Liz writes, "In the spirit of Charles Dickens, bestselling author Elizabeth Hand is donating all royalties from the new e-book edition of her holiday classic, Chip Crockett's Christmas Carol, to Autism Speaks in memory of Anne Marie Murphy, a high school classmate killed in the Newtown shootings. A finalist for the World Fantasy Award, Hand's modern carol recasts the original with a Joey Ramone wannabe, the ghost of a beloved childhood TV show, and the redemption of a father estranged from his autistic child. Reviewers call it 'a delight' and 'absolutely perfect reading.' 'There are people who reread 'Chip Crockett's Christmas Carol' every year, and that makes me happier than almost anything.' -Clarkesworld."
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Welcome to this year’s Boing Boing Gift Guide, a piling-high of our most loved stuff from 2013 and beyond. There are books, gadgets, toys, music and much else besides: click the categories at the top to filter what you’re most interested in—and offer your own suggestions and links!
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I'll just go ahead and paste the official marketing blurb right here.
The lifesize talking reindeer is a realistic accurately sized plush reindeer that talks, sings, annoys, moves it's head around like some creepy robot at Chucky Cheese, and is sure to sexually confuse wild deer, and hunters.
Lifesize Animated Talking Reindeer [OddityMall]
All around the world, there are abandoned Santa Claus parks -- Christmas-themed amusement parks that passed their prime and shut their gates. Atlas Obscura did a deep trawl through Flickr and other online photo repositories and rounded up a gallery of amazing pictures of decaying, unloved Christmas parks from every corner of the globe.
Rudolph and Ruins: Photographs of Abandoned Santa Parks [Allison Meier/Atlas Obscura]
(Image: Park Alalbandel (5), a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from paulk's photostream)
Al writes, "KKrampusfest LA is a series of of Krampus events produced throughout December 2013 by the remnants (or 'sleeper cell') of LA Cacophony Society. We have been working on hand-crafted scratch-made Krampus costumes & masks for about a year, and we are the first Krampus run in the Western US. These events were contrived, in part as a response and alternative to the Santacon mess we Cacophonists set loose oh, so many years ago. The first official event is 12/7, the costumed 'Krampus Ball' with traditional Bavarian folk dancing, alpenhorn, as well as costumed bands like 'The Kramps' and 'Krampwerk.'
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This fall, I am living out my boyhood dream, working as a contractor for Disney Imagineering on all sorts of secret things I can't mention here. But last week, I previewed materials for a new project that I can mention, because it's now official: the Jungle Boat Cruise at Disneyland and Walt Disney World is getting a Christmas show called "Jingle Cruise," with new jokes, decor, and awesome. The description on the official announcement is kind of sparse, but as someone who is privy to inside knowledge, I can attest that this will be amazing.
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The excellent Law and the Multiverse blog (which seriously considers legal questions arising from funnybooks) examines the legal options available to someone seeking to get a restraining order against Jolly Old St Nick. As with all stories whose headline ends with a question-mark, the answer to this one is "no," but the reasoning behind that "no" is a fascinating look at the law of protective orders.
We don’t think Santa’s behavior would meet this standard. People couldn’t have a reasonable fear of material harm because Santa has an unbroken record of hundreds of years of peaceful activity. It could be enough that he has actually caused material emotional harm to someone, except that the harm would have to be caused by contact or communication initiated by Santa. The problem here is that Santa doesn’t initiate communication; instead people write letters to him. Arguably he initiates indirect contact by entering people’s homes, but there’s no evidence that he enters homes where he is unwanted. In fact, staying up late to ‘catch’ Santa is traditionally considered to cause him not to visit. And of course visits from Santa Claus have rarely, if ever, caused someone to lose their job.
Law of Superheroes organizes the best material from Law and the Multiverse into a kind of first-year lawschool compressed into one set of covers where all the hypotheticals revolve around comic-book storylines. It's the best quick legal education going, really.
