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Evergreen Yes, it’s the time of year when the Sun dies and must be re-born through an elaborate ceremony that involves some form or type of sacrifice, such as finding gifts for people you can’t stand and smiling brightly as you receive yet another gift based on an urban legend that you actually like truly stomach-wrenching color combinations.

Of course there was a time when the Solstice sacrifices were more visceral and the evergreen was covered in things that pleased only ravens and such, but we have put all that behind us by opting for the possibility of electrocuting one another and causing chaos on the power grid.

What a brilliant idea: moving a large supply of pre-kindling soaked with highly flammable resins into your house, loading it down with petrochemical-based ornaments, lacing it with heat-producing electrical devices, and surrounding the base with cardboard boxes and tissue paper. You just can’t have a traditional celebration without a proto-bonfire in your living room.

I do think that followers of Mithras might want to curtail their typical birthday service in light of Mad-Cow Disease, but global warming will certainly make the services in the oak wood in traditional druidic robes more comfortable.

When you put up your stocking on the mantel and put out the turnips for Gouger, Rooter, Tusker, and Snouter as well as the pork pie and sherry for the Hogfather, you can rest assured the Sun will come up, because it just slipped around back to return the lager it rented.

Enjoy! You have nothing to fear, except that sniveling little creep with the camera/phone at the office party or the eggnog that was put out rather early causing you to suspect that the bits on top aren’t nutmeg. [The pictures probably won’t appear on the ‘Net and the brandy will surely take care of the salmonella.]

A Calendar of Coming Events

December 2nd

First Sunday of Advent
Gävlebocken is inaugurated.
Last day to make a Christmas Pudding.

December 6th

Feast of Saint Nicholas

December 8th

First day of Hanukkah [begins at sundown which is the night of the 25th of Kislev on Jewish calenders]

December 13th

Feast of St. Lucia

December 21st

Winter Solstice [5:11AM Central Standard Time]

December 23rd


December 25th

Birth of Mithras

December 26th

Boxing Day
Feast of Saint Stephan
First day of Kwanzaa

January 6th

Feast of the Epiphany
Día de los Reyes

January 7th

Orthodox Christmas

[When the Julian solar calendar replaced the old lunar calendar the Winter Solstice was December 25th. When Pope Gregory corrected the calendar he only corrected it by 10 days and not the full two weeks it was out of synch with the sun, so the date of the Solstice is now the 21st. Most Orthodox Churches continue to use the Julian calendar which is why their Christmas is on January 7th.]

Oh, this is the explanation of NODWISH coined by Mercury X23


1 Kryten42 { 11.24.12 at 12:30 pm }

Hmmm… must be time to dig out my Hogfather DVD and sit with a bowl of pork crackles. I may even watch Going Postal again too! 😆 (I think Claire Foy portrays Adora Belle Dearheart wonderfully)! I laughed when I saw Sir Pratchett’s cameo appearance. He later said it was his first and last acting experience since it took six takes to walk across the stage properly! 😆

And yeah… Happy NODWISH to all! 😀

2 Bryan { 11.24.12 at 9:28 pm }

Now you are going to force me to check them out, Kryten, just to see how well they translate the stories.

3 Kryten42 { 11.25.12 at 8:17 am }

You don’t have them?? 😯
And you are supposed to be a fan! 🙁 *sigh*

(Anyway… I liked them!)

So… I suppose you haven’t seen “Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic” either?


Sir Terry has his own Production company called ‘Narrativia’ (created this year). He’s planning a TV Series called “The Watch”, which will be 13 1hr episodes. There are also a few animated series from his books. Apparently he plans to produce his own movies and series from his Discworld books. Cool!! 😀

4 Kryten42 { 11.25.12 at 8:20 am }

Oh! I almost forgot…

There was supposed to be a two-part TV adaption of ‘Unseen Academicals’ this year, but it’s been postponed to be broadcast next year. 😉

5 Bryan { 11.25.12 at 10:02 am }

The problems are: I don’t watch TV; the first DVD player I’ve owned is in this computer; DVDs are issued for regions, and require different versions for the US; and I rarely find the choices made by movie makers to be as good as the book and my imagination.

I realize that I’m totally out of step with the current society with my ability to read and appreciate books, rather than waiting for the movie, but TV wasn’t available to any real extent until after I got out of the military because of where my Dad and I were stationed, so it wasn’t part of my life. After I got out, I worked the night shifts for years, which means most of my TV familiarity was from watching re-runs, not the original shows. VHS and the local video store was the basis for most of my viewing when I lived in Southern California, because running a small business doesn’t leave a lot of time for anything else.

I just never got hooked on television, which is why I don’t own one currently.

