the Epiphany celebrations. In English and French custom, the Twelfth-cake was baked to contain a bean and a pea, so that those who received the slices containing them should be respectively designated king and queen of the night’s festivities.” – Wikpedia

The front door looks empty without its Christmas wreath and garland, and so, too, the widows without their (battery operated) candles. The decorations have been stowed away in the garage until they come alive again at the end of the year.

I won’t be taking ale or even moonshine from door  to door while singing:

Wassail! wassail! all over the town,
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;
With the wassailing bowl, we’ll drink to thee.

If I did, the cops would probably show up, and/or people would appear at their front doors with shotguns to inform us to “shut the hell up.” Either way, those consequences don’t seem very festive.

However you celebrate the beginning of the year, may you find hope and happiness in 2021 and all the traditional and/or personal epiphanies you need to ensure this year is better than last year.


According to some insane professor, New Year’s resolutions are due December 31

Fortunately, I’m only auditing the course. That means I don’t have to do the assignments or take the tests. It also means I don’t get any CEUs, much less college credit, for taking the course. I don’t mind because, really, I don’t need the grief or the deadlines.

The course is called “Fixing Your Life for Fun and Profit.”

All of us are shunted through the course because it’s part of our general education requirements. Compared to grad school where grades lower than As and Bs don’t count, you can skate through the GE courses with a C average.

According to the syllabus, the criterion objectives include: (a) the student will learn how to write affirmations that speak of a better life than s/he had at the beginning of the course, and (b) how to write New Year’s resolutions that, while powerless, impress all who hear them.

Do you see the flaw in the course?

Resolutions and other affirmations don’t accomplish diddly squat unless those who write them or say them or proclaim actually want to change. So there it is. If they wanted to change, they would have done it already–no need to write it down as an action step.

Since I like pulling people’s chains, I usually say that my New Year’s resolutions include “Killing fewer people than last year” and “Fighting the urge to throw fools under the bus.” If I say this in “real life,” there’s a lot of silence in the room. If I say this online, I get a lot of laughing smiley faces like the whole thing’s a joke.

Do you notice that when people post heartfelt resolutions on Facebook and in their blogs that they do so with an expectation of praise? You know, like they’ve already accomplished something? Studies show that most New Year’s resolutions are broken or forgotten before February.

Of course they are because they’re all for show and/or for a passing grade in the smoke-and-mirrors “Fixing Your Life for Fun and Profit” course. It’s all snake oil and very expensive. Like patent medicine, it cures everything from gout to malice to bad breath.

Every once in awhile, placebos cure people. Perhaps January 1 is your day, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the satirical mystery “Special Investigative Reporter.”



New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Boycott Gluten-Free Products – As I understand it, most people are not allergic to gluten and it has health benefits we’re being denied in the mad rush to get rid of it.
  2. Curse with more finesse – The best kinds of cursing, and other putdowns, are those people don’t realize aren’t very nice. So, I need to improve on this.
  3. Start Writing Potboiler Novels – Or, beach reads perhaps. These usually have little value, can be written quickly, and make lots of money. What’s not to like?
  4. Avoid Political “Discussions” on Facebook – Most of these are debates are between people with facts and people who think their ignorant/biased opinions are worth just as much as the facts. These threads never end well.
  5. Drink More Water – I read somewhere that we’re 200% water and that every day that we don’t drink as much water as we’re supposed to, we shrink and become less ourselves.
  6. Eat More Gravy – As Southerners know, gravy makes great food even better. So-called diet experts who live outside the South have been trying to subvert this truth for years.
  7. Stop Eating Brussels Sprouts – They cause gas. My Buick might get better mileage from them than I do.
  8. Ignore So-Called URGENT Petition Drives – When e-mails come in that say, “Malcolm, we need a billion signatures by midnight,” find out what good (if any) all those signatures will do.
  9. Stop Allowing Auto-Correct to Take Over My Writing:  If auto-correct changes my Facebook post or e-mail from “I love you” to “You’re a real shit,” there’s no need to go along with that.
  10. Stop Voting for Candidates Who Tell Me What They Will Do: Since we purportedly have a representative government, those elected should be doing what the voters want them to do and not what they want to do.
  11. Wear a Blindfold While Watching “Chopped” on TV – Most viewers of “Chopped” know that each show’s four chefs have to cook with mystery baskets that include crap that isn’t intended to be eaten by real people. If you must watch the show, protect yourself from goat eyeballs on a stick and pig guts with honey.
  12. Buy Higher-Quality Scotch – We can all afford the swill. But it doesn’t improve our lives like the good stuff. When you buy the good stuff, the results trickle down and make the world a better place for all of us.
  13. Buy More Books Locally and/or from Barnes and Noble and Powell’s Books Online – Let’s suppose there’s a bookseller online that’s close to being a monopoly. We don’t have to help it get bigger, do we?
  14. Drink More Tap Water – Studies show us that most of the high-priced bottle water either comes from somebody’s tap rather than the fountain of youth.  Plus, it litters the world with plastic bottles.
  15. Believe in What I Can Imagine – My beliefs are ecclectic, so there’s no reason to feel constrained by fads that don’t have anything new or transcendent in them.


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