Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fifth Annual War on Christmas

Sometimes it seems like Americans walk around deliberately looking for stupid things to be offended by. In the months of November and December, however, this strange compulsion gets amped up to 11 in the now annual cultural battles of what conservative commentators gleefully refer to as the War on Christmas.

I've written about this kind of ridiculousness before on other forums, mostly in a more outraged fashion, but here I'd like to mention some of the more amusing segments of this years' War that I've spotted so far.

In San Carlos Park, Florida, neighbors are expressing outrage over a Christmas nativity scene, featuring a black baby Jesus, and wise men and shepherds represented by toy monkeys and other animals. The creche was, however, created by the five children of a devout Christian woman who sees no harm in the way the scene is depicted. The neighbors, of course, want her remove it, calling it a "mockery". Silly neighbors.

A Long Island, New York school bus driver was nearly fired for wearing a Santa hat, because one of the kids he drives doesn't believe in Santa. That's right, a parent called the company to complain about a red and white hat. The same red and white hat he's been wearing every winter for the last five years. Silly parents.

In Hazleton, Pennsylvania, a mocking website has appeared to take stabs at the mayor, who earlier this year passed an ordinance that penalizes local businesses for using illegal immigrants. The site, called, claims that as Santa would fall under the legal definition of illegal immigrant, Hazleton doesn't want him there. It is a hoax, but a very clever and funny hoax. Who said the Americans have no sense of sarcasm.

A new report has also been released just in time for this year's battle, which claims that 8 percent of Americans will not shop at a store if it doesn't have Christmas decorations up. It also claims about 40 percent of shoppers "continued to express displeasure at the lack of Christmas decorations in retail stores..." and that many shoppers will actively decide not to shop at that store again if there was no or little decorations. So Santa hat school bus driver bad; tree in store good.

In Colorado, a woman is facing being fined $25 a day for hanging a wreath in the shape of a peace sign on the front door of her own property. Apparently neighbors are happier to misinterpret the peace sign as a 'Satanic symbol celebrating the defeat of Christ'. Obviously, that's exactly how the Prince of Peace would have interpreted it as well.

No matter which side of the war you fight for, you probably won't win. Americans just want to punish you somehow, and if it doesn't involve losing your job, it may very well be Mariah Carey's version of All I Want For Christmas being blasted at you in the store for the 100th time. But let's face it, when you discover that even Richard Dawkins celebrates Christmas, it's probably more fun to sit back, grab some nog and watch the hilarity ensue from afar, safe in the knowledge that no one is targeting you this year, and praying for the day when there'll be a ceasefire.

Monday, December 11, 2006

'No One Shot by Cheney' Now Valid Headline

Seriously. What has this country come to when the Vice-President of the United States makes headlines by not shooting anybody?

Article even helps us all out by listing who doesn't get shot by Dick Cheney.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Not shot by Cheney.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.
Not shot by Cheney.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford
Not shot by Cheney.

Luckily, 10 months ago, Texas lawyer Harry Whittington was shot by Dick Cheney. Otherwise, James Rosen, the author of the article, would had reeeeaaalll trouble trying to fill those extra eight paragraphs, wouldn't he?

At Last A Reason to Support McDonalds

But why did it have to come from the American Decency Association?

December 7, 2006 - McDonalds: a repeat advertiser on VS "Fashion" Show

McDonald's must hear from us! A company that generates millions of dollars from families through Happy Meals sponsors the destructive pornography of Victoria's Secret.


McDonalds Corporation
Andrew McKenna Sr. - President
McDonalds Plaza
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Phone: 630-623-3000
Toll-free: 800-244-6227
Fax: 630-623-5004

Sample letter: Millions of Christian people like me spend money minute by minute in McDonald restaurants every day. You are dirtying our airwaves and thereby our children and families when you carelessly and insensitively sponsor Victoria's Secret "Fashion" Show.

You were the only fast food restaurant to attach your name to this lust-fest. You advertised on this show in 2005 as well.

Here is what you helped bring into millions of households Tuesday night, December 5.

The women used their bodies to lure and entice while the camera focused in on barely covered crotches and breasts, mostly bare bottoms, and cleavage. And while the women seductively paraded across stage, men's reactions were shown from the audience.

Do you want my business? Advertising on Victoria's Secret "Fashion" Show is not the way to earn it and keep it.

In closing, I say shame on you, McDonald's. You have not conducted yourself with excellence.


Luckily, according to the site, if you don't want to buy products to piss off the ADA, you have a choice of these fine corporations: Dell computers, Circuit City, Vaseline and Sunsilk hair products (Unilever). Yay!