I have read all of his Discworld novels and most of his other novels that are available in the US, but haven’t even checked to see if movies were made, because I have always been disappointed at the movie versions of books.

At least he isn’t allowing one of the global media six-pack of conglomerates to make the choices, which demonstrates Sir Terry’s intelligence and integrity.

6 Kryten42 { 11.25.12 at 3:36 pm }

Heh… I know, I was having a bit of fun. 😉

I am pretty much the same way as you know. I have a TV that came with my little app’t. I only use the built in DVD player, I don’t even bother to watch the *News* any more, and I can’t stand the constant stream of crappy ad’s. *shrug*

I was given Hogfather as a gift and enjoyed it. I think I enjoyed Going Postal the best. I try not to compare them to the books, because they simply don’t always translate well into video. But these were well done, the characters were (for the most part) how I’d envisioned them. 🙂

I can u/l them if you want a look before hunting for the DVD’s if you like. 🙂 It’s pretty easy.

And yes, Sir Terry is a very smart guy. Apparently, his daughter is a chip off the ol’ block also. She’s collaborating with him to produce ‘The Watch’ and may be co-author on future books/video’s. 🙂

7 Kryten42 { 11.25.12 at 3:46 pm }

I should add that for the most part, the critical reviews of the movies were very positive. 🙂 Here’s an example:

DVD Review: Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal

Adapting a book to the screen, be it television or film, is always a risky business. It becomes especially tricky when dealing with a work that has a huge popular following. Fans of the book will be on the lookout for anything they see as a deviation from a beloved text and take any transgressions personally. In some ways the writer of a work is probably a lot less demanding than his or her fans. To a certain extent a writer surrenders their work once they agree to its publication and don’t have the same sense of proprietorship towards it as those who become its devotees. Having to deal with that type of scrutiny on top of the inherent difficulties of bringing a book to the screen it’s something of a wonder some movies are ever made.

On the surface Pratchett’s books are humorous escapades populated by flamboyant characters. However there is far more to them than meets the eye and to properly capture the nuances and subtleties on screen would take a great deal of care and effort. I was thrilled to see that the people behind this production of Going Postal had done just that and didn’t settle for simply playing it for laughs.

Yes. 🙂

8 Badtux { 11.25.12 at 8:42 pm }

Being owned by cats pre-empts the kindling, proto-bonfire, and hanging cat toys display even if I felt a need for it, which as a penguin I do not. Still, a happy Nodwish to all. And I feel rather re-invigorated after ten days away from civilization. Still thankful to whoever invented the hot water heater, though :).

9 Badtux { 11.25.12 at 8:48 pm }

Ah yes, the miracles of the Internet — it appears that one Edwin Ruud invented the modern tank-type gas-fired hot water heater. He is of course quite deceased, but I shall retroactively nominate him for sainthood in the Holy Church of Tuxology :).

10 Bryan { 11.25.12 at 10:19 pm }

I’ll check them out when I get some free time, Kryten, now that I know they exist.

Ruud didn’t just invent them, his company made them to last. I’ve encountered a couple down here that still work, although not as efficiently and the newest one, and they were older than I am. Even empty those suckers are heavy, indicating the amount of metal in the tanks. They were attached to systems with filtered water, or the calcium deposits would have clogged them a long time ago.

Water heaters are still sold with the Ruud name on them, but I doubt they are anywhere near as good as the old ones, although they have much better insulation.

11 Badtux { 11.26.12 at 10:56 am }

Ruud was bought by Rheem in 1959, and Ruud water heaters have been re-labeled Rheem water heaters since 1960, so yes, nowhere near as good as the old ones. Though Rheem isn’t as bad as a lot of the folks who cut corners big-time. I have a Rheem furnace unit from the mid 1990’s in this duplex, and while less efficient than the very latest, it is surprisingly well built for something built in the modern era. BTW, if your neighbors have early Rheem-era “Ruuds”, they weigh a lot because the tanks are ceramic-coated with a thick ceramic coating on the inside (a process that Rheem invented in the 1950’s), not because they’re made of thick metal. Modern water heaters skimp on the ceramic coating and rely on sacrificial anodes to deal with corrosion, and nobody ever bothers changing the sacrificial anodes, they just change out the water heater every 5 to 10 years when it starts leaking through pinhole crevices in the too-thin interior coating.

Yes, I have an obsession with hot water :). Better than the obsessions of tighty righties, anyhow. Their obsession with gay sex, for example. Dude. Closet. Just sayin’ ;).

12 Badtux { 11.26.12 at 2:02 pm }

One more observation — Googling for Rheem, I see that they’re actually owned by a Japanese consortium now. That probably accounts for the higher quality of the furnace in this duplex compared to what I expect from a typical American “cut quality to the bone for quarterly profits” company.

