Monday, December 31, 2007

On The Y Chromosome?

Instapundit reports on shocking news from the UK:
Playing with toy weapons helps the development of young boys, according to new Government advice to nurseries and playgroups.
Pacifist parents who try to ban weapon-like toys
Frequently find that their sons chase forbidden joys
Converting sticks into swords and legos to guns,
Pursuing their own ideas of solid fun.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

That's Beignet To You, Buster

New Orleans: a strange place where
They make their donuts square.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

High Stakes

Deb at Mariposario writes:
I am so afraid that without Bhutto's restraining sobriety, that part of the world will begin (or accelerate, depending on your perspective) a terrible downward spiral. What chance do all of the oppressed women in the Islamic nations have now? (I'm sure many of them are getting the message: Take off the chador, babe, and you'll just SEE what happens to you.)

I want to go back to yesterday.

Rather than persuade you on "the error of your ways"
They terrorize your days.


I see where Benazir Bhutto's 19 year old son, Bilawal, may take over the "leader of the party" role.

That will make three generations of Bhuttos at the head of the Pakistan People's Party. This kid's grandfather was hanged, and his mother was assassinated. So I think it's a gutsy move if he decides to fill their shoes.

Our politics are tame
Compared to that deadly game.

It does seem odd that the same family keeps heading up the party. Or does it? If Hillary's elected we'll be in full alternating Bush-Clinton dynasty mode!

Now I'm inspired to push
To nominate Jenna Bush.

Then we might as well see
What it's like to be governed by Chelsea.

Brunching in New Orleans

I had the opportunity to meet and share a meal with John Landrum today. He's the engaging author of The Jonkheer's Wife.

I reviewed the book for The New Individualist. It's in the latest issue. I hear they did their usual great job with the visual layout, adding photos of Holland to jazz up my prose.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen the issue yet. Probably that's because of my local post office. What I have seen is this scary picture of the cover, featuring a 1970's horror flick version of "The Abominable Dr. Paul". (Compare to original here.)

I was glad to hear John's thinking of writing a sequel,
Even though the original will be tough to equal.

The Slightest Philosophy

I've been reading The Slightest Philosophy, by Quee Nelson. It's a fascinating defense of what she calls "naive realism" in philosophy. In other words, she maintains that when you see an apple, you actually see a real apple that is out in the world. Probably this sounds non-controversial to most of you, but it's certainly controversial in philosophy, and she tackles the issue head-on.

Most of the book takes the form of a dialog between a philosophy professor and a student. As philosophy books go, it's really easy to read. What's more it's witty, and I keep finding myself in agreement with the author.

I found out about the book only because the estimable Stephen Hicks gave it a good review.

I was pleased that Nelson had some kind words for Thomas Reid, the Scottish philosopher of common sense. I've long been a big fan. I think his criticisms of Hume had real merit. But hardly anyone seems to have read him, so I never get a chance to talk about him with anybody!

"I saw an apple."
That's what I said.
Could it have been
A mere patch of red?

I tasted the apple,
I bit through its peel.
Could it be true
That it's not really real?

I tossed the apple
In the sky.
Doubt its existence?
Please tell me why.

UPDATE: After I finished reading the book, I published an extended rave review here on The Atlasphere.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Robot Romance

You've probably seen the prediction that humans will soon be marrying robots:
"My forecast is that around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots," artificial intelligence researcher David Levy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands told LiveScience.
Of course, there's already a scary warning video about dating robots. But warning videos are usually worthless, so I figure robot relationships are practically a done deal.

I just want to know whether it will be a relationship of equals.

If you were a robot
And I was flesh
And our glances met
And our bodies meshed -

Would it be all right?
Could you ever feel
That a beating heart
Was a match for steel?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Spirits of the Season

I miss the ghosts of Christmas past,
The faces long since gone who graced
This festival with their presence.

I shall not name them, but they come,
Marching toward me, one by one,
With memories of fond moments.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Puppy for Christmas

Okay, he wasn't really a puppy. But he was small and frisky. He followed me home. At one in the morning! Well, I was out walking my own dogs, and he seemed to want to play with my dogs.

He was quite cute, but he looked cold. I hadn't seen him around before. So I let him in, and I called the phone number on his heart-shaped tag, hoping someone was awake at his house.

