Author: FSJ Contributor

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Irish Heritage Month with Barleyjuice

by Edward Boice / Photo taken from Barleyjuice’s website.

For the month of March, RACC is featuring some traditional Irish folk music.

Let’s face it. For many, anything with an Irish theme is often just an excuse to drink. But there’s more to Irish heritage and culture than Jameson’s and Guinness. Instead of spending your time drinking, avoid the hangover and come attend the musical performance of Barleyjuice in the Ravens Lounge. You might learn a thing or two about authentic Irish culture.

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Staff Playlists: Thanksgiving

by FSJ Staff

[Editor’s note: We wanted this article to go up on Thanksgiving, but we were busy celebrating with our friends and family. We hope you’ll enjoy this belated Thanksgiving treat: think of it as leftovers.]

The cultural canon has a place for Halloween songs and about a thousand Christmas songs (maybe enough good ones to fill a stocking), but why no room for Thanksgiving songs? It would seem like the themes of graciousness and connectedness would be ripe for song, but short of that one Adam Sandler song, there aren’t many songs to celebrate this particularly North American holiday. With that in mind, our crack staff has put forward a few of our favorite songs to slather over your Turkey Day like too much gravy. Some of the songs say “grace” and some of them are fit for the feast, but they all set the right mood for this autumn tradition.

Flavors of Fall: Apple Cider or PSL?

by Gabriel Sabo & Joshua Templin

There are so many festive flavored drinks being sold this Thanksgiving, but two FSJ writers weigh in on two to decide which is better: Apple Cider or Pumpkin Spice Latte?

It’s Turkey Day, and many of our readers are preparing for a messy dinner, while some other readers are preparing for a messy debate. Something about the extended social contact with our extended families means our feast often feels more like a town hall forum. And while politics are often a sore subject at any family gathering, this year seems especially likely to propel us to pugilism. So scary is the prospect of imminent argument, that The New York Times has offered a rough guide to navigating prandial politics.

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Staff Playlists: Halloween

Two FSJ writers offer up their Halloween playlists: a mix of everything from the Gothic to the goofy.

Caught up in the chaos of simply trying to live, Americans rarely take the time to think about death. It’s easy to imagine pagans in Ireland, Scotland and Wales (some of them my ancestors) confronting death as an everyday fact of life. Come the inevitable withering of life and the darkening days of autumn, they would celebrate holidays like Samhain. They took time to revere the dead and the awesome power of nature, with its ability to create life as well as take it away.

But it would be reductive to say that Samhain was only a reflective and mournful time, akin to the Jewish observance of Yom Kippur. Samhain was also a time when the barriers between life and death would diminish, and that attrition allowed the living to commune with the spirits themselves.

Confronting the horror of death is a way for us to celebrate our lives. So Halloween, drawing so much from Pagan celebrations, is defined by two poles: reverence and revelry.

In that spirit, these staff playlists from our writers contain every kind of Halloween song imaginable, from eerie folk tunes to dark pop gems to tongue-in-cheek novelty songs.

–JT