Monthly Archives: December 2006

Christmas nonsense

Well, okay, it wasn’t as bad as last year, but I’d be shocked if I could have gotten through a whole Christmas seasons without conservative morons ranting about the War on Christmas. I was even caused to sit through a Paul Harvey (I liked the guy a lot better when Reagan was in office for some reason…) editorial on how the “religious significance of Christmas has survived.”

Well, yeah, ’cause to get rid of said “signficance,” we’d have to change the name, dump most of the old carols, and somehow enlist the help of the people who constitute the religion that spawned that significance.

Exactly as Christians did when they corrupted Yule in the first place.

I think it’s time again to remember the Reason for the Season. That is, of course, that Earth isn’t exactly rotating about a parallel axis to the one it’s revolving around. In other words, it’s tilted, a fact which results in some days being longer and hotter than others.

The resulting phenomenon is known as “seasons.” We recognize four of them: winter, spring, summer, and fall. These seasons are naturally defined by the shortest day, the longest day (solstices), and the two days of the year that take up exactly half a rotation (equinoxes).

Primitive people were pretty proud of themselves when they figured out what these were, and they decided to have annual parties to celebrate. One of these parties (a Winter Solstice Party, as it turns out) got corrupted by Christendom to celebrate the biirth of their Savior. It was later corrupted by mercantile interests looking to make a buck.

But in all this time, the real significance of Christmas/Yule/Whatever hasn’t changed. It isn’t about anybody’s dear and fluffy lord (who certainly wasn’t born at Midwinter) It isn’t about Santa Claus. It’s about thriving in the middle of Winter and renewing our relationships with our families. As such, it remains a worthwhile tradition.


In recent news, my driver’s license is apparently suspended on account of an old ticket I wasn’t aware needed paying. (*sigh*) I am working to correct this, and it should be corrected soon, but for the meantime I’m not driving. I don’t expect this to make a huge difference as my dad kinda has time to drive me around now (what with the no job thing he has going on right now,) and I only have two finals left anyway.

Finals are going pretty good although hectic. I’m missing a lot of work in a couple of my classes, and that had me worried enough that I missed a good two hours of sleep last night over it.

Oh, and Neko — I AM NOT WRONG. I found myself at loose ends at a public library lately and got to checking through the MLA standard and the Chicago Manual of Style. I didn’t get a chance to check the APA standard or a modern copy of Webster’s or Oxford but MLA and Chicago agree on two things:
1) PPCs is correct.
2) PPC’s is incorrect.

MLA and Chicago use an apostrophe to pluralize only a few fairly odd cases:
1) lower-case letters representing themselves.
2) abbreviations, provided they contain lower-case letters, or contain two or more internal periods.

So, to review:
yeses, not yes’s.
noes, not no’s.
88s, not 88’s.
IOUs or I.O.U.’s (both are equally correct, though why you’d want to type four extra characters is beyond me.) but not IOU’s.
MPs or M.P.’s (again, both equally correct. One is fewer keystrokes.) but not MP’s.
p’s and q’s.
ABCs (or abc’s.)
PPCs not PPC’s.
Texases not Texas’s.

And, yes, thank you. It’s always best to know what one is talking about before making pronouncements, rather than relying on a 200-level collegiate education in grammar or a single 48-year old dictionary.

To end on a positive note, the common man is actually still pretty awesome. In a Winco not too long ago, all the registers were packed and the couple in front of me insisted that I should go first since I only had a few items. I didn’t manage to catch their names, but it’s these small things that keep one’s faith in humanity going.

Public service announcement.

Adding an “s” to something makes it plural. Just the “s”. By itself. Sometimes an “es” is appropriate, as when the noun in question ends with an “s”. Vowels (and the letter “y”) at the end of words get their own special treatment, and some words even have special pluralizations. Like Mice. And Wolves.

Adding an “‘s” to something makes it posessive. Except in the case of “it’s” (which is a contraction of “it is”,) it always makes it posessive. “‘s” cannot make a noun plural.

PPCs is plural. PPC’s is posessive.

Got it?

Sorry. That’s just been annoying me for a while lately and I figured it would make me feel better if I posted it somewhere public.

In other news — movement. I’m coming down to the end of the Quarter/Semester, which is making me really nervous as I’m not doing as well this time as I have in the past.

Bill Stave (the obnoxious, malodorous smoker — normally I’d think that was redundant, but this case was special– who had been sharing my house) has finally moved out. The room he was in has even stopped stinking as much, since it took me so long to post this news.

Alison’s mother got a new smoker-boyfriend to replace the one who had apparently actually quit. I really don’t understand this. If statistics are to be believed, some 80% of her potential choices in boyfriends don’t smoke. What are the odds of two smokers in a row out of a random assortment?

As a consequence of having a new Smoker to bring around, Peggy apparently decided to try to prove to Alison that she didn’t have a problem again, as seems to be becoming her new Holiday tradition. This happened to coincide with Alison picking up a case of strep and an apparent worsening of her condition (she now has trouble with smoke from a fireplace…)

Anyway, Alison has moved in with my mother for the short-term while we try to get our house ready for her. I’m working on getting her medical help too. She’s been able to get up in the afternoons now that she can actually sleep at night (on account of not having to deal with her sister and HER boyfriends.)