I was in Costco recently and saw that the Christmas Decorations and gift baskets are on display and for sale a full month before Halloween. I was reminded of a C.S. Lewis essay.

Xmas and Christmas — A Lost Chapter from Herodotus

By C.S. Lewis

And beyond this there lies in the ocean, turned towards the west and north, the island of Niatirb which Hecataeus indeed declares to he the same size and shape as Sicily, but it is larger, though in calling it triangular a man would not miss the mark. It is densely inhabited by men who wear clothes not very different from the other barbarians who occupy the north-western parts of Europe though they do not agree with them in language. These islanders. surpassing all the men of whom we know in patience and endurance, use the following customs.

In the middle of winter when fogs and rains most abound they have a great festival which they call Exmas, and for fifty days they prepare for it in the fashion I shall describe. First of all, every citizen is obliged to send to each of his friends and relations a square piece of hard paper stamped with a picture, which in their speech is called an Exmas-card. But the pictures represent birds sitting on branches, or trees with a dark green prickly leaf, or else men in such garments as the Niatirbians believe that their ancestors wore two hundred years ago riding in coaches such as their ancestors used, or houses with snow on their roofs. And the Niatirbians are unwilling to say what these pictures have to do with the festival, guarding (as I suppose) some sacred mystery. And because all men must send these cards the marketplace is filled with the crowd of those buying them, so that there is great labour and weariness.

But having bought as many as they suppose to be sufficient, they return to their houses and find there the like cards which others have sent to them. And when they find cards from any to whom they also have sent cards, they throw them away and give thanks to the gods that this labour at least is over for another year. But when they find cards from any to whom they have not sent, then they beat their breasts and wail and utter curses against the sender; and, having sufficiently lamented their misfortune, they put on their boots again and go out into the fog and rain and buy a card for him also. And let this account suffice about Exmas-cards.

They also send gifts to one another, suffering the same things about the gifts as about the cards, or even worse. For every citizen has to guess the value of the gift which every friend will send to him so that he may send one of equal value, whether he can afford it or not. And they buy as gifts for one another such things as no man ever bought for himself. For the sellers, understanding the custom, put forth all kinds of trumpery, and whatever, being useless and ridiculous, they have been unable to sell throughout the year they now sell as an Exmas gift. And though the Niatirbians profess themselves to lack sufficient necessary things, such as metal, leather, wood and paper, yet an incredible quantity of these things is wasted every year, being made into the gifts.

But during these fifty days the oldest, poorest and most miserable of the citizens put on false beards and red robes and walk about the market-place; being disguised (in my opinion) as Cronos. And the sellers of gifts no less than the purchasers become pale and weary, because of the crowds and the fog, so that any man who came into a Niatirbian city at this season would think some great public calamity had fallen on Niatirb. This fifty days of preparation is called in their barbarian speech the Exmas Rush. But when the day of the festival comes, then most of the citizens, being exhausted with the Rush, lie in bed till noon. But in the evening they eat five times as much supper as on other days and, crowning themselves with crowns of paper, they become intoxicated. And on the day after Exmas they are very grave, being internally disordered by the supper and the drinking and reckoning how much they have spent on gifts and on the wine. For wine is so dear among the Niatirbians that a man must swallow the worth of a talent before he is well intoxicated.

Such, then, are their customs about the Exmas. But the few among the Niatirbians have also a festival, separate and to themselves, called Crissmas, which is on the same day as Exmas. And those who keep Crissmas, doing the opposite to the majority of the Niatirbians, rise early on that day with shining faces and go before sunrise to certain temples where they partake of a sacred feast. And in most of the temples they set out images of a fair woman with a new-born Child on her knees and certain animals and shepherds adoring the Child. (The reason of these images is given in a certain sacred story which 1 know but do not repeat.)

But I myself conversed with a priest in one of these temples and asked him why they kept Crissmas on the same day as Exmas; for it appeared to me inconvenient. But the priest replied, It is not lawful, 0 Stranger, for us to change the date of Crissmas, but would that Zeus would put it into the minds of the Niatirbians to keep Exmas at some other time or not to keep it at all. For Exmas and the Rush distract the minds even of the few from sacred things. And we indeed are glad that men should make merry at Crissmas; but in Exmas there is no merriment left. And when I asked him why they endured the Rush, he replied, It is, 0 Stranger, a racket; using (as I suppose) the words of some oracle and speaking unintelligibly to me (for a racket is an instrument which the barbarians use in a game called tennis).

But what Hecataeus says, that Exmas and Crissmas are the same, is not credible. For first, the pictures which are stamped on the Exmas-cards have nothing to do with the sacred story which the priests tell about Crissmas. And secondly, the most part of the Niatirbians, not believing the religion of the few, nevertheless send the gifts and cards and – participate in the Rush and drink, wearing paper caps. But it is not likely that men, even being barbarians, should suffer so many and great things in honour of a god they do not believe in. And now, enough about Niatirb.

