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I dread the day when the suffering of my fellow is none of my concern June 28, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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I’ve had Grace Petrie’s “They Shall Not Pass” in pretty heavy rotation for a few days now, and wanted to share.

Stand up today that we might save tomorrow
Oh I know there’s a way that we might save tomorrow
Yes it’s late in the day but we might save tomorrow if we try

We shall not turn against each other, for our creed or for our colour
Nor the ones we choose our lovers, or our class
You that beckon us that way, you shall not pass

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Lesbians for Yuletide, and other Christmas cheer December 26, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup, Recommendations.
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Yuletide is open! Here’s all the fake news (& related) fics.

It’s my second Yuletide, and the first one where I’ve written treats. So if you read a fic and think “huh, this writing style/character interpretation/combo of favorite tropes seems familiar”…you might be right.

And for a gift — guys, I got my incredibly-niche moonshot prompt — it’s Dorothy hanging out with lesbians in turn-of-the-century San Francisco!

The Road Built in Hope (5346 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Oz – L. Frank Baum
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Dorothy Gale/Princess Ozma
Characters: Dorothy Gale, Uncle Henry, Original Female Character(s), Eureka (Oz)
Additional Tags: Slice of Life, Canon Compliant, Misses Clause Challenge
Summary:

Dorothy stays with friends in San Francisco before the events of ‘Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.’

Bonus cheer:

NBA stars playing Carol of the Bells using basketballs. Hardcore.

Vintage holiday wishes from Catball & Clown Girl:

Orchestral version of the Colbert Report theme February 25, 2016

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…is a beautiful thing and worth sharing.

Old stuff: math teachings from 1917, scandalous pop songs from 1909, cat video from 1903 February 8, 2016

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In reverse chronological order!

Books are Weapons in the War on Ideas: the librarians who worked with the army in WWI and WWII.

“…contractors removing old chalkboards at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City made a startling discovery: Underneath them rested another set of chalkboards, untouched since 1917.” Historical penmanship and out-of-date multiplication methods ahoy!

“It may seem like a Halloween hoax fit for the eerie October holiday. But officials from the MBTA say the discovery of two tattered rags affixed to strange masks at Government Center Station is all too real.

How a sexed-up viral hit from the summer of ’09—1909—changed American pop music forever.” (Excerpts: “It was used in advertisements for everything from Broadway musicals to pretzels. It was translated by newspapers into Esperanto (“Ho! Vi kaprido!”). It was bellowed by a lovelorn Philadelphian as he leaped from a bridge into the Schuylkill River, attempting suicide. It brought scandal to a church in Geneva, Ill., when a prankster altered the hymnal, adding the line “but, oh, you kid!” to the lyrics of the devotional “I Love My God.””)

Millennial in China taking an excited photo with a bowl of rice. And by “millennial” I mean “circa 1900-1904.” Next time you hear someone complaining about Kids These Days sharing photos of their lunches on Instagram, you can bring up this hard evidence that the generation from a hundred years ago would have done the exact same thing.

The first close-up shot in recorded film was from 1903’s “The Sick Kitten”. In other words, humans have been making cat videos literally for as long as it as been possible to do so.

Check out these 19th-century warnings about that most morally-degrading of modern habits. It leads to crime, mental anguish, weakening intelligence, and corruption among the children! Clearly, respectable people should have nothing to do with…novel-reading.

On terrible store holiday music December 10, 2012

Posted by Erin Ptah in Personal.
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Apparently playing bad music is a calculated strategy to get you to buy more. When you’re frustrated and overstimulated, your system panics and you’ll make the decision to buy something just so you can feel like you have closure and can get out of there.

This explains so much.

So, yeah, I work in retail now. A couple weeks in, and I have a whole lot of Feelings about their playlist. Like: No traditional carols that namecheck Jesus are on it. Okay, that’s understandable — they’re trying to get that holiday mood without annoying the non-Christians too too much. Except that the rule doesn’t apply to Taylor “here’s to Jesus Christ who saved our lives” Swift. What’s up with that?

Also, for some reason “Little Drummer Boy” doesn’t get nixed. (Do they think Muslim customers won’t get that it’s about the nativity?) Meanwhile, lovely classics like “Silver Bells” and “Deck The Halls” don’t get played in any version. I object.

There’s a sharp contrast between the “buy more stuff!” songs (“Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town”, “Santa Baby”, the insufferable “Toy Town”, etc) and the “Christmas is not about the stuff!” songs (“Christmas Must Be Something More”, endless variations of “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, “One Wish (For Christmas)”, anything related to The Grinch). Maybe the latter category is there to give them plausible deniability about the former.

