Christmas For Sarah, And A Cookie For You

Jolly old Saint Nicholas
Lean your ear this way
Sarah has a book to sell
Coming out today!

Christmas eve is coming soon
Under grave attack!
Baby Jesus, do not cry—
Sarah’s got Your back!

Sarah takes on atheists;
Shows them who is boss
Good-bye “Happy Holidays”
Hello, public cross!

Sarah will remind us all
What Christmastime is for:
Peace, and Love, and Brotherhood…
And manufactured war!

Santa is the enemy
Jesus is the lord
Sarah’s book is fifteen bucks—
Easy to afford

Christmas is commercialized
Everywhere you look—
Sarah is the antidote…
Better buy the book!

[Read more…]

It’s Christmas. Officially. Already. (No, Really; I’m Not Making This Up.)

There once was a time, so the old fogeys say
There was no “Christmas Season”, just one Christmas day
There are history books into which we could delve
That say Christmas expanded—its days numbered twelve
It doesn’t seem strange now, to most of us living,
But Christmas, for some, begins right at Thanksgiving,
And the very next day is the day to start shopping,
For over a month, if you can, without stopping

This year, Venezuela, for best or for worst,
Declared Christmas began this past Friday
, the first.
It’s officially Christmas—start decking the halls,
Make some punch and some fruitcake, and head for the malls
Where you’ll get Silent Night and Away in the Mangered,
Because everyone knows Christmastime is endangered…
When “The War Against Christmas” gets bloody and hot,
Just remember, this year, which side fired the first shot.

Via NPR (at above link):

Perhaps Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is taking a hint from big U.S. retailers: For the sake of happiness, Maduro said, he declared an early beginning to the Christmas season.

“Today, on this first day of November, we decided to declare the arrival of Christmas, because we want happiness for all people,” Maduro said.

Now, I forget–will Fox approve because Yay, more Christmas!? Or is this part of the commercialization of, secularization of, and thus destruction of Real Christmas? It’s getting hard to tell these days–like the Civil War, it’s brother against brother, Santa against Jesus, Three French Hens against Three Wise Men, redeeming mankind and saving souls against redeeming coupons and saving money.

All I know is, if I can get my damned cover art to work, this blog will be your one stop for all your Christmas and Cephalopodmas shopping needs.

It’s Like Getting A Letter Back From Santa Claus!

A letter arrived in my mailbox today
From a special location so far, far away
I dropped all my duties to read it, because
The return label said it had come from “S. Claus”

I had written to Santa, some long time ago,
Addressed it and stamped it and walked through the snow
The letter was taken, and wasn’t returned
Which they would, if he hadn’t existed, I’ve learned.

“Dear good little … boy? Little girl? Little fish?
I know you did not get the gift that you wish;
I’m sorry that so many months have gone by
But I’m writing you now and I’m telling you why.

You wanted a pony—or was it a horse?
Could Santa have brought what you wanted? Of course!
The reason I didn’t, though you wish I had,
Is simple: You’ve really been horribly bad.

That’s right; it’s your fault, not that Santa’s a phony—
Of course I could bring you a horse (or a pony)
On my sleigh, even though there’s no snow in Atlanta,
Cos physics works different for me, cos I’m Santa.

There’s no time for the flying, much less for the landing,
So of course it’s too much for your small understanding;
I’m magic—I’m flying, with Dasher and Cupid—
You don’t understand, cos you’re bad and you’re stupid.

So yes, in a magical instant, I’m flying
Which skeptical you make a point of denying
And that’s why your name’s on the naughtiest list…
Because really and truly, I swear I exist.

Just think of the presents you’d get to receive
If you only repented and start to believe!
You could have had presents galore, all along…
If you hadn’t insisted on doing it wrong.

Now I’ve got to get going, so this is goodbye,
And you can be better, perhaps, if you try.
But… if you get nothing, despite what you do?
It’s still cos you’re bad, so I’ll blame it on you.

