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Gender: Male
Hometown: Northern VA
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 10:34 AM
Number of posts: 40,384

About Me

I've been a member of DU for over 14 years, but now it is time for me to check out. The glee people on this site took over bashing Gov Northam is too much. EW Jackson, VA's version of a RW troll is being respected and his options considered while the Gov who expanded medicare to 800,000 citizens of my state (including an adult son) is bashed over a 35-year old indiscretion. I see DU as being infected by RW trolls and ratfuckers while the admins are largely absent. See 2016 if you don't believe me. While Northam was being bashed, threads appeared bashing Harris (she took a hard stance against Franken) and Booker (he's corporate) and promoted people who will never be elected in America such as Gabbard and Sanders. Their indiscretions are ignored. For what reason? Their unelectability? The members here that aren't RW trolls or ratfuckers are attempting to achieve some type of purity that will never happen due to mankind's flawed nature. People ar human and prone to mistakes. The rhetorical tools that attack people such as HRC, Franken and Northam will be turned on people like Kamala Harris and Justin Fairfax. It is only a matter of time. I refuse to help the RW and the PURE destroy people and our party. DU was a noble idea, but is a tool on the internet being used to ruin the Democratic Party, suppress the vote, and destroy decent candidates. I won't take part in this crap any longer. To my couple of friends here, so long, it was nice chatting with you. You know how to reach me if you want.

Journal Archives

Lost Highway

FSogol's 2018 Advent Calendar Day 14: The West Point Military Academy EggNog Riot of Christmas 1826

The Eggnog Riot, sometimes known as the Grog Mutiny, was a riot that took place at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, on 24–25 December 1826. It was caused by a drunken Christmas Day party in the North Barracks of the academy. Two days prior to the incident, a large quantity of whiskey was smuggled into the academy to make eggnog for the party, giving the riot its name.

The riot eventually involved more than one-third of the cadets by the time it ceased on Christmas morning. A subsequent investigation by academy officials resulted in the implication of 70 cadets and the court-martialing of 20 of them and one enlisted soldier. Among the participants in the riot—though he was not court-martialed—was future Confederate States President Jefferson Davis.


At that time, standards were pretty low and cadets where often being expelled.

During West Point’s early years following its founding in 1802, it hardly resembled the highly revered institution that exists today. According to Smithsonian, admission standards were lax, and students could be enrolled at any point during the year. Drinking was also a significant part of the campus culture, especially around the holidays. It was an annual tradition at West Point for cadets to drink eggnog during their Christmas festivities, but in 1826, the school’s superintendent, Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, cut them off.

As a means of whipping the community into shape, Thayer imposed a harsh new rule that prohibited the purchase, storage, and consumption of alcohol on West Point property. Unfortunately for Thayer, a few cadets took these new restrictions as a challenge come Christmas Eve.


The cadets (among them class of '28 student Jefferson Davis, a.k.a. the future president of the Confederacy) smuggled in three or four gallons of whiskey from a local tavern. Thayer suspected there might be shenanigans afoot for the holiday party, but he only took the normal precautions that night, assigning two officers to the North Barracks. The officers went to bed around midnight with no trouble to report, but that all changed around four in the morning. One of the officers, Captain Ethan Allen Hitchcock, was awoken by the sounds of partying a few floors above him. He went to investigate and found six or seven cadets in a drunken state. He ordered them back to their rooms, and as he went to leave, he heard a second party going on in the room next door. There he found two intoxicated cadets hiding beneath a blanket, and a third party who was so drunk he refused to remove the hat he was using to conceal his face. When Hitchcock demanded that he show himself, they argued, and things got so tense that after the officer left, the cadets declared, “Get your dirks and bayonets … and pistols if you have them. Before this night is over, Hitchcock will be dead!”

Soon after, the infamous West Point eggnog riot was underway. Anywhere from 70 to 90 cadets ended up taking part, and while no one was killed that night, the chaos did result in assaults on two officers, several shattered windows, and banisters being ripped away from stairways. By the time morning arrived, the North Barracks had been completely wrecked. Instead of indicting up to a third of the academy’s 260 students and further reinforcing its reputation as an unruly institution, superintendent Thayer chose to only target the worst offenders. Jefferson Davis was able to evade a charge, and he, along with fellow classmates (including future Confederate General Robert E. Lee) testified in their peers’ defense. Nineteen cadets were eventually expelled, and the buildings that served as the site of the riot were demolished.


