In thinking of various “P” words, I thought of a few that wouldn’t necessarily hold up a whole post. So here’s a mishmash.
To be honest, I never really got the appeal of these flowers, but they are certainly a fixture of the holidays in the US. It’s scientific name is Euphorbia pulcherrima. The word poinsettia comes from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant into the US in 1825.
The story of its association with Christmas dates back to the 16th century in Mexico. The story goes that a young girl didn’t have a gift for the celebration of Jesus’s birthday because she was too poor. An angel appeared to her, telling her to gather weeds from the side of the road and place them before the altar. Blossoms appeared from the weeds, becoming poinsettias. The star shape of the leaves is meant to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem and the color, that of blood, is meant to symbolize the crucifixion.
The North Pole is, of course, the traditional location for Santa’s workshop. The polar region is also the home of polar bears. Though not traditionally associated with the holiday season, I tend to always think of them particularly at this time of year, though maybe that has something to do with Coke. The shrinking of polar bear habitats because of global warming breaks my heart. Coca-cola has teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund to help protect polar bears. More information can be found here.
Promotion and Posts
In a selfish gesture, I want to point out two posts I wrote for Tor.com. Back on December 7th they posted my reaction to rumors of Khan being the villain in the new Star Trek movie. And yesterday they put up my post on Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas. If you check them out, please comment if you’re so moved.
And now some quotes from one of my favorite P authors:
“Have your adventures, make your mistakes, and choose your friends poorly — all these make for great stories.” – Chuck Palahniuk
“I often need physical gesture to balance dialogue. If I write in public, every time I need to know what a character is doing with his hand or foot, I can look up and study people and find compelling gestures that I can harvest. Writing in public gives you that access to a junkyard of details all around you.”
—Chuck Palahniuk, October 2007
“The first step — especially for young people with energy and drive and talent, but not money — the first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art.”
CHUCK PALAHNIUK, online lecture, Dec. 5, 2004
“It’s easy to attack and destroy an act of creation. It’s a lot more difficult to perform one.”
CHUCK PALAHNIUK, Salon.com Letters, Aug. 26, 2003