Subtle and sharp at the same time »« The United Kingdom must be awash with cash

Episode CCLXXVII: War on Christmas again

You will all be distraught to learn that, once again, the godless atheists have fired off more hate speech at Christmas. Atheist households all around the world will be playing this spittle-flecked rant to their children for the next month or so.

Also, Australian Christmas just inverts everything that is right and good. It’s positively hellish.

(Episode CCLXXVI: An animal with style.)

(via Token Skeptic).

Comments

  1. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    I just finished with a Holiday Express train ride. I read How the Grinch Stole Christmas, we sang non-religious holiday songs, and had a wonderful time. As the passengers were disembarking, I answered any “Merry Christmas” or “Happy holidays” with my own “Happy holidays.” And for the first time in years, no one blew up in my face about Happy Holidays.

    Smile.

  2. lilith says

    My family never celebrated Christmas (we’re Jews and live in Israel), but now I live far, far away from them, and I’m coming home this time of year (it’s winter break, after all), and this song never fail to bring tears to my eyes…
    I miss them so much!

  3. Dez Crawford says

    Lovely tune, lovely sentiment.

    I’m sitting here in the buckle of the Bible belt, girding my loins for another season of having to hope nobody jumps on me for the “Happy Holidays.”

  4. Grumps says

    I love pretty much everything Tim’s done, but I think the visuals in this video reduce the songs power… ‘cos it really does have some power. Here’s Tim singing it live without the animations.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCNvZqpa-7Q

    I cry everytime I hear the end bit about his daughter…just lovely.

    I love christmas too.

  5. Phoenician in a time of Romans says

    The Vatican has given an ultimatum to Australia, requiring them to give up on Christmas entirely until they can come up with three wise men and a virgin.

  6. Carlie says

    LOVE MINCHIN, I’m performing Storm on Thursday for my school’s open mic night

    Can I ask how you’re doing it? I’ve been tempted to try and perform it for the school talent show (I never actually would, though…) and have been curious enough to look for a karaoke version and not found one.

  7. Richard Austin says

    Catching up, RE: WoW…

    My first MMORPG ever was Final Fantasy XI. It had problems (if you ever want to see racism, get involved in a mostly-Japanese MMO), but it also had a lot of factors about it I really loved: multiple classes, subclasses, great cutscenes, driving story-telling, complex battle sequences, and actually pretty difficult to play.

    I was always a Warcraft and Starcraft fan (since I loved RTS games), so when World of Warcraft came out and got rid of some of the bad things I didn’t like in FFXI, I switched over (along with a few friends). The game has changed a lot over the years. I have to say that things went down hill once Activision was given the lead position in the Blizzard-Activitision merger. “Let’s see, we have a company that produces very few games but breaks world sales records each time, and we have Activision – who should we put in charge of things? Toady gets the prize!” If you want an example, do a search for “RealID” and “Blizzard” and read through the fall-out from that attempt.

    Blizzard and the original developers still (theoretically) have control over story elements and basic gameplay in the original Blizzard titles: WoW, SC, D. Everything else is now being milked for all the money Activision can pull out of it. That’s where all these microtransactions and facebook shit are coming from. I don’t see it yet ruining the game – all the real-world money stuff is for purely aesthetic things, like mounts or pets, that have pretty much zero to do with the game play.

    At least in WoW. In Diablo, the problem was always that there were third-party “auction houses” where you could buy and sell things (at least to my understanding; I’ve never played it, but I have friends who loved the dynamics but hated the 3rd party shit). What Blizzard-Activision did was decide that instead of letting other people get the money for it, they’d just do it themselves.

    I don’t know that I agree it was the way to go, but I also don’t plan on playing D3 in that competitive an environment.

    For the record, I left WoW and tried Final Fantasy XIV – I was actually in multiple steps of the alpha. God that was horrible: it was supposed to be FFXI-Mark II but definitely fell well short of the mark. I went back to WoW.

    Then I tried Rift, which had certain blends of WoW and FFXI that worked. Shortly, though, I realized it had almost no humor and couldn’t really hold my attention. Plus, the thing I like doing most is resource-gathering, and in Rift that was a pain; in WoW, it was simple enough that I could do it while chatting with friends and getting involved in other things. I drifted back to WoW again.

    I’m seriously thinking about just going back to FFXI, or seeing what they’ve done with FFXIV since I still have an account, but I have to say that WoW still has the environment and feel that I most enjoy out of all the MMORPGs I’ve tried.

    Regarding Chuck Norris: there’s a “long standing” tradition of Chuck Norris being extremely “bad ass”, with a huge series of jokes about “Chuck Norris wouldn’t need to ___, he’d just ___”. It’s pretty childish, but it’s also pretty pervasive in the population. I think they had one other Chuck Norris joke in-game (as a small thing on a quest once), but again it came after the population started joking about it. Yes, his personal politics suck, but I don’t feel too angry about the commercial because it’s largely the stereotype of him that is being used and not the man himself; it’s more making fun of him (just like Mr. T, who is also fairly religious, did in his commercial) than glorifying him, though you might not get that outside of the game’s social context. Still, probably a bad marketing choice.

    Anyway, TL:DR version: Chuck Norris is a (badly presented) in-crowd joke, and Activision is cutting close to ruining the Blizzard franchises, but I don’t think they’ve quite crossed that Rubicon yet. And if anyone wants in a small, friendly guild (I’ve met and/or spoken to over the phone every person in the guild), look up Twist on Feathermoon :P

  8. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    The bit at the end about his daughter made me cry, too. Especially since I’m in really rough times right now and considering moving back in with my parents for a bit. I owe back rent, and the landlord wants it all, soon, and I have new monthly expenses now that StrangeBoyfriend has moved out and I can’t use his car any longer, plus health care premiums went up, and the new job isn’t getting me as many hours as I thought it would…

    Those folks who said they might be willing to send me $10 or so? Now might be a good time for that. It’s so depressing. I’m trying hard not to get too down on myself and keep moving forward, not get stuck inside with my sadness and discouragement, but it’s really hard. You can contact me at sallylichtenstein303 at yahoo dot com if you want to get my real name & address.

    All right. I am going outside to enjoy a little bit of sun and do some laundry. I’ll be back later.

  9. Carlie says

    I’m so glad someone made a video for that song. I always choke up when I hear it. Usually it’s at the part where he tells his daughter that her family will be there for her no matter what, but with the video I started to lose it right at the beginning when his dad ran to him to give him a hug. Sniff.

  10. =8)-DX says

    Heh, I beat Christmas last year – I’ve always felt of the holiday as a warlike effort – choosing, buying, wrapping, preparing, cleaning, decorating.
    I think this year I’ll just put up a few bits of sparkle and stock up on the white wine!

  11. Grumps says

    @ SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu

    Now you’ve made me cry again…. I’m weak tonight ‘cos of the rhinovirus.

    Will be in touch, can’t do much but what I can I will.

  12. says

    that awkward moment when you catch yourself crying at your desk surrounded by office workers

    and then hit replay

    :)

  13. Physicalist says

    that awkward moment when you catch yourself crying at your desk

    Yeah. I’m in a cafe with ear buds in; dabbing the corners of my eyes.

  14. J_Brisby says

    It’s bad, but at least it’s not offensively bad like the Storm animated movie. Someone has GOT to pair Minchin up with an animator worthy of his talents. I can’t take these hack amateur efforts.

  15. says

    I dislike all the crap surrounding Christmas, but I do like the idea of adding extra lights to the darkness of winter. A Winter Celebration complete with decorated trees, lights, excellent food — that’s all good.

    I started my decorating bit early. I hosted our Thanksgiving dinner (one highlight: my brother, Steve, providing a knowledgeable disquisition on how to use a hammer, complete with technique tips for varying hammer styles when dealing with delicate gold-smithing projects as opposed to the garage wall repair he was making for me); so, I fed my brothers in my holiday-spiffy house which included a Winter Celebration tree topped with a Jack Daniels bottle. (Photos on my Facebook page.)

    If you feed your brothers, you can easily prod them into making a few home repairs.

  16. lipwig says

    This will be my first Christmas without my Dad.
    And he was so good at doing Christmas – food, presents, jokes and laughter, big, warm hugs and Frangelico…
    Miss you, Oupa. I almost wish I were religious and could believe that you were aware of how much we all are gonna miss your melt-in-the-mouth Honey Cured Ham.
    Lots of tears coming now…

  17. Fat_Az says

    Great video. Always loved the song, but watching it, specially the end, made me so homesick. Perth boy living in London for far too long who rarely gets to go home. To finish it focussing on Lake Monger, Swan River, WA, etc was just too good.

    Thanks

  18. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    I am fine, changeable moniker. Sometimes, I am just listening to songs and will link to those tunes.

    But I suppose it can like a bit like manic action.

  19. says

    The Vatican has given an ultimatum to Australia, requiring them to give up on Christmas entirely until they can come up with three wise men and a virgin.

    I dunno. Requests of this nature from the Vatican, it just strikes me it could end so badly…

    (/I’m thinking as a general rule, indeed, when that lot asks to see your virgins and your wise men, you should at least inquire as to what they’re planning on doing with any they might get.)

  20. Dhorvath, OM says

    I have a soft spot for Warpigs covers. Discord fits.
    ___

    Katherine, The thing is, when a game is balanced for small groups to feel like any given reward is possible to attain once you put hundreds of thousands of people out there, playing the game millions of times you will end up with a glut of high quality items. I don’t see why people shouldn’t be able to shuffle them from their own characters who don’t want the items to other people who do.
    ___

    SallyStrange,
    I am so sorry to hear that you are such trouble. I am in a bit of a bind myself so a shoulder is all I have to offer at the moment. Hope you can pull this around, moving home is not an easy way out.

  21. A. R says

    Oh, fun. Get ready for the yearly War on the “War on Christmas” courtesy of Fox Noise and Co.

  22. edwardwhite says

    I cried when he started talking about his daughter too.

    Here’s a little Richard Thompson

  23. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    Sally,
    It sucks that shit is so hard for you right now. Hugs and love are coming your way.

    On Xmas: I hate Xmas. No, I loathe Xmas. All I want is a mid-winter holiday where I get the day off without all of the holiday trappings.

    *sigh* This year Hanuka is right at the end of December, too, so it’s going to be a weekend full of shit I don’t wanna do.

  24. pelamun says

    So Richard, what’s so racist about the FF MMPRG, and what’s that got to do with it Japanese? I’m curious not having played a MMPRG myself yet…

  25. says

    Driving by:

    The Sailor:

    Ibis3, I get it, I disagree, please stop dragging that shit into TET.

    If you can’t make your point in that thread you shouldn’t be dragging it into this thread.

    You obviously don’t get it. Don’t tell Ibis3 that she can’t talk about her feelings on TET. It’s more appropriate here than in the bunny thread.

    A lot of us are feeling a bit knocked for a loop over this. If someone needs to talk about it, let them talk. If you don’t like it, you have the option of using a certain browser and employing a killfile. You can also ignore and scroll past.

    Attempting to silence Ibis3 over an issue in which some people are already feeling silenced? Stupid move.

  26. says

    Dan Hertzfeldt doing a film version of Storm…now that would be well worth seeing.

    I like the one we’ve got.

    Besides, you know who’d do it, if some big money got behind it: Rob Liefeld, not Dan Herzfeldt. At least Storm would have spectacular breasts, like great floating dirigibles.

  27. Richard Austin says

    Pelamun:

    I suppose “racist” wasn’t the right word, though there’s a fair amount of that too (usually directed at other asians, though it seemed to be against anyone darker-skinned as well).

    Mostly, there was this huge “if you’re not Japanese, you’re useless” chip on the shoulders of many (most?) of the high-end players.

    Basically, the game was released in Japan for almost a year before being released in the US. SquareEnix didn’t want separate servers, so they dumped all the US folk onto the existing servers.

    The result was that, almost from the start, you had division. FFXI took a long time to level (after a year, I was close to 50 and the cap was 75), and levelling took a lot of work. If you were on at the “wrong” times and didn’t speak Japanese without the built-in translator, you couldn’t get a group at all. If you spoke enough romanji to get in a group, half the time one of the members would threaten to quit if you weren’t dropped.

    The top-end Japanese guilds refused to allow any US players what-so-ever, even players who were famous and arguably better than they were, even players who were Japanese Americans and spoke fluent Japanese.

    Japanese players would regularly charge more to US players for crafting items than to Japanese players. I used to be an expert at hunting “Notorious Monsters” who dropped the best loot, and it was always assumed by Japanese players that I was Japanese – simply because I was good at it. I had a friend in Minneapolis who spoke fluent Japanese who would often translate for me, and while we made a few friends, even those friends would tell us that we weren’t allowed to play with them for certain things because we were “gaijin” and they would get in trouble for inviting us.

    Now, I suspect there was at least some of this in reverse, but even SquareEnix eventually admitted that the Japanese players were hurting the relationship between the player bases. I was also never in a group that declined someone from the party for not speaking English, and never heard someone threaten to quit a group if a Japanese person joined.

    Another friend is half-Japanese and half-British but grew up in Tokyo. I talked with him about it later, and he said that it’s pretty common in the bigger cities to have a huge amount of quiet discrimination against non-Japanese – and that this “quiet” stuff comes out more easily online (he plays a lot of FPS-type games online, and usually with the Japanese market). The stories he tells about growing up as a “half” (a derogatory term they used to call him) and literally fighting for his life in gangs are pretty damning.

    Note that this wouldn’t stop me from going back, and I still tried FFXIV (even though it was separated nationally). I just know to expect resistance or even bigotry in certain situations. I also know this is (at least hopefully) a subset and not the majority, but it seems as strong in the Japanese gaming world as the Menz are in ours.

  28. Peter Ager says

    Ahhh! The antipodean Monkey Day. Warm, sunny, fresh seafood & steaks cooked on the barbie. Cold roast meats and salads, beer and wine in abundance.

    Maybe a dip in the pool or sea to cool off, and of course, the obligatory game of back yard cricket…

    Jealous yet?

  29. Dorothy says

    I just got home from a somewhat hellish day at the office. I too really like Xmas. Thank you.
    Unfortunately, in Ontario the chance of drinking white wine in the sun is scant. Unless you like chilblains, too.

  30. says

    I really liked the Storm video – using classic 50s beat style animation, for a beat poem. Perfect fit! This one, though, I didn’t like much.

    Also, this version has Tim singing “the lyrics are spooky” instead of “the lyrics are dodgy”. Why? Is “dodgy” not understood in US English?

  31. says

    Caine, I stand by my comment. It has no more or less value than Ibis3′s.

    “Attempting to silence Ibis3 over an issue in which some people are already feeling silenced? Stupid move.”

    I’m just a commenter on a blog, I can’t actually enforce censorship. I get my say, just like you and Ibis3 do.

    I’ve avoided the other threads on purpose.

  32. Sili says

    It’s the little things. The pope enclosure sealed it for me.

    That played no little role in making me choose it as an example, yes.

  33. chigau (本当) says

    I am reading the bunny threads (not commenting, I’m too slow) and I really wonder at the people who read a blog-post, note that there are over 800 comments and post their own comment without reading any of the previous 800.
    Without even doing a search for some of the terms they plan to use in their comment.
    What are they thinking?

  34. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Thanks, Grumps, Dhorvath, Audley, Caine, and anyone else I missed… feeling a bit better now that I’ve gone for a walk, paid a few bills, and gotten my undies all clean. I dunno if I’m going to pull through this without moving back home, but either way I’m going to make it work.

    Actually, moving back home isn’t the worst thing ever. I haven’t lived with my folks since I was 18, and things are pretty chill between my family and me now. Plus, I’d get to see my nieces and help out with babysitting more. Since StrangeBoyfriend moved away, there’s really nothing keeping me here anymore.

  35. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Ahhh! The antipodean Monkey Day. Warm, sunny, fresh seafood & steaks cooked on the barbie. Cold roast meats and salads, beer and wine in abundance.

    Maybe a dip in the pool or sea to cool off, and of course, the obligatory game of back yard cricket…

    Jealous yet?

    Nah, not really. Sounds like a lovely summer holiday, but then we have summer for that. Christmas, Solstice, the festival of the lights, whatever you want to call it, is all about lighting symbolic lights during the longest nights of the year, reminding each other that the light will soon return, and helping each other get through the Seasonal Affective Disorder with merriment, drinks, celebrations, and gifts. I was in NZ for Christmas one year and I thought it was fun, but totally not at all Christmas. A totally different beast. I told them they ought to find another name for it, but that made them mad. Whatever, I stand by my opinion.

  36. says

    Walton:

    I’ve encountered some “natural rights” deontological libertarian types online – one turned up on my blog, for instance – who would criticize a utilitarian approach to public policy on the ground that it doesn’t place any theoretical absolute or non-transgressible limits on the power of the state, and that the concept of “net human wellbeing” or “net human happiness” is so vague and incommensurable that it’s basically a licence for unlimited coercion in the name of the greater good.

    Of course, you, as a consequentialist, could coherently respond to this by arguing that we should have certain inalienable or non-transgressible limits on the power of the state not because those limits represent some mystical “natural rights”, but simply because of the entirely practical consequentialist concern that the state, being for the most part an instrument of the interests of the governing classes, should not be trusted with unlimited power. I don’t know if you’d actually make that argument, and I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but it would not be inconsistent with your expressed ethical standpoint.

    It would not be inconsistent. There is a time when I would have made it.

    Now, I think I’d rather point out that a real state apparatus does not and can not operate along such consistent lines as a single philosopher-despot might in idealized conditions.

    What really guides the state, in each of the judicial, legislative and executive brances, and still moreso the sum of these, is the various arguments and whims, lazy mistakes and power plays of thousands of people, each of whom is doing and saying everything they can possibly think of to advance what limited set of ideas they can hold at the moment. Not even one single court case is determined according to strictly deontological or utilitiarian lines.

    I would regard arguments about “the fascist horrors of a state based strictly on virtue ethics”, or “the reactionary warmongering of a state based strictly on deontology”, to be equally irrelevant.

    It’s realpolitik all the way down.

  37. Carlie says

    The first time I heard the song it was with the spooky lyrics, and then later dodgy. I think he’s just sung it whichever way he feels like. I prefer the spooky one, because it seems to capture how some hymns really are spooky.

  38. shouldbeworking says

    3 wise men AND a virgin? How about 3 wise virgin men? Rules out any catholic priests…

  39. says

    The Sailor:

    I’ve avoided the other threads on purpose.

    So what? You’re being an asshole, knock it off. Ibis3 doesn’t need you making her feel marginalized. Also, see PZ’s @ 75. That’s a cluebat. Get a fuckin’ clue.

  40. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Good news, everyone! My sister just offered to let me stay with her and her family – which would be an advantage over staying with my folks because she lives in a city, whereas my parents just live on the outskirts of a mid-sized town with not a whole lot of economic opportunity. Then I’d get to be a live-in nanny for my niece, allowing her dad (my bro-in-law) to go back to work, and helping my sister and brother-in-law out in the process.

    I’m feeling pretty thankful for my family right now. Shit, I’m starting to choke up again.

  41. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    Good news indeed, Sally StrangeSpawn of Cthulhu!
    :) :) :) :) :)
    -

  42. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    SallyStrange, I have also sent you an email; please let me know if it doesn’t reach you.
    -

  43. Carlie says

    Sally – that’s fantastic!

    Just saw the Muppet Movie. It was much cuter than I thought it would be. The best part, though, cannot be replicated. It was a full house, and I was sitting next to a little boy who seemed to be about 7 or so. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that some classic Muppet songs show up, the kind which you wouldn’t know unless you saw the original stuff because it’s not the most popular Muppet stuff today. Kid sang right along and knew all the words. His mom is raising him right, I say.

  44. says

    I’m not having a very good day. I just got back to my apartment and I’m pretty grumpy. I guess it’s mostly because I’d have liked to stay at my parents house for longer than I did (I only got to see my friends once and hardly got to see my parents at all). But the four hour ride just made me even more grumpy (I’m never going to make that drive with my boyfriend’s parents again). And I also know that I have a bunch of homework to do tomorrow, so that doesn’t help. Maybe I should just go to bed.

  45. Robster says

    The best things about the Australian style xmas in the summer are: Spending the day in the pool/beach with a nice beverage, eating lots of stuff with lots of people, enjoying great company outdoors, the ability to power the festive lights with those wee solar panel gizmos, the ability to ride your new bike/ride on mower/canoe etc on the same day. It’s dry hot and fabulous, no nasty winter nonsense for the holidays!

  46. says

    Carlie, I prefer the “dodgy” version because it seems stronger to consider them as dubious, underhanded and fake. As opposed to just a ghost story – “spooky” doesn’t convey the moral disapprobation of “dodgy”.

  47. says

    @Carlie

    I’m not using any instrumental accompaniment, just memorized the lyrics and practiced my Australian-with-a-twist-of-North-London accent

  48. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Thanks, everyone! Please excuse me if I don’t respond to your emails til tomorrow. I’m a bit tired and shagged out right now (this whole week has pretty much been one prolonged squawk on my part) and I have to work early in the morning. I will get back to you, though.

  49. Mariana says

    I love Christmas, I grew up as an athiest with a wholly athiest family and we have never made it religious in the slightest, there is no need to ruin a perfectly good time!

  50. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    Woot for Sally! You’ve landed on your feet with this one. So glad you no longer have to worry about having a place to hang your hat, so to speak.
    ————————————-

    Katherine, I don’t know, is Pat familiar with the internet and how to use it? If he is, it might not be long before he learns that a man wrote the mac & cheese recipe. OTOH, it might be fun to watch him go nuts once he does.

  51. changeable moniker says

    In my extremely dated* (and slightly squiggly, having been dropped in a lake mere) copy, TP’s TLF:

    “Two miles away …”

    That made me smile; thanks @KL!

    *1987

  52. Rey Fox says

    I love Christmas, I grew up as an athiest with a wholly athiest family

    I bet I’m athier than your whole family combined.

  53. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    This image of an octopus in a broken pop/soda/coke/soft drink bottle appears in the December National Geographic. I saw it yesterday in the dead-tree edition and was happy to find it online as well.

    I haven’t read the previous TET and probably won’t get a chance to. Sally, I’m glad you’re able to find some shelter with family.

    I’m an atheist who grew up Jewish. I dislike the ubiquity of xmas, I dislike the assumption from people raised with the holiday that it can be made completely secular and therefore anyone who dislikes it is just a grumpypants, I dislike the sense of forced cheeriness and conviviality, I dislike the consumerism, and I especially dislike the tacky aesthetic. The bits stolen from pagan European practices, such as holly and ivy and candles, are fine. The rest of it makes my pancreas hurt.

  54. Crudely Wrott says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter, that picture of the octopus reminds me of the brooding visage of Conan sitting on a throne with a look that says, What the hell am I doing here?

    I’m another lover of Christmas who was raised in a family that never gave a mention of Jesus or God. We kids were all good for goodness sake.

    So many dear memories. This year I get to celebrate with grand sons! HOOT!

    Happy for Sally. Hope it works out for all involved. :)

  55. says

    Totally thread bankrupt; I just dropped in to report that I served my family Thanksgiving Leftovers Sushi tonight: Nigiri with turkey breast and cranberry sauce wasabi, and maki with turkey dark meat, stuffing, and green beans (salvaged from leftover green-bean casserole).

    Film (i.e., pix on FB) at 11:00!

  56. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    Crudely, if your family enjoys celebrating xmas, that’s fine.

    At a societal level, however, consumerism and such aside, it is still very much a xtian holiday. It did not become the behemoth of holidays that it is because it originated with European pagans. The idea that anyone can and perhaps should celebrate it because, “hey, it’s a holiday, there’s food and drink and lights and people…” Nah. Really, no. If you grew up with it as a tradition, you have a sort of privilege in not seeing that, for those of us who didn’t grow up with it, it is not as universal and secular as you would like to believe, at least not in the public square.

  57. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    Caine – isn’t it? Although I hope the critter doesn’t cut itself on the edges of the bottle. Maybe the sea has smoothed them down, but they look sharp to me in that photo.

  58. John Morales says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter,

    I’m an atheist who grew up Jewish. I dislike the ubiquity of xmas, I dislike the assumption from people raised with the holiday that it can be made completely secular and therefore anyone who dislikes it is just a grumpypants, I dislike the sense of forced cheeriness and conviviality, I dislike the consumerism, and I especially dislike the tacky aesthetic. The bits stolen from pagan European practices, such as holly and ivy and candles, are fine.

    You’re too kind to it, for mine.

    I’m an atheist who grew up Catholic. I dislike the ubiquity of xmas, I dislike the assumption from people raised with the holiday that it can be made completely secular and therefore anyone who dislikes it is just a grumpypants, I dislike the sense of forced cheeriness and conviviality, I dislike the consumerism, and I especially dislike the tacky aesthetic. The bits stolen from pagan European practices, such as holly and ivy and candles, are no better, either.

    (I particularly dislike the perceived obligation to give gifts, and the assumption that reciprocity for such unwanted gifts is due)

    </misanthrope>

  59. says

    I kinda like the forced cheeriness and conviviality.

    “Fake it ’til you make it” can work, to a degree, for almost anything.

    It would work even better without all the stress of shopping, though.

  60. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    Sally,
    Woo hoo!

    Daisy Cutter:
    I can’t tell you how disappointed I am by the amount of facebook updates I’ve seen today about all of the people I know who went shopping at fucking midnight. It’s taken all of my willpower not to respond to each and every one of them with, “congratulations on being terribly bourgeois. Ass.”

    Who gets excited for that shit? It’s not a fucking accomplishment that you went to Walmart on Black Friday. The whole fucking thing is completely ridiculous.

    (Full disclaimer: Ex- retail manager.)

  61. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    PZ, the idjit Shiloh is repeating himself over on the other blog, strength of Dawkins thread. He appeared to go away for a week or so, then came back with the same inane argument that he started with his first posts here, namely we can’t disprove a creator, ergo it exists. I don’t think he’ll leave until he is plonked.

  62. Crudely Wrott says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter @ #115:

    Your points are all well taken and I have no quarrel with them at all.

    Inasmuch as my personal experience with the holiday involves much love and feasting and gift giving and family togetherness without the religious overtones I feel that those are sufficient to take advantage of the opportunity to engage in secular celebrations of “the season”.

    The ubiquitous religious rituals and observances associated with the solstice as well as the rampant consumerism together interrupt the normal pace of life and commerce engaged in at other times of the year. At least in the US this is so, as well as an absolute pollution of the airwaves, print media and, to increasingly ghastly extent, advertising and commercial exploitation of everyone’s guilt and covetousness.

    Still, most irreligious people I know as well as many of those who express belief but go to no great lengths of observance do celebrate Christmas. I would say that some of us take an irascible, some might say perverse(?) pleasure in re-hijacking the yuletide from the church. We celebrate sans worship in their faces with “Happy Holidays” being but the least symbol of our lack of faith.

    For someone like you, raised as you describe, my sentiments must ring rather hollow. Your discomfort and distaste is therefore understandable. I have long been aware that there are many people around the world and right here in the Great Christian Keep of Piety who feel as you do. Your plight is a real one with which I can only empathize while hoping that you find your own way to take advantage of a brief hiatus in business as usual and to find such pleasure as you will.

  63. John Morales says

    StarStuff!:

    I guess I’m going to have to give up my idea of having an etsy shop for my blog :(

    Might there be either a proxy or an existing paypal account holder that you trust, onto whom you could hitch as a bootstrapping measure?

    (I offer this though I suspect you’ve already considered this possibility)

  64. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    John: I don’t have any particular animus against bits of nature used as decoration, nor against lights lit during the darkest period of the year (as is true here in the Northern Hemisphere). Older houses decorated with seasonal greenery, red berries, and a modest number of white lights — say, a candle in every window, or some paper-bag luminaries along the walk — have an old-fashioned charm to them.

    Audley: I’m not on FB, but from everything I hear from other people about it, it’s totally unsurprising that people would brag there about going shopping on Black Friday. People brag on FB about everything from their kid’s latest bowel movement to committing crimes.

    If I had my druthers I would work second shift and do all my shopping late at night. BUT. That would be contingent on nobody else except employees being at the store at those hours.

    A friend of mine works retail. He worked this afternoon and evening. He actually likes working with people, but I suspect he’s knocking a few back right now.

  65. says

    Might there be either a proxy or an existing paypal account holder that you trust, onto whom you could hitch as a bootstrapping measure?

    There might be. It’d be a bit strange for my etsy account to be attached to someone else paypal though (especially since the only person I’d consider is male, and my account is ThatWeirdAtheistGirl (named after my blog)).

    I’m very not happy with paypal. I understand that they want things to be secure, but I’d like to not have everyone who buys something from me know my actual name. And etsy isn’t much help either.

  66. John Morales says

    chigau, I’m from Australia, and the first time I encountered the term Black Friday in relation to shopping, I was confused.

    (Luckily, my Google-Fu is not weak)

  67. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    Thanks for the reply, Crudely Wrott. I don’t begrudge anybody their personal celebration, especially insofar as it honors the love of family and friends. I mean, I have Thanksgiving dinner with loved ones, but I also understand why others commemorate it as the National Day of Mourning.

    I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call it a “plight,” speaking strictly of myself here. Maybe for non-xtian kids in heavily xtian parts of the U.S. it is. I myself am not terribly sociable, my closest friends don’t (usually) celebrate either, and I don’t watch TV, so I can filter a lot of the holiday stuff off my radar.

  68. says

    Ibis3:

    Thanks, Caine. Your defence on my behalf is warmly appreciated. I’m planning to do some writing tomorrow so hopefully I’ll be able to work through some of this and get into a better frame of mind.

    You’re more than welcome. Good, I hope the writing helps.

  69. John Morales says

    Caine, it’s nice to know I’m not alone, but I neither need support nor am I limited to the shopping issue.

    (And I’m not an activist!)

    That said, my wife covers for me — she partakes and gives presents in both our names. To avoid total hypocrisy, I make it clear when I’m around that it’s her gift (my true friends and family, of course, know of my stance).

    PS I’ve been dragooned into my workplace’s “secret Santa” ceremony during Xmas lunch; because I know where my bread is buttered, I have acquiesced and will make the minimal effort required to not seem a grinch.

    (Sigh)

    PPS Is it yet time for me to decry the utter waste of electricity involved in putting unnecessary lights up for Xmas? :)

  70. chigau (本当) says

    John Morales
    I support your stance on xmas lights.
    (but I tend to be more emphatic and have been known to spout obscenities)

  71. John Morales says

    Caine, heh.

    (I reckon you mob (the regulars here) know me better than almost all of my acquaintances, about most of the things that matter.

    Were Pharyngula to fold, I’d be bereft)

  72. pheonix says

    I love this song, it always chokes me up. My childhood was spent in the UK before moving to Australia. For years I missed the snow and thought the heat and having a roast turkey dinner (as my mother still insists on doing)was insane. And Santa. The poor guy must have been roasting in that suit.
    I remember walking through an outdoor market and watching a fully suited Santa pass out from the heat. Fun for the kiddies!
    Now though, I love the heat, the fact you can say fuck hot turkey and have fantastic cold food and chilled wine. You can rest in the park, under a tree and take a warm evening stroll along the beach on Christmas night before stopping at a pub to imbibe in their beachfront beer garden.
    Yeah, Australia’s not so bad.

  73. says

    After the waste of money—I am a miser above all—what’s bothering me lately is how many non-Christian parents of my generation are raising their kids with Christmas while not making absolutely clear that there is no God, there is no Jesus, and this is all make-believe.

    It’s like they don’t understand the danger. It didn’t do them any harm, obviously, so it’ll be fine for their kids. Does not follow! Some of their kids are going to attach the sacredness to this and end up being evangelicals because of how peaceful they felt with these smells, lights and feasts.

    I try to explain, but like I said, it didn’t do them any harm, so they aren’t hearing it.

    +++++
    I understand the kids are going to be jealous if they don’t get presents. Therefore, atheists should invent

  74. says

    … invent a December 1 holiday just to give presents to kids.

    This will make all the other kids jealous. “Mom! Dad! Why can’t we be atheists?”

  75. consciousness razor says

    Walton:

    Sorry it took a while, but I’m going to reply to this comment from the last thread. Originally, I only meant to point out a contradiction (or two or three) and leave it at that. I don’t want to write a long treatise, but I’ve got a bit of time, so I’ll respond since I had to leave in mid-conversation the other day. Tomorrow I’ll be somewhat busy again, but I’ll try to catch up if there is any reason to continue.

    So I am not unwilling to read philosophical works on the subject of meta-ethics, but I’m also not convinced that doing so is necessary to forming one’s own opinion on the subject, or likely to change my opinion;

    It also isn’t necessary for creationists to learn anything about evolution to form opinions on that subject, and doing so may not change their opinions either. But I don’t think I need to do much convincing that learning about something is necessary to have an informed opinion, that with an informed opinion you’d probably be less confused, and may even have a fighting chance at being right. Anyway, to respond to that more directly, I can’t tell what your views are in some cases, which is its own sort of problem because I’m also not sure about mine. This looks like a recipe for talking past each other, so I’ll try to stick to questions.

    I can’t see any coherent argument by which I, as a non-theist and philosophical materialist, can possibly escape the conclusion that there are no objective moral standards and that morality is just a matter of subjective emotion and personal preference,

    If this is your conclusion, then what was the argument that lead up to it? If you want to find out if it is inescapable, you might consider going back to where you first remember being in this maze, rather than pressing forward. ;)

    I don’t know how much we disagree. Are you saying it is impossible, or that you don’t know how it would be possible? Personally, I would say the latter. I haven’t claimed to know that there are “objective moral standards” (whatever that means). However, I also don’t understand why one should think that it’s impossible in principle or by definition, given some reasonable definitions for the terms (if such things can be reasonable, but I don’t even know if you’d agree with that). And are you sure you want to claim that these are “just” a matter of emotions? I’m assuming this is opposed to reasoning, so are you sure that doesn’t play into morality at all?

    and that basic moral values are thus not susceptible of rational debate.

    “Thus”? How so? And if so, you can’t claim that any of your moral judgments are “rational,” along with a lot of other claims you have and haven’t been making. Those are the sorts of contradictions I was talking about before — in fact, that was the only point I wanted to make at first. You could claim your judgments are rational (though this requires a lot of support), but you can’t also claim they’re irrational. Maybe you mean something different in each case, or I’m just missing a bit of nuance somewhere; but if not, it looks like a plain old contradiction.

  76. pheonix says

    I have only commented here a few times, but I would like to delurk a bit more. i need to thank everyone, with special thanks to caine, janine, etc, etc, you know who you are, the people who spent months arguing against MRA bullshit, tirelessly. You have my eternal thanks. I have had more than one rape, attempted rape and was driven out of my engineering career by some of the most repulsive behavior I have ever witnessed, along with a concentrated campaign of harassment.

    Those threads were very important to me, but to be honest I cried through most of them, at the start in despair. I could not comment for despair.

    I didn’t think I could read it anymore, it was making me angry and depressed but I had to push through it.

    After months of reading all your brilliant rebutals and support of each other and obvious common decency I feel you all deserve thanks for at least restoring some of my faith in humanity. I still cried, but I cried because I was grateful that there are people like you are out there, I cried because I couldn’t fight like that and I cried because I knew it would never end.

    Most of all I cried because I felt hope, which I find hard to find sometimes.

    So thank you sincerely and hopefully you won’t mind me commenting a bit more in the future.

  77. consciousness razor says

    from xmasresistance.org:

    You know holiday shopping is offensive and wasteful. You know Christmas “wish lists” and “gift exchanges” degrade the concept of giving. You know Christmas marketing is a scam, benefiting manufacturers, stores, and huge corporations, while driving individuals into debt. You know this annual consumer frenzy wreaks havoc on the environment, filling landfills with useless packaging and discarded gifts

    You’ll know it’s revolution, because there won’t be no commercials. (NSFW)

    </War on Christmas>

  78. consciousness razor says

    pheonix:

    Welcome, thanks, and ditto.

    As a semi-regular, or irregular, or whatever, I find it hard to talk about it too. It puts me in a blind rage to see what some of these asshole trolls say, or I get very depressed. And it’s wonderful to have so many supportive people here who stand up to that shit and somehow manage to keep their cool (when appropriate) enough to not let the assholes get the better of them and everyone else.

  79. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    PPS Is it yet time for me to decry the utter waste of electricity involved in putting unnecessary lights up for Xmas? :)

    Oh, I loathe Xmas lights so much. Almost as much as the wretched carols played ad nauseum on shopping centre sound systems. But my most hated Xmas ‘thing’ is – I don’t know if you have these in the US – reindeer antlers for cars. Absolutely ghastly.

  80. Rey Fox says

    So what do you folks in the antipodes do in June? I mean, granted, in Australia you don’t really have real winters, but if you don’t have Christmas, then what do you do when the days get short?

  81. says

    Pheonix:

    hopefully you won’t mind me commenting a bit more in the future.

    Of course not, Welcome to TET, Pheonix! And don’t you ever worry about not being able to handle the sexism/feminist threads. Not everyone can cope with those, they are tough and they contain triggers all over the place.

    Wowbagger:

    reindeer antlers for cars.

    Here we have Truck Nutz. Fake testicles for your truck or car. I’ll let you decide which is worse.

  82. Rip Steakface says

    @148 Wowbagger

    I’m pretty sure those reindeer antlers for cars originally are from the U.S. We have a section of the population who insists on having the highest number of the most annoying stuff in and on their cars and homes.

  83. chigau (本当) says

    I’m in Canada and I’ve never seen reindeer antlers for cars.
    Do you think a caribou head would be a good substitute?
    Skinned, of course.

  84. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    I mean, granted, in Australia you don’t really have real winters, but if you don’t have Christmas, then what do you do when the days get short?

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I have lights for my bike.

  85. scifi says

    Rey Fox –

    Some of us go skiing!

    The rest whine about how cold it is – y’know, when it gets below 20C!!!!!!!

  86. pheonix says

    Thanks Caine, made me tear up again. I feel like I can handle things better having read all their crap, it made things clear to me. I am trying to get into science instead on engineering this time and I feel I would deal with it all much better now. Plus now I’m probably not fuckable to those idiots.

    Thanks for making me welcome, I’m going through a few things and it helps a lot, even if it is ‘the internet’ telling me this.

    Rey Fox – When the days get short, the nights get long. HMMM. Drunken sex, pubs, nightclubs, non-drunken sex, restaurants. It does mean a short day but to be honest compared to the where I lived in the UK the days don’t seem much shorter. (In comparison) Don’t discount the pleasure of a good night, and in Australia it does get cold at night but it’s not Siberia or anything.

    You can still screw outdoors in Australia in the winter and not get a frostbitten wang. What more could you ask for in a winter climate?

  87. chigau (本当) says

    So the interwebs is watching me…
    I comment about reindeer antlers for cars and at the next refresh I see an ad for reindeer antlers for cars.
    I’m shutting down before stuff starts crawling out of the screen.

  88. says

    Starstuff, I used to sell on Etsy, tho’ I’m too busy to manage a shop now.

    There’s certainly a market for atheist stuff, although crocheted atheist stuff would be something I’d have to think about for a while before I could make useful suggestions other than crocheted squidly critters.

    Using your own name on PayPal isn’t a big issue – most of us expect to see a ‘real’ name there. I’d be much less comfortable if I had no idea who I was buying from. OTOH, if atheism is an issue where you live, I can understand the concerns.

    The only suggestion I can make is that you sell your items through someone else’s shop, or you get together a like-minded crowd of crafty atheists and open a group shop, with the PayPal account of someone in the ebil librul heartlands.

    Would PZ allow some pharyngulites to open a pharyngula shop of crafty atheist goodies on etsy?

  89. says

    Starstuff:

    Yes, definitely.

    Welcome to the pharyngula subgroup: pawtrodden. Your place in the hierarchy is dependent on the number of cats you feed per week.

  90. says

    So what do you folks in the antipodes do in June? I mean, granted, in Australia you don’t really have real winters, but if you don’t have Christmas, then what do you do when the days get short?

    As an ex-northerner, without Christmas and new year, the winter goes really really slowly.

  91. Elisheba says

    Someone say something nice to me please, I just stepped on a bee and was told (by some people who know I’m not a believer) that without god the bee could not have existed to enjoy my foot. This god thing is a jerkwad.

  92. Tethys says

    Hi Elisheba

    Sorry about your foot and your stoopid people. I can’t imagine the bee enjoyed being stepped on. The idea that a bee sting is some sort of divine retribution is pretty fucked up thinking.

  93. pelamun says

    Richard,

    thanks for your explanation. I have to say it does ring true in many points from my experience with Japanese culture (though I’d call it xenophobia more than racism, seeing that Japanese-Americans are also subject to this).

    Too bad, I liked the FF franchise, and if I ever was gonna take up MMORPG’ing, it’d be either FF or WoW… But probably I should stay away from it either way…

  94. Cesar Hechler says

    In an effort not to disrupt the adult table discussion in the bunnies thread, I will point something that was brought to my attention about the original cartoon that is far more subtle and insidious than sexism:

    There is no duck but Pooh and Tigger is his prophet.
    .
    .
    That’s right, it was an advert for Islam all along. Quelle surprise the misogyny.

  95. Ariaflame says

    Occasionally there is Christmas in July stuff. No presents usually, just party and the food.

    It is nice to be able to swim on Christmas day, mostly because it can be bloody hot that day.

  96. Cesar Hechler says

    Daisy @111: Loved the octopic. Reminds me of Cthulhu just before he’s about to devour his billion and one’th victim.

  97. KG says

    I can’t see any coherent argument by which I, as a non-theist and philosophical materialist, can possibly escape the conclusion that there are no objective moral standards and that morality is just a matter of subjective emotion and personal preference, – Walton

    From the fact that there are no objective moral standards, it does not follow that morality is “just a matter of subjective emotion and personal preference”. This is the false dichotomy that goddists delight in, and they should not be allowed to get away with it. First, your moral standards and judgements can affect the vital interests of others, in the way that your preference for chocolate ice-cream over vanilla (or vice versa) does not. Second, they can be subjected to rational criticism – as internally inconsistent, or as having consequences which you have not realised they have, or as incomplete; and in response to such criticism, you can rationally change your judgements (as you have done), or rationally defend them (as you have also done). The case is closely parallel to judgements of artistic merit: if someone claims that Jeffrey Archer is a better novelist than George Eliot, I can argue that in terms of psychological insight, exploration of ideas, creative ambiguity, plot structure, etc., this is not the case. Now it is true that if someone says “I enjoy Archer more, so he’s a better novelist”, or “Archer sells more copies, so he’s the better novelist”, “I do what’s in my own interest, sod everyone else”, or “Morality is doing what you are told by those in power”, I cannot show that their stance is incoherent: without a necessary minimum of common ground, rational argument cannot proceed. But parallel cases arise in matters of fact. If someone claims “Everything is just thoughts in my mind”, or “The world was created last Thursday, complete with all the apparent relics of a 13.7 billion year past”, or “Logical consistency doesn’t matter”, I can’t show that those positions are incoherent either. (Ontologically there is a difference here – there is an objective matter of fact; but epistemologically, this makes no difference, as we can never have justifiable absolute certainty about anything, even that we can never have justifiable absolute certainty about anything.)

    Think about this Walton: you do not behave as if you believed your claim that “morality is just a matter of subjective emotion and personal preference”. You argue your case, and criticise counter-arguments. Would you similarly dispute (as young children do) whether chocolate or vanilla ice-cream is better?

  98. Elisheba says

    Thanks Tethys, you are brilliant and wonderful. All my atheist friends are in bed still but the internets still haz love.

  99. pheonix says

    Tielserrat

    Not Tassie, I didn’t think that through did I. Melbourne actually, which I suppose is not the warmest in itself but you really could loose an important member of the team fucking around outside there, brrr’

    You can do it in Melbourne without loosing any extremities but it’s still rather invigorating, but fun, on occasion.

  100. says

    Hi there
    Just skimming through, weekends are busy and this one especially since we’re celebrating our 12th anniversary of kissing under the mistletoe.
    Yes, I know it sounds like a bad movie, but that’s how this family all started*.

    Sally Strange
    Please tell me where to send that money at gilliellÄTyahooDOTde

    *If you choose to decide on the right point of start and remember to forget about a year we spent carefully tiptoeing around each other in an attempt to find out whether there could be something ;) We also decided to forget about an actual date and just celebrate the Saturday of the christmas market where we kissed so we won’t forget and will be able spend that night together.

  101. julian says

    Reading Delusions of Gender. A lot of studies to look up and I’m only on page 43. I can’t believe all these experiments are out there. I assume they are required reading material for teachers, professors and managers, yes?

  102. Sili says

    cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says:

    Exclusive: Archie Comics Gay Wedding Cover

    Not Jughead?

  103. Carlie says

    I can’t believe all these experiments are out there. I assume they are required reading material for teachers, professors and managers, yes?

    I believe that comment qualifies for what is known as a lolsob.

  104. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    Wowbagger:

    But my most hated Xmas ‘thing’ is – I don’t know if you have these in the US – reindeer antlers for cars. Absolutely ghastly.

    Oh yes. We probably invented the damned things, come to thing of it. Along those lines, you know what I hate? When people attach holiday wreaths to the grille of their car.

    Welcome Phoenix! I’ve skipped the last couple of misogyny threads (even though I told Caine I’d jump in the latest. Sorry sorry sorry) ‘cos I just don’t have the time to deal with that shit right now.

    Please, make yourself comfortable. There’s pumpkin spice coffee and bagels on the bar.

    cicely:
    I saw the Archie cover a few days ago. My mind is blown, but in a good way.

  105. says

    Audley:

    I’ve skipped the last couple of misogyny threads (even though I told Caine I’d jump in the latest. Sorry sorry sorry) ‘cos I just don’t have the time to deal with that shit right now.

    Except for a few persistent assholes, it has wound down now.

  106. says

    @ Dr Audley (or High Priest Josh)

    How long did it take to fire up Phoenicia? She is very lethargic even though she has been handled with kid gloves. She has a beautiful new glass jar, imported from Italy. Very little activity even after two days of TLC. (She is from a dry powder, and it is winter … perhaps I am just being an overly concerned Saccharomyces parent.)

  107. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    Theophontes:
    I got a chunk of “wet” starter last time I hung out with Josh, so I just let it rise, fed it, and threw Hans Gruber in the fridge. It was ready to go right away. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  108. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Wowbagger: ” I don’t know if you have these in the US – reindeer antlers for cars. ”

    Fuck, dude, we even have fricking fake testicles for trucks.

  109. says

    Theophontes:

    The “rats” seem like an odd bunch. Trolling other atheist sites for the lulz… that is a new one.

    Oh, it’s not most of the rats. That stuff went on much more at RnR. If I’m right about who Vincent was, he’s not worth wasting time on. He thinks he’s a massive, cutting wit (yes, using lolspeak and calling people aspie and retard) and god’s gift to the bitchez.

    Back at IIDB, he specialized in one liner insults and had something of a following. He’s been trying to trade off that since IIDB bit the dust.

    I still have no idea of who he was confusing me with though, when it came to all that Second Life stuff.

  110. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    Yep, full steam ahead.

    By all means, full steam ahead. Throttle wide open. But, once you get up to about ten miles per hour, start reducing the valve travel through the reversing gear otherwise the full steam load will be unable to exhaust fully. At higher speeds, running with the Johnson even closer to center will allow you to use the expansion of the steam, rather than steam pressure, to move your cylinder. Makes for a much more efficient steam locomotive.

    Yeah, a steamnerd comment is about all I can handle today.

  111. Emrysmyrddin says

    pheonix @#145, you’ve mirrored almost word-for-word how I feel about the efforts of many commenters on this site; I’m deeply grateful to them for ‘taking on’ the burden of fighting the overwhelmingly depressing and far too common trollfest whenever the topic of feminism (or women’s issues full-stop) come up. I’ve lurked for years over on Sb and now here at FtB, and I can’t describe how much I love some of these people on here because of their ability to stand up and fight for things that are deeply important for me, but that I don’t feel powerful enough to express myself.

    A deep and heartfelt thanks to the Horde – you’re all my safe space, wherever you happen to be. Thank you.

  112. says

    what’s bothering me lately is how many non-Christian parents of my generation are raising their kids with Christmas while not making absolutely clear that there is no God, there is no Jesus, and this is all make-believe.

    This ! I don’t know why they think they have to do this, conformity with the Christian consumerists ? By all means, do prezzies, it probably would be cruel to not give them presents when all their friends get them, but why do they have to go with the whole Santa spiel ?

  113. Carlie says

    Quick question – does anybody know of particularly cool stuff on cafepress? I want to get a present there, and I’d like to add a couple of other things to make the shipping worth it. Feel free to shill for your own stuff if you have any. :)

  114. says

    More news on the battle between christian fundamentalists and mormons: the christians in Iowa are worried about Mitt Romney, worried enough to hold secret meetings to discuss how to defeat him.

    The trouble with this whole set up is that it plays right into the mormon persecution complex, which is already elephantine.

    The other problem is that it highlights the bigoted nature of socially-conservative groups, without revealing the weak underpinnings of their take on political and social issues.

    Since socially-conservative groups are constrained by religion from denigrating religion in general, they can’t offer a really good argument.

    Representatives for leading social conservative groups in Iowa held a secret meeting Monday as part of an effort with one main goal: find and support a Republican presidential candidate who can stop Mitt Romney in Iowa.

    The idea: avoid splintering the conservative vote in the state by rallying around one GOP rival who could win Iowa’s Jan. 3 caucus and then challenge Romney in New Hampshire and the other early voting states….
    “If you want to stop Romney you’re probably going to have to have some organization [and] some money,” the source said. “Somebody who’s at 5% or 6% in the polls, and they endorse, I don’t think that does any good.”

    Multiple sources have described to CNN details of the meeting and the general effort.

    The meeting, the group’s first, took place in a private office building in Des Moines on Monday. In attendance were representatives from the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, The Family Leader, the group Iowa Right to Life, and a representative for the Iowa chapter of Concerned Women for America. Some pastors from prominent Iowa churches also attended the meeting.

    Arrggghh. The worst of the worst. I wonder if you could smell the evil.

    …Sources say there were about 20 to 25 people present at the meeting and that another meeting is planned for Monday of next week.

    CNN coverage.

  115. says

    To add to the things-I-loathe-about-Christmas discussion: I loathe more of the toys on offer than I did a couple of decades ago.

    I enjoy subverting holiday traditions (as is my Jack Daniels bottle as a tree-topper), so I sometimes buy something that is so awful it’s funny to give as a gift. Being a person-of-very-little-money, gag gifts that are toys appeal to me.

    So, I entered the den of iniquity that is Wal-Mart and cruised the toy aisle. I was appalled. It was depressing. I have no hope left for mankind. Most of the toys were ugly, ill-made and not even worthy of gag-gift-given-with-a-dose-of-irony status. If this stuff is what parents are buying for their children, I predict a further downgrade in the aesthetic sensibilities of coming generations.

    Legos still look like legos, but other than that ….
    Even tactile or texture-oriented toys were too yucky to touch.
    The doll aisle was a nightmare. I’m haunted.

    Many years ago I bought a wind-up toy Santa that walked like Frankenstein for a few steps. Then Santa fell over (no matter how level the surface on which he was walking). In the horizontal position, mindless FrankenSanta continued to scissor his legs. Now that was hilarious.

    Wal-Mart is selling electrified tree-topping angels in ethnically diverse styles. Black or white — angels are still obnoxious.

    In the ornament aisle there was a hedgehog outfitted with actual twigs cut into bamboo-torture-pit-stake-style quills. Pleasantly dangerous. However, as it was not electrified nor motorized nor computerized, I rejected it.

    I need toy-buying advice.

  116. Emrysmyrddin says

    Thanks for your kind words, Carlie; I feel as an insect among giants :)

    We didn’t bother with Xmas deccies last year, so we’re making an effort this year; I’ve set myself the challenge of making sure that everything is either hand-made (I.e. streamers) or natural (painted pine cones etc.) as we’re not only dirt-poor but can’t stand the plastickyness of consumerist Xmas. It’ll be fun! (I’ve just got to keep telling myself that…)

  117. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    We have always done prezzies-for-the-kids (because as has been rightly pointed out, it would be mean for them to miss out just when everyone else at school is wallowing in gifts) but no Santa Claus (prezzies are from us, obvs) or anything else like that.

  118. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Lynna, this is not going to answer your question about toys but I am proud of how I went about this. One year, my gift for one of my sisters was a fifty dollar buying spree at my favorite book store, The Stars My Destination. They did not have any gift certificates. Besides, it was also an excuse to have my sister stay at my place for a couple of days.

    I did not want to give her a card saying she had a lot of paperbacks coming her way. I wanted to give her something with heft that she had to unwrap. When I was pondering what to do, I was walking down an alley. I saw a brick.

    I wrote a set of instructions about how the brick can be redeemed for books and wrapped the brick. Family members were wondering about the heavy, brick shaped present. When it was given to my sister to unwrap, she had a very puzzled look on her face. It got even more puzzled when what seemed like a brick turned out to be a brick. Then she read the instructions.

    Fifteen years later, she still has that brick.

  119. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    Caine:
    Oh, so awesome. I’m kind of in love with the desk triops.

    I would buy Mr Darkheart something from ThinkGeek, but we’ve settled on a chameleon for his birthday/Hanuka/Xmas gift. I think we might buy it next weekend!

  120. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, The Family Leader, the group Iowa Right to Life, and a representative for the Iowa chapter of Concerned Women for America

    Call me cynical, but any time that I hear of a group with the word ‘freedom’, ‘family’, ‘life’, or ‘concerned’ in the title, or any combination thereof, I immediately start looking for GOP anti-union, anti-regulation, anti-poor and pro-theocracty leanings. And I am usually correct.

  121. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    *eyeroll*

    I know that Law And Order is cancelled and that Jerry Orbach is dead but I can hear a snarky statement about the shower curtain at a murder scene.

  122. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    Caine:

    I’m ordering my shower curtain & bathmat next week. I’ve been wanting those for a year.

    Ha! I have a very similar shower curtain that I bought this past Halloween. It was a hit with my guests (and it’s still up).

  123. says

    Janine:

    I know that Law And Order is cancelled and that Jerry Orbach is dead but I can hear a snarky statement about the shower curtain at a murder scene.

    That just makes it better.

  124. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    After seeing this, all I can say is, “congratulations! Now you own a laptop.”

    HELP ME, I’M STUCK ON THINKGEEK! Noooooooooooooooo!

  125. says

    Okay, thank you everyone. I shopped at ThinkGeek and I have erased from my memory the Wal-Mart toy aisle (well, except for those dolls … shudder).

    The only problem with Think Geek is the lust it arouses for other goodies.

    Maybe I will go back to work today and earn more money to spend on technological oddities.

  126. says

    Janine @206: Very well done. That makes me smile.

    The heaviness of packages wouldn’t work at my house since my brother often gives rocks and/or things made from rocks. I got an alabaster bowl one Christmas that was so heavy my brother had me sit down before he carefully placed the package in my lap.

    I also received a sledge hammer once.

    Then there was the outdoor planter carved out of volcanic tuff.

  127. says

    Lynna:

    The only problem with Think Geek is the lust it arouses for other goodies.

    It’s a dangerous and never ending lust. You do, however, accumulate Geek Points with every lusty purchase, which enables you to indulge in more lustfulness.

  128. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Damn, the western mountainous lifestyle is so different from the mid-western suburban life.

  129. says

    @ tielserrath #158 (Yeah, wayyyy up thread. I’ve been sleeping)

    Thanks for the ideas. I’m going to have to take some time and think about it.

    I’m not worried about the people around me knowing I’m an atheist (they all already do; I’m one of those “obnoxious atheists”). What I am worried about is someone crazy finding out my actual name by buying something from me, since the shop is supposed to be connected to my blog.

  130. Scientist says

    I just bought White Wine in the Sun by Tim Minchin on iTunes. Funny thing. There is an explicit lyrics warning. I guess saying you like Christmas even if you don’t believe in Jesus is up there with saying Fuck. Part of me laughs at that and part of me gets really pissed.

  131. Rasmus says

    After the waste of money—I am a miser above all—what’s bothering me lately is how many non-Christian parents of my generation are raising their kids with Christmas while not making absolutely clear that there is no God, there is no Jesus, and this is all make-believe.

    It’s like they don’t understand the danger. It didn’t do them any harm, obviously, so it’ll be fine for their kids. Does not follow! Some of their kids are going to attach the sacredness to this and end up being evangelicals because of how peaceful they felt with these smells, lights and feasts.

    I try to explain, but like I said, it didn’t do them any harm, so they aren’t hearing it.

    +++++
    I understand the kids are going to be jealous if they don’t get presents. Therefore, atheists should invent a December 1 holiday just to give presents to kids.

    This will make all the other kids jealous. “Mom! Dad! Why can’t we be atheists?”

    I think parents at least ought to tell the truth about the winter festival, which as you all know, is that the Christian Christmas festival is only the second most recent incarnation of the midwinter festival. The current one is a mass consumerist festival which is only called Christmas because Christian people think it sounds more noble than ‘Santa’s midwinter shopping spree’.

    I vaguely remember that my parents told me about that when I was seven or eight and my teacher in school had a godbot as her assistant teacher, who thought that the holiday time was a good time to convert the atheist and Muslim (if any – I don’t remember) children to Christianity. This was in Sweden before it was legally secularized, so I don’t think she was doing anything that could get her fired.

    It was a pretty big eye opener for me, which must be why I still remember it. I mean the truth about the winter festival, not the godbot stuff. I didn’t believe in God and I was literally counting the minutes when I had class with the godbot TA, but nevertheless I had somehow swallowed her claim that Christians invented Christmas.

  132. says

    Companies that jebus freaks list as not being christmas friendly:

    Companies AGAINST “Christmas”

    Banana Republic
    Barnes & Noble
    Foot Locker
    Gap Stores
    L.L. Bean
    Limited Brands
    Office Depot
    Old Navy
    Radio Shack
    Staples
    Supervalu
    Victoria’s Secret

  133. says

    Damn, the western mountainous lifestyle is so different from the mid-western suburban life.

    Oh, we have plenty of mall-cruising, Wal-Mart hopping suburbanites in the little pockets of citydom.

    About 62% of Idaho is public land, but most of the suburbanites live in a bubble. They don’t know where they are. Sometimes I think they never lift their eyes to look beyond the roadways and the mall walks.

    They don’t know what they’re missing.

    Rocks make totally awesome gifts, and we do know where to go to get the best ones, and how to get them. You do have to do your rock-gathering well before the holiday season. All the high country is snowed in now. The making of things out of rocks is a good winter pastime.

    Tools for the getting of rocks make good gifts, hence the sledgehammer, as mentioned earlier. Sledgehammers are useful for “double-jacking at the breast.” Single-jacking is when one is holding a chisel with one hand and hitting it with a small sledge wielded with the other hand. Double-jacking is when one person holds the chisel, while a second person uses both hands to swing a bigger sledgehammer. “The breast” is the end of the trench or tunnel where one is following a vein. There’s a “hanging wall” (uphill wall of our trench), a “foot wall” (downhill wall of our trench), and the breast. There’s also a wheelbarrow ramp (made of tamped dirt) that leads out of the trench, opposite the breast — but I don’t know what that’s called.

    Equipment for “dressing” tools also make good gifts.

    I do know people who give saddles and other “horse jewelry” as gifts. But those people, ranchers mostly, are a minority. I don’t know many miners, nor adventure travel writers. We are a minority within a minority of explorers, and/or of other people who spend a lot of time outdoors.

    The demographic of winter-sports oriented people, when combined with hunters and anglers, makes a fairly significant group. Those people buy some useful stuff instead of crap for holiday gifts. Those people spend sporadic time outdoors.

    Most of Wal-Mart’s gift aisles look to me like a trash dump waiting to happen.

  134. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    I’m thinking of carving a few gifts for people this year.

    But when I sat down with a piece of yellow cedar, my knife began giving birth to a horrible skeletal winged demon. Fairly cool, but nothing any but the most weird of horror geeks would want in their stocking.

    I’m not always in full control of my ability. :/

    Also, I’ve been good all year, so I’m hoping Santy Clause finds it in his big ol cholesterol stuffed heart to put this under my christmas tree: http://www.warriorsandwonders.com/Paul_Chen_Hanwei/GDFB_Pole_Axe_Head_Only

  135. says

    I’d just like to say: fuck ChasCPeterson

    You already told him in that thread, why take it here ? And your remark about atheist women seems a bit displaced in that context. or maybe I’m just tired.

  136. says

    @ rorschach

    It was a discussion about weather that person who made the bunny comic was right about women being more religious. I though those statistics were very relevant (if you click the first link, it shows that women are more religious in the US, but once again, not hugely so). I also think the more annoying thing in the comic is the fact that the male has to be the more rational (atheistic) one, when there are huge numbers (a large, solid minority) of rational (atheist) women. I brought it here because I was a bit pissed at Chas and I wanted someone else to see what xe’d said.

  137. Walton says

    consciousness razor, I don’t have time to reply point-by-point to everything at the moment because I’m busy and tired, but this…

    It also isn’t necessary for creationists to learn anything about evolution to form opinions on that subject, and doing so may not change their opinions either.

    …is a bad analogy. Evolutionary biology is an empirical science, concerned with describing reality on the basis of empirical evidence. One cannot, therefore, pontificate meaningfully about it without knowledge of the evidence. That isn’t true of moral philosophy, because it isn’t an empirical field; while empirical evidence is relevant, in the sense that many moral arguments are founded on factual premises (e.g. “the death penalty is good because it deters crime” rests on the assumption that the death penalty actually deters crime), it’s also clearly true that the question of what one’s fundamental moral values should be is not a purely factual or empirical question. (And can’t be, since an “is” doesn’t imply an “ought”.) Rather, it’s a matter of reasoning from first principles, or simply of intuition and preference.

    Thus, while a non-expert opinion about evolutionary biology is more-or-less entirely useless, a non-expert opinion about morality is not. (Indeed, every thinking person is obliged to have such an opinion, irrespective of whether xe has ever picked up a philosophy book, because we are all forced to make moral decisions on a daily basis.)

    This doesn’t mean that educating oneself about moral philosophy is useless. It isn’t. As you rightly point out, I’d be much better able to communicate what I actually mean, and construct an at-least-superficially coherent argument in which I’m not using the same words in different places to mean different things, or using the wrong word entirely, if I had done more reading on the subject. However, as I said, I’m in the process of doing so.

    ===

    KG,

    First, your moral standards and judgements can affect the vital interests of others, in the way that your preference for chocolate ice-cream over vanilla (or vice versa) does not. Second, they can be subjected to rational criticism – as internally inconsistent, or as having consequences which you have not realised they have, or as incomplete; and in response to such criticism, you can rationally change your judgements (as you have done), or rationally defend them (as you have also done). The case is closely parallel to judgements of artistic merit: if someone claims that Jeffrey Archer is a better novelist than George Eliot, I can argue that in terms of psychological insight, exploration of ideas, creative ambiguity, plot structure, etc., this is not the case. Now it is true that if someone says “I enjoy Archer more, so he’s a better novelist”, or “Archer sells more copies, so he’s the better novelist”, “I do what’s in my own interest, sod everyone else”, or “Morality is doing what you are told by those in power”, I cannot show that their stance is incoherent: without a necessary minimum of common ground, rational argument cannot proceed.

    That’s all true. And as I’ve said before, I don’t think moral debate is a useless endeavour in practice, because – as you rightly identify – many moral arguments either rest on empirical claims that are false or unsubstantiated (e.g. “The death penalty is good because it deters crime” or “Gay marriage is wrong because it will cause the breakdown of heterosexual marriage and the traditional family”), or are simply internally inconsistent and incoherent. All of these things raise issues which are susceptible of rational debate. And much of the time, people agree on the fundamental values at stake, and are disagreeing merely as to the empirical question of how to achieve those values. (For instance, most people agree that preventable death and suffering are bad things; but they might disagree, say, as to which model of health care organization best alleviates preventable death and suffering. This is primarily an empirical question rather than a moral one.)

    But as you concede, there is a possibility of a fundamental conflict of values. Two people can be in agreement (or at least not in disagreement) as to all the relevant facts, but can still disagree about a moral question because they begin from fundamentally different value-judgments about what is right and wrong, or important and unimportant.

    I run into this in practice with certain political debates. For instance, one can debate the empirical question of whether the death penalty, or tougher criminal sentencing in general, reduces the amount of crime. (This question can’t be answered conclusively, but there is strong, if not dispositive, evidence that it generally does not.) But much of the time, people are not really interested in the answer to this question; rather, some people, whether they consciously articulate it or not, simply believe that tougher sentencing is morally right because “bad people” “deserve” to be made to suffer. Whether it actually reduces the amount of crime is irrelevant to their mindset. This is an irreducible conflict of values; I can’t prove by any argument that they’re “wrong” to want revenge on those they perceive as evildoers, any more than I can prove that I’m “right” to feel empathy and compassion for those made to suffer by the criminal justice system. I can only say that I personally find the concept of revenge to be abhorrent and destructive.

    So too with vegetarianism. I can’t prove to people that they “should” care about reducing non-human animal death and suffering. If someone simply asserts as an axiom that humans are intrinsically more morally-significant than non-human animals, and that promoting human quality of life is more important to them than reducing the number of non-human animal deaths, there is no argument by which I can “prove” that hir priorities are “wrong” in any objective sense. I can only say that I, and some other people, happen to feel differently.

    As a third example, and an issue about which I care very much: I can, and do, point to the way that Western countries’ protectionist immigration laws foster poverty, exploitation, and institutionalized state violence against vulnerable people, and legitimize racism. And I think that doing so is useful and important, because there are a great many lies and misconceptions spread by the xenophobic media and xenophobic organizations like FAIR and MigrationWatch. But when we go beyond the realm of empirical debate, and move into basic philosophical questions, I have no obvious tool in my arsenal to argue against someone who sincerely takes it as axiomatic that the interests of “our people” are more important than the interests of “foreigners”. (Unfortunately, there are many such people.) At that point, we have, once again, hit an irreconcilable conflict of values.

    There are more examples of this (debates about abortion and the respective values one attaches to foetal life and women’s bodily autonomy, for instance). In the end, one occasionally hits a brick wall; when one is asked to prove the objective “rightness” of one’s fundamental values and priorities in life, one cannot do it.

    This is what I meant when I said that morality is a matter of subjective preference. One can debate the empirical questions on which moral arguments are founded, and the internal logical consistency of moral arguments; but one cannot dispute the basic moral values on which they are based. The latter are more a matter of intuition and emotion than of reason.

  138. says

    Yes, StarStuff, because saying what you feel about that thread here is so much more important than saying how you feel about that shit there.

  139. Carlie says

    The Sailor, sometimes people use this thread to vent when they don’t want to be emotional somewhere else. Even though they and the target of their feelings are very likely reading everything in both places, it’s a way to keep the argument itself contained and shunt the emotional responses elsewhere. It’s only if it sets off a huge argument in TET that people start picking sides for and arguing by proxy that it gets to be a problem.

  140. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Not to mention the Battlestar Galactica marathon. Whoof.

    I have a very stupid question. Why does BBC America present shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation and Battlestar Galactica? They were not made by the BBC. The only connection is that some one English is on them. Might as well present House.

    Yes. It is a complaint. It would be nice if the BBC America would present shows like Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes more then once. But, no, there are twenty year old reruns to show.

  141. Pteryxx says

    O_o *cough*

    Well anyway. If anyone’s interested in a really hardcore BG episode about vengeance and forgiveness (and doesn’t care about spoiling major elements of an intricate plot) see the episode “Collaborators”, which I’m just watching for the first time. Apparently it’s on Netflix, etc.

  142. Pteryxx says

    Well, I never got to see Battlestar Galactica (or Doctor Who for that matter) over the last ten years, so I’m glad for the chance to catch up on my nerd cred. If BBCA has a real reason, I’d guess it’s to push DVD sales for the holidays.

  143. Tethys says

    Lynna

    Rocks make totally awesome gifts, and we do know where to go to get the best ones, and how to get them. You do have to do your rock-gathering well before the holiday season. All the high country is snowed in now. The making of things out of rocks is a good winter pastime.

    I wish I had relatives like you and your brother. I remember the pic of green opal you posted a few moths back. Rock lust!

    TLC

    But when I sat down with a piece of yellow cedar, my knife began giving birth to a horrible skeletal winged demon.

    I sit down with a random shaped stone and they keep turning into gastropod shells?! Maybe I should attempt a skull?

  144. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Oh-oh. Lynna mentioned rocks. I went to Brazil this last summer to the biggest mineral show in the country and came back with rocks ranging from gorgeous (aquamarine crystals, blue apatites, tourmalines) to the rare but ugly (tantalites, monazites, etc.). I also came back with some nice faceted tourmalines, emeralds, andalusites, beryls and so on. My friends and family are also used to getting rocks for x-mas, sometimes set in jewelry. Unfortunately, this year, the price of gold is too high to set anything, so they’ll wait.

    I’m sure sometimes my relatives despair of having a rockhound in the family.

  145. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Going out dancing! Former godbot friends who are still theist, but constantly getting arguments with their super godbot friends, are coming along! When I say godbot, I mean “went to Bob Jones university,” and when I say former, I mean, “got kicked out of said University for demonstrating too much capacity for critical thinking”. Should be interesting.

  146. ChasCPeterson says

    StarStuff, sorry, but you’re an idiot.
    I left my reasons over at Physioprof’s where they belong, but it had 5 links and is stuck in the moderation queue. Presumably CPP will post it.
    Since you saw fit to bring it over here, though, here’s the executive summary in the meantime: I link to several independent sources of data that support my assertion. I then show that the single datum you cited doesn’t mean what you evidently think it means and that the rest of the data available at the site you linked also support my assertion. Conclusion: google-fail and own-goal.
    What’s that thing called where facts and data are rejected in favor of wishful ideology? Oh yeah, denialism. have a nice day

  147. says

    @ Chas

    How does the source not support my assertion that women are not hugely more religious than men (in the US, that is)? Or that female atheists are a growing demographic?
    And if you really want me to see your links, you could post them separately. Is that really so difficult to do?
    How is it “wishful ideology” to think that women are not ignorant, and that they’re not always religious? What exactly am I denying? I admitted that women are indeed more religious, I just said that they don’t make up significantly more of the religious population than men to perpetuate the “women are ignorant” trope.

  148. says

    Crudely Wrott, I still have the Astronomy Picture of the Day on a full screen window. Thanks.
    +++++++++++++++++
    I saw an eagle in town today. I see them out at the lake a fair amount, but this is the 1st one I’ve see over the town.
    +++++++++++++++++
    Firefly “Out Of Gas” may be my favorite. I loves me some back story.

