Every day, San Francisco radio station KALW announces notable events for that day. Yesterday (May 13th) we were told that it was National Apple Pie Day (other sources agree with that; almost every day is devoted to some food or another) and also Blame Somone Else Day. An entertaining idea. Unfortunately, I can’t find any source that says Blame Someone Else Day comes on May 13th.
Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category
On Facebook, Sally Byers reminds me that today is a Fibonacci day: an M/D/Y (in US notation) in which M + D = Y (5/8/13: 5 + 8 = 13) and M and D are successive Fibonacci numbers (starting from the pair of integers 1, 1). This is the fifth Fibonacci day in this century — 1/1/02, 1/2/03, 2/3/05, 3/5/08, and now 5/8/13. It’s also the penultimate Fibonacci day in this century: 8/13/21 will be the last, and then no more (since there’s no 13th month).
On Dennis Baron’s blog The Web of Language for today, “The Great language change hoax”, which begins:
Deniers of global warming, the big bang, and evolution have a new target: language change. Arguing that language change is just a theory, not a fact, they’re launching efforts to remove it from the school curriculum. To support their efforts, they’re citing a new report, “The Great Language Change Hoax,” presented last month at the annual conference of the Society for Pure English in Toronto.
The authors of the study, Jon Lamarck and Tori Lysenko, are cognitive biophysicists at Hudson University who feel that explaining language is best done by scientists who know nothing about language. Linguists, the researchers usually associated with language study, are too close to their subject matter, thus too subjective. “We don’t even like language,” Lamarck told attendees at the SPE conference. “That’s why we can be objective about it.”
Today is Maundy, or Holy, Thursday, a lead-in to Easter Sunday (commemorating the Last Supper), and marshmallow came up yesterday in my posting on abutilon, so it’s time for a posting on Peeps, a confection associated with Easter. An array of these marshmallow candies:
(The yellow chick was the original Peep.)
Today begins one of the twelve years of the Chinese lunar calendar (observed beyond the boundaries of China, of course): the year of the serpent, or snake, one of the two notably phallic years on the calendar (the other is the dragon; I am a dragon). Many many images, ranging from the traditional to the cute. Here’s one combining the snake image with the name of the year in Western script:
It’s a big thing in this part of the world.
The Cantonese wish for prosperity in the new year: Gung1 hei2 faat3 coi4. Usually rendered as Gung hay fat choi in English transcription, though there are a great many variant spellings.
May you have a prosperous new year. And the pleasure of snakes, as they suit you.
(Holiday silliness, gender and sexuality, but not much language. Risqué but not actually X-rated.)
For the sixth day of Christmas, Daddy Kissing Santa Claus. I’ll get to that soon, but first a few of this year’s crop of hot guys in Santa gear (but minus Daddy).
The Christmas Eve Bizarro:
A cartoon clearly meant for me, in my guise as Underwear Guy.
(It’s Christmas Adam today, as several friends have pointed out: the day that immediately precedes Christmas Eve. Yeah, yeah, guffaw, guffaw.)
The world of Christmas songs (other than standard hymns and carols) can be roughly divided into three parts, according to content and purpose:
Jesus-y Christmas songs, in which the Christmas Child plays a central role (more on these below);
well-meaning non-Jesus-y Christmas songs, emphasizing family, friends, and warm feelings about the season, but making no commitment to the birth of Christ or indeed to his existence (“White Christmas”; “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting…)”, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, etc).;
gag Christmas songs, which are basically meant to be awful but entertaining (“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”, “All I Want for Christmas Is a New Front Tooth”, “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”, etc.)
Aesthetic judgments work differently in these three domains, as well as in the domains of standard hymns and carols; even if you consign all gag Christmas songs to Music Hell (as I would certainly do) and run screaming from them when they appear in public places, you might still want to make discriminations in the other categories. Some instances are more vicious than others.
In particular, there is plenty of room to view some Jesus-y Christmas sings as thoroughly regrettable, despite their earnest pretensions. This brings me to “The Little Drummer Boy” vs. “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, in a tight and hard-fought competition for Most Regrettable Jesus-y Christmas Song.