News Item: Pope Emeritus Benedict Writes Letter To Atheist

Benedict wrote his letter to Piergiorgio Odifreddi, an Italian atheist and mathematician who in 2011 wrote a book titled “Dear Pope, I’m Writing to You.” The book was Odifreddi’s reaction to Benedict’s classic “Introduction to Christianity,” perhaps his best-known work.

And the letter?

In Benedict’s letter, he takes Odifreddi to task for what he said was the “aggressiveness” of his book, and responds to many of the arguments with piqued criticism himself.

“What you say about the figure of Jesus isn’t worthy of your scientific standing,” wrote Benedict, who authored a highly praised, three-volume work on the Jesus Christ during his pontificate.

He similarly criticizes Odifreddi’s “religion of mathematics” as “empty” since it doesn’t even consider three fundamental themes for humanity: freedom, love and evil.

On evolution, he wrote: “If you want to substitute God with Nature, the question remains: What does this Nature consist of? Nowhere do you define it and it appears rather like an irrational divinity that doesn’t explain anything.”

Odifreddi doesn’t deserve a pony. But Santa is real.

Sarah, Rick, And Bill Report For Duty In The War Against Christmas

Dateline: Late June, 2013

Once again, the War On Christmas sees the atheists attack,
But there’s something different this year—this year Christ is fighting back!
Let the godless and their minions rant and rave and do their worst,
Cos our strategies are changing—yes, we’re even striking first!

There’s a book that’s set for launching, and it’s just what you’d expect,
Sarah Palin taking aim at the politically correct.
So it’s festive and it’s jolly; it’s tradition, meant to please,
With first amendment platitudes in pidgin legalese

And in Texas, there’s a notion, and Rick Perry says it’s his,
Making “Merry Christmas” legal which it… um… already is
But this pandering to Christians, even minuscule amounts
Makes the martyrs feel much better, and of course that’s all that counts.

Now I hear that Bill O’Reilly wonders where religion went,
When it’s tough to be a Christian (in the 80-plus percent)
Bill-O wants a Christian country, so it’s worth our fighting for
Which explains the man’s obsession with a six-month Christmas War

Here, it’s summer—barely summer—and the sun is beating down
And there’s no sign yet of Christmas in our sleepy little town
In the churches, stores, and neighborhoods, if Christmastime you seek,
Then you’re just a little early… Christmas season starts next week.

The war on Christmas gets earlier every year! I swear, though, it’s not my fault. This time, it’s a Christmas troika–Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, and Bill O’Reilly are harnessed up and pulling their sleigh through… the heat and humidity of summer.

Christmas, Present

‘Twas the night before—really, the name doesn’t matter—
The goose we’d be roasting just couldn’t be fatter;
We’d trimmed out the tree, feeling ever-so-jolly,
The mistletoe shimmered, and so did the holly
The Yule-log was glowing; each flame, and each ember
Reminded us all it was late in December
In the house, we were warm, but it can’t be denied
While inside we were cozy, ‘twas freezing outside

This Christmas was different from Christmas of old
We were safe from the dark; we were safe from the cold
We were safe from the worries of Christmases past
Why, our worry was whether the cookies would last!
No honest Bob Cratchit, no poor Tiny Tim
No crutches to show us his future was dim
No polio, measles, pertussis, or poxes,
Just bountiful dinners and brightly wrapped boxes

The wine wasn’t mulled, and the rum wasn’t buttered,
The double-glazed windows weren’t, technically, shuttered—
They held out the wind, and they held out the snow,
So the house remained cozy at twenty below
A cold that the furnace could easily handle;
No fire was needed, ‘cept maybe a candle.
Though the ancients knew this was the longest of nights,
When the sunset arrived, we just flicked on the lights

Our Christmas, our solstice—midwinter, or Yule
Is the work of the present, not past, as a rule;
We spend it with those whom we love, as we should,
We invited them here. And, you know… that is good.
They are here cos we love them. No need to apply
The religious proscriptions of eras gone by
We’re not at some church, out of blind obligation,
But home—where the heart is—in fun celebration

Nostalgia is nice, but the malcontent masses
Are looking behind them with rose-colored glasses
At Christmases, really, that never existed—
Their view of the past is a little bit twisted—
Dickensian stories with outdated morals
Cannot be the answer to modern-day quarrels
If you have a view of what Christmas is for,
And see my view is different… don’t call it a war!

