Welcome to ...

The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Daily Drift

Don't let them fool you the fairytale is older still than what the Egyptians copied. And don't forget Mithras from Roman tradition - same story.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Cape Town, South Africa
Kangar, Malaysia
Paris, France
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Jakarta, Indonesia
Aquadilla, Puerto Rico
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Tbilisi, Georgia
Waterloo, Canada
Bangi, Malaysia
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Izmit, Turkey
Puchong, Malaysia
Centurion, South Africa
Yogyakarta, Indonesia
George Town, Malaysia
Phuket, Thailand
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Petaling, Jaya, Malaysia
Bangkok, Thailand
Sampaloc, Philippines
Klang, Malaysia
Bekasi, Indonesia
Lahore, Pakistan
Ampang, Malaysia
Doha, Qatar
Phom Penh, Cambodia
Bayan Lepas, Malaysia
Belgrade, Serbia
Dumaguete, Philippines
Alor Setar, Malaysia
San Jose, Costa Rica
Cainta, Philippines
Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Cairo, Egypt
Milan, Italy

Today is Xmas

We are posting a minimum number of posts over the next few days so that the editors and staff can celebrate the various holidays and festivals occurring right now.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

Xmas is a time of merrymaking and feasting. North American customs are a combination of those of the various European countries from which the original settlers came. On Xmas Eve children hang stockings for Santa Claus to fill with gifts. The Xmas tree, usually an evergreen, was first used in Germany. Topped with a star or spire and decorated with colored lights and shiny ornaments, the tree plays an important part in the celebration.
Mistletoe was sacred to the Druids, priests of ancient Britain and Gaul. The Norse used holly and the Yule log to keep away evil spirits. Gifts were exchanged during the Roman celebration of the Saturnalia, a feast to the god Saturn. Gift-giving came to symbolize the gifts Odin left in exchange for the oats left for Odin's horse as he rode the sky on mid-winter's night.
The most popular Xmas legend however, is that of Santa Claus, who is modeled after Odin.
376 In Milan, Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, forces the emperor Theodosius to perform public penance for his massacre.
800 The pope crowns Charlemagne emperor in Rome.
1066 William I is crowned king of England.
1621 The governor of New Plymouth prevents newcomers from playing cards.
1651 The General Court of Boston levies a five shilling fine on anyone caught "observing any such day as Xmas."
1776 Patriot General George Washington crosses the Delaware River with 5,400 troops during the American Revolution. Washington hoped to surprise a Hessian force celebrating Xmas at their winter quarters in Trenton, New Jersey.
1861 Stonewall Jackson spends Xmas with his wife; their last together.
1862 John Hunt Morgan and his raiders clash with Union forces near Bear Wallow, Kentucky.
1862 President and Mrs. Lincoln visit hospitals in the Washington D.C. area on this Xmas Day.
1912 Italy lands troops in Albania to protect its interests during a revolt there.
1914 German and British troops on the Western Front declare an unofficial truce to celebrate Xmas during World War I.
1918 A revolt erupts in Berlin.
1925 U.S. troops in Nicaragua disarm insurgents in support of the Diaz regime.
1927 The Mexican congress opens land to foreign investors, reversing the 1917 ban enacted to preserve the domestic economy.
1939 Finnish troops enter Soviet territory.
1941 Free French troops occupy the French Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon off the Canadian coast.
1944 Prime Minister Winston Churchill goes to Athens to seek an end to the Greek civil war.
1946 Chiang Kai-shek offers a new Chinese constitution in Nanking pledging universal suffrage.
1950 Scottish nationalists steal the Stone of Scone from the British coronation throne in Westminster Abbey. The 485 pound stone was recovered in April 1951.
1962 The Bay of Pigs captives, upon their return to the United States, vow to return to Cuba and topple Fidel Castro.
1965 Entertainer Chris Noel gives her first performance for the USO at two hospitals in California, she will eventually entertain in Vietnam.
1973 U.S. astronauts on-board the Skylab space station take a seven-hour walk in space and photograph the comet Kohoutek.
1976 Over 100 Muslims, returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, die when their boat sinks.
1979 Egypt begins major restoration of the Sphinx.
1991 Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union's first and last executive president, resigns. The Soviet Union no longer exists.
2006 James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul", dies at age 73.

Non Sequitur


Xmas Sky Show

vTuesday evening, after you've had Christmas dinner with the family, go outside set up the telescope if you have one. Jupiter and the moon are having a Christmas conjunction.
For anyone who gets a telescope for Christmas, the timing is perfect. Jupiter and the Moon are among the most satisfying targets for backyard optics. A quick sweep of the telescope from Jupiter to the Moon and back again will reveal Jupiter's storms and cloud belts, the Moon's mountains and impact craters, and of course the four Galilean satellites circling the giant planet like a miniature solar system.

Jupiter's trademark Great Red Spot will also be on display--and it is worth a look. Astronomers recently announced that the enormous swirling storm, twice as wide as the planet Earth, is "spinning up."

Actually, explains planetary scientist Glenn Orton of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, "the Red Spot is shrinking." He likens it to "the iconic picture of a figure skater pulling her arms in to spin faster. As the size contracts, the spin rate increases."  
Even if you don't have a telescope, you'll still be able to see Jupiter, although not the red spot. More

The Best Camera-trap Pictures of 2012

National Geographic posted a gallery of six animal self-portraits from all over the world. Pictured here is a common genet captured by camera trap in Yemen. They are all beautiful, but I don't understand why this one didn't make the cut. More

Cutest Baby Animal Photos of 2012

We're still here, so take a tour of the cutest baby animal photos of 2012. Read more pandas

A Baby Orangutan And Her Proud Mother

Proud simian mother Rosa is happy with all the attention her baby Sayang is getting at the Frankfurt Zoo, and she wants to let her cute little critter shine for all to see.
Sayang, on the other hand, is still a bit shy about all the oohs and aahs, and would rather curl up in her mother's arms than put on a show for the zoo's visitors.
Someday Sayang will ham it up, but for now she just needs a belly full of warm milk and a mother's embrace.

Oldest of zoo gorillas turns 56 in central Ohio

This photo provided by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium shows 56-year-old Colo posing for a photo as she celebrates her birthday, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio. Colo is the oldest gorilla in any zoo. She was born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in 1956. (AP Photo/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Grahm S. Jones)
The first gorilla born in a zoo is turning 56 and celebrating her birthday with some special treats at her central Ohio home.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums says the female western lowland gorilla named Colo is the oldest gorilla in any zoo. She was born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in 1956.
The zoo marked Colo's birthday Saturday with a cake specially prepared for her and other gifts, including her favorite food, tomatoes. The zoo included guests in the fun by having them sing "Happy Birthday."
Colo is a mother of three. Her family tree includes more than two dozen descendants living at zoos across the country.

Christmas Bird Count Underway

Christmas Bird Count UnderwayThe 113th annual Christmas Bird Count is now underway, with Audubon making it easier than ever for you, your family and friends to participate in this fun and rewarding holiday tradition. Read more

Animal Pictures