On November 21st, Image Books published Pope Benedict XVI's third and final volume in his Jesus of Nazareth series, The Infancy Narratives. In the book, along with discussions of the geneology of Jesus and the account of the annunciation of his birth, Benedict describes the nativity with as much historical accuracy as modern scholarship permits. The reaction in the world press was immediate: [more inside]
ABC News issues a "Made in America" Christmas challenge. The average American will spend $700 on holiday gifts and goodies this year, totaling more than $465 billion, the National Retail Federation estimates. If that money was spent entirely on US made products it would create 4.6 million jobs. But it doesn't even have to be that big. If each of us spent just $64 on American made goods during our holiday shopping, the result would be 200,000 new jobs. [more inside]
The same songs you've heard time and time again can be reinvigorated with a little remixing and mashing-up. Presenting the wild, wild world of Christmas mashups, starting off with a wide array of Christmas mashup music videos, such as "Rudolph (You Don't Have to Put on the Red Light)" or the rather trippy "Pump Up the Holiday". (However, there's quite a few more links inside the post.) [more inside]
It's November, and that means Children In Need, and that means new Doctor Who. Which this year sees the return of everyone's favourite Victorian great detective Madame Vastra, her beautiful companion Jenny, and their ugly manservant Strax. And, of course, that serves as a lead in to The Snowmen.
What do you do when you own the IP to a beloved 28-year old family classic widely regarded as one of the finest Christmas movies ever? Why you make a sequel of course. [more inside]
In 1969, anthropologist Richard B.Lee wrote about his experience 'Eating Christmas in the Kalahari.' (PDF)
The Politics of Competitive Board Gaming Amongst Friends is a short documentary by Jay Cheel whose subject is summed up by its title. You can see other short films by Cheel at his website. The main protagonist of the doc, Gerry Eng, a.k.a. Reed Farrington, has been the subject of many Cheel films, such as Cooking with Gerry, Cooking with Gerry #2, Poutine, A Very Gerry X-Mas and Reed's House.
The newly released trailer for Total Recall (2012) shows a Quaid quite conspicously not getting his ass to Mars. It could all have been different, as many versions of Total Recall 2 have been in the works over the years. Meanwhile is the Robocop remake anything but total recall? And has the American action movie gone kablooey?
Lily, the caretaker's daughter, was literally run off her feet...Today is the feast of Epiphany, the last day of the traditional Christmas season; the day also when the Misses Morkan held that grand affair, their annual dance, in James Joyce's "The Dead." [more inside]
Didn't get that Apple product you wanted for Christmas? Jonathan Mann, with the help of Twitter, composed a song for you: WTF?! I wanted an iPhone! If that doesn't quite rock your world, Mann composes and performs a song a day, so there ought to be something you like.
“Jingle Rock Bell”? How 2008. Here is a video of a transvestite playing “Silent Night” on a theremin. [more inside]
This dog won't play dead... 39 Degrees North gives us a new mythology for Christmas - Gundog! [SLVP]
Don't become too attached to it, because an insane AI will force you to throw it in a fire when it dries out 12 days from now.
Behold, the Aperture Science Holiday Enrichment Topiary.
The special duty of a Jewish Christmas baby by Sheila Heti Most of the people one deals with say, “Oh! You're a Christmas baby! You must get ripped off when it comes to presents, right?” Their eyes light up. It's a hard question to answer. The honest answer is, “I'm a Jew, I don't celebrate Christmas,” but saying this always seems chastising, and the person who asked then feels embarrassed (as they should) and I feel embarrassed that this is my accidental role in the world: reminding everyone that Jews exist. The times I say, gruffly, “I don't know. I'm Jewish,” they usually say, “Oh, I'm sorry!” But this always sounds to me not like, “I'm sorry I assumed you were Christian,” but rather, “I'm sorry that you're Jewish.” Given all this, I usually reply simply, “Yeah, it's awful. I get ripped off every year.” [previously from Sheila Heti]
Since the time of Dickens there has been a long-standing tradition of telling spooky stories on Christmas Eve... Who better to be a guide to a selection of ghostly tales than faux-Edwardian and author of Supernatural Horror in Literature, Mr. Howard P Lovecraft? Scaretastic suggetions from some of his favourite authors within... [more inside]
Christmas is a time for traditions. For some, it's all about stringing up lights on a Christmas tree and wrapping up presents to put beneath it. For others, it's spending singing carols door to door to spread holiday cheer. And for still others, it's a time to beat a log with a stick until it poops out candy. If you're not familiar with that last one, don't worry: ComicsAlliance favorites Benito Cereno and Anthony Clark have stepped up to explain it all in an original comic featuring an Untold Tale of St. Nicholas! [more inside]
Christmas is tomorrow and some new Christmas songs have come out in the past week. You can go the nice route: What did you get for Christmas? Did you get everything on your wish list? Or go the naughty route: You're still a slave if you celebrate Christmas.
This Christmas, a holiday tradition undergoes a digital rebirth with Fireplace [Mac/PC], the pixelated demake of The Yule Log. It'll even incinerate whatever you type.
