Archive for the ‘santa’ Tag

12-12-2015 Journal–Christmas Weirdness!   1 comment

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It’s easy to get on a lengthy sentimental journey of sorts during the Christmas season but with this posting I hope to avoid that.  Christmas and all of it’s incarnations worldwide are interesting and strange to say the least. Here are a host of weird and strange Christmas factoids you may not be aware of but are true nonetheless.

  • Japanese people traditionally eat at KFC for Christmas dinner, thanks to a successful marketing campaign 40 years ago. KFC is so popular that customers must place their Christmas orders 2 months in advance.
  • Paul McCartney earns $400,000 a year off his Christmas song, which is widely regarded as the worst song he ever recorded. 
  • Mistletoe kissing originated with fertility rites. The hanging sprig is a very ancient symbol of virility and therefore anybody standing beneath it is signaling that he or she is sexually available.
  • About half of Sweden’s population watches Donald Duck cartoons every Christmas Eve since 1960 .
  • Mormon missionaries can only call home twice a year: once on Mother’s Day and again on Christmas.

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Don’t you feel bad for poor old Paul McCartney. He reaped only $400,000.00 a year for a crappy song. Keep the lucky bastard in your Christmas prayers.  And KFC for Christmas in Japan? That’s as weird as it gets.

  • Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen is the only record to get the UK Christmas Singles Chart Number One twice, once in 1975 and again in 1991.
  • Engineers designing the Voyager Space mission planned it to avoid planetary encounters over Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • The US playing card company ‘Bicycle’ had manufactured a playing card in WW2. That, when the card was soaked, it would reveal an escape route for POWs. These cards were Christmas presents for all POWs in Germany. The Nazis were none the wiser.
  • The people of Oslo, Norway donate the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree every year in gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during WWII.
  • The Christmas Tree is a manufactured tradition. Victorian intellectuals  invented the tradition as part of a social movement to consciously reform Christmas away from its tradition of raucous drinking.

Hooray for Freddy Mercury and Queen. Their Christmas song just has to be better than McCartney’s.  The Victorians did us no favors so bring back  all that raucous drinking, please.

  • Christmas as a "day off" is a recent innovation. As late as 1850, December 25 was not a legal holiday in New England.
  • The Beatles hold the record for most Xmas number 1 singles, topping the charts in 1963, 65 and 67.
  • The highest-grossing holiday movie is 2000’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which has raked in $175m so far.
  • Hanging stockings comes from the Dutch custom of leaving shoes packed with food for St Nicholas’s donkeys. He would leave small gifts in return.
  • There is no reference to angels singing anywhere in the Bible.

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No angels singing in the Bible. Isn’t that just a giant kick in the ass? Personally I don’t think there was much singing at all in the Bible. People were too busy begatting and killing to have time for singing.

  • Jesus was probably born in a cave and not a wooden stable, say Biblical scholars.
  • In 1999, residents of the state of Maine in America built the world’s biggest ever snowman. He stood at 113ft tall.
  • The holly in a wreath symbolizes Christ’s crown of thorns while the red berries are drops of his blood.
  • Jingle Bells was the first song broadcast from space when Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra sang it on December 16, 1965.
  • Astronomers believe the Star Of Bethlehem, which guided the wise men to Jesus, may have been a comet or the planet Uranus.

I’m glad to see the state of Maine making the list. Although how proud can you be about a giant snowman. Snow is about all we have to offer except for a few billion pine trees.

  • Santa Claus has different names around the world – Kriss Kringle in Germany, Le Befana in Italy, Pere Noel in France and Deushka Moroz (Grandfather Frost) in Russia.
  • In Britain, the best-selling holiday song is Band Aid’s 1984 track, Do They Know It’s Christmas?, which sold 3.5 million copies. Wham! is next in the same year with Last Christmas, selling 1.4 million.
  • US scientists calculated that Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all the world’s presents on Christmas Eve, travelling at 650 miles a second.
  • Despite the tale of three wise men paying homage to baby Jesus, the Bible never gives a number. Matthew’s Gospel refers to merely "wise men".
  • There are 13 Santa’s in Iceland, each leaving a gift for children. They come down from the mountain one by one, starting on December 12 and have names like Spoon Licker, Door Sniffer and Meat Hook.

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Another misquote from the Bible. Are you shocked? Not me.  And thanks to all of those scientists for taking the time out of their busy work day to compute those figures.  Get a life guys.

TWELVE SHOPPING DAYS LEFT

12-15-2014 Journal – My Christmas Story!   Leave a comment

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It’s early and I’m still snuggled up in this warm bed and I never ever want to leave it.  My better-half is a person who isn’t entirely sure how to relax and just a few minutes ago she left this cozy bed to begin her endless list of chores.  She’s driven by her imaginary To-Do list that instantly becomes her number one priority as soon as her feet hit the floor.  I’m a goal oriented person myself but luckily I know when to just lay back, block out the world, and relax. Any minute now she’ll be delivering me a steaming hot cup of hazelnut coffee and then she’ll disappear into own little world of Christmas stuff and loud annoying music.

I don’t dislike Christmas as many people think but I also have no great love for it. As a kid It was much more of a religious holiday thanks mostly to my mother. As I grew older and lost my interest in organized religion I also lost most of my interest in Christmas.  I really enjoy sharing gifts with friends and family and I actually enjoy the giving more than the receiving.  My better-half is Christmas crazy and it’s gotten progressively worse since the birth of her grandson.  With another child expected in March I can only assume next Christmas will be totally out of control.

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There’s nine shopping days left until the big day and I’m actually looking forward to having the grandson under the tree and up to his neck in wrapping paper and gifts.  He doesn’t realize yet because of his young age that this will be this last Christmas as the lone grand child. Next year he’ll have a new sibling to share the limelight with and so it will be forever.  I plan on spoiling him a bit this year because I’m really sympathetic to his plight.

I’m even considering sneaking down to his house after dark disguised as Santa to look in the window and scare the crap out of him like my parents and family did to me.  It was an odd way to show their love but after a few years of being deathly afraid of Santa I was able to man up and get on with my life. It was really scary.

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I was about his age when my sister was born and things were never quite the same after that.  I wasn’t too happy with sharing the limelight and neither will he I’m sure. That rivalry will last forever.  So our little man is going to have one terrific Christmas which I hope he’ll remember and appreciate someday.  I see I’m getting the evil eye from my better-half which means she’ll start bugging me to get the hell out of bed and get busy.

I fully intend to convince her that today I have my own To-Do list to worry about. Then I’ll post the blog, grab my camera, and disappear from the premises.  I figure any time I can steal and spend driving around and taking pictures is a win/win. I could also hint that I need to buy her another gift or two and that should do the trick.

That’s my Christmas Story and I’m sticking to it.

12-10-2013 Osama Bin Santa   Leave a comment

A few years ago I posted this story more as therapy for myself than anything else.  I suffer from a nagging case of Santa PTSB that recurs every December.  I want it to be known that I was fighting terrorism as a six year old before it became fashionable.  Each time I repost this story it helps me with my Santa issues like nothing else can.  That big fat and jolly SOB is known in our house as Osama Bin Santa and the only difference between him and other terrorists is that Santa loves victimizing young kids.  With that in mind here’s my scary and terrifying Christmas story.

As a young child my parents made every attempt to make Christmas memorable for my sister and me.  My sister was very young and I was just turning 6 years old. I still firmly believed all the stories about Santa’s elves and all the other good stuff. In the back of my young mind there was a seed of skepticism secretly growing. I was beginning to have serious doubts about Santa and my parents as well. A lot of what I was being told by my trusted family members wasn’t what I was hearing on the street (school yard). My friends had almost convinced me that the whole Santa thing was just BS and that the adults were actually the real gift givers.  It think it was at that early age that my trust issues with authority figures first began.