Santa and Restraining Orders
(Image: Original Bad Santa kicks arse, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from dancentury's photostream)
We obtain information from a variety of sources. Much of it comes from unsolicited letters sent to Santa by children all over the world listing specific items they would like to receive for Christmas. Often these letters convey additional information as well, such as the child’s hopes and dreams, how much they love Santa, and which of their siblings are doodyheads.
The letters also provide another important piece of information—fingerprints. We run these through databases maintained by the FBI, CIA, NSA, Interpol, MI6, and the Mossad. If we find a match, it goes straight on the Naughty List. We also harvest a saliva sample from the flap of the envelope in which the letter arrives in order to establish a baseline genetic identity for each correspondent. This is used to determine if there might be an inherent predisposition for naughtiness. A detailed handwriting analysis is performed as part of a comprehensive personality workup, and tells us which children are advancing nicely with their cursive and which are still stubbornly forming block letters with crayons long past the age when this is appropriate.
Our network of fully trained, duly deputized mall “Santas” file reports from the field, telling us which children are well-behaved, which are elf-phobic, which are prone to sphincter control issues, and which are squirmy beard-pulling monstrous little brats. Digital copies of photos taken with these “Santas” are automatically sent to our database for further evaluation, with particular attention given to the ones where the children are crying.
(via Dan Hon)
(Image: Santa Claus, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from mattimattila's photostream)
"Soviet Christmas card" sounds like a mere kitschy improbability, but what if I told you that they were space-race-themed Soviet Christmas cards? It's a Christmas miracle, dude.
Old Soviet Christmas card collection
(via Richard Kadrey)
Ross sez, "I was reading Thomas Meyer's great new translation of Beowulf when the annual showing of The Grinch came on. The potential for a mash-up overwhelmed me, and this is the result."
Every Scylding in Heorot liked mead a lot,
But Grendel the beast, roaring outside did not.
Grendel hated Scyldings, the whole Danish clan.,
Can I say why? I don’t think I can.
He spied on the Scyldings, he fumed and he wailed.,
He watched as in Heorot they drank mead and drank ale.
Grendel as Grinch
"King Boreas and the Vulcans" is a Star Trek-themed rewrite of a traditional mummer's play, by the delightful (and sadly departed) John M Ford and friends.
Kirk: In comes I, old Captain Kirk
All my fans know I’m a...great actor,
Brilliant novelist, and a swell guy besides
I come here from space
My rug glued in place
I come with my ship
To shoot from the hip
I come with my crew
Scott: It’s something to do.
Chekov: We know he’s a jerk.
McCoy: Yes, but it’s work.
Kirk: A ship, a ship
For me and my supporting cast
For we are the merry Starfleet
That seek out new worlds
We are the merry Starfleet
That necks with your girls
We are the merry Starfleet
All frequencies hail
King Boreas and the Vulcans
(via Making Light)
"The Spirit of Christmas," a video from UK animator Cyriak, is not really like anything I've ever seen. It's definitely not for the faint hearted or weak of stomach. Don't watch it if, for example, you have an aversion to prehensile, tentacle-like red noses.
The Spirit of Christmas
Zack Smith has done a deep roundup of the best in Christmas Specials, "with a number of links to unedited versions of lesser-known specials including an unedited MUPPET FAMILY CHRISTMAS with original commercials, a "Shalom Sesame" from Israel with a Hanukkah theme and a British airing of Raymond Briggs' THE SNOWMAN with a live-action intro by David Bowie as the grown-up version of the little boy in the story. The Star Wars special is not in here because, well...the world has suffered enough. Also wrote up a look at the many specials of Rankin-Bass, and how they do or don't tie into one another.
The Spirit of Christmas Specials, Conclusion: Beyond Charlie Brown and the Grinch!
The Vince Guaraldi Trio performing "My Little Drum," from the CBS children's holiday special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas."