Pharyngula

It never ends

Get ready for the War on New Year.

Apparently the forces of darkness are mounting an attack, this time on the Christian holiday of New Year’s Day, which commemorates and worshipfully celebrates the anniversary of the day on which a Romanian monk miscalculated the year in which our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was born. In addition to the anticalendricals, it seems that the Chinese, Jews, and Muslims are all opting out and deciding to celebrate other days as their new year. More recently the ranks of these heathen have apparently been joined by the ancient Babylonians. Worse still, countless American companies are yielding to the pressure from these groups, and instructing them to wish people “Happy New Years Day” rather than “Happy New Year’s Day”.

This is just a warm-up. Next we make an assault on that pagan festival of lust, Valentine’s Day, and then comes the big push to reconquer Easter in the name of the ancient fertility goddess. That one will be tricky — they keep moving the date around to confuse us.

Comments

  1. #1 schism
    December 31, 2008

    Next we make an assault on that pagan festival of lust, Valentine’s Day…

    Why would we have a problem with a festival of lust? Or are we making it lustier? Laying siege to Hallmark factories?

  2. #2 Zeno
    December 31, 2008

    This holy war is complicated by the existence of perhaps inadvertent fellow travelers — “useful idiots” — who neglect the use of the apostrophe in possessives (but sometimes inexplicably use them in plurals). They therefore wish people “Happy New Years Day” when they actually mean “Happy New Year’s Day”. Therefore, before attacking such individuals as deliberate violators of the holy spirit of New Year’s Day, it is important to ascertain their intent. One way is to ask (politely): “Are you a heathen pluralist or just punctuationally incompetent?”

    Amen.

  3. #3 Deepsix
    December 31, 2008

    “American companies are yielding to the pressure from these groups, and instructing them to wish people “Happy New Years Day” rather than “Happy New Year’s Day”.”

    Personally, I still pronounce the apostrophe when wishing someone a “Happy New Year’s Day”.

  4. #4 Thomas
    December 31, 2008

    Am i just stupid. Apostophe, no apostrophe is it really that different? Is it an American thing I don’t get. I mean apart from grammer what is the difference?

  5. #5 Glen Davidson
    December 31, 2008

    Let’s make it April Fool’s Day again.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  6. #6 marcus
    December 31, 2008

    Sir! I’ll thank you to remember that it is SAINT Valentines day! Be sure to buy the cards that include the honorific, accept no substitutes!

  7. #7 Lynnai
    December 31, 2008

    *snort*

    Happy Hogmanay.

  8. #8 Eric Saveau
    December 31, 2008

    A long time ago I suggested to a significant other that we rename Valentine’s Day to “Chocolate-Covered Multiple Orgasms Day” but she replied that such a name would not distinguish that day from normal ones. Ah, the disappointment…

  9. #9 Qwerty
    December 31, 2008

    His post ends: “Truly committed Christians should be listening carefully for the lack of apostrophe and boycott any stores that prove to be committed to this heretical anapostrophism.”

    He has humor as one of the buzzwords; so, this is obviously a joke because I just don’t know how one would listen for an apostrophe. I do like his suggestion that we overindulge when imbibing champagne.

  10. #10 Glen Davidson
    December 31, 2008

    Btw, it looks like April 1 as April Fools’ Day didn’t actually come from the new year beginning on that day–a fictional account.

    Still seems as good a time as any to begin “the new year.”

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  11. #11 Martin
    December 31, 2008

    Personally I say “Happy New Year~s Da^y”, but maybe that’s just me.

  12. #12 MIKE
    December 31, 2008

    I know it’s hard for most posters here to imagine a christian poking fun at themself, but I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on here. Read some of his other posts while trying not to focus on how wrong he is but instead on his concessions to the idea that christianity is a bit warped and silly.

  13. #13 my56
    December 31, 2008

    I always figured that since the new year started 8 days after Christmas…it must be a celebration of the Jewish covenant of circumcision [which is required to be done on the 8th day after birth]. Since Jesus was supposed to be an incarnation of God, this ritual circumcision would represent the actualization of the covenant on God’s penis. Now THAT’S something to celebrate!