My parents began to suspect I was wavering and their propaganda was now falling on deaf ears. In a conspiracy involving my mother, her sister, my grandparents, and my Dad it was decided that drastic action was immediately necessary to convince me that Santa was the real deal. I’d been acting out a lot and being a little disrespectful to my elders so it was time for Santa to step in and straighten me out once and for all.

It was the week before Christmas and we were visiting my grandparents. I was being a huge pain in the ass as usual like a lot of six-year-olds can be at that time of the year. It was just after dark and I was walking through the house down a narrow hallway towards the kitchen. It was dark outside and as I passed the window I glanced over and almost had a six-year-old heart attack. There was Santa looking back at me and smiling a frightening smile. My blood turned cold and I got the hell out of there screaming all the way upstairs to hide under the bed.  My parents let me know in no uncertain terms that Santa was out looking for those children who were being good and keeping an eye on those that weren’t.  I was on the latter list, of course.

For the next few days I was a complete angel but after dark I was still nervous about looking out the windows. Santa the terrorist had accomplished his mission. I saw him again on two or three other occasions over the next two Christmases, once at our house, and again in the coal cellar at my grandparents home. Unfortunately I’d already consulted with my knowledgeable friends at the playground and I was officially a nonbeliever by then. I went along with the charade for as long as possible since my parents  were giving the gifts.  They finally had a meeting and decided I was just playing them for extra toys and my game was over.

Many years later while I was digging through an old trunk in my aunt’s bedroom I discovered where Santa had been hiding for all these many years. His retirement consisted of being tucked under a pile of sheets and pillowcases in that old trunk. My aunt laughed until she cried when I confronted her.  We relived a very special and scary Christmas memory and enjoyed the moment very much.

What I never told her or my parents was the lingering collateral damage from their actions. To this day during the Christmas season I’m careful in dark rooms and hallways and try never to look out the windows, NEVER. In the malls and stores where Santa is holding court I stay the hell away. That guy still scares the bejesus out of me. Terrorism is no joke.

12-09-2013 More Christmas Trivia   Leave a comment

Well, we’re left with only 15 shopping days till Christmas. Instead of writing about myself and my Christmas stories, which I’ll save for later time, I found a few others that are both humorous and funny. The first story comes out of the great state of Connecticut and took place a few yeas ago. In my experience Connecticut has always had an overabundance of strange folks wandering the streets and once again I’ve been proven correct. I’ve never known anyone who found Santa all that sexy but apparently they’re a few people out there who do.  Here we go.

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DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — Santa Claus says that a woman who sat on his lap was naughty, not nice. A Santa at the Danbury Fair mall said the woman groped him. “The security officer at the mall said Santa Claus has been sexually assaulted,” police Detective Lt. Thomas Michael said of the weekend complaint.

Sandrama Lamy, 33, of Danbury, was charged with sexual assault and breach of peace. She was released on a promise to appear in court on Jan. 3.
Police quickly found and identified Lamy because the woman was described as being on crutches, said Capt. Bob Myles. A call seeking comment from Lamy was answered by a recording Tuesday morning. A woman later called back and said: “It’s a false report and I don’t have any idea.”

Police did not give the name of the disconcerted Santa, but they said he is 65 and felt badly because children were waiting to see him. “He was apparently shocked and embarrassed by the whole incident,” Myles said.

A man who teaches hundreds of prospective Santa’s a year _ “Santa Tim” Connaghan, president of realsantas.com, said he’s never heard of a similar incident, though it’s not unusual for adults to want to pose with Santa.
“I’ve had some very nice ladies sit on my lap,” said Connaghan, who did not train the Danbury Fair Santa. “Once in a while they’ll say ‘I hope Mrs. Claus isn’t going to be upset.’ You have to be discreet and kind and say ‘Oh no, she’ll be OK. You can sit here, but only for one photo.'”

