Turkey wants Santa Claus’ bones back!

The bakelite version was my favorite

A Turkish archaeologist has called on his government to demand that Italy return the bones of St Nicholas to their original resting place.

The 3rd Century saint – on whom Santa Claus was modelled – was buried in the modern-day town of Demre in Turkey. But in the Middle Ages his bones were taken by Italian sailors and re-interred in the port of Bari…

While Christmas is by and large not celebrated in Muslim Turkey, the Christmas figure of Santa Claus certainly is in the Mediterranean town of his birth.

He was born in what was then the Greek city of Myra in the third century, and went on to become the local bishop, with a reputation for performing miracles and secretly giving gold to the needy – on one occasion being forced to climb down a chimney to leave his donation.

After his death he was canonised as Saint Nicholas, and venerated in much of the Christian world. But when Myra was occupied by Arab forces in the 11th Century, Italian sailors came and took the saint’s bones to the port of Bari, where they remain interred to this day.

I know, I know – everyone should have the right to get their favorite superstitious bones back.

Keep the “X” in Xmas!

“No god? … No problem!” reads the advertisement featuring the smiling faces of people wearing Santa Claus hats. “Be good for goodness’ sake.”

Over the next two weeks, 270 of the ads will go up on city buses and trains in the Washington area as part of the holiday kickoff to campaigns sponsored by secular groups in cities around the country and abroad. If last year was any indication, the signs are likely to spark a theological war of words.

“We don’t intend to rain on anyone’s parade, but secular people celebrate the holidays, too, and we’re just trying to reach out to our people,” said Roy Speckhardt, the executive director of the American Humanist Association. “To the degree that we are reaching out to the godly, it’s just to say that you can be good without god…”

Elsewhere, this year’s secular signs vary in tone.

In Seattle, this year’s signs say “Millions are good without God.” In Las Vegas, signs to be put up this week will say “Reasons Greetings” and “Yes, Virginia … there is no God…”

The campaigns come against a backdrop of a growing number of nonbelievers. Fifteen percent of Americans identified themselves as having “no religion” in a 2008, up from 8 percent in 1990, according to a study by the Program on Public Values at Trinity College in Hartford.

Overdue. But, don’t get your shorts in a bunch over discovering Americans are more ignorant than the rest of the industrial West. That’s true in almost every aspect of life – whether it be politics, social structure, interpersonal relationships, knowledge of science.

You name it – we can figger out how to lag behind.

Secret Santa kicked out of Wal-Mart

Barry Goldberg said a nice gesture went unappreciated at the Wal-Mart Supercenter at Lisbon Landing over the weekend.

He said he purchased $1,300 worth of $10 gift cards to Wal-Mart with the intention of dressing as Santa Claus and giving them out in front of the store. He said it wasn’t a gimmick it or stunt. He said he was just moved to do something nice to make the holiday brighter.

But his gesture of kindness as the Secret Santa didn’t last long

“They asked me, ‘Well, where did you get these cards?’” he said. “’I bought them from your store 20 minutes ago.’ ‘Well, what are you doing?’ (they asked). I said, “I’m giving out gift cards. It’s the holidays. The right thing to do is to give, isn’t it?’”

In a statement to Eyewitness News, Wal-Mart states,” While we appreciate the customer’s patronage, we understand that he was interrupting the flow of foot traffic in the store’s vestibule.”

After the story made the news, the manager of the Target store in town – one with brains as opposed to the dweeb managing the Wal-Mart store – called Goldberg and told him he could bring the cards to a Target store and swap them out and pass them out there.