Our Amazon Product du Jour is the recent book Die Behind the
Wheel: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of Steely Dan, a
collection of short stories
brought to my attention via
I like Steely Dan, and I like crime fiction, so it's a real
possibility. Even though I have never heard of any of the authors
But what I found from perusing the table of contents at Amazon out was
disturbing. One of the story titles is a line from the
Do you have a dark spot on your past?
And I realized I'd been mishearing this for appoximately 43 years. I
thought it was
Do you have a dark spot on your pants?
Well, that's embarrassing. The actual lyric makes more sense. To the
extent that Steely Dan lyrics make sense at all.
The war on Christmas continues with an abject surrender down the road in Durham, NH, as
reported by Foster's Daily Democrat:
Durham ends tree lighting, downplays Santa.
Though the town’s holiday celebration is weeks away, Durham is already getting criticism about modifications to the event designed to remove religious overtones that non-Christians or non-religious residents could find offensive.
Town Administrator Todd Selig said the newly named Frost Fest, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m., includes significant changes to the traditional holiday tree lighting at Memorial Park, including the absence of a formal tree lighting ceremony. Memorial Park, a small, town-owned traffic island on Main Street at the Mill Road intersection, where the tree that is lighted for the holidays is rooted in the ground, has traditionally been the gathering spot for the event, which headlines the holiday season.
Yes, "significant changes to the traditional holiday tree lighting"
would be not to light the tree. At least not in a "formal"
way. Whatever that means. Nobody wearing a tux?
Ah, but it turns out there will be lights on the tree, but…
Organized by the Durham Parks & Recreation Department, it is described as the “annual welcome to winter celebration” with “cold hands, warm hearts.” The modified event will not include the traditional countdown and tree lighting, though the tree will have lights, Selig said, and Santa Claus, though he will have some presence in the celebration, will not arrive by town fire truck as he has in the past.
Yes, there will be lights but no lighting. I guess the lights
will be turned on surreptitiously, somehow. That won't offend the
The reworked event is part of an effort to make Durham’s celebration more secular and inclusive, Selig said, so all residents from a variety of backgrounds and religions could feel comfortable participating.
“Santa will be present, but not presented,” said Kitty Marple, who chairs the Winter Celebration Working Group and the Town Council.
Present, but not presented. I love that smug Orwellian wordplay, don't you?
“I understand why some people will be angry about the changes,” Marple said, but noted most of the activities will be the same as they’ve always been. A bonfire, s’mores, music, cookie decorating, ice sculpting demonstrations and crafts are planned.
So note: the aim is to make more people "feel comfortable". But
Kitty says she knows "some people will be angry".
Wouldn't it have been refreshingly honest if she had added "… but we
don't care about them"? Have a s'more and shut up.
Though Marple said she personally felt neutral about Durham’s tree lighting tradition, others felt unwelcome. The small changes suggested by the working committee were designed to make the event “more ecumenical,” Marple said.
News flash: Ms Marple doesn't know what "ecumenical" means. It would
have been more accurate to say: entirely shorn of anything that even
hints at a religious connection.
Oh yeah: no wreaths on the lampposts either. Well, enough local
garbage, we move on to…