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Ultimate Lemon Icebox Pie Recipe

Day 1:

2/3 pound of plain graham crackers
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
11 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter

combine graham crackers sugar and salt in food processor until fine
melt butter and add to running food processor slowly stopping and scraping sides as necessary. Getting mix even is tedious.

Spray inside of 9.5” x 2” separating tart pan / pie tin with cooking spray

Form mix into crust in separating pie tin

bake empty crust at 350*F in toaster oven for ten minutes, allow to fully cool untouched in oven to avoid cracks while crust sets.


2 14oz cans of sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice strained (not sure how many lemons needed)
zest of two large normal three lemons (microplane kitchen rasp)
8 egg yolks (allocate at least a dozen eggs for problems with separating)

Wash your hands with dawn dish soap and HOT water or use powder free nitrile gloves and make sure everything is squeaky clean.

Use a three bowl method for separating egg yolks and whites. Be meticulous that no yolk ends up in the white you will use for meringue. Store egg whites in a ridiculously clean snaptop glass container overnight in the fridge.

Whisk yolks in stand mixer for 60 seconds (slight color change should be apparent)
Add lemon juice, condensed milk and zest
Whisk to combine (should be smooth and homogenous)

While jostling crust as little as possible add custard to crust.

Bake in crust on convection at 175-200F until filling is set an instant read thermometer should read at least 150F about 1.5-2.5 hours.

remove crust and custard base from toaster oven without putting any pressure on tart pan bottom. I slide it off toaster oven rack onto a wooden cutting board.

freeze overnight, I put it on a wooden cutting board which is itself on an aluminum sheet pan. This is also what I leave it on for day two when I dress with meringue and then brown meringue, the wooden cutting board will shield the bottom of the pie from some of the heat while you are browning the meringue later.

Day 2:


8 egg whites
1 1/3 cups of honey
1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Make sure stand mixer bowl is squeaky clean.

Fill a pot (that your stand mixer bowl won’t bottom out in when set up as a double boiler using the mixer’s bowl) with at least 1 1/2 inches of water , Place over high heat until steaming-hot, then adjust temperature to maintain a gentle simmer. Combine egg whites, honey, salt, cream of tartar, in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set bowl over steaming water, stirring vigorously and scraping constantly with a whisk, until egg whites hold steady at 170°F (measure temp of liquid in motion not just next to the metal bowl), about 10 minutes. Transfer bowl to a stand mixer fitted with a (clean!) whisk attachment and whip at high speed until meringue is glossy and stiff.

Remove pie from freezer and dress pie with meringue (you should have extra meringue if things went well). Optionally use dish towels to shield sides of tart pan from heat. Bake at 300 until peaks of meringue brown. Return to fridge not freezer until ready to serve, the sooner the better.

To serve:

Get a large diameter can or something that will support the base of tart pan but not sides then carefully blast the sides of tart pan with a blowtorch while rotating support to heat all sides of side of tart pan evenly allowing the side to fall off on its own as a thin layer of fat on outside of crust melts and metal slightly expands.

Transfer pie on tart pan base to larger diameter base to allow cutting and serving.

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A reblog of submission

I have just discovered a good blog. This series of related posts is worth reading.









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Scott Aaronson has an excellent review of Matt Ridley’s book “Viral” up.

The highlights:


I would say that Viral proves the following propositions beyond reasonable doubt:

  • Virologists, including at Shi Zhengli’s group at WIV and at Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance, were engaged in unbelievably risky work, including collecting virus-laden fecal samples from thousands of bats in remote caves, transporting them to the dense population center of Wuhan, and modifying them to be more dangerous, e.g., through serial passage through human cells and the insertion of furin cleavage sites. Years before the COVID-19 outbreak, there were experts remarking on how risky this research was and trying to stop it. Had they known just how lax the biosecurity was in Wuhan—dangerous pathogens experimented on in BSL-2 labs, etc. etc.—they would have been louder.
  • Even if it didn’t cause the pandemic, the massive effort to collect and enhance bat coronaviruses now appears to have been of dubious value. It did not lead to an actionable early warning about how bad COVID-19 was going to be, nor did it lead to useful treatments, vaccines, or mitigation measures, all of which came from other sources.
  • There are multiple routes by which SARS-CoV2, or its progenitor, could’ve made its way, otherwise undetected, from the remote bat caves of Yunnan province or some other southern location to the city of Wuhan a thousand miles away, as it has to do in any plausible origin theory. Having said that, the regular Yunnan→Wuhan traffic in scientific samples of precisely these kinds of viruses, sustained over a decade, does stand out a bit! On the infamous coincidence of the pandemic starting practically next door to the world’s center for studying SARS-like coronaviruses, rather than near where the horseshoe bats live in the wild, Chan and Ridley memorably quote Humphrey Bogart’s line from Casablanca: “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
  • The seafood market was probably “just” an early superspreader site, rather than the site of the original spillover event. No bats or pangolins at all, and relatively few mammals of any kind, appear to have been sold at that market, and no sign of SARS-CoV2 was ever found in any of the animals despite searching.
  • Most remarkably, Shi and Daszak have increasingly stonewalled, refusing to answer 100% reasonable questions from fellow virologists. They’ve acted more and more like defendants exercising their right to remain silent than like participants in a joint search for the truth. That might be understandable if they’d already answered ad nauseam and wearied of repeating themselves, but with many crucial questions, they haven’t answered even once. They’ve refused to make available a key database of all the viruses WIV had collected, which WIV inexplicably took offline in September 2019. When, in January 2020, Shi disclosed to the world that WIV had collected a virus called RaTG13, which was 96% identical to SARS-CoV2, she didn’t mention that it was collected from a mine in Mojiang, which the WIV had sampled from over and over because six workers had gotten a SARS-like pneumonia there in 2012 and three had died from it. She didn’t let on that her group had been studying RaTG13 for years—giving, instead, the false impression that they’d just noticed it recently, when searching WIV’s records for cousins of SARS-CoV2. And she didn’t see fit to mention that WIV had collected eight othercoronaviruses resembling SARS-CoV2 from the same mine (!). Shi’s original papers on SARS-CoV2 also passed in silence over the virus’s furin cleavage site—even though SARS-CoV2 was the first sarbecoronavirus with that feature, and Shi herself had recently demonstrated adding furin cleavage sites to other viruses to make them more transmissible, and the cleavage site would’ve leapt out immediately to any coronavirus researcher as the most interesting feature of SARS-CoV2 and as key to its transmissibility. Some of these points had to be uncovered by Internet sleuths, poring over doctoral theses and the like, after which Shi would glancingly acknowledge the points in talks without ever explaining her earlier silences. Shi and Daszak refused to cooperate with Chan and Ridley’s book, and have stopped answering questions more generally. When people politely ask Daszak about these matters on Twitter, he blocks them.
  • The Chinese regime has been every bit as obstructionist as you might expect: destroying samples, blocking credible investigations, censoring researchers, and preventing journalists from accessing the Mojiang mine. So Shi at least has the excuse that, even if she’d wanted to come clean with everything relevant she knows about WIV’s bat coronavirus work, she might not be able to do so without endangering herself or loved ones. Daszak has no such excuse.


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Always trust the experts


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Baby boomer exmas muzak

Baby boomer xmas muzak is the worst music in the history of the world.

It is secularizing, lowest common denominator, garbage. 

Every nation without exception has a national religion and Christianity isn’t America’s. 

Rule one of American Mammonism, offend no one and include everyone in the Christmas shopping bonanza. Gene Autry, Rudolph, and Frosty are the high priests of a post-christ Christmas. If everyone is to engage in the consumerism then caroling must be replaced with secular in-offensive drivel. The sentiment behind wishing “happy holidays” instead “merry Christmas” starts on fifth avenue in 1946. 

Sadly America being a new nation we doesn’t even have the benefit of an actual virile paganism with which to syncretize. Yule logs, Christmas trees, and mistletoe have some blood in their traditions. American pop-folk-traditions, and ersatz-fairy-tales are not historical, organic, or lively. Our culture is only as deep as celluloid. Our paganism is hollow and de novo from New York and Hollywood. 

As Charles Taylor would say we live in a disenchanted world and all we can grasp at is regurgitated mass media childhood commonalities of 70 years ago. At best the music represents a longing for whatever we had before we personally lost our naive childish enchantment with the world since as a culture we cannot muster more than blasé ironic distance from anything. Lacking sincerity in general we substitute nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake one month a year. Santa Claus is a lie and there is no magic in the world. 

If post-modern deconstructionism has taught us anything it is that nothing is neutral and the xmas anthem of the postwar generation is anti-christian as it crowds out actual Christmas music to be the liturgy of American syncretic consumerism. Nostalgia is no excuse for undermining christianity. 

No one can imagine a “secular” Ramadan which everyone regardless of faith celebrates with atheistic songs, or a secular “Hanukkah” devoid of jewishness. Those holidays have been protected by their respective believers. Christmas alone has been neutralized as we believers are Americans first and christians second. 

For a while christianity as kitsch was allowed such as in Charlie Brown’s monologue but the grinch gets more play. 

You can’t worship both God and Mammon but the infinite loop of 50’s secular favourites in shopping malls everywhere will sure help you try. (A blessing of COVID is at least the avoidance of restaurant and shopping center audio systems.) 

May God protect us from Bing Cosby. What will you be singing this “holiday” season?

Signed “Stone of Help”. 

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The Gervais Saga



The cornestone:


Read this after gervais principle:


Then read all the articles in this series:


Then read this:


then this after moral mazes sequence and there is a war:


then back to Michael O Church the guy who laid the prehistory:


finish with this:


Supplemental reading:


and this:


Tangentially related:



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There are pedophiles everywhere, jacobins celebrate theirs.






And, to conclude, this is your friendly reminder that Epstein, Bill Gates’ buddy, did not kill himself. 


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Winter is here

“He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. He hurls down hail like crumbs— who can stand before his cold?”

Psalms 147:15-17 NRSV

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The President’s new trans-sports edict is the end of female sporting.

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