Category Archives: Recreation

Salsbury’s Slavery Spectacular!

Black America Show poster

Image: newyorkhistoryblog.org

I’m reading Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, A 500-Year History, by Kurt Anderson. He gives an inventory of all the ways (white) Americans have been more prone than Europeans to believe in big dreams, in get-rich-quick schemes, the supernatural, cure-alls, conspiracy theories, UFO sightings and other “alternative facts” from the beginning of white colonization up to the Trump presidency and America’s current “post-factual” society. It’s fascinating, and it confirms that I’m right when I argue with my American husband that UFO sightings are really mostly an American thing. Continue reading

Zwarte Piet : Putting Him Into Perspective, Again!

zwarte piet again

Image: cnn.com

So let me get this straight:

Sinterklaas can still be Sinterklaas.
He and his Pieten can still arrive in Amsterdam on the steamboat.
They can still have all the processions through cities and towns.
People can still come out to welcome them.
Kids can still wave at Sinterklaas and give the Pieten their drawings.
The Pieten can still wear the same costumes.
They can still hand out candy.
Everyone can still eat pepernoten,
and taai-taai,
and marzipan,
and kruidnoten,
and suikerbeesten,
and amandelstaven,
and chocolate letters,
and speculaas poppen
and drink hot chocolate.
Everyone can still sing Sinterklaas songs.
You can still have Book Piet, Organizer Piet, Grumpy Piet and what have you Piet (a relatively new phenomenon).
Everyone can still buy Sinterklaas and Piet dolls at Xenos (also relatively new).
Kids and adults can still place their shoes at home on Sinterklaas Eve.
Kids and adults can even place their shoes at school, at work, on the street and in the bars (again, new).
People can still exchange gifts.
Children can still make surprises.
A good time can still be had by all.

The only thing that would change is the color of Piet’s face and hair.
And this is how you react?

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(Welcome to the Netherlands, where all cultures are accepted except our own.)

Have you all lost your mother-loving minds?

My original series on the whole Zwarte Piet issue starts here.

The Thanksgiving Gremlins

Halloween wreathIn her book Daring Greatly, self-help guru Brené Brown talks about gremlins as being the voices in our heads that tell us we must do this, we must behave so, we should have done that, etc. The gremlins are the critics–our parents, society, or our own (unrealistic) expectations for ourselves. The idea is to identify those gremlins and then basically tell them to shut up. There’s a little more to it than that, but that’ll do for the purpose of this post. Continue reading

The Zwarte Piet Debacle From the Outside, Again

zwarte clownOkay, it’s the end of November and that means that Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) is arriving in the Netherlands, with his helpers, who have traditionally been all called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). The Zwarte Pieten are traditionally white people with blackface. People of color in the Netherlands have gradually become vocal about not liking that and the Dutch reaction is incredibly embarrassing to me. Continue reading

Open Letter To Livid Boy Scouts Parents

Trump at Jamboree 2017Dear Boy Scouts of America (BSA) parents, those of you who were shocked, livid, dismayed, appalled, about Trump’s speech at this year’s National Jamboree,

Tom Horneman probably spoke for a lot of you when he wanted the BSA to apologize:  Continue reading

Me, Forging Empires

forge of empiresA while ago I started playing Forge of Empires. It’s the first time I’ve ever gotten involved in any kind of digital game, at least not since getting addicted to Pong when I should have been studying, back in library school. Continue reading

Who’d A Thunk It: Wilhelmina in the Ozarks

We were driving in southeastern Okalahoma and then into southwestern Arkansas last week, in beautiful, lush green hills, when what did we see?

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Yes, so I had to Google this to find out why on earth there was a Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Arkansas, USA.

So what were they thinking?