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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.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Daily Drift

The Twenty-Fifth of our trees of December ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   
It's Xmas, folks ... !
Today is  -  Xmas

Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Beunos Aires, Argentina
Brasilia, Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil
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Prague, Czech Republic
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The Pacific
Homebush, Sydney and Woolloongabba, Australia
Makati, Philippines

Today in History

 800   Charlemagne crowned 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 Christmas at their winter quarters in Trenton, New Jersey.
1861   Stonewall Jackson spends Xtmas 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; became a star on Armed Forces Radio and Television, entertaining troops in Vietnam; in 1984 Veterans Network honored her with a Distinguished Vietnam Veteran award.  
1973   U.S. astronauts onboard 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.

Xmas Morning

Before the kids get up.
And no, you don't want to see the 'after' photo

Santa Claus Rescues Man From Burning Home

Watch Santa Claus Rescue Man From Burning HomeAn Australian firefighter was dressed up as Santa Claus when he responded to a burning home and rescued a young man who was unconscious and trapped inside.
Nick Carey and fellow firefighters were passing out candy on their annual Xmas drive in New South Whales on Saturday when they smelled smoke, The Associated Press reported. Carey, still in his St. Nick costume, jumped to action and rushed to resuscitate the man before an ambulance arrived.
The victim was taken to a hospital and is recovering in stable condition today.
Johnson told the Associated Press the young man is lucky the firefighters, from the Telarah station, just happened to be in the neighborhood.

In a Quandary Over What to Buy Secret Santa Recipient

Redditor anti_climax is in a delicate position in the Secret Santa exchange held at his workplace. What to get that person whom he doesn't know beyond the exchange of vague office pleasantries? Sure, the recipient is required to fill out a form giving hints as to what they might like, but how could it be possible to zero in on what they wish to receive by knowing their favorite color, scent, treat, etcetera? Woe is anti_climax in this game of chance.

Daily Comic Relief

Elf found passed out in car faces drunk driving charges

A man dressed as one of Santa's little helpers found himself in trouble early on Friday morning when police in Riverdale, New Jersey, allegedly discovered him drunkenly passed out in a car.
At around 3:30am, Sgt. Pat Harden was dispatched to the parking lot a Target store after receiving a report of a suspicious vehicle, Lt. James Macintosh said. Harden located the car, a Toyota van, parked by the store's loading dock with its engine running, lights on and music blaring, the lieutenant said.
The driver, Brian Chellis, 23, of Cedar Grove, was asleep behind the wheel, wearing an elf costume, Macintosh said. After shutting off the car's engine and waking Chellis, the sergeant detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, the lieutenant said. Harden further observed that Chellis seemed confused over his whereabouts and had an open can of beer inside of the car.
Following a series of field sobriety tests, Chellis was transported to police headquarters for a breath test, the lieutenant said. Police issued him summonses for driving while intoxicated, careless driving and possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Chellis was released to a family member pending a Jan. 6 municipal court appearance, Mactintosh said.

Police seek thief who stole leg lamp from store's 'A Christmas Story' display

A leg lamp thief is on the loose in North Tonawanda, New York.

The owner of Yankee Spirits liquor store, Gary Brennan, is asking for help identifying the thief who stole a key piece of the store’s Christmas display.
Every year, he puts up a Christmas display in the front window with a items from “A Christmas Story”, including several versions of the leg lamp featured in the 1983 film.

In surveillance video, a man in a grey sweatshirt and sunglasses is seen walking in and grabbing a leg lamp from the display before running out. Brennan says even his customers are mad about the theft. Police are investigating.

