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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

HUMOR: 'Twas the Nocturnal Segment of the Diurnal Period Preceding the Annual Yuletide Celebration

Found this on the internet while looking for some information on the famous poem. Found it amusing - thought I'd pass it on. -OlderMusicGeek

'Twas The Night Before Christmas
(as if written by a technical writer for a firm that does US government contracting)

'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the annual Yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence, kinetic activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this potential, including that species of domestic rodent known as Mus musculus. Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward edge of the wood burning caloric apparatus, pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure regarding an imminent visitation from an eccentric philanthropist among whose folkloric appellations is the honorific title of St. Nicholas.

The prepubescent siblings, comfortably ensconced in their respective accommodations of repose, were experiencing subconscious visual hallucinations of variegated fruit confections moving rhythmically through their cerebrums. My conjugal partner and I, attired in our nocturnal head coverings, were about to take slumberous advantage of the hibernal darkness when upon the avenaceous exterior portion of the grounds there ascended such a cacophony of dissonance that I felt compelled to arise with alacrity from my place of repose for the purpose of ascertaining the precise source thereof.

Hastening to the casement, I forthwith opened the barriers sealing this fenestration, noting thereupon that the lunar brilliance without, reflected as it was on the surface of a recent crystalline precipitation, might be said to rival that of the solar meridian itself - thus permitting my incredulous optical sensory organs to behold a miniature airborne runnered conveyance drawn by eight diminutive specimens of the genus Rangifer, piloted by a minuscule, aged chauffeur so ebullient and nimble that it became instantly apparent to me that he was indeed our anticipated caller. With his ungulate motive power travelling at what may possibly have been more vertiginous velocity than patriotic alar predators, he vociferated loudly, expelled breath musically through contracted labia, and addressed each of the octet by his or her respective cognomen - "Now Dasher, now Dancer..." et al. - guiding them to the uppermost exterior level of our abode, through which structure I could readily distinguish the concatenations of each of the 32 cloven pedal extremities.

As I retracted my cranium from its erstwhile location, and was performing a 180-degree pivot, our distinguished visitant achieved - with utmost celerity and via a downward leap - entry by way of the smoke passage. He was clad entirely in animal pelts soiled by the ebony residue from oxidations of carboniferous fuels which had accumulated on the walls thereof. His resemblance to a street vendor I attributed largely to the plethora of assorted playthings which he bore dorsally in a commodious cloth receptacle.

His orbs were scintillant with reflected luminosity, while his submaxillary dermal indentations gave every evidence of engaging amiability. The capillaries of his malar regions and nasal appurtenance were engorged with blood which suffused the subcutaneous layers, the former approximating the coloration of Albion's floral emblem, the latter that of the Prunus avium, or sweet cherry. His amusing sub- and supralabials resembled nothing so much as a common loop knot, and their ambient hirsute facial adornment appeared like small, tabular and columnar crystals of frozen water.

Clenched firmly between his incisors was a smoking piece whose grey fumes, forming a tenuous ellipse about his occiput, were suggestive of a decorative seasonal circlet of holly. His visage was wider than it was high, and when he waxed audibly mirthful, his corpulent abdominal region undulated in the manner of impectinated fruit syrup in a hemispherical container. He was, in short, neither more nor less than an obese, jocund, multigenarian gnome, the optical perception of whom rendered me visibly frolicsome despite every effort to refrain from so being. By rapidly lowering and then elevating one eyelid and rotating his head slightly to one side, he indicated that trepidation on my part was groundless.

Without utterance and with dispatch, he commenced filling the aforementioned appended hosiery with various of the aforementioned articles of merchandise extracted from his aforementioned previously dorsally transported cloth receptacle. Upon completion of this task, he executed an abrupt about-face, placed a single manual digit in lateral juxtaposition to his olfactory organ, inclined his cranium forward in a gesture of leave-taking, and forthwith effected his egress by renegotiating (in reverse) the smoke passage. He then propelled himself in a short vector onto his conveyance, directed a musical expulsion of air through his contracted oral sphincter to the antlered quadrupeds of burden, and proceeded to soar aloft in a movement hitherto observable chiefly among the seed-bearing portions of a common weed. But I overheard his parting exclamation, audible immediately prior to his vehiculation beyond the limits of visibility: "Ecstatic Yuletide to the planetary constituency, and to that self same assemblage, my sincerest wishes for a salubriously beneficial and gratifyingly pleasurable period between sunset and dawn."


Versions of this article have been floating around the Net for years. According to one visitor to this page, "...this piece was compiled by students at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota. The article was printed in the Rapid City paper in December, 1983. I cannot recall the name of the paper, but I still have my clipping of it from that year so I do know from whence and where it originated."

And Catherine writes, "As a graduate of South Dakota School of Mines (SDSM&T) in 1978, I can tell you that I found it in about 1974 at the University of South Dakota (USD). I posted it on my dorm door at USD and at SDSM&T. I recall I may have even read it when working as a d-jay on KTEQ (the school's station). Interesting that it ended up in the newspaper in Rapid City. Who knows, it could have originally come out of Mines."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

SCIENCE and CULTURE/SOCIETY: Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists

I was wondering around the 'net and I found this delightful site. Who says all scientist are ugly nerds?

And even Brian May of Queen is a member - page with Brian May on it - about 1/2 down

Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists™
Highlighting the heads of science
compiled by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, AIR staff

The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) is a club for scientists who have, or believe they have, luxuriant flowing hair.

The 2004 Ig Nobel Tour of the UK and Ireland included appearances by LFHCfS members and their hair -- and also a contest to choose the Science Barnet of the year.

HOW TO JOIN THE CLUB: To propose yourself (and your hair) for membership in the club, please send info to:
c/o <marca@chem2.harvard.edu>
Please include a photograph -- or a URL that points to a photograph -- in which the luxuriant, flowing hair is CLEARLY evident. Also please include a URL pointing to your credentials as a scientist. You may nominate someone else whose hair you admire, provided that you have first consulted that person.
NOTE: Each new member is entitled, should he or she request it, to a free issue of the Annals of Improbable Research.

Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists

Friday, November 25, 2005

CULTURE/SOCIETY: Santa Claus is a Vampire

Merry Christmas. OlderMusicGeek here. But I'm afraid I have bad news for everyone. Especially our children. Most especially our children.

It took me a long time to realize this. And an even longer time to face the awful truth. But now that I know, there's no turning back.

I'm sorry to tell you this people, but the truth must be told!

And that awful truth is - so-called dear old Santa Claus is part of the blood-sucking Undead!

How do I know this you ask! Let me tell the evidence I have gathered, and then you can decide for yourself.

Evidence #1:
When you rearranged the letters of "Santa's Workshop" you get "Satan's Porkshow"! I'm not sure what pigs have to do with vampirism, but I think the cloven hooves may be involved.

Evidence #2:
When you rearranged Claus all you get is Lucas or Sulac. I don't know if Lucas has anything to do with anything, and Sulac just sounds like a Vulcan name. But that would explain the elves' pointy ears!

But wait! Claus is short is Nickalaus. And Ol' Nick is a nickname for the Devil!

Old Nick n. The Devil; Satan. See Regional Note at Old Scratch.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Old Nick Pronunciation: 'Ol(d)-'nik Function: noun-- used as a name of the devil
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Ah, but I hear saying. Oh sure, Santa is Satanic. We've been told about that for years! But that doesn't make him a vampire! Maybe he's just a devil-worshipper.

Just be patient, my dear reader. My evidence is still mounting.

Evidence #3:

As long as we have known old so-called Saint Nicholas, he has always been old... but he never has died. I mean let's face it, people. He has been an old man for at least a hundred and eighty years.

And he's been smoking all that time. And still no lung cancer?! I mean, com'on, people! It's only undead lungs that could handle that much smoking!

I know. I hear you. You're all saying just because he's an immortal devil-worshipper doesn't mean he's a vampire. I know there are other ways to be immortal besides vampirism. And yes, I have heard that some vampires are pagans and even agnostics and atheists, as well as rumors that some vampires in India are Shiva-worshippers...

But wait I have further evidence!

Evidence #4:

When does so-called Saint Nick do his run? At night, that's when! He goes around the world at night!

And where does so-called Saint Nick live? At the North Pole, where is night all day for six monts a year. Ha, what a place for a being who would turn to ashes in sunlight! (For convenience though, we will ignore the fact that the sun also shines all day six months a year at the pole, making it a nasty place for a vampire in the summer.)

Now things are starting to sound more convincing, huh? I know though, some of you are saying, "Okay, so he's a night-loving immortal Satanist. So are a lot a plastic-surgeon using movie stars! That doesn't make him a vampire!"

Evidence #5:

How does such a big man get down chimneys, especially when a lot of us only have a small pipe coming out of the roof of our houses? Well, if you remember your vampire lore, my dear readers, you know that vampires can change into smoke! Than our big man can get into any home he wants!

Okay, I know what you're saying - "So he's a shape-shifting night-loving immortal Satanist! That doesn't make him a vampire. That could describe a movie star turned politician!"

Evidence #6:

Santa is hot with the babes! Don't believe me! Go listen to "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", or better yet "Santa Baby".

How could such a scraggly looking fellow be considered so hot? Vampire sex appeal wouldn't hurt, huh? I mean, come on, a guy with that much hair on his face has to have quite a bit coming out his ears and nose as well as his back and butt. Trust me, I can't grow a beard as thick as his and I still have hair growing everywhere!

Before you saying anything else, I have one last question -

Evidence #7:

Just one question - how do you think his reindeer can fly?

So there I leave you, my dear readers. Doubt if you want, but on Christmas Eve when you feel the whiskers on your face and the teeth dipping into your neck, remember what OlderMusicGeek told you.

We'd all better be good for goodness sake!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I picked this up from NPR. I, myself, am still an agnostic, but Penn (of magicians Penn and Teller) pretty much describes my feeling about why I don't have a problem in not believing in a god.

This I Believe: There Is No God
by Penn Jillette

I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond Atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy -- you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word "elephant" includes mystery, order, goodness, love and a spare tire?

So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. She needs to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. All the people I write e-mails to often are still stuck at this searching stage. The Atheism part is easy.

But, this "This I Believe" thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life's big picture, some rules to live by. So, I'm saying, "This I believe: I believe there is no God."

Having taken that step, it informs every moment of my life. I'm not greedy. I have love, blue skies, rainbows and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough. It has to be enough, but it's everything in the world and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more. Just the love of my family that raised me and the family I'm raising now is enough that I don't need heaven. I won the huge genetic lottery and I get joy every day.

Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.

Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something.

Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.

Monday, November 21, 2005

CULTURE/SOCIETY: Symptoms of the Bird Flu

Another email sent to me by Ernest T Spoon.

The Center for Disease Control has released a list of symptoms of bird flu. If you experience any of the following, please seek medical treatment immediately:

1. High fever
2. Congestion
3. Nausea
4. Fatigue
5. Aching in the joints
6. An irresistible urge to crap on someone's windshield

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