Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Leaving up the Lights: Old World or White Trash?

By this time of the new year, most everybody who had Christmas lights up has finally taken them down. Maybe. For the first week of the year, leaving them up feels like an easy way to extend the festive feelings of the holiday season.  The ham, peppermint sticks, presents, and egg nog may be gone, but the feelings remain.  By the second week, leaving them up feels like an awesome way of putting off the inevitable--dragging out the boxes and sending the decorations back to wherever they reside for the majority of the year.

As a child, I don't recall a January without Christmas lights and/or decorations.  My mom would say that we were leaving them up for "Russian Christmas."  We did have that ancestry, and although we didn't celebrate as we did on December 25th, I did get an idea of what the Orthodox Christmas meant.  There's a segment in Rick Sebak's documentary "Happy Holidays in Pittsburgh" (a great special for anyone in or out of The Burgh) where a woman with a large menagerie of Christmas lights utters the same "Russian Christmas" statement.  Apparently we weren't the only ones who went that route!

It wasn't until I grew older that I learned of the unfortunate "white trash" stigma of leaving lights up.  Sure, we can all picture the slightly run-down house with Billy Bob outside in his torn jeans and dirty shirt, waiting to come indoors when the electric icicles light up.  Nevertheless, I think that in recent years, movies and other media with a negative connotation have blown this into a way bigger concept than it actually is.  After all, so-called "ugly" Christmas sweaters weren't labeled as such while I was growing up, either, but that's a rant best saved for next Christmas.  Stereotypes may be based in truth, but I think that this is one that is really undeserved.

Now that we"re almost a full month into the new year, even a Christmas fanatic such as myself can safely admit that it's time for the lighted reindeer and inflatable Frosty to come down.  If they were up all year, what fun would it be to unveil them again next Thanksgiving weekend?  As for the trees and indoor knickknacks? You have a little while yet.  They can't judge what they can't see!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It's not Pop Culture...it's Josh Culture


Some of you may have found your way here via my other blog, Twitter, or just by chance. You may have enjoyed my writing dating back to social media relics like LiveJournal and MySpace.  It was on those sites that I truly enjoyed writing off the top of my head on just about any topic that I wanted.  Although I love my other blog (no, it isn't ending) and the many great opportunities that have arisen from it, I missed just plain writing.  Wrestling memorabilia, as fun as it is, is a very niche topic.

A few years ago, I attempted a second blog.  I went into it with a rant from the get-go, and it just wasn't fun. Even after that failure, I knew that wouldn't be my general blogging end. What I wanted was something with the same multi-platform aspect of "JW's Wrestling Memorabilia," but without the structure and parameters that I've set for myself there.

For that blog, I have set times, set stories, and a regular stream of pictures.  I fiddle with it until I get it right, and I don't like to stray too far off of my regular path.  Josh Culture is essentially me letting my hair down.

As much heat as it takes, Twitter is a tremendous extension for a blog.  Free advertising at it's best.  This blog and my corresponding Twitter account make up Josh Culture.  It's pop culture, life, and the stories that intertwine it all.  It's the things that interest me and, in turn, will most likely interest you.  Even if the topic doesn't necessarily thrill you, I've been told that my writing sucks people in.  I don't know that I necessarily want the word "sucks" anywhere near a description of my writing.  "Folksy," on the other hand, is a description that would please me immensely.

Thanks for joining the ride.  It might be a bit bumpy, but we'll stop for some good food along the way, and you'll come home with a new memory or two.  Guaranteed.