Xmas House Decorations

Residents feel terrorized by neighbor's year-round hostile holiday display

Homeowners on Fairley Road in Ross Township, Pennsylvania, say their neighbor Bill Ansell is terrorizing them year-round with his hostile anti-Xmas spirit. Ansell, an electrician, has a display on his yard that features a beheaded choir, a hanging Mickey Mouse and a urinating Santa Claus that lights up at night. Neighbors Chris and Joanne Hebda said they have had to stare at the unpleasant decorations for the past six years. Fairley Road is a unique cul-de-sac; a circular street with Ansell's house right in the middle, surrounded by six other homes. That makes it hard to avoid his handiwork.
“There was a Virgin Mary here, and he placed a knife through her head, right there on the edge of our driveway,” Joanne Hebda said. “I thought it was a terroristic threat.” To make matters worse, his neighbors say, Ansell also tacked up profane signs all over his house attacking the township and neighbors personally. Years ago, Ansell's home was known for its lustrous lights and dazzling display that attracted many onlookers. But one Thanksgiving, Ansell's neighbor Pamela Heck was so blinded by the lights that she asked him to turn them off while her family had dinner. “It was very unpleasant between us after that,” Heck says From that minor dispute grew a war, according to neighbors. At night, they say he blasts floodlights into their windows. They all feel trapped. Friends and family won't visit them, and worst of all, they can't sell their homes.
Two years ago, Ansell told a local TV station: “I used to have a beautiful Xmas display, they hated it. This is my display now. I don't think it's against the law to exercise your right to have your own display.” The Fairley Road homeowners say they are at their wits end. They have repeatedly called police and complained to the township Board of Commissioners, but so far say they have seen little done. Ross Township has fined Ansell for local code violations, and in a statement the Ross Township said they have "taken and will continue to take appropriate legal action." “The Township has taken and will continue to take appropriate legal action,” said Grant Montgomery, president of the Ross Board of Commissioners. In August 2014, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, upheld a court order requiring Bill Ansell to clean up his yard and take down the vulgar signs.

To date, Ansell has not complied and township officials won’t say if and how it will enforce the order. The Hebdas said they have repeatedly complained to the township Board of Commissioners, but so far haven't seen anything done. The lack of action is what frustrates the neighbors most. For years, Ross Township has done nothing more than fine Ansell for the debris and signs on his property. But, he has not paid any of those citations. There is currently a 6-month-old court order demanding that he clean up his yard, which he has also ignored. The local government won't say how it will specifically enforce the rules, and the Hebdas aren't waiting around to find out and will be renting their home out for much less than it should be. “It's a move for, you know, for our lives ... to have normalcy again,” Joanne Hebda said. “I had to cash in my retirement. There's no hope here in some ways, and there's no one to help us,” says Chris Hebda.

Why American jews Eat Chinese Food on Xmas

by Adam Chandler
If there’s a single identifiable moment when jewish Xmas—the annual American tradition where Jews overindulge on Chinese food on December 25—transitioned from kitsch into codified custom, it was during Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s 2010 confirmation hearing.
During an otherwise tense series of exchanges, Senator Lindsey Graham paused to ask Kagan where she had spent the previous Xmas. To great laughter, she replied:  “You know, like all jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.”
Never willing to let a moment pass without remark, Senator Chuck Schumer jumped in to explain, “If I might, no other restaurants are open.”
And so goes the story of jewish Xmas in a tiny capsule. For many jewish Americans, the night before Xmas conjures up visions, not of sugar plums, but plum sauce slathered over roast duck or an overstocked plate of beef lo mein, a platter of General Tso’s, and (maybe) some hot and sour soup.
But Schumer’s declaration that jews and Chinese food are as much a match of necessity as sweet and sour are, is only half the wonton. The circumstances that birthed jewish Xmas are also deeply historical, sociological, and religious.
The story begins during the halcyon days of the Lower East Side where, as Jennifer 8. Lee, the producer of The Search for General Tso, said, “jews and Chinese were the two largest non-christian immigrant groups” at the turn of the century.
So while it’s true that Chinese restaurants were notably open on Sundays and during holidays when other restaurants would be closed, the two groups were linked not only by proximity, but by otherness. the jewish affinity for Chinese food “reveals a lot about immigration history and what it’s like to be outsiders,” she explained.
Estimates of the surging jewish population of New York City run from 400,000 in 1899 to about a million by 1910 (or roughly a quarter of the city’s population). And, as some jews began to assimilate into American life, they not only found acceptance at Chinese restaurants, but also easy passage into the world beyond Kosher food.
“Chinese restaurants were the easiest place to trick yourself into thinking you were eating Kosher food,” Ed Schonfeld, the owner of RedFarm, one of the most laureled Chinese restaurants in New York, said. Indeed, it was something of a perfect match. jewish law famously prohibits the mixing of milk and meat just as Chinese food traditionally excludes dairy from its dishes. Lee added:
If you look at the two other main ethnic cuisines in America, which are Italian and Mexican, both of those combine milk and meat to a significant extent. Chinese food allowed jews to eat foreign cuisines in a safe way.
And so, for jews, the chop suey palaces and dumpling parlors of the Lower East Side and Chinatown gave the illusion of religious accordance, even if there was still treif galore in the form of pork and shellfish. Nevertheless, it’s more than a curiosity that a narrow culinary phenomenon that started over a century ago managed to grow into a national ritual that is both specifically American and characteristically jewish.
“Clearly this whole thing with Chinese food and Jewish people has evolved,” Schoenfeld said. “There’s no question. Xmas was always a good day for Chinese restaurants, but in recent years, it’s become the ultimate day of business.”
But there’s more to it than that. Ask a food purist about American Chinese food and you’ll get a pu-pu platter of hostile rhetoric about its inauthenticity. Driving the point home, earlier this week, CBS reported on two Americans who opened a restaurant in Shanghai that features American-style Chinese dishes like orange chicken, pork egg rolls, and, yes, the beloved General Tso’s, all of which don’t exist in traditional Chinese cuisine. The restaurant gets it name from another singular upshot of Chinese-American fusion: Fortune Cookie.
Schoenfeld, whose restaurant features an egg roll made with pastrami from Katz’s Deli, shrugs off the idea that Americanized Chinese food is somehow an affront to cultural virtue. “Adaptation has been a signature part of the Chinese food experience,” he said. “If you went to Italy, you’d see a Chinese restaurant trying to make an Italian customer happy.”
"I would argue that Chinese food is the ethnic cuisine of American jews."
That particular mutability has a meaningful link to the jewish experience, the rituals of which were largely forged in exile. During the First and Second Temple eras, jewish practice centered around temple life in Jerusalem. Featuring a monarchy and a high priesthood, it bears little resemblance to jewish life of today with its rabbis and synagogues.
So could it be that Chinese food is a manifestation of jewish life in America? Lee seems to think so. “I would argue that Chinese food is the ethnic cuisine of American jews. That, in fact, they identify with it more than they do gefilte fish or all kinds of the Eastern Europe dishes of yore.”
Over the centuries, different religious customs have sprung up and new spiritual rituals have taken root, many of which draw on the past. S, jewish Xmas, in many ways, could very much be seen as a modern affirmation of faith. After all, there are few days that remind American jews of their jewishness more than Xmas in the United States.

An Andy Capp Xmas


How to Make a Bacon Xmas Tree

These days, people typically chop down evergreen trees to serve as their family Christmas trees. This is a modern convenience that is a substitute for the original practice: cooking and assembling a bacon tree. Amy of the food blog Oh, Bite It! shows us how to follow the old ways and make the classic decoration/breakfast.
You'll need 3-4 pounds of bacon. Cut the strips in half, then bake them in muffin pans. Pile them into the shape of a tree, using vanilla or maple cake frosting as an adhesive. Add a bit of decorative flair, such as sprinkles or (my suggestion) even more frosting.

Launching Xmas Trees With a Slingshot

Joerg Sprave of the Slingshot Channel has done some weird stuff, but this takes the fruitcake. Here he demonstrates “the Santa Slayer,” a slingshot designed to fling Christmas trees at (presumably) any airborne sleighs drawn by reindeer. Sprave dances for us, too. 

Cyber Xmas

Scientology Xmas Gifts

The Scientology Xmas catalog is pretty much what you'd expect, if you're familiar with the cult: enormously expensive (as in, "mortgage your house and embezzle from your employer") sets of books and DVDs/CDs, as well as crude, tarted up skin galvanometers ("e-meters") that are the holy relics of the faith.
Price: $5,000
Copy: "Your guarantee of total freedom … With this meter, your auditing will never be the same again. Your preclears will make spectacular progress up the Bridge. The Mark Ultra VIII meter's unequaled precision, clarity, and ease of operation are here for you … with accuracy guaranteed for eternity."
Drew Says: I like that this product is supposedly guaranteed for eternity, because a) that is obviously not possible, and b) I bet if your shit breaks, and you take it to your designated Sea Org admiral, he'll make you buy six more. For $5,000, this piece of shit oughta make you a decent cappuccino, operate your home thermostat remotely, and finely dice vegetables. But instead, all you get is a lie detector that doesn't work. It doesn't even have WiFi. Now how am I supposed to upload all of Cousin Jenny's thought crimes to the cloud? WHAT A RIP.
Please note that the Mark Ultra VIII comes with free electrodes! "Our gift to you," the copy says. Why, you'd practically be losing money if you didn't buy the thing now. These electrodes look like anal-probing suppositories, but you actually hold them in your hand while the church's local hired goon audits you. I assume the fancier e-meters come with free nipple clamps.

