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Boing Boing Gift Guide 2013

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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Fireworks by PES

"Fireworks," a classic from 2009 by PES. Happy Independence Day!

Robo-Santa and his Meccano tree, 1960

From vintage ad enthusiast Paul Malon's superb Flickr stream, this 1960 holiday season cover from science fiction magazine Galaxy. He has another one with two aliens sneaking up on Christmas, and a stressed-out interstellar Santa.

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Santacon 2012: Why the nose, Santa?

SantaCon 2012, official "Why the Nose" edition, San Francisco. Music by Kevin MacLeod, video by Mark Day.

Tiny holiday scenes starring Star Wars advent calendar minifigures

wookie needs a tree. Photo: J5K.

Boing Boing reader J5K of Helsinki, Finland picked up a LEGO 2012 Star Wars Advent Calendar 9509, and has been setting up and photographing cute little holiday scenes with the minifigs. He shared some in the Boing Boing Flickr pool, and you can view them all here.

at-at walker, Star Wars Advent Calendar - Day 10. Photo: J5K.

Thanksgiving: time to revisit classic Sarah Palin turkey-death video

It's the most wonderful time of the year. A turkey classic: a 2008 news story on Anchorage TV news KTUU channel 2, in which then-governor Sarah Palin is interviewed at a turkey farm while turkeys are slaughtered behind her. (via Greg Mitchell)

BB Readers' DIY Costumes: Fish-Man from Ugly Americans

In our Epic Halloween DIY Costume thread, Boing Boing reader Sarah Pérez shares these images and says,

This year I have become Fish-Man! The idea was inspired by the fish-man character, Toby, in the show Ugly Americans. I think the idea of a fish wearing pants is pretty hilarious, and luckily the costume turned out to be as funny as I hoped it would. I've already worn it out on the bus and train home from work and it made quite a few smiles all around :)

The head is chicken wire, screen door mesh, paper mache, foam and fabric. I also had to special order some very large pants which I velcroed to the fish head. Oh, and the eyes light up too-- they're those battery-operated closet push-lights ;)

I'll be walking in the 16th Annual Halloween on Halsted Parade this Wednesday in Chicago at 7pm CST. Hope to see you Chicago readers there-- Happy Halloween!

Her video of fish-man in action below.

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BB Readers' DIY Costumes: Marshall Lee + Fionna from Adventure Time

In our Epic Halloween DIY Costume thread, Boing Boing reader slippy0 shares these snapshots and says, "Mine really isn't that fancy, but the stars aligned and gave me a week of time to work on props. I was Marshall Lee from Adventure Time, and decided to make his axe-bass instead of just painting a 2D cutout. The results aren't amazing, but they're more than I planned to do, and very DIY. I went with my friend who was Fionna. We got a lot of compliments. :) "

BB Readers' DIY Costumes: Living Roy Lichtenstein painting, by Gina Menduni

BB reader Gina Menduni made this genius Roy Lichtenstein costume for Halloween 2012. We are gobsmacked, Gina! Thanks for sharing it in the epic DIY Halloween costume thread!

Open thread: your DIY Hallowe'en costumes?

Each year here at Boing Boing, we invite you, dear readers, to share your plans for fun home-made costumes. So what’s it gonna be? Frankenstorm Sandy? A Mars Rover? Honey Boo Boo? Do tell, in the comments.

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Woodring iPhone case

Wht woodring


Twig Case Co. in Minnesota makes nice iPhone cases out of paper and bamboo, including this beautiful Jim Woodring model, called "Frank in the Tempest."

The founder of Twig Case, Jon Lucca, is an illustrator, too, and I really like his art on "The Bunker" bamboo case. I saw a little easter egg in it that made me smile! (Click thumbnail for enlargement.)Bam bunker

(UPDATE: use the code 'boingboing' and get 20% off anything until the end of the month.)

Radiolab marathon all day today

Minnesota Public Radio is playing a marathon of the NPR show Radiolab all day today. Hours of good, science-filled, story telling wonderfulness. Right now, at 12:32 central, they're doing a show about epidemiologists tracing the origin of AIDS back to the 1920s. Definitely worth listening to. You can listen to the entire marathon on MPR's live stream from anywhere in the world.