The lady on the phone was quite happy to hear from me. It seems he had escaped when "Santa" arrived at their house several hours before. She drove over to pick him up right away. He was glad to see her. She was even gladder to see him.

Thus ends the wagging tale of a hound
Who once was lost but now is found.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Good Will's Limiting Case

Actor Will Smith is spreading good will toward all, including his belief that Adolf Hitler wasn't completely bad.

Strangely, the "Hitler was a good person" quote never appears in the stories themselves - only in the headlines. So I figure he didn't actually say that in those words. Just like Gerald Ford never actually said "Drop Dead" to New York City.

Headline writers somehow get a pass
To misquote you to sound like an ass.

Here's part of what Smith apparently did say:
"Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'let me do the most evil thing I can do today'," said Will. "I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good'. Stuff like that just needs reprogramming.
Some of that's true. But I don't believe that Hitler really thought he was doing good.

Also, he didn't need reprogramming. He needed killing.

Monsters on a psycho path,
Need to be met with righteous wrath.

UPDATE: Smith says the reporter / was a distorter:
"It is an awful and disgusting lie. It speaks to the dangerous power of an ignorant person with a pen. I am incensed and infuriated to have to respond to such ludicrous misinterpretation. Adolph Hitler was a vile, heinous, vicious killer responsible for one of the greatest acts of evil committed on this planet."
To me it sounds like he's not denying the quotation, just the media interpretation that "Hitler was a good person."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Three Days of Partying

Well, the 3 days of family partying has begun. Tonight it was our house, 17 people chowing down on lasagna and ice cream pie.

Tomorrow, at my Dad's, pizza and a liver sausage ball and jam cookies for Christmas Eve. That'll be the really crowded event.

Tomorrow++, roast beef and pumpkin pie, again at my Dad's.

When it's done
I'll weigh a ton.

Holiday Wishes for Suicide Bombers

Msnbc's front page, for the moment, claims to have an "interview with a suicide bomber."

I don't think so. Unless they managed Dante's trick and took the trip to hell.

Sure enough, it's just front-page hype. When you click through it's "would be suicide bomber" in the text.

Oh, fevered nuts,
May you splatter your guts
In a practice gone wrong,

Gathered with friends
Who at last meet their ends
In a blast loud and strong.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Taxes in Texas

It's that time of year.

"Brand new laws are coming to town!"

On January 1st, around the nation, statutes galore will deliver new restrictions and collect new taxes.

In Texas, they're taxing strip club visitors, at $5 per visit. To "help rape victims".
"This is an industry that largely employs women, and this gives them an opportunity to raise funds for a crime that affects women," said state Rep. Ellen Cohen, a Houston Democrat who sponsored the legislation.
No, Representative Cohen, you're not GIVING ANYTHING to ANYBODY involved in strip clubs. You're TAKING something from them.

Why must our "Representatives"
So often misrepresent?
Why must they torture language
To hide what their actions meant?

As for rape victims being women, of course that's the case we usually think of and worry about. But there are huge compounds around the country where men are routinely raped. Their cries are not heard. Their assailants are not charged. Authorities look the other way. Some of these rape-infested compounds are actually run by the state of Texas.

Of course, it's only fair.
There's a reason these men are there.
They did something bad.

So any hope they had
Of not being violated
Is vacated.

Friday, December 21, 2007


The Blenderman Video is a riot.

For some reason I had to update my install of QuickTime to get it to play right. At first I had sound but not video.

It must run a little longer than 10 minutes, because my screen saver, which turns on after 10 minutes, wrecked my first attempt to take in the final twist.

Despite all these obstacles, I persisted, and triumphed.

There is no greater splendor than
The spectacle of Blenderman!

I exaggerate? Perhaps I do.
But, really, truly, it's worth a view.

Sudden Substitute

I'd worn running shoes,
Rather than boots.
They looked funny, too,
With my red suit.

Someone got sick today -
That was the cause
Of my having to play
Santa Claus.

(Many pictures were taken with kids on my knee,
But none, so far, have been emailed to me.)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Tranquility Myth

The W$J ran an op-ed called The Happiness Myth today.

