Merry humbug

I don’t have much Christmas spirit left. There hardly seems much point when you’ve got no religion and your kids have grown up and moved away, and so many of the aunts and uncles and cousins and brothers and sisters you used to share a groaning table with have gone and died. It’s mainly a wistful echo of a holiday to me anymore.

There’s still one thing to bring me a little Christmas joy, though. No matter how depressed I might get, I’ll never get as bitter and spiteful and nasty over the holidays as a conservative Christian. Behold, I bring to you the gift of Kevin Sorbo and some well-fleshed grinning skulls at Newsmax sharing their gift of ludicrous resentment.

President Joe Biden talks about the Christmas myth of following a star to a child, the Son of God, bringing hope, joy, and peace. At his speech at the lighting of the national Christmas tree, he says the banned (according to Trump, anyway) word “Christmas” a half dozen times, and says “God bless you all, and may God protect our troops.” Yet smug announcer claims he was dancing around to avoid the religious sentiment, and the other one claims it was empty of the meaning of Christmas, and Kevin Sorbo responds by claiming the Democrats are hypocrites for not mentioning Jesus and leaving Christ out…and then plugs his new movie a couple of times.

Don’t worry, they move on to the true meaning of the holiday, which is about buying toys for the kids and complaining about teenagers and their cell phones.

That made me feel better about this cold dismal holiday. We’ve won the War on Christmas, and our opposition is reduced to joyless, bitter anger over their own holiday.

All right! I’ll now leave with the gift of advice: the most important thing for weathering the current icy cold is…warm dry socks. Keep your feet warm and you’ll feel so much better. I speak from experience — I went for a walk yesterday in the -25°C air with 30mph winds, a bad idea, I tell you, and a chill settled into the bones of my feet that made me miserable all day long. Be smarter than me!


  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    Yet smug announcer claims he was dancing around to avoid the religious sentiment, and the other one claims it was empty of the meaning of Christmas, and Kevin Sorbo responds by claiming the Democrats are hypocrites for not mentioning Jesus and leaving Christ out…and then plugs his new movie a couple of times.

    They’re counting on the fact that conservatives won’t listen to Biden’s speech. They can safely make up what ever shit they want knowing their followers aren’t going to fact-check them; not that they’d believe them even if checked.

  2. hemidactylus says

    I’ve got four days off which is a sufficient gift for me. I’ve spent my time on long neglected reading in vert paleo, evo-devo (discovered Minelli), and (shudder) cladistics. I even have Wilkins’ tome on Species. You should stop by his blog at Evolving Thoughts and say hi. He’s doing a biographic arc.

    Kinda cold here at just a few degrees above freezing but no blizzards or snow. It’s really scary elsewhere as the cold drop has killed people.

    I’ll make my dog ecstatic later with a mixture of kibble, Newman treats, moist chunks for flavor and hot water…mixed to a gruel. She’s elderly and not fond of plain dry kibble anymore. Closing in on 18 yo.

  3. mordred says

    Did use a break in the Christmas rain to take a nice muddy walk in the local forest with my present to myself, a Minolta Rokkor 50 3.5 Macro. Several decades old but in good conditions, I really like the pictures I took with that lens. Can’t wait for spring when moss isn’t the only thing adding colour to the photos.

    And not to forget the reason for the season: For the German churches 2022 brings a new record in the number of people leaving! Both the Roman child traffickers and the big protestant churches are seeing a serious dent in their income! Frohe Weihnachten and let’s hope we can top these numbers next year!

  4. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    Sometimes I think that Kevin got a bit confused by playing the son of a god on TV and thinks he’s a spokesperson for one.

  5. R. L. Foster says

    The exact same thing happened to my feet when I attended a solstice celebration at the local UUs on the 21st. It was in the low 20s and I was wearing my Hoka joggers. Not insulated in the least. By the time the ceremonies were concluded my feet ached something awful. When I got home I stuck ’em in a tub of hot water.

    Merry Fourth Day After The Solstice.

  6. Akira MacKenzie says

    I’ve been up since 04:30 CST and I’m working until 13:30. Fortunately its been really quiet.

  7. says

    Aaaand my furnace oil reservoir went dry at 5am. Nobody is delivering today so I am in the big red christmassive truck hauling jerry cans of diesel. Yo ho ho and a tot of good cheer!

    I have a gallon of cider, cloves, and a bottle of fireball so I’ll be medicating myself accordingly once I have the house back to 50.

  8. robro says

    I liked Heather Cox Richardson’s take on the season in her email last night: “For those struggling this holiday season, a reminder, if it helps, that Christmas marks the time when the light starts to come back.” Indeed, four or five days after the solstice even a rudimentary ancient sun watcher could see that the cycle had turned, the days were getting longer, the winter would eventually end. However, as I had to remind some friends chortling over a meme of how “fucking cold” it is everywhere in the US but California, we should remember what summer could mean for California: another horrific fire season.

  9. Doc Bill says

    As a Leftist Communist Marxist Socialist Pinko Commie Godless Old Shouting-at-Clouds Smart Alec with a PhD in Curmudgeon, I have celebrated Christmas like a fiend every year! Tree, carols, feasting, drinking, feasting, drinking, presents, cards and the whole nine yards of enchilada. I don’t have an Elf on the Shelf but I do have a Fauci on the Couchie. It’s my favorite time of the year. Kids are grown and long gone, no other relatives, but the Spirit of Scrooge McGrinch lives within me all year in anticipation of these few weeks. We even scored tickets to Mannheim Steamroller.

    Even as poor, old Avocadro, my long-suffering avocado tree will once again be frozen to the roots, my late Christmas present will be vibrant green avocado shoots pushing through the soil in March or April. Now, there’s inspiration! I get knocked down, but I get up again. Oh, and in the bonus round, our pipes didn’t burst this year as they did the year Cancun Cruz abandoned us during a freeze. So, hang in there, PZ; you lived longer than Mozart!

  10. Louis says

    I celebrate y’all every day a little bit. If you want celebrating today, here it is:



  11. says

    Wow, I made it four whole minutes into that pile of dreck before I had to shut it down.
    What’s wrong with this picture? Biden’s remarks packed a lot of Christian mythology and references into a very short amount of time, while Mr. Sorbo used the occasion to push some political views and promote himself and his new films. Complaining about what Hollywood puts out and what parents are buying for their children–wow, this guy must really hate capitalism and free market economics.
    As for kids “married to their electric games,” one of my most memorable presents as a child came back in 1969 when I was gifted with Electric Football. For those unfamiliar, it’s plastic football figurines moving about on a vibrating field. It was a stupid and unrealistic game, but far from losing interest in a month, I adapted and played with those figurines on the floor for a few years. I did eventually find a use for the vibrating field, but I won’t get into that here.

  12. says

    If Jesus Christ was a real person (doubtful), would he have been called Jesus Christ at birth? No. As was the way back then, he would have been Joseph’s son, or maybe son of Joseph. Not sure how it works in Aramaic. Doesn’t matter, Jesus Christ would not have been his birth name. The interpretation I always got from the bible was that he wasn’t Jesus Christ until after the resurrection. That would be the holiday called Easter. Before that, he was just some loudmouth asshole who heard voices in his head.

  13. whheydt says

    Any joy I might have had in the day or the season died almost exactly six month ago.
    Re: Ray Ceeya @ #17…
    He would have been Jeshua ben Joseph. Assuming, that is, that newborns got named right away, rather than waiting a few days to see if they survived.

  14. moonslicer says

    If you’ll kindly forgive me, I love Christmas. It was one of the main influences in my eventually becoming an atheist.

    I don’t think I was more than 7 or 8 when I began to despise the day. My family made it quite obvious how phony the whole celebrations were. I can remember my mother and sister (in patronizing fashion) telling me, “Christmas is what you make of it!” Well, what we made of it was the typical, middle-class frenzy of mindless spending.

    Hence my eventual view of the faith: if they don’t take it seriously, why should I? I owe that Jesus fellow quite a lot for the manner of his birth: he got a barn, we got the mall. Praise the Lord!

  15. DonDueed says

    I recently relocated to the Buffalo NY area. You may have heard we’re in the midst of a blizzard. My Xmas has been spent helping four of my new neighbors dig out. So much more satisfying than a church service!

    The family gathering has been postponed until at least tomorrow, possibly even later. I’m one of the lucky ones who has a fun family with no MAGA (or similar) elements.