  14. #14 marcus
    December 31, 2008

    How could she have a penis?

  15. #15 Riman Butterbur
    December 31, 2008

    And the 11 days from the Winter Solstice to New Years is just the difference between the solar year and lunar year — could that be a coincidence?

  16. #16 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 31, 2008

    War on Clam Chowder DAY!!

    Feb 21

  17. #17 littlejohn
    December 31, 2008

    I’d be happy to be rid of New Year’s Day. Just keep your grubby hands off New Year’s Eve!

  18. #18 Kassul
    December 31, 2008

    Wait what?

    I’m not going to have the opportunity to worshipfully celebrate this glorious religious holiday this year. At least, not properly.

    I’m going to be staying at home tonight, playing on the Wii with my neices and parents as we wait for midnight to strike.

    Alas, this year I’ll be bereft of booze and instead be ‘celebrating’ with good clean wholesome mario kart instead. I feel vile already =\

    Maybe I’ll toss a few extra bananas on the track to make up for it.

  19. #19 Marc Abian
    December 31, 2008

    We can’t really have a war something on a concept. Surely even the xians realise that. It’d be like having a war on terror or…

    Oh wait.

  20. #20 Anthropi
    December 31, 2008

    Actually, it should be New Years’ Day, and not New Years Day.

  21. #21 NonyNony
    December 31, 2008

    I know it’s hard for most posters here to imagine a christian poking fun at themself, but I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on here.

    He’s calling out the Ancient Babylonians and telling people to make sure that they pronounce the apostrophe.

    OF COURSE IT’S A JOKE.

    (I know that it’s tough to tell humor over the internet, but come on folks – “boycott any stores that prove to be committed to this heretical anapostrophism”? Seriously?)

  22. #22 Sastra
    December 31, 2008

    marcus #6 wrote:

    Sir! I’ll thank you to remember that it is SAINT Valentines day!

    QUITE RIGHT!

    The Catholics have had it up to here with people trying to denigrate and secularize their special holy day of honoring their saint. Thus, you will soon see signs, buttons, and bumper stickers appear, all reminding people to

    Keep the SAINT in Saint Valentine’s Day

    This will be supplemented, of course, by placards on Catholic Churches across the country, with:

    “Cupid is ruining my martyrdom” — Valentinus of Rome

    Unless you are Catholic, you have no reason to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day. Or love anybody romantically, either — since all true understanding of love is derived from the experience of God’s pure selfless love, Agape, and without the historical scholarly work of the Catholic Church romance would never have been discovered.

  23. #23 Somnolent Aphid
    December 31, 2008

    Watch, before you know it they’ll start calling it Valentines day. And Easter? The French already use the plural Pâques. SO that should give you some indication of where this country is headed.

    Happy Monkeys everyone!

  24. #24 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 31, 2008

    Personally, I still pronounce the apostrophe

    One wonders as what — as a ?okina? :-)

  25. #25 DrBadger
    December 31, 2008

    Can’t wait until the war on the 4th of July. That holiday has become way to secular.

  26. #26 Romeo Vitelli
    December 31, 2008

    Actually Valentine isn’t a saint anymore according to the Catholic Church. Which means the atheists will have to celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day in defiance. Except we don’t believe in saints either. I’m so confused.

  27. #27 BMcP
    December 31, 2008

    Worse still, countless American companies are yielding to the pressure from these groups, and instructing them to wish people “Happy New Years Day” rather than “Happy New Year’s Day”

    Wait.. you can tell the difference when someone says one or the other to you?

  28. #28 James McGrath
    December 31, 2008

    Yes, it was a joke – I’m glad that most people could tell. Although there are people whose views are so ‘laughable’ (the quotation marks there are silent, by the way) that it is hard to tell sometimes when something is serious or a parody.

    Happy New Year…whenever you celebrate it! :)

  29. #30 Deepsix
    December 31, 2008

    “One wonders as what — as a ?okina? :-)”

    No. I say, “Happy New Year apostrophe s Day”.
    It’s a little cumbersome, but I don’t want anyone thinking I’m a heathen.

