Monthly Archives: December 2018

PSA: It’s just another day


Sad Lewis Xmas
Man, kids just love a Christmas photo, right?

Dear Reader

If you’re not too jazzed about it being Christmas tomorrow, know that you’re not alone.

And hopefully I can help a teensy bit.

So grab yourself a cocktail (Virgin if you prefer), and enjoy the news that however you feel about it, it probably isn’t actually Christmas on 25 December.

Yep. Christmas is probably being celebrated on the wrong date.

So, in fact, December 25th is indeed just another day.

See Christmas only started being celebrated on December 25th back in about the 4th century. That’s a looooong time after the alleged event it was meant to commemorate.

The Bible doesn’t actually say what date Mary checked in to the barn, all cervix dilated and Lamaze a-panting amidst all those lo-ing cattle, but there’s reasonable evidence to suggest that it wouldn’t have been December 25th.

Yes things are mighty warm in the Southern Hemisphere on December 25th, but in Bethlehem, it gets chilly.

Too cold for shepherds to be watching their flocks by night while a “Virgin” gives birth. Yes, the shepherding thing actually IS in the Bible (Luke 2: 7-8), but this was long before North Face mass produced adventure gear that could have made these conditions survivable, let alone tolerable. Best-practice shepherding back in the day was for the flock to be outside in warm months, and in barns overnight in winter.

Secondly, Luke also reports (2:1-4) that Jesus’ parents came into Bethlehem to register the birth in the Roman Census. Fast forward 2000 odd years to Australia’s Census in 2016 which saw a massive internet meltdown, and you can see how difficult the Census would have been at this time. It simply didn’t occur in winter conditions because travel was so difficult.

Roman Census
Wall mosaics of ancient Chora Church, Istanbul. Joseph and the Virgin at the census before Cyrenius, the Syrian Governor
ID 26909533 © Ahmet  Ariturk |

Thirdly, in 2008, Australian astronomer Dave Reneke used his wicked smarts to chart how the night sky would have looked 2000 years ago. Seems that the bright star that guided the wise men to the baby with their gifts, would indeed have been over Bethlehem, but would not have been a star. It would have been an optical illusion with Venus and Jupiter so close in the night sky as to appear as one star.

And it would have been in June. Probably June 17.

Science is the BEST.

So why all the fuss about December 25th?

Well, it’s possible that December 25th was chosen simply to go head-to-head with Roman pagan festivities occurring around the winter solstice.

It’s a bit like scheduling Masterchef against The Voice – you may well be a fan of both, but the networks need you to choose and will throw everything at making you choose them.

So there. I hope that helps.

Meanwhile, due to on-line ordering error, I’m going to be mainlining close to 10kg of pork-products well into 2019 (and bearing in mind Dorothy Parker’s “the definition of eternity is two people and a ham”, I am thinking about an experiment with ham-washing some booze, will report back in the New Year on the results), watching some cricket and reading some books by the beach.

I hope that whether you enjoy Christmas, ignore Christmas or endure it, that you find your drink of choice, some laughs and some rest, and join me back here in 2019 (after first enjoying the classic masterpiece I’ve put below for you to enjoy).


Scofflaws and stupid laws

Quick question: would we call drinking a cocktail at 1:34pm on a Wednesday evidence of a problem, or of dedication to one’s art?

Let’s call it neither and say IT’S REPEAL DAY.

Yes, today, 5 December is the 85th Anniversary of the end of a TRULY STUPID era of public policy (I can no longer say with any certainty that it is the stupidest), with the Repeal of Prohibition.

So of course we need to cover a cocktail.

This week, not an IBA Official Cocktail, but one that has historical importance, the Scofflaw.

The Scofflaw was invented, as you might expect, during Prohibition. It shows the right amount of disdain for this stupid law and should be raised in celebration whenever you damned well feel like it.

I’ve had to shake one up at home, alone, in the middle of the afternoon while my children are at school not just because I am a writer (despite the rich tradition behind writing and daytime drinking), but because I need to review it for you.

So, the Scofflaw.

It’s 60mL Bourbon or Rye (I used Bourbon), 30 mL Dry Vermouth, 10mL fresh lemon juice, 20mL Grenadine and two dashes of bitters (traditionally orange, although I used grapefruit), shaken with ice.

Yes, the pink is alarming, but it’s not as sweet as you might anticipate. I did add more lemon juice though (double strain it to keep your cocktail nice and cloud-free).

Scofflaw at home

It’s nice. Probably not really an afternoon cocktail (I find Bourbon much tougher to justify than champagne or a clear spirit for a good day-time tipple, but I’m old fashioned like that), I do have quite a nice little buzz going on from just a couple of sips but that’s probably the Vitamin C doing its job, right?

One thing I particularly like about the Scofflaw is keeping alive the history of sticking up your middle digit to a daft law.

Of which there are many. Sound-thinking, low-grade subversives like we Muddlers would do well to scoff at a few existing laws, many of which come from my own country.

Like, why not go ahead and treat yourself to that 50kgs of potatoes in Western Australia (actually, make it just over that), in spite of the law saying you can’t possess more than that? Who doesn’t love chips?

And while you’re at it in WA, who the hell should have the right to tell you not to crush a beer can between your bare breasts? (Please let me know in advance if you’re doing this one and I’ll pass the hat around for the $1000 fine just so I can bear witness to such an impressive feat).

I don’t have a picture for that, but Google it and that’s kind of fun.

And you Victorians, rush out and buy yourselves some pink hot pants and bloody well wear those after midday on a Sunday, regardless of the existence of the law forbidding it (actually, on second thoughts, not all of you should be doing that).

Queenslanders, next time you’re in a cab, just ask to check the boot (that’s a trunk to my North American friends) – if your driver doesn’t have a bale of hay in there, you could either enact a citizen’s arrest for this grievous breach of law, or turn a blind eye to it and know you’re playing your part as a member of the SSM Resistance.


Not all laws are stupid, obviously.

For UK readers who like to stay on top of your Omega 3s, I’m 100% in favour of your Parliament’s awesome Salmon Act of 1986 that says it is illegal to hold a salmon and look fishy (I believe they use the word “suspicious”, but as I mentioned, I’m a WRITER, it’s my job to use words to make things more interesting).


Suspicious girl Tawesit Dreamstime
You’re so sexist – why think that it’s just men who would act suspiciously with a salmon? (OK, yeah. I thought so too)                ID 79183568 © Tawesit |


Standards people. Please.

And here’s to the good burghers of Quitman, Georgia who finally dealt with the big issues and declared it illegal to even let your chicken cross the road. I don’t think they disallowed asking the philosophical questions surrounding why a chicken may wish to do so, but it’s kind of mean to press that point, given IT IS AGAINST THE LAW FOR A CHICKEN TO CROSS ANY ROAD SO WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT IT?

Chicken road
© Kyle Innes |

And don’t even start whistling in Petrolia, Ontario. There’s a law against it. OK, this one does seem a little Footloose for my liking (and we all know how that ended, although I will take a moment here to say, for those of you who weren’t there, the socks with high heels things was not as prevalent in real life in 1984 as genius Kenny Loggins would have you believe), but I do appreciate Petrolia’s effort. Once I scored an upgrade to Business Class for a long-distance flight and some clown decided to whistle for part of the journey. This should definitely be made illegal. But for some reason it isn’t.

But Petrolia at least is trying and I applaud that.


Here’s a law we’re all going to pretend we followed but pretty much just ignore because, well, just because. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO PEE WHILE SWIMMING IN THE OCEAN IN PORTUGAL.

Ok, sure.

There’s a million more. The world is full of stupid laws and I say, let us scoff at those that are stupid, or mean, or discriminatory and come together harmoniously over a Scofflaw.

Just maybe save it for after sundown, people are so judgmental.




PS Information contained in this blog should not substitute for legal advice, nor even for basic common sense. It was written by a woman under the influence of alcohol with zero legal training and often questionable judgement.