More at:

(For an explanation of my advent project and a link to last years posts, see
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181152160 )

FSogol's 2018 Advent Calendar Day 13: While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads... WHAT?

The line from Clement Clark Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas," a.k.a. "Twas the Night Before Christmas" (1823) goes:

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads...

Sugar Plums are also mentioned in Act Two of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet. In the Land of the Sweets, containing Marzipan, Chocolate, and Candy Cane, the Sugar Plum rules the kingdom in the absence of the Prince.

A label on a box of sugar plums with an early (1868) picture of Santa in his underwear.

What the heck are sugar plums?

What they’re not, annoyingly enough, is sugar-coated plums. According to candy historians and the Oxford English Dictionary, a sugar plum is a comfit—that is, a seed, nut, or scrap of spice coated with a layer of hard sugar, like the crunchy outer case of an M&M. In the 17th century, popular innards for comfits included caraway, fennel, coriander, and cardamom seeds, almonds, walnuts, ginger, cinnamon, and aniseed. Tiny comfits—“hundreds and thousands,” “shot comfits,” or nonpareils”—were made by sugar-coating minuscule celery seeds; “long comfits” were sugar-coated strips of cinnamon bark or citrus peel.

Comfits are thought to be one of the world’s oldest sugar candies. They most likely started life as medicine, devised by Arab apothecaries as treatments for indigestion, and were brought to Europe via Genoese and Venetian sugar traders. The Tudors ate them as stomach-settlers at the end of their sizeable meals, along with a glass of spiced wine.

Comfits were tricky to make. The sugar coatings had to be gradually built up over time, first adding sugar syrup with a special funnel (called a “pearling funnel” or “cot”), then shimmying the candies in a hot pan. This process-called “panning”—had to be repeated for hours or days on end, until up to 30 layers of sugar had been added to the mix. Comfits, since they were massively labor-intensive, were pricey. Sugar plums were originally snacks for aristocrats. Early comfits also tended to be lumpy. The perfect comfit was the work of a skilled, patient, and possibly lucky confectioner. The process was so difficult that trade secrets were strictly guarded. A rare survival are the instructions published by Sir Hugh Platt (1609) on “The arte of comfetmaking,” who spills the beans on techniques and recipes. (“A quarter of a pound of Coriander seeds, and three pounds of sugar will make great, huge and big comfets.”) Today panning is performed mechanically, which is how we get uniformly round jawbreakers and smoothly oval jellybeans and Jordan almonds.

“Sugar plum,” these days, is an obsolete word, which seems a shame considering its versatility in its 17th- to 19th-century heyday. In the 17th century, to have a “mouth full of sugar plums” meant that you spoke sweetly, but might have a deceitful hidden agenda; in the 18th century, “to sugar plum” was a verb, meaning to pet, fawn over, or make up to. In the 19th century, “plum,” all on its own, came to mean anything delightful and desirable—hence Tchaikovsky’s Sugarplum Fairy in the Nutcracker ballet.

More at https://www.nationalgeographic.com/people-and-culture/food/the-plate/2014/12/23/visions-of-sugarplums/

Confectionery historian Laura Mason calls comfit-making "one of the most difficult and tedious methods in craft confectionery, requiring specialized equipment, careful heat control, and experience." Depending on the size of the finished product, a batch could take several days to complete. Not just anybody could make these candies. Until the advent of machine innovations, comfits or sugar plums were a luxury good, most likely to be found in an aristocrat's pocket or between courses at a banquet.


I don't know what exactly Clement Moore had in mind when he imagined sleeping children's heads full of "visions of sugar plums." Was it a specific confection or a more general notion of sweetness? The lasting power of his poem suggests that it doesn't really matter. Even today, when the original referent for sugar plum has faded into the historical mists, we still recognize its meaning: the excitement, the pleasure, the childlike wonder of Christmas, all in the shape of a little sugar plum.

