Early Morning Open Thread: Happy May Day!

So, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere have survived another winter, and it’s time to open the windows, start a lovely big bonfire or two, maybe set up a Maypole:

Beltane is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and it is associated with important events in Irish mythology. It marked the beginning of summer and was when cattle were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle, crops and people, and to encourage growth. Special bonfires were kindled, and their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective powers. The people and their cattle would walk around the bonfire, or between two bonfires, and sometimes leap over flames or embers. All household fires would be doused and then re-lit from the Beltane bonfire. Doors, windows, byres and the cattle themselves would be decorated with yellow May flowers, perhaps because they evoked fire. In parts of Ireland, people would make a May Bush; a thorn bush decorated with flowers, ribbons and bright shells. Holy wells were also visited, while Beltane dew was thought to bring beauty and maintain youthfulness. Many of these customs were part of May Day or Midsummer festivals in other parts of Great Britain and Europe…

Speaking of maypoles and friction-based force-fires, I remember primitive folk lyrics celebrating this date which were in common use even in my college days…

51 replies
  1. 1

    Traveling today from Miami through Dallas and Tulsa to Independence, Kansas, and searching for free wifi in airports.

    I’ll bet if someone started a coffee/donut delivery service to airport gates instead of making me walk to find one (and lose my power hook-up), they could make a pile.

  2. 2
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Mustang Bobby: well there’s this but i know there are lots of apps out there for smart phones. I’d recommend the one i use, but i live in australia.

  3. 3
    WereBear says:

    Having some friends over to celebrate this evening. Welcome, Beltane!

  4. 4

    @TheMightyTrowel: I discovered that if you’re at a gate that’s near the Admirals Club, their free wifi leaks out to us hoi polloi.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Older_Wiser says:

    Happy International Workers Day, everyone.

    Please remember the 385 workers who were killed, and the hundreds missing, in Bangladesh, just some of those who have died making our jeans and t-shirts for cheap. At least they deserve honor in death that they didn’t get when they were living.

    Demand decent working conditions and pay worldwide–every worker, no matter where she or he lives, deserves no less.

    http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_.....y-collapse So where are American firms in this, and what are they doing about it?

  7. 7
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Mustang Bobby: Thank god for my employer: they purchase us entry into the qantas club which also gives entry to emirates and admirals clubs. Airline lounges are the shit. There’s nothing like a shower in the middle of a 30 hour flight.

  8. 8
    NotMax says:

    Happy Lei Day!

    May Day Is Lei Day In Hawaii, a contemporary take.

  9. 9
    Schlemizel says:


    Have you cleared that message through Even The Liberal Matt Yglasias? I’m pretty sure those people have different standards and are pretty OK with risking their lives to provide us with cheap crap. At least thats what Matty told me.

    As to your question on American firms, They stand foursquare behind their PR people and hope desperately that Americans will ignore or not understand their part in this continuing string of deaths.

  10. 10
    geg6 says:

    Have a massive pile of work to get through today in anticipation of being off for the next ten days to recover from my oral surgery. Which means I’ll probably have to work late to get it all done. Ugh. At least the Pens begin the playoffs tonight, which will be a fine distraction from it all.

    And if TaMara reads this, I have no idea what Otis did to bite through his tongue. All I know is that I found him in the kitchen, bleeding heavily from the mouth and the kitchen looking like someone had been murdered. Took a while to even figure out he’d bitten his tongue and hadn’t somehow slit his wrists or something. He never made a sound of distress, which is why I didn’t realize he was bleeding until I walked into the kitchen and it looked like the Manson family had been there.

  11. 11
    raven says:

    @NotMax: You know I hadn’t thought of it till now but we didn’t get a Lei when we landed this time.

  12. 12
    BD of MN says:

    I’m celebrating May Day with (a) starting a new job, and (b) a Winter Storm Warning

  13. 13
    Schlemizel says:


    Hope all goes well for you. 10 days sounds like a long recovery.

    How the heck did you get the bleeding to stop? Pets can certainly add new dimensions to our lives can’t they?

  14. 14
    NotMax says:

    An, um, different take on May 1, 2013, even shoehorning Obama into ginned-up mythical claptrap.

    Boy howdy, she’s gonna be one dejected cuckoo bird come tomorrow.

  15. 15
    Schlemizel says:

    @BD of MN:

    Congrats on the new job.

    I am hoping that the warning is a swing and a miss as I HAVE to drive to Mankato and back tonight, no choice. This is the suckiest spring I can remember in many years

  16. 16
    amk says:


    meanwhile their pm

    On Tuesday night, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged people to return to work.

    She said in parliament: “I would like to tell the workers to keep their head cool, keep mills and factories operative, otherwise you will end up losing your jobs.”

    what a compassionate woman.

    eta: linky thingy not working


  17. 17
    Schlemizel says:


    When we lived in Florida we used to see this minivan all painted up with the date of the rapture on it. We saw this thing several times a month until the big day arrived. I kept an eye out for it after that but never saw it again. I assumed they went into hiding.

    BTW – I commented on the video, reminding the poster that the Bible says you can identify false prophets by their prophecies not coming true and that the punishment is death. The comment is held for approval so I bet it never shows up. OTOH I really would like to hear how a real honest true believe who does crap like this reconciles their belief that God told them some great truth but then it turns out not to be true. I have heard all the standard excuses but wuld love to hear a new one

  18. 18
    BD of MN says:

    @Schlemizel: Thanks, I’m joining the evil oil industry, I’ll be driving a 18 wheeler gasoline truck… they pay well and I get to be home every night, so there’s that… I actually ended up with four job offers this week, if anyone has a class A CDL and a clean driving record, there’s plenty of jobs out there…

    Your drive looks like loads of fun, straight through the heart of the storm path…

  19. 19
    NotMax says:


    I assumed they went into hiding.

    After a quick stop at Earl Scheib’s.

    For those too young to remember the ads:

    “I’m Earl Scheib, and I’ll paint any car, any color for $29.95.”

  20. 20
    Tsukune says:

    Happy First of May (NSFW) everyone.

  21. 21
    BillinGlendaleCA says:


    “I’m Earl Scheib, and I’ll paint any car, any color for $29.95.”

    After a few years it became $39.95 and then $49.95…

  22. 22
    max says:

    I remember primitive folk lyrics celebrating this date which were in common use even in my college days…

    ‘Why you kids have it easy these days! Do you think we carved out Stonehenge with laser drills dynamite?! NOOO! We had to walk all the way to Wales and carves the stones out of the hillsides using just our foreheads! And then we had to drag them back to the bloody henge…and we didn’t even have any rope! It was uphill both ways! And when we got there, they made a human sacrifice of us to the Elder Gods! I tell you, you kids, whining about austerity! Imagine trying to pay off a current account deficit using just seashells! CHRIST! You make me sick!’

    [‘And are you bloody grateful for all the things we did for you? No! Always with the whining about not being able to get bloody jobs and competing against the bloody communists and not wanting to starve and then complaining about having to eat raw meat! All the meat we ever got was brains, and that was after our flesh started rotting off!’]

  23. 23
    Face says:

    Just heard Abeliene (sp?) TX is gunna go from 95F to sleet/snow in less than 24 hrs. Yeah, climate’s fine.

  24. 24
    ThresherK says:

    Leftover from the kitty adoption thread: Congrats to all, especially whoever came up with “Peaseblossom”.

    Tangent: When did every cat from a rescue shelter start coming with a name already? Was it when the aggregator sites like Petfinder came online and every feline for adoption was pictured on the internet?

    I ask because it seems to change things from “Let’s go to look at kitties” to “Let’s go look at these two cats and these two kittens”. Curious if anyone else who’s taken home a shelter pet in the last 2 years felt the same way.

  25. 25
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:


    When did every cat from a rescue shelter start coming with a name already?

    Don’t most rescue shelters foster? I can’t imagine fostering a cat without naming it.

  26. 26
    Linda Featheringill says:


    False prophets:

    Pat Robertson has had to deal with that issue. He made some comments about it that I know of and maybe more.

  27. 27
    geg6 says:


    The ten days is long, but part of it is to get used to the partials. I do a lot of public speaking in my job and was told to take time to learn to talk with them first before going back to work. As for the bleeding, we couldn’t do much. He wouldn’t let us use direct pressure long enough to stop it, so we sat on the deck with him until it stopped. Pets are truly an adventure, aren’t they?

  28. 28
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @max: #22

    God! Your youth was harder than mine! :-)

    Did you at least have some nice herbs to take the edges off?

  29. 29
    nancydarling says:

    @Mustang Bobby: Are you attending the William Inge Theater Festival?

  30. 30
    raven says:


    Scheib was the first to introduce production painting of automobiles in the United States. Touting low prices of $29.95 for sedans and $24.95 for coupes, Scheib seriously undercut competitors’ prices, which generally ran a few hundred dollars to paint an automobile. Because of the rock-bottom prices, customers rushed to Scheib’s shop, reportedly causing traffic snarls that required assistance from the police. Open daily, Scheib and his ten employees painted between 150 and 210 cars per week during the early years.

  31. 31
    Todd says:



    Classic nerdporn.

  32. 32
    Poopyman says:

    @Schlemizel: I prefer to think that the minivan was raptured, but the occupants were left behind.