Hi-rez scans of Easter candy wrappers through the ages


The Flickr stream of Jason Liebig -- previously featured for his sticker and packaging photos -- is a good place to go for some bloated, semi-sickened post-Easter-sweets perusal. His "Easter"-tagged candy wrappers include groovy 1960s Life Savers holiday packaging, 1970s Fuzzy Bunny packaging, and an extraordinary 1978 Rodda Candy Company ad (pictured here). All of them are available at very high rez (the one pictured here can be had at 4962 px wide!). I love Liebig's feed of odd candy packaging and ephemera, and was moved by his "collector heartbreak" story about the troubles of shipping rare old paper through the US mail.

JasonLiebig's photostream / Tags / easter

HOWTO make zombie chocolate bunnies and undead eggs for Easter

At the Criminal Crafts blog, a fun tutorial on "pairing zombies with a fuzzy pastel holiday," through delicious zombie bunny rabbits and haunted eggs. There's a photo gallery here.

(via Boing Boing Flickr Pool)

Stormtrooper Easter egg


Nicola sez, "I made this for my husband last weekend and he mentioned in passing that he thought I should send it in to you. I created it using a CraftRobo Pro cutter/ plotter, a stencil I made in illustrator and some sticky backed plastic and then painted over it with matt acrylic paint. Tidying up any areas that went wrong with a scalpel (you can etch slightly into the egg if need be). He loves it. I think I'll have to make him a new one each year until he has an army!"

My husband is a huge Star Wars fan. The last time... | next to nicx (Thanks, Nicola!)

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Bizarre V-day cards of yesteryear


Further to Mark's bizarre old Valentines post from yesterday: Flickr user Page of Bats has assembled a marvellous and often inexplicable collection of tasteless, gross and weird vintage V-day cards. I can't figure out of some of these were from the likes of MAD magazine, or if they were all created in earnest by clueless card companies.

pageofbats' photostream / Tags / vintagevalentine (via How to Be a Retronaut)

How To: Close up your turkey

Some holiday advice from the journal Veterinary Record. What's the best method to use for sewing up a turkey after you've stuffed it? Turns out, surgical staples might be your best option. (Actually, this is a trick question: The correct choice is to cook the stuffing separately and break the bird down so you can properly heat the dark meat through without turning the breasts into sad, dry lumps. But I digress.)

Custom Newtonmas ornament

Reader synapselapse had this made for his family's tree. He says:

This came from an episode of Big Bang theory. They observed that Dec 25th isn’t actually Jesus’ birthday, he was most likely born some time in Sept, but it is Sir Isaac Newton’s Birthday. So it makes more sense to put him on the tree!

My wife thought this was awesome since we’re trying to establish Christmas traditions that are dictated by our lives, not our parents lives.

I approached a friend of mine who’s a very talented artist about the project. He liked the idea and agreed to take it on. The tough part was getting it to look nice without being unnecessarily flippant. It’s a wire armature covered in Sculpy, then painted white with a finishing layer of varnish.

CC-licensed, Dickens-based, Pastifarian Christmas Carol kids' special

Robbo sez,

Puppets, songs, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Charles Dickens - all that and more are in our internet video holiday special: "Ruffus The Dog's Christmas Carol". Not just for kids, it's an unusual half-hour take on Dickens's classic - released under a Creative Commons License. Funded partly through IndieGoGo and a lot of sweat equity from the performers (total budget just a little over $5,000) we shot this thing in 4 days in my living room. All the puppet characters were shot against green screen and then combined with CG virtual sets and a pantload of special effects.

The music and songs were composed by JP Houston (Big Comfy Couch). We released this online yesterday, right after we had a screening at the old Revue Cinema in Toronto with box office proceeds going to the Toronto Public Library Foundation. Free to watch. Free to download. Free to share.

Ruffus The Dog's Christmas Carol

Vader Christmas Choir Flash Mob

Video Link. More about the making of at the Official Star Wars Blog.