More at https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/12/sugar-plums-theyre-not-what-you-think-they-are/68385/

(For an explanation of my advent project and a link to last years posts, see
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181152160 )

Scientific Giants of All Time: Donald Trump's Gut

From Tom the Dancing Bug

FSogol's 2018 Advent Calendar Day 12: The Skeletal Welsh Horse You Must Beat in a Battle of Rhymes

In the Welsh folkloric tradition of Mari Lwyd, a horse skull visits your home around Christmas, and you must best it in poetry or allow it inside.

There’s a skeletal horse singing rhymes outside your door, and it wants to come inside. Can you beat the dead mare in a battle of poetic wits? This is the Welsh tradition of the Mari Lwyd, a mid-winter custom wherein the skull of a horse, decked out with bells and ribbons, is paraded on a stick by a reveler beneath a sackcloth, who challenges neighbors in exchange for drink and food.

It probably goes without saying that although Mari Lwyd now manifests around Christmas and New Year’s, this is a pre-Christian practice, one of those pagan rituals that’s endured on the British Isles over the centuries. The rather terrifying spectacle of Mari Lwyd did nearly disappear from Wales at one point, yet it’s had a resurgence recently, with Christmas ornaments being used for eyes occasionally instead of old glass bottle bottoms. The insults in the “pwnco” battles, as they’re called, are milder these days, and the drinking a little less heavy, but the sardonic grin of the horse skull, sometimes with a spring-loaded jaw, remains to haunt your Yuletides. In the 1966 video from the BBC Wales below, the Mari Lwyd dialogue plays out in matching rhymes until the undead mare is let in.

Exactly why anyone, at any point in history, thought this was good fun is lost to the ages. Music Traditions Wales (which offers a flat-pack Mari Lwyd for schools to assemble) points to the deep visual culture of the white horse in Britain, such as the late prehistoric Uffington White Horse carved into the hills of Oxfordshire, England. And there is a wider, worldwide heritage of ritual animal disguise, including the similar practice of hoodening in Kent, England, which features a hobbyhorse on a pole held by a person under a sheet.

More at https://hyperallergic.com/345156/the-welsh-undead-horse-of-christmas-you-must-beat-in-a-battle-of-rhymes/



and http://resources.trac.wales/traditions/mari-lwyd
(which includes instructions to make your own horse skull if you don't have one laying around!)

I'll cover wassailing and caroling later this month.

(For an explanation of my advent project and a link to last years posts, see
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181152160 )

FSogol's 2018 Advent Calendar Day 11: The Time J.R.R. Tolkien Saved Christmas

Starting in 1920 when Tolkien's oldest son was aged three, each Christmas Tolkien would write a letter from Father Christmas about his travels and adventures. Each letter was delivered in an envelope, including North Pole stamps and postage marks as designed by Tolkien.


For the next 23 years, every Christmas Eve, Tolkien wrote a letter to his four children from Father Christmas. What began as short, informative letters—“I am just now off to Oxford with a bundle of toys”—evolved into longer tales about life at the North Pole. The 1932 letter begins, “Dear Children, There is alot to tell you. First of all a Merry Christmas! But there have been lots of adventures you will want to hear about. It all began with the funny noises underground … ”


Tolkien continued the practice until 1942. His son Christopher Tolkien posthumously published his father's work in 1976.

The stories are told in the format of a series of letters, told either from the point of view of Father Christmas or his elvish secretary. They document the adventures and misadventures of Father Christmas and his helpers, including the North Polar Bear and his two sidekick cubs, Paksu and Valkotukka. The stories include descriptions of the massive fireworks that create the northern lights and how Polar Bear manages to get into trouble on more than one occasion.

The 1939 letter has Father Christmas making reference to the Second World War, while some of the later letters feature Father Christmas' battles against Goblins which were subsequently interpreted as being a reflection of Tolkien's views on the German Menace.


some critics believe Tolkien adapted parts of these stories into his epic, Lord of the Rings and the Father Christmas was the model for Gandalf.