Ten Oddball Movies Starring Santa Claus

Santa is huggable and lovable, and one heck of a nice guy, but these ten films show a different side of Santa, bringing a touch of the bizarre to a world full of run-of-the-mill Xmas movies.
1. Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964, USA)-
This kooky old sci-fi flick features Santa Claus squaring off against militant Martians who have abducted him, along with a couple of kids, so they can put Santa to work making toys for the children of Mars.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is an admittedly schlocky flick, but there's something delightfully kitschy about the film that makes it a yearly Xmas tradition in my house!
2. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984, USA)-
When Santa comes down your chimney with a bag full of toys he's your buddy, but when he shows up with a fire axe you'd better watch out!
Silent Night, Deadly Night is one of two movies from the 80s featuring a crazed killer in a Santa outfit, but unlike the earlier Xmas Evil this film almost makes you feel sorry for the killer!
3. Santa Claus (1959, Mexico)-
This odd film from Mexico gives us a glimpse inside Santa's Toyland castle in outer space where he employs the famous wizard Merlin and watches over all the boys and girls in the world. His operation is threatened when Satan sets out to kill him by making every kid in the world turn naughty, sending the slapstick devil Pitch to Earth so he can finish the job.
Can Santa save the children of the world (mostly Mexico, of course) from turning in to rotten little brats? Hunt this vintage oddity down and find out! (The MST3K version is on Netflix).
4. Santa's Slay (2005, Canada/USA)-
Santa has never looked as badass, or as physically imposing, as he does in the dark comedy Santa's Slay, starring WWE wrestler Goldberg as angry old Saint Nick.
In this horrifically funny flick you can't spell Satan without Santa, the Devil's only son who lost a curling match to an angel and was forced to be nice and deliver presents for 1000 years. His contract expires in 2005, so Santa makes up for lost time by going on a killing spree, with some help from his hell-deer and an incredible physique that allows him to waste puny humans in lots of festive ways!
5. Rise Of The Guardians (2012, USA)-
Rise of the Guardians is admittedly the tamest and least bizarre flick in the bunch, but its portrayal of Santa as a badass Russian woodsman who sports tattooed sleeves and some wicked looking sabers is quite unusual.
This mighty manly version of Santa also employs a bunch of Yetis in his workshop, because elves just aren't macho enough for Nicholas St. North!
6. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010, Finland)-
If there's one Xmas movie that must be seen to be believed it's Rare Exports, a ghoulishly good import from Finland. This dark, depraved, and downright surreal flick centers around a group of reindeer herders who, thanks to some scientific excavations, discover the one and only Santa Claus buried deep beneath the earth.
Rare Exports is a great Xmas horror flick for those who have strong stomachs, and Santa's elves in the film will scar you for life!
7. Xmas Evil aka You Better Watch Out (1980, USA)-
Xmas Evil is the original 80s Santa slasher flick, and it's definitely the better of the two films. The filmmakers actually manage to create an interesting, and disturbing, character study of a truly psychotic individual who is obsessed with taking on the role of Santa.
This is the Santa movie that left many 80s kids scared to death that Santa was going to come down their chimney and "get" them if they were naughty! (Trailer has some NSFW violence)
8. Santa With Muscles (1996, USA)-
The Hulkster has starred in some pretty terrible movies after his professional wrestling career, but none of his movies can hold a pine scented candle to Santa With Muscles.
It's a strange flick, yet not really watchably strange like the rest of the movies on this list, but if you're brave enough to attempt a full viewing here it is in its entirety!
9. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972, USA)-
Santa flicks don't come much more surreal than Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny, a laughably bad movie that has become a cult classic because of its bizarre thematic elements and bad dialog.
Santa's sleigh is stuck in the sand on a Florida beach, so he calls forth children, animals and a guy in a gorilla suit to help him out, but nothing seems to work so the Ice Cream Bunny comes to the rescue in his red fire engine.
10. J'ai rencontré le Père Noël/I Believe In Santa Claus (1984, France)-
Santa helps two young children rescue their parents from an African prison in the French Xmas comedy J'ai rencontré le Père Noël (I Believe In Santa Claus/Here Comes Santa Claus). This obscure film stars Karen Cheryl as a fairy who helps the kids, and Santa, rescue the captive parents just in time for Xmas, and Karen's singing is showcased whenever possible throughout the film.
If you're tired of watching the same old Xmas movies and you're looking for a fun flick that's a little off you can't go wrong with any one of the ten flicks on this list. But be forewarned- Santa will never look the same again after you watch these movies!

