Tuesday, December 22, 2009


So I'm going out of town for a few days starting tomorrow, and, as usual, that means no posting until I get back, probably Sunday. But until then, enjoy this Real Art Christmas party!

Calif. city gets Charlie Brown Christmas tree

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

"This thing looks like it's dead and it's leaning over," Concord resident Bill Gram-Reefer said Wednesday. "It just doesn't evoke a Christmas tree to me."

Adds resident Pat Breen: "It's kind of sad after all the nice trees that Concord has had."

Officials said budget woes forced them to forgo a freshly cut, full-bodied tree for one that was already growing in a city plaza.

"We had to cut $8 million out of our budget and had to lay people off, so we had to figure out a way to share the spirit of the season while still cutting expenses," explained Mayor Guy Bjerke.

He said the city would have ended up spending about $23,000 for a cut tree had they not opted to use the one growing in Todos Santos Plaza. The city chose the tree over other fuller trees in the plaza because of its location near an electrical outlet and away from the road.


Stupid blockheads. All it needed was a little love.

From CSpan's Booktv.org:

Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays

Joel Waldfogel argues that Americans end up wasting billions of dollars on presents during the holiday season every year. He says that the worth attached to these gifts by those who receive them is generally considerably less than what the gift-giver spends on them. Prof. Waldfogel spoke about this topic at the University of Pennsylvania Bookstore in Philadelphia.

Watch the interview


7 Reasons for Atheists to Celebrate the Holidays

It's often assumed that the atheist position on what is politely termed "the holiday season" is one of disregard at best, contempt and annoyance at worst. After all, the reasons for most of the standard winter holidays are supposedly religious -- the birth of the Savior, eight days of miraculous light, yada yada yada. Why would atheists want anything to do with that?

But atheists' reactions to the holidays are wildly varied. Yes, some atheists despise them: the enforced jollity, the shameless twisting of genuine human emotion to sell useless consumer crap, the tyrannical forcing of mawkish piety down everyone's throats. (Some believers loathe the holidays for the exact same reasons.)

But some of us love the holidays. We love the parties, the decorations, the smell of evergreen trees in people's houses, the excuse to eat ourselves sick, the reminder that we do in fact love our families and friends. We're cognizant of the shameless twisting and mawkish piety and whatnot -- but we can deal with it. It's worth it for an excuse to drink eggnog with our loved ones and bellow out "Angels We Have Heard On High" in half-assed four-part harmony. (In fact, when it comes to the holidays, atheists are damned if we do, damned if we don't. If we scorn the holidays, we're called Scroogy killjoys. If we embrace them, we're called hypocrites. Oh, well. Whaddya gonna do.)


And finally, courtesy of
Eschaton, I've recently learned that there is a Christmas version of "The Macarena":

Merry Christmas, ya'll! See you in a few days.