The book was republished in 1999 and re-titled "Letters from Father Christmas". It contains some that were left out of the earlier edition.

(For an explanation of my advent project and a link to last years posts, see
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181152160 )

FSogol's 2018 Advent Calendar Day 10: NORAD vs Santa Claus

Santa had a pretty good record of delivering presents around the world without getting caught until Dec 25, 1955. Even Santa was no match for the folks at the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

On Dec. 24, 1955, a call was made to the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. However, this call was not from the president or a general. It was from a young child in Colorado Springs who was following the directions in an advertisement printed in the local paper – the youngster wanted to know the whereabouts of Santa Claus.

The ad said “Hey, Kiddies! Call me direct and be sure and dial the correct number.” However, the number was printed incorrectly in the advertisement and rang into the CONAD operations center.

On duty that night was Colonel Harry Shoup, who has come to be known as the “Santa Colonel.” Colonel Shoup received numerous calls that night and rather than hanging up, he had his operators find the location of Santa Claus and reported it to every child who phoned in that night.

Thus began a tradition carried on by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) when it was formed in 1958. Today, through satellite systems, high-powered radars and jet fighters, NORAD tracks Santa Claus as he makes his Yuletide journey around the world.

Every year on December 24, fifteen hundred volunteers staff telephones and computers to answer calls and e-mails from children (and adults) from around the world. Live updates are provided through the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site (in seven languages), over telephone lines, and by e-mail to keep curious children and their families informed about Santa’s whereabouts and if it’s time to get to bed.

Each year, the NORAD Tracks Santa Web Site receives nearly nine million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Volunteers receive more than 140,000 calls to the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline from children around the globe.

This year, children and the young-at-heart are able to track Santa through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. To follow us on any of these Web sites, type in @noradsanta into the search engine and start tracking.

NORAD Tracks Santa has become a magical and global phenomenon, delighting generations of families everywhere.

Note: NORAD's Santa info are press releases and not bound by DU's copyright rules.


Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began. The Santa Tracker tradition started with this Sears ad, which instructed children to call Santa on what turned out to be a secret military hotline. Kids today can call 1-877 HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) to talk to NORAD staff about Santa's exact location.

Terri remembers her dad had two phones on his desk, including a red one. "Only a four-star general at the Pentagon and my dad had the number," she says. "This was the '50s, this was the Cold War, and he would have been the first one to know if there was an attack on the United States," Rick says. The red phone rang one day in December 1955, and Shoup answered it, Pam says. "And then there was a small voice that just asked, 'Is this Santa Claus?' "

His children remember Shoup as straight-laced and disciplined, and he was annoyed and upset by the call and thought it was a joke — but then, Terri says, the little voice started crying.

"And Dad realized that it wasn't a joke," her sister says. "So he talked to him, ho-ho-ho'd and asked if he had been a good boy and, 'May I talk to your mother?' And the mother got on and said, 'You haven't seen the paper yet? There's a phone number to call Santa. It's in the Sears ad.' Dad looked it up, and there it was, his red phone number. And they had children calling one after another, so he put a couple of airmen on the phones to act like Santa Claus." "It got to be a big joke at the command center. You know, 'The old man's really flipped his lid this time. We're answering Santa calls,' " Terri says.

Col. Harry Shoup came to be known as the "Santa Colonel." He passed away in 2009.

More at NPR: https://www.npr.org/2014/12/19/371647099/norads-santa-tracker-began-with-a-typo-and-a-good-sport

(For an explanation of my advent project and a link to last years posts, see
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181152160 )

FSogol's 2018 Advent Calendar Day 9: The Numerous Friends of Sir Henry Cole

In 1843, Sir Henry Cole was a senior civil servant in charge of the new 'Public Record Office' (now called the Post Office) and was tasked with getting it used more by ordinary people. At the time, stamps were expensive and the system was only used by the rich. The cost of deliverying mail was quickly dropping due to railroads.

Cole had another problem. He was too popular and kept up too many correspondences.

During the holiday season of 1843, those friends were causing Cole much anxiety.