A spokeswoman for Cherry Hill Photo, the company that coordinates Santa’s for Danbury Fair, declined to comment Tuesday.

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Here’s a short list of the many and varied ways you can say Merry Christmas around the world. It may not interest some of you and that’s okay, enjoy them anyway.

Glaedelig Jul – Danish

Vrolijike Kerst – Dutch

Hyvvaa Joulua – Finnish

Frohe Weihnachten – German

Kala Christouyenna – Greek

Gledileg Jol – Icelandic

Buon Natale – Italian

God Jul – Norwegian

Feliz Natal – Portuguese

God Jul – Swedish

Iyi Noeller – Turkish

There’s always room for more Christmas trivia. I think it’s a good thing to see and understand just how this holiday developed and has been interpreted around the world in so many different cultures.

  • Christmas Eve in Japan is a good day to eat fried chicken and strawberry shortcake.
  • Michigan has no official state song, but one, ‘Michigan, My Michigan,’ is frequently used. The words were written in 1863, and the melody used is that of the Christmas song “O Tannenbaum”.
  • Electric Christmas lights were first used in 1854.
  • America’s official national Christmas tree is located in King’s Canyon National Park in California. The tree, a giant sequoia called the “General Grant Tree”, is over 90 meters (300 feet) high, and was made the official Christmas tree in 1925.
  • The first department store to feature a visit with Santa was the J. W. Parkinson’s store in Philadelphia in 1841. Astonishingly, no other department stores copied this event until 1890 when a store in Boston repeated it. Before long lines of children formed at stores across America to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him their Christmas wish list. The department store Santa has been immortalized in films such as Miracle on 34th Street and Christmas Story.
  • “Jingle Bells” was originally written for a Thanksgiving celebration, in 1857.

Well, there you have it. Another short collection of useless Christmas trivia. It amazes me just how much information is available about Christmas not just here in the United States but around the world. The more I search the more I find and just so you know I intend to keep searching. Hopefully within the next day or two I’ll post my Christmas story involving Santa and and his visits to my home in Pennsylvania oh so many years ago.

12-07-2013 Christmas Memories   2 comments

My better-half has always been known as a Christmas animal, shopping for gifts, decorating every damn thing  in sight, and stressing herself to the max.  Of course that stress level spills over onto me more often than not.  I’m “that guy” who ends up doing the heavy lifting on most of the chores, except for the shopping and baking.  Since I’ve escaped most of that nonsense this year  because of my broken leg  I have a little extra time for blogging and other activities. I decided to take a short trip down memory lane back to 1952 where as a 6 year old I couldn’t wait for Christmas to arrive.

As a kid Christmas seemed to be more of a religious holiday for us because of my Mom.  Gifts were exchanged but weren’t the center of it all.  We as a family barely had enough money for essentials let alone for purchasing large numbers of gifts.  My mother was and always remained a loyal Catholic follower and  I certainly admired her determination to keep the holidays something special religiously speaking.

We attended all of the many church functions and celebrations, listened to Christmas carolers, and sent out tons of Christmas cards to everyone imaginable.  She’d then take all of the cards she’d received and tape them around the entry way to our living room.  It seemed like a big deal back then to acknowledge each other with Christmas cards and displaying them throughout the home. Emails are fine but just aren’t quite the same as a personally signed card with a short handwritten holiday message.  I remember conversations between my Mom and her friends talking about how many cards they’d each received and who sent them.  It was a big deal.  Sadly with today’s prices for mailing letters it would cost a small fortune to send a hundred cards to friends and family.