  30. #31 Interrobang
    December 31, 2008

    Never mind New Year’s…I demand the restoration of the apostrophe in Hallowe’en.

    Apostates! Heretics! Blasphemers of the Holy Elision!*

    ________________
    * This practice is so longstanding in sacred circles, the Catholics even have a piece of the Mass devoted to it: Kyrie Elision.

  31. #32 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 31, 2008

    PZ the spammers are going nuts on the old threads.

  32. #33 Scarybug
    December 31, 2008

    I say we move the new year to March 1st anyway. That way September, October, November, and December will once again be the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th months respectively.

    How can “December” be the 12th month when “December” is Latin for “The Tenth Month”?

  33. #34 Victor W
    December 31, 2008

    Someone has to say it: Happy New Year’s Monkey to all of you! Monkey bless us, every one!

  34. #35 Patricia, OM
    December 31, 2008

    What the hell, let’s celebrate today – Dan Barker and that Newdow (?) fellow have filed a lawsuit to stop the prayer nonsense at Obama’s inauguration. Happy monkey!

  35. #36 druidbros
    December 31, 2008

    I think on April Fool’s Day we should all dress up like our favorite christofascist – Rick Warren, Anita Bryant, Sarah Palin, etc

    And why dont we get a head start on assaulting other special days. In January alone we could look toward…

    National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day – Jan 3rd
    National Show and Tell Day at Work – Jan 8th (be careful with this one)
    National Religious Freedom Day – Jan 16th
    National Thomas Crapper Day – Jan 27th

    Think of the possibilities !

  36. #37 Elwood Herring
    December 31, 2008

    Just when is New Year’s Day anyway? Up until 1752 in England it was March 21st. Isaac Newton as we know was born on Xmas Day 1642, and died on March 20th 1726 O.S. (or “New Year’s Eve” as it was then). So we could celebrate Newton on both of those days.

    However with the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, 11 days were dropped altogether and the New Year was put back to January 1st, making the year 1752 less than 9 months long here in England. Not a problem for old Newton of course, but it does show up the arbitrariness of the Western Calendar. This isn’t even technically the end of 2008 AD, but that’s another story.

    Anyway, it’s six hours till 2009 here (by common agreement), so I’m off to a party. Have a good one everybody!

    Elwood

  37. #38 NewEnglandBob
    December 31, 2008

    H’a'p’p'y’ M’o'n’k'e’y'!’!'!’

  38. #39 Nick Gotts
    December 31, 2008

    Of course, I’m one of the few here who will be celebrating the start of 2009 at the right time. As is well known, God, being an Englishman, drew the Greenwich Meridian before creating anything else, to ensure that it would be in the right place for the advent of the British Empire. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when the New Year arrives!

  39. #40 scooter
    December 31, 2008

    Houston is in the land of cattle, cows everywhere, even in the Houston City limits. As a result, we have a unique ritual for New Years Eve.

    I call it the, eat some shrooms and blow a bunch of shit up Day

    As a result, one would not detect a War on New Years because it is already a lot like a war with all the explosions.

    We go to the Art Car NYE party where they REALLY blow a lot of shit up. Last year they had a puppet show then burned the puppets, and blew up the puppet show booth.

    We also have the dance of the firecracker hats, if you haven’t seen this, you should check out this video, it’s quite bizarre and very Texas:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDL7s_qOHII

  40. #41 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 31, 2008

    Sounds like I need to go celebrate with scooter next year

  41. #42 John C. Randolph
    December 31, 2008

    IIRC, the Saudi Religious Police are already known for rather vigorously opposing Valentine’s day.

    -jcr

  42. #43 Marcus Ranum
    December 31, 2008

    Personally I say “Happy New Year~s Da^y”, but maybe that’s just me.

    Aaah, is the tilde silent? Or does it represent a slight burp? I’ve heard it pronounced with the silent tilde, mostly.

  43. #44 llewelly
    December 31, 2008

    Wait a minute, PZ. What about the War on Groundhog Day?

