As you get off the elevator and head for the Conference Room wonderful smells greet your nose. Hot gingerbread competes with the scent of Peppermint tea and Adult Hot Chocolate.
Upon entering you see a much more relaxed and less harried Lethal in an apron armed with a spatula and cookie tray passing hot gingerbread men around to those in the patron seating smiling and joking with one and all. You notice that the seats in the open seating all have a candy cane on them. As soon as the seats are full Lethal places the cookie tray on the craft table and remove the apron. While mostly dressed in his pre college Green three piece suit with gold brocade vest he’s now sporting an interesting belt. The buckle seems to be a glass half dome containing a sprig of live mistletoe. As he climbs the stage to the podium you notice the same set up at the rear of his belt.
Good Morn ta ya and Nollaig Shona duit or Merry Christmas ta ya non Gaelic speakin’ heathens. A couple o’ housekeeping notes before we get started this morning.
1.) Would the person that ‘borrowed’ me Self Producing & Loading Auto-cannon Turret (aka S.P.L.A.T) please return it or provide its current location no questions asked? It’s actually part of an anti Grinch defense system we need to deploy to protect Santa’s secret warehouse stash her on the North American continent. I’m given to understand it was employed last weekend and apparently the detection system needs a bit o’ fine adjustment to distinguish between Dragons and Grinches.
Impish me apologies for the incident and me thanks for the quite mirthful test o’ the system.
2.) Before the question start about me choice in accessories let me just say the front is for amorous feelingly the holidays female readers and the back is for liberals who have an issue with me wishing folks “Merry Christmas. No you cannot borrow it and it is a one of a kind so no you cant buy one like it.
Ok, so much for the notices. Since I’m a wee tuckered out still from Finals and then celebrating Finals being over. So before Impish’s stock of Ginger Bread men and hot chocolate runs out I’m of for a quick 20 winks in me office.
Then I’m planning on sneaking out to do a wee bit o’ Christmas shopping for Molly. See we’re mostly debit card purchasing folk and while it does tend to make life easier, it also lets Molly see how much was spent where and when. This tends to make surprising her with gifts pretty hard. How ever this year I got paid under the table for a few things and got cash for the return of some of me text books. As a result I can shop off the radar for the first time in about 5 years
I’m off, I can here my brand new Executive Heat & Massage Office Chair calling me name. Enjoy and make merry….but only to excess!
Santa Is Real
Mary, Did You Know? – Pentatonix
The X in Xmas
There is an often expressed notion that “Xmas” is a relatively new non-religious name / spelling for “Christmas.” However, it turns out, this isn’t the case at all, at least not originally. The “X” originally indicated the Greek letter “Chi,” which is short for the Greek, meaning “Christ.” So “Xmas” and “Christmas” were equivalent in every way except their lettering.
So when did this substitution start?
Although writing guides today, such as those issued by the New York Times; the BBC; The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style; and Oxford Press, discourage the use of Xmas in formal writing, at one time, it was a very popular practice, particularly with religious scribes, who are thought to have started the whole “Xmas” thing in the first place. Indeed, there are documented instances of using the symbol “X” in place of Christ’s name amongst religious scholars going back about 1000 years.
Eventually, this shorthand trick spread to non-religious writings where nearly everywhere “Christ” appeared in a word, the Greek Chi would replace that part of the word. For example, in the 17th and 18th centuries, there are numerous non-religious documents containing instances of “Xine,” which was a common spelling for someone whose name was Christine.
- The “-mas” part on the end of Christmas and Xmas comes from the Old English word for “mass.”
- Other classic common abbreviations for “Christ” were: “Xp” and “Xt,” again both an abbreviated form of the Greek for Christ.
- The Greek letters “X” (Chi) and “p” (Rho) superimposed together was once a very common symbol signifying Christ and was called, somewhat unimaginatively, the Chi-Rho.
- The Chi-Rho was also used by scribes in a non-religious sense to mark some passage that was particularly good, with it literally implying “good.”
Carol of the Bells (for 12 cellos) – ThePianoGuys
Well that certainly raises ‘dashing though the snow’ to a whole new level!
