Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The State of Us

Here are my predictions for my 2014 social media status updates. I was going to give it a clever title that was a homophonic pun on media that included the words 'me' and 'year' but I decided that looked silly.


Is hanging
Can't get this banging out of my head
Will definitely be staying in bed today
Definitely not drinking for 
the rest of the month (except for
Jen's birthday...
And Maria's birthday...
And weekends don't count...
Nor do Wednesdays)


Thanks for all those birthday messages
Younger People:
      You are right!
      I am looking/acting/feeling very old
Older People:
      You are right!
      I don't know how lucky I am 
      To look/act/feel so young


Is willing winter over now
Is certain it was warmer this time last year
Has had it pointed out by fifty pedants that last spring was the coldest spring since records began


Some thoughts on Easter:
      Too concerned about cavities for chocolate eggs
      Too incredulous for church


Is venturing outside for fun not necessity 
Is ankle-deep in bluebells
Has dipped a toe in the grey North Sea
(will give it a couple of months before
offering any further body parts)


Is off on holiday :)
Is back to work today :(


Is barbecuing
And drinking beer
With friends on sunny Sunday

Is skipping work
Due to dodgy tum
And hangover and sunburn


Some thoughts on festivals:
      Three days no sleep was more appealing once
      Three sleeps a day is more appealing now


Still feel Back-to-School
Although I haven't been to school
for years, I still get stage-fright dreams
and homework anxiety in September


Is all partied and pumpkined out


Photographs of moustaches


Xmas I expect
It all seems very distant and harder to predict 


Monday, 23 December 2013

An Xmas Parable

The sub-militant atheist in me vividly recalls a school assembly being given by Mr Baker - a zealot through and through, he was a Christian and a PE teacher - wherein he expounded on a few reasons why one should never, ever use the term Xmas for Christmas. 

If I recall correctly, and nobody can check, these all boiled down to the same couple of points: - Christmas was about Christ, not about X and it was offensive to Christians to use X to represent the name of the anointed one. 

The assembly sticks in my mind however as it was one of the first times that I heard (and dismissed as stupid) a Straw Man argument. I didn't know then that the fallacy had a name. I just sensed something not quite right. A Straw Man is a rhetorical technique whereby one presents a version of an opponent's argument that is easily refuted (i.e. 'knocked down' geddit?)and uses that refutation to bolster ones own position. 

Or, as Mr Baker put it (obviously, I paraphrase):

"It has been argued that it is fine to use Xmas for Christmas because the X represents the Cross on which Jesus was crucified. But look closely at the shape of the X and compare it to the cross on which the Romans crucified Christ. They are different. And anyway Jesus was executed at Easter and Christmas is about celebrating his birth. So you would be wrong to write Xmas in your Christmas cards!"

I vowed that day never to write the word Christmas when Xmas would do instead (i.e. in every single context apart from this one). In my more militant days, I used to cross out Christ and replace it with an X in cards with a pre-printed message.

St Peter getting crucified on an X shaped cross.
That's my Xmas anecdote for this year. Have a very merry Xmas everyone!