Get your pork sausages just in time for Hannukah

Williams Sonoma, in their infinite wisdom, have been selling holiday gift treats, including Ham and Pork based products, such as:

Fra'Mani Pork Sausages

Internet/Catalog Only

Inspired by memories of the delicious cured meats his Italian grandfather prepared for his Chicago delicatessen, chef Paul Bertolli brings a rare zeal to handcrafting authentic salumi – salted and cured meats or sausages in the Italian style. The former Chez Panisse chef and award-winning cookbook author follows pastoral traditions learned from artisan producers in Italy. Made from the finest-quality naturally raised pork and free of fillers, Bertolli’s fresh coarse-ground sausage coils lend superb flavor to Italian specialties. Each coil is enclosed in natural hog casings, tied with twine and accented with fresh bay leaves. Shipped fresh, the sausage will keep for one week refrigerated, unopened. 2-lb., 2-oz. coil (serves six).

  • To ensure freshness, perishable items are shipped overnight from the supplier. These items are not eligible for Rush Delivery. Orders will be delivered within one week.

  • For Hannukah Delivery please order by Sunday, December 10th at Noon PST.

  • This item cannot be gift wrapped.

  • Notice that second bullet point above. What the hell would anyone celebrating Hannukah want with a bunch of linked pork sausages? I mean, according to Jewish observance, you're not even allowed to touch them...

    Silly Williams Sonoma. Stick to over-priced serving tongs. No split pea and ham soup for you.

    Missed Connections - Brooklyn Style

    There's a kind of classified ad that's becoming more popular these days, called Missed Connections. Usually you write one of these for someone you bumped into on the subway, or helped down the stairs - your eyes met and there may have been attraction, but you had to go your separate ways.

    Only in Brooklyn could someone write a missed connection for someone who helped them in a bakery after throwing up. This country does amuse me so.

    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Apparently there was no cheese in sight

    Yep. In true New York Post style, someone offers the US a way to get out of the hellhole that Iraq has become since the invasion, and hey, classy paper that it is, it calls them Surrender Monkeys.

    Smart, NYP.

    Very. Smart.

    Long Distance Information, Give Me Uckfield, East Sussex

    Okay, so this didn't happen in the US of A, but it's still a great story and ties in with something that happened to me recently when I was in the US of A.

    So I'm at work, and I get this email from my boss's crackberry:

    Hey Rid - it's Trip. I'm using Jerry's Blackberry. Mine's not working. We're near Picadilly[sic]. I know it's touristy around here but is there a decent low-key place to get a pint and some food around here?

    So I figure he wants somewhere fairly cheap and out of the way to drink and eat. Bear in mind it's about 6.30pm GMT, and he's in one of the most "touristy" parts of London.

    Of course, the expensive, non-low-key, touristy thing is the reason why I know nothing of pubs by Piccadilly. I've been to a mega-pub there, with a massive tree in it (actually it's Waxy O'Connors), but it's so cavernous that if you head off to the toilet, you'll need a roll of string and a trail of breadcrumbs to find where you left your friend. If you ever find your friend. But that's it. My extent of drinking in the West End starts and ends around Leicester Square, or maybe a few jaunts to Covent Garden. But now they closed down the Intrepid Fox, there's really not much point.

    So I decided to hit google with this phrase: Piccadilly Pubs. Up pops this link for a site called Beer In The Evening, which not only provided pictures, but reviews, and a little map of where it was.

    So here's the reply:

    If you haven't found a place yet, The Goat Tavern, on Stafford Street has recommended food and good beer selection. From Piccadilly Circus, walk on the left side of Piccadilly towards Hyde Park Corner. Make a right on Albemarle Street, and it should be across the road on your right on Stafford St, btwn Staff and Old Bond St. Wish I could join you. R.

    Within ten minutes I get this:

    We found it. Thanks for the tip.

    I mean, seriously. If you stop to think about it, how bloody cool is that? This guy is 3,000 miles from me, and without even picking up a phone, I can direct him not to the nearest pub, but to one with food, and with a high customer recommendation. I'm like his own personal Zagat's. 10 years ago, this sort of thing was a pipe-dream. 20 years ago, it was the kind of thing you saw on the Max Headroom sci-fi series.

    Needless to say, however, that my boss is now glad he didn't do the same thing when he went to Singapore earlier this month, as I probably wouldn't have been so gracious. Not sure what google comes up with if you type in Blue Oyster Bar Singapore.

    And I don't want to find out.

    However, all of this pales in comparison with this story, where a climber, stranded on Table Mountain in South Africa, called his granddad on a cellphone in Uckfield, and got the old guy to go online and look up the number for a local mountain rescue station.

    The internet may be for porn, but it could actually save lives. Oh, get you a pint of Bombardier in a foreign country, too.

    Monday, December 04, 2006

    Won't someone think of the cats?

    Seriously. When America's War on Drugs begins to extend to Catnip, it's time to pull the plug on funding this bunch of government lackwits...

    However, I have seen cats get wicked crazy on 'nip', they snort it, or lick it, and freak out a bit, then lie on their backs and get all docile and wide-eyed. If only we had something like that for kids on planes.

    Here, look kitty! Here's a picture of a green bag! You'd like that, wouldn'tcha!

    Yeah. Cats are weird.