I launched a newsletter! It's called Continuous Small Treats. And it's free.

BJ Chuck E Cheese glasses 2015 That's right, I'm now writing a free fortnightly newsletter that can be delivered to your Inbox if you like. What is it about? Interesting things. Fun things. Exasperating things. So far:

  • The end of the world.
  • The most important thing in life.
  • Squats.
  • The history of the universe.
  • Good advice.
  • 200 dogs running through the streets of Budapest

You know, that sort of thing. If you like that sort of thing, you can sign up for it here. It's free. No spam. Unsubscribe whenever you want.

powered by TinyLetter

 

See you there!

xo Buzzy

 

The Best Christmas Music: Tim Minchin's "White Wine in the Sun"

[embed]http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q?t=1s[/embed]

Like Tim Minchin, I'm not religious but I love Christmas. I love Hanukah, too! Neutrality has its rewards.

 

And there is no better "I'm-an-atheist-but-I-still-love-Christmas" song out there than Minchin's funny and sweet "White Wine in the Sun." Apart from the often-skipped first verse of "White Christmas," it's the only warm weather Christmas song I know. Minchin is from Perth, Australia, and this vision of a midsummer Christmas depicts that Antipodean holiday reality: Christmas on the beach.

But it's not a song about summertime or even Christmas; it's about family and loving one another. I cannot get through it without crying, not even once. Can you?

If you haven't seen it, watch it now. Lyrics are below, because they're just too good not to read twice.

xo BJ

WHITE WINE IN THE SUN

by Tim Minchin

I really like Christmas

It's sentimental, I know, but I just really like it

I am hardly religious

I'd rather break bread with Dawkins than Desmond Tutu, to be honest

And yes, I have all of the usual objections

To consumerism, the commercialisation of an ancient religion

To the westernisation of a dead Palestinian

Press-ganged into selling Playstations and beer

But I still really like it

I'm looking forward to Christmas

Though I'm not expecting a visit from Jesus

I'll be seeing my dad

My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum

They'll be drinking white wine in the sun

I'll be seeing my dad

My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum

They'll be drinking white wine in the sun

I don't go in for ancient wisdom

I don't believe just 'cos ideas are tenacious it means they're worthy

I get freaked out by churches

Some of the hymns that they sing have nice chords but the lyrics are spooky

And yes I have all of the usual objections

To the mis-education of children who, in tax-exempt institutions,

Are taught to externalise blame

And to feel ashamed and to judge things as plain right and wrong

But I quite like the songs

I'm not expecting big presents

The old combination of socks, jocks and chocolate's is just fine by me

Cos I'll be seeing my dad

My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum

They'll be drinking white wine in the sun

I'll be seeing my dad

My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum

They'll be drinking white wine in the sun

And you, my baby girl

My jetlagged infant daughter

You'll be handed round the room

Like a puppy at a primary school

And you won't understand

But you will learn someday

That wherever you are and whatever you face

These are the people who'll make you feel safe in this world

My sweet blue-eyed girl

And if my baby girl

When you're twenty-one or thirty-one

And Christmas comes around

And you find yourself nine thousand miles from home

You'll know what ever comes

Your brothers and sisters and me and your Mum

Will be waiting for you in the sun

Whenever you come

Your brothers and sisters, your aunts and your uncles

Your grandparents, cousins and me and your mum

We'll be waiting for you in the sun

Drinking white wine in the sun

Darling, when Christmas comes

We'll be waiting for you in the sun

Drinking white wine in the sun

Waiting for you in the sun

Waiting for you...

Waiting...

I really like Christmas

It's sentimental, I know...

The Eleven Commandments of Atheism

My new book, The Inspirational Atheist: Wise Words on the Wonder and Meaning of Life (Penguin Random House) will be published in late December.

In the meantime, here's a little sample of some of the wisdom found inside... The Eleven Commandments of Atheism, each one drawn from a quotation in the book (a version in LARGER TEXT is at the bottom.)

May The Force - or whatever - be with you. Enjoy!

11 Commandments of Atheism text Buzzy Jackson

 

The Ten Eleven Commandments of Atheism

from The Inspirational Atheist

  1. Do unto others twenty-five percent better than you expect them to do unto you — Linus Pauling
  2. Do not destroy what you cannot create – Leo Szilard
  3. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out onto the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat. —Tim Minchin
  4. We should try to leave the world a better place than when we entered it. — Michio Kaku
  5. I think a man’s duty is to find out where the truth is, or if he cannot, at least to take the best possible human doctrine and the hardest to disprove, and to ride on this like a raft over the waters of life. —Plato
  6. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me. —Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
  7. You cannot save people, you can only love them. —Anaïs Nin
  8. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. —Roger Ebert
  9. The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of love. –Cheryl Strayed
  10. Well, it’s nothing very special. Try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations. —“The End of the Film,” Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
  11. There are far too many commandments and you really only need one: Do not hurt anybody.—Carl Reiner

The 3 Rs: Required Reading & The Richardson House

News! Podcasts! Living the Good Life! Happy to report on my new podcast, Required Reading, with my collaborators Matthew Meschery and Steve Goldbloom. We'll be producing one 45-min show weekly(ish) on all the stuff you should have read, watched, and listened to in the previous week but couldn't fit in. Next week: The Life and Death of Mike Wallace, The $1 Billion-Dollar Photo, and The Strange Case of Augusta National. Check us out -- you can listen to RR right there on the link above. And it's FREE!

I went out to California a few weeks ago to finalize podcast details and on the way I had to drop by my dear mom in Truckee, my hometown. Sometimes it's nice to be a tourist in your hometown. For the first time, I did not stay with family or friends but at a (gasp!) hotel! Not just any hotel, though: The Richardson House. Anyone who's ever been to Truckee has probably seen it: a gorgeous Victorian sitting atop the hill overlooking downtown Truckee. I've lived, at different points in my life, within a two-minute walk of The Richardson House yet I'd never stayed in it -- until last month. It did not disappoint.

My son referred to it throughout our trip as "The Mansion" and it did feel like that. Gorgeous, high-ceilinged rooms, beds covered in seven layers of featherbeds, and a view of Mount Rose from our room. It was amazing. I may never stay at my mom's house again (sorry, Mom). The Richardson House is a Truckee treasure -- try it!

That's my Truckee Insider Tip for this month. Hey, I should add that to the podcast....

PS: Here's our podcast crew: Steve, Matthew, Leo (our producer, with pacifier), and Me. Hope you enjoy the show!