Michael brings the case against his husband, Matthew. For the last several years, the two of them have used an artificial Christmas tree during the holiday season. Matthew prefers live trees and would like to introduce one to their home but Michael is strongly against the idea. Who’s right, who’s wrong?
SUBMITTED BY MICHAEL:
1. “Real Christmas trees constitutes a much more substantial fire risk. So much so that the City of Honolulu, in adopting national fire protection policies, has banned the use of real trees in public places.” More info on that can be found here.
2. A Christmas tree safety flyer, linked from the FEMA webpage.
Michael says, “To the extent that the fire risks of a real tree can be mitigated, it’s by watering them every day (which we won’t be able to do, given that we’ll be out of state). It stands to reason that the importance of watering the tree daily to keep it from drying out similarly applies to aesthetic and housekeeping concerns.”
3. Michael says, "Even if we were able to keep the tree watered, both the tree water and the tree itself would be a danger to our cats," according to Are Christmas Trees Safe For Cats?. Here is the relevant excerpt:
"Live, cut Christmas trees can be deadly for cats. Pine needles can be ingested and puncture intestines, and pine is highly toxic to cats, potentially causing liver damage and death. Additionally, the water that cut trees are placed into is toxic. It usually contains pine resin, preservatives and fire retardants.”
"This is further attested by PetMd":
"There are other dangers to consider with the good ol' Yule tree other than lights and ornaments. The oils produced by fir trees can be irritating to a pet's mouth and stomach, causing excessive vomiting or drooling. The tree needles, meanwhile, may cause gastrointestinal irritation, obstruction and puncture. Additionally, the water used to nourish Christmas trees can be noxious. Bacteria, molds, and fertilizers can cause your pet to become extremely sick with only a few laps.”
"Both of our cats are extremely fascinated with water and like to play with it. I’ve attached a video of them proving as much. It’s worth noting that the waterer pictured is one that we settled on after they splashed about in a more open one and knocked over multiple times one that stores water in a tank above."
4. "Artificial trees are actually more traditional than live ones," according to this article:
"In fact, the first written records of Christmas trees being used in what would become the United States date back to the 1740s. The children of German settlers in Pennsylvania decorated wooden pyramids with evergreen branches and affixed candles to the branches. The first Christmas trees in America were, in fact, artificial.”
5. "Artificial trees are more environmentally friendly, or, at least are not significantly worse for the environment." More here:
“If the artificial tree is kept more than 4 years, the Global Warming Potential associated with the artificial tree is less than a natural tree purchased every year for more than 4 years. The impact of the tree life cycle, for all scenarios, is less than 0.1% of a person’s annual carbon footprint and therefore is negligible within the context of the average American’s lifestyle.”
6. "The City of Boston gives us two opportunities to dispose of a real tree: January 3rd and January 10th." -- Boston's Trash Day Schedule.
SUBMITTED BY MATTHEW:
1. “The majority of real Christmas trees come from managed plantations, supporting hundreds of thousands of acres of trees being continuously planted, cut down, and replenished, on farmland that may not support other forms of agriculture.” 2012 Census of Agriculture data on Cut Christmas Trees: 2012 and 2007
2. “Real Christmas trees can be recycled after they are used, and as such can be given a new life, in a variety of ways, either as mulch, erosion barriers, or even to recreate sand dunes, as in NJ, our home state, after Hurricane Sandy. Boston also runs a recycling program for the first two weeks of January.”
Info on tree recycling can be found here and here.
3. “Further, it seems that a real tree may be necessary for the celebration of Christmas.
Judge John Hodgman has previously ruled on this matter: ‘Well, I hate to break it to you Peter, but the thirty Christmases you’ve so called celebrated, while using a fake tree, do not count as Christmas, in fact you have never celebrated Christmas, because a fake tree just will not cut it. The whole point is to bring nature into your home particularly an evergreen… and you need to have that actual tree there, staring at you, throughout the dark winter period, to give you hope to go on, and then you have to slowly kill it to give you strength to move on into the next year.’” (Judge John HodgmanEpisode 8 To Tree or Not to Tree)
Thank you to Rob Calabrese for suggesting this week's title! To suggest a title for a future episode, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. We regularly put a call for submissions.
Pajama Man Mark Chavez returns to talk jet flying, snow, and not flying. Also, our annual Secret Santa gift exchange.
Download episode 457 here. (right-click)
Email us at "spy [at] maximumfun [dot] org" or phone us at (844)779-7631 (or UGH-SPY-POD1).
Brought to you by:
(click here for the full recap)
It's Christmas in July!
Mark and Hal of Maximum Fun's own We Got This released an episode naming a popular Christmas movie as the definitive best Christmas movie. Mark regrets the choice and has tried several times to convince Hal to re-evaluate. While Mark seeks to get the decision reversed, Hal would like to prohibit Mark from bringing it up again. Who's right? Who's wrong?
SUBMITTED BY HAL
Text conversation between Mark (in gray) and Hal (in blue) after recording the Best Christmas Movie episode:
Text conversation between Mark's girlfriend, Juliana (in gray), and Hal (in blue), which Juliana initiated right after Mark texted Hal:
If you want to listen to the We Got This episodes referenced, they are Episode #43 "Best Christmas Movie," and Episode #52 "The One Year Anniversary Spectacular."
Thank you to Steve Marois for suggesting this week's title! To suggest a title for a future episode, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. We regularly put a call for submissions.
You can still buy tickets for the Judge John Hodgman: Live Justice tour! Check out the right side of this page or JohnHodgman.com/Tour for links and more information!
One of the most beloved traditions of the Christmas season is gathering around to watch Christmas movies. With so many great movies out there, it can be confusing and difficult to know which is the very best. Fortunately, Mark and Hal are here to do the heavy lifting!
- Oliver Sholom
- Gotcha Podcasting
- A very John Waters Christmas
Every year around this time, we're surrounded by holiday programming. With so many classics to choose from, only one TV special can reign supreme. Your heart will grow three sizes when Mark and Hal defeat the Bumble to show you the true meaning of Christmas (specials).
- Mouth music
- Chewbacca's Family
- Fever Dreams
We've got five years' worth of episodes of Judge John Hodgman under our belt now, which includes a number of holiday themed episodes!
Our initial foray into the holidays happened in our first two months as a podcast! Wondering about the origin of the Sadness Tree? You'll find it in TO TREE OR NOT TO TREE, about the appropriate time to put up holiday decorations.
PROBABLE CLAUS deals with the legend of Santa Claus and whether to create a Santa tradition with children.
AWAY WITH THE MANGER grapples with blending the holiday traditions of an Atheist (but culturally Jewish) dad and a mom who was raised Catholic.
The Judge is visited by the spirits of litigants past in the JUDGE JOHN HODGMAN HOLIDAY SPECIAL. Check it out for updates from the Bat Brothers of Die Flederhaus, the BFFs from The Long-Necked Custody Dispute and Jason Sims of To Tree or Not to Tree.
Bailiff Jesse and Judge Hodgman clear out the holiday docket in IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHAMBERS.
We celebrated Christmas in June this year with a NC-based Santa portrayer, and his wife Virginia. Is it OK for Andy to ho-ho-ho the year round? For a charming Southern Santa and his wife, check out THE SANTA SUIT.
Roland and Nyssa wanted to reboot their family's Christmas gathering this year in FELIZ GRAVITAS. Should the whole gang go watch Star Wars instead?
The team talks about their favorite holiday jams from traditional to contemporary. .
With Guy Branum MaximumFun.org(http://www.guybranum.com), Wynter Mitchell (http://wyntermitchell.com), Margaret Wappler (http://www.margaretwappler.com) and Oliver Wang (http://www.margaretwappler.com)
Holiday Favorite Tunes
Waitresses’ Christmas Wrapping
Vince Guraldi’s Christmas is Here
Fiona Apple Frosty the Snowman
John Lennon War is Over
Wham Last Christmas
Barbra Streisand Jingle Bells
The Pogues Fairytale in New York
The Maccabeats Candlelight
Run DMC Christmas in Hollis
Wings Wonderful Christmas Time
Juice Crew Cold Chillin Christmas
Rufus Wainwright & Sharon Van Etten Baby It’s Cold Outside
The Temptations Silent Night
Nat King Cole The Christmas Song
Billy Elliot Broadway Soundtrack Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings White Christmas
Mariah Carey All I Want for Christmas is You
Destiny’s Child 8 Days of Christmas
Favorite Piece of Holiday Culture
Guy Branum Avacado Nog, Rug Rats Chanukuh & The Ref
Wynter Mitchell Surviving Christmas, The Holiday and Bridget Jones Diary
Oliver Wang The Yule Log on Netflix
Margaret Wappler Elf, Smoked Turkey w/ Chutney Sauce & Star Wars
Each week we'll add everyone's jams to this handy Spotify List.
Andy brings the case against his wife Virginia. Andy wants to share the spirit of Christmas and Santa all year long. Virginia wants to restrict it to the holiday season. Who's right? Who's wrong? (P.S. Parents who may be listening with children, this case deals with Santa! You catch our drift?)
Jeff Herbert named this week's case via the Judge John Hodgman Facebook page. Thanks, Jeff!
It's that time again! Judge Hodgman weighs in on some winter holiday disputes, and sees the return of a former litigant.
San Francisco Bay area! See Judge John Hodgman Live! Judge Hodgman will return to mete out justice as part of SF Sketchfest on Friday, February 6th at Marines Memorial Theater.
We need YOU to submit cases to be heard that evening! If you and another party
- reside in the SF Bay area, or will be able to attend the show on February 6
- have a legitimate beef, large or small