So I was involved in a conversation on campus yesterday about the prospect of having “holiday lighting” in various trees for the holiday season. People of some authority for such things decided, in my presence, that they would not be putting forward any recommendation on the matter for fear of offending certain groups with the potentially religious symbolism of lights. WHAT?!?! I know this topic has been done before but seriously. Having lights on trees in December is to Christmas as a large bunny with chocolate eggs is to The Passion. In short, its not religious at all. And besides that, why do people continually have a right to not be offended by such things. I don’t believe in god so much anymore…ok really not at all but I do believe in things that look nice…like little lights in snow covered trees. Not once have I looked at such a tree (even one’s with angels at the top and present underneath) and reconsidered my faith or lack there of. By all rights, the Christmas tree was a tradition of Germanic pagans that was co-opted by Christians for their own far out symbolic purposes. Even so, if you are jewish muslim, bahai, hindu, buddhist, sihk, Zoroastrian, Rastafarian, or even if you believe in the church of the flying spaghetti monster like me…there would never be anything even slightly offensive about little lights hung in a tree on a cold dark winter night. I suppose it all boils down to me being the atheist that says merry Christmas…and happy hannukah, and all the rest of it because these holidays are no longer religious for most of us. They are a chance to exercise our credit cards and more importantly be with family and friends (because we need an excuse to do these things now). Lights in trees is a celebration of just that…a time of year when a good portion of the population should be just a little bit happier despite the bitter cold and bad fruit cake making the rounds. I for one am offended that there will not be lights in trees on campus…why don’t they respect my rights…is it because of all the faiths, mine is the only one that definitely doesn’t have a god on its side??? Patrick OUT!!!
So last night I went to my weekly trivia night in Cambridge. That Wednesday night has become the highlight of my week. Typically a Wednesday goes something like this…I get to work and think, “wow, I have not gotten a lot done this week.” And then I remember that on Friday I have my usual meeting with my advisors where I get to justify my existence through the presentation of data. (Astute readers will rightly surmise that I have actually gotten things done this week…hence the blog entry on a Thursday at work.) But anyways, Wednesday is usually that day where I put nose to the grindstone and try to churn something out that looks good enough to pass as science. The whole day, I’m really thinking about going to trivia in the evening. Something about it just really appeals to me…always has I suppose. Its like being on a trimmed down version of jeopardy with people that aren’t quite as smart (gives me a real shot at winning) and furthermore the addition of alcohol (also gives me a real shot at winning…assuming the drink is in someone else’s hand). Of course, my overly competitive spirit kicks in mightily but unlike other things even a losing night was still a night spent with friends so it is never really all bad. Lastly, the questions give me a mental excuse to spend my time on things less worldly…I’m not watching football and drinking beer…I’m doing research for next week. Watching reruns of mash…there might be a question about trapper john this week and I need to be prepared. Of course they never have any questions about the genetic engineering of neutraceuticals or the oxidative elicitation of secondary metabolites (my research topics for those not paying attention) so I probably shouldn’t waste my time with those things Thursday – Tuesday…of course they have never had a question on blogging either, Patrick OUT!!!
So, I guess its appropriate that with the election of the Obamessiah, that one of my usual classic rock stations is already playing Christmas music. This is totally unnecessary. Why on earth would we want to listen to this musical dribble before even thanksgiving has reared its turkey laden head. Unfortunately, the station is one of my car radio presets and so now as I’m switching through stations on the way to and from work I am continually accosted by the sounds of jingle bell rock. Don’t get me wrong, I liked that song…when I was 6. Now, I have heard it at the very least (in bits and pieces) no fewer than 5 times over the last week. Add in some Johnny mathis and a little “You’re a mean one…Mr. Grinch” and I’m about ready to pull out of all holiday celebrations in general. I don’t want to come across as a holiday miser who is bent on destroying a joyous time for everyone else but it just seems that we should give each season its due. I don’t understand why we should devote 2 months of music to Christmas, a full 1/6th of the musical year. What if we had other holidays treated like this. How about 2 months of monster mash and giant purple people eater…or 2 months of lee greenwood and god bless the USA around every july 4th. Actually I take that back, we already have that on most country stations for 12 months a year. But seriously, the bunny hop for two months in april doesn’t sound too appealing but we can get away with frosty the snowman until the cows come home. I want holiday equality. Much like my definitions for equality in society, it means that we can all be equally miserable…thus a moratorium on Christmas carols more than 2 weeks from said holiday is in order. Two weeks is sufficient to get ramped up into the holiday spirit and toasted for all the holiday parties where said songs will be played on a loop as if we couldn’t get enough of them already. Ba Humbug and a happy new year. Patrick OUT!!!
So its finally election day in America. After almost 2 years of posturing, campaigning, fundraising, debating and ass kissing, it comes down to what is looking like a major blow-out. I voted this morning…actually I didn’t vote…or maybe I did. I didn’t vote for president. I really wanted to…I even feel a little guilty about not filling in a circle. I just could not in good conscience vote for any of them. I really have an extraordinary apathy towards the whole thing. I don’t believe that the world would end regardless of which one of them wins but I also don’t think that either of them is going to be particularly strong. I will criticize whoever is in office without mercy and because but now I can never honestly say… “don’t blame me I voted for the other one (not barack obama here)”. I was truly more interested in our ballot questions in Massachusetts particularly the state income tax (which I voted to keep…though it doesn’t really matter and I kind of wish it was gone but only if they promised not to raise taxes elsewhere) and the decriminalization of marijuana. That one seems to be pretty much common sense…what kind of a country puts someone in jail for getting a little high but calls it a domestic disturbance when a drunk man or woman beats their spouse. Alcohol and Marijuana are the same in my book, similar dangers to over-use and similar though limited benefits. The difference is that one is illegal and the other is advertised more than any other product (except maybe politicians). Its time the state take a hard look at itself and end the prohibition era teetotalers control on our existence. And don’t give me that “gateway drug” stuff either. A study by the RAND corporation (no hippy bullshiters here) found no causal link or gateway phenomenon to link marijuana use with increased incidence in the use of heroin or cocaine. I’ve also heard that the 1 ounce limit is too high. Well that may be a lot for some people and maybe even enough to consider selling it but we need to have a law that applies to everyone and that one ounce might not get Tommy Chong or Snoopp Dogg through a summer afternoon. Plus, think of the economic benefit to vending machine suppliers and 24hr convenience store owners…lets vote pot in for them. Patrick OUT!!!