With a possible Christmas tree shortage looming, now's the time to take a closer look at artificial Christmas trees—by watching How It's Made style clips about them, of course, as well as a bunch of other holiday-related products. [more inside]
Sometimes getting together with family for the holidays feels like the entire event has gone to the dogs (and cat).
"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.
This weekend marks the time of the Hajj, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God. Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat and the ritual stoning of Shaitan to the circling of the sacred Kaaba (the shrouded cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily) and kissing the Black Stone (colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite). While the city has modernized to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich, and tent cities the size of Seattle -- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders. Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise to write a rare travelogue, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt], a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey. Browse the manual to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
Will a slightly pared down version of the My Keepon, a fuzzy yellow dancing robot, be this year's holiday hit? (For extra added schmoopy, a portion of the proceeds will go to autism research.) Pretty fly for an AI.
He was elected at the nadir of the worst depression in history; 25% of the workforce was unemployed, two million were homeless. Yet in the face of this, he made us an optimistic and far-reaching New Deal, creating among other programs a federal minimum wage, social security, and the FDIC. He pulled us out of dire financial straits and, when our country was called upon to fight in World War II, he brought us to the cusp of victory. In his unprecedented thirteen years in office, he cemented his undisputed legacy as one of the greatest presidents in American history. But before he could achieve any of this, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a promise to keep — a promise to the "wet vote," whose indispensable support he had called upon in 1932 during his first presidential campaign when he promised to repeal the 18th Amendment and end Prohibition. And thus, as legend has it, immediately after his first fireside chat from the White House in March 1933, Roosevelt turned to his two top aides and said, "I think it's time for a beer." And yes, indeed, it was. [more inside]
It's all about the tree. (YouTube)