Sing to a new god

If your church is still singing those stodgy old Christmas carols, Australia's Pitt Street Uniting Church is here to offer help. If that old Jesus story is too passé, simply adapt those old songs to the new god of climate change.

The Sydney church of "justice-seeking friends" claims members still sing the traditional carols, but they appear to be more in tune with what they say are the "97 percent of climatologists [who] believe climate change is real, and that it is in part caused by human activity."

The Pitt Street Uniting Church Singers' version of "Joy to the World," for instance, goes thusly: "Cool down the world / the time has come / for targets tight and fair / Let petrol, oil, and coal / prepare to go / Let's fund renewables / Let's fund renewables / Let's fund, let's fund renewables."

Elsewhere in the country, the "Carols against Coal" songbook published by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change offers numbers such as "O Come All Ye Miners," "Away in a Coal Mine," "O Come, O Come Renewables" and "Hush, Our Solar Panels Sit" (to the tune of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing").

So, tonight or tomorrow, gather the family around the fireplace, er, electric heater, er, windmill and sing out lustily.


Keeping firefighters white

An effort apparently exists, UCLA professor Corinne Bendensky theorizes in a recent Harvard Business Review column, to keep firefighters white.

The "white men's dominance in the fire service" is accomplished, she bizarrely suggests, by placing emphasis on physical strength. So black men don't have — can't have — physical strength?

"To succeed as a firefighter," Bendensky nevertheless plows forth, "stereotypically masculine traits like brawn and courage are simply not enough. Firefighters also need the intellectual, social, and emotional skills required to deliver medical emergency aid, support each other through traumatic experiences, and engage intimately with the communities they serve. In short, successful firefighters embody a complex mix of skills and traits. And yet, in my research on reducing gender bias and my work conducting training on general diversity and inclusion with fire departments, I find that, when evaluating fit and competence, firefighters tend to default to a reductive set of traits (physical strength evaluated through strict fitness tests, for example) that serve to maintain white men's dominance in the fire service."

She says 96 percent of career firefighters are men and 82 percent are white and compares that with the U.S. military being 60 percent and local police forces 73 percent white.


They otter know better

The aquarium in the California Bay Area, where political correctness seems to be inbred, not only has apologized for calling one of its otters fat but has said it did so by using terms that "originated from African American Vernacular English (AAVE)" and "reference[d] Black women's bodies" in ways "we never intended."

The Monterey Bay Aquarium said this about the otter: "Abby is a thicc girl/What an absolute unit/She chonk/Look at the size of this lady/OH LAWD SHE COMIN/Another internetism!"

Aquarium officials said they had few complaints and many retweets and likes about the otter tweet but were "deeply sorry" if anyone felt "alienated" by the "problematic and insensitive" jokes.

No word was available whether the otter was offended or will be forced to diet. Conceivably, though, the aquarium now has an African American Vernacular English dictionary.


Is it regular or spicy?

In an effort to sell a little more chicken during what can be a stressful time of year in which to fly, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen launched an "emotional support chicken" meal for travelers in its Terminal C location at Philadelphia International Airport.

The gimmick is a tongue-in-cheek response to the rise of the variety of emotional support animals said to be necessary to help people fly.

The company's limited-time offering features a box that adds a cutout figure of a chicken as if it were carrying a suitcase through a busy airport. The box, the company says, is intended to provide "a good-hearted laugh most need to get through stressful holiday travel."

For shame, says People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). How dare Popeyes mock mental illness and dead animals? Chickens, it says, die "gruesome deaths," and "like all Popeyes chickens, she [the chicken on the box] was abused and killed and constantly restricted."

Somehow, we don't think PETA's shaming is going make many Terminal C passengers miss a meal.