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Friday, December 18, 2015

82 year old woman locked in public restroom spends four days knitting scarf

FELIXSTOWE, England, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- A British grandmother locked in a public restroom for four days said she kept warm using a hand dryer and passed the time by knitting a scarf.

Gladys Phillips, 82, said she was out shopping in Felixstowe, England, when she made a pit stop in a public restroom that she didn't realize was not yet open to the public.

The hi-tech locking system shut tight and it was not until four days later that painters discovered her inside. She had no mobile phone and her bangs and shouts were unanswered – so she settled down and made a pink scarf for her granddaughter to keep boredom at bay.
"I was not really concerned at first when I couldn't get out," Phillips told the Suffolk Gazette
"In fact I was just relieved I'd managed to go to the loo! Luckily I had just been to the shops and picked up a new ball of pink wool, so I began making a scarf, which one of my lucky grandchildren will now get for Christmas.
I had also popped into the sweet shop after collecting my pension, so I had a full bag of mint imperials to eat which kept my spirits up no end.
The loo was very clean and cozy. I was able to sleep on my big overcoat and was lovely and warm, and if I got cold I just sat under the hand dryer for a while."
 more at UPI  and Yahoo.

Classic Christmas drunken fruitcake recipe: Check the whiskey. Pour 1 level cup and drink. Repeat.

I actually know someone who likes fruitcake, but for most people it makes an excellent gag gift; the obvious advantage is that it can be re-gifted for years.


1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups dried fruit
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup nuts
1 gallon whiskey

1. Take a large bowl.

2. Check the whiskey to be sure that it is of the highest quality. Pour 1 level cup and drink. Repeat.

3. Turn on the electric mixer. Beat butter in large bowl.

4. Add sugar and beat again.

5. Check the whiskey again. Cry another tup. Or two.

6. Turn off the mixer. Break 2 legs and add to the bowl, along with the dried fruit.

7. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaters, pry it loose with a drewscriver.

8. Sample the whiskey again to check for consisticity.

9. Sift the salt. Or something. Who cares.

10. Check the whiskey again.

11. Sift the lemon juice and strain the nuts. Add one tablespoon. Of sugar or something. Whatever.

12. Grease the oven.

13. Set the cake pan to 350 degrees.

14. Beat off the turner.

15. Throw the bowl out the window and finish what’s left of the whiskey.

Related: here are 15 Fun Facts About Fruitcake. And, no matter how this turns out, you can always save it for January 3, which is National Fruitcake Toss Day.

Virginia O'Hanlon, of Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus fame, was asked about that letter for the rest of her life

Virginia O'Hanlon is famous as the young girl who wrote a letter to the New York Sun in 1897 asking if Santa Claus was real, prompting a reply from Francis P. Church, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."

But you have to feel a bit sorry for O'Hanlon, because almost every year after that, until she died in 1971, reporters sought her out to do follow-ups to find out if she still believed in Santa Claus. It must have been frustrating to be asked the same question, year after year.

O'Hanlon was always very gracious about the repetitive questioning, (seems like she was a very nice lady), and would say that of course she believed in Santa Claus — except for 1935 when she must have been in a dark mood, because in that year she came close to saying that she no longer believed. She told a reporter:

I still keep my faith in the ultimate kindness of human nature, but how can I, or anyone, believe in the Santa I knew as a child when today there is so much misery and suffering in the world?
If Santa lives today, he lives only in the childish joy of those he has made happy. How can he live in the crying hearts of those he has forsaken? Little children, such as I was, trust in Santa Claus as a miraculous munificence through which all things are made possible. There will be a tree, there will be loved ones about, gaiety and cherished toys that have been dreamt about for months.
Those whom Santa visits think of Christmas as a beautiful, sacred occasion which it should be — but today seldom is. But for every child tucked into bed Christmