Before going on to my regular suggestions (which will link to Amazon via my associates account, so I get a small bounty), note that at this time, and probably for only a few days, Cosmic Queries: StarTalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going by Neil deGrasse Tyson is on super cheap sale in Kindle form (2 bucks in the US, YMMV). Continue reading Massive Holiday Shopping Suggestions for Science and Technology Nerds
I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday, even though it happened years ago, even before you were born. I screamed silently, pinned on my back by the massive weight of a cotton blanket, legs frozen, the dark lights flickering as the human-like form approached, its arms raised in front like The Mummy or Frankenstein’s Monster, hands ready to grab, closing in. A strange net-like pattern covered the featureless humanoid shape, moving around on its surface like Saint Elmo’s fire dancing on Jacob’s Ladder, undulating, letting off light, disintegrating and reforming and making a crackling noise as it did so.
rum pum … rum pum … rum pum …
The ever-repeating chant that was once barely audible, then louder, then deafening, is now pounding terribly in my ears and once again, I scream, but it is once again a silent scream and the cotton cloth that covers me once again grows heavy and pins me down.
rum pum … rum pum … rum pum … RUM PUM
Finally, the creature’s hands come down around my neck and take hold, it’s head, faceless, now pressed against mine and I think it may be growling, but since it has finally grabbed me, and only now, because those are the rules in this particular nightmare, my scream of terror can break loose so it does breaks loose and I cry out …
THE RUM PUMS ARE HERE … THE RUM PUMS ARE GOING TO GET ME!!!!
And I sit up with a start, drenched in the sweat of night terror, panting heavily, and I can hear adults heading for my room in response to my horrific screams and uncontrolled sobbing.
DAMN YOU BING CROSBY!!! Continue reading The Nightmare That Was Christmas (Death Never Dies)
I did a little (very little, very short) newsroom debate on Fox 9 with a guy named Tom who appears to represent conservative Christians regarding the question of “Does Christmas have place in schools?” I quickly add that even though that was the planned focus of the discussion, it was quickly revised to be “Oh, no, not just Christmas, but Kwanza and Hanuka and stuff too.” That particular bit of backpedaling is, of course, ingenuous and annoying, because nobody from Hanuka or Kwanza is trying to force their religious holidays into public schools, only the conservative Christians. So if we were to have an ecumenical touchy-feelie “all the religions are equal” thing in the schools, you know it would consist mainly of Christmas, a nod to Hanuka, and a few snarky remarks about Kwanza. And it would probably not address in a valid way the 30 million Americans who are basically religon-free. You know this because that is how it always turns out.
Anyway, I have the following thoughts on the issue which run far beyond what Tom and I had time to talk about, and here they are.
Continue reading Bringing the War on Christmas Into your Very Living Room