July 24th is the date when the Mormon settlers first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Commemorated as Pioneer Day, it's a day off work that is tied to a specific belief system. But non-Mormons in Utah also want to observe the holiday, and so July 24th became Pie And Beer Day. The Salt Lake Tribune article provides more background.
The Creepy Surveillance of Elf on a Shelf. How does the ubiquitous holiday tattletale work its behavioral magic? By teaching kids to expect that there's always someone watching.
Xmas or Bust: The Untold Story of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The modern holiday classic and third installment in National Lampoon's Vacation series turns 25 this year! Join hapless patriarch Clark Griswold as he struggles to maintain his sanity in a Christmas season full of eccentric relatives, mounting workplace stress, and increasingly outlandish domestic disasters. Full video - Scenes: Eat My Rubber - The Griswold Family Christmas Tree - Bend Over and I'll Show You - Gift-shopping - Decorating - Christmas Lights - Cousin Eddie - Let 'Er Rip, Hang Ten! - MERRY CHRISTMAS, SHITTER WAS FULL - Home Movies - Aunt Bethany - Turkey Dinner - The Cat - Clark Breaks Down - SQUIRREL - Hostages - The National Anthem - More: Quotes from IMDb - PDF Transcript - What's the Damage?
Jean Renoir's "The Little Match Girl" ("La petite marchande d'allumettes") with Catherine Hessling. 1928 (31 Minutes) Silent movie with music and translated intertitles. Original Hans Christian Andersen story included under the video.
Sometimes getting together with family for the holidays feels like the entire event has gone to the dogs (and cat).
By now, we've all seen those houses where the Christmas lights are synced to music, usually to 'Wizards In Winter' by the Trans-Siberia-Orchestra' (but not always.) Now, however, the bar has been raised considerably higher...
December is a month of darkness across the Northern Hemisphere, where 90 percent of the global population lives. We battle it with candles and song, and above all with parties and food.
"It all began with an idea to do something other than an old, tired, traditional card to wish our customers a happy holiday. It seemed rather fitting to do something more light-heartened and entertaining...an idea that revolved around music and holiday lighting...oh, and porta potties of course." [more inside]
"... I love the version of the Thanksgiving story in the movie Addams Family Values, because I get to see the Indians win." [SLGuardian]
Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas gets a whole lot of love, but for sheer musical enjoyment it shouldn't overshadow his work on A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Here for your cooking-soundtrack pleasure are Thanksgiving Theme, Play it Again Charlie Brown (aka Charlie Brown Blues), Peppermint Patty, and Little Birdie (incidentally, Guaraldi's own vocal, and the first time any adult voice appeared on a Charlie Brown show). [more inside]
Holiday’s urbane, martini-loving editor, Ted Patrick, and visionary art director, Frank Zachary, gave postwar America a passport to the glamour of travel, packing the magazine with big-name talent: Hemingway, Steinbeck, Kerouac, Cartier-Bresson, Steichen, et al. But, in 1964, tragedy would ground their flight. [more inside]
The Cut presents 14 Halloween costume hookup stories. Something Awful's FASHION SWAT on costumes for cats.
The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus “Sochi used to be much prettier... These days crooks from Moscow come here to build and sell skyscrapers and apartments, although it used to be such a small, lovely town." via The New York Review of Books article on "Why Sochi"
Putin explicitly links the Games to the humiliations of the recent past: “There is also a certain moral aspect here and there is no need to be ashamed of it,” he said. “After the collapse of the Soviet Union, after the dark and, let us be honest, bloody events in the Caucasus, the society had a negative and pessimistic attitude.” The Olympics, he explains, are a necessary part of an effort to “strengthen the morale of the nation.”
Richard Pryor moved to New York City in 1963, where he performed regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. He even opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone, who talked of his early nervousness, when she put her "arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down." You can see something of that young man in this clip of Pryor singing a bit of jazzy blues in 1966. The performance is also available on YouTube with slightly better quality, but faded in from different scene. [more inside]
Nearly 200 years after "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was written, the authorship is still in dispute. In the years since, there have been quite a few parodies and variants of the poem written, recorded and performed, including at least two different versions of a Cajun Night Before Christmas (a recording of the version by Te-Jules, and Trosclair's version[Google books preview], read by Larry Ray, recorded from WLOX). Snopes tracked down the history of The Soldier's Night Before Christmas, Fifties Web collected 21 tame versions (with auto-playing music), and Dirty Xmas has a number of "adult" versions. Yuks 'R' Us has a large collection, including some dated computer-related stories. Speaking of dated, you can view a vintage '98 "enhanced" version of the original poem plus more variations from Purple Lion (a member of the Merry Christmas Webring from 1998). But for the ultimate collection of variants and parodies, you might recall this thread from 2002. The link is dead, but Archive.org caught the site around that time, with 581 versions. That was over a decade ago, and now Alechemist Matt is up to 849 versions, parodies and variants of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Sometimes it's hard to remember that there are Holiday songs that aren't about being jolly, rocking around Christmas trees, and drugging your girlfriend's drink. From the dirgelike to the hopelessly obscure, here are some Christmas carols you probably won't hear on Black Friday. [more inside]
Like sending out Christmas cards but prefer something light on the Santas and Jesuses? The Hubble Telescope is here to help you out with a whole line of free-to-download-and-print holiday-themed greeting cards!