Honor thy Godfather. Tomorrow, on December 25th, we honor the 5th anniversary of the passing of our beloved Godfather, who was born in a simple shack, only to die and be resurrected numerous times. Please take a moment this Christmas to remember him, and let his spirit fill you up, as you shake your moneymaker. Confess!
So those musicians who had Christmas hits in the 70s and 80s in the UK, what with them coming back year after year, must be made for life, right?
’Twas the nocturnal time of the preceding day... A science writer's take on the famous Christmas poem.
Last year, an archivist at Dartmouth College discovered a forgotten scrapbook donated to the school by Robert L. May, the writer and illustrator of the original story of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer", documenting the origins of the now-classic holiday story. The book was written in 1947 on commission from Montgomery Ward's, which was looking for a Christmas promotional item. Detailed in the scrapbook are May's list of possible names for the character, including "Rollo", "Reginald", "Romeo" and you-know-what. Ward's actually turned over the copyright to Rudolph to May, who became a millionaire when, two years later, his brother-in-law Johnny Marks wrote the song which became a huge hit for Gene Autry. Snopes.com adds more details to the tale, including debunking the myth that the song was written by May to comfort his daughter while her mother lay dying.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Jimi Hendrix: Little Drummer Boy / Silent Night / Auld Lang Syne.
In honor of Christmas, Splitsider's Mike Drucker runs down twenty Christmas TV episodes, new and old. It all starts with The Dick Van Dyke Show... [more inside]
Because Christmas wasn't painful enough: He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special, in five parts — 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
Jazz does Christmas: Charlie Parker - Bill Evans - Chet Baker - Kenny Burrell - Dexter Gordon - Oscar Peterson and Louie Armstrong.
Terry Gilliam - The Christmas Card. Gilliam made this in 1968 for the children's TV series Do Not Adjust Your Set. [Via]
What disaster befell the Asch House? Where do a few surviving hedges keep alive our lost Elysium? Where is there a fully clothed life-sized wax effigy of Sarah? These questions and more in the One Hundred and Seventh Issue of the King William's College General Knowledge Paper! [PDF]
Carol of the Old Ones Warming cockles of your heart. To madness.
"Surprise. I taught the Henchmen jazz." (mp3 link) Merry Christmas, once again, from Mr. and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch. [more inside]
Christmas dinners are here again, so most of you are wondering how to cook a goose. Some of you will spend 16 hours for your roasted Christmas goose. Others prefer the German Weihnachtsgans style, with apples. Sophisticated cooks do their Christmas goose sous vide.
"those Who bastards down there in their posh little private community talking shit about him all day"
If you enjoy instrumental jazz and Christmas music, you might enjoy The Best Jazz Christmas Record You've Never Heard. ""Christmas With The Believers" turned out to be the best jazz Christmas music I had ever heard, and that's still the case today. I'll take the imaginative arrangements, chops, tight playing, and sense of swing on this recording over anything I've heard by the legends in this field." It's presented here as a cassette recording from Fall '86, with Donny Schwekendiek on piano, Neal Heidler on the bass and Narry Puhlovski on the drums.
To: Creative Director
Subject: Holiday Card Approval
Subject: Holiday Card Approval
Looking at the rest of the top search results for Christmas is like getting into a time machine that takes you back to a bizarro 2001 in which every single web surfer is a sucker. There are "Hot Links!" and "Fun Things to Do." What we see is the ad hoc, de facto social network formed by people who type Christmas into a search engine. And man, that network is like MySpace for your great aunt who has too many cats. [more inside]
When most folks think of "Christmas music" it's doubtful that their next thought will be "the blues", but along with "my baby" or "bad luck" or "leavin' in the morning", bluesmen have long included Christmas as lyric inspiration. Which bluesmen? Well... Sonny Boy Williamson, Freddie King, Blind Blake, John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins, Little Milton, B.B. King, Smokey Hogg, Charley Jordan, and last but certainly not least, one of the most influential early bluesmen, Blind Lemon Jefferson.
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall the most famous animated GIF reindeer of all? [more inside]
"What do reindeer, Christmas trees, eggnog and Hanukkah have in common? They’re all part of what our elected representatives have been saying around the holidays. Things get even crazier when their quotes are taken out of context and made into crafty, bizarre and occasionally touching holiday e-cards."
You may not know this but pantomime (overview for non-Brits) is a very lucrative business in the UK, especially for minor or fading stars of stage and screen (and Vanilla Ice) - Children's entertainers The Krankies (who have had a troubled relationship with panto in the past) have gone all out this year to pull in the punters via going to the gym (video), a lurid interview revealing their rather more adult private lives and a mind-blowing photo op with John Barrowman (SFW but what has been seen cannot be unseen and may prove traumatic for British people of a certain age) (previous)
A Very Calvin and Hobbes Christmas Nifty little YT short recreating some of the classic Calvin and Hobbes snowmenagerie.
From Michigan to Nebraska, from Washington State to North Carolina, anonymous donors have been paying off "layaway" tabs for holiday-shopping families.
Pick a hedgehog and make him sing a Christmas carol. An interactive Youtube animation featuring absurdly cute hedgehogs who will supposedly sing a carol for you. via boringpostcards and metachat
Tired of the same old renditions of the Christmas Story? Try this video and its prequel, produced in the vein of Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are.