1. AntonGarou says

    I’m sorry to tell you Hannukah ended around two weeks ago.The intent was appreciated though, and I hope you enjoy Squidmass and/or Newtonmass(which ever you choose to celebrate)

  2. Sigmund says

    And don’t forget Eid.
    I’ve got many friends who are muslems. Like my christian friends, they also have supernatural beliefs that they are afraid to question, but underneath it all they are good people – like most people of other or no faith.

  3. Candy says

    Eat, drink, and be merry and repeat daily for the next 365 days. This blog is a gift of enlightenment in the fog of the new and not so improved Dark Ages. Thanks! Have a merry and a happy.

  4. carahan says

    PZ, Hanukkah ended weeks ago. Even great scientists have trouble understanding why Hanukkah moves around on your pathetic sun based calendar (well, I can’t figure it out either). That leap month is a little jarring every 11 years or so I must admit.

  5. JJR says

    SeattleJew: thanks for those links! Around here I saw an inflated Santa wearing desert fatigues and his jolly red hat, holding a “God Bless America” sign…one of those outside displays with the fan in the base to keep them fully inflated (and wasting electricity in the process).

    I looked at it and said to myself: it’s a perfect metaphor for this country on so many levels…
    Cartoonish, violent, wasteful of energy, God-bothering, etc.

  6. Janine says

    All Glory To The Hypnotoad!

    You can guess what is on right now.

    Enjoy this day. Soon I have to send time with my relatives. I hope I survive.

  7. JJR says

    Oh! And another thing…some of my neighbors have started putting out these MUSICAL Christmas displays, complete with timed light show…luckily the two houses that have these tacky things are a couple of blocks apart, so the sounds don’t mash up together, but still…I’m just glad I don’t live next to either one of these folks…having to put up with incessant electronic Muzak versions of popular Christmas hymns, along with the lights flashing in time with the music…it’s just so …ugh. Over the top.

    Another neighbor in another part of the subdivision has so many freakin’ lights on his house it’s probably visible from low flying jet liners. His overdone house display definitely inspires the words “Jesus Christ!”, though not in the reverential sense.

  8. says

    Yes, I’ve often thought it would be unpleasant living next to one of those guys who gets their house on the Internet for its display. With music would be worse.

  9. darwinfish says

    don’t forget Snowflake Day.
    enjoy your lamb taco and may jack frost bring you many excellent spices!

  10. Candy says

    Muzak versions of popular Christmas hymns, along with the lights flashing in time with the music…it’s just so …ugh. Over the top.

    Any neighbor of mine who tries that is going to get something like Guns ‘n Roses or Metallica blared directly into their bedroom windows at 3:00 AM.

    Many years ago I worked for the state of Iowa, when they actually had money for things like piped-in Muzak. Around the holidays, they’d play Muzak versions of Xmas tunes. To this day, some 25 years later, I can’t hear The Little Drummer Boy without a PTSD-type flashback to the coffee-filled rage and desperation of those days. Ah, holiday memories.

  11. says

    Merry Mischievous Chicken Day!
    I may be like a fly in the milk here, but I also was a Pharyngula once. And I’d also rather have an atheist for President (for the reasons mentioned in John’s Revelation, a few weeks ago).

  12. Captain C says

    Happy Every Holiday!!!

    I always figure the “holiday” season lasts from Thanksgiving, if not Halloween, through about Chinese New Year. That way, you can get as much celebration and revelry in as possible. Doesn’t matter what for.

  13. brightmoon says

    as a person with jews, atheists, christians, muslims, and hindus, in the family

    happy-every-holiday it is

  14. DLC says

    Isaac Newton was born on this day, which makes it worth remembering, if for nothing else.
    So Happy Newtonmas!

  15. hexatron says

    I noticed an incorrect formulation of the lunar leap month intercalation.
    There are 7 leap months in each 19 year period.
    Here is the Jewish and Chinese versions. They are quite similar, probably because the moon behaves about the same way in the Middle and Far East. Neither culture gives the extra month a special name–the Hebrews call it Adar 2 (Adar being the month that always precedes the intercalary) and the Chinese, who simply number their months, re-use the last number with an extra word that means ‘oh-crap, again?’ or something like that.

    I will also note that a malevolent diety set up the 7/19 ratio:

    7/19 is the probability that maximizes surprise over number of attempts with respect to trials. For example, if you kick your dog 7/19-ths of the time you approach him, you will get in more surprise kicks per approach than any other ratio (a higher ratio means less surprise, while a lower one just reduces the number of kicks).

    Well, actually, the best ratio is 1/e, where e is the base for natural logarithms, etc. But 1/e differs from 7/19 by only about 0.00054, which is less than a fifth of one percent.

    So the moon is at exactly the distance that it appears the same size as the sun, and the ratio of the period of the moon about the earth to that of the earth about the sun involves the number e, the most important transcendental number in mathematics. Do you really believe this is just a coincidence?

    I do.

  16. says

    Christmas. What a great word. I like to say it. Merry Christmas. Happy Christmas. Don’t forget that the “T” is silent in America. It evokes colors like red and green, it brings back memories of Elvis singing “Blue Christmas” and Springsteen and the E Streeters doing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” It’s brings back memories of presents, and Grandpa giving me my first sip of brandy when Mom wasn’t looking. It evokes memories of shoveling snow from the neighbor’s driveway so I could buy a present for the little red-haired girl.