They have three separate songs about celebrating Christmas in a tropical place. (“Christmas in the Caribbean”, “Christmas on Christmas Island”, and “Mele Kalikimaka”). It’s cute and trope-twisting when it comes in the middle of a bunch of more typical songs, but starts to grate when the idea is being smacked at you all the time. Call me back when you’ve decided to let “White Wine In The Sun” in on the action.

There’s one Mannheim Steamroller song. It’s a great song. Did they just buy the one? What, was the rest of the album not good enough?

You can make some inferences about the customer base from the playlist. We get a whole lot of Spanish-speaking customers, and there’s a decent amount of Spanish versions of carols. I can’t vouch for how well they work (my sample size of one, a co-worker, said she thought they were trying too hard). There’s also a fair proportion of black customers, so the playlist has one single Kwanzaa song, which I cannot for the life of me find online in video or lyric form, in spite of the fact that it’s stuck in my head right now. (“It’s a Kwanzaa celebration! Honor elders from the family tree! If not for them there’d be no you and me receiving glory from above. It’s a Kwanzaa celebration! Come together with your family. Something celebrate our history and the harvest of our love!”)

No sign yet of a Hanukkah song, btw.

I had thought, previously, that “Feliz Navidad” would be the song I hated most. I was wrong. It helps that they have a couple of versions that are sung prettily, crooned and harmonized, instead of the weird exaggerated Speedy Gonzales-esque cover that was the only one the radio back in MD ever played. No, the song that makes me want to punch things, or at least go hide in one of the young-adult corners of the store (tiny enclaves with TVs that play pop songs) until it’s over, is “Run, Run, Rudolph”. Multiple versions of it. If I never have to hear one more male singer happily imitating a girl whose greatest ambition in make-believe is to clean up baby pee, it will be too soon.

(It’s very disorienting to come out of one of the teen sections and transition from Taylor Swift singing “We are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together” to Taylor Swift singing “Santa, Baby”.)

Also up there on the DNW list: “Little Saint Nick”. It’s apparently a riff on one of the Beach Boys’ other songs with Christmassy words put in, but since the other song (“Little Deuce Coupe“) isn’t played any more, nobody gets the joke and the result is just kind of teeth-gritting. Oh, and the speedy polka version of “Step Into Christmas”! Who thought that was a good idea? (Elton John’s version can stay.)

There are a couple of songs that have come up, but don’t seem to be on the endless-repeat list. Springsteen’s iconic “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” was there earlier, but I feel like I didn’t hear it at all last week. Same with Glee’s “Extraordinary Merry Christmas”. And I swear they played the SpongeBob version of “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” (which I had not known existed until then), precisely once. It has not returned.

Some bright spots: “2000 Miles” is pretty, as is “We Need A Little Christmas”. There are a bunch of covers of “Last Christmas”, all very lovely. I haven’t even ranted about all the ones with adults trying too hard to sound like cutsey children, which apparently means they’re not a lasting annoyance. And there are some notable terrors that they haven’t even touched. (Three words: “Dominic the Donkey”.)

So that was my Christmas music rant! Next up: customers: why don’t they notice that we have trash cans? Even if you don’t, come on, at least carry your kid’s used juice box out into the main mall and throw it out there, instead of leaving it on our T-shirt displays.

Hey! I just met you… August 23, 2012

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Aw yeah. Shake those claws. March 28, 2012

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Some videos of holiday charm December 18, 2011

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Unitarian carols December 2, 2011

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(To the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)
God Rest Ye, Unitarians

Gods rest ye, Unitarians, let nothing you dismay
Remember there’s no evidence there was a Christmas Day
When Christ was born is just not known, no matter what they say

O, tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact
O, tidings of reason and fact!

Our current Christmas customs come from Persia and from Greece
From solstice celebrations of the ancient Middle East
This whole darn Christmas spiel is just another pagan feast

O, tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact
O, tidings of reason and fact!

There was no star of Bethlehem, there was no angels’ song
There couldn’t have been wise men for the trip would take too long
The stories in the Bible are historically wrong

O, tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact
O, tidings of reason and fact!

***

(To the tune of Jesus Christ Is Risen Today)
Jesus Christ May or May Not Have Risen Today
set for Pretty Yellow Flower Day

Jesus Christ may or may not have risen today
Alleluia
Whether or not he did is pretty difficult to say
Alleluia
Let’s discuss all sides of the issue thoroughly
Alleluia
We can take a vote! And then we’ll see
Alleluia

***

More Unitarian jokes. Features some absolute gems; check them out.

What do you get when you cross a Unitarian Universalist with a Jehovah’s Witness?

Someone who knocks on your door for no apparent reason.

Peter Donnelly – Dangerous Games September 4, 2010

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Apparently there’s no place on the Internet with decent Peter Donnelly lyrics. Which sucks, especially since his CDs include them in full.

Dangerous Games in particular makes my heart hurt, so I pulled out the lyrics booklet and typed it up.

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