The problem were their letters: An old custom in England, the Christmas and New Year’s letter had received a new impetus with the recent expansion of the British postal system and the introduction of the “Penny Post,” allowing the sender to send a letter or card anywhere in the country by affixing a penny stamp to the correspondence.

Now, everybody was sending letters. Sir Cole—best remembered today as the founder of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London—was an enthusiastic supporter of the new postal system, and he enjoyed being the 1840s equivalent of an A-Lister, but he was a busy man. As he watched the stacks of unanswered correspondence he fretted over what to do. “In Victorian England, it was considered impolite not to answer mail,” says Ace Collins, author of Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas. “He had to figure out a way to respond to all of these people.”

Cole hit on an ingenious idea. He approached an artist friend, J.C. Horsley, and asked him to design an idea that Cole had sketched out in his mind. Cole then took Horsley’s illustration—a triptych showing a family at table celebrating the holiday flanked by images of people helping the poor—and had a thousand copies made by a London printer. The image was printed on a piece of stiff cardboard 5 1/8 x 3 1/4 inches in size. At the top of each was the salutation, “TO:_____” allowing Cole to personalize his responses, which included the generic greeting “A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To You.” It was the first Christmas card.


The first card. Note the small child drinking wine

Other prominent Victorians copied Cole's invention and it slowly caught on.

As printing methods improved, Christmas cards became much more popular and were produced in large numbers from about 1860. In 1870 the cost of sending a post card, and also Christmas cards, dropped to half a penny. This meant even more people were able to send cards.

Christmas Cards appeared in the United States of America in the late 1840s, but were very expensive and most people couldn't afford them. It 1875, Louis Prang, a printer who was originally from German but who had also worked on early cards in the UK, started mass producing cards so more people could afford to buy them. Mr Prang's first cards featured flowers, plants, and children. In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, who are still one of the biggest card makers today.


The Hall Brothers standardized the 4" wide x 6" tall, folded card inserted into the enevolpe that is most common today.

Hallmark's most popular card of all time, 1977. Still published today, it has sold over 34 million copies.

A card designed by Jackie Kennedy to benefit the Kennedy Center

A Hallmark card designed by Salvador Dali

A Hallmark card by Norman Rockwell

If you like this stuff, I highly recommend the Smithsonian article referenced above.

(For an explanation of my advent project and a link to last years posts, see
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181152160 )

FSogol's 2018 Advent Calendar Day 8: Christmas and the US Post Office

Note: Items from USPS are press releases to the public and not bound by DU copyright rules.

Image of the first Christmas-themed U.S. postage stamp, which was issued in 1962 and featured a wreath and candles.

The United States Post Office Department issued its first Christmas stamp in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on November 1, 1962. Customers had requested such a stamp for years.

Anticipating a huge demand for the new Christmas stamp, the Department ordered 350 million printed - the largest number produced for a special stamp until that time. The green and red four-cent stamps featured a wreath, two candles, and the words "Christmas 1962". The initial supply sold out quickly and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing began working around-the-clock to print more. By the end of 1962, one billion of the stamps had been printed and distributed.

Although the decision to print a Christmas stamp generated some controversy, especially from groups concerned about maintaining the separation of church and state, legal actions to bar the stamps were not successful.


Since US started being issues in 1847, not having a Christmas stamp until 1962 seems strange. It took them a while to catch up to the Holidays of other faiths. (Although in their defense, I'm not sure sending greeting cards is a tradition for these other holidays.)

In 1996, the Postal Service paid tribute to Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, by issuing the first Hanukkah stamp, which featured a stylized illustration of a menorah. A design featuring an ornate dreidel followed in 2004. This season, the Postal Service will continue selling the 2009 Hanukkah stamp, the third U.S. stamp to commemorate the holiday.

In 1997, the Postal Service paid tribute to Kwanzaa, the celebration of family, community, and culture, by issuing the first Kwanzaa stamp, which featured a colorful portrait of an African-American family, a “symbol of family and togetherness.” A design featuring seven figures in colorful robes followed in 2004. This season, the Postal Service will continue selling the 2009 Kwanzaa stamp, the third U.S. stamp to commemorate the holiday.