A modern-day Christmas should not be the same
As the ancient traditions that share just its name;
These myths you’ve been handed? These stories you’re told?
I suspect you are less than two thousand years old!
Or even the hundreds, twixt Dickens and us,
That lets you see Christmas as worth all the fuss.
The Christmas you know hasn’t been here that long,
So it’s silly to think that we’re doing it wrong

And why should it matter what Christmas once meant?
Cos it’s ours now, to honor or just re-invent!
I’m keeping the family, losing the Christ,
Giving gifts (just a few, and those reasonably priced)
We’ll meet round the table, and not in the church
Feeling humbled, a bit, by our privileged perch.
So remember the past, but no matter how pleasant,
It can never compete with this Christmas, the present.

Be Prepared (To Buy Your Christmas Tree Elsewhere)

This post is part of a blogosphere protest against the discriminatory practices of the Boy Scouts. Remember, if you buy a Christmas tree this season, that there are plenty of places to get them that do not support institutional homophobia and prejudice.

Be prepared! That’s the Boy Scout’s marching song
Be prepared! Though your moral stance is wrong—
Be prepared to hide the fact that you are gay
Let our antiquated stands lead you astray… [Read more…]

Sepia Friday

That is, not quite Black Friday (or CyberMonday) yet. But I’ve been tweaking the store just a little bit, so consider this a soft opening. Let me know if there are any problems.

There are the regular Cuttlefish With Quill t-shirts and such, the best mug in the world (and matching glassware, if you like), a few other tweaks on the design (including, for those who read this blog before it was FtB, stuff with the original Cuttlefish). I’ve added in some more of Mike McRae’s wonderful illustrations on other drinkware–sadly, they are too small to be good shirts. For you artists out there–yes, he’ll be getting his half of any profits. Shh, it’s a secret–don’t tell him. So you can collect all the cephalopod shot glasses, for instance (I have not yet been able to find a way to have them packaged as a single set–sorry!), or treat the world to the wonderful sight of a toddler with a blasphemy sippy cup. Myself, I’ve got my eye on a different sort of sippy cup.

Anyway, take a look. (And like I said, please let me know if there are any problems!) I’ll have it linked up top soon, and maybe a widget somewhere. But I want the bugs out of it (if there are any) by next week when people start thinking about Cephalopodmas!

Merry Christmas To You.

It’s already Christmas in Melbourne and Sydney,
And for just a few minutes, in Perth;
The planet is spinning, and soon will come Christmas
To this, the late side of the earth.

Merry Christmas to you, from your Cuttlefish friend,
To my readers and friends, far and near;
I wish you good health, and great joy, and true peace,
For this season, and all through the year.

The War (On Christmas) Comes Early (Cuttlefish Classic)

From the Cape of Good Hope to the Newfoundland islands,
The sands of Iran to the Panama isthmus;
From Outback Australia to Inverness Highlands
It’s time to take arms in the War Against Christmas!

My weapons are mistletoe, Christmas trees, holly,
A yule-log, and caroling out in the snow;
Sleigh-rides and snowball-fights, eggnog and Jolly
Old Santa Claus, laughing his loud “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

We’ll make them forget all the Truth of the season—
The sacrifice planned by a god up above—
And have them believing some bastardized reason
Like giving, or kindness, or caring or love!

I’ll cruelly and callously help out a stranger
Who’s down on his luck or has suffered some loss,
I won’t even speak of the babe in the manger
Whom God sent to Earth to get nailed to a cross;

When the winds of December conspire to freeze us
I’ll help collect sweaters and coats for the poor,
Neglecting to make any mention of Jesus,
Whose torture is really what Christmas is for.