  149. Cannabinaceae says

    BTW, we just took a road trip to the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake, and on the way back, caught the end of the Threadsong.

  150. changeable moniker says

    FUUUUCK!!

    This news just in: Chaos at Changeable Towers as child-the-tiny barfs all over the bed. (It was kid #2 on Thursday, but that was more controlled.)

    Late-night laundering, cleaning, and meticulous hand-washing ensues.

    I hate Norovirus. Can we get a vaccine for that, please, virologists?

  151. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Sounds fantastic, Cannabinaceae! I’m a bit envious, I must admit. My parents were longtime subscribers to Co-Evolution Quarterly, I kind of grew up on it.

  152. Dhorvath, OM says

    CM,
    How could something so small make so much mess? I hear you and can relate, just remember though, someday they may clean up after you.

  153. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    Were Pharyngula to fold, I’d be bereft

    Me, too.
    -
    pheonix, thanks for delurking; drag up a chair! *hugs* if you want ‘em. If not, I also offer *chocolate* and/or *booze*.
    -
    It’s the endless carols, every-frickin’-where, that I object to the most. grrrrrrr
    -

    Someone say something nice to me please, I just stepped on a bee and was told (by some people who know I’m not a believer) that without god the bee could not have existed to enjoy my foot. This god thing is a jerkwad.

    *ahem*
    Bee died for your foot.

    Of course, their argument that god put the bee there to punish your atheism is sunk by the question, “So what about all the Good Christians™ for whom god is also arranging stings?”
    -
    ThinkGeek….*drooooool*
    -

    But when I sat down with a piece of yellow cedar, my knife began giving birth to a horrible skeletal winged demon. Fairly cool, but nothing any but the most weird of horror geeks would want in their stocking.

    We can has pic?
    -

  154. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    I bought a cinnamon broom yesterday. It smells so good (and it’s really strong too).

    I love the smell of cinnamon. That delightful earthy flavour wi . . . .

    Wait. A cinnamon BROOM? How much cinnamon do you spill? I mean, I’m a good cook, but I tend to be rather messy in the kitchen (Wife thinks that ‘gourmet’ is a verb which means ‘to destroy’), but a damp wash cloth usually suffices to clean it up. And if it spills on the floor, my stocking-clad foot will usually pick it up. Or at least spread it around so it won’t be so obvious.

  155. Carlie says

    How could something so small make so much mess?

    It’s almost like they violate the laws of conservation of mass and actually generate more than their entire body mass of gross fluids.

  156. Cannabinaceae says

    SallyStrange, the KK hangout was a real nerd fest. He had announced on G+ that he would hangout with any group of people who bought nine copies of What Technology Wants. So at one of the monthly Baloney +Hangouts (which span the continent from Seattle to Ames to Baltimore) I suggested this. Folks were amenable so as we were partying together digitally, I went to his website, tentatively reserved one of the final few slots, then went over to Amazon and ordered books for everybody.

    Then: voila! I hope this is a meme that becomes popular. We’re going to try to talk some other authors into doing it for us.

  157. Dhorvath, OM says

    Ogvorbis,
    I figured it was actually a broom made of cinnamon and one scatters cinnamon on the floor deliberately with it.

  158. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    They’re wicker brooms that smell like cinnamon.

    You sweep enough of if up that the whole broom smells like cinnamon? Wow.

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    Yes, I am aware of cinnamon brooms. Our local Wegmans had tons of them just inside the front door and I think the wonderful smell added 10% to my grocery bill.

  159. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    Wife says that Cinnamon brooms are for making sweep rolls. (Which may explain why I do most of the baking in the family?)

  160. says

    Carlie, I agree, the gross fluids outweigh the net fluids.
    Babies, how does that work? [/GOP]
    +++++++++++++++
    StarStuff, check your vitamins, I think you might be irony deficient.

  161. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    It’s almost like they violate the laws of conservation of mass and actually generate more than their entire body mass of gross fluids.

    Too narrow in scope; you’re obviously not thinking multiversally. Every child contains permanent, but thankfully-intermittent, portals to various of the para-elemental planes—i.e., the planes of noise, snot, vomit, and shit. They are merely the conduits through which these otherwise-obviously-impossible volumes of material and energy flow into this plane.
    -

  162. says

    Ogvorbis, I had no idea the Johnson Bar regulated the push steam from the expansion steam. I had no idea there was a difference.

    So, does the Johnson lever control the shuttle that runs between the inlet & outlet valves?

    I is ignorant about something I thought I knew.

  163. says

    One of the things about Deadliest Catch is that they work for 24, 36, 42 hours in a row. I’ve worked for max 36 and 42 hours in a row, (welcome to touring), but it wasn’t on deck in the Bering Strait.

    Yeah, I couldn’t do that when I was younger, I sure as hell can’t do it now.

    At least they get paid well, unlike the immigrants that pick our food.

  164. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    Ogvorbis, I had no idea the Johnson Bar regulated the push steam from the expansion steam. I had no idea there was a difference.

    The push and expansion steam are from the same steam flow. When one is starting a steam locomotive, one needs maximum torque (tractive effort) to get the train moving. Opening the valves fully allows the steam pressure to move the piston.

    Tractive effort is t=cPd^2s/D

    t is tractive effort
    c is a constant representing losses in pressure and friction; normally 0.85 is used
    P is the boiler pressure
    d is the piston diameter (bore)
    s is the piston stroke
    D is the driving wheel diameter

    So, for an example, the CN3254′s tractive effort would be .85*180*30^2*28/68 (numbers picked off the top of my brain, but the result is right (wow, I need a life)) , which is about 56,000 pounds. Which is enough to start a 4,000 ton train on level track.

    This number, however, assumes a fully open steam inlet valve. Which creates two problems. First, at higher speeds, the remaining pressure in the steam after the power stroke will work as a backforce against the power stroke because it cannot exhaust quickly enough. Second, and far more important, the steam pressure in the boiler would quickly drop to the point of uselessness.

    Steam locomotives which operate at pressures above 150psi are usually superheated. This raises the temperature of the steam, but not the pressure. At higher speeds, it allows the engineer to adjust the valve travel from full open to a very quick partial open (valve cutoff). Rather than using steam pressure to keep the piston moving, it is now moved by the expansion of the steam. Less steam is used to keep the locomotive moving.

    The Johnson Bar, or reversing gear, adjusts the valve timing from full reverse to full forward. A good engineer can leave the throttle alone and use only the valve timing to control speed and power. The closer to center the valve timing is set, the less steam is admitted. The value of the constant c in the equation depends on the cylinder dimensions and when in the piton cycle the steam inlet valves are open. If the steam inlet valves are closed immediately after obtaining full cylinder pressure (the steam expansion moves the piston, not steam pressure) the piston force will drop to less than half the initial force making c a smaller nubmer. If the cylinder valves are left open for longer the value of c will be higher as steam pressure moves the piston.

    So all the steam is from the same source, but adjustments in the valve cutoff (when the valve closes in the cycle) alter how the steam actually accomplishes the work.

    Does that make sense? This is not the normal way I would explain this, but I have to assume more general knowledge in this crowd than I do at work.

  165. Dhorvath, OM says

    Ogvorbis,
    I am not following. A: how does temp rise but not pressure? Is this solely in the piston and not in the boiler? B: What is the difference between pressure pushing the piston and expansion? They both refer to a volume change with a different pressure at one end than at the other, don’t they?

  166. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    A: how does temp rise but not pressure? Is this solely in the piston and not in the boiler?

    A superheated steam locomotive has a manifold between the throttle and the valves. The steam flow is divided between multiple small diametre pipes which are routed through the fire flues, capturing more of the heat. The rise in temperature desaturates the steam, drying the steam out.

    In saturated steam, the steam and pressure are balanced — even a small decrease in pressure can allow the steam to condense. By transferring more heat into the steam, the condensation pressure is lowered without adding any pressure. This increases how much the steam will expand when running at close cutoff while also avoiding some of the weird clogging effects which can be created by high-pressure saturated steam within a reciprocating system.

    And I have to be completely honest: I have no idea why it does not raise the pressure.

    B: What is the difference between pressure pushing the piston and expansion? They both refer to a volume change with a different pressure at one end than at the other, don’t they?

    Both are using steam pressure to move the piston. The reference to expansion is locomotive engineer shorthand. Basically, wide cutoff allows the entire cylinder to fill with high pressure steam while the piston is moving. Maximum power, full pressure for almost the entire power stroke, but almost impossible to exhaust the steam at anything more than 5 or 10 mph. At close cutoff, the high pressure steam enters the cylinder near the top of the stroke and begins to push the piston. Then the valve closes and, as the steam expands to fill the increasing volume of the cylinder, continues to push the piston, though with reduced (and reducing) pressure. Once a locomotive is moving, much less power is needed to keep it moving — the reduced power (from reduced pressure through the power stroke (and the reduced power is not constant — it is high pressure at the top of the power stroke and, by the end of the stroke the pressure is quite low due to the expansion of the volume)) at higher speeds keeps things moving.

  167. says

    Am I the only one who gets turned on by steam tech?

    So, Oggie, at first it’s just pressure, then later it’s squirting a bit of superheated water into the cylinder which rapidly expands to drive the piston?

    130 psi in the tubes doesn’t seem to be enough to drive a locomotive. It must be higher in the cylinder.

    (When Ogvorbis writes about steam engines I feel like Homer Simpson with donuts, ‘Mmmmgarbel garblemMmmm’)

  168. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    130psi is more than enough. Hell, 25 is more than enough. Think about it. If one has a 30-inch cylinder, that provides 22/7*15^2 = 707 square inches of piston face, times 25 pounds per square inch yields 17,678 pounds of force on the face of the piston with long valve cutoff (subtract 15% for friction and other shorthand variables) and you still have over 15,000 pounds of force moving the piston. Maybe half of that goes to actually turning the wheels. And that’s with only 25psi. And, due to the expansion in the expanding volume of the cylinder as the piston moves, there is usually less pressure in the cylinder than in the boiler, drypipe, wyepipe, henway, or valves.

  169. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    So, how much does a henway?

    Thank you so much for stepping on my original and new joke.

  170. evilDoug says

    Jebus, the joke is “What’s a henway?”. You gotta work on your delivery.

    Ogvorbis, weren’t you “Brother” before? I used to wonder if that meant you were a member of the B of L F & E.

    You steam fans might have liked the place where I grew up, many years ago. There was a working (meaning actually used as a repair shop) roundhouse, with turntable out front, water tower, ice house & all that good stuff. A mile or so outside of the village was a large reservoir, dug my mules and men, that was used for water for steam engines. My maternal grandfather was a machinist in the shop. My father was a locomotive fireman in his early days, and now one of what is doubless a pretty small number of living persons who worked on steam locomotives. I think the last time he actually ran a steam train was sometime in the eighties when it was making its way across Canada. He still had his pinstripe overalls and engineer’s hat (the proper kind with a fitted band – not one of those silly things with a plastic adjusting strap in the back). Alas, dementia has robbed him of much of his memory, though he still remembers a remarkable amount from long ago – events of 5 minutes ago are lost forever.

  171. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    Ogvorbis, weren’t you “Brother” before? I used to wonder if that meant you were a member of the B of L F & E.

    Yes, I was Brother before. But then I decided that y’all needed some adult supervision, so I become your Father.

    And no, I’m not a member of the BofLF&E. Which is, today, a rather ceremonial institution. Most contracts are now negotiated under the UTU.

    My father was a locomotive fireman in his early days, and now one of what is doubless a pretty small number of living persons who worked on steam locomotives.

    Don’t bet on it. In many areas of the US, steam locomotives soldiered on well into the 1950s. We have a volunteer locomotive engineer who hired out as a fireman on the D&H in 1945.

    Alas, dementia has robbed him of much of his memory, though he still remembers a remarkable amount from long ago – events of 5 minutes ago are lost forever.

    Which is why oral history projects are so damned important. You, and your grandfather, have my sympathy.

  172. says

    If Coco Jumbo starts interrogating me I will probably answer his questions.

    Not because he deserves it, but because I have this silly notion that accurate information tends to make people better in the long run.

    Apologies in advance to Janine and everyone. I hate Coco’s guts too.

  173. David Marjanović, OM says

    Caught up with the previous subthread. Thanks for all the congratulations and hugs! :-)

    Watermelons are disgusting. So are all other melons. On a level with strawberries!

    I have a friend who’s a synasthete – for her, everyone’s name has its own colour. Sarah is a warm lemony yellow, David is a rich chocolate brown etc.

    That fits. *munch* *munch*

    I wonder if Sahra is red instead of yellow. A bright, but not light, red… B-)

    In worse news, I haven’t even tried to catch up. I was busy [...]

    Yet another indication that you’re as smart as we all think you are. :)

    (You have your priorities straight!)

    ROTFL! Sorry for the egregiously misleading wording. I was hardly more busy than at other times. This time, it just happened to be interesting work, so I actually did it.

    I may well be a running man, but don’t try to imagine what would happen if I slit four thousand throats every night.

    Semmelweiss

    Semmelweis. Not with ß (which would make etymological sense), not with ss, just with s.

    When Hungary rebelled against Austrian rule in 1849, sentiment against Hungarians ran high. Semmelweiss was let go and the policy of hand washing ended at the Vienna hospital.

    Huh. Interesting that Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis was counted as Hungarian despite his completely German name.

    BTW, the revolution was in 1848 and was a much more complex affair. Wikipedia has a clearly better account of the effects it had on Semmelweis.

    David Marjanović, I owed you an answer on the “Why are boys” thread. I think I answered it with Google:

    http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=398425

    Thanks! So it’s not just the US.

    The standard sterilization habit of all microbiologists, AFAIK*, is fresh 10% bleach.

    Interesting… I’ve only ever encountered 70-% booze + Bunsen burner. Instruments would be held into the booze, stirring it a little, and then poked into the flame to burn the booze off.

    Over here, there is no such thing as household bleach. Sodium hypochlorite is sold only for killing mold off walls. (Stark contrast to France, where every supermarket carries tablets for making eau de Javel which everyone uses to clean their floors and sinks and toilets and close to everything else. The smell of any freshly cleaned place in France is quite unpleasant.)

    Is it just me, or does foreplay in porn clips tend to be hotter than the actual sex?

    Fairly easily imaginable that I’d agree, but I’ve never watched any porn, so I can’t tell…

    Honey badger don’t care.

    Awesome.

    Say hello to the leg of the Brachiosaurus in the museum of natural history in Berlin from me (my favourite dinosaur. There’s a picture of 9-year-old me in front of that bone)

    ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^

    BTW, it turned out not to be Brachiosaurus, so it’s now called Giraffatitan.

    And I hadn’t noticed you have a blog now…! I’ll have a look tomorrow (Pharyngula time).

    The cults of action for action’s sake

    Fascism.

    Theophontes, the story about Cantonese having nine tones is more complicated (three of them, the 入聲 aren’t really different tones

    …they’re simply syllables that end in -p, -t, -k (or -b, -d, -g if you prefer); this doesn’t occur in (most of) Mandarin, and these syllables only occur in 3 of the 6 (Hong Kong) or 7 (Canton) tones, so they’re traditionally counted as separate tones even though that’s not what they are from a phonetic point of view. Pffft knows it all; follow the link to “checked tones”, too.

    Students associated with that Free Church also offer a ridiculous service called “Pray Station”. Yes, like “Pray Day”, they use the actual English term, “Pray Station”, probably to make it sound like “Play Station”..

    I bet this is ruthlessly mocked.

    Though my friend told me when on the last Pray Day event the pastor prayed for the school, for the teachers to give the right grades etc, the principal got so pissed that he asked the pastor never to mention the school again in his prayers….

    Heh.

    Girl just reported that Fox News is freaking out becaue Obama’s Thanksgiving address did not mention gods or Christianity or church or religion.

    YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DOING.
    FOR GREAT JUSTICE.

    so how about the

    Black Dictionary?

    Sounds scary, eh…

    Depends on the dictionary. Which one is it?

    I ate so much that I think my innie is now an outie.

    :-O

    the Blasted Wasteland™ of North Dakota

    Badlands. They’re called badlands, and they’re only bad if you foolishly look for the living – look for the dead, and you shall be rewarded thousandfold.

    Catholic West German male circle waiting to succeed the “eternal chancellor” Helmut Kohl, only to be outmaneuvered by a Protestant, East German woman [link added]

    …after eternity had been terminated by Gazprom Geerd, who raised their taxes while practicing his evil laugh.

    CDU-senate (Hamburgese for “government”)

    I see what you did there.

    I just got to the part of the second Discworld novel where they describe Herrena. That may be the single best description of a character I’ve read in a LONG while.

    I was also very relieved to finally see mockery of the “barbarian” trope of fantasy. It’s good mockery.

    quake before the power of Monkeyshit-brown Filefolder-full-of-as-yet-ungraded-midterm-exams!!!!!!!

    fuck, guess I ought to get to it

    Emigrate. Over here, all exams are end-term.

    (OK, OK, there have to be 3 dates for every exam per term, but usually one is at the end, one is fairly shortly thereafter, and hardly anybody needs the third…)

  174. Esteleth says

    Alrighty then. I have returned from Thanksgiving at the grandparents’ house. There was pie, more pie, and some cobbler.

    Dinner featured my uncle explaining the neutrino faster-than-light experiment using his mashed potatoes as props. It was deliciously absurd.

  175. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    Star Stuff:

    Enjoy your innocece. I wish I could write the same (well, I could, but, considering I just answered him on the other thread, that would not be accurate).

  176. Crudely Wrott says

    Sailor @ #254 — Heh. Glad you liked today’s APOD, me too.

    Actually, my post referenced yesterday’s, 11-25-11. I just noticed that the generic link is not date specific.

    Might be a good idea to link to some other astronomy pix, but not right now cause I’m going to read another chapter of The God Delusion.

    I’ll be baahk.

  177. Carlie says

    evilDoug, that was the joke. By asking how much instead of what’s, the Sailor cut the joke right out from under poor Father Ogvorbis. Kind of like how my child and I have been on a run of “chicken butt” jokes lately, and trying to outmaneuver each other on saying “what”.

  178. David Marjanović, OM says

    Oops. Moderation triggered because there are 7 links in my comment. Part 1:

    Caught up with the previous subthread. Thanks for all the congratulations and hugs! :-)

    Watermelons are disgusting. So are all other melons. On a level with strawberries!

    I have a friend who’s a synasthete – for her, everyone’s name has its own colour. Sarah is a warm lemony yellow, David is a rich chocolate brown etc.

    That fits. *munch* *munch*

    I wonder if Sahra is red instead of yellow. A bright, but not light, red… B-)

    In worse news, I haven’t even tried to catch up. I was busy [...]

    Yet another indication that you’re as smart as we all think you are. :)

    (You have your priorities straight!)

    ROTFL! Sorry for the egregiously misleading wording. I was hardly more busy than at other times. This time, it just happened to be interesting work, so I actually did it.

    I may well be a running man, but don’t try to imagine what would happen if I slit four thousand throats every night.

    Semmelweiss

    Semmelweis. Not with ß (which would make etymological sense), not with ss, just with s.

    When Hungary rebelled against Austrian rule in 1849, sentiment against Hungarians ran high. Semmelweiss was let go and the policy of hand washing ended at the Vienna hospital.

    Huh. Interesting that Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis was counted as Hungarian despite his completely German name.

    BTW, the revolution was in 1848 and was a much more complex affair. Wikipedia has a clearly better account of the effects it had on Semmelweis.

    David Marjanović, I owed you an answer on the “Why are boys” thread. I think I answered it with Google:

    http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=398425

    Thanks! So it’s not just the US.

    The standard sterilization habit of all microbiologists, AFAIK*, is fresh 10% bleach.

    Interesting… I’ve only ever encountered 70-% booze + Bunsen burner. Instruments would be held into the booze, stirring it a little, and then poked into the flame to burn the booze off.

    Over here, there is no such thing as household bleach. Sodium hypochlorite is sold only for killing mold off walls. (Stark contrast to France, where every supermarket carries tablets for making eau de Javel which everyone uses to clean their floors and sinks and toilets and close to everything else. The smell of any freshly cleaned place in France is quite unpleasant.)

    Is it just me, or does foreplay in porn clips tend to be hotter than the actual sex?

    Fairly easily imaginable that I’d agree, but I’ve never watched any porn, so I can’t tell…

    Honey badger don’t care.

    Awesome.

  179. David Marjanović, OM says

    Part 2:

    Say hello to the leg of the Brachiosaurus in the museum of natural history in Berlin from me (my favourite dinosaur. There’s a picture of 9-year-old me in front of that bone)

    ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^

    BTW, it turned out not to be Brachiosaurus, so it’s now called Giraffatitan.

    And I hadn’t noticed you have a blog now…! I’ll have a look tomorrow (Pharyngula time).

    The cults of action for action’s sake

    Fascism.

    Theophontes, the story about Cantonese having nine tones is more complicated (three of them, the 入聲 aren’t really different tones

    …they’re simply syllables that end in -p, -t, -k (or -b, -d, -g if you prefer); this doesn’t occur in (most of) Mandarin, and these syllables only occur in 3 of the 6 (Hong Kong) or 7 (Canton) tones, so they’re traditionally counted as separate tones even though that’s not what they are from a phonetic point of view. Pffft knows it all; follow the link to “checked tones”, too.

    Students associated with that Free Church also offer a ridiculous service called “Pray Station”. Yes, like “Pray Day”, they use the actual English term, “Pray Station”, probably to make it sound like “Play Station”..

    I bet this is ruthlessly mocked.

    Though my friend told me when on the last Pray Day event the pastor prayed for the school, for the teachers to give the right grades etc, the principal got so pissed that he asked the pastor never to mention the school again in his prayers….

    Heh.

    Girl just reported that Fox News is freaking out becaue Obama’s Thanksgiving address did not mention gods or Christianity or church or religion.

    YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DOING.
    FOR GREAT JUSTICE.

    so how about the

    Black Dictionary?

    Sounds scary, eh…

    Depends on the dictionary. Which one is it?

    I ate so much that I think my innie is now an outie.

    :-O

    the Blasted Wasteland™ of North Dakota

    Badlands. They’re called badlands, and they’re only bad if you foolishly look for the living – look for the dead, and you shall be rewarded thousandfold.

    Catholic West German male circle waiting to succeed the “eternal chancellor” Helmut Kohl, only to be outmaneuvered by a Protestant, East German woman [link added]

    …after eternity had been terminated by Gazprom Geerd, who raised their taxes while practicing his evil laugh.

    CDU-senate (Hamburgese for “government”)

    I see what you did there.

    I just got to the part of the second Discworld novel where they describe Herrena. That may be the single best description of a character I’ve read in a LONG while.

    I was also very relieved to finally see mockery of the “barbarian” trope of fantasy. It’s good mockery.

    quake before the power of Monkeyshit-brown Filefolder-full-of-as-yet-ungraded-midterm-exams!!!!!!!

    fuck, guess I ought to get to it

    Emigrate. Over here, all exams are end-term.

    (OK, OK, there have to be 3 dates for every exam per term, but usually one is at the end, one is fairly shortly thereafter, and hardly anybody needs the third…)

  180. says

    “Dinner featured my uncle explaining the neutrino faster-than-light experiment using his mashed potatoes as props. It was deliciously absurd.”

    I would have paid money to see that.
    ++++++++++++++
    Carlie, it’s like the secret to comedy …
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    timing!

  181. says

    Imported from RationalWiki, we now have articles on peer review and Pascal’s wager. Please edit them to your satisfaction.

    +++++
    I just noticed the Special:Import function is restricted to admins. If you want a page from any other wiki imported, just say so, and I or another admin will do it.

    Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, RationalWiki, and everything at Wikia are properly licensed for us to import at our leisure.

  182. chigau (本当) says

    I’m sure someone posted this link (a long time ago on a thread far, far away)
    Shakespeare insult generator
    Old (1996) but still fun.

    I was looking for spleenweasel and found:
    “A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen as you are toss’d with.”
    Henry IV, part I

  183. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Theophontes:

    Did you mix Phoenicia with a good cup of fresh flour yet? If not, do so right away. Also put her in an oven with the light on to achieve a slightly warmer temperature.

  184. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    This morning I noticed bubbles on top of the mix.

    That’s good. Stir and feed twice a day. Do not throw out half when you feed, though, until the yeast gets really active, even if you have to move to a larger container.

    Do report back!

  185. Crudely Wrott says

    Sailor, I forgot to allow for the oops factor. That is, I forgot that I linked to the CLIMSO picture yesterday. Well, late last night which I mistook for early this morning. oops

    However I just found this over at Bad Astronomy. It seems rather unremarkable at first but the description is fascinating as is the source.

    I’m certain that I linked to this picture this morning. Early. Almost last night. Oops factor accounted for.
    >checks time and date . . .

  186. says

    @ Josh

    She is definitely bubbling now. I have been thickening the mixture and have just added some flour. Hopefully in a few hours the thickened mix will be trapping bubbles and we will be completely sure.

    So Phoenicia (PBUH) has risen after three days in a “cave” (well, multifunction Pananasonic oven). Exactly like jeebus – which only goes to show, to all but fools, that she truly is the Risen Goddess.

    (Aside: The old so-called “Pagan” religions all had layers of meaning. As the initiates rose through their religion, these new levels of meaning where shown to them. In the case of the Corn Gods (think Attis and Dionysus) the highest level might well have been as simple as understanding how to make alcohol and bread through …. Yeast. So you see, Phoenicia is Gawd ™.)

  187. Crudely Wrott says

    Here’s a peek inside of Orion, my favorite constellation. This an image taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope which has infrared eyes that can see through and inside dark clouds of interstellar gas and give us a look at the brilliant goodness hidden therein.

    Orion is just now wheeling up the eastern night sky and will be presenting itself for prime viewing during the coming winter months*.

    Link goes to the SST site where you can choose a very large image to enjoy.

    *for northern hemisphere stargazers; you antipodeans will just have to make due with those two half pint galaxies you have down there. ;^>

  188. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Thou spleeny bat-fowling wagtail!

    Thou mewling ill-nurtured miscreant! Take you me for a sponge? Thou hast nor youth, nor age, But as it were an after-dinner’s sleep dreaming on both. Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch!

    —-Huzzah for the Shakespeare insulter.

  189. Crudely Wrott says

    Thou lily-liver’d boy.
    Such inordinate and low desires,
    Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such mean attempts,
    Such barren pleasures, rude society,
    As thou art match’d withal, and grafted to!
    Thou wimpled earth-vexing canker-blossom!
    Go, prick thy face, and over-red thy fear,
    Thou dissembling pottle-deep malt-worm!
    Go, ye giddy goose.
    .

    (More fun than can be had without laughing! Thanks for reminding me of this valuable resource, chigau. I’d previously forgotten to bookmark it. Error corrected. Bring on the trolls.)

  190. says

    Using TET as my notepad for a moment. I have a comment either in moderation or spam trap over at Token Skeptic. If it went to spam, it’ll probably never be noticed. I’m copying it here so it doesn’t feel like a wasted effort.

    +++++
    I am against atheist unity. It’s a guilt trip, and only used to marginalize minorities.

    Individuals are entirely capable of recognizing specific situations in which it is beneficial for them to work in short-term coalitions to advance shared interests.

    For example, if I see someone being disparaged for being an atheist, I can recognize immediately that it is in my interest to defend them on this particular issue, because I want a world in which atheism is not a reason for disparagement.

    And I don’t need anybody lecturing me about atheist unity in order to recognize this. I’m not stupid.

    Whenever I hear “we’re all on the same side,” I cover my wallet and watch my back.

  191. says

    ahs,

    I have a comment either in moderation or spam trap over at Token Skeptic.

    Kylie’s blog has eaten plenty of my comments in the past, sometimes emailing her helps to make them reappear.
    As to the topic of her post, I was doing night shifts for the last 3 days, and had been thinking about writing something on this notion myself, more wrt the fallout from EG, but in a similar vein to your “Individuals are entirely capable of recognizing specific situations in which it is beneficial for them to work in short-term coalitions to advance shared interests”, to which I would agree, but with some wider applications attached, the details of which I still have to work out in my head.

  192. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Out of a combo of vanity and concern for how we treat ableism here on pharyngula (though I like to think mostly the latter), I wanted to follow up on something.

    I remember recently that I made a comment about how certain sexist statements get slammed hard & immediately (and rightly so) but that ableist statements which I consider to be equivalent in their marginalizing effect are often ignored, and when dealt with at all are dealt with quite gently in comparison. It might have been ahs or it might have been another regular, but someone said that they were inspired by what I’d written to put something about ableism and how to handle it in the pharyngula wiki.

    Does anyone know if that ever happened? If not, does anyone remember either who promised it or what thread it happened on so that I could look up who promised it & ask that person directly? I’m not having much luck searching, because so many of the terms are common.

    Thanks. I bow to the collective wisdom…

    CD

  193. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Now that I think about it, I think it might actually have been Ing.

    But you know, vowel, hump, curvy-letter. How am I supposed to tell them apart?

  194. says

    Crip Dyke:

    Does anyone know if that ever happened?

    It was me, and I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but it’s still on my to-do list.

    It’d be done already if it was just a copy & paste job, but I want to splice and fiddle with it. I’m also lazy. But I haven’t forgotten! :)

  195. says

    Rorschach:

    but with some wider applications attached, the details of which I still have to work out in my head.

    Poke at me if you get it written out; I’d like to read it.

  196. says

    Poke at me if you get it written out; I’d like to read it.

    I’d really like to do it at the GAC, to get people back on course. One can dream hey. I might put a draft on the blog tomorrow. The days when you come off night shifts are not the ones you can be at your intellectual best. I’m drinking Beck’s and watching Greta Christina’s talk at Skepticon 4 right now.

  197. says

    @ ahs

    I am against atheist unity.

    I would tend to agree with this statement. Atheism is such a trivial position. Indeed it is the default position for every single person on the planet – until they are cajoled, threatened or brainwashed into believing in some form of incredible skydaddy. One might as well just talk about the theologically uninfected. It does not say anything about their positions with respect to more important, human oriented (as opposed to fable-oriented) world views and ways of interacting with others.

    The most important of the worldviews that appears on this blog is probably humanism (and to a lesser degree skeptism and science). Here it makes a lot of sense to club together and take an active role in supporting others. One supports LGBT rights because they are human rights, one tackles ableist slurs because they are iniquitous. Sexism undermines us all. It is only when atheism is attacked in a similar manner that we need band together to defend the people thus affected. If people kept their religion to themselves we would not need to do this. (Other than perhaps stiving to ensure children’s rights to a real education rather than an indoctrination.)

    It doesn’t bother me that there are no gods or that the sun will rise tommorrow. What does matter is how people (fail to) interact with each other.

    There are a lot of shitty people hiding behind the atheist banner. There are a lot of people doing real good under the goddist banner. If we mean much more than a dictionary definition of “atheism” ie if we incorporate far more humanist perspective, then I can see a point in banding together for our goals. It appears to often that is not the case. Let us then not let the tail wag the dog. We must not draw our lines in the sand with the atheist stick.

  198. John Morales says

    rorschach,

    Actually, try that again, for the sake of transparency.

    Thank you. Your second link was worth my investigation, unlike your first.

    (I see you ‘get’ it)

  199. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    Very happy to hear that AC Grayling is coming to the GAC in Melbourne next year.

  200. says

    The most important of the worldviews that appears on this blog is probably humanism (and to a lesser degree skeptism and science). Here it makes a lot of sense to club together and take an active role in supporting others.

    I would not generally give any more consideration for calls to “humanist unity” either. Any individual humanist is likewise able to recognize when their values are at stake and they should act.

    This is not to say there’s no role for humanist organizations. When there’s money and other resources to be allocated for one of several potential messages or actions, people will come together for longer coalitions and organize accordingly. This is true whether we’re talking about renting a billboard or initiating a years-long lawsuit and multiple electoral campaigns against creationism in the classroom.

    Even with a years-long campaign, individuals recognize their interests and the parts they can play; calls for unity are, at best, extraneous.

  201. says

    Very happy to hear that AC Grayling is coming to the GAC in Melbourne next year

    So will we go for Cath Deviny’s red dress instead this year, when given the choice?

  202. says

    I do note that the GAC did not invite Ophelia Benson, Greta Christina or Rebecca Watson to speak. I think they are missing out, and missing an opportunity. Might be the makeup of the organising committee.

  203. John Morales says

    [meta]

    ahs,

    I would not generally give any more consideration for calls to “humanist unity” either.

    Pet peeve of mine, this use of the subjunctive mood when responding to the indicative.

    (Call me on it if I succumb)

  204. says

    subjunctive … indicative

    Thank fuck I never learned what those words mean. And all I know about the genitive is it feels good.

  205. John Morales says

    ahs,

    Thank fuck I never learned what those words mean.

    “Too late!, too late! the maiden cried”

  206. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    ahs #345

    Thanks!

    Good luck with that lazy thing… although I’ve got no small skills at it, I’m never able to do it consistently over long periods. I think I’m DoingItWrongTM.

  207. John Morales says

    [OT + meta + trivial]

    Crip Dyke: it looks much better if you use the HTML entity &trade;

  208. julian says

    Still reading Delusions of Gender. Stumbled across the following in the following

    “If a male rat, without even the aid of a William Sear baby-care manual, can be inspired to parent then I would suggest that the prospects for human fathers are pretty good.”

    Don’t find this very convincing (not that biology being what’s kept women doing all the housework and child rearing is an explanation I find in any way convincing) but I can’t stop giggling over it.

  209. julian says

    Stumbled across the following in the following

    Christ but I do need to learn to proofread what I write.

  210. KG says

    I had an interesting, if rather alarming experience on Thursday. Standing at the canteen counter getting coffee, and just after a highly stress-inducing conversation, I felt a pain in the central chest, and found it hard to breathe. I sat down, but as it did not go away after a minute, asked for a first aider. The pain was not severe, but I got clammy, nauseous and faint. By this time someone had gone to phone for an ambulance, while the first-aider (to whom I am very grateful) was doing all the right things (I’m one myself, and I found I was, oddly, practically ticking them off even as all my internal alarms were flashing PANIC! HEART ATTACK!! PANIC!!! YOU’RE POSSIBLY ABOUT TO DIE!!!!). I’m glad to record I felt no inclination at all to pray. By the time the ambulance crew arrived the pain had gone, although I still felt nauseous and clammy, and my hands were tingling. From that point I got the full heart attack treatment – aspirin, GTN, oxygen, blood pressure check (109:61, quite low for me but not dangerous) a line in the crook of the elbow in case they needed to give pain relief, and once I got to hospital an injection in the abdomen, blood taken for tests, a handful of pills, a cardiac monitor, various apparently functionless patches stuck on my chest, and the same questions asked five times by different staff. My wife had been called from my work, but had been unable to take the call, so the first she knew about it was when I called her on the A&E (Accident and Emergency) phone (I hadn’t got my mobile), and gave her the name of the wrong hospital – actually the psychiatric hospital on the same huge site as the A&E, so she at first thought I’d had a nervous collapse.

    Which may not be far from the truth. The triggering conversation was just the latest episode in several months during which I’ve felt increasingly anxious, helplessly trapped between people to whom I have responsibilities as project coordinator, incompetent or indifferent top management, EU bureaucracy, and a looming deadline. I was kept in for 24 hours, spending my first ever night in hospital, but my bloods, ECG and chest X-ray were all normal, and the most senior doctor I saw, after hearing that I routinely cycle and swim without getting chest pain, diagnosed my condition as “non-specific chest pain”. I don’t even have to go back for a stress test.

    I went back to work on Friday afternoon. To find, oddly enough, that progress toward resolving the logjam had finally been made.

  211. says

    Theophontes,

    I’ve argued elsewhere, but I see this as three categories:

    1. dictionary atheism: for the reasons you cite, I think it’s useless.

    2. atheism as a skeptical-rational approach: I think that is a good approach as even the secularised societies of Western Europe have a lot of trouble with woo (but other regions too, of course!)

    3. atheism as a facet of humanism: I do think we should keep these two apart. As you mention yourself, there are goddists who do good. But you will probably not be able to achieve unity because you might be able to find common cause with goddists on certain issues, but there would always be that big elephant in the room.

  212. says

    I was kept in for 24 hours, spending my first ever night in hospital, but my bloods, ECG and chest X-ray were all normal, and the most senior doctor I saw, after hearing that I routinely cycle and swim without getting chest pain, diagnosed my condition as “non-specific chest pain”.

    Yeah, we do 10 of these each day. Go home ! I’m glad you got a clear bill of health tho KG ! One of my collegues, in his mid-40s, had severe chest pain the other day, and all tests came back clear in the end. Adrenaline and stress do get to us sometime, but it’s worth noting that this doesn’t mean we’re all going to end up having ischemic heart disease.

  213. says

    Made some Dutch hard fudge. (Basically fudge, but with a higher sugar to moisture ratio. It’s traditional Dutch Sinterklaas candy.) A bit too much sugar and a bit too much cacao, but I’m rather pleased nonetheless. I’m not much of a cook.
    ====
    KG, I’m glad it turned out to be not your heart.
    ====
    Zwarte Piet is banned from the Dutch expat’s Sinterklaas parade in New Westminster. Reactions on the forums over here (NL) are predictable and boil down to “I don’t think it’s racist so it’s not”. Face -> palm, head -> desk. Blind spots the size of a truck. Apparently, according to some, those African Americans Canadians don’t understand the tradition, have no right to be offended and should not interfere.
    ====
    Has anyone seen Tigger the Wing? It’s been almost a month.

  214. Emrysmyrddin says

    KG: I had identical symptoms a few years ago when I was in the process of being constructively dismissed. My stress levels went through the stratosphere and my doctor told me that it was heart palpitations and astronomical blood pressure, and fell over himself to sign me off from work. It was a scary time – the first time I truly comprehended (I knew, but that’s not the same) the mind-body link, that psychosomatic reactions were still reactions and could cause real, life-threatening problems.

    Please take care of yourself, and take the problems seriously – I’ve learned the hard way over the past two or three years that your mind needs as much TLC when in pain as a broken leg would do. It’s easy to dismiss the effects of stress, especially long-term stress, but it doesn’t mean you’re incapable or weak if you show physical manifestations. It took me a long time to realise that, too. I’m still realising it.

  215. says

    Aw, look: a slimey troll has his feelings hurt because he didn’t get properly placed in the dungeon.

    Tristan wasn’t banned. He was disemvoweled and warned off. All bannings are accompanied by a note on the Dungeon page. Tristan reminds me of that loon on the Intersocktion who kept complaining that he’d banned, despite the fact that I hadn’t and told him he could try commenting, and he’d see it wasn’t so.

    Of course, these are also the kind of raving mad obsessive cranks who would eventually get banned anyway, I suspect.

    Man, that thread at Coyne’s place looks like ERV North — the usual suspects all making the same tired whines.

  216. ChasCPeterson says

    the usual suspects all making the same tired whines

    well, yeah, but now in the only-recently-tired context of GelatoGuyGate.
    And then BunnyGenderGate.
    They’re not going to quit if you keep giving them material. Not with a brand-new thread at Abbie’s to continue on (sometimes she notices!!!!). Proving onceandforall that PZ is a cowardly poopyheaded hypocrite is their raisin date. (On account of he likes Rebecca Watson and all.)
    Fleas, and occasionally they have a valid point.
    But not usually.

  217. chigau (本当) says

    The SO’s chest pain on Thursday last at 3AM turned out to be pneumonia.
    He was in the ER for less than 12 hours.

  218. says

    @ ahs

    Even with a years-long campaign, individuals recognize their interests and the parts they can play; calls for unity are, at best, extraneous.

    I might be wrong in detecting a certain cynicism in your views – wrt motivation – but I do not see it as ad hoc as that. My personal position is far less personal.

    In terms of objectives I am perhaps more cynical – I do think it will take far more than my sad little lifetime to even begin to resolve the problems we face. Actively taking a humanist position will be the default setting. Ongoing, and not as the situation arises. It is not a personal calling, and therefore will always be separate from my own contentment or lack thereof of my personal situation. There is a need for unity because we all have to share one planet.

    Is one position any more logical than the other … altruism vs healthy self interest? Both positions make sense from an evolutionary perspective. Possibly both could be true – dependent more on the person in question.

    (I am not sure I completely understand your position though … do we only ever wade in on our own behalf? The exigencies of my life circumstances are certainly very different to your own and could explain our different positions. Whether one is better than the other can perhaps only be measured by our respective efficaciousnesses. )

  219. says

    @ Pelamun

    1.

    Yes.

    2.

    Atheism is a regular outcome of a skeptical-rational approach.

    3.

    Atheism is a logical outcome of humanism. It is either skydaddy ™ or your neighbour.

    there would always be that big elephant in the room.

    The truth is not everything. Ultimately we design the lifestyles/societies we live with. We make choices. These choices are the important components of creating the societies we live in. They do not have to be cold blooded or inevitably logical. (Would you treat others as less than you if it could be conclusively proven they are “less worthy”? Would any of us like to live in such a “brave new world”?)

  220. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    KG:
    Holy shit! I’m glad you’re okay, but damn, that’s scary.

    Question for any other reptile owners out there:
    I’ve got a problem with Emery the turtle’s heat bulbs. They keep exploding. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong– I’ve bought new lamps, I’ve made sure that the wattage of the bulbs doesn’t exceed the lamp rating (I’m using 100 watt bulbs and the lamps are rated to 150) and I haven’t touched the bulbs with my bare skin while putting them in.

    The only thing I can think of at this point is power surges, so I’ve plugged the lamps into a power strip, but if this doesn’t work, I’m gonna scream.

    Poor Emery. :(

  221. KG says

    Thanks for the good wishes, rorschach, Carlie, Emrysmyrddin.

    Please take care of yourself, and take the problems seriously – I’ve learned the hard way over the past two or three years that your mind needs as much TLC when in pain as a broken leg would do. – Emrysmyrddin

    Yes, I do – I recorded the episode as an “industrial injury or illness” on the sick leave form, and I’ll take some time off a.s.a.p. – I have three weeks’ leave I have to take by end of January or lose, and another two weeks I could take. If I had only myself to think about, I’d probably retire (and get some real research done :-p, as well as some political activism) in about 6 months, when the project I mentioned will be finished (I’m fortunate to be one of the few in the UK middle class still with a reasonable pension, into which I’ve paid as much as possible over the past 13 years) – but with Mrs. KG’s employment insecure, like everyone’s in the NHS, and colleagues depending on my work in other projects, I’ll probably need to hang in there for a couple more years.

  222. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    KG:

    Glad you are safe and healthy. Sounds scary, though.

    chigau:

    Again, scary, Hope SO is safe and healthy.

    I had bronchial pneumonia (now called acute reactive lung disorder (which really does make more sense)) a couple of years ago. Ended up with a broken rib, multiple pulled muscles, and lost a half an octave from my upper vocal range.

  223. Rey Fox says

    I tend to agree that atheist “unity” is a pointless goal, insofar as atheism per se is not a particularly deep point, and I see little worth in being “unified” with people who may disagree with me in many other ways. I certainly do not see a problem with tying atheism with humanism and minority rights movements as a way to do good for society, and since we are in a unique position in that we do not have any creeds that explicitly or implicitly exclude any categories of humans and therefore operate solely on logic and philosophy. The only way that religions are staying at all relevant these days are by allying with social movements, whether they be progressive (womens rights, gay rights), or regressive (moral panics). The people who object to such not-dictionary atheism are typically apolitical and unmotivated anyway.

  224. says

    Hugs, KG! I’m glad you’re OK after that scare.

    They’re not going to quit if you keep giving them material. Not with a brand-new thread at Abbie’s to continue on

    I just had to look. The same lowlife scumbag who went over to B&W to tell Ophelia to her face that she is a c-word has now made a rape threat against Skeptifem (Rot13ed):

    60. Fbzrbar ernyyl arrqf gb zbhag Fxrcgvsrz naq grnpu ure ubj gb or n jbzna.
    Cbfgrq ol: GlyreQ | Abirzore 27, 2011 8:10 NZ

    I think I’m going to puke.

  225. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    KG: I went to the ER with similar symptoms about a year ago, and got a similar diagnosis. I found out this year from my gastroenterologist that (among other fucking things) I have a hiatal hernia and eosinophilic esophagitis; the symptoms of this may be infarction like. I now take omeprazole regularly, and it seems to help quite a bit with intermittent chest pain.

    Glad to hear that you’re OK.

  226. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    theophontes:
    If I could, I’d just snuggle all of the time to keep Emery warm and happy. *sigh* If only I could get paid to be a turtle snuggler….

  227. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    Carlie:
    Ha! That made my morning.

    I don’t know if turtles in general are snuggly, but Emery is. Last night when I took her out of her tank, she promptly crawled up in my lap, wormed her way under my cardigan, and fell asleep. :D

  228. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Oh. Fuck Christmas. I forgot to mention that, as concerned as I became with KG. Also, fuck the holidays, pagan or otherwise. I am ecumenical in issuing a “bah humbug” to any and all comers*.

    I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that the Salvation Army is a Christian organization, and as such promotes unjust doctrines, such as:

    Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life.

    And

    The Salvation Army deplores society’s ready acceptance of abortion, which reflects insufficient concern for vulnerable persons, including the unborn. (Psalms 82:3-4)

    And

    The Salvation Army is committed to promoting, strengthening and protecting God’s institution of marriage.

    Don’t give these assholes your money.

    *Except the wife and child who are devilishly capable of thawing my heart. A little.

  229. Grumps says

    OMG two of my obsessions (Minchin and cheese) come together in one amazing Albert hall extravaganza! I think I might be in heaven.

  230. Carlie says

    Oh wow. You know that feeling when you thought you were really weird, and then it turns out that a lot of other people are weird the same way, so at least it’s not just you?

    When I was in college I was a tutor, and therefore spent many lonely nights in a lab room where no one actually came to be tutored. No one, that is, except the cleaner, who would sweep the floor and clean the blackboards (with a huge dry mop head) every night while I was there. I still go to that scene in my head when I need a very calming thought, because the sounds of the sweeping and cleaning the board were so soothing. I’ve looked on white noise things before and nothing came close, so I assumed this was some oddity to just me.

    And then, I found a fifteen minute video of brushing sounds. And another of sweeping. Holy cow. Now I has a happy.

  231. SteveV says

    John Morales:

    PPS Is it yet time for me to decry the utter waste of electricity involved in putting unnecessary lights up for Xmas? :)

    [scrooge]The time is ripe. The streets of Helston are now bathed in ghastly, flickering and multi-coloured light.[/scrooge]

  232. says

    Theophontes,

    Atheism is a logical outcome of humanism. It is either skydaddy ™ or your neighbour.

    I’m not sure. When I was a card-carrying, fence-sitting agnostic, the “love thy neighbour” message of Christianity resonated with me. And not just with me. My stepfather, who isn’t religious at all, always told me that Christianity had “civilised Europe”. There is also political movement in German conservativsm known as Herz-Jesu-Marxismus.

    The truth is not everything. Ultimately we design the lifestyles/societies we live with. We make choices. These choices are the important components of creating the societies we live in. They do not have to be cold blooded or inevitably logical. (Would you treat others as less than you if it could be conclusively proven they are “less worthy”? Would any of us like to live in such a “brave new world”?)

    I’m not sure if we’re talking about the same thing. I was talking about working together with theists to achieve a better world/society etc. If atheism got redefined to include humanism, I’d think that it might alienate theists you might want as allies for certain causes. But I also know that the definition of what humanism is can also be variable.

  233. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    Haven’t quite caught up. Oh well.

    So, B&N is “against Christmas”? Suddenly I don’t feel very bad for Borders not being around anymore. I can still make the fundies fume by buying truckloads of books at B&N. Yay!
    —————————————

    Rocks for gifts: Not quite the same, but I have geode that my FIL gave to me one year for Christmas. Once I have my desk all cleared (again), it’s going to occupy a place as a paperweight, with the crystal side up. I still rank it as one of the best gifts I ever got. If someone I knew was into rocks, I’d give them one for a gift, especially if it’s one in a color or pattern I know they’d like a lot. I don’t see how that would make a bad gift.
    —————————————

    It seems that every year, the colds get worse…

    Yesterday I was on a bug trip with my family to La Salette, a location named in honor of one of those areas where Mary was supposed to have appeared, blah blah blah. Anyway, I’d been sneezing a bit since that morning, but figured I’d have until today for things to get worse, if they did.

    While we were sitting in the chapel post-concert, as there was to be a mass afterwards, I suddenly felt like someone had hit me with a wrecking ball. I couldn’t seem to keep my eyes open, I was so tired. Even my head felt weird. And my nose was still stuffy, and no a bit drippy. Seriously, what the hell?

    I feel better today, aside from my nose. I’m still wondering just what the bloody hell happened back there.

  234. David Marjanović, OM says

    Warm hugs to lipwig, pheonix and Elisheba.

    Cautious congratulations to SallyStrange; can you receive bank transfers?

    I am reading the bunny threads (not commenting, I’m too slow) and I really wonder at the people who read a blog-post, note that there are over 800 comments and post their own comment without reading any of the previous 800.
    Without even doing a search for some of the terms they plan to use in their comment.
    What are they thinking?

    They’re not thinking.

    …which is precisely the problem.

    At a societal level, however, consumerism and such aside, it is still very much a xtian holiday. It did not become the behemoth of holidays that it is because it originated with European pagans. The idea that anyone can and perhaps should celebrate it because, “hey, it’s a holiday, there’s food and drink and lights and people…” Nah. Really, no. If you grew up with it as a tradition, you have a sort of privilege in not seeing that, for those of us who didn’t grow up with it, it is not as universal and secular as you would like to believe, at least not in the public square.

    What about Japan? The festival of kurisumasu is the celebration of love and rampant consumerism. :-)

    Here’s something not seen every day. This photo really is quite surreal.

    It’s awesome!!!

    It’s like they don’t understand the danger. It didn’t do them any harm, obviously, so it’ll be fine for their kids. Does not follow! Some of their kids are going to attach the sacredness to this and end up being evangelicals because of how peaceful they felt with these smells, lights and feasts.

    [citation needed]

    Nobody I know, no matter how religious they are, believes because of Christmas – and I don’t think I know any non-Christian parents in the first place.

    Legos still look like legos

    =8-) Wohl den Dänen und denen, denen die Dänen wohl sind!

    The word “cinnamon” brought to mind this letter.

    The first three paragraphs are so lovely… and the rest X-D is… painful. X-D *headshake*

    I hope cinnamon isn’t ruined for me forever.

    Can I use my battlestar to catch deadly fireflies?

    + 1

    Too narrow in scope; you’re obviously not thinking multiversally. Every child contains permanent, but thankfully-intermittent, portals to various of the para-elemental planes—i.e., the planes of noise, snot, vomit, and shit.

    You mean “gross fluids” come out of hammerspace? *shudder*

    I would have also accepted “jogging.”

    ROTFL!

    The old so-called “Pagan” religions all had layers of meaning.

    Some of them did.

  235. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    And all best recovery-type wishes to KG. I’ve always thought the NHS (for all its imperfections) is probably the best thing the UK has ever come up with. Hope you take your R&R time.

  236. David Marjanović, OM says

    I’ll take some time off a.s.a.p.

    Good!

    I don’t know if turtles in general are snuggly, but Emery is. Last night when I took her out of her tank, she promptly crawled up in my lap, wormed her way under my cardigan, and fell asleep. :D

    :-}

    Is happiness a warm turtle?

    There is also political movement in German conservativsm known as Herz-Jesu-Marxismus.

    ~:-| Please explain.

  237. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    David M:

    Is happiness a warm turtle?

    Well, a room-temperature turtle, anyway.

  238. Sili says

    More twittery:

    When shopping yesterday, I noticed the supermarket had put up condoms next to the beer selection. Christmas truly has arrived.

  239. changeable moniker says

    @Sili, in my local Tesco, they have ibuprofen in the wine section. Now that’s planning ahead!

  240. changeable moniker says

    julian & Carlie:

    Delusions of Gender [...] required reading material for teachers, professors and managers?

    lolsob

    You might be surprised. In my old gig at a Very Large American Corporation (hereafter, VLAC™), there was a mandatory diversity course focused on exactly the kind of negative performance effects of the kind Fine rounds up in first couple of chapters, as well as the micro-inequities that got described on the bunnies thread as “paper cuts”. So, you know, progress.

  241. spondee says

    Lurker food post:

    There is a chicken wrapped in bacon roasting away in my oven. I haven’t done this before, but there hasn’t been a large grease fire (so far), and it looks awesome.

    Stuffed it too.

    I must flee and baste!

    spondee

  242. Pteryxx says

    Random linkdrop: Avicenna’s “Sexual Camels” post, which cuts to pieces one of those Christian “Marriage Without Intimacy” advice articles. After the fourth time laughing out loud, I had to pass it on…

    http://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/2011/11/sexual-camel.html

    I mean the implication is that people have hobbies due to a lack of sex (Which may explain why my CV is so full) but can’t a man go fishing without it having to be about sex? Sometimes a cigar is a cigar and sometimes the urge to go watch 22 grown men fight over a ball is about the urge to go watch them fight over a ball. Your loves and interests outside sex are what make you an individual and quite frankly if your entire personality is geared towards fucking then your entire personality will just be vapid and uninteresting.

    Or you are a male anglerfish…

  243. changeable moniker says

    Oh, and @David Marjanović, also from the bunnies thread:

    you will be misunderstood (by someone, sometime, somewhere), and therefore it’s your responsibility to minimize the number of opportunities at which you could be misunderstood.

    QFMFT.

    Interestingly, a prior gig at another large American firm had, as part of its mandatory training, the left-hand-column analysis of Chris Argyris:

    http://www.solonline.org/pra/pro/aut/sidebar2.html

    in many [...] situations it’s more effective to systematically inquire into why other people feel the way they do, instead of trying to hammer your own point home as dramatically as possible.

    Hmmmm, Pharyngula. ;)

  244. says

    An amazing 9 baking trays later…
    I think I deserve a cookie now :)

    So, let me entertain you with a
    +++WARNING CUTE KIDS STORY+++

    Last night, when we were driving home over a country road, #1 asked “Can we go faster?”
    I told her “no, sweety, we can’t”, and because I don’t want to be that kind of parent I tried to explain:
    “With driving it’s a lot like with running. The faster you go, the more you have to take care not to trip and fall, because the faster you go, the more you hurt yourself.
    That’s why you can go faster on the playground where there’s a lot of open space, than you can run at home, where there’s all those toys on the floor, the walls, the corners, all those obstacles.”

    How do you think I’m doing so far?
    Good?
    Because that was the moment the little one chose to ask:
    “Can we go faster, please?”

  245. KG says

    Thanks Antiochus E., David M., pelamun, Caine, theophontes, Giliell, Aratina Cage, Father O., Dr. Audley, and anyone I missed!
    Now, off to bed, on Mrs. KG’s orders ;-)

  246. chigau (本当) says

    changeable moniker
    I have 10 other threads open.
    I don’t get here that often.
    Want a cup of tea?

  247. David Marjanović, OM says

    Aratina Cage, you’re evil. You made me step into the slimepit. Now I’m swimming in it. Swimming in slime, or at least syrup, works just as well as in water (increased drag works both ways)… but… I don’t like it.

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herz-Jesu-Sozialist

    Huh. I’m surprised that’s mocked in a Christian-Social™ party. I suppose that explains why no such term exists in Austria, where the conservative party is quite explicitly founded on Catholic social teaching.

    a Very Large American Corporation

    Was it by any chance The Very Big Corporation of America which is a part of The Meaning of Life?

    I mean the implication is that people have hobbies due to a lack of sex

    :-o Oh dear. Do not try to imagine the number of hobbies I’d have if that were true.

  248. Sili says

    An amazing 9 baking trays later…

    I need to do that soon.

    Did two kinds of bread and a gratin today.

    Go, me!

  249. David Marjanović, OM says

    Ogvorbis, music video for you. And try to project yourself into Odysseus, because odyssomai means “I hate”.

    Because that was the moment the little one chose to ask:
    “Can we go faster, please?”

    X-D

  250. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    In case any one is wondering, in the I do not forgive thread, I am ignoring BWE.

  251. Moggie says

    Carlie:

    Oh wow. You know that feeling when you thought you were really weird, and then it turns out that a lot of other people are weird the same way, so at least it’s not just you?

    I do now! I’ve always found brushing sounds pleasurable, and often experience a tingling sensation in my scalp when I hear them. I never realised that this isn’t uncommon. When I’ve thought about this before, I’ve associated it with early childhood, hearing my mother sweeping in the next room and feeling that all was right with the world, because she was near. But this could be completely bogus.

  252. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    I know. But I am enjoying the barbs that Caine, Ichthyic and you have delivering to the troll. Do not think that it is not unappreciated.

  253. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Re: The I do not forgive thread

    I was going to run out today and stock up on idiots, but I can see that it will be some time before we run out. It’s almost like they’re making more idiots than we really need.

  254. changeable moniker says

    (And yeah, that’s another in my ongoing series of “it was X-ty years ago today” posts. I grow old, I grow old …)

  255. changeable moniker says

    1986?

    Van Halen – Best Of Both Worlds

    Listen to the way Michael Anthony stays on the regular D (?) until 3:55, then, whoomph, down to the low string of the 5-string bass.

    (Yes, it was twenty-five years ago, sigh.)

    FWIW, tiny-child (she of last night’s barfathon, which ended at 4am, after which we all slept in the living room) is a dead ringer for Sammy Hagar: squiqqly blonde, mad smile, completely bonkers. She’s also fine, thanks for asking. ;)

  256. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    @ Father O, whatever/whoever it was that pissed you off so royally, I hope it ceases/they cease to do so in whatever manner would most please you (with porcupines, in a fire, etc. as appropriate) and I hope that you are soon restored to mid-season form (as Bertie Wooster was wont to put it). Hug if you want one.

  257. says

    @David Marjanović, OM

    Aratina Cage, you’re evil. You made me step into the slimepit. Now I’m swimming in it. Swimming in slime, or at least syrup, works just as well as in water (increased drag works both ways)… but… I don’t like it.

    Heh heh heh. *evil grin*
    But seriously, three cheers to you for confronting them about the rape threat despite how they delight in weaseling out of anyone over there taking responsibility for the gravity of it in any way they can. I hope the few people who used to be respected here on Pharyngula but are now over there sniping at us are happy with the slimeballs they now find themselves surrounded by.

  258. Pteryxx says

    (re Star Wars marathon)

    …How did I never realize as a kid that the Star Destroyer that captured Leia’s ship was SHOOTING DOWN ESCAPE PODS??

    Dang. I really NEED to watch these again as a grown-up.

  259. happiestsadist says

    Moggie! I was amazed when I found out that this is not only a semi-normal thing, but it has a name!

    (Brushing sounds don’t get mine going, but other weird things do.)

  260. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    *hug* for KG; glad to hear that it wasn’t a heart attack! Scariness.
    -
    *hug* for chigau, and best wishes for the SO’s speedy recovery.
    -
    I’m currently riding the anxiety rollercoaster; The Husband has a persistent cough and low-grade, intermittent fever, concurrent with a MRSA outbreak in a very personal place. He’s been seen, given antibiotics, etc., but he just now took himself back to bed, so I’m thinking…back to the clinic tomorrow.
    :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(
    -

  261. Carlie says

    Moggie – I’m sure the memories have something to do with it too! Part of why I like my memory scene, I think, is that it was back in a time when I had no cares in the world other than school.

    Yes, this is an other goodie for Carlie.

    Is it sadly predictable that I was making an audible squee sound before I even got that far? :)

    You know, I was on the fence leaning way over on the side of “give Andy another chance already” for the last few days. But this last thread has pushed me all the way on the other side just because I can’t stand to agree with those people. They’re showing everything that’s wrong about being accommodating. Barf to them all.

  262. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    [OT selfish rant]

    This is weird: I have this thing on my left ankle, just below the ankle bone. It’s super itchy. I thought it was a bugbite or something, but it’s been itching for two weeks now. It hasn’t spread or anything, it’s just the same as it was, only now slightly scabbed from the itching.

    I am puzzled and annoyed.

    [end rant]

  263. Carlie says

    David – have a chocolate. You need to get your strength back up after facing the Dementors. (“Chocolate. Eat. It’ll help.” – Remus Lupin)

  264. Carlie says

    happiestsadist – if you go looking for “asmr” videos, there are a ton out there with different sounds.

  265. Pteryxx says

    @Benjamin: following Never Too Late on my playlist is Nickelback “If Everyone Cared” which I will sing at karaoke.

    If everyone cared and nobody cried
    If everyone loved and nobody lied
    If everyone shared and swallowed their pride
    We’d see the day when nobody died…

    (I know, and I’m an atheist, but my character who has this as a theme song is a disillusioned Christian and empathic healer. For myself I just call it metaphor.)

  266. happiestsadist says

    I know! Mine has almost nothing ever to do with sound, though, which most do. Massage videos and makeup tutorials work for me, though, and there is no lack of then online. Maybe a combination of the fiddliness and the physical? Also, good stage acting, when viewed irl. Which makes me miss directing.

  267. chigau (本当) says

    I wanted to comment on this hours ago but I lost my place:
    ahs ॐ @340

    Whenever I hear “we’re all on the same side,” I cover my wallet and watch my back.

    QFFT

  268. says

    Janine:

    I know. But I am enjoying the barbs that Caine, Ichthyic and you have delivering to the troll. Do not think that it is not unappreciated.

    It’s Mriana who has my hackles up more than anyone right now. Fucking liar.

    Cicely, tentacles crossed for you and husband.

  269. chigau (本当) says

    Thanks all.
    The SO is on antibiotics and seems fine.
    (except for the not drinking thing)
    (I’m joining him. Solidarity!)

    cicely
    Good thoughts for The Husband.

  270. Pteryxx says

    starwarsrant

    …How dare they edit Kenobi’s krayt dragon call? I didn’t spend half my childhood learning to imitate it just so these jackholes could go and “fix” it!

    /starwarsrant

  271. changeable moniker says

    @chigau:

    How is tea (pot?) made?
    Does the milk get poured in first?
    Are there biscuits, too?

  272. chigau (本当) says

    changeable moniker
    Loose tea (in a mesh tea-ball) in a pot (of course).
    You do your own milk.
    Current biscuit-content of chez chigau is limited to Girl Guide mint-chocolate cookies and they are frozen.
    Still in?

  273. Nimravid says

    [OT for There is no one true Skepticon]

    I’m puking on the intent is magic idea that says pussy has nothing to do with insulting women, the speaker just means “cat” and simultaneously means “contemptible man” but the word might possibly be derived from pusillanimous so it’s totally OK… here is why I have somehow got it in my head that pussy is derogatory toward women:
    puss·y 1
    n. pl. puss·ies
    1. Informal A cat.
    2. Botany A fuzzy catkin, especially of the pussy willow.
    3. Vulgar Slang
    a. The vulva.
    b. Sexual intercourse with a woman.
    4. Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a woman.
    5. Slang A man regarded as weak, timid, or unmanly. (thefree dictionary.com)

    But since there’s some on the thread who agree that saying pussy isn’t actually a problem at all, or, if we think it is, the easiest solution is to give everyone a graduate degree in linguistics instead of just not using pussy as an insult, maybe some day I can reach the dizzying heights of respect that a hula hoop chick in half-pants might hope to have in the atheist movement. And maybe the reason for her half-pants is the effect of friction on hula hoop tricks! But more likely, they’re derived from pusillanimous.

  274. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    Damn I was never very good at haiku.
    —————————————–

    Another one who finds certain sounds strangely soothing. For me, it’s the sound of scissors cutting hair. I guess since I’ve never gotten stabbed or anything by a hairstylist, and I’ve always had a nice time in salons, that’s the association. Also, this video does it for me.

    In the right mood, I even find metal music to be soothing. Many’s the time I’ve snoozed on a bus while not-very-soothing-music played in my ears.
    ————————————–

    Read some of the I do not forgive thread. What a mire to wade through. I won’t even try posting, everyone over there is already doing a good job, plus a few of the posts just made me see red.

  275. changeable moniker says

    Pot, warmed, tea, boiling
    water poured, three minutes, then
    Milk first, cake optional

  276. chigau (本当) says

    missed the haiku
    would have replied chigau
    will try again soon
    —-
    pathetic attempt
    haiku has three syl[la]bles
    chigau means dif[ferent]
    —-
    aarrggh

  277. says

    Nimravid, while gender-based insults are frowned on here, and I really dislike them myself, I wasn’t about to get into yet another fight over it in the Skepticon thread, as I think talking about mental illness is more important.

    I don’t have any problems with the hula-hoop performer, nor do I have any problem with the vid in the context of the post, which was about there being talks and perfomances which did not conform to a narrow definition of skepticism, which has been a noisy point of contention many a time on Pharyngula.

  278. says

    Nimravid,

    I may have misunderstood you, but linguists don’t believe that etymology is relevant to describing synchronic language usage.

    Of course it is important for describing language change, but that’s a different issue.

  279. Sili says

    Another rabbi joke:

    A poor Jew finds a wallet with £700 in it. At his shul, he reads a notice stating that a wealthy Jew has lost his wallet and is offering a £50 reward to anyone who returns it. Quickly he locates the owner and gives him the wallet.
    The rich man counts the money and says, “I see you have already taken your reward.”
    The poor man responds, “What are you talking about?”
    The wealthy Jew continues, “This wallet had £750 in it when I lost it.”
    The two men begin arguing, and eventually they come before the Rabbi.
    Both men present their case. The poor man first, then the wealthy man who concludes by saying, “Rabbi, I trust you believe me.”
    The Rabbi says, “Of course.” The rich man smiles, and the poor man is devastated. Then the Rabbi takes the wallet out of the wealthy man’s hands and gives it to the poor man who found it.
    “What are you doing?” the rich man yells angrily.
    The Rabbi responds, “You are, of course, an honest man, and if you say that your missing wallet had £750 in it, I’m sure it did. But if the man who found this wallet is a liar and a thief, he wouldn’t have returned it at all. Which means that this wallet must belong to somebody else. If that man steps forward, he’ll get the money. Otherwise, it stays with the man who found it.”
    “What about my money?” the rich man asks.
    “Well, we’ll just have to wait until somebody finds a wallet with £750 in it!”

  280. Sili says

    Nimravid,

    I may have misunderstood you, but linguists don’t believe that etymology is relevant to describing synchronic language usage.

    Of course it is important for describing language change, but that’s a different issue.

    I think Nimravid knows as much, but the git elsethread doesn’t.

  281. changeable moniker says

    D’oh, missed a syllable in the first line there …

    Blank sheet paper sucks,

    (That’ll do.)

  282. chigau (本当) says

    Haiku is better suited to a language with unambiguous syllables.
    Like Japanese.
    —-
    I need words to replace “lame” and “crazy” since they (and their companions) are next to go from my vocabulary.
    “pathetic” and “feeble” seem OK for “lame” but
    “willful stupidity” and “dangerously obtuse” feel too wordy to replace “crazy”.

  283. says

    Haiku is better suited to a language with unambiguous syllables.
    Like Japanese.

    not syllables, but morae. In Japanese haiku, you count morae.

    /pedant

  284. says

    My favourite haiku, about the futility of war (or at least I try to interpret an anti-war message into it). Also I don’t really know all that many haiku…

    夏草や兵どもが夢の跡  
    (なつくさや つわものどもが ゆめのあと)
    natsugusa ya
    Oh summer grass

    tsuwamonodomo ga
    the soldiers’

    yume no ato
    dreams’ traces

    (sorry for the very uncouth translation, I was aiming at a literal translation)

  285. says

    correction, apparently it’s natsukusa, the rendaku doesn’t seem to obtain here unlike in Modern Japanese.

    Here you can read about the background of the poem

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiraizumi,_Iwate

    and a better translation:

    Ah, summer grasses! / All that remains / Of the warriors dreams. [1689]

    Actually it DOES remind me of the poetry of Andreas Gryphius after the Thirty Year’s War, also about the destruction of war.

    Like “Es ist alles eitel” It’s all in vain.

    “Was dieser heute baut, reißt jener morgen ein”
    “That which one man builds today, another crushes tomorrow”

    (It’s a full baroque poem with four stanzas, I won’t reproduce it here)

  286. Rey Fox says

    I thought maybe the “I will not forgive” thread would be about forgiveness, but I think it’s just the usual tone crap now. Boring boring boring, I declare “hands up” on it.

    Speaking of Kathy Griffin, she’s coming to Mizzou soon, would it be worth the cash?

  287. Nimravid says

    Right Caine, I didn’t want to stop the whole conversation on the thread, so I put it out here as off-topic. I’ve barely delurked and I’m hoping this is the right place.

    Nothing’s wrong with hula-hooping, I was good at it when I was a kid and what’s wrong with having fun at a conference anyway? Just. I barely ever see representation of women as far as atheist *talks* go, and she doesn’t have pants and is wiggling as “I really like your peaches, wanna shake your tree” wafts gently through the background.

  288. says

    oops, I didn’t really see what thread it was referring too… sorry. Yeah, that pusillanimous hypothesis is pretty ludicrous, and would be irrelevant anyway…

  289. says

    Nimravid:

    I’m hoping this is the right place.

    This is the right place and btw, Welcome to TET!

    I barely ever see representation of women as far as atheist *talks* go

    Yes, I know and that’s a very real problem and it’s been discussed many a time here. I have to say, I was very annoyed that PZ put that vid up along with JT’s, because it seemed to me it was providing an out for all those who are uncomfortable talking about mental illness (or even listening to someone talk about it). I do think it was a poor choice on more than one level.

  290. says

    Sili:

    Guilty as charged, Caine.

    You weren’t the one who got stupid with it, Sili. My annoyance was based on the fact that we rarely get into a good discussion of mental illness and the stigmas associated with it, and my heart sank at the thought of a massive derail of what I consider to be a serious subject.

    And for the record, I understand your objection and I agree with you on that score.

  291. Nimravid says

    I may have misunderstood you, but linguists don’t believe that etymology is relevant to describing synchronic language usage.

    Oh! I don’t believe it’s relevant either. But I didn’t know that linguists thought that. Giving everyone a linguistics degree would actually be more helpful than I thought then. It wasn’t the solution that immediately jumped to mind though.

  292. says

    Oh! I don’t believe it’s relevant either. But I didn’t know that linguists thought that. Giving everyone a linguistics degree would actually be more helpful than I thought then. It wasn’t the solution that immediately jumped to mind though.

    Diachrony and synchrony are usually pretty much separated from each other.

  293. chigau (本当) says

    StarStuff

    Why are you replacing “lame” and “crazy”?

    Using health issues as insults is no more acceptable than using sex or gender or skin colour.

  294. Pteryxx says

    Where Have All The Flowers Gone

    But the great thing about Basho and Gryphius that they penned their poems in the 17th century!

    Ah, you should have listened to the song. ~;>

    Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Young girls have picked them every one.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?