Check out this price list from 1952 and then match it against our current prices.  It’s scary”:

House: $16,800
Average income: $3,515
Ford car: $1526-$2384
Milk: $.96
Gas: $.20
Bread $.16
Postage stamp: $.03
Hen Turkeys: $ .53 lb
Pkg of 6 Bran muffins $.21
1 lb pkg of M&M’s candies: $.59
Gillette Blue Blades, pkg of 10: $ .49
At Sears – – –
Ladies Corduroy Jackets: $4.99
Cotton knit blouses: $1.98
Men’s Rayon Sport Shirts: $3.66
Men’s cotton flannel shirt: $1.79
Red “Radio Flyer” wagon: $8.75
Westinghouse Open-Handle steam iron: $19.95
Men’s T-shirts and briefs – – –
T-shirts, 2 for $.59
Briefs, each : $.59

I guess the good old days weren’t all that bad after all.  At least you could afford to live reasonably well on what we now consider pauper wages. Families felt closer and the holidays seemed to mean more than they do now.

I’m not complaining because time and things change in the blink of an eye. You can’t expect things to remain the same forever because they just won’t. You must be able to change and adapt to keep the holidays something special and meaningful not only for you but for your children.  It seems a little harder to accomplish these  days but it’s still doable. I’ve always known that if I work exceptionally hard at something it will mean much more to me.  With that in mind I’ll spend the next two weeks helping my better-half to relax and enjoy her favorite time of the year.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

12-12-2012   2 comments

I’ve never been accused of being overly sentimental but on a number of occasions I’ve been told by friends and family members that I was anti-Santa and had no Christmas spirit.  I never took those kinds of criticisms to heart because I know they weren’t always factual.  Unless you’ve been in an intimate relationship with someone you just can”t honestly make those kind of assumptions or so I thought.

Since it’s the Christmas season and everyone is alleged to be happy and jolly I thought I would pass some of my happy and jolly along to the rest of you to explain those terrible but true accusations.

I was accused many years ago of being a Bah Humbug and a holiday hater.  Unfortunately at that time I was.  I worked during at that time for a national toy company and Christmas was considered our life blood, it was a freaking nightmare.  We began planning for Christmas in early June every year and it was the constant drumbeat every effing day until the following January.  It lasted until January because that was when all of the phony people returned the so-so gifts they were given because they sucked and they just wanted cash.  I worked there for thirteen long, long, long, Christmas seasons.

Normal people spend approximately one month a year with the holidays constantly on their minds and almost all of them are exhausted in January and glad to have them over with for another year.  So in my thirteen years with the Child World\/Children’s Palace chain I was blessed with effing Christmas cheer for a total of 104 months.  For you math majors in the audience that equates to over a century of Christmases that I’ve been blessed with. Red and green ribbons, gifts, toys, pissed off customers, bratty little shits, drunken Santa’s, and a long stream of six day work weeks.  You bet your ass I hated Christmas.  My skin would actually crawl when I heard Silent Night or Deck the Freaking Halls. 

I don’t remember most Februaries during that time because I was asleep.  It took me until April to get back to normal just in time to begin preparations for the next Christmas.  It was a Holly Jolly hell and I felt I was being punished for something awful I did in another life.  I’d been convinced by karma that I was at one time, some where, in another life,  a no good bastard whose was still paying for all of his misdeeds.

Now to the present.  I still suffer through Christmas but every once in a while I feel a stab of sentimentality.  When my better-half runs crazily through the house wearing stupid reindeer antlers or when her kids show up unexpectedly to surprise her with a Christmas visit, I feel the love.  This year will be extra special and I’m already feeling the tug on my heart strings for the new grand child.  To me Christmas has always been for the young children. Having this new young family member will most certainly keep the true spirit of Christmas alive for us for many years to come.

So to you all, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a great big BAH HUMBUG from me.

12-11-2012   3 comments

I’m feeling a little more upbeat today and I think my shopping trip yesterday may have helped a bit.  I was searching diligently for my missing Christmas spirit and just when I found a little  of it  I lost it again immediately. An hour or two in a crowded mall getting elbowed and pushed around by damn near everyone can make that happen.  People are scurrying everywhere and willing to kick your ass to get at something they want before you do.  I was feeling non-combative so I stayed out of the line of fire and attempted to shop in a few stores. It does appear that common courtesy goes right out the window when it comes to Christmas shopping, especially in this Mall.

