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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

CULTURE/SOCIETY: Question From FormSpring.Me

What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

fried caterpillar. they eat them in botswana where my ex-fiancee comes from. she'd eat them, so i wanted to see what they taste like. they're bland - i could only taste the salt it was cooked with!

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Monday, December 21, 2009


I heard this last year on one of Slate's podcast. It captured a lot of what I feel about this time of the year. - OlderMusicGeek

No Reason for the Season: The joy of celebrating a godless Christmas
By Torie BoschPosted Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008, at 11:53 AM ET

Bemoaning the bastardization of the Christmas season is becoming a holiday tradition. In newspaper letters to the editor and in the blogosphere, purists offer chiding reminders that Jesus is "the reason for the season" and that Christmas is supposed to be his birthday party—not a random excuse for shopping and very special sitcom episodes. Adding his voice to the choir this year is megachurch leader and inauguration invocationer Rick Warren, who pleaded in his new book The Purpose of Christmas, "If you'll slow down for a few minutes … and pause to consider the purpose of Christmas, you can receive and enjoy the best Christmas gift you'll ever be given." For Christians, I have no doubt that that's some sound advice. But I don't want to slow down and consider the purpose of Christmas. What I love about the holidays are what Warren and his ilk surely consider distractions: the trees, the lights, Santa, and Muppet specials.

For me, Christmas has always been a secular occasion. I grew up in an unaffiliated household. My mother is Catholic, though she didn't practice for most of my childhood. My father was raised in a devoutly Jewish home, but he always adored Christmas. My grandmother tells, half-fondly and half-sadly, of when he was 6 and asked whether he could become Christian so that Santa Claus would pay him a visit. He eventually stopped practicing Judaism, but his love of Christmas never went away.

When I was a girl, my father would spend hours decorating the tree, the house, and the yard in a manner a bit like that of Christmas Vacation—lots of swearing, lots of tangled lights, and (eventually) lots of genuine pride in the accomplishment. Each year, one of my brothers or I would accompany him to pick out a new nutcracker to add to our family's collection; the jester, Drosselmeyer, and Civil War soldiers might not have been part of the Nativity story, but they meant Christmas to me. We never celebrated Hanukkah, because it never appealed to him: Christmas was the only winter holiday worth the effort, as far as he was concerned. My father passed away when I was young, but my family's holidays remained much the same. We focused on the togetherness and celebrating my father's memory on his favorite holiday. The miracle of Jesus' birth was far from our minds.

For much of my life, I felt guilt about our happily godless Christmases. I worried that we were leeching off of someone else's holiday. When Bill O'Reilly railed about "Christmas under siege," I felt complicit. If I was content to listen to Christmas-themed pop songs instead of hymns, to open presents with gusto instead of heading to church, or to dig right into the meal instead of saying grace, was I diluting the holiness of others' celebration? Was I insulting Jesus? Cheapening the experience for Christians?

There was no one moment that crystallized my thinking or relieved me of my guilt. Rather, it was a series of observations: Most of the classic songs and movies that celebrate Christmas don't even mention God or Jesus. Santa doesn't check church attendance to decide whether he's going to give a child a present—he checks whether she's been naughty or nice. He's the perfect secular judge of moral fiber. To say that the secularists injure the Christmas spirit is much like the claim that two men getting hitched will besmirch the sanctity of marriage. Why should the way I mark Christmas bother anyone? Christians appalled by my secular holiday will no doubt argue that I am depriving myself of the greater joy that comes with accepting Jesus into your heart. But I'm not attempting to take away anyone's right to go to church or to display a Nativity scene. All I need to celebrate Christmas is a tree, stockings, baked goods, some people I love, and some gifts to give (and, yes, receive).

My family is not alone in celebrating a Christless Christmas. According to a February 2008 survey by the Pew Forum, 16.1 percent of Americans are unaffiliated with any faith. For those of us without a religion to call our own, Christmas is the most enjoyable holiday—I've always preferred it to Thanksgiving, whose accoutrements and traditions I've never been able to enjoy. Professional football, turkey, and Black Friday pale in comparison with the trappings of Christmas. What was the last great Thanksgiving song you sang or movie you saw?

Some evidence suggests that Christmas itself was merely a reappropriation of the pagan festival of Saturnalia. If that is in fact the case, my godless Christmas is more an insult to ancient Romans than to Christians. Since there aren't too many of them left, I won't let it worry me.

The best thing we nonbelievers can do, in fact, is be honest about not celebrating the religious side of Christmas. Each Christmas and Easter, churches have to struggle to accommodate the extra crowds who show up for holiday services. While pews may be partially filled or even deserted on a Sunday over the summer, the holidays see a huge increase in attendance as the CEOs (Christmas and Easter Onlys) stop by. The problem is particularly pronounced in Catholic churches, as Christmas is a holy day of obligation. When holiday church attendance is motivated by guilt instead of a genuine state of religious worship, it creates headaches for everyone—and takes up valuable pew real estate.

Instead of sitting in church, feeling uncomfortable and vaguely dishonest, I can spend the day with my family—sleeping late, opening presents, preparing and devouring the Christmas meal, sipping a beer, watching the inevitable holiday Law & Order marathon. Could I do these things at other points of the year? Sure—Law & Order is a year-round pleasure. But only at Christmas do so many of my friends and family also have time off, and only at Christmas can I see loved ones who have scattered across the country. Whether or not you believe in God, Christmas is a time of year when you head home or host guests, a rare occasion for the kind of togetherness that can drive you crazy, fill you with love, or both.

Even without believing in the divinity of Jesus, I think that I mark the holiday the same way as many of the faithful—a time to donate to causes I believe in, to welcome the winter from the comfort of a warm home, and, most importantly, to reconnect with family and friends. It's not that I dislike or have anything against religion. I admire, even envy the faithful, and I don't consider myself an atheist. But I can't fake a religious feeling I don't possess. And I'd rather celebrate Christmas my way—with gifts, a tree, and eating and drinking too much—than to lie to myself and to whatever god is out there by hypocritically going through the sacred motions of the traditional holiday.

A link to the original site of the Slate article

A link to my other Christmas/holiday posts

My Big Brudder Now Has A Blog - Go Check It Out!

Like me, my older brother has finally got tired of boring people around him with his endless talk of pop culture, and now has the chance to bore all of you on the internet!

Seriously though, if you're into music, movies, tv and/or sports, give his blog a look.

You can even read how he fell off a ladder and discusses our family history of falling off ladders with the nurse!

So go check it out!

If you didn't catch all the other links, here's a link to his blog!

ENTERTAINMENT and SPIRITUALITY/RELIGION: How The Star Wars Christmas Special Should Have Started

I got this from my buddy, Fredd, on Facebook. He got it from Cracked.com. - OlderMusicGeek

A link to the original website

A link to my other Christmas/holiday posts

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Posts On My Blog

Sorry for the few of you who do read this blog. Haven't been in much of a blogging mood.

It seems Facebook is eating my time. Feel free to befriend me there. I'm Diane OlderMusicGeek there too. Just let me know how you found me, so I know you're not a bot or network marketer!

But here's a link to all my previous Christmas posts on my blog -
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Started this as a Facebook post, but it got too long, so I thought it would make a good blog post. Haven't put one up for ages! - OlderMusicGeek

what a day! i went to the doctor's to discuss my hormone therapy. i was told he wasn't seeing anybody today! turns out the appointment was yesterday!

well, i was planning on doing the paperwork for my name change after i went to the doctor's. but i was thinking that the therapist appointment that i thought was tomorrow was probably today.

unfortunately, i had no way to check this out because my phone number had switched over from my old phone to my new phone. and my new phone didn't have a battery!

well, i went to the shop and the guy there didn't see any battery left behind anywhere and no message about a battery, but said the guys who were there would be there tonight.

so i went to my therapist anyway. it turns out i did have an appointment today, not tomorrow. but i was 45 minutes early so i went to eat. then when i was leaving my car had trouble starting.

it starts fine now, knock on wood. so i don't know what was the problem then. anyway, after the therapist, i was going to do the name change, but fortunately i checked my bank account to be sure i had the fees. i didn't - i must have miscalculated how much i spent on christmas presents!

so not to make my day a total loss, i'm heading to work to save some of my personal time off and will once again do the name change after my new appointment to see the doctor about my hormone therapy!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

SCIENCE/TECHNOGOLY: @SantaClaus Is Not Using Twitter Lists

This article is from November 3, so some of it may be outdated. It comes from NPR's All Tech Considered. - OlderMusicGeek

@SantaClaus Is Not Using Twitter Lists
By Omar L. Gallaga

A new feature that has been quickly embraced by users of Twitter is "Lists," which allows you to organize Twitter users into groups and share that list with others.

But apparently the news hasn't gotten all the way to the North Pole; Twitter user @SantaClaus has yet to create a "Naughty" or "Nice" list, which makes you wonder whether Saint Nick's holiday operation is really embracing technology at the speed of Elf or if Santa Claus is merely dabbling with Twitter because it's considered the thing to do.

Even apart from the obvious benefit it would provide to Father Christmas in organizing information and having, at a glance, a list of behaviorally-organized names and profile photos, I think Twitter users would benefit greatly from knowing where they stand, in regards to naughtiness/niceness. The microblogging social network, where the jolly, rotund gift-giver apparently spends a significant chunk of time, would be a very efficient place to convey that information.

I would hope that Santa would take this not a mean-spirited criticism, but as a gentle, but firm nudge in the black patent belt to embrace change before change leaves him behind. I would hate to be the first person on Papa Noel's "Naughty" Twitter list.

Update, 11 a.m, Nov. 3: The @SantaClaus Twitter account has been updated to include "Nice" and "Naughty" lists, but apparently the move was made under duress. In two posts this morning, the North Pole resident wrote, "Everyone is making a big deal over the fact I do not post a Twitter list for my naughty and nice lists. Do YOU want all to know if YOU are on the Naughty list? It is not anyones (sic) business except for me which list you are on. Does everyone REALLY want that published to all?" Perhaps I'm being oversensitive, but this does not strike me as jolly.

As of this writing, only @MrsSantaClaus is listed on the "Nice" list and no one has yet been added to the "Naughty" list.

A link to the original article

A link to my other Christmas posts

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