As a rule, the only Christmas music I can stand is Vince Guaraldi's "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Now though, I can punctuate those exceedingly joyful jazz tunes with my friend Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs doing his hauntingly beautiful take on "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."
“I saw Meet Me In St. Louis as a child and this song just stayed with me forever,” Greg said. “It has a spectral quality that I always wanted to exaggerate.”
photo by Sam Holden Read the rest
In the early 20th century, Arthur Earland and Edward Heron-Allen volunteered at what's now called the Natural History Museum, London (NHM). The two men spent their time researching fossils of single-celled organisms with shells, called Foraminifera, cataloging the various species, and creating microscope slides of the specimens. But each year when Christmas came around, they transformed their unique interest and skill into a fantastically fun gift exchange. From Smithsonian:
These Christmas-themed slides, which the two exchanged over their years of collaboration, had personalized greetings spelled out with microfossils (a term for fossils measuring under 1mm in size) that would be visible under a microscope. One from 1912 has Earland’s initials (“AE”), “XMAS,” and the year in an arrangement that measures about 1cm across.
Several examples of their Christmas slides are now in the collections of NHM. The 1912 slide is a part of the museum’s touring exhibition Treasures of the Natural World alongside birds studied by Charles Darwin and an Iguanodon bone described by Richard Owen. More humble than these illustrious objects, the slide is still an incredible work of art and science, with each small fossilized shell carefully selected and delicately attached to the slide using a fine paint brush and Tragacanth gum...
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This is my new favorite holiday video, forever. Read the rest
The Satanic Temple of Chicago has installed a stately and elegant statue at the Illinois Capitol between the Christmas tree and Hanukkah menorah. Predictably, some people are pissed. Approximately 4.5 feet tall, the statue features a snake around an arm with the hand clutching an apple. The pedestal is emblazoned with the statement "Knowledge is the greatest gift." From CNN
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"We feel it's a First Amendment issue, we have other displays there -- a Hanukkah menorah and Nativity scene," (Secretary of State's office spokesperson Dave) Drucker said. "If you have displays of one type you need to be consistent and allow everyone to do so, aside from hate speeches and other unacceptable things."
The Satanic Temple says that its members are atheists who are often interested in community activism, according to the group's website.
"We do not promote a belief in a personal Satan," the website says. "To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions."
The group says it embraces the "struggle for justice" and believes people should "strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures," according to its website.
Editor's note: We love this one-stop spreadsheet of women-led businesses created by Krystal Plomatos, and encourage you to share it with friends and family. Give women your money, this holiday season and beyond.
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Put some floating disembodied heads on your gift wrap this year with Gift Wrap My Face. They will make you wrapping paper custom made with your face on it... or someone else's.
Here's what Abraham Lincoln looks like on some Christmas paper:
And here's what I look like on one of their Thanksgiving designs:
Maybe I should have centered my photo better in their template but you get the idea.
There are a lot of background designs to choose from and prices start at $9.95.
(The Awesomer) Read the rest
It's Columbus Day: a holiday slapped together to celebrate a raping, murdering, plunder-horny opportunist that's been dead for hundreds of years. Columbus, Ohio? It was named after the gold loving bastard. Despite this, for the first time since the city's founding in 1812, Columbus Day won't be celebrated there. Instead, the city's government has opted to throw the days off that are typically allotted to the holiday at something far more important: honoring the United States' veterans.
From AP News:
Ohio’s capital city, population 860,000, will be open for business Monday after observing Columbus Day probably “for as long as it had been in existence,” said Robin Davis, a spokeswoman for Democratic Mayor Andrew Ginther. City offices will close instead on Veterans Day, which falls on Nov. 12 this year.
“We have a number of veterans who work for the city, and there are so many here in Columbus,” Davis said. “We thought it was important to honor them with that day off.” And, she said, the city doesn’t have the budget to give its 8,500 employees both days off, she said.
The way that city of Columbus gave the shaft to Columbus Day is absolutely genius. According to the AP, instead of having a public vote over whether or not the city should abolish the observation of the holiday--something that has, in other locales, drawn protests, and a whack of political moaning--they opted to announce, late last week, that they were shifting the city's stock of holiday hours from the contentious holiday to be used on Veteran's Day in November. Read the rest
Somewhere in New Zealand, a seven-year-old boy had an idea to celebrate the spirit of the wolf. His mom shared it on Facebook. And over the course of just a few days, thousands of people, many desperate for something happy after a miserable week, joined the call to celebration.
This is Wolfenoot.
A holiday where we get presents and feast on roasted meat and cake for being kind to dogs?
I first heard of Wolfenoot when a friend shared author Jax Goss's Facebook post, and joined the enthusiastic chorus of people planning their Woolfenoot feasts. I reached out to Jax through Twitter to ask how her son created Wolfenoot.
