Merry Christmas to All Who Want It (Open Thread)

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I'd like to wish everyone in the world–with the possible exception of Bill O'Reilly and Fox News ghoul and War on Christmas author John Gibson–a Merry Christmas. Save, of course, for folks who are offended by such phraseology, and to whom I apologize…ah forget it.

Partway through this long weekend, let's initiate an open thread to talk about whatever's on your mind. For me, I'm still thinking about John Gibson, who's rumored to be calling up his old platoon from the Swedish Kiss Army to fight the counterattack on Christmas. Really, who could have imagined that the apparent son of Matthias, the newscaster turned hippie vampire mutant freak guru in The Omega Man, would be emceeing The Big Story on Fox News? Truly a world of wonders. I only wish that Gibson would spice up his attacks on latter-day Scrooges with lines half as groovy as the ones Matthias trotted out routinely in TOM. To wit:

One creature, caught. Caught in a place he cannot stir from in the dark, alone, outnumbered hundreds to one, nothing to live for but his memories, nothing to live with but his gadgets, his cars, his guns, gimmicks… and yet the whole family can't bring him down from that, that…

Forget the old ways, brother, all the old hatreds….

Definition of a scientist—a man who understands nothing until there was nothing left to understand….

You are discarded. You are the refuse of the past….

And my own personal favorite, seemingly tailor-made for a peevish host of a TV talk show: "Take him to the little room… for questioning."

NEXT: Grandparents: Still Searching for the Perfect Xmas Gift? How About Stem Cells?

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  1. Thanks Nick,
    Merry Christmas to you too and to all the other folks at Reason.
    Merry Christmas also to the posters here, whom I had the pleasure of meeting this year.
    I will raise my glass with a thought for you and feel free to do the same for me.;)

  2. War on Christmas? I am far more concerned with the War on Kilts durn it.

    A happy & safe holiday season no matter what you celebrate (or not).

  3. Happy fucking holidays.

    Holidays are always happier if there’s consentual fucking.

    Enjoy, everybody!

  4. Christmas? Eh.
    It would be better if Ben and Jerry’s would bring back Festivus ice cream.

  5. Merry Christmas to all from an atheist who still enjoys the hell out of the holiday couldn’t care less how people greet me this season.

    All you securlar folks out there – stop fighting the holiday. After all, it was a pagan holiday long before a Christian one. In one of the great PR moves in history, the Christian church moved Jesus’s birthday from spring to the winter solstice to try to coopt the popular pagan holiday. I’m just coopting it back.

    Besides, my kids love it. I think I have the only two kids in the US that believe in Santa Claus but not in God. Though it kindof makes sense to me, because Santa is much better about providing immediate material rewards for belief than is Jesus.

  6. Merry Christmas, everyone, and happy holidays to all as well!

    This site and its writers and itsposters are what convinced me that I wasn’t alone in my rage with government. THAT was a gift worth receiving, and I am humbled by it every day. Cheers to everyone!

  7. I think we as libertarians should embrase the ID crowd for two reasons…

    First thier skeptisism of darwinian evolution has pointed out flaws would have gone unnoticed and thus have advanced science.

    second thier problems seem taylor made for public school reforms such as privitization and school vouchers and charter schools…i don’t want my kids learning about stupid shit like ID and what passses for heatlth class in washington state and they don’t want evolution being taught to thier kids…hey we want the same thing…public school reform.

    merry christmas

  8. Merry Christmas, particularly to Timothy, whose statement regarding consensual fucking is so much a universal truth that it should be regarded as an adage.

    I seek a Christmas just chock-fucking-full of consensual fucking, and I hope that everyone will wish me it, because I actually think that will help.

  9. so, speaking of unsupported assertions…

    think we as libertarians should embrase (sic) the ID crowd for two reasons…

    First thier (sic) skeptisism (sic) of darwinian evolution has pointed out flaws [that] would have gone unnoticed and thus have advanced science.

    Comment by: joshua corning at December 24, 2005 01:17 PM

    care to specify any flaws in evolutionary theory the awareness of which we owe to the ID crowd?

  10. Merry christmas and Happy Fuckin’ New Year to EVERYONE!

    This weekend, I am dedicating my entire radio station to songs to spread some joy this holiday season.

    Designed to entertain and piss of the fundamentalist and traditionalist. Check it out: http://live365.com/stations/thedebtonator

  11. My New Year’s Resolution is to not argue with creationists.

  12. Why, for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now!
    I must stop this Christmas from coming!
    …But how?

  13. thoreau:

    that’ll last about 1 week. you’re probably like me, I can’t let stupidity and ignorance pass by unchallenged.

  14. He was so much nicer when he was on MSNBC.

    Don’t fret, sane Americans. After tomorrow has run its course, everyone will have forgotten about this until next Christmas. Unless the GOP tries to pull it early as a last minute save for the 2006 midterms.

    Happy Whatever-the-Fuck.

  15. “My New Year’s Resolution is to not argue with creationists.”

    on a side note i am not a creationist so you are free to argue with me

  16. “that’ll last about 1 week. you’re probably like me, I can’t let stupidity and ignorance pass by unchallenged.”

    Comment by: biologist at December 24, 2005 02:00 PM

    Most people seem to be more comfortable being ignorant. You’ll make them uncomfortable.

    I got a question for ya and bein’ as you’re a biologist, you’d be likelier to be up to date: Approximately, how many species are there in the Plant Kingdom? The other day someone mentioned a number (under 100,000) that seemed inordinately low to me.

  17. the best christmas song for chistams eve is galaxie 500’s snowstorm on “on fire”

  18. “care to specify any flaws in evolutionary theory the awareness of which we owe to the ID crowd?”

    try reading darwins black box..he has some good ones in there…of course his explination is god but no one is perfect right.

  19. OK, if you’re not a creationist I’ll argue with you:

    I don’t think anybody objects to somebody saying “Hey, about this blood clotting stuff. There’s some stuff that doesn’t make sense. Let’s figure it out!”

    But that’s not what ID is about. It never has been. It’s about giving up and no longer trying to figure it out.

    I’ll be the first to grant that Behe and others have asked some interesting questions. But I have no use for people who follow up the interesting questions with “…but let’s not try to answer them, let’s just give up.”

  20. Daniel;

    “This site and its writers and its posters are what convinced me that I wasn’t alone in my rage with government. THAT was a gift worth receiving, and I am humbled by it every day. Cheers to everyone!”

    I second that emotion. Every time I hear about something in the news that just gets my goat, I come here to read and participate in this forum to at least get some perspective. I feel like I have become a better person by reading all the well thought and articulated opinions and facts concerning, not just politics, but issues of reality we encounter every day. Even if I don’t agree, I value everybody’s opinion here.

    You guys are my new Seinfeld. Thank you for being you on this forum. Merry Christmas and a properous New Year to y’all.

  21. jw: according to this slightly older edition of Moore, Clark, and Vodopich’s Botany textbook in front of me, there are about 16,000 species of avascular plants (mosses, etc.), 13,000 species of seedless vascular plants (ferns and fern allies), 720 species of gymnosperms (conifers), and over 250,000 species of angiospersm (flowering plants). of course, this mostly counts species that can be morphologically distinguished. there is evidence for a lot of cryptic species complexes, species that are visually identical, but that do not reproduce sexually and require molecular techniques such as DNA sequencing to recognize.

  22. “I’ll be the first to grant that Behe and others have asked some interesting questions. But I have no use for people who follow up the interesting questions with “…but let’s not try to answer them, let’s just give up.””

    so wait do you have the same feelings for Thomas Gold who came up with the static universe model which in turn lead to the big bang thoery?

    I think skeptisism is good for science no matter where is comes from and no matter if they follow through or not.

    and i think ID proponants are especialy quilified and *gasp* motivated in finding errors and holes in evolutionary thoery…which can only help advance our understanding of the universe.

  23. joshua corning:

    I HAVE read Darwin’s Black Box, and since you fail to specify, I’ll assume you’re talking out of your anal sphincter again. Behe pointed out some areas that hadn’t been researched yet. Big deal, there are lots of areas that haven’t been researched yet. Behe didn’t research them himself, he just said (paraphrasing) that no one has proposed an evolutionary mechanism to explain blood clotting, etc. yet, therefore an intelligent designer who I think is God, but isn’t necessarily, is responsible. no real flaws in evolutionary theory were proposed, only areas of research that hadn’t been considered yet, and Behe didn’t even try to do any research or explanation himself. hey, I can’t explain why particles of opposite electromagnetic charge are attracted to each other and neither can thoreau or any physicist, therefore God is responsible. I have just exposed a flaw in particle physics. not really.

  24. Thanks, biologist.

  25. biologist,

    I think joshua corning means that biologists forgot to account for the fact that everything in the bible is literally true. Very useful to science!

    Someday, creationists will also discover capital letters.

  26. the best christmas song for chistams eve is galaxie 500’s snowstorm on “on fire”

    This particular Christmas, the best song is MC Hawking’s “Fuck the Creationists”

    I don’t have a link handy, but if anyone here hasn’t heard it, Google is your friend.

  27. joshua-

    I’m no cosmologist, but it’s my understanding that the steady-state people can compare their predictions with data and propose alternative mechanisms that can be tested against more observations. They can contribute to the process. Their ideas are testable. They may be dead wrong and somewhat annoying, but their ideas are at least testable.

    The ID people are the ones who just stand around and insist that you’re never going to figure it out. They don’t really have any ideas, just pessimism. There’s so much other crap mixed in with the useful questions that I have little use for them. Usually they’re presenting new versions of long-discredited ideas. When proven wrong, they just retreat to another gap and once again assert that we’ll never figure it out.

    And it’s not like scientists are unaware of open problems in our fields. The quest for fame and grant money motivates us to look for open questions and tackle them.

    Basically, the ID crowd offers us so few useful ideas, and so much bullshit, that they’re impossible to take seriously. Even when they offer an interesting idea, they’re incapable of admitting defeat.

  28. And A Merry Christmas to all. I am extra Merry because my wife just had a surgery and is doing well after a day of hell. It was a drive-thru surgery, but hey, getting a whole surgery for a $5 co-pay I can’t really complain. If I have to do a little extra care work so that the insurance company can afford to give a few other people surgeries, that’s fine. While others complain about a “McDonalds” kind of mentality in health care, I was impressed with the efficiency of the whole operation, and grateful that those efficiencies made such a high level of care available to those of average means.

  29. Oops, I misread joshua’s post. I thought he was talking about the handful of steady-state people who have yet to accept defeat.

    The original wrong idea was useful because it was a testable model. It’s always useful to sit down and work out the consequences of an idea. Then you test this well thought out idea, and in testing it you learn something interesting either way.

  30. …and over 250,000 species of angiospersm (sic) (flowering plants)…

    Comment by: biologist at December 24, 2005 02:31 PM

    of course, I meant “angiosperms”

  31. Wow, biologist just made me realize that electromagnetism is bullshit, man! It’s some crap that those statist public schools shove down our throats to undermine belief in God.

    I have a new theory: It’s called Intelligent Currents. Electricity flows in accordance with God’s will, rather than in accordance with the laws of physics.

    Let’s all go burn our copies of Jackson’s “Classical Electrodynamics.”

    Actually, that’s not such a bad idea. I suffered horribly in that class. Burn, Jackson, burn!

  32. We should also sue the universities. During the discovery process we may uncover evidence that the universities have been suppressing IC.

    And if they haven’t done anything wrong, then they have nothing to hide and the discovery process will reveal that too.

    I have an open mind, here. What about the rest of you?

    (OK, I’m being naughty. I’ll stop now.)

  33. too late thoreau, you’re getting coal in your stocking. Santa Clause reads Hit and Run.

  34. “too late thoreau, you’re getting coal in your stocking. Santa Clause(sic)reads Hit and Run.”

    He sure does and he can spell, too. Santa CLAUS

  35. you can’t fool me, there is no sanity clause

    -the Marx brothers

  36. Coal is useful. Super T can crush it to make diamonds!

  37. In other news I saw King Kong last night and it was terrible.

  38. Wow, biologist just made me realize that electromagnetism is bullshit, man!

    I sure hope you’re not one of thost Maxwellists anymore. 🙂

  39. I am far more concerned with the War on Kilts durn it.

    Whatever blows your skirt up.

    Merry Grinchmas everybody. Sorry, it’s my new favorite pic.

  40. Happy Humbug to all from another atheist who also doesn’t care what you call it but is really fucking sick of Xmas music on the radio.

    I just listened to Johnathan Winters’ version of “The Christmas Carol” on NPR. What a sad story; a good man corrupted by do-gooders. I wish those fucking ghosts would leave me alone.

  41. I’m not “offended” by the usage of “Merry Christmas.” What offends me are the Christo-fascist fucks who think it’s the ONLY thing we should say and get pissed when even acknowledge the existence of non-Christians by saying “Happy Holidays.”

    So Bill O’Reilly, John Gibson, and the rest of the bigoted Christmas Warriors at Free Republic and NRO; a Merry Fuck Off to you all.

    To everyone else; Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Jolly New Year. Happy Kwanza, Io Saturnalia! Merry Solstice. etc.

  42. I am far more concerned with the War on Kilts durn it.

    I guess I’m the one of the few people in America who think that kilts are kind of cool. Must be the Scotts-Irish in me.

  43. Hear hear to what Akira just said. Happy Isaac Newton’s Birthday to all…

  44. A Christmas shout-out to Tommy Tancredo:

    How’s that cement pouring coming, Tommy?

    About as well as those “2,000 additional border guards”? Bwahaha. Deeznutz, hombre!

  45. I always was partial to Weird Al’s “Christmas at Ground Zero” followed by his more recent “The Night Santa Went Crazy.”

  46. He sure does and he can spell, too. Santa CLAUS

    Hey! You no-a foola me! There ainta no Sanity Clause!

  47. In an effort to steal a moment of quiet from all the family, I went back and was flipping through the most recent print edition. I took out the subscription cards from the issue and noticed that you can save a whole .02 cents and get your first issue 2 weeks sooner if you use the “Send No Money” card (B0106A)… $19.95 and 4-6 weeks instead of $19.97 and 6-8 weeks. I thought that was funny.

    Can you tell how much of a breather I needed from the Christmas chaos?

  48. I’d love to get a couple of

  49. whoops, I set up a broken link. Try this: http://www.utilikilts.com/

  50. A friend of mine has a black one of those, quite nice. For a manskirt, anyway.

  51. Whatever you call it, any day in which all law makers, regulatory bureaucrats and a large majority of law enforcement officers are at home eating and exchanging gifts (paid for with our money, albeit) instead at work fucking things up is reason enough to celebrate for me. Would that there were a lot more days like Christmas.

    I wish you very Happy Holidays indeed everybody!

  52. Really, who could have imagined that the apparent son of Matthias, the newscaster turned hippie vampire mutant freak guru in The Omega Man, would be emceeing The Big Story on Fox News?

    Let me put the power to him. Just a little nitro, baby!

  53. Meryy Christmas, Festivus and etc. to everyone. Hope you all have a great holiday season!

  54. How about this for a Christmas discussion topic: Is on-line gambling legal or no?
    Below is from a New York Times article.
    (Someone else can link to it.)
    >
    > December 25, 2005
    >
    >
    > Wall St. Bets on Gambling on the Web
    > By MATT RICHTEL

    > “It’s not just London, it’s New York,” Mr. Hudson said, noting that the
    > interest represents a change from two years ago when “the big banks wouldn’t
    > touch the industry with a barge pole.”
    >
    > According to Mr. Hudson and several other industry executives and analysts, a
    > watershed event took place on June 30 when PartyGaming began trading on the
    > London Stock Exchange. It was not the first Internet casino to go public in
    > Britain, but it drew a great deal of attention because of the popularity of
    > the company’s sites. The ensuing demand for its shares put it among the
    > exchange’s top 100 companies in its market capitalization, currently around
    > $9.6 billion.

  55. Since it’s an open thread, can I ask how H&R managed to totally ignore the NYC transit strike?

  56. I’m not “offended” by the usage of “Merry Christmas.” What offends me are the Christo-fascist fucks who think it’s the ONLY thing we should say and get pissed when even acknowledge the existence of non-Christians by saying “Happy Holidays.”

    Sorry if I’ve missed a similar thought already stated on H&R, but: it just occurred to me that the ecumenical “any/all holiday greetings are cool” contingent and the “Merry Christmas, goddamnit!” camp each have reason to feel as they do. At the risk of grossly oversimplifying: the former tend to live in cities, which are demographically diverse, and would think it negligent to omit Hanukwanzaturnalia. The latter group live in the country or suburbs and encounter mostly their own kind, so they find it silly to acknowledge people not statistically accounted for locally. That said, even little towns in the south have at least a few Jews and other non-Christians whose beliefs should be respected. I’m still cynical enough to think it’s equally true that the B O’R Freeper types resent the “encroachment” of non-Xians.

  57. Josh-

    Those of us who were dealing with it would have been too busy walking to post.

    Happy holidays and all that to all.

  58. A Great, BIG, TEXAS-SIZED Christmas/Kwanza(?)/Hanukkah/Winter Solstice/Holiday greeting to REASON [et al], to All Reasonoids hither and yon, and to all others interested in “Free Minds & Free Markets”.

    While agnostic myself (I never could make up my mind between Coke & Pepsi, either), I wish One and All more Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness in the year ahead.

    With dis-respect to the “War-on-Christmas“(r)(tm)[ and probably (c) News Corp, Inc.] I a quite happy to be wished happiness in any language or tradition, and invited to celebrate Any NON-AGGRESSIVE Holiday. I’m holding out hope for “traditional” Scotts Yule celebration, complete with Haggis and those weapons-of-war (according to the Brits): Tartan Kilts and Bagpipes! I raise a glass of Glenmorangie 18 Year to All.

    ———-

    dead_elvis: I wish for you and your wife a quick recovery, surrounded by loved ones during this happy season.

  59. Timothy, you joking? Kong was spectacular.

    Is this another one that’s gonna attract eighteen quadrillion posts?

  60. Happy Holidays, everybody.

    And Merry Christmas.

  61. “Merry Grinchmas everybody. Sorry, it’s my new favorite pic.”

    How come Joe Pesci melted?

  62. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you editors, commenters, and lurkers, who comprise this, the most sublime location in the blogosphere.

    PEACE LOVE LIBERTY

  63. From the NYTimes online – “The military will not turn over detainees to Iraq until officials are satisfied that Iraqis are meeting U.S. standards.”

    (Only one torture session per day, dammit! And ground those car batteries next time! And no cheap Jordanian hoses – buy American! Doesn’t anybody read the rules around here?)

    And the cheerful Christmas Eve headline of the Chicago Tribune, blaring from thousands of newspaper stands and boxes – “America’s Phones Tapped”

    When the congress-critters discover that the administration went ahead with TIA despite, you know, being told to can it by congress, there’s going to be some real holiday entertainment… woohoo!

  64. Bless us all and tomorrow can we start to be nicer and kinder to one another and smile a little more… it just makes you feel good and that goes a long long way when your feeling down. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all and to all a good night.

  65. Below is from some of the crap I get daily from my old buddy, the WhistleBlower here in Sinincincinnati (The Morning Fishwrap is the affectionate euphemism for the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper. Schmidt is ‘Mean Jean’ Schmidt, the new congressperson from here who embarrased herself recently, by lambasting congressman Murtha, Dem, PA.):

    Santa’s Mailbag
    ??? Santa’s been really busy this year, so he asked us to answer some of his mail. Here are a few letters we handled for him.
    ?
    Dear Santa:
    I wud like a kool toy space ranjur fer Xmas. Iv ben a gud boy all yeer. –Yer Frend, Alton
    ?
    Dear Alton:
    You no doubt attend the Failed Cincinnati Pubic Skools. I’m giving your older brother the space ranger. At least HE can spell! –Santa
    ?
    Dear Santa:
    All I ask for Christmas is peace and joy and racial harmony for everybody! –Love, Sarah
    ?
    Dear Sarah:
    You should’ve sent your letter to the Morning Fishwrap. They love that kind of crap. –Santa
    ?
    Dear Santa:
    I don’t know if you can arrange this, but for Christmas, I’d like for my mommy and daddy to get back together. –Your pal, Teddy
    ?
    Dear Teddy:
    Your dad’s banging your baby-sitter like a screen door in a hurricane. He’s not gonna give that up to come back to your frigid mom. It’s time to give up that dream. Let me bring you some nice Legos instead. –Santa
    ?
    Dear Santa:
    I want a new bike, a Playstation, a train, some G.I. Joes, a drum set, and a pony. –Francis
    ?
    Dear Francis:
    Who names his kid Francis” these days? When you grow up, you’ll probably turn out to be gay. –Santa
    ?
    Dear Santa:
    I really really want a puppy this year. Please, please, please can I have one? –Timmy
    ?
    Dear Timmy:
    That whiney begging Schmidt may work with your folks, but it won’t work with me. You’re getting pink bunny slippers again. –Santa
    ?
    Dear Santa:
    I left milk and cookies for you under the tree, and I left carrots for your reindeer outside the back door. –Love, Susan
    ?
    Dear Susan:
    Milk gives me the runs and carrots make the deer fart in my face when I’m riding in the sleigh. You want to do me a favor? Leave me a bottle of Scotch. –Santa
    ?
    Dear Santa:
    What do you do the other 364 days of the year? Are you busy making toys?
    –Your friend, Thomas
    ?
    Dear Thomas:
    All the toys are made in China. I have a condo in Vegas, where I spend most of my time making low-budget porn films. I unwind by drinking myself silly and squeezing the asses of cocktail waitresses while losing money at the craps table. Hey, you wanted to know. –Santa
    ?
    Dear Santa:
    Do you see us when we’re sleeping? Do you really know when we’re awake, like in the song?
    –Love, Jessica
    ?
    Dear Jessica:
    Are you really that stupid? Forget the toys this year. I’m skipping your house. –Santa
    ?
    Dear Santa:
    I’d like to run for class president. Can you help me, please, please? –“Greggie”
    ?
    Dear “Greggie”:
    Forget it, kid. You’re such a loser. You’ll get an hellacious ass whipping, just like all the bullies give you every day after school. –Santa
    ?
    Dearest Santa:
    We don’t have a chimney. How will you get into our house? –Love, Bobby
    ?
    Dear Bobby:
    Just like your mother’s boyfriends, through your bedroom window. Sweet Dreams! –Santa
    ?
    Dear Santa:
    I’ve always wanted a Red Ryder 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. –Ralphie
    ?
    Dear Ralphie:
    Sorry, kid. You might shoot your eye out. –Santa
    ?
    These are the real letters to Santa. Any other letters to Santa you may see published are surely fake.

  66. The military will not turn over detainees to Iraq until officials are satisfied that Iraqis are meeting U.S. standards

    Only rape inmates with green glowsticks. Orange is not a standard U.S. Army color.

  67. Dammit, now I have to return my orange and purple glow sticks.

    *kicks prisoner*

  68. Dear Buddha, I want a pony and a plastic rocket…

  69. I alway like to tune in on comment number 69, in hopes of interacting with the lucious smacky.

    Uncle Zen,
    Bring me some smacky for xmurs.

  70. Malcolm Reynolds,
    Delete your spam.
    There is no such thing as a plastic rocket.
    Forget about it.

  71. I think he meant a pocket rocket.

  72. To all Reason posters
    Best holiday wishes
    (And to you, Luca Brasi,
    Who sleeps with the fishes)
    Be it Christmas or Hanukkah,
    Kwanzaa or Bodhi
    May Mammon grant you
    Presents by the truckload-y

    Here’s to a free, peaceful and prosperous 2006!

  73. I would just like to say Feliz Navidad to Tom Tancredo.

    And to those who get upset by “Happy Holidays”, consider this: If Jesus were here right now, he’d be lighting the candles on his Mennorah. So maybe it makes sense for Christians to accomodate other holidays.

    Anyway, Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus, Joyus Solstice, Happy Hannukah, and Happy [insert holiday here] to one and all!

  74. My Christmas wish is that the following people, in no particular order, should dry up and blow away:

    Sean Hannity
    John Gibson
    Bill OReilly
    Michele Malkin
    Shit-nia Twain
    Creationists
    Julia Roberts
    Cindy Crawford
    Star Jones
    All those Free Tookie people
    Brent Bozell
    99% of all radio talk hosts
    Kanye West
    Mary Hart
    Delilah
    Laura Schlessenger
    Tom Tancredo
    Molly Ivins
    Star Jones (I REALLY dont like her)
    The Entire Cast Of Malcolm In The Middle
    The President Of Venezuela
    That Dirtball Who?s Married To Britney Spears
    The Entire Cast Of Grays Anatomy
    John McCain
    Celine Dion
    Those Creepy Little Neo-Nazi Twins
    Their Mother
    Terrell Owens
    Morgan Spurlock
    Joan & Melissa Rivers
    My first wife

    That was all I could come up with at the moment. Damn, getting old…

    Oh – did I mention Star Jones?

  75. My Christmas wish is that the following people, in no particular order, should dry up and blow away

    Wow dude, it’s fucking Christmas! Pour yourself a drink, fire up a joint, and lighten up!

    And while you’re at it, you can take out your aggressions here.

  76. Can’t wait for Dec. 26, when I can avoid all the stupid fucking religious Christians and other unscientific, “intelligent design” peddling, anti-intellectual retards and pretend that America has not become one fucking long boring episode of Star Trek-TOS’s “Day of the Archons”.

    If Jesus really exists, I hope he comes back someday to bitchslap Bill O’Reilly and all the other waste-brained muthafuckers who use his name for whatever Father Coughlin type bullshit they’re trying to peddle at any given moment.

    Scary Christmas and Bah Fucking Humbug …

  77. Check this story out that I found on google news.

    ?Federal agents secretly monitored Muslim homes and mosques in Detroit for radiation linked to terrorist bombs, according to published reports — a disclosure Friday that prompted disbelief and outrage in Michigan’s large Islamic communities.?

    Link: http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051224/NEWS01/51224002

    It seems that the government tried to sneak this one under the public radar on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately it will probably work.

  78. Happy FestiveNuts to all. One week to come up with those resolutions which will last all of a week. Be inventive this year, kids…

  79. Oh yeah I almost forgot

    I hope that everbody has a happy and safe…whatever

  80. ?Federal agents secretly monitored Muslim homes and mosques in Detroit for radiation linked to terrorist bombs, according to published reports — a disclosure Friday that prompted disbelief and outrage in Michigan’s large Islamic communities.?

    Would my taxes be better spent investigating girl scout troops? The more likely place to find an islamomarxist nutjob intent on destroying infidels is a mosque. I don’t know how well the FBI is doing, but they seem to have figured out that it is a wise use of limited resources to narrow the investigation down. When Baptists start chopping off the heads of hostages while screaming “Praise Jesus,” the federales will expand their investigation for terrorism. I will expect more scrutiny when atheists start sneaking across the Syrian border to blow themselves up in Iraq.

  81. open thread…

    1. Read China Mi?ville. He’s brilliant.

    2. Capital punishment is unworthy of a civilised nation.

    3. Impeach Bush.

    4. Impeach Cheney.

    5. Fire Rumsfeld.

    6. Capital punishment is barbaric.

    7. Join Amnesty International.

    8. If your mosque is full of weapons-grade plutonium, prepare for a bit of shock and awe.

    9. Don’t tread on me.

    10. And my Xmas wish for you all? May no one suspect you of anything that might get you hauled off to Ouzbekistan for an indefinite number of years’ worth of torture.

    11. And… May the US finally join the civilised nations by stopping ritual human sacrifice.

  82. Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever you celebrate. I’d also like to give an extra-special thanks to thoreau, Shannon Love, Crushinator, and everyone else who contacted and/or offered support to those of us affected by the hurricane. Viva la Nouvelle-Orleans!

  83. My Christmas wish is that the following people, in no particular order, should dry up and blow away:

    Hey! Leave Kanye and TO alone, and we’ve got a deal. 🙂

  84. Feliz Navi-BLAH!!!

  85. Merry Christmas and Happy Hannakah! There’s about 20 pounds of wrapping paper and my kids are in dazed overload after being in a toy frenzy for 4 hours.

    Now to begin the leg of lamb and spiral ham for all the grandparents, siblings and cousins coming over later.

    Thank goodness for the Yule Log on channel 11.

    It really is a wonderful life!

  86. Happy whatever, Reasonoids!

    My holiday thoughts:

    1) Christmas hasn’t seemed religious to me in maybe 15 years. Not a believer myself, it was always a time for family, food, poorly thought out presents, and annual rituals that just provide a sense of … continuity or something. I never get humbug about Christians doing what they want. Enjoy the time off work and make the holiday whatever you want, I say.

    2) I’m not a guy who is fixated on traditions by any means, but I do think there is a lot of value in having some traditions marked annually. We live in a really great dynamic world, and anchor points help me with perspective. The trick for we dynamists is to have broadly defined traditions that provide flexible stability. Having a group of people to be involved and a geographic location to meet is a good starting point for this sort of thing. As an example, the granny that was the Christmas tradition anchor point in my very small and dispersed family passed away a few weeks ago. The same people came into town, we parked at the departed grandmother’s place, and we all tried to cook ourselves a meal like she used to. The food didn’t turn out well, but there was a sense of flexible stability to the whole thing.

    3) I find Dance of The Sugarplumb Faries to be mildly psychotic. It is the worst Christmas song there is. It is to normal holiday music what the Poltergeist clown is to the circus clown. Staccato, atonal, insane plinking on whatever that instrument is … shudder.

    4) On the other hand, Little Drummer Boy is the best Christmas song. Dropped of mythology, it is just about a little guy doing what he can do and not worrying about how it looks. Not a bad message all in all. Plus, you can turn every sentence you utter into additional lyrics if you get the thing stuck in your head.

    “I’ve got to take a bath, Ba Rum Ba Bum Bum.”
    “There’s no soap in here, Ba Rum Ba Bum Bum.”

    You know, that sort of thing.

  87. “And… May the US finally join the civilised nations by stopping ritual human sacrifice.”

    Oh, that’s a good one; yes, it really is! Here’s someone in Europe, the planet’s oldest and largest mass graveyard who’s gonna tell the U.S. how to be civilised. And from Switzerland, no less. A country best known for cheeze, watches, chocolate, and bankers who will do business with any and all scoundrels, theives, murderers and tyrants. Yes, the oh- so- civilized Swiss who never engage in such savageries as war. They are content to stand “neutral” above the fray and “hold all the bets” while we mere mortals slaughter each other. After all, bankers are like lawyers…they make money no matter which side wins.
    You know, Raymond, it must be especially wonderful for one’s shit not to stink; but whether it does or not, I should think that you and your banker friends would be too busy counting plundered Jewish gold to even notice; or have “you-all” misplaced the accounts again?

  88. Jason Ligon:

    Little Drummer Boy is also my fave Xmas song. Tori Amos does an excellent version.

    ah, Tori Amos! she’s hot-ah!

  89. And from Switzerland, no less. A country best known for cheeze, watches, chocolate, and bankers who will do business with any and all scoundrels, theives, murderers and tyrants. Yes, the oh- so- civilized Swiss who never engage in such savageries as war. They are content to stand “neutral” above the fray and “hold all the bets” while we mere mortals slaughter each other. After all, bankers are like lawyers…they make money no matter which side wins.

    And what’s wrong with that?

  90. Happy holidays to all Reason employees and posters who help make this an entertaining and thought-provoking site.

  91. The more likely place to find an islamomarxist nutjob intent on destroying infidels is a mosque. I don’t know how well the FBI is doing, but they seem to have figured out that it is a wise use of limited resources to narrow the investigation down.

    The problem is that they didn’t have warrants for any of these searches. And lest anyone start talking about “ticking time bomb” scenarios wherein the FBI doesn’t have time to get a warrant–that wasn’t the case here.

  92. …pretend that America has not become one fucking long boring episode of Star Trek-TOS’s “Day of the Archons”.

    You mean…

    “You are not of the body!”

    …and also…

    “Landru! Help us Landru!”

    …and who could forget…

    “FESTIVAL! FESTIVAL!”

  93. Crud: That’s what happens when I get a copy of Serenity for Gravmas.

  94. Merry X-mas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, etc…
    (And for those fundamentalist weenies out there, try to remember that saying “Merry Christmas” is not a curse to spit venomously at people who wish you “Happy Holidays.” Especially the smiling turbanned sikh who is checking you out at the hardware store. That’s just plain rude. Lighten up and celebrate something.)

  95. thoreau-

    Actually, Hanukah did not become a holiday until after the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans, so Jesus probably never even heard of Hanukah. However, your point is still well-taken, and a cheery Saturnalia to you and yours.

  96. Merry Christmas/Yule/Solstice/Hannukah…erm, and Secular Winter Festival?

    Peace to the Reason staff and all HR posters/denizens.

    I’ll toast you tonight at The Local, 7th and Nicollet, Minneapolis, MN.

    sl?inte

    Live free. fight or fall.

  97. Hey there, don’t hate on the Swiss – they piled up plenty of corpses as Renaissance mercenaries, you know (they even had a reputation for not taking prisoners, too.) It has been a while since the glory days, true, but the Mongols haven’t exactly been tearing it up the past few centuries either and no-one criticises them for being pansies.

  98. So…what did everybody get?

    I got a good book, Lincoln’s Melancholy, a Family Guy DVD, a talking Stewie Griffin keychain (press the button and he says stuff like, “Damn you, vile woman”), a new electric shaver, a B.B. King CD, a leather bomber jacket and a hundred bucks cash.

    All in all, a pretty good year.

    Your turn…

  99. nothing to do with Christmas, and I don’t know if anyone cares, but for those that are interested, and since this is an open thread, here’s a highly intellectual exchange on one of the recent evolution vs. ID threads between myself and joshua corning. if you’re tired/ bored/ fed up with the evolution discussion, just skip this post. thanks. for those that are interested, I’d hate for anyone to miss out, so:

    “What evidence is there of inter-species procreation and that those offspring thrived as a new population?”

    mitocondria…in every animal alive today.

    plants have something similar cloroplasts or something.

    bacteria share DNA all the time both through evolved psudo-sexual mechanisms and through phages.

    there is this example of speciasisation..only one i am aware of and thing the only one ever observed in science. Some lab had a bunch of fruit flies..one batch suddenly could only breed with its own batch. They did some dna work and discovered that the flies were infected with a virus that changed thier dna…wammo bammo a new species is born.

    Comment by: joshua corning at December 24, 2005 01:52 PM

    Rick Barton:

    a number of lizards and salamanders that reproduce parthenogenetically (parthenos = Gr. virgin; genesis = origin), that is to say, without sexual reproduction and only females are known appear to be result of hybridization between related species that weren’t fully genetically compatible, and homologous chromosome pairs failed to separate during meiosis (gamete formation). also, see the discussion of wheat that Ron Bailey posted the day before yesterday. mitochondria and chloroplasts aren’t quite the same phenomenon, but somewhat similar, that symbiotic intracellular bacteria became imtimately associated with the host cell to the point that they lost their ability to grow independently outside the cell, or the host cell developed mechanisms to enslave them for energy production.

    Comment by: biologist at December 24, 2005 02:11 PM

    NoStar et al.:

    if you’re still reading this thread, my take on NoStar’s link is that people who aren’t biologists who want to criticize any area of biology, not just evolutionary theory, really ought to consult with a biologist (or in this case, a biochemist) to see if they actually have an idea worth feces.

    one of our chemists has proposed similar nonsense to what this guy proposes, trying to estimate the probability of amino acids assembling themselves by random into useful proteins. there are a few problems with this.

    first, the probability of a particular amino occurring at any point in a protein chain is 1/20, since there are 20 naturally occurring amino acids that the genetic code codes for (I’m simplifying a bit here). of course, since some amino acids are chemically similar, more than one amino acid could occur in any particular position without affecting the protein function and/ or folding to any great degree. of course, if it does, and the effect is negative, natural selection will eliminate the individual from the gene pool. if the effect is positive, the individual will have higher fitness, leave more offspring, and the gene will spread through the population (assuming the individual doesn’t die prematurely for reasons unrelated to this new, excellent protein). the practical upshot is, point mutations can act to fine-tune a protein’s function by changing a single amino acid at a single position. the author of the link is right that point mutations by themselves are unlikely to lead to whole new proteins with whole new functions.

    luckily, in eukaryotes (all organisms except bacteria), the genes are broken up into regions that code for amino acid sequences (exons) and regions that don’t code for amino acid sequences (intervening sequences, or introns). apparently, the exons represent coding for major protein structures (alpha helices, beta pleated sheets, beta barrels, etc.) that can be rearranged and swapped whole between different gene regions, allowing whole functional parts of proteins to be copied over to other proteins.

    basically, we don’t know enough about the way gene regulation works to say with any certainty what the probabilities are.

    finally, proteins don’t assemble randomly, they follow the rules of chemistry just like all the other chemicals in the universe (caveat: as far as we know).

    Comment by: biologist at December 24, 2005 03:06 PM

    “if you’re still reading this thread, my take on NoStar’s link is that people who aren’t biologists who want to criticize any area of biology, not just evolutionary theory, really ought to consult with a biologist (or in this case, a biochemist) to see if they actually have an idea worth feces.”

    nice do you get robes like priests with that biologist?

    what a crock of shit.

    It is good to know my point about science as method and science as faith is holding up well.

    Comment by: joshua corning at December 24, 2005 07:22 PM

    “one of our chemists has proposed similar nonsense to what this guy proposes, trying to estimate the probability of amino acids assembling themselves by random into useful proteins. there are a few problems with this.”

    so it is just BS becouse you say so…without actually saying why.

    oh wait you do and here it is…only after 500 words of stuff that has nothing to do with the argument.

    “basically, we don’t know enough about the way gene regulation works to say with any certainty what the probabilities are.”

    yup but you can measure how long it takes….insert e-coli with gene that can create a protein that matabolozes a certian type of suger exept it has one codon wrong. Put e-coli in dish with lots of that type of sugar and a little of a type it can motobolize…count how long it takes until a mutation occures that allows the e-coli to matabolize the sugar…now we know how long it takes for a useful mutation to occure…and we know how many genes are in a bacteria…and now we can calculate how long it would take to make all those genes…and we know there is not enough time since life started on the panet (4-5 billion years) to create all those useful gene sequences…opps current theory of evolution has a BIG BIG problem…to bad people like biologist are to busy hateing IDers to recognize it.

    Comment by: joshua corning at December 24, 2005 07:47 PM

    joshua:

    actually, that other stuff does have to do with the argument, you just verified that you don’t understand my point. neither does the computer scientist that wrote that page. therefore, all his probability calculations will be off.

    I’ll try to simplify it for you:

    the probability of any amino acid occurring at a given position in a protein by random chance is 1/20. however, since other amino acids could fulfill the same function at that position, the probability of getting an amino acid at a given position that will permit the protein to fold and/ or function is higher than 1/20. also, not every amino acid is necessary for the functioning or has an effect on the folding of the protein. therefore, in certain positions in the sequence, any amino acid could be inserted, and the protein would still work. therefore, the probability of a getting an amino acid that allows the protein to fold and function at those positions (the positions that don’t affect the folding and functioning of the protein) is 20/20, since any amino acid will do. there is a lot more detail that a biochemist or cell biologist could provide, but that isn’t really my area of expertise. notice I don’t have much opinion on the details of whether certain quantum electrodynamic models or string theory models or computer programming languages are right or wrong because (insert drum roll here)…they are outside my area of expertise. everyone seems to have an opinion about evolutionary theory, even though their training consists of watching the NOVA evolution special.

    I don’t have a robe…I have a degree in biology (from an accredited university, no less), which is more than most anti-evolutionists can say. so, if you have a criticism of evolution that you’ve read that you think is valid, let’s hear it. be specific, not “go read Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box”. if ID’ers have any valid criticisms to make, I’m open to hearing them, which is why I took the time to read Behe. in my opinion, it is crap.

    I have faith in the scientific method, not in humans, invisible imaginary friends, or in any particular scientific theory. I’ll drop my adherence to evolutionary theory as soon as someone comes up with a better explanation.

    finally, whether you agree with evolution or not, I’d be more likely to listen to you if there weren’t so damn many misspellings in all of your comments.

    Comment by: biologist at December 25, 2005 10:59 AM

    “so, if you have a criticism of evolution that you’ve read that you think is valid, let’s hear it”

    i have said it like 5 times on this blog but the best description was my last one in my last post that you ignored..here it is again for postarity:

    “yup but you can measure how long it takes….insert e-coli with gene that can create a protein that metabolizes a certain type of sugar except it has one codon wrong. Put e-coli in dish with lots of that type of sugar and a little of a type it can metabolize…count how long it takes until a mutation occurs that allows the e-coli to metabolize the sugar…now we know how long it takes for a useful mutation to occur…and we know how many genes are in a bacteria…and now we can calculate how long it would take to make all those genes…and we know there is not enough time since life started on the planet (4-5 billion years) to create all those useful gene sequences for all the orginisms on the planet…opps current theory of evolution has a BIG BIG problem…to bad people like biologist are to busy hating IDers to recognize it.”

    and bebe did talk about this in his book darwins black box.

    And i to belive evolution to be the best model for explaining the origin and adaptation of life on this planet…i just think it needs to be tweeked a bit….but until Reason decides to include a spell checker you are stuck with having read misspelled words.

    Comment by: joshua corning at December 25, 2005 12:50 PM

    joshua:

    that would indeed allow you to estimate how long it takes for evolution to generate a useful gene by point mutations (changing one DNA base at a time, which sometimes results in a codon that changes which amino acid occurs in that position in the protein). however, as I stated:

    “…luckily, in eukaryotes (all organisms except bacteria), the genes are broken up into regions that code for amino acid sequences (exons) and regions that don’t code for amino acid sequences (intervening sequences, or introns). apparently, the exons represent coding for major protein structures (alpha helices, beta pleated sheets, beta barrels, etc.) that can be rearranged and swapped whole between different gene regions, allowing whole functional parts of proteins to be copied over to other proteins…

    Comment by: biologist at December 24, 2005 03:06 PM

    therefore, evolution can occur by rearrangements of exons within genes. if the genes are duplicated, redundant genes that still have their control sequences attached, then evolution of protein products of genes can proceed much more rapidly than just by point mutations.

    also, the model you propose apparently assumes that there is only one chain of species formation, so that all evolutionary developments must occur in series. however, in bacteria, there is gene exchange between individual cells of different taxa. so, different evolutionary adaptations can develop in different lineages, then lateral transfers of genes can cause accumulations of the adaptive genes in a single lineage. symbiosis would work similarly, as in the mitochondrial example you yourself cited. the harnessing of endosymbionts for energy production may have occurred more than once independently.

    some eukaryotes (all organisms other than bacteria) can tranfer genes laterally, and if these horizontal transfers occur across different taxonomic groups, then adaptive genes can accumulate by this mechanism in eukaryotes also.

    sexual reproduction across different lineages is known in animals (even across different genera), so again, this is a plausible mechanism for accumulation of adaptive genes. the opposite is also known, where hybrids have lower fitness than their parents. it usually isn’t possible to know in advance whether the hybrid will have higher fitness or lower fitness than the parents

    finally, evolutionary time is better measured in generations, not absolute time. bacteria and simpler eukaryotes have very short generation times. under optimal conditions, E. coli divides every 20 minutes and Bacillus stearothermophilus divides every 11 minutes. since their reproduction is clearly base two logarithmic, a very large number of lineages, all running evolutionary experiments in parallel, can be generated very quickly.

    I hope this addresses your stated concern about evolutionary theory.

    Comment by: biologist at December 25, 2005 01:29 PM

    I’m not trying to rag on joshua in particular, but my main point is that ID’ers like Behe exploit the average person’s ignorance of the scientific method, evolutionary theory, cell biology, etc. even joshua, who states he is pro-evolution is taken in by Behe’s claims.

  100. “So…what did everybody get?”

    I got some eats, a new pair of moccasins, a sleeveless jacket (or vest) and an old American Optical micrometer slide for my antique Spencer (microscope).

  101. Jim Walsh:

    I got a book: Evolutionary Genetics and gift certificates to the local comic book store. (so far)

  102. I’ll toast you tonight at The Local, 7th and Nicollet, Minneapolis, MN.

    Hey – I used to drink at The Local when I was working in Minneapolis! Also at Brits, right down the street. Used to have an apartment across the street on Marquette. Small world!

  103. Pig Mannix —

    Indeed! I live in downtown Minneapolis and frequent both establishments!

    Any Minneapolis Reasonoids that want a break away from family, stop by The Local around 7pm. We can have a Guiness or three and discuss things.

    Live free, fight or fall.

    PS-It’s actually 10th and Nicollet, across from target.

  104. So…what did everybody get?

    A new vacuum, Fraggle Rock season 1, some ties, some shirts, the new swarovski christmas ornament, March of the Penguins, a gift certificate to a restaurant, and some other miscellany. I don’t know what the girlfriend got me yet, she’s still in Japan.

  105. you and your banker friends would be too busy counting plundered Jewish gold

    Very few clean hands on either side of the Atlantic, apparently.

    …gonna tell the U.S. how to be civilised. And from Switzerland, no less.

    I’ll take Heidi and chocolate over Lynndie England and leashes any day.

  106. The most entertaining gift I got this year is a “Common Errors in English Usage” daily calendar. On the cover it has quotes like “for all intensive purposes” This is going to be good.

  107. OK:

    -I got my Orion 6″ Dobsonian reflector telescope.
    -A leather bound collectoin of Sherlock Holmes stories.
    -Serenity DVD
    -A Crock Pot cook book.
    -A nice sweater.
    -Star & Stripes, the U.S. mid-war army book for Flames Of War.
    -A couple of wargaming minis.

  108. Feliz Navi-BLAH!!!

    Try it again, Pee Wee. Anyone hep?

    I’m still so full but in just an hour, I’m supposed to go to yet another relative’s house and eat more food! Is there something that maybe I could confess to, to avoid eating anymore?

  109. I’ll take Heidi and chocolate over Lynndie England and leashes any day.

    At least wait until Heidi is legal before you use that chocolate, Ray.

  110. Happy Holidays everyone.

  111. I love christmas songs! Modern hymns with catchy tunes, just one season long.

  112. My xmurs present was getting to know the family, the father of whom is the son of the second husband of my sister-in-law on the Little Woman’s side.
    This family had to be intelligently designed. The Little Woman and I were blown away.

  113. Felix Nazi-dad? I think I saw that movie. Heston and Burton right?

  114. “So…what did everybody get?”

    The best gift I got is a chess set made of walnut, the king is 6 inches tall.

  115. Oh, BTW, here’s a pic of me with my new scope. It should put the rest, one and for, all, the question of whether or not I’m ugly or not.

  116. Christmas scores:

    Peace on Earth and good will toward men
    Three Karl Popper books (Logic of Scientific Discovery, The Poverty of Historicism, All Life is Problem Solving)
    Netflix for a year
    Ski tuning paraphernalia
    Two blunts
    Interstate commerce
    and (pa-rum-pum-pum-pum, drumroll please..)

    Golf balls!

    From two different people. I played golf once last summer, for the first time in five or six years, and for maybe the 8th time in my life.

    I got something like 35 golf balls, which should get me through another round next year.

    Oh, and drank a 44 year old bottle of wine with dinner, which was kinda cool.

  117. And also some clothes, a craddle for my hp ipaq, and two DVDs of the Twilighlt Zone (the episodes with Ron Sterling).

  118. Akira, can you see the Good Lord Himself with that thing?

  119. “whether or not I’m ugly or not.”

    You’re ugly or not.
    Your tool is pretty, howsomever, or not.
    Shove that sucker where the stars don’t shine.

  120. Akira – Why do you say that’s a “dobsonian” rather than a “newtonian”?

    I got PJs, clothes, and “Elizabeth’s London” by Liza Picard. And 6 hours of assembling kids toys,

  121. Akira, can you see the Good Lord Himself with that thing?

    No, but after adjusting it I was able to pick out an airliner five miles up and see the each individual engine, the lights on the belly, and even got to see the contrail dissolve after it passed.

    I’m going to give this baby a try once the sky clears up.

  122. That is a sweet telescope, Akira.

    By the way, here’s something I learned about Crock-Pot cooking which your new Crock-Pot cookbook probably will not tell you–any spices or flavorings (like chopped onions and garlic) should be kept out of the recipe until about an hour before the cooking is finished. Hour and a half, tops. If you put them in at the beginning of the four-to-eight-hour cook cycle, every last bit of flavor will have simmered away.

    Trust me on this.

  123. You’re ugly or not.

    I’m just really depressed tonight. I just found out that the job I was contracted for just ended. Its not just that being unemployed again is getting me down, it just that there was someone I really wanted to know better and chances are I’ll never see her again.

    She’s 23, brunette, drop-dead gorgeous, and worked part time at the call center I was assigned, and I found out that she was both an libertarian (I got her interested in Reason, too) and a Firefly fan. I splurged and got her a copy of the DVD series for the Holidays. You should have seen her face when she opened the package, and I got a great big hug from a very pretty girl for my trouble. She’s sadly got a boyfriend, but I still liked being around her. She’s a great conversationalist.

    I tried to send her my contact info via E-mail, but I was let go the same day I sent her the message, and I don’t know if she was sacked too. I like to think she’d give me a call if she did, but I suppose that’d a pipe dream. A phonebook search turned up nothing. Sigh.

    I’m not really upset about the job, I hated working at that place and I was looking for a change anywau. I just wish I could have a chance to see her again.

    Stuff like this really makes me aware of my shortcomings.

  124. Stuff like this really makes me aware of my shortcomings.

    Comment by: Akira MacKenzie at December 25, 2005 11:17 PM

    Don’t let it get to ya, kid. EVERYbody on the planet has shortcomings of one kind or another.

  125. Hey, we all have shortcomings man. When I was in college, well, I did a bit too much boozin’.

  126. And I did okay for myself.

    Hang in there, man, and a happy festivus. Also, you can always go all Milton on them and burn the place down.

  127. Stuff like this really makes me aware of my shortcomings.

    Rough conclusion considering that, from your description, any shortcomings you may or may not have appear to have nothing to do with the “stuff” in question!

    Damn, man, the rest of the world is coming up short. It’s tough being a sharp cookie, and I read your shit on this here blog on the regular. And you’re a sharp fuckin’ cookie. If there’s something you don’t like about yourself, fuckin’ fix it and move on.

    Really, you lose a couple goddamn pounds and you’re on the golden road to a 20something year old hot piece of ass, if that’s what you’re looking for. You know how to lose pounds. You just have to fuckin’ do it, mang.

    Ask yourself which is harder: dwelling on your shortcomings, or getting off your ass and doing something about ’em? It took me a while to realize it – took years, but dwelling on it was way harder than getting off my ass and running, 3 miles a day x 6 days a week for a couple weeks, then 5 miles a day x 4 days + 8 or 9 miles a day x 1 day a week. Two months later, I’m down about 12 pounds, still chubby, but fuck it – it’s coming off, and I don’t dwell on this shit any more. Pick your goddamn poison.

    And furthermore, this whole exercise thing came about as a result of a round of unemployment. For whatever that’s worth.

  128. All i want for Christmas is custom fitted shirts and the 9th and 10th amendments.

    1 down 2 to go.

  129. What did I get? Lots of useless bullshit, but one really good thing. I got a water Buffalo sent to a poor family on my behalf. I like that. Oh yeah, and a very nice hand blown glass vase made by a local artist.

    Akira MacKenzie: remember this. Most women are not all that concerned with physical appearances. They aren’t like us. Anyway, losing weight is easy. Ever think about opening a restaurant? It’s a sure thing.

  130. “also, the model you propose apparently assumes that there is only one chain of species formation, so that all evolutionary developments must occur in series. however, in bacteria, there is gene exchange between individual cells of different taxa. so, different evolutionary adaptations can develop in different lineages, then lateral transfers of genes can cause accumulations of the adaptive genes in a single lineage. symbiosis would work similarly, as in the mitochondrial example you yourself cited. the harnessing of endosymbionts for energy production may have occurred more than once independently.”

    umm what were we argueing about again??

    oh yeah that bebe put forth a problem with evolution and forced the scientific comunitity to reexamine classical evolutionary theory.

    anway I remember talking about this with my professors in collage and they did not conceed what you just did…that evolution is not just a series of additions and deletions and mismatches (might be the wrong technical term) this was in the mid 90s…so it seems to me that bebe did have a possitive impact. Although in his eyes probably not.

  131. Jennifer: “The problem is that they didn’t have warrants for any of these searches.”

    That’s the part I can’t figure out. How hard is it to get a warrant to look for radiation, if you know some fucking jihadists are frequenting a mosque?

    “We’re wasting time and money and getting bad information based on a misunderstanding of a faith and people,” said Imam Mohammad Elahi, head of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights.

    Like I said, when atheists are sneaking into Iraq to commit atrocities, I’ll expect serious scrutiny. For now, muslims will have to deal with some tough shit because atrocities are being committed in the name of Islam.

  132. well I am sick of hearing about how christians are the end of western civilization (fuck i don’t even know why i as an athiest feel it nessasary to protect them from all you damn militant agnostics…fuck what do you guys do all day? sit run around yelling at people “I don’t know and neither do you”) so here is a cool article on the political history of sci-fi…aparently sci-fi is all about libertarianism…check it out:

    http://www.catb.org/%7Eesr/writings/sf-history.html

  133. That’s the part I can’t figure out. How hard is it to get a warrant to look for radiation, if you know some fucking jihadists are frequenting a mosque?

    It wasn’t jihadists they knew were frequenting the mosques; it was just Muslims. And it was quite a waste of time and resources; not a single terrorist plot foiled by the FBI’s assumption that every mosque harbors a terrorist.

  134. It wasn’t jihadists they knew were frequenting the mosques; it was just Muslims.

    I am not as sure as you that this is a waste of time. Some mosques are worth investigating.

  135. Someone once wrote: Personally, I would prefer that women didn’t have to lie to us. Just come out and tell us that we’re fat, ugly, geeks and not the mesomorphic adonis with 6-pack abs and 12-inch cock that they’d rather date.

    Don’t overlook the many women who would be thrilled to find a nice guy with an ice cold 12-pack and a rock hard six inches.

  136. Some mosques are indeed worth investigating. It helps if one takes a more intelligent approach to the problem, so that time isn’t wasted on mosques with no jihadists inside.

    anway I remember talking about this with my professors in collage and they did not conceed what you just did…that evolution is not just a series of additions and deletions and mismatches (might be the wrong technical term) this was in the mid 90s…so it seems to me that bebe did have a possitive impact. Although in his eyes probably not.

    It sounds like you were arguing with your professors over whether evolution only involves changes that proceed by one nucleotide at a time. As biologist points out, that’s not the only form of genetic change.

    I don’t know when it was discovered that genetic change can comprise more than just single-nucleotide changes (changes in a single base pair along the DNA molecule), since I’m fairly new to biophysics and my work doesn’t involve genetics. Still, I know that Behe had absofrickinglutely zippo to do with any advances in genetics.

    Fun fact: In a bookstore I recently found Behe’s book prominently displayed in the science section. I quietly moved all available copies to the “religious fiction” section. I have nothing against people who buy, sell, or read that book (I actually bought and read it), but let’s shelve it where it belongs.

    I realize that, by blatantly disrespecting the property rights of the bookstore owner, I no longer deserve to keep my secret decoder ring. Anybody who wishes to may come to my house and confiscate it. Just let me know before you arrive, and I’ll make sure I have some snacks ready for you when you arrive. There’s a Whole Foods near my house, and they have totally awesome snack foods.

  137. I’m offended by every single post in this thread.

  138. I am not as sure as you that this is a waste of time. Some mosques are worth investigating.

    SOME mosques are worth investigating, sure. Just not all of them. And for those worth investigating, the FBI should get a warrant. These assholes in the government are doing far more to endanger my freedom than the terrorists ever could.

  139. Thoreau,

    Next year Santa will sit on your chimney and take a dump.

    Actually you may have done the store a favor; those books will probably sell better in the religious section.

  140. And for those worth investigating, the FBI should get a warrant.

    I agree that warrants are necessary for searches. As for the idea that the FBI should know which mosques to investigate, we’re talking about square-jawed buzz-cuts who did not smoke herbal remedies in college. They are incompetent. They can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys. That is why they chose to investigate all mosques.

  141. Actually you may have done the store a favor; those books will probably sell better in the religious section.

    Well, if truth in advertising is good for business, I won’t complain.

  142. As for the idea that the FBI should know which mosques to investigate, we’re talking about square-jawed buzz-cuts who did not smoke herbal remedies in college. They are incompetent.

    Ha! A few weeks or months ago, Hit and Run had a story about how the FBI was relaxing its guidelines to get in; it used to be you couldn’t join in your smoked pot more than five times in your life, or something, but they moved it up so that you could join if you’ve been stoned up to a dozen times. Or something like that.

    And I suggested that–while I am NOT saying that smoking marijuana, or drinking before age 21, makes you smarter, or any such thing–maybe the type of squeaky-clean sheep-person who swallows all the old propaganda, like “I will never smoke because I know that ONE HIT off of a joint will turn me into a crack whore, just like I know that anyone who drinks before 21 is guaranteed to become a boozehound” is perhaps not the best person for a job that requires critical reasoning skills and the ability to think for yourself.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this.

  143. Jennifer,

    I tried to go look at that article about the mosques, but all I got was the Detroit Free Press masthead and an error message; no article.
    You said “monitored”. Did the FBI actually step foot on the premises? Because if they did not, perhaps they would not require a warrant.

  144. JW–

    The story is all over the place, not just the DFP; check Google News. As for whether or not they set foot on the premises, in many cases they were in privately owned public-access places, like parking lots. However, even if they were on a public thoroughfare they still need a warrant. Remember when the Supreme Court (or maybe a state one, I disremember which) ruled that you need a warrant to use heat-sensors to see if people had grow lights in their basements?

  145. Jennifer,

    Thanks. I’ll go look for it.

  146. You said “monitored”. Did the FBI actually step foot on the premises? Because if they did not, perhaps they would not require a warrant.

    There is a report here.

    While declining to provide details including the number of cities and sites monitored, the officials said the air monitoring took place since the Sept. 11 attacks and from publicly accessible areas – which they said made warrants and court orders unnecessary.

    I recall a court decision that excluded evidence gathered agains a marijuana grower because there was no warrant. In that case, cops used electronic devices and never entered the man’s home. I think that monitoring mosques from the public road would still require a warrant if the electronic devices were at least as sensitive as those used to look for indoor marijuana gardeners.

  147. Is it a good sign that more than one of us is thinking of indoor buds?

  148. Two libertarians simultaneously thinking about the Killer Debbil Weed. Gee, what were the odds of THAT?

  149. As to the “maybe they don’t need a warrant if they are on public property,” consider this: there is technology available wherein I can stand off of your property, many, many yards away from your house, with all your doors and windows sealed, and STILL hear every word you are saying inside. But surely nobody (except the current administration and its apologist-whores) would say that a cop can use these devices to listen to your private conversations without a warrant, since he IS on public property?

  150. STILL hear every word you are saying inside

    That’s why I crank the tunes up before doing business.

  151. Don’t forget that cops don’t need a warrant to search your garbage.

  152. Details on the monitoring have been a little hard to find, but (amusingly enough) the People’s Daily Online has the most detailed article I’ve seen. Here’s the useful bits:

    “The program monitors mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites in search of a terrorist nuclear bomb… In some cases, the monitoring required investigators to go on to the property under surveillance, without search warrants or court orders, and some participants were threatened with loss of their jobs when they questioned the legality of the operation, according to the report. In up to 15 percent of the cases the monitoring needed to take place on private property, such as on mosque parking lots and private driveways, but government officials familiar with the program insisted it was legal. Warrants were unneeded for monitoring from public property, and from publicly accessible driveways and parking lots, the officials were quoted as saying.”

    The warrantless searches and threatened reprisals are worrisome, but I can’t get too worked up about the general nature of the program. Monitoring for radiation in publicly accessible places is hardly like rooting through your underwear drawer. Also, I think some of the reports have overstated or mis-stated the program. It isn’t just mosques, and it isn’t all mosques, or anything like that.

  153. Jennifer,

    The grow light thing was a 2001 Supreme Court decision…US versus Kyllo.

    I read several stories about the radiation monitoring and there seems to be some disagreement over the legality of it. On the face of what I have read so far, I can’t say that I have a problem with it. Apparently all the “monitoring” took place in public areas or “publicly accessible areas” and amounted to something similar to clocking the speed of cars on a thoroughfare,…or on the other hand, using a radar detector in one’s car.
    There is an old saying that even a cat may look at a queen, if she is in plain view.

  154. I forgot to mention the funniest part of the article:

    The report said officials rejected any notion that the program specifically had targeted Muslims.

    “Sure, we were looking at mosques, but it’s not like we were looking for Muslims…if there happened to be Muslims at these mosques, well, that was just a coincidence.”

  155. but I can’t get too worked up about the general nature of the program. Monitoring for radiation in publicly accessible places is hardly like rooting through your underwear drawer.

  156. Fucking HTML.

  157. Fun fact: In a bookstore I recently found Behe’s book prominently displayed in the science section. I quietly moved all available copies to the “religious fiction” section. I have nothing against people who buy, sell, or read that book (I actually bought and read it), but let’s shelve it where it belongs.

    SPLOORRFF!!

    Oops! There goes another keyboard!

    Seriously though, how much difference does it make what the layman believes about human origins? Obviously, someone like a biologist or an archeologist who actually needs to know the difference is going to be in a position to know it, anyway. Probably the other 95% of the population (disclaimer: percentage pulled out of my ass) is never going to need to know anything about evolution, and what they believe doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. Who cares if your plumber is a creationist? (Actually, my plumber is a creationist. Still a damn good plumber.) I’m sure that many of the things I was taught in school about science are now obsolete or have been demonstrated to be just plain wrong in the intervening years. Still, for all my appalling ignorance of the current state of the art, Western civilization hasn’t collapsed catastrophically on our heads.

    I realize tormenting religious cranks can be quite entertaining, and I’ve been known to indulge the practice myself. Still, when I contemplate the mental image of a scientist collecting up creationist texts from the science section of a bookstore and grimly marching them over to the religion section, I have to wonder if you have more invested in this argument than you are ever going to see a practical return on, even if you win it.

    Anyway, I figure the most efficient way to deal with creationists and fundies and the like is to simply stay out of their way and let them descend into mud huts and barbarism. Then we can hunt them for sport. 😉

  158. Seriously though, how much difference does it make what the layman believes about human origins?

    In the early 21st century it’s not healthy for a society to have large numbers of presumably educated people who believe magic is more powerful than science. Look at the current Middle East to see the damage an ignorant and superstitious population can do. Once upon a time the Islamic world was the planetary center of culture and scientific inquiry. If they could descend from that into ignorant barbarism, then so can we. (Fun fact: as late as the 1960s, it was illegal in some Muslim countries to own a globe, because globes contradict the part of the Koran which says the world is flat.)

  159. Remember the (paraphrased) words of the Queen in Alice in Wonderland: “You have to run very fast just to stay in place. You have to run even faster to go forward.”

    This sounds ridiculous, but when it comes to scientific knowledge, or keeping a civilization in its favored position relative to the rest of the world, it is absolutely true.

  160. umm what were we argueing about again??

    oh yeah that bebe put forth a problem with evolution and forced the scientific comunitity to reexamine classical evolutionary theory.

    I’m still waiting for evidence or an example of this from you – the example you use is an incomplete explanation of the way evolutionary changes can accumulate. for the first person to propose symbiosis or symbiogenesis as a route to evolutionary adaptedness, read up on Lynn Margulis; for more on the first person to propose transposable elements read up on Barbara McClintock

    anway I remember talking about this with my professors in collage and they did not conceed what you just did…that evolution is not just a series of additions and deletions and mismatches (might be the wrong technical term) this was in the mid 90s…so it seems to me that bebe did have a possitive impact. Although in his eyes probably not.

    Comment by: joshua corning at December 26, 2005 01:44 AM

    maybe your profs weren’t evolutionary biologists – not even all PhDs in biology are knowledgable about every detail of evolutionary theory. just because you learned this stuff from reading Behe doesn’t mean that Behe was the first to bring it up. in fact, it seems likely that Behe intentionally and deceptively misrepresented evolutionary theory to persuade people to accept his view. very Christian.

  161. In the early 21st century it’s not healthy for a society to have large numbers of presumably educated people who believe magic is more powerful than science.

    But we do have one, and we always have. Think of what was going on in this country concurrent to Edison inventing the phonograph or Einstein developing the Theory of Relativity. Truth is, most of our advances have been due to the efforts of a relatively small portion of the population, not because the general population has been the sharpest tools in the shed. In fact, a disproportionate number of our most celebrated achievers weren’t even native, they immigrated here as adults (think Einstein or the rocket scientists behind the Apollo project). I’d attribute our success mostly to the fact that our open society and our economic model has provided strong incentives to the relatively few people that actually have talent, not so much that we’ve ever been greatly more endowed with talent than other counties (actually, I think there’s a pretty good case to be made the opposite is true).

    Look at the current Middle East to see the damage an ignorant and superstitious population can do.

    Hehehe. I don’t have to look that far. I can look out of my bedroom window and see the damage an ignorant and superstitious population can do.

    Once upon a time the Islamic world was the planetary center of culture and scientific inquiry.

    That was quite a few centuries ago, and the bar for being the planetary center of culture and scientific inquiry was quite a bit lower. I submit they haven’t so much descended as they’ve failed to continually advance. What’s changed in their culture between then and now? When you think about it, not much.

    If they could descend from that into ignorant barbarism, then so can we.

    Again, I don’t know that we’d so much decline as that our institutions and customs might become a barrier to further advancement, which is what I suspect occurred in the Islamic countries. Look at the sudden advancement of China (again, the majority of it’s citizens are also ignorant peasants – just like ours). Say what you like about authoritarian dictatorships, but they do have the advantage of being able to act quickly and effectively in a way that the consensus building required in a democratic republic doesn’t allow. They may well be able to position themselves as our successors on account of that efficiency of organization.

  162. It doesn’t bother me that not every American knows as much science as I do. It wouldn’t even scare me if the problem was simply that some people were entirely unaware of certain insights, or that some people deliberately reject science. That has always been the case, and always will be.

    What scares me is that there is an organized movement devoted to the denial of a branch of natural science. And this movement is strong enough to command significant lip service from one of our two political parties.

    Yes, I know, actual victories for them have been rare thus far. Hopefully it will remain so. But as a scientist I am appalled by the fact that organized ignorance could even get modest traction.

  163. I submit they haven’t so much descended as they’ve failed to continually advance. What’s changed in their culture between then and now?

    No, it’s a decline. For one thing, their culture used to import books and knowledge from all over the world; now they pass laws keeping foreign books and knowledge OUT.

    a disproportionate number of our most celebrated achievers weren’t even native, they immigrated here as adults (think Einstein or the rocket scientists behind the Apollo project)

    Back then, we were pretty much the only country in the world where such people could hope to have a career. This won’t be the case for much longer. And our own immigration policies have us shooting ourselves in the foot in that regard, too.

    Look at the sudden advancement of China (again, the majority of it’s citizens are also ignorant peasants – just like ours).

    To talk about the “sudden” advance of China overlooks the fact that they’ve had a strong and powerful culture for the majority of the past 5 millenia. From a historical perspective, China is merely awakening from a brief nap.

  164. I am appalled by the fact that organized ignorance could even get modest traction.

    I am no longer appalled by ignorance. However, it took me many years to accept that I will be surrounded by idiots until my last breath.

  165. Two libertarians simultaneously thinking about the Killer Debbil Weed. Gee, what were the odds of THAT?

    3,742,586 to 1. Definitely, 3,742,586 to 1. Definitely.

  166. So…what did everybody get?

    A new vacuum, Fraggle Rock season 1, some ties…

    So I guess you were like REALLY bad, huh?

  167. I’d just like to congratulate everybody here on making this open thread much better than the previous open thread.

  168. Rick: Considering that those were the things I wanted, not really.

  169. Oh, BTW, here’s a pic of me with my new scope. It should put the rest, one and for, all, the question of whether or not I’m ugly or not.

    I don’t know if the picture answers the question you mentioned, but it certainly does answer the question, “Is Akira spoiled?”. The answer is, “Yes, rotten!!”. :p

  170. As to the “maybe they don’t need a warrant if they are on public property,” consider this: there is technology available wherein I can stand off of your property, many, many yards away from your house, with all your doors and windows sealed, and STILL hear every word you are saying inside.

    And such a thing is very different from detecting specific chemicals or the presence of radiation from well outside anyone’s private property. Otherwise, does the EPA need to start getting warrants to do testing in and around factories?

  171. …the new swarovski christmas ornament,…

    To hell with christmas ornaments, I wanted a Swarovski riflescope but I don’t know anyone generous (or rich) enough to buy me one.

    http://www.swarovskioptik.at/english/produkt/index.asp?cat=Products&type=Rifle%20Scopes

  172. as long as people are listing their preferred Swarovski products, I’d like a Swarovski spotting scope with quick detach car window mount and a pair of Swarovski 10 X 50 binoculars for birdwatching.

  173. I’d just like to congratulate everybody here on making this open thread much better than the previous open thread.

    People make all the difference.

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