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Posts from — December 2019

Have You Been Nice?

Grandfather Frost

That’s Grandfather Frost [Дед Мороз] and he is the Russian ‘gift giver’. He is assisted by the Snow Maiden [Снегурочка], but ever the jolly, fun-loving people, the ‘gifts’ are a bit different. Threats of coal or sticks would be weird to a people who are trying to stay warm, they would consider them welcome.

Generally there are sweets, maybe salo [salted fatback], and other high energy food.

For the ‘naughty’ list there is the staff. You don’t get beaten, merely touched, which turns you into a popsicle. [I told you they were fun-loving.]

Tonight’s the night – you’ve been nice, right?

December 31, 2019   Comments Off on Have You Been Nice?

Happy Sales and Returns Day

Wren

Time again for my annual rant about a Christmas carol …

While December 26th is celebrated by a lot of people in the US in shopping malls returning gifts or taking advantage of inventory clearance sales, there are other celebrations.

It is the first day of the Kwanzaa celebration, which is explained at the link.

It is Boxing Day, a celebration of noblisse oblige when the upper classes bestow gifts on the lower and the contents of the poor boxes are distributed. Under the feudal system this was part of the “contract,” the mutual system of obligations that tied the system together.

As the feast of St. Stephen it honors the first Christian martyr, but Ireland’s Saint Stephen’s Day celebration is a bit different and is the reason for the wren on this post.

However, this post is really my complaint about “Good King Whatshisface.”

[Read more →]

December 26, 2019   Comments Off on Happy Sales and Returns Day

Gold, Frankincense, and Purr…

Cat Creche

December 25, 2019   Comments Off on Gold, Frankincense, and Purr…

Have Yourself A Merry Christmas

XMas 2017

The BBC has an interesting article on the creation of A Christmas Carol.

Gävlebocken made it to Christmas this year!

December 25, 2019   Comments Off on Have Yourself A Merry Christmas

Spirit of Catmas Past

Merry Catmas!

Cat Blogging

HO! … Ho? … Whatever.

[Editor: Sox, Dot, and Ringo being as merry as they were ever likely to be.]

December 25, 2019   Comments Off on Spirit of Catmas Past

Naughty List

The BBC commissioned the Trump impeachment inquiry sung by a Christmas choir to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Donald Quixote rides again: Trump again airs dubious claims in latest attacks on windmills. Our version is every bit as delusional as the one created by Miguel de Cervantes. Trump couldn’t turn a profit operating casinos in Atlantic City or golf courses in Scotland – that’s pathetic.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg ousted after a disastrous year. This would have been a good business and public relations move if they had done it immediately following the second crash and the grounding of the 737 Max. To wait until they had to shut down production because there is no space left to put the planes and their Starliner space craft failed is an indication of the incompetence of the Boeing leadership.

On the “nice” side, it is Christmas morning in Sweden and the Gävlebocken is still standing.

December 24, 2019   Comments Off on Naughty List

Happy Christmas

Holly, Robin & Mistletoe

The broadcast of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is available on the web at from BBC Radio 3. [At 9AM CST live, and on demand later in the day.]

The British have some wonderful Christmas customs that have survived the incursion of Christianity, especially the Puritan party poopers. Stealing customs from the Celts, Germans, and Scandinavians, they have created a wonderful holiday that I fondly remember from time spent there.

The bird is a European robin that is featured on British Christmas cards, as it is a Winter bird in England, unlike the fair-weather laggard of the same name in America. It is bracketed by holly and mistletoe. All go back to the druids and solstice celebrations.

If you read the Harry Potter books you will get a taste, but not the full effect of a British Christmas. A full-on Christmas dinner is wretched excess to the nth degree – Thanksgiving on steroids.

The BBC has the background on Father Christmas.

December 24, 2019   Comments Off on Happy Christmas

Happy, Merry, Joyous Whatever!

Evergreen

Ho Ho Ho!

Happy NODWISH
С Рождеством Христовым
메리 크리스마스!
Vrolijk Kerstfeest
Nadolig Llawen
Fröhliche Weihnachten
Joyeux Noël
Buon Natale
Feliz Navidad
God Jul
Rauhallista Joulua
عيد ميلاد سعيد
Happy Christmas

At 6AM CST Christmas arrived in Asia, and the excitement is building among the “rug rats” that will burst forth at any moment to waken their poor parents who have probably had about two hours of sleep after dealing with “some assembly required” and/or “batteries not included”.

To avoid any bad feelings: it is an official requirement contained in the “Manual for Childless Adults” that some form or type of device that makes loud and obnoxious noises must be included in all Christmas parcels for children [of all ages].

December 24, 2019   Comments Off on Happy, Merry, Joyous Whatever!

…And Checking It Twice

Santa listSo it’s time to get everything in line so that there will be smooth sailing tomorrow.

Obviously you need the text of A Visit from St. Nicholas [AKA Twas the night before Christmas] or one of the variations.

But now that you’ve finished putting up enough lights to match the total electrical consumption of a third world nation, you can sit back and watch the North American Air Defense Command’s annual attempt to take out that red-suited commie’s attack on the capitalist system by giving stuff away. [Don’t worry kids, they are using the anti-missile defense system, so there’s no danger to anyone but taxpayers.]

Google has a tracker, if you don’t believe the government is up to the job.

December 24, 2019   Comments Off on …And Checking It Twice

Holiday Travel

ICHC cat Magi

This is a prime example of why you should make a list and check it twice when traveling during holidays. Following stars is all well and good, but can you tell the difference between a star and a meteorite headed directly for you?

If you are migrating home, or off on a vacation, be safe.

December 23, 2019   2 Comments

Happy Festivus

Yes, today is the celebration of the very untraditional Festivus.

If you celebrate I hope all of your grievances were aired and the airing did not involve the Festivus pole being used in an inappropriate fashion.

December 23, 2019   Comments Off on Happy Festivus

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah in Hebrew

MenorahHappy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends. I miss the latkes and jelly doughnuts my roommates received for the holiday at college. [Their grandmothers were afraid they wouldn’t celebrate or couldn’t get “real” food at that terrible Baptist university.] It was a great break.

One of the nice things about Hanukkah is that there are established “gifts”, so you don’t have to rack your brains about what to get: a card and gelt covers just about everyone.

General background at Wikipedia’s entry for Hanukkah and even more at Chabad’s Chanukah page.

[Note: on the Jewish calendar the day changes at sundown, not midnight.]

December 22, 2019   Comments Off on Happy Hanukkah!

Happy HogWatch & Solstice

snowflakeAt 22:19 PM CST the winter solstice occurs marking the longest night of the year. If everyone has been good, the days start getting longer tomorrow. Locally, the sun will rise at 6:39AM and set at 4:50PM for a total of 10 hours and 10 minutes of daylight, but tomorrow will be a whole 1 second longer.

This also marks HogsWatch, so don’t forget to put out the turnips.

December 21, 2019   Comments Off on Happy HogWatch & Solstice

Hogwatch Eve

I watched the Hogfather in anticipation of the holiday and did some annoying chores that are required if I want to find anything and navigate freely through the house.

I noticed that the US lists fictional ‘Wakanda’ as trade partner. It makes sense as most of this administration’s trade deals are imaginary.

In uncrewed test, Boeing’s Starliner capsule failed to reach the space station because the clock controlling the engine burn failed. I’ve worked on computers since 1970 and the last time I saw a clock failure was because of a bad battery on a motherboard that had been out of service for 18 months in the early ’80s. Boeing has a quality assurance problem.

December 20, 2019   Comments Off on Hogwatch Eve