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There's not a huge amount of background really. I have a very imaginative child who is always coming up with stuff like this. I've been posting the crazy awesome and weird things he says for as long as he's been saying things. ;) This one just exploded.
I'm not sure where he got this from, to be honest. When I asked him, he said "from my brain". Hehe. Very helpful that. ;) But I am a writer, editor and publisher. I am also a folklore nerd, so he has grown up in a house with a lot of books and stories and fairytales. I have a masters in children's literature, so there are stacks of books in our house. He reads avidly - well above his age level. I think maybe just growing up among all that story has kinda seeped into his brain.
What do you call someone who derives pleasure from the bread of affliction?
Why do we have a Haggadah at Passover?
So we can Seder right words.
Share your own in the comments! Happy Passover!
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Intrepid vernacular photography collector Robert E. Jackson curated a delightful selection of creepy, fun, and funny vintage photos of the Easter Bunny. More at Flashbak.
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If you want to express a uniquely compelling mix of superficial happiness and deep melancholy, there is nowhere better to go than Manchester, England. "Hide the Pain" Harold (AKA Hungarian model András Arató), internet-famous as the star of the meme by that name, seemed to have a nice time traipsing around the city, enjoying its legendary footballing culture: "I think the red side needs some help to hide the pain."
Also, wait, is that square video? Hell for every orientation. Read the rest
During the holidays, cases of cheap American lager were available to Canadians which isn't exactly news but these weren't ordinary cases. Read the rest
My friend Gina Borys has released a delightful, old fashioned Christmas song on iTunes, called "I Caught a Snowflake." We've added to our holiday music playlist.
Here's a snippet: Read the rest
Here's this year's complete Boing Boing Gift Guide: dozens of great ideas for stocking stuffers, brain-hammers, mind-expanders, terrible toys, badass books and more. Where available, we use Amazon Affiliate links to help keep the world's greatest neurozine online.
Italian police shut down a club that established a "fascist beach" near Venice sporting various totalitarian-themed elements, such as portraits of Mussolini, "anti-democracy" slogans, and a charmingly humorous warning not to go in the gas chambers. Conservatives, outraged at the lack of free speech, have called for the beach to be reopened and for democracy to be destroyed.
The Mussolini theme was clear from the entrance to the privately run Punta Canna resort, where the sign read "Rules: Order, cleanliness and discipline."
As well as fascist slogans, the beach at Chioggia, a short distance south of Venice, broadcast regular messages over speakers from its manager, Gianni Scarpa, a 64 year-old clad in a black bandana.
Before police raided the beach he told La Repubblica newspaper (in Italian) that he was "delighted to have an exemplary clientele", and that he hated filthy people and democracy.
I'm certain "fascist beach" was the setting of at least a dozen Benny Hill skits. Read the rest
Around Christmas, many KFC restaurants in Japan see 10 times their average daily sales. Customers order their KFC special Christmas dinner weeks in advance or wait in line for hours to score a Kentucky Christmas dinner package including chicken, side dishes, cake, and even wine. WTF??! Marketing, that's what. From the BBC:
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According to KFC Japan spokeswoman Motoichi Nakatani, it started thanks to Takeshi Okawara, the manager of the first KFC in the country. Shortly after it opened in 1970, Okawara woke up at midnight and jotted down an idea that came to him in a dream: a “party barrel” to be sold on Christmas.
Okawara dreamed up the idea after overhearing a couple of foreigners in his store talk about how they missed having turkey for Christmas, according to Nakatani. Okawara hoped a Christmas dinner of fried chicken could be a fine substitute, and so he began marketing his Party Barrel as a way to celebrate the holiday.
In 1974, KFC took the marketing plan national, calling it Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii, or Kentucky for Christmas. It took off quickly, and so did the Harvard-educated Okawara, who climbed through the company ranks and served as president and CEO of Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan from 1984 to 2002.
The Party Barrel for Christmas became almost immediately a national phenomenon, says Joonas Rokka, associate professor of marketing at Emlyon Business School in France. He has studied the KFC Christmas in Japan as a model promotions campaign.
“It filled a void,” Rokka says.
My friends in Reboot and Partners In Crime opened a fantastically cool Reboot Hanukkah Pop-Up Shop on Union Street in San Francisco (and online too)! The physical shop is only open this weekend and there are terrific events for the whole family including a lunch concert today by blues guitarist Luther Dickinson, a reading/signing tomorrow afternoon by the inimitable Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) and Lisa Brown, Lego Menorah Making, and a Sunday evening screening of Tiffany Shlain and Julie Hermelin's new film 50/50!
Reboot Hanukkah Pop-Up Shop Read the rest