Game of Thrones inspired snowflake patterns for when you want to get your pop-culture fantasy geek on, but in a subtle way this holiday season.
It's not the holidays until DJBC releases another Santastic mash-up compilation. Yes, we have covered these compilations in the past.
Occurring once before in 1888 and possibly not again for another 77,798 years (really), the two holidays of Chanukah and Thanksgiving will overlap. The result? Chefs, food blogs, and nearly everybody else scrambling to create distinct fusion menus that draw from the delicious traditions of each holiday (NYT). Buzzfeed's massive Thanksgivukkah menu. Gothamist: Four Easy Fusion Dishes. Food 52's recipe challenge (in comments). Serious Eats' response ( Latke-Crusted Turkey Stuffing Fritters With Liquid Cranberry Core and Turkey Schmaltz Gravy) . NY Daily News asks Chef Zach Kutsher for ideas.
Trip Avisaargh - a tumblr collection of links the best (worst?) and most memorable reviews on the travel site Trip Advisor. Sales Pitches! Statues! Manager responses! (more!) It can't get worse! Mr. Toilet House! Bonny Old London! Palaces!
So you make less than
$250,000 $450,000 and think the fiscal cliff deal doesn't affect you? Think again: the payroll tax holiday has been allowed to expire. Here's a helpful table outlining how much more you'll be paying this year. (Previously)
Electronic Toys From Holidays Long Past (274 picture SL imgur gallery)
It's almost Christmas, and if you have not yet had your fill (and then some) of holiday music, you can hear non-stop Jingle Jams on (W)XPN2 online, also available through NPR.org. If the randomness of radio isn't your thing, NPR has a more (alternative) holiday music for your listening pleasure, from a cappella renditions of sacred music for the Christmas season from the English Tudor era (58 minutes) and live jazz piano holiday music, to funky takes on the seasonal themes and five blues tunes to counter all that cheer. NPR also attempts to answer: what makes a modern pop holiday tune sound like Christmas?
"Mele Kalikimaka" (Ukelele cords) is a Hawaiian-themed Christmas song written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson. The phrase is borrowed directly from English but since Hawaiian has a different phonological system - Hawaiian does not have the /r/ or /s/ of English and doesn't have the phonotactic constraints to allow consonants at the end of syllables or consonant clusters - "Merry Christmas" becomes "Mele Kalikimaka". Enjoy the canonical version with Bing Crosby And The Andrew Sisters (lounge remix) or by KT Tunstall or Bette Milder or Jimmy Buffet or Gianni And Sarah or The Puppini Sisters or Reel Big Fish or Country Western style or pared down instrumental or Celtic Rock style or performed on the Metro by Pokey LaFarge or ..whatever the hell this is.
Last Year Rifftrax, the MST3K spin-off movie riffing series, completed a "best of five years" compilation video. Why not get into the festive seasonal mood with three more "best of" clips from such beloved holiday classics as SANTA CLAUS AND THE ICE CREAM BUNNY - MAGIC CHRISTMAS TREE - and of course, THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL.
A Special Holiday Message from your friends Lil Bub and Andrew WK.
Hanukkah draws nigh and that means latkes. [The oil in which the potato pancake is cooked symbolizes the miraculously long-burning fuel that lit the Second Temple.] Bubala Please shows you how to keep it real. [more inside]
dj bc's beloved holiday mashup series Santastic returns with Santastic Seven: It's a Wonderful Mash. Previously.
Free Comic Book Day is back again! (Previously.) It's the one day a year when comic book stores in North America and around the world will be handing out free books -- mainly as an attempt to lure new readers to the genre. Some shops do signings, too. See you at the comic book shops on May 5th!
Welcome to Vang Vieng Vang Vieng, deep in the jungle of Laos, is a backpacker paradise where there are no rules. Last year at least 27 travellers died there, and countless more were injured. [more inside]
Taxali is not my original last name. It was changed 300 years ago to Taxali by a Maharaja in India. My ancestor invented a coin that was difficult to counterfeit and was subsequently knighted Taxali by the Maharaja. It means, "Maker or Steward of The Mint". How serendipitous!! Here I am, 300 years later, honouring my ancestor's achievements and mine and my sister's family name. via [Drawn]
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.