The author, Steve Salerno, does a nice job ridiculing the "you can have whatever you imagine" way of thinking. But he seems a bit ambivalent about happiness itself. He ends this way:
My father didn't have it all, but I believe he was at peace with himself and the life he led. Shouldn't that be enough for any of us?
The elevation of "peace with yourself" to a supreme attainment is interesting, recalling Stoicism and Buddhism. It's a bit jarring to find in a business newspaper.

So much resignation is ugly to behold,
A bitter fruit that makes the spirit old.

Be wary of false peace
Where all dreams cease.


There's a group home in Massachusetts for troubled teens. Sometimes they get zapped with painful jolts for their trouble-making.

But one night a prank caller got the staff to zap a couple of teens repeatedly for doing... nothing.
The teens were awakened in the middle of the night and given the shock treatments, at times while their legs and arms were bound. One teen received 77 shocks and the other received 29. One boy was treated for two first-degree burns.
Now 7 people are fired for cooperating with the prank caller. It occurs to me that the whole thing is like a repeat of the notorious Milgram Experiment. I've heard that Milgram couldn't run his experiment under current ethical research rules. But pranksters don't worry too much about ethics.

Don't go along
When you know it's wrong.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dry Runs in the Wetware

Karl Popper had this idea that life proceeds by trial and error. This includes one-celled organisms and plants. They "try" things and some of them are errors. Some of the errors are fatal.

But if you have a nervous system, you get to do dry-run trials - in the brain itself.

So you get to see ahead
Which choices will leave you dead.

But why call it trial and error?
I think it might be fairer
To call it trial and success.
It can seem slow
With lots of No-No,
But sometimes the answer is Yes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Special Delivery

I had known for a long time that my parents first met at a party. A Christmas party. Given by one of my mother's friends.

What I hadn't known until tonight was how my father got invited.

It turns out that he had a seasonal job with the post office. Delivering mail during the Christmas rush. One mail recipient was a young woman who was giving a party. She asked him if he would like to come.

Now that I have heard this tale
I vow to never again say "snail"
When speaking of the U.S. Mail.

I must admit that I feel retroactively nervous
To think my existence is owed to the Postal Service.

Concrete Bound

There's an ugly Christian Science church near the White House. Attendance is way down, upkeep is expensive, and the congregation would like to tear the monster down.

But, no. The D.C. Historic Preservation Board has decreed that it's a landmark, not to be torn down, nor altered much without permission.

Is this 1971 building a classic of some particular style? Oh yes. "Brutalism."

If someone wants to preserve a building, they should offer to pay for it and maintain it at their own expense. It's just plain brutal to take away the owners' actual property rights, leaving them with a worthless deed and a big white elephant on their hands.

Ugly in the making,
Brutal in the taking.
Forever shall it stand
By the government's demand.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Same Time Next Year

I was watching Same Time Next Year last night, sort of off and on, which was oddly appropriate, since the movie is about an adulterous couple who get together once a year - for many years. It's funny, moving, and a great gimmick.

I think it would be a lot funnier on stage, where it originally appeared, and where it was a huge hit. I kept noting gag lines that I was sure would have gotten a laugh with a New York theater audience. But humor that's hilarious on stage often falls flat on film or on the printed page. It's an interesting phenomenon. I don't quite understand it, although I have some feel for how to write this sort of thing.

Tales of adultery
And passionate cheaters,
Often run sultry,
But this one plays sweeter.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


We got a fair amount of white stuff. I think around 10 inches. I hope all the solstice-celebrators made it home safely.

One solstice-celebrator, who drove down from Wisconsin, just stayed here! Smart move.

I have now dug out 2 corner houses - mine and my father's. I mention the "corner" aspect just to indicate the excess sidewalk yardage.

The arrival of white flakes
Usually makes
It needful to shovel
Around my hovel.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

All Night Long

Students who pull all nighters have slightly worse grades than those who don't.

Look, as one who has been there, there's a reason you pull an all nighter - because you've slacked off the rest of the time!

But another study is needed. For those who have slacked off so far, and have an exam tomorrow, is an all nighter helpful?

And further - do some people have more "all nighter capacity" than others?

If you've procrastinated,
Then getting caffeinated
To cram for the exam
May be your last chance
To enhance and aid
Your grade.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thank You Senator Blutarsky

The Wall St. Journal quoted Animal House in their lead editorial today:

Otter: I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.
Bluto: We're just the guys to do it.

The point of the editorial is to complain that the Democrats in Congress have been engaging in futile gestures - and getting nothing done.