12 facts about ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ in honor of the 50th anniversary
On Dec. 6, 1964, television audiences watched ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ for the first time. Fifty years later, the TV special continues to be a beloved holiday classic. Here are a few morsels you likely didn’t know about the popular Christmas special…
Rudolph measured a mere 4-inches high and Santa stood just 8-inches. And though he appears relatively large on screen, the Bumble figurine stood 14-inches tall.
The puppets were not meant to last forever. Despite their best efforts not to soil the puppets — only the animator and puppet maker were allowed to touch them in the studio, and they wore gloves when working on them — the figures were sprayed with magnetic flock to diffuse reflective light from the cameras. The spray contained acidity which contributed to the puppets’ deterioration over time.
The special took about 18 months and 22 room-size sets to complete. The TV special was created in Japan by MOM Production Studios, led by Tadahito “Tad” Mochinaga, a pioneer in Japanese stop-motion animation.
Animators spent two days observing deer to create Rudolph. Mochinaga, the chief animator, and his assistant Hiroshi Tabata spent two days at Nara National Park studying thousands of wild deer to observe the movement for their animation and to inspire their image of Rudolph and his setting.
Before Burl Ives was corralled to narrate, Larry Mann (the voice of Yukon Cornelius) performed the narration. Mann’s version has never been heard publicly, but those who have listened to the recordings say Mann put on a Brooklyn-like accent that was less than gentle on the ears.
More than 200 puppets were carved for the production of Rudolph. Ichiro Komuro, the puppet maker for the film, says that each character’s puppet was re-carved by hand for various movements and expressions, rather than using plaster and a mold, because it wouldn’t have been exact, “and the plaster head is very heavy for animation.”
All of the characters were built with joints. The addition of joints allowed any part of puppets’ bodies to be moved, including their eyes, ears and mouth.
Hermey, the elf who aspired to be a dentist, has left fans in question over his real name. In 1998, some merchandise marketed the elf with the name Herbie instead. Poor Hermey, he just can’t seem to catch a break.
It took 24 frames to create one second of filmed animation.
“Silver and Gold” was also originally sung by Yukon Cornelius. In a version never aired, Yukon Cornelius (Larry Mann) sings “Silver and Gold.” Before the song was reassigned to Burl Ives, it was recorded 28 times in Cornelius’ voice, including multiple takes that end with comic sobs.
For decades, fans have focused attention on the little doll on Misfit Island because there was nothing visibly wrong with her. Though some wondered if it was her lack of a real nose, Arthur Rankin has said that she was depressed because her owner didn’t want her anymore and she felt unlovable.
In the original special that aired in 1964, Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon Cornelius promise to return to visit Misfit Island, however, then never do so. This set fans into a angry frenzy and the studio responded to their bitter letters by changing the script. In 1965, the special included a short scene in which Santa and the reindeer deliver the Misfits to new homes. And all was right with the world.
The Top 5 Newest Residents of the Island of Misfit Toys
Remember when Rudolph visited the Island of Misfit Toys in that Rankin/Bass Christmas Special? If you’re not old like us, watch this YouTube video to learn what it’s all about.
It got us thinking: Some new toys must have moved to the Island by now.
5. Raggedy Ann Coulter and Raggedy Andy Dick
4. Where’s Waldo’s Pants?
3. Tonka Fracking Fun Toys
2. Disney’s “Frozen” Icy Uncle Walt Doll
And the Number One Newest Resident of the Island of Misfit Toys…
- Serious Putty
Eggnog Coffee Punch
“Fast and easy to make, this holiday drink decked with whipped topping and nutmeg mixes prepared eggnog with coffee ice cream and hot coffee.”
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 3 Minutes
Ready In: 13 Minutes
1 1/2 cups coffee ice cream
1 1/2 cups eggnog
1 cup hot strongly brewed coffee
4 tablespoons frozen whipped topping, thawed
4 pinches ground nutmeg
1. Scoop the ice cream into a pan over low heat. Stir in the eggnog and coffee; and heat until warm, about 3 minutes. Pour into four glass or ceramic mugs. Top each with 1 tablespoon whipped topping and sprinkle with nutmeg. Serve immediately.