I should mention, this was the Mall that fired their Santa Clause last week because he was rude to the kids and their parents.  A rude Santa  in this Mall seems to me to be the ultimate irony.  They should set up a kiosk here somewhere selling copies of the “Bad Santa” movie.  I’m sure it would be a huge hit with all these intolerant and rude people roaming around.  It’s ironic as hell that rude shoppers from this Mall caused the Santa to be fired for being rude. How utterly stupid.

I stood in Best Buy for the longest time trying to find an associate to help me but I wasn’t pissed about the wait since the place was a freaking zoo.  Bad economy be damned as I watched IPods, IPads, tablets, and anything else you can think of going out the door in huge numbers. I’ve heard rumors that Best Buy has been having difficulties in this economy and closed stores that were unprofitable.  In my humble opinion they’re just a showroom for all of those Internet companies like Amazon.  You go on line and find the item you want.  You then run to Best Buy, check out the item and get your questions answered, and then return home to order it on line where the price is cheaper. They have their work cut out for them if they want to survive as a viable company.

I went to the Mall office and attempted to fill out an application for the currently vacant position of Santa.  No one took me seriously which really hurt my feelings.  I explained that I have the unusual ability to tell parents and their kids to “piss off” without actually saying it. A smile and a pat on the head and off they go.  They don’t realize they’ve been insulted until after they return home and even then they’re not really sure.  My secret dream of being Santa just wasn’t meant to be.  I’m going to try again next year after I spend a full year honing my rudeness skills to a level that will permit me to survive amongst the customers here. 

HO!, HO!, EFFING HO!

Posted December 12, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Humor, Just Saying

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12-05-1012   2 comments

As young children our  parents made every attempt to make Christmas memorable for my sister and me. When my sister was very young and  I was almost six I still firmly believed the tales of Santa and his elves and all that good stuff.  But in the back of my young mind I secretly was beginning to have doubts.  A lot of what I was being told by the family wasn’t what I was hearing on the street (at school). My friends had almost convinced me that Santa was BS and that my parents were actually the gift givers.

My folks apparently began to suspect I was wavering and that their propaganda was falling on deaf ears. In a conspiracy involving my mother’s sister, Anna Mae, they decided drastic action was needed. I’d been acting out a bit and being a little disrespectful so it was time for Santa to straighten me out.

It was about a week before Christmas and we were visiting at my grandparents home and as usual I was a being a huge pain in the ass like most six year olds. It was just after dark and I was walking through the house to the kitchen. As I passed the window in the hall I glanced over and almost crapped my pants. Santa was standing outside and looking right at me and smiling. I ran upstairs and hid under the bed and refused to come out until the coast was clear. My parents let me know in no uncertain terms that Santa was looking for those children who weren’t being good.

I cleaned up my act fast and became their little angel again. I have to admit I was a little shaky after dark and afraid to look out the windows for quite a while. Santa the terrorist had accomplished his mission. I saw him on two or three other occasions during the next two years, once at our home, and again in the cellar of my grandparents house but unfortunately I was already a confirmed non-believer.  I went along with the charade for my sister’s sake and to avoid a smack on the ass if I told her the truth.  By then I knew my parents were the ones I needed to suck up to and I did it in grand fashion.

Many years later while I was digging through a trunk in my aunts bedroom I discovered where Santa had been hiding. His retirement consisted of being hidden under a pile of sheets and pillow cases in that old trunk. My aunt laughed like crazy when I confronted her and we both enjoyed the moment very much.

What I never told her or my parents was the lingering collateral damage from their actions. To this day during the Christmas season I’m careful in dark rooms and try never to look out the windows. In the mall or in stores where Santa is holding court, I stay the hell away. That guy still scares the bejesus out of me.

Posted December 6, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Humor, Just Saying Again

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