Archive for the ‘season’ 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

12-019-2015 Journal–Christmas Cyber Stalking!   Leave a comment

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This morning I was awake and drinking my first cup of coffee at 4:30am and trying to decide whether to watch an hour of NASA TV or to wade through an hour of quantum mechanics on NOVA. I have a real interest in all things space and science and NASA is doing such incredible work in so many areas it’s difficult to keep up.  Anything is better than being inundated with the worst part of the Christmas season . . . effing emails.

Even quantum mechanics and the use of cold temperatures to produce a new generation of super conductors is better than dealing with those emails. Believe me when I say I barely understand some of the concepts but anything that will block out this constant drumbeat and commercialization of Christmas is a welcome change.

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I look out the window and see rain. The snow has come and gone and things are drab. It doesn’t feel the least bit like Christmas for some reason and I’m finding myself disappointed. Christmas music is not something I’d want to spend a lot of time listening to but a little of it is fine. This year I see a marked reduction in the seasonal music and the general feeling of Christmas.  I wish I could be paid a dollar for every email I’ve received in the last eight weeks related specifically to BUY BUY BUY. That in itself is seriously depressing.

The two biggest offenders are Best Buy and Tiger Direct.  Tiger Direct is an on-line retailer for electronics and was where the old Circuit City company came to die. I’m receiving upwards of five to ten emails a day from them and I’m very close  to unsubscribing from them forever.  It’s become something akin to cyber stalking or just plain harassment.  There are other offenders as well and I’m averaging a minimum of 25-30 emails a day.   They’ve effectively sucked the life of Christmas for me this year. I would like to thank Amazon, one of the biggest retailers in history, who care enough about their customers to leave them the hell alone.

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I’m hoping that on Christmas Day I’ll see that light of Christmas spirit in the eyes of our grandson who is the perfect age to really enjoy it.  I think next year my approach to the season will be very different.  My birthday falls in August which is when I foresee the Christmas barrage beginning. That will be the time that I unsubscribe to every on-line retailer on my email contact list which hopefully will remove 90% of these irritating and annoying emails. I’m also considering setting up a new email account that I’ll supply to any retailer I make on-line purchases from. That account will then collect all of these annoying emails but will have no direct contact to me in anyway. I can just go about my life with the knowledge that at some future date the company supplying me with that mailbox will erase them all.

With five shopping days left I’m anticipating a deluge of last minute emails trying to coerce me into spending more and more money.  To all of them I wish a very Merry Christmas and a big KMA. That’s "Kiss My Ass" for those of you not familiar with this blog.

KMA

12-01-2013 Useless Christmas Factoids   Leave a comment

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Here’s Our Tree!

The end of November signals the start of all the normal Christmas insanity that most of us complain about.  Shopping, crowds, traffic jams, annoying music, and people everywhere with their hands extended looking for money.  It makes me happy not to be a religious person because if I were, I’d be really pissed off and upset.  The Christmas tradition in this country has slowly morphed into a typical American greed-fest.  I thought today I’d forward along a list of thirty factoids about the holiday from a few countries around the globe and many from the United States.  Some are crazy and others just a little bit interesting.  Enjoy them and hopefully they’ll spark some of that good old Christmas spirit from when you were a kid.  I threw that photo of our tree in just to let you know I am participating regardless of how much I complain.

  • Puritan Oliver Cromwell outlawed Christmas celebrations and carols in England from 1649-1660. The only celebrations allowed were sermons and prayers.
  • The people at Reynolds (aluminum foil) make a substantial amount of money selling foil during the Yuletide season. It has been confirmed that at least 3000 tons of foil are used to wrap turkeys annually.
  • Warning: Christmas shopping may be hazardous to your health. If you are an avid Christmas shopper statistics have concluded that you will be elbowed at least three times while shopping. Ouch!
  • Sending Christmas cards is still the in thing to do around Christmas time. Americans on average send out 28 Christmas cards to friends and family yearly, and guess what, it’s certainly not in vain either, most will receive 28 for the same period.
  • Christmas is a great time to exercise. You will walk an average of five miles between the parking lot and stores, however, don’t let this give you a false sense of security, most people still gain those pesky Christmas pounds despite this.
  • Bolivians celebrate Misa del Gallo or “Mass of the Rooster” on Christmas Eve. Some people bring roosters to the midnight mass, a gesture that symbolizes the belief that a rooster was the first animal to announce the birth of Jesus.
  • In Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas trees decorations because according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus.
  • Alabama was the first state in the United States to officially recognize Christmas in 1836. Oklahoma was the last state the declare Christmas a holiday.
  • The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.
  • Each year more than 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the U.S. alone.

  • All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 gifts.
  • In A.D. 350, Pope Julius I, bishop of Rome, proclaimed December 25 the official celebration date for the birthday of Christ.
  • According to the Guinness world records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.
  • The traditional three colors of Christmas are green, red, and gold. Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth; red symbolizes the blood of Christ, and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.
  • According to data analyzed from Facebook posts, two weeks before Christmas is one of the two most popular times for couples to break up. However, Christmas Day is the least favorite day for breakups.
  • Contrary to popular belief, suicide rates during the Christmas holiday are low.
  • The world’s largest Christmas stocking measured 106 feet and 9 inches long and 49 feet and 1 inches wide. It weighed as much as five reindeer and held almost 1,000 presents. It was made by the Children’s Society in London on December 14, 2007.
  • Christmas trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.
  • President Teddy Roosevelt, an environmentalist, banned Christmas trees from the White House in 1912.
  • Each year there are approximately 20,000 “rent-a-Santa’s” across the United States. “Rent-a-Santa’s” usually undergo seasonal training on how to maintain a jolly attitude under pressure from the public.

  • Christmas wasn’t declared an official holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.
  • Oklahoma was the last U.S. state to declare Christmas a legal holiday, in 1907.
  • In 1962, the first Christmas postage stamp was issued in the United States.
  • Christmas purchases account for 1/6 of all retail sales in the U.S.
  • Because they viewed Christmas as a decadent Catholic holiday, the Puritans in America banned all Christmas celebrations from 1659-1681 with a penalty of five shillings for each offense.
  • Because of their pagan associations, both the holly (associated with the masculine principle) and the ivy (the feminine) and other green boughs in home decoration were banned by the sixth-century Christian Council of Braga.
  • There are two competing claims as to which president was the first to place a Christmas tree in the White House. Some scholars say President Franklin Pierce did in 1856; others say President Benjamin Harrison brought in the first tree in 1889. President Coolidge started the White House lighting ceremony in 1923.
  • There are approximately 21,000 Christmas tree farms in the United States.
  • The first printed reference to a Christmas tree was in 1531 in Germany.
  • Approximately 30-35 million real (living) Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.

ENJOY THE SEASON

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