    Christmas. Merry Christmas. Lots of great food and family stuff, and Dad working the holiday to get double-overtime pay to support seven kids and a dog. I remember knocking over the fake tree, and felt bad until I realized that no one knew who had done it; and my presents weren’t damaged. I remember drawing names for Secret Santa gifts, and buying Corey Plaine some hockey pucks. He later used them to throw at me because he was a bully and it was always fun to pick on Mike.

    I loved Christmas because the snow was still fresh in December; it didn’t turn all gray and yucky until the end of March. The skies were clear and crisp and we could even stargaze in town and sometimes watch the aurora borealis, then run inside to realize that we had frostbite and Mom wouldn’t let us rub our hands together because the crystals would break our capillaries.

    I remember hoping for hockey skates and instead getting a homemade sweater and a secondhand SpiroGraph with some parts missing. But they were gifts from the heart, and I appreciated that as I tossed them in the trash along with the wrapping. Christmas is always a day to treasure and remember.

    Christmas, and my brother on leave from the Navy. He had volunteered for the Navy so he wouldn’t get drafted into the Army during the Vietnam era. He came back for Christmas, and my other brother tuned a walkie-talkie to an FM frequency, and he interrupted the Bing Crosby music to announce that all sailors on leave from Great Lakes Naval Training Center had their leave cancelled cause they were shipping out to Vietnam. His 14 year old voice wasn’t convincing, but it was fun.

    I love to say the word “Christmas,” despite all of the other names for the Holiday. It’s what I grew up with. Someone tried to tell me once that a Savior was born on this day in the year “Zero.” I knew that it was nonsense. I had a perfect life, and there was nothing I needed to be saved from, except for perhaps Corey Plaine. My friend, Kelly Costin, was big enough to take care of that for me. He was around this “Jesus” wasn’t.

    Merry Christmas to all of Pharyngula-land, and may you have as many fond memories of it as I do!

  17. Epikt says

    The gift of knowledge is the greatest gift of all. Today I learned something so deep and profound that I knew I must share it:

    If you buy your nephew a model rocket set, be very, very sure you have taken the spare set of engines out of the box before putting the box in the fire.

  18. grinch says

    don’t forget Snowflake Day.
    enjoy your lamb taco and may jack frost bring you many excellent spices!

    Hey no snowflakes down here – workin our way up to 38 C in the next few days.

    Anyway, I hear there is a “war on squidmas”, with some retailers refusing to use the term and instead using “happy holidays”.

  19. not completely useless says

    Happy Winslob to all, and to all a good night.

    winter solstice observed

    Take back the solstice!

  20. bernarda says

    Someone claims that the first xmas tree was in Riga, Latvia in 1510.

    “In Latvia as in all of northern Europe, many other traditions that we now consider part of Christian worship were begun as a part of pagan activities where people were living their life as they had done for hundreds of years before.

    The pagans of northern Europe celebrated the their own winter solstice, known as Yule. Yule was symbolic of the pagan Sun God, Mithras, being born, and was observed on the shortest day of the year. As the Sun God grew and matured, the days became longer and warmer.

    It was customary to light a candle to encourage Mithras, and the sun, to reappear next year.

    Huge Yule logs were burned in honor of the sun. The word Yule itself means wheel, the wheel being a pagan symbol for the sun. Mistletoe was considered a sacred plant, and the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began as a fertility ritual. Holly berries were thought to be a food of the gods.”

  21. maryanne says

    I was inspired by your yarn octopus to make one myself for our tree. My aunt used to make them when I was a kid, have not seen one in years. Merry Sqidmas to all!

  22. Kseniya says

    This may have been my first Christmas wherein I consciously realized and fully admitted to myself that I no longer believed any of it. I’m sorry to report that the sense of liberation is more than countered by a feeling of loneliness and grief.

    Maybe I should crank up the Handel and belt out “Glory to God” and “The Hallelujah Chorus” for old times’ sake. I do love the music and the bright lights and do appreciate any and all sincere attempts at brotherhood, charity and good cheer.

    On Christmas Eve, I skipped church altogether and went to the Salvation Army instead. Toddlers in sheep’s clothing are cute, but there’s something to be said for doing something tangible and useful to benefit those who don’t even have a manger to sleep in.


  23. akari_house says

    Happy HumanLight! (Dec 23rd) Yeah, I know, it’s even tackier-named than “Bright”…

    I like the way the (95% non-Xian) Japan celebrates Xmas…get a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (thanks to a bizarrely successful marketing campaign way back when) and a white-frosting cake on the eve, then tear down all the decorations and go back to work on the 25th. I’ve always slightly suspected the fact they celebrate it on the eve was a subtle-handed way of subverting the (post-war occupation-encouraged) celebration while not actually having to pay respect to the religious holiday itself.

  24. says

    Hope you had a wonderful Squidmas with sons #1, #2 and I forgot the rest (sorry, I just can count 1,2, many ;-)))
    And wish you a Squiddish New Year!

  25. AlanWCan says

    Anyone else see this: Unholy dust-up at Church of Nativity in Bethlehem
    Members of rival Christian orders have traded blows at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, with four people reported wounded in the fray.
    Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic priests were sweeping up at the church following the Christmas rites of the Western churches earlier in the week.
    Reports say some Orthodox faithful encroached on the Armenian section, prompting pitched battles with brooms.

    The true colours of Xtianity. I just can’t understand why the BBC called it unholy, seems highly consistent to me.