Nope you’re absolutely right. This one is only delicious not deadly…that is until you add Bailey’s, Kailua, Irish Whiskey or Rum (or some combo thereof) to it!
Sparkling Charleston Cosmopolitan
Boost your spirits with a Sparkling Charleston Cosmopolitan. This peach, orange, and white cranberry “Southern” cosmopolitan is topped off with sparkling white wine.
Yield: Makes 1 serving
- Hands-on: 5 Minutes
- Total: 5 Minutes
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 3 tablespoons vodka
- 1 1/2 tablespoons peach nectar
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
- 1 tablespoon white cranberry juice
- 2 lemon wedges
- 2 tablespoons sparkling white wine
- Garnish: orange slice (optional)
Combine crushed ice, vodka, peach nectar, orange liqueur, and 1 white cranberry juice in a cocktail shaker. Squeeze juice from lemon wedges into shaker. Place wedges in shaker. Cover with lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds). Strain into a 6- to 8-oz. glass; discard lemon wedges and ice. Top with sparkling white wine. Garnish, if desired.
Rudolph’s Tipsy Spritzer
When you need a festive holiday cocktail, look no further than this easy spritzer made with orange juice, lemon-lime soft drink, cherry juice, and vodka. If you want a non-alcoholic beverage, just leave out the vodka and add more orange juice or soft drink.
Yield: Makes about 9 1/2 cups
- Prep time: 10 Minutes
- 5 cups orange juice
- 2 cups chilled lemon-lime soft drink
- 1 1/2 cups vodka
- 1/2 cup maraschino cherry juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- Garnishes: lemon slices, fresh rosemary sprigs
1. Stir together all ingredients; serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.
You can substitute Gin or White Rum for the Vodka.
I use my Rosemary sprigs to skewer a Maraschino cherry
“Do You Hear What I Hear” Mannheim Steamroller
The True True Story of Rudolph
About a dozen people have forwarded me a somewhat fantastical version of the origin of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer this year just as in years past. While I thank them for their well meaning intentions I know the smell of Reindeer droppings when I smell them. So here instead is the real true story of the origins of the popular Christmas story and song.
To most of us, the character of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, immortalized in song and a popular holiday television special, has always been an essential part of our Christmas folklore, but Rudolph is in fact a mid-twentieth century invention whose creation can be traced to a specific time and person.
However, the glurgified account of that event reproduced above, while essentially correct in its broad strokes, erroneously inverts a key aspect of the process: The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was not developed by a man who was seeking to bring comfort to his daughter as her mother lay dying of cancer and who subsequently sold his creation to a department store chain. Instead, the Rudolph character and story was developed for commercial purposes by a Montgomery Ward copywriter at the specific request of his employer, and that copywriter then tested the story out on his own daughter during the development process to ensure it would appeal to children.
Rudolph came to life in 1939 when the Chicago-based Montgomery Ward company asked one of their copywriters, 34-year-old Robert L. May, to come up with a Christmas story they could give away in booklet form to shoppers as a promotional gimmick — the Montgomery Ward stores had been buying and distributing coloring books to customers at Christmastime every year, and May’s department head saw creating a giveaway booklet of their own as a way to save money. Robert May, who had a penchant for writing children’s stories and limericks, was tapped to create the booklet.
May, drawing in part on the tale of The Ugly Duckling and his own background (he was often taunted as a child for being shy, small, and slight), settled on the idea of an underdog ostracized by the reindeer community because of his physical abnormality: a glowing red nose. Looking for an alliterative name, May considered and rejected Rollo (too cheerful and carefree a name for the story of a misfit) and Reginald (too British) before deciding on Rudolph. He then proceeded to write Rudolph’s story in verse as a series of rhyming couplets, testing it out on his 4-year-old daughter, Barbara, as he went along. Although Barbara was thrilled with Rudolph’s story, May’s boss was worried that a story featuring a red nose — an image associated with drinking and drunkards — was unsuitable for a Christmas tale. May responded by taking Denver Gillen, a friend from Montgomery Ward’s art department, to the Lincoln Park Zoo to sketch some deer. Gillen’s illustrations of a red-nosed reindeer overcame the hesitancy of May’s superiors, and the Rudolph story was approved. Montgomery Ward distributed 2.4 million copies of the Rudolph booklet in 1939, and although wartime paper shortages curtailed printing for the next several years, a total of 6 million copies had been distributed by the end of 1946.