HOWTO make a Star Wars snowflake


Matters of Grey created some beautiful, downloadable designs for cutting out Star Wars-themed snowflakes, and Anthony Herrera extended the collection, adding several designs, including a smashing Admiral Ackbar.

Star Wars Snowflakes (via Neatorama)

SantaCon 2011: Naked Santas World Record


[video link]

Funny man and filmmaker Mark Day shares his videos embedded above and below, and explains:

Tex Allen of WhyTheNose.com reminds revellers that it's not illegal to be nude in San Francisco (lewd is, of course, another matter), during an apparently legitimate Guinness World Record attempt to assemble the most naked Santas in one place, at Washington Square Park in San Francisco during SantaCon 29011. No word on when the record is actually ratified.

Of course, several hundred suit-optional Santas opted to keep their clothes on.


[video link]

Science Christmas tree ornaments

Check out this great series of laser-cut wood Christmas tree ornaments, decorated with the pictures of science heroes. That's Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female physician in the United States. You can also get Mary Leakey, Carl Linneaus, Rosalind Franklin, Charles Darwin, and more!

Thanks for Submitterating, pambamboo!

Fish House parade

The Aitkin, Minnesota, Fish House Parade is a post-Thanksgiving tradition. People dress up their snowmobiles, Sno-Cats, and fish houses—portable cabins used for ice fishing—in silly costumes and roll them down Aitkin's Main Street to cheering throngs. It's meant to mark the kick-off of the ice fishing season on Mille Lacs, a particularly large lake in north-central Minnesota. This year, however, the arrival of Thanksgiving has not really coincided with the arrival of thick snow and solid lake ice. It'll be a while yet before any of the fish houses are being used for fishing.

One other oddity brought on by the relatively warm November: If you browse through the photos taken by Minnesota Public Radio's Bob Collins, you'll see that many of fish house floats are towed by snowmobile. But, lacking much snow, the snowmobiles all have little, temporary front wheels attached.

The Gun Snuggler: from parody video to actual holiday gift

The Gun Snuggler. "Because happiness is a warm gun." Comes in sizes to fit everything from handguns to assault rifles! This began as a funny internet joke, but so many people took it seriously that it is now being offered as an actual thing that you can really buy for real. (Thanks, Marque Cornblatt!)

I am thankful for Minneapolis

There's a great write-up on Good about my city and my mayor, R.T. Rybak. Minneapolis isn't a perfect city, by any means. But it remains the best place I have ever had the privilege of living. And I think a huge part of that is the unofficial city motto that Good highlights here: "Minneapolis: We Build Stuff and Take Care of Things."

Science tricks to impress/distract your family

This morning, NPR brought on Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, of the depressingly small House Civility Caucus, to offer advice on how to defuse the now-traditional Thanksgiving political spat. As you might suspect, given the Civility Caucus' record of success, this was not the world's most helpful interview.

Probably the best bit of advice Congresswoman Capito had was to offer up a distraction when things get too tense. "It may be the perfect time to bring in dessert, she says, or to announce that someone should take the family dog out for a walk."

I've got a better suggestion. Every year, Richard Wiseman releases a set of easy-to-do and highly impressive science stunts that you can perform using things you probably already have around the house.

My suggestion: Combine Capito's awkward segue with Wiseman's awesome tricks. Not only will you actually get your family focused on a new topic, they might even be delighted enough that they decide to ignore the fact that you just passive-aggressived them out of a heated debate. Happy holidays!

A very Twinkie Thanksgiving

This is what a turkey looks like after it has been stuffed with cubed, toasted Twinkie cake and glazed with a mixture of Twinkie filling and honey. Chow's Joyce Slayton did this, following a recipe in a 2006 Twinkie cookbook. She describes the smell as "like a turkey being roasted in a cupcake-scented Yankee Candle." *shudder*

A recipe for sweet potato biscuits

These look amazing. And you can make them with marshmallows, if you are so inclined. Happy Thanksgiving! (Thank you, Rebecca Berkey)