  16. nomdeplume says

    I believe that “Xmas Day” is the result of a mistake in calculations of the Winter Solstice by some ignorant religious writer. A time for hope in the northern hemisphere, but down here in the south the peak of dangerously high temperatures and bushfires is yet to come. And next year will be worse as we return to El Nino. Still, nothing that prayer and good thoughts can’t fix eh?

    Still, best wishes to the good ship Pharyngula and all who sail in her – and if you can;t be merry then be happy.

  17. whheydt says

    Re: nomdeplume @ #21….
    Pretty much every Northern Hemisphere culture had a just-after-the-Solsticce celebration. After all, the Sun is coming back. It won’t be Fimbul Winter. The Christian Church just co-opted the fact that everyone was celebrating anyway and (rather arbitrarily) assigned Christmas to it. Gave the Christians both cover and something to do while their pagan neighbors were whooping it up.
    As near as one can come to determining the time of year for the nativity, note that the “shepherds were watching their flocks by night.” That gets done only in lambing season, which is NOT in December.

  18. raven says

    OT but not by much.
    Some people have unusual ways of celebrating the xian Holidays.

    Ho Ho Ho.
    Looks like 14 thousand people got a right wingnut terrorist attack for Xmas.
    Another battle in the War on Xmas, I guess.

    3 power substations vandalized in Washington state, over 14K lost power.
    This makes 12 power substations attacked by terrorists in the last few weeks, 2 in North Carolina and 9 in the Pacific Northwest.

    ABC News
    3 power substations vandalized in Washington state, over 14K lost power
    Sun, December 25, 2022 at 1:29 PM PST·1 min read

    Three power substation facilities were vandalized in Pierce County, Washington, on Christmas morning, knocking out power to more than 14,000 customers, authorities said.

    Two of the break-ins were at Tacoma Public Utilities substations and the third was at a Puget Sound Energy station, according to the sheriff’s office in Pierce County, which encompasses Tacoma.

    No suspects are in custody, according to the sheriff’s office.

    “It is unknown if there are any motives or if this was a coordinated attack on the power systems,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

    MORE: Attacks, plots similar to sabotage of North Carolina power grid have threatened infrastructure nationwide

    Tacoma Public Utilities said about 2,000 of its customers are still without power and crews are working on restoration.

    The Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin last month warning that U.S. critical infrastructure could be among the targets of possible attacks by “lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances.”

    Earlier this month, two electrical substations were shot up in North Carolina, causing tens of thousands of customers to lose power and prompting local officials to declare a state of emergency.

    3 power substations vandalized in Washington state, over 14K lost power originally appeared on

  19. StevoR says

    I had a great relaxed Xmas lunch with my wonderful athiest & supportive parents and one of my brothers yesterday. Boxing Day today and the real celebration – watching the Boxing Day Test match – my “religion” here being cricket! South Africa are batting first and currently 5 / 93 with Jansen on 11 runs and Verreynne on 16 batting.

    Currently 37 degrees Celsius outside right now or 98.6 Fahrenheit according to this :

    with 40 degrees Celsius (104 F) forecast for tomorrow.

  20. mcfrank0 says

    Despite the fact that I could not advance past Second Class because I cannot swim (the Australian crawl anyway), I learned a number of useful things including the difference between a square knot (good) from a granny knot (bad if you don’t want it to slip) and how pack your clothes to maximize available space (roll them up), the most important was that keeping your feet warm and dry was the secret to life, the universe, and everything (at least while you are camping).

    If you have a choice between protecting your feet or your head, the feet win everytime. (I tried to work “hands down” into that sentence but decided clarity outweighed humor).

    PS there is no need to list why you think the BSA is not a good organization. I already know. I quit over 50 years ago.

  21. brightmoon says

    Christmas had always meant a small break from my mother’s toxic behavior . Her grandfather was a minister and they had to be on their best behavior in the weeks around Christmas. So I usually enjoyed the holiday as she still had the habit of behaving herself. That said I actually like the decorated tree , and trimmings and the food along with hanging with less toxic family members. Even though I’m a Christian I never had the habit of thinking about this as a religious holiday for some odd reason . Family was a bit too secular