My hatred of Christmas will focus my labors
On weaving an atheist fabric of lies—
For instance, I’m giving to all of my neighbors
Gift baskets, cookies, and fruitcakes and pies!

I’ll say “Merry Christmas!” I’ll say “Season’s Greetings!”
I’ll say “Happy Holidays—Joyous Noel!”
Intending of course, that with each of these meetings
The Truth About Christmas can just go to hell.

The truth is that Christmas is not about presents
It’s no time for songs, It’s not time to be nice
It’s not time for feasting on turkeys or pheasants—
It’s sin, and redemption by blood sacrifice.

No time to be jolly; no time to be merry
It’s time to be solemn, and grim, and devout!
The heathens might find it depressing or scary
But that is what Christmas is truly about.

Yes, Jesus is really the ultimate reason
And Christmas is really redemption and sin;
The war against Christmas is early this season—
For God’s sake, let’s hope that the atheists win!


I had recently linked to this one, so many have recently read it, but for the handful who get here by other means, I’m reposting. As most of us know (except, of course, the people who need to the most), the beginnings of Christmas in America (home of The War On Christmas, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fox News) were not festive in the least. The Puritans had better, purer things to do on December 25th (for a couple of decades in the 1600’s, Boston even had a law prohibiting the celebration of Christmas!); a Christmas holiday as we know it did not begin until the 1800’s. Interestingly, celebrating Christmas (as opposed to observing it) spread with the notion of Santa, “The Night Before Christmas”, and commercial connections to stores and products, not with the story of the birth of god’s human sacrifice.

Those who wish a return to the traditional values of Christmas, away from the secularization, are welcome to stay inside, draw their curtains tight and stick their noses in their bibles. I will expect them to show up at work on the 25th (as, indeed, Congress did in 1789, the first Christmas under our constitution). Myself, I will gladly take the opportunity to celebrate with Cuttlefamily and friends. We will probably feast, and may even sing–such decadence would surely have been frowned upon, even fined, by the founders of our Christian Nation (TM).


An Atheist Christmas (Cuttlefish Classic)

We’ll all open presents, and cook a big dinner,
And share in traditions we learned long ago
But Christmas is different for this humble sinner,
No “birth of the saviour”, just people we know.

It has nothing to do with a babe in a manger
Or kings being led by a star up above,
But rather in family, friend, and in stranger,
In kindnesses done for the people we love.

A spirit of hope, and a spirit of giving,
A promise of peace in a troubling day,
A chance to examine the way we are living–
The courage to say what we’ve wanted to say.

You don’t need to think there’s a god up above you
To want to be good to your fellows on Earth.
To give to your friends, and to tell them “I love you”
Has nothing to do with some son of god’s birth.

For love, and for giving, we say “tis the season”
For caring, for kindness, for sharing good cheer
But why limit ourselves? I mean, what is the reason?
Why can’t we be giving the rest of the year?

This Christmas, my wish for each sister and brother,
To you, and to everyone you may hold dear;
Remember, this Christmas, to love one another—
Not only this season, but all through the year!


So today, Cuttlefamily got our tree. Many changes since last year–it was nice to be able to take a dog along again, but of course that was a potent reminder of the last few (declining) years of our poor old pooch. The energy in a young dog is a wonderful thing, especially a dog that reeeeeeeeaaaaaaalllly likes snow. It was significantly below freezing, and I had misjudged the depth of the snow at the place where we went, so my shoes filled with snow as I broke through the crust every 5 or 6 steps or so. Friends from different areas of the world appear greatly amused that we not only have a real tree (as opposed to an artificial one), but that we cut our own. It is one of the wonderful rituals of the season and something the kids, now both in college, see as a quintessential part of life.

Anyway, it put me in a good, but very contemplative, mood, so I thought I’d repost some of my older Christmas verses, now that I have more people reading than in previous years. Happy holidays, all of you, or just happy moments.

Gotta go–time for the traditional untangling of wadded up strands of christmas lights.