I read it, and grinned, and mumbled in shock:
We've stumbled into gridlock!

Perhaps we've missed out on some good new laws,
But I believe there's adequate cause
To think that most of them would have been bad.
So thanks for the fortunate year we've had!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Difficulties of Faith

In 1998, Huckabee signed a newspaper ad supporting a Baptist statement about marriage, which included this traditional gem:

"A wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ."

And he recently offered some unique commander-in-chief qualifications:

"These are people that want to kill us. It's a theocratic war. And I don't know if anybody fully understands that. I'm the only guy on that stage with a theology degree."

But despite bragging about that degree, he's refusing to release his old sermons.

The trouble with pulling ahead
Is that everyone starts reviewing
And satirically pooh-poohing
The stupid stuff you've said.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Twisted by Knaves

Old joke:
Girl: Do you like Kipling?
Boy: I don't know. I've never kippled.

But, seriously, thanks to faustin for alerting me to the fact that David Friedman was making some interesting posts about Kipling, right around the same time as I was posting about Kim, his most famous novel.

On the train ride home from book club I was thinking about the peculiar, evasive way that Kipling is usually attacked by critics. And then I saw what Friedman posted earlier today:
Kipling had a very high reputation, especially as a short story writer, early in his career, but fell out of critical favor later, I think mostly for bad reasons. Certainly he had politically unpopular views--but they weren't the views generally attributed to him.
I think that's 100% correct.

Kipling was a live-wire writer, charmingly readable, sharply observant, ready with ridicule for false pieties, equally ready with profound respect for what really works in this world. He wasn't so much an analytical type, but he was tremendously interested in clashes of culture, wherever they occurred. With all his love for other cultures, he repeatedly makes it vivid that Western culture is vastly superior at some things - things like technology and law. And that remains a strangely dangerous idea.

He remains a third rail to the Left,
With a kind of bug-zapper appeal,
For his ridicule leaves you bereft
Of your last multi-culti ideal.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Tomorrow at book club we discuss Kim, by Kipling.

Kim is an Irish orphan, born in India. He transgresses identity boundaries gleefully, pretending to be this or that caste or religion, blending in so well that even the wise are fooled.

Meanwhile, he helps a Tibetan Lama on a spiritual quest, and spies against the Russians for Her Majesty's government.

So, is he a lovable rascal, or a colonialist oppressor of The Other?

I must admit, I took great joy
In this simple complicated boy.

Unsolitary Solstice

Saturday evening we're having a Winter Solstice Party at our house in Chicago's charming Beverly Hills neighborhood.

Bring a cheap gift for the funny donor-guessing game. The gift should express a hidden feature of your own wonderful self.

It's not quite the solstice, Saturday,
But what does that matter, anyway?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Who's Driving This Thing?

Uh oh. Some study claims that humans are evolving really fast... right now!

"Selective pressures are still at work; they just happen to be different than those faced by our distant ancestors."

Doesn't this sound... like something that could have unforeseen consequences?

I've got a resolution to adopt:
Human evolution must be stopped!

What is unplanned
Must be banned.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Some Say In Ice

For some reason, Russky climatologists seem to have missed the consensus memo. "They simply state that a new little ice age is imminent."

This is bad news for Chicago. We need all the warmth we can get. That's why I support Global Warming - for the sake of our local economy!

And for once I sympathize with the Russians. One serious ice age, and their country is kaput!

It's like the thermostat wars in office buildings. You can never get the temperature "just right" for everybody.

I decree the thermostat
Cannot change from where it's at.

At least, that's what I will decree
Once it's set to suit me.

(Yes, my icy heading arrives courtesy of Robert Frost.)

Democrats Keeping It Interesting

Obama and Oprah vs. Hillary and Bill!

It's like that Celebrity Death Match show.

Hillary has now brought her mother and daughter into the ring!

Now that we've got all these stars,
I think it's time to give away cars.

Friday, December 07, 2007

More Frosting!

My friend madbard seemed doubtful that Wikipedia was a reliable source for the real scoop on "Snowy Evening" by Frost.

Thus I forsook Wikipedia,
And took a look instead
At dead tree media.

You know, books. Ones that directly cited Frost's own views.