  44. #45 Sastra
    December 31, 2008

    llewelly #44 wrote:

    Wait a minute, PZ. What about the War on Groundhog Day?

    The War on Groundhog Day has been canceled. Turns out they bite.

  45. #46 Brad
    December 31, 2008

    What we really need is a war on Groundhog Day. Seriously, it’s SO stupid, and gets SO much media…
    Personally, I’d like to take Groundhog Day, rename it to War on Groundhogs Day, and move it to the end of June so the little varmints are not hibernating anymore. I’ll be ready for ‘em. (Actually, we don’t have many groundhogs locally, so I’ll have to proclaim their little varmint cousin squirrels, chipmunks and gophers to be groundhogs too, The way the Catholic Church made capybara into fish.)

  46. #47 mikg
    December 31, 2008

    (+)’s

  47. #48 Zeno
    December 31, 2008

    The Catholic church used to observe the first of January as the “Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord”, in honor of the day when baby Jesus presumably got his foreskin cut off. It’s long since been renamed as the much less interesting “Octave of the Nativity” (that is, the eighth day of Christmas). Either way, it’s a Catholic holy day of obligation, meaning that Catholics are required to attend mass on that day as if it were a Sunday.

    Of course, the new nomenclature reduces the occasion of little children pestering their parents at mass with questions asked aloud (as kids are wont to do): “What’s a circumcision, Daddy?” “If baby Jesus got one, can I have one, too?” “If it’s a Feast of the Circumcision, when do we eat?” “Can you eat a circumcision?” (Another name for the holiday under the old rites was “The Hushing of the Children”, but I could be just making that up.)

    It was also slightly embarrassing that there were multiple locations in Europe that claimed to possess the preserved foreskin of the baby Jesus as a relic, suitably encased in a bejeweled reliquary, available for parties, worship services, and fundraisers (esp. the latter).

    Have a nice penis-lopping holiday, folks.

  48. #49 Ouchimoo
    December 31, 2008

    HAPPY MONKEY!!

    Hehe wow I am just so busy with all these wars . . I don’t even know what I’m fighting anymore. . not that I never did.

  49. #50 mothra
    December 31, 2008

    @Nick #39- There has been a long standing war on Greenwich- I represent the ante-meridian faction. :}

  50. #51 Joe Shelby
    December 31, 2008

    So what’s the deal with the Celts that can’t seem to make up their mind? The Scots had no problems moving the new year to January 1st, but the Irish have this obsession with Halloween they can’t seem to get rid of, centuries since converting to Christianity…

    I wonder if the Pope intends to punish them for this insubordinate attitude…

  51. #52 Lance
    December 31, 2008

    …the Chinese, Jews, and Muslims are all opting out…

    As are the Ethiopians. Their new year begins in what we call September (they call Meskerem). It is 2001 in Ethiopia. Their calendar has thirteen months (twelve with thirty days and one short one that is fourteen days except on a leap year when it is fifteen days long).

    Their clock is the same as ours but it is six hours out of phase, midnight is 6:00p.m. and noon is 12:00 a.m.

    It kind’a makes sense if you think about it. Why do most of us start our day at the sixth or seventh hour of the day and are sleeping soundly at one o’clock in the “morning”?

    Visiting Ethiopia redefines “culture shock” trust me.

  52. #53 David
    December 31, 2008

    I think you will enjoy seeing this survey (though pathetic it is):
    http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=982

  53. #54 Lance
    December 31, 2008

    Oops the above should say that their midnight is 6:00pm and their noon is 6:00am.

    The whole thing can make you dizzy.

  54. #55 jimmiraybob
    December 31, 2008

    “Are you a heathen pluralist or just punctuationally incompetent?” – Zeno

    I’m a lumpist and attempt to embrace the best of both traditions.

  55. #56 Emily
    December 31, 2008

    @36: I already dressed up as Palin(my favorite gun-toting religious rightie) for Halloween, which I guess contributed toward the apparent Christian drive to reclaim the holiday as something less than Satanic– for instance, by handing out Chick tracts.