The post-war demand for licensing the Rudolph character was tremendous, but since May had created the story on a “work made for hire” basis as an employee of Montgomery Ward, that company held the copyright to Rudolph, and May received no royalties for his creation. Deeply in debt from the medical bills resulting from his wife’s terminal illness (she died about the time May created Rudolph), May persuaded Montgomery Ward’s corporate president, Sewell Avery, to turn the copyright over to him in January 1947, and with the rights to his creation in hand, May’s financial security was assured. (Unlike Santa Claus and other familiar Christmas figures of the time, the Rudolph character was a protected trademark that required licensing and the payment of royalties for commercial use.)
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was reprinted commercially beginning in 1947 and shown in theaters as a nine-minute cartoon the following year, but the Rudolph phenomenon really took off when May’s brother-in-law, songwriter Johnny Marks, developed the lyrics and melody for a Rudolph song.
Marks’ musical version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (turned down by many in the music industry who didn’t want to meddle with the established Santa legend) was recorded by cowboy crooner Gene Autry in 1949, sold two million copies that year, and went on to become one of the best-selling songs of all time (second only to “White Christmas”). A stop-action television special about Rudolph produced by Rankin/Bass and narrated by Burl Ives was first aired in 1964 and remains a popular perennial holiday favorite in the U.S.
May quit his copywriting job in 1951 and spent seven years managing the Rudolph franchise his creation had spawned before returning to Montgomery Ward, where he worked until his retirement in 1971. May died in 1976, comfortable in the life his reindeer creation had provided for him.
The story of Rudolph is primarily known to us through the lyrics of Johnny Marks’ song (which provides only the barest outlines of Rudolph’s story) and the 1964 television special. The story Robert May wrote is substantially different from both of them in a number of ways.
Rudolph was neither one of Santa’s reindeer nor the offspring of one of Santa’s reindeer, and he did not live at the North Pole. Rudolph dwelled in an “ordinary” reindeer village elsewhere, and although he was taunted and laughed at for having a shiny red nose, he was not regarded by his parents as a shameful embarrassment; Rudolph was brought up in a loving household and was a responsible reindeer with a good self-image and sense of worth. Moreover, Rudolph also did not rise to fame when Santa picked him out from a reindeer herd because of his shiny nose; instead, Santa discovered the red-nosed reindeer quite by accident, when he noticed the glow emanating from Rudolph’s room while he was delivering presents to Rudolph’s house. Worried that the thickening fog that night (already the cause of several accidents and delays) would keep him from completing his Christmas Eve rounds, Santa tapped Rudolph to lead his team, which the young reindeer agreed to do, after first stopping to complete one last task: leaving behind a note for his mother and father.
As Ronald Lankford noted in his cultural history of American Christmas songs, Rudolph’s story was a classic reflection of American values during the 1940s and beyond:
Much like the modern Santa Claus song, Rudolph’s story is for children; more specifically, it is a children’s story about overcoming adversity and earning, by personal effort, respect in the adult world. As a young deer (child) with a handicap that turns out to be an unrecognized asset, Rudolph comes to the rescue of an adult (Santa) at the last minute (on Christmas Eve). When Rudolph saves the day, he gains respect from both his peers (the reindeer who refused to include him in games) and the adult world. The story of Rudolph, then, is the fantasy story made to order for American children: each child has the need to express and receive approval for his or her individuality and/or special qualities. Rudolph’s story embodies the American Dream for the child, written large because of the cultural significance of Christmas.
Grandma Got Molested At The Airport
The music from Today’s issue can be downloaded as MP3s here.
The songs are in a compressed file. You’ll need to be able to download it and decompress it your self using a program such as WinRar or 7Zip to access the MP3s.
DO NOT ASK FOR TECHNICAL SUPPORT HELP FROM US!
Those who do will get a decidedly naughty reply full of attitude from Marine Gunnery Sargent Grinch!
In addition I will remove the music downloads the next issue.