Displeasure Parenting Stunt 2007


*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

Santa Claus is a big pile of bollocks. He’s what you get when you take two historical figures who are famous for gift bringing, blend them together, allow it to ferment for about 100 years until a dominant form emerges that bears little resemblance to either of the originals, hijack it for advertising purposes, and then continue using it for advertising purposes for another 80 years.

“You cynical bastard, ” some whiney git whines, “are you going to deny your son the tradition of Christmas?”

That depends, I reply. Are you talking about the tradition of giving? Or the tradition of demanding? The tradition of generosity? Or the tradition of shopping?

Once upon a time, Santa had good intentions. But now, he’s a corporate shill.

“But, ” the whiney whinotrope continues to whine, “children are innocent and beautiful. They don’t understand such foulness. They are incapable of conceiving such things. To them, Santa is a good man, for he brings them gifts.”

Exactly, I reply. Isn’t it our duty to protect children from the things that will cause them harm? If they don’t understand the dangers of wanton consumption and the worship of consumerism, surely we should be keeping them as far from it as possible, rather than burying our heads in the sand and saying “Oh, I’m sure it won’t do any long-term damage. We can always un-train them later.”

I’d love to be able to embrace Santa Claus. Like Jesus Christ, I agree with everything that he stands for. But his legacy has been poisoned by the people who have co-opted him for their own profit. I think that everyone knows this, but most people are too afraid to act on it. There’s pressure coming from all directions to perpetrate this destructive tradition.

And then there’s the whole magic/lies argument, which needs no introduction. In a nutshell (hmmm, apparently it *does* need an introduction) you’ve got “I shall tell my child the truth” versus “I shall let my child believe in magic, for innocence passes so fleetingly, and magic is fun.” Both sides of the coin have their pros and cons. I’m going to play that one by ear, I think. Half of my brain wants to encourage honesty, truth and trust with my son, but the other half wants to give him a memorable childhood that is full of wonder and awe and mystery. Pffft, exaggerated shrugging action.

*Next week’s stunt post will be on the subject of Christmas decorations – look out for it on Monday.*

  • “While lesser designers settle for gilded edges, pillow embossing, and premium fonts for their visual identity, my business card is unto itself an interactive experience nearly as exciting as working with me on a contract project.”
  • We watched this episode of “My Name Is Earl” the other day, and it might have been one of the greatest half hours of television that I’ve seen in my life. (apparently removed due to a copyright claim – try here instead)

What I’ve watched this year

Some of these we have taped off of the television to watch later, some we have watched on DVD, and here and there I have used BitTorrent to catch episodes that I forgot to set the video for.

We don’t “channel surf” at all, so these lists represent the vast, vast majority of our TV and film consumption this year.

Shows that Karen and I watched together

* Doctor Who (series 3)
* Frasier (series 5 to 11) ((some overlap with last year))
* House (series 3 and 4)
* The IT Crowd (series 2)
* That Mitchell and Webb Look (series 1)
* My Name Is Earl (series 2 and 3)
* Outnumbered (series 1)
* Peep Show (series 1 to 4)
* The Sopranos (series 1 to 6)
* Spooks (series 1, 2 and 6)

I haven’t included shows that we just watched a couple of episodes of.

Shows that I watched on my own

* Futurama (series 1 to 4)
* Mork and Mindy (series 1)
* The Prisoner
* Red Dwarf (series 1 to 3)
* Scrubs (series 5, 6 and 7)


As well as the above shows, we’ve also watched a few films. I’d estimate 30-40. Favourite films watched for the first time this year were:

* Princess Mononoke
* Mulholland Drive
* The Ladykillers
* Brazil
* The Apartment
* The Station Agent

The worst was probably The Da Vinci Code.

About Me Photos Stunt 2007

Stuff in my bag

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

The contents of my bag

The contents of my bag, which I purchased 3 months ago. You can buy one just like it from the National Trust if you so desire.

The contents of my bag

(Yes, the PNG is transparent, so you can overlay it on the JPG if you so desire).

1. The bag in question. It has lots of pockets – I count seven zips in total.
2. Moleskine notebook.
3. Uh, uh, papers, um, just papers, uh, you know, uh, my papers, business papers.
4. Diary. A6 Week-to-view diary, 13 months starting from July. I’ve been using this type of diary for three years now, and it seems to have become my “thing”.
5. Second camera again. Still a Pentax Optio S30. This is where it really lives. Observe the awesome hand-knitted pouch, created by the delectable Karen.
6. Car stereo fascia. It’s a Sony, about five years old. The FM tuner seems to be broken but it can still play CDs and receive traffic announcements, so replacing it isn’t high on my agenda.
7. Binoculars. Occasionally useful, which might surprise you.
8. Sturdy reusable plastic bag. Everyone should carry one of these.
9. Keys – house, car, bike lock, office.
10. Breath mints
11. Pens. I’m using one of the beige ones at the moment, but I think that it’s nearly run out.
12. 64MB Pen drive (rarely used)
13. Phone. Motorola Razr, nearly two years old. No plans to upgrade, at present. My ringtone is “Birdhouse In Your Soul” by They Might Be Giants.
14. Mini tripod
15. Loose change
16. Lip balm. I believe that this was purchase in Amsterdam in 2003. Ugh.
17. Wallet
18. Mag-lite

  • The reason why I am linking this article is due to the completely inappropriate use of the term “political correctness gone mad.” It’s hilarious.
  • “Driven by renewed investment as oil prices push $100 a barrel, Ruan and scores of scientists around the world are racing to turn algae into a commercially viable energy source.”