Just so you know ...

What the dog thinks at Xmas

Whodunit: Who Killed Santa Claus?

by Hy Conrad.

It was midnight on Xmas Eve when the maintenance staff of Kimble's came to work in the deserted department store. When they arrived at the North Pole display, they discovered every child's worst nightmare, the lifeless body of Santa Claus. He was in a storage room, his head bashed in by the butt end of a .44 revolver. Santa's off-duty name was Rudolph Pringle. "That's Rudolph's revolver," the manager informed the police. "He started carrying it after a six-year-old pulled a knife on him."
"Do you know anyone who would want to see Rudolph dead—besides the six-year-old?"
The manager cleared his throat. "Santa's been having a lot of fights with his elves. I know three elves who'd threatened to kill him."
The detective had the murder weapon bagged. Then he placed it on the center of the interview table, right where the suspects would be forced to look at it. "Rudolph Pringle has been murdered," he informed each elf. "What do you know about it?"
Joe Winters shivered and couldn't stop staring at the gun. "I know nothing. Some of the guys had trouble with Rudolph. But he was always nice to me. I left the store at nine, right when it closed. I was too tired to change, so I wore my costume home. No one said a word on the subway."
"Rudolph was a pig," snarled Sam Petrie, the second elf. "If he pushed me too far, I wouldn't smash his head in. I'd sue. What's the use of a dead Santa when a live one can be made to pay?"
Robert Goldstein was the smallest elf. On hearing the news, he burst into tears. "Last week, Rudolph started a fight. He said I was too slow bringing in the kids. He slapped me on the head and called me all sorts of names. But I didn't kill him."
The detective called in his assistant. "Well, we have our killer," he said with a smile. 'All I had to do was use a little psychology."

Batman Xmas Wreath

'Twas the night before Xmas
Gotham slept without fright.
No criminal lurked
Thanks to the Dark Knight.

If Afred Pennyworth decorates the Batcave for Xmas---let's admit that Bruce Wayne is not the sort to get into the Xmas mood--then he would surely put up a wreath like this one over the entrance. Kat and Cam of Our Nerd Home made this wreath using a foam core backing and Xmas garlands. You can find instructions on how to make your own here. 

The Library Decorated

Think you know Mistletoe?

There's more to mistletoe than an excuse for something to smooch under. Amy has more about what it is, how it got its name, and whether or not you should try to eat it.

Oldest Xmas Tree

A cultural agency in the United Kingdom says it has discovered the oldest living Xmas tree in all of Britain.

All Bright and Shiny

 A few gifts

Bad Gifting

Science has trained its steely eyes on our gift-giving skills and finds them lacking. Even when we know people well, it seems we're still doing it wrong when it comes to buying them the right stuff.

Can You Guess the Gift?

TheNapman says his cat has figured out what his Xmas gift is. He also figures that the cat will lose interest in it the moment it’s unwrapped. The only solution is, of course, to leave it wrapped. Now, what are the odds that this cat will also require a tree to keep his bed under? Cats are like that.

This picture is from a compilation, excuse me, a “Golden Treasury” of pictures of cats and dogs dealing with Xmas at Uproxx.

An Addams Xmas

You think you have a unusal gift list?

If you think you've gotten some weird holiday presents, learn what other animals give as gifts.

The March of the Xmas Penguins

Having a little trouble getting into the Christmas spirit? Well, just dive in. After all, if even these adorable little penguins in South Korea are celebrating in style, what's your excuse? Chances are your ugliest of all Christmas sweaters still leaves you looking more appropriately covered up than those little waddling penguin booties. If only all little penguins could be so festive.

Animal Pictures