There are some indications the last line gave him trouble. Jay Panini writes: "The whole poem may have come to Frost in a flash, but he had great trouble with the last stanza. It was some time before he thought of solving the problem by simply repeating the last line." (p 209) Jeffrey Cramer says: "on the ending of the poem, Frost confessed that he had written the third line of the last stanza in a way that called for another stanza. Frost didn't want another and then was struck with the idea to repeat the line to close the poem." (p 79)

From Louis Mertins we have this quote about how the poem was composed:
"As I remember it, 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' was written in just about that way, after I had been working all night long on 'New Hampshire.' But I must admit, it was written in a few minutes without any strain.
Critics think I had that sort of all-night struggle before I could write the little poem I'm talking about. They must have heard me say, sometime or other, years back, that I wrote all night, in connection with 'Stopping by Woods.' But the thing I worked on all night had no struggle in it at all. It's in print, called 'New Hampshire.'. . .Then, having finished 'New Hampshire,' I went outdoors, got out sideways and didn't disturb anybody in the house, and about nine or ten o'clock went back in and wrote the piece about the snowy evening and the little horse as if I'd had an hallucination--little hallucination--the one critics write about occasionally. You can't trust these fellows who write what made a poet write what he wrote. We all of us read our pet theories into a poem." (Quoted in full by Cramer, p 77)
Daniel Smythe quotes Frost on complicated interpretations:
This is the one that gets into the anthologies more than any other. The greatest danger is that your mind will get too busy over a poem. You don't have to get busy at all - just let it alone. On the whole, it's kind of fun. You don't go to the circus to make a lot of discussion - you go to gape. There is nothing hard in that poem, but there is a busy-mindedness that makes people want to know about a little thing like that. What is there to know about it? Somebody wants to know what his name was. Will the woods really fill up? That is the way they treat it. They they write, 'Who was that going home that way at night?' Their teacher puts them up to it. (p 57)
Reginald Cooke has a transcription of Frost responding to deathly interpretations:
I believe Ciardi and others have said- some people have said - it's a suicide poem. That's going some. But he thinks it's a death poem. And you can see how you could say: "Life is lovely, dark and deep." See. "But I have promises to keep. I have heaven to go to, you know." Like that. You could do that. That analogy's in it. Many others. You say, just as I could right now: this is a lovely dark and dep situation, but I've got something [else], I ought to teach a class tomorrow, or something like that. Promises to keep. Company of an evening. One o'clock in the morning - two o'clock. An appropriate thing to say - that stanza is lovely, dark and deep, but I've got to be getting along. And it doesn't mean that you're going to do anything bad. Sounds rather good to me. I can see that someone might turn it the other way, like the old saying, "I used to be afraid to go home inthe dark, but now I'm afraid to go home at all." [Laughter] They think it's like that. And all this metaphorical play and all! (p 123)
Of course, this just addresses
The question of what the poet confesses
Consciously about his work.

Maybe hidden meanings lurk
That he won't admit or doesn't know
Deep in the drift of falling snow.

But I've already written too much, I fear,
So I'm "Stopping" here.

Competitive Interpretations

Over at Rational Jenn my name came up in the comments in a discussion about Robert Frost's famous poem, Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening.

One person believes the poem is about death. The other person (a friend of mine) doesn't see that.

I want to say something about that, but first I just want to pause and make an ooh and an ahh about how beautiful this poem is and how great it sounds.

That out of the way, I agree with my friend that the poem isn't obviously about death. It seems to me it's more about: a hard dedicated journey with beauty along the way.

I know that "sleep" is often a metaphor for death, and that "winter" is often a metaphor for dying, and ditto for "night," but I think you have to be careful about assuming that Frost is following that particular strategy. I'm sure you can make a case for it, and English teachers often do, but I think their students often resist this reading for a reason - namely that the poem makes sense without that interpretive overlay.

Frost, himself, for what it's worth, disclaimed the "temptation of death" reading.

Amazingly, Wikipedia reports that the poem was written in a few minutes, and that Frost claimed "It was as if I'd had a hallucination."

O Muse,
I promise that I will not refuse,
Such hallucinations as you choose
To send my way.