    And don’t forget Saint Patrick’s Day! Before long, the forces of secularism will be forcing us to take down those four-leafed clover decorations because they look too much like crosses. Or redefining the holiday to something involving green beer and Irish national stereotypes in which religion hardly even plays a role– and that’s terrible.

  56. #57 RamblinDude
    December 31, 2008

    It kind’a makes sense if you think about it. Why do most of us start our day at the sixth or seventh hour of the day and are sleeping soundly at one o’clock in the “morning”?

    I never thought about that before. (Of course, 10:00 A. M. is generally the beginning of the day for me, but we can fight about that later). Anyway, are we to be held hostage to quaint and arbitrary traditions of time-keeping? And what’s with this ancient, superstitious religious obsession with cycles of twelve, anyway? When are we going to get with the metric system?

    I declare a war on clocks!

  57. #58 llewelly
    December 31, 2008

    It was also slightly embarrassing that there were multiple locations in Europe that claimed to possess the preserved foreskin of the baby Jesus as a relic, suitably encased in a bejeweled reliquary, available for parties, worship services, and fundraisers (esp. the latter).

    Wait a minute. The ‘miracle of the loaves and fishes’ (‘feeding of the five thousand’) is, well, considered a miracle by Catholics. Why not the ‘miracle of multiple foreskins’?

  58. #59 llewelly
    December 31, 2008

    Their clock is the same as ours but it is six hours out of phase, midnight is 6:00p.m. and noon is 12:00 a.m.

    It kind’a makes sense if you think about it. Why do most of us start our day at the sixth or seventh hour of the day and are sleeping soundly at one o’clock in the “morning”?

    When I was in school, I was always told: “Sunrise moves with the season, and midnight doesn’t.”
    I was never able to convince my teachers that a 6-hour phase shift was a viable alternative that wouldn’t result in a continually moving time for the start of the day. Eventually I came to believe the people in charge of such things were just too stupid to accept the idea. So I was surprised when I learned about Ethiopia’s time system.

  59. #60 Emily
    December 31, 2008

    Well, lots of saints apparently have multiple skulls in various locations, and the collected pieces of the “True Cross” could build several bungalows…

  60. #61 Psi Wavefunction
    December 31, 2008

    Personally I just say Happy New Year. Day is irrelevant. Actually I say ‘S Novim Godom’ because no one on this side of the planet deems the holiday even marginally important, being eclipsed by Xmas etc. In Russia, New Year is always the bigger holiday (although that is slowly changing >.< ) since Orthodox Xmas is all the way a week later. People don't like to procrastinate with hard core partying... ^.^

    And then there's the shear awesome of wishing people a Merry Xmas on 07 Jan. The confused looks are thoroughly worth it!

    (Not that I celebrate either of the Xmasses)

    And people who claim New Year as their Christian holiday can fuck off -- they already have a Christ birthday celebration, how many more can they want!? Too bad many cultures decided to mark the end of winter as the start of the new year, or the half-way point of winter (solstice) -- has to do with being agricultural societies. I wonder if non-agricultural societies have a significantly different calendar origin, perhaps depending on local climate?

    Either way, Happy New Year/S Novim Godom/etc, my fellow Pharyngulites!

    And fuck PC-speak!

    -Psi-

    PS: And happy whole-year-celebration-of-evolution/Darwin's 200th anniversary year! =D

    I will be doing a weekly (or perhaps even twice weekly if I'm unlazy) post on various cool protist phyla and talking about eukaryote diversity on my blog, starting when I get home next week. You're all invited! =D

    http://skepticwonder.blogspot.com

    [/shameless advertising]

  61. #62 Wayne Robinson
    December 31, 2008

    Well actually, the first day of the year in the UK (and as a result also in the American colonies), used to be the 25th of March until 1752 (as Elwood Herring comment #37 pointed out). It varied from country to country. When Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar, it also changed the 1st day of the year. If you go to Westminster Abbey and look at Poets’ Corner, you’ll find that Handel’s grave is marked with his birth date as 23 February, 1684 (he was born in 1685 like JS Bach). According to the website of the abbey, to an Englishman of the day, anything before the March 25 is the year before (it’s actually wrong, in the UK the convention is to correct the year but not the day for events before 1752, and Handel died long after 1752).
    Actually, and to be absolutely correct, according to the Universal Day Treaty, the day doesn’t start until midnight in Greenwich, so the 2009 doesn’t start for at least another 2hours and 15 minutes (in Australia, it’s well into 2009).

  62. #63 Psi Wavefunction
    December 31, 2008

    Oh, and thanks to the Gregorian calendar shift in 1917, we still have a remnant of “Old New Year” (13 Dec) as an excuse to get drunk celebrate properly just one more time!

    Wishing people a “Happy Old New Year” is also very fun XP

  63. #64 'Tis Himself
    December 31, 2008

    Personally, I’d like to take Groundhog Day, rename it to War on Groundhogs Day, and move it to the end of June so the little varmints are not hibernating anymore.

    Isn’t that when Jesus rolled back the rock on his tomb, looked out, saw his shadow, and knew there were six more weeks of winter? I’m so confused.

  64. #65 Tulse
    December 31, 2008

    Why the hell doesn’t the “new year” start at the winter solstice, anyway?

  65. #66 AJ
    December 31, 2008

    Well, regardless of spelling, midnight approaches here in Europe, so happy new year to every Pharingulite. We did a lot of good the past year; let’s keep it up in 2009!

  66. #67 AJ
    December 31, 2008

    PharYngulite, obviously… I’ve had my champagne already

  67. #68 Sclerophanax
    December 31, 2008

    Why the hell doesn’t the “new year” start at the winter solstice, anyway?

    Actually, a sensible way to set up major secular holidays would be to have them at solstices and equinoxes. Many original “pagan” festivals started out that way, and being based around astronomical events gives them at least some non-superstitious meaning. From what I’ve understood, you poor anglo-americans don’t have a midsummer’s celebration, so this would grant you one extra holiday in June.

  68. #69 Tim
    December 31, 2008

    Easter used to be a fertility celebration, sounds like a tradition to re-establish, I’m sure phizer wouldn’t object.

  69. #70 Gregory Kusnick
    December 31, 2008

    Nick @ #39:

    Of course, I’m one of the few here who will be celebrating the start of 2009 at the right time.

    Not unless you pause at midnight to account for the leap second.

  70. #71 Riman Butterbur
    December 31, 2008

    Scarybug | December 31, 2008 17:59

    How can “December” be the 12th month when “December” is Latin for “The Tenth Month”?

    Because the Romans couldn’t count. Months or days.
    Today is the second day of the Kalends of January.

  71. #72 Lance
    December 31, 2008

    I don’t know if I’m losing my touch or it is the massive amount of Nyquil in my system. That was a joke, right? Please…Screw it, I’m going back to bed.

  72. #73 DrBadger
    December 31, 2008

    @#57 – metric time: didn’t the French try that in the 1700′s? I think there are still some clocks with 10 hours and 100 minutes.

  73. #74 Hugo
    December 31, 2008

    I hate it when Godless heathens abuse punctuation! Have they no respect?!

  74. #75 Catalin Sandu
    December 31, 2008

    Hey, I’m Romanian myself, but I never heard of that mathematically challenged monk. But then, maybe I didn’t get the memo…

  75. #76 Andy
    December 31, 2008

    I’ve noticed a rather disturbing trend of PZ posting satire, and then half the commenters smelling atheist persecution or a new battle in the “culture wars”. For a readership that prides itself on having well-tuned bullshit detectors, I’d expect better from us. And I thought Bill Donohue was humorless. . . Lighten up, guys!

  76. #77 Nick Gotts/Knock Goats
    December 31, 2008

    Gregory Kusnick@70,

    Oh, don’t worry. I’m taking my time from the BBC. Here’s my new nym for 2009!

  77. #78 Knock Goats/Nick Gotts
    December 31, 2008

    Happy 2009 everyone!

  78. #79 DaveH
    December 31, 2008

    Well. That’s it here in Scotland. A guid new year to yin an’ a’ of the pharynguloid ilk and horde.