13 Bryan { 11.27.12 at 12:11 am }

Changing out those sacrificial anodes is a major PITA. It requires an odd sized socket, a breaker bar, a three-foot pipe to increase the leverage of the breaker bar, and a way of keeping the water heater from moving when you are breaking it free. To handle the pressure, that sucker is really torqued down. You need to do it every two years down here, unless you have soft water, then you can wait five years. The replacements last a lot longer than the ones in the new units.

There is a noticeable weight difference between the old water heaters and the new ones. If I was building a house today, I would use a tankless system. They are more efficient and you don’t have to worry about the 40-gallon flood if something goes wrong.

14 Badtux { 11.27.12 at 10:25 am }

The problem with the tankless systems is that you have two choices — at-destination electric ones, which are inefficient, require very large wires to the house feed and if you use multiple hot water faucets at the same time you could cause a brownout of your home or a central breaker tripping, or whole-house gas ones, which may require the gas company to upgrade your gas feed line to get enough gas to make it actually heat water on demand. And the whole-house gas ones aren’t *that* much more efficient than a tank-type water heater with adequate insulation because of the fact that they need such a large burner to heat the water sufficiently fast for maximum water usage flows and regulating the water temperature requires running that large burner at inefficient levels if you aren’t using the full capacity of the heater.

The Europeans typically use the at-faucet electric heaters because their homes were originally plumbed only for cold water (due to indoor plumbing being installed prior to the invention of running hot water, duh), and it’s easier to tee off a cold pipe at a sink than to run a whole second set of pipes through a stone or concrete building. Wiring typically ran through the coal gas conduits for the gas lighting in order to provide electrical lighting and etc. in the home so that wasn’t a problem, but a second set of pipes for hot water would be. But the Europeans do a lot of strange things like that because of the age (and inflexible building materials used) of their homes, such as under-counter clothes washer/ventless dryer combo machines, that aren’t more efficient than the way we do things here, just different.

There is of course another consideration here in earthquake country, which is that an earthquake could cause 40 or 50 gallons of scalding hot water to pour out despite the “earthquake straps” that all our water heaters have here. I looked at the straps on my water heater. They’re strapping it to a couple of 2×4 studs using wood screws that are nowhere near sufficient to hold it against those studs, not to mention that if the house sloshes the wrong way, the water tank is heavy enough to pull those studs right over. But it’s a rental (shrug)….

15 Bryan { 11.27.12 at 4:32 pm }

Natural gas it the only way to go in hurricane country, and the required ¾-inch line is standard. The problem is sizing, as I don’t take long showers, don’t generate a lot of laundry, and don’t have a lot of dishes to wash. A 30-gallon hot water heater is over-sized for my needs, but the 40-gallon heaters have become the standard, and that’s what everyone seems to design for, and maximize their engineering for. They are cheaper than the smaller models, especially anything smaller than a 30-gallon.

The same thing is currently true of the on-demand systems – they are over-sized for my needs.

16 Badtux { 11.27.12 at 9:20 pm }

Talking about hurricanes and electricity, you are aware that on-demand tankless water heaters need electricity to power their electronics and exhaust fan, right?

17 hipparchia { 11.27.12 at 9:37 pm }

Talking about hurricanes and electricity, you are aware that on-demand tankless water heaters need electricity to power their electronics and exhaust fan, right?

that’s why we have natural gas generators!

18 Bryan { 11.27.12 at 9:47 pm }

Roger that, Hipparchia. If I had the cash to build a house down here, I would include a generator in the design, as well as whole house surge protection, and filtered power for the computers. The powered water heater would be a supplement to the solar system, and any southern roof area left would have solar panels on it.

If you have money, you can live cheaply, because you can afford the most efficient systems.

19 Kryten42 { 11.27.12 at 11:17 pm }

If you have money, you can live cheaply, because you can afford the most efficient systems.

And ain’t that just the truth m8!! *sigh*

20 Badtux { 11.28.12 at 2:43 am }

I notice that it is always the relatively well-off who are driving a Prius, and those who can least afford gasoline who are driving a fuel-guzzling old car. Because the Prius costs $20K even used, while the gas guzzler can be purchased for $500 on Craigslist. Yet another way that our economy punishes the poor, sigh.

21 Bryan { 11.28.12 at 3:05 pm }

Case in point – in April after a lot of research I bought a window air conditioner. I paid 40% more for it than the ‘popular’ model because of its efficiency rating and features. By August I had recovered the total cost of the unit in lowered electric bills. I had the cash to buy it, but if you are living month to month you can’t come up with it. You literally can’t afford to save money.