Let's see, how about "Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Day"?
Oops. Possible copyright violation. Not okay.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bush Hatred

Joshua Zader wrote an insightful reply recently on Bush Hatred. He tackled it in a kindly, reasonable fashion, for which I admire him.
You are no doubt right that Bush’s stature and power cause him to be hated (or loved) more than we would an ordinary man. And yet, on some level, does our integrity not require that we judge him by the same human considerations that we would judge a relative or neighbor or acquaintance?
I think this can be a hard perspective to maintain, especially when one's hopes and fears are tied up in some politician's performance.

I'm not saying 'do not judge'. Go ahead and judge!

But look at them squarely,
And judge them fairly.

On a somewhat related topic, I recently mentioned somewhere that Republicans tended to disgust me more than Democrats. Someone asked me why that was. The short answer is that I get disgusted when someone like Bush talks up the free market and then passes more entitlement giveaways (like Medicare Part D).

When supposed free marketers go flip flop
I feel my stomach drop.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sean Taylor, Murdered By Burglars

Leonard Pitts, a black columnist, has an article lamenting the murder of Sean Taylor.
And this is how we die. We die in profligate numbers. Just under 15,000 Americans were murdered in 2006. Roughly half of them -- 7,421 -- were black. African-Americans are 12 percent of the nation's population.
It's a terrible problem. As Pitts indicates, it's mostly black-on-black crime. He wonders why we haven't had a government task force on the topic. It's a good question.

Is the topic somehow taboo?
Or does everyone just lack a clue
About what the heck to do?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Planet Splitsville

Divorce causes global warming!

I have a solution: Offsets.

If you divorce, you must foot the bill
For a wedding ceremony in Brazil.

Boiler Trial And Error

Marsha called me at work to say she'd had to turn our steam boiler off, because it didn't have enough water in it. Not good. It's frozen outside.

Our boiler guy told her over the phone to let it cool down and then put some more water in, but she wasn't sure how. The diagram that came with the boiler was cryptic to the amateur.

I figured it out by studying the pipes. There was some trial and error involved. First I OVER filled the boiler. Then I drained it completely. Finally I got it to the desirable half-way mark on the site glass. I turned it on again. So far so good. It's warm in here again.

Hurray, we have heat for the night.
Half empty, half full, just right.

Voting For Elections

Thank you, people of Venezuela, for not giving this guy a guaranteed job as boss-for-life.

Taste, Chavez, this bitter cup.
Now... if you'd only shut up!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

One Down, More To Go

Rome's chief of parking has been fired.

He got photographed using a handicapped sticker that belonged to an 86 year old woman.

It warms my heart,
But it's only a start.

This is just small-time corruption. There are some big-time types, in today's election news, who I hope have it coming someday.

Chavez and Putin
Badly need bootin'.

Currency Paradox

Airbus says its very existence is threatened by the low U.S. dollar.

American airplanes must now look like low-priced bargains on the world market.

The way the dollar's going
Is bad for vacations in France.

But the folks at Boeing
Are doing a victory dance.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

At The North Pole Re-Education Camp

The language police and the weight police are out to reform Santa:
Newspapers abroad have been filled with headlines bemoaning the plight of Australian Santas ordered not to say “ho, ho, ho” for fear of offending women or scaring children, and British Santas sent to boot camp to lose weight.
And our own acting Surgeon General is getting in the act:
“It is really important that the people who kids look up to as role models are in good shape, eating well and getting exercise. It is absolutely critical.”
Is it really critical
Or maybe just political?

Ho Ho Ho
Santa's got to go!

We'll replace him with someone cautious and thin
Who checks out exactly what subgroup you're in
And changes his language to never offend
But when he goes back up the chimney again
He'll leave you no gifts - they're materialistic!
And circling the globe is imperialistic!
So he'll sit at home and just send out emails
Careful to never write "Ho ho!" to females.

Unbearable Insult

This nice British lady, Gillian Gibbons, was teaching school in Sudan. She had a name-the-teddy-bear vote in her classroom. The kids voted to name the bear... Muhammad.

So now she's in jail, serving a 15 day sentence for insulting Islam.

Wait. Can I sentence the judges to jail for insulting my intelligence?
In Sudan on Friday, thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and swords and beating drums, burned pictures of Gibbons and demanded her execution.
Sudan's top clerics said in a statement Wednesday that the full measure of the law should be applied against Gibbons, calling the incident part of a broader Western "plot" against Islam.
Hatred on the streets!
It must be a plot
To make a religion of peace
Seem like it's not.