    Perhaps you might join me in a song? (it’s also the 250th anniversary of Rabbie’s birth, later this month)

    Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
    And never brought to min’?
    Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
    And auld lang syne?

    For auld lang syne, my dear,
    For auld lang syne,
    We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
    For auld lang syne,

    We twa hae run aboot the braes,
    And pu’d the gowans fine;
    But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
    Sin’ auld lang syne.

    We twa hae paidled I’ the burn,
    From morning sun till dine;
    But seas between us braid hae roar’d
    Sin’ auld lang syne

    And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere,
    And gie’s a hand o’ thine;
    And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught,
    For auld lang syne

    And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
    And surely I’ll be mine;
    And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
    For auld lang syne

  79. #80 Old Goat
    December 31, 2008

    You know… I honestly think that the only ones waging war are the ones marching across the calendar planting flags on dates, claiming dominion.

  80. #81 Knock Goats
    December 31, 2008

    The new nym is to discourage attention from casual idiots (not from the regulars, even the regular idiots), as my work email is readily discoverable from my real name. The derivation is simple: it’s roughly how my name sounds when pronounced with a strong Doric (i.e. Aberdonian) accent. I’m not promising to keep it indefinitely.

  81. #82 Knock Goats
    December 31, 2008

    Aye, DaveH, an’ a guid new year to yersel’.

  82. #83 shonny
    December 31, 2008

    How is a professor of religion rated, above or below a professor of navel-gazing?

    Their usefulness is about on par.

  83. #84 shonny
    December 31, 2008

    And a Happy New Year to all heathens!
    May the god-squads perish forever.

  84. #85 khan
    December 31, 2008

    The Daily Show had a bit about the war on “Valentine’s Day’; IIRC 2007.

  85. #86 Bubba Sixpack
    December 31, 2008

    Considering the hysteria exhibited in the War On Christmas derangement syndrome, as suffered by the right-wing insane like Bill O’Reilly, I would not be surprised to see this snark actually come true.

    IOW, don’t give Bill O’Reilly and his loon-goons any ideas.

  86. #87 shonny
    December 31, 2008

    And to those who could imagine spending 40 seconds to marvel the changes in nature over a year, enjoy this: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=lmIFXIXQQ_E

    From Norway, of course!

  87. #88 Tom
    December 31, 2008

    What about reclaiming Arbor Day from those religious tree worshipers?

  88. #89 DaveH
    December 31, 2008

    Knock Goats. Lang may yer lum reek, loon! So, fooare ye?

    Ony worries that yer new nym micht jist be translated as “Shag sheep”??? ;^)

    (Buchan parents, but born and raised in The Kingdom o’ Fife, masel’) Better stop the Doric chat in front of the international web, though…. aye, fegs.

    Best to you and yours for a happy and prosperous year of Darwin and Burns!

    DaveH

  89. #90 Knock Goats
    December 31, 2008

    DaveH,
    Ektually, eym a sassenach, resident in Aberdeen for ten years, but still, to my shame, mostly unable to understand Doric, as locals switch into standard English as soon as they realise I’m from south of the border.

  90. #91 DaveH
    December 31, 2008

    Knock, over 90% of Scots have no chance understanding those mad Aiberdonians and their bizarre language!
    OK, back to the party!!

    2009 will be a good year for Enlightenment values and whisky!

    Best regards
    DH

  91. #92 Badger3k
    January 1, 2009

    re #61: “And people who claim New Year as their Christian holiday can fuck off — they already have a Christ birthday celebration, how many more can they want!?”

    I counted (roughly) 61 days here: http://www.spiritrestoration.org/Church/Holidays/Christian_Holy_Days_2008.htm

  92. #93 RamblinDude
    January 1, 2009

    DrBadger |

    … metric time: didn’t the French try that in the 1700′s? I think there are still some clocks with 10 hours and 100 minutes.
    http://zapatopi.net/metrictime

    You got me curious, so I googled ‘metric time clocks’ and whadyaknow? There are lots of references to metric time. Even if there are practical reasons to switch to it (and some do try to make the case), it’s hard to believe that it would ever happen. But now my head is all abuzz wondering how our attachment to a twenty-four hour day, and it’s resultant slotted time-keeping, has affected our thinking, and our consciousness, and, well hell, every aspect of our lives. So interesting. . . .