In 2001, the Postal Service paid tribute to Eid, by issuing the Eid stamp, which features the phrase “Eid Mubarak” — meaning “blessed festival” — in gold Arabic script on a blue background. The stamp commemorates the two most important festivals on the Islamic calendar: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The stamp has been reissued in the original design to reflect current stamp prices.

There is currently a petition for the USPS to issue a stamp for the next Hindu festival of Diwali.

How does Christmas affect the Post Office?

From an article last year in USA Today:

This holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service said it expects to deliver more than 15 billion pieces of mail, including 850 million packages. Despite the rise of email and more private package deliverers, USPS says its volume is expected to be 10% more than the same period last year. Take that, Santa

The holiday crunch time begins Dec. 11, but climaxes Dec. 18 to 24. USPS predicts its workers will deliver close to 200 million packages during each of those two weeks. And amid the pre-Christmas week rush, the post office will handle close to 3 billion pieces of first-class mail as holiday card-sending reaches its peak.

The busiest day online will likely be Dec. 18, as over 7 million people go to the service's website to ship packages, the Postal Service forecast.


Tomorrow I'll look at the origins of the Holiday Christmas Card,

(For an explanation of my advent project and a link to last years posts, see
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181152160 )

FSogol's 2018 Advent Calendar Day 7: Kissing Under the Mistletoe

Mistletoe is a parasitic shrub that grows in willow, oak, and apple trees. The version you see for sale in convenience stores has plastic berries.

Cecil Adams of the Straight Dope writes:

Your unease about mistletoe is well founded. Mistletoe berries, for one thing, are poisonous, and some species can kill the trees that host them.

Even worse is the legend that supposedly accounts for our custom of kissing under the mistletoe at Christmas. In the account given by Edgar Nash in the Saturday Evening Post in 1898, the Scandinavian god Baldur told his mother Frigga that he had a premonition of death, whereupon Frigga extracted promises from every animal, vegetable, and mineral that it would not harm her son. She overlooked only the inconsequential mistletoe, a fact that came to the unfortunate attention of Loki, the god of destruction. Loki promptly hustled over to where the other gods, obviously in desperate need of entertainment, were hurling spears and whatnot at Baldur for the fun of seeing them swerve aside without harming him. The pitiless Loki, however, shot an arrow of mistletoe*, which fatally pierced Baldur’s heart. Rather than punish Loki, the gods decided the answer was mistletoe control, and turned the plant over to Frigga to do with as she saw fit, provided it did not touch the ground. (Why it was important that it not touch the ground I do not know, although since it grows on trees mistletoe in fact generally does not touch the ground.) Frigga hung up the mistletoe and, to show she did not bear a grudge, declared that all who passed beneath it should receive a kiss of love and forgiveness rather than, say, a severed aorta. So when somebody smooches a fellow hominid who has strayed beneath the mistletoe, he or she is implicitly saying: be grateful it’s only a kiss, babe, I could have killed you.


* Not true, Loki talked the blind god, Hodur into doing the deed and gave him the mistletoe arrow.

What does this all have to do with Christmas? Just another pagan custom adopted by the Christians.

The tradition of hanging it in the house goes back to the times of the ancient Druids. It is supposed to possess mystical powers which bring good luck to the household and wards off evil spirits. It was also used as a sign of love and friendship in Norse mythology and that's where the custom of kissing under Mistletoe comes from.

When the first Christians came to Western Europe, some tried to ban the use of Mistletoe as a decoration in Churches, but many still continued to use it! York Minster Church in the UK used to hold a special Mistletoe Service in the winter, where wrong doers in the city of York could come and be pardoned.

The custom of kissing under Mistletoe comes from England. The original custom was that a berry was picked from the sprig of Mistletoe before the person could be kissed and when all the berries had gone, there could be no more kissing!

The name mistletoe comes from two Anglo Saxon words 'Mistel' (which means dung) and 'tan' (which means) twig or stick! So you could translate Mistletoe as 'poo on a stick'!!! Not exactly romantic is it!


PS. If trying to get kissed under the mistletoe, I recommend avoiding the "poo on a stick" etymology lesson.

(For an explanation of my advent project and a link to last years posts, see
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181152160 )
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