  33. 33
    Ben Cisco says:

    The Move has officially ended.

    Thank the Prophets for that.

  34. 34
    Schlemizel says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Yeah Pat has A LOT of experience back peddling on failed prophecies. But he has a lot tougher shell and knows that what he is doing is a con game. I really want one of the true believers to tap dance this tune. I am not expecting any new ideas (although I keep hoping) or sudden realization that they are full of shit. What I want to see is how they handle it and the look on their face.

    Once again the self-professed believers have to pray like mad that what they believe in was not serious about the outcome for them

  35. 35
    nancydarling says:

    Anne Laurie, I lived briefly in Sabetha, KS in the early fifties. On May Day we made tiny May Baskets from construction paper, filled them with candy and other treasures and delivered them to the front doors of special friends. I never saw that done in the many other towns I lived in. I don’t know the make-up of nationalities in Sabetha, but I suspect the custom came from a particular ethnic group. I recall doing Maypole dances in school in both St. Marys, KS and Sabetha.

  36. 36
    jayjaybear says:

    My goodness, that’s quite the PG-rated version of Beltane celebrations… ;)

  37. 37
    ThresherK says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Yeah, I guess I mean simply pet shelters of all stripes, to distinguish between those and pet stores.

    In my last experience I took forty hours of lap time to pick a cat, and all the cat fosterers I met struck me as absolute top-notch folks.

  38. 38
    Angela says:

    @nancydarling: I grew up in Salina, KS and our custom of May Day baskets was the same. Mr Angela was raised in Douglas Wyoming and made May Day baskets also.

    In Salina, I would assume the custom came from German immigrants, in Douglas I have no idea.

    Anne Laurie, you have inspired me to have a fire tonight and celebrate the return of the light. Thanks!

  39. 39
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @geg6: Thanks. They are an adventure. Poor baby. Pain, blood and a bit of humiliation.

    Love walking into the kitchen and seeing spots of blood and having to figure out who is bleeding. And the looks you get when you rudely check feet and tails until you find the culprit.

    One morning recently it was actually me. I’d sliced my foot on a piece of stray glass and didn’t know it. I was so busy looking for who was bleeding it took me a couple of minutes to realize it was me.

    Poor little Otis. Give him a scritch for me.

    I hope your surgery goes well. Ugh.

  40. 40
    Wag says:

    It’s snowing this morning here in Denver. Happy May Day.

    On the bright side, we need the moisture after a the driest winter in recent memory.

  41. 41
    RaflW says:

    it’s time to open the windows, start a lovely big bonfire or two, maybe set up a Maypole

    Snow forecast for today/tonight in Minneapolis.

    But then, we have one of the biggest/bestest May Day celebrations in the US of A right here, planned for this coming Sunday.

  42. 42
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    If you go through Phoenix Sky Harbor, they totally have that, though I didn’t get a chance to try it when I was there. That website lists the airports where they have it — we’re going to Chicago this summer, so I may download it just in case.

  43. 43
    Matt McIrvin says:

    The force-fire tradition reminds me of “It must have a virus. We need to wipe the hard drive and reinstall everything from scratch.”

  44. 44
    Yutsano says:

    Interview over. I don’t think I sounded too much like an idiot.

  45. 45
    Jay in Oregon says:

    Another reason to love May Day, courtesy of Jonathan Coulton:


    Not this particular May Day, mind you.

  46. 46
    maurinsky says:

    I have a pagan friend who is an elementary school music teacher and she does a maypole with her kids every year at their “Spring Music Festival”, which generally falls around this time of year.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:


    Did kitty turn up yet? Do you think she managed to get outside?

  48. 48
    "Fair and Balanced" Dave says:

    Another day in Wayne LaPierre’s America:

    5-year-old Kentucky boy fatally shoots 2-year-old sister

    A Kentucky mother stepped outside of her home just for a few minutes, but it was long enough for her 5-year-old son to accidentally shoot his 2-year-old sister with the .22-caliber rifle he got for his birthday, state officials said.

  49. 49
    Yutsano says:

    @Mnemosyne: She’s still missing. No leads from the local pounds or anything like that. She is chipped so her vet would know if she was found and would call me. I have no idea where she disappeared to, she’s not the type to wander off. And she did get out, I forgot to close a window when I went to work Monday.

  50. 50
    joel hanes says:


    tiny May Baskets from construction paper, filled them with candy and other treasures and delivered them to the front doors of special friends.

    We did this in northern Iowa in the late 50’s.

    Haven’t seen it since.

  51. 51

    @nancydarling: Yes, I just arrived in Independence and am ensconced at my usual diggings, the Apple Tree Inn. Stop by and say hi. :)

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