Greetings and welcome to the Gävlebocken Edition of You Are What You Read. But before we learn all about that, I wanted to give you all an early present from all of us to you all. As with past years we have increased the amount of Hoopla you can borrow from now until January 31st from 7 check outs to 10. Enjoy your downloaded e-Goodness as you all run around doing whatever it is you do during the Hellidaze. Happy Hellidaze People!
This Tuesday we will have our final full moon of the year. It is named the Full Cold Moon. Please do not ask me to explain why to you all. You are all very clever and can figure that one out on your own. Enjoy People.
Sweden. A country responsible for bringing us Ikea, really depressing mysteries, lots and lots of white food, a candy shaped like fish which is oddly lacking in flavor, Vikings (the dudes in boats that pillage, not the football team), Abba, and a demented Hellidaze tradition called the Gävlebocken.
For the last fifty years the town of Gävle have built a giant goat in the town square that is made of straw. This giant goat is a nod to the little goat that stands guard over presents underneath Scandinavian Christmas trees. Its origins are another one of those co-opted Pagan worship practices. This one involves the Norse god, Thor who was believed to ride the skies in a chariot drawn by two goats. The last sheath that was harvested was believed to have magical properties and was saved for the Solstice celebrations.
Anyway, in the here and now the people of Gävle celebrate the season by building a giant straw goat. "Gee Jen", you all say. Why is this demented?This seems to be a delightful Swedish tradition much like the Feast of Santa Lucia which is occurring on Tuesday.
Because People, they build a giant 42 foot goat. And then the clock starts ticking because the goat is not long for this world.
In the 50 years of its existence, the goat has been laid low by vandals for, wait for it, THIRTY FIVE TIMES. How does one lay low a gi-normous symbol of Christmas tradition?** People**!If you remember your Wizard of Oz and the Man of Straw that answer is obvious. Fire. You use fire. This has become part of the tradition. The death of the goat by fire.
This year, the good people of Gävle swore it was going to be different. They used materials that were going to be harder to burn and equipped it with security cameras and guards. Keep in mind that this undertaking costs $250,000 and over 1,000 man hours in creation time. This is not some cheap,toss off undertaking. This is serious Goat Business.
This year a Molotov cocktail took out the goat right after the opening ceremonies. That’s right People. It lasted less than 24 hours. How did this carnage go down? Two words. Bathroom break.
Say what you will about the Swedes (especially after spending a winter Saturday afternoon at Ikea) but they do seem to have an overdeveloped sense of optimism. Here’s hoping that next year they can make it last a little longer than that. And they may want to hire new security. Or at the very least make sure that their security is experiencing some level of dehydration. You can read about that at NPR. And thanks to James McN for tipping me off to this.
This week we have some off-the-grid living, some jazz, and a whole lotta Queens, the borough that is.
Playlist? Of course we have the playlist! Aren't you all burning for some quality Playlist? Of course you are!
Let us begin!
Laura watched Captain Fantastic, with Viggo Mortensen this week. “This is a remarkable film about a family who lives off-the-grid. The parents, Ben and Leslie, believed in self-sufficiency and raise their six children in the woods of Washington State. The children are homeschooled and they hunt for their food. Problems arise when the mother dies and the family must leave the woods to attend her funeral in the prosperous suburban town of her childhood home. The clash of cultures forces both sides to observe the differences of lifestyles, and learn to respect and honor each other. Love abounds in this funny, quirky drama."
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is here to tell us what’s what. “This week I have been enjoying Fiona Davis’s novel, The Dollhouse. I would describe this book as being a combination of historical fiction and mystery. The book’s setting is the renowned women-only Barbizon Hotel which, for much of the twentieth century, served as home for generations of single women making their way in New York. In present day New York, Rose Lewin, a journalist and current resident of the Barbizon, is tipped off to an unsolved murder that took place at the hotel in the 1950s and begins to investigate. Back in 1952, Darby McLaughlin arrives at the Barbizon to attend secretarial school. Her shy and somewhat awkward demeanor leads her to forge relationships with a maid, Esme, who introduces her to the underworld of jazz. Davis’s novel is told in the alternating voices of the two women whose lives become intertwined even though their stories take place 50 years apart.“
Pat T. Still listening. “The Clancy's of Queens by Tara Clancy audiobook is read by the author, so as you listen to this memoir your ears are assaulted with a full-fledged Queens borough accent. Tara grew up in the 1980's with an Italian mother and Irish father who divorced when she was a young girl. Her time was divided between living with her mother and grandparents during the week, and on alternating her weekends her Dad's one room boat house and her Mom's wealthy boyfriend's home in Bridgehampton, Long Island. She navigates all three lifestyles with rambunctious enthusiasm, describing the times, the culture of Queens and her family's ethnicity to a tee! If you are from Queens or know someone who hails from this area, you will find this memoir smart, funny, poignant and honest.”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from Meat Chicken. She wishes she had some final words for us all but she has been rendered speechless by the carnage of the Gävlebocken. That and her interwebs aren’t working. But I think it’s mostly the horror of the Gävlebocken. But we have The Playlist. So that’s something at least. I know she wishes us all a happy weekend defined by the total absence of Molotov Cocktails.