How I stopped hating the Irish and just hate St. Patrick’s Day

Truth be told, I've never hated the Irish or anyone else for that matter. It's a powerful word, "hate," and should not be tossed around lightly as it tends to lead to mishaps like the Holocaust and that ugliness down in Rwanda. Good movies, though. But I hate movies, and this isn't about them anyway. Today is St. Patrick's Day, and nothing could be more insignificant.

One group that could argue that point is the mighty liquor industry. There was a time when no booze could be sold on any holiday, let alone a Christian one in this Christian land. And yes, St. Patrick's Day is a Christian holiday, or at least it was until it was co-opted by sports bars from coast to coast. But co-opting is what St. Patrick was all about, too. Another quick history lesson - try to stay with me here: In the 400s A.D., Patrick was a Scottish kid who was enslaved in what became Ireland by some Roman-hating pagans. After speaking with God, he escaped - only to return years later to convert the Irish to Christianity. Thanks, Pat. An unconfirmed report further claims that he used the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity, which is every bit as plausible to me as the actual holy trinity. Long story short, St. Patrick, who was not only not Irish but a man who led one of the most pious lives of any holiday namesake this side of Jesus, is now the inspiration behind green beer, alcohol poisoning and some boiled cabbage dish that he was probably force fed with an iron spike. As a final insult, March 17 is the day he died - no one parties, for example, on Good Friday, do they? Martin Luther King Jr. has his holiday in January, when he was born -most people don't see April 4 as a day of celebration, either. But take a pub crawl tonight downtown, and folks will be celebrating the anniversary of Irish Catholicism like it was a good thing, and if you're not wearing green, some FLC junior of Dutch-German descent will beat you like the IRA on her majesty's troops. Here's the latest updated scores as history progresses toward Armageddon: Organized Religion: 4,217 Common Sense: 3.

So you still can't just sit there while there's religious conversion to be celebrated? Well, you're in luck, because Durango's judeo-protestant-holistic-atheistic agent provocateurs of entertainment can co-opt with the best of them. I'll begin at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, where Gary Penington and his staff took the bold step to schedule music that the audience will like, rather than something appropriate for St. Patty's Day. Finding just the right music to celebrate the life of an insane slave is challenging anyway, and I applaud Gary for ignoring it altogether. So instead he's invited Blackhawk, a touted country outfit that fans of country music should enjoy. I am not a fan of country music, but then again I didn't vote for our current president and he did just fine without my support, too. The bar opens at 6 p.m., and here's hoping it's all longneck beer and Kentucky whiskey with nary a Guinness in sight.

Also tonight, a friendly rivalry is under way on opposite sides of College Drive. At the Summit, fresh off of its champion title at the Battle of the Bands, The Frank Trio takes the stage. Across the street at the Abbey Theatre, the runners-up in the contest, M-Theory will warm up the crowd for Freewill Recovery in a twin bill. Such a night is only one reason I'm really glad that I'm not a cop or an EMT. Support local music, and please don't commit any crimes. About the best thing I can say about March 17 is that it ends early Friday.

On Saturday, a bit of sanity and civility will come to town, again at the Concert Hall, as a great season continues with jazz from The Brubeck Brothers Quartet. People often cite acts like Nelson as evidence that talent doesn't necessarily pass from parent to offspring, but I argue that Ricky Nelson never had any talent to begin with, and when you water down water . But Dan and Chris Brubeck are the sons of Dave Brubeck, who if not the greatest pianist in jazz history was at least better at it than Ricky Nelson was at pouting. I wouldn't go so far as to say that they've eclipsed their father's star like Barry and Bobby Bonds, but who knows what they could be with a little luck, like steroids for example? They tout their show as a mix of modern and traditional jazz, and good jazz is hard to find in these parts. This highly recommended show begins at 7 p.m. with the doors open an hour earlier, because even the tragically hip connoisseur enjoys a warm nip with a night of cool jazz and affectations.

Now that everyone should already have their brackets turned in, I can fairly reveal my significant selections that will have you tearing yours to shreds if you didn't follow my lead. I mentioned last week to fear the Quakers of the University of Pennsylvania, and damn if I don't have God on my side. On this holiest of Irish days, the humble but frighteningly intelligent Philadelphia protestants of the Ivy League will rise up and smote the Irish Catholics of Boston College in the final decisive battle to decide which religion is right. Later, we'll smote the Quakers, and things should really start to progress. In a confusing and utterly contradictive pick, the Catholic Wildcats of Villanova University will again reach the Final Four by going through the Tarheels, just like they did 20 years ago. Unlike 20 years ago, the team will not coast through the tournament on cocaine and also will not win the national championship, falling to the University of Illinois after a rousing upset of the sickening Duke Blue Devils. Now that you mention it, no, I haven't ever won one of these pools. Strange.

Don't forget the NIT! Next week I'll tell you how I feel about Easter.



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