Randy sez, "Maccabees and Menorahs is a one page RPG played with a dreidel and gelt. Designed to run over 8 short sessions, one for each night of Hanukkah." Read the rest
Brilliant Games Studios wanted to show off its new crowd rendering system, so they created 15,000 virtual characters -- 11,000 penguins and 4,000 Santas -- and loosed them on each other in an "epic battle" -- "Units now navigate complex terrain, Bodies now pile up, movement and avoidance improved and smoothed." (via JWZ) Read the rest
Lisa Hix of Collectors Weekly has just published a great interview with Sarah Archer, whose new book, Midcentury Christmas: Holiday Fads, Fancies, and Fun from 1945 to 1970, explains how companies like Alcoa Aluminum used Christmas to capitalize on the technologies it had developed for World War II.
Here's a snip:
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The company that produced the most aluminum for the war effort was Alcoa, but there were also some smaller companies, too, many of which were based in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, of all places, which was one of the big aluminum capitals of North America. Like a lot of mid-century Christmas items, including the acrylic rubber that coats Christmas lights cords, aluminum trees came from thinking about repurposing a material produced for the military. The aluminum strips that were used to make the trees were originally designed for something called chaff, which was sprinkled over enemy territories to scramble radar because the little pieces of metal would diffuse the signal.
Many 1950s aluminum tree producers used Alcoa branding. The exterior of the box would say, “We proudly use Alcoa aluminum.” You could put ornaments on these trees, but one of the challenges of decorating them was not getting electrocuted, which was mentioned prominently in the how-to pamphlet that came with the tree. Because it was not safe to put electric lights on the metal, the companies distributing the trees would sell a rotating lamp that would shine different-colored lights on the tree to bathe it in magenta or purple.
dj BC writes, "My best Christmas mashups from the past decade are collected for this year's Santastic (previously) holiday music sampler. You can also dig on the site for the full albums from past years, our 'Menorah Mashups' Chanukah collection, and my chill instrumental album of holiday classical remixes. It's all free." Read the rest
Prepare a turkey as usual, but add a prosciutto-wrapped pork loin with spaghetti teeth into the just-split chest cavity of the bird, garnished with dye-enhanced gravy and cranberry sauce -- YUM! Read the rest
Remember when Internet Person JWZ began to append sarcastic messages to the "This building monitored by CCTV" sign that appeared without warning in his lobby ("FEAR THE UNKNOWN - MONSTERS ARE REAL" "DON'T SUSPECT YOUR NEIGHBOR: REPORT HIM!" "DRONE STRIKES AUTHORIZED 7PM - 5AM")? Eventually he got bored of it, but he's brought it back this Xmas, in Christmas Bauble form. Read the rest
DJ BC wrote us with the news that he's not doing another Santastic Christmas mashup album this year, but: "While we have no NEW collection this year- we do have ten years of holiday mashups and remixes here for your enjoyment and free downloading. This should be more hours of fractured Xmash than any sane person can stand, from bootleggers worldwide." Read the rest
Last year's New York Public Library podcast featured this wonderful reading (MP3) of A Christmas Carol by Neil Gaiman, reading from the last surviving copy of Dickens own annotated "prompt" text, which Dickens himself used to read from. A perfect, perennial listen for the Christmas season. (via Tor.com) Read the rest
No one's sure how the story of suicides increasing during holiday season got started (some researchers think it may have come from It's a Wonderful Life!), but it's not true. Read the rest
In the same way that anything longer than it is wide can be a phallic symbol, Frank Wu demonstrates that all isosceles triangles are potential Star Destroyers.
Dan Ashwood writes, "I wrote and animated a new holy days carol to memorize and perform at neighbors and homeowners. Take a look!" Read the rest
Alisha writes, "Ever wonder what happens to the intel Santa Claus collects when deciding if you've been good or bad? Who has access to all your secrets? All that data? Santa has become too powerful, so a young elf decides to risk his life by leaking the Naughty List to the world. We made a holiday stop-motion film trailer parodying Citizenfour, but with an elf at the North Pole." Read the rest