    Uh, I mean “Down with sectarian cyclicism and divisions based on ancient superstitions!” or, eh, something like that….

  93. #94 faux.mulder
    January 1, 2009

    i’m sorry, am i missing the point of this?

    someone is anti-apostrophe?

  94. #95 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    January 1, 2009

    How is a professor of religion rated, above or below a professor of navel-gazing?

    Their usefulness is about on par.

    I beg to differ. The professors of religion that I know are not theists, they examine religion as a cultural institution much like any sociologist or anthropologist. Some of the most interesting work on debunking the epistemological claims of religion have been crafted by professors of religion.

    If you are interested in further reading, I recommend Hector Avalos’ The End of Biblical Studies in which he examines textual criticism of the bible, and comes to the conclusion that using that method of verifying historicity of mythology we have more evidence that Robin Hood existed than we do for Jesus. I also recommend his Fighting Words in which he treats religion through the lens of an economist. Religious truth and salvation, he contends, are the equivalent of “scarce resources,” bartered through the priests (of whatever nym,) in exchange for power.

    The study of religion can be approached by non-theologians, you know.

    Whether McGrath, who is a Christian, is willing to take his studies to the same extent as Avalos, I doubt. But he is pretty damn funny when he sets his wit to keyboard.

  95. #96 Col. Flagg
    January 1, 2009

    pagan festival of lust, Valentine’s Day…
    That gives me an idea. We need holidays to honor each and every one of the seven cardinal sins. We have several so far:

    Lust: Valentine’s Day
    Gluttony: Thanksgiving
    Greed: Christmas?
    Sloth: New Years
    Wrath: Festivus?
    Envy: ____________
    Pride: ____________

  96. #97 Emily
    January 1, 2009

    Brilliant idea… July 4th is the holiday of pride, at least in the United States. And St. Patrick’s Day can be envy because of all the green.

  97. #98 ken
    January 1, 2009

    Prospero Ano Nuevo

    Gott Nytt Ar!

    ’nuff said.

  98. #99 Samantha Vimes
    January 1, 2009

    Envy = Academy Awards Show.

  99. #100 Rahn
    January 1, 2009

    Concerning pronouncing the apostrophe in New Year’s Day (#3)…..

    you mean like this?
    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=lF4qii8S3gw

  100. #101 Jack Parsons
    January 2, 2009

    Don’t the Jews keep moving Easter around to fool the Christians? For once, a real conspiracy!

  101. #102 Jim A
    January 2, 2009

    Well it IS Christian to the extant that the date comemorates the anniversery of Jesus’s circumcision. Historicly, some european countries changed the year on Christmas, some on Easter, and some on the Feast of the Annunciation. So we should all raise a class to toast Jesus’s foreskin.

  102. #103 John Phillips, FCD
    January 2, 2009

    Well I have decided to declare war on all holidays and replace all holiday greetings with Happy Monkey. It has a number of advantages. Firstly, it confuses those who worry about the war on some holiday. Secondly, it serves as an all purpose greeting which doesn’t care whether there is a holiday or not. Thirdly, it is always happy monkey :).

  103. #104 blf
    January 3, 2009

    … then comes the big push to reconquer Easter in the name of the ancient fertility goddess. That one will be tricky – they keep moving the date around to confuse us.

    Nah, the big problem here is they have the killer rabbit. Fortunately, we have the (they-call-it-)holy hand grenade. And the chocolate.

  104. #105 'Tis Himself
    January 3, 2009

    Jim A January 2, 2009 12:41 PM

    So we should all raise a class to toast Jesus’s foreskin.

    Must…resist…urge…to…snark….

  105. #106 hery
    January 25, 2010

    Too bad many cultures decided to mark the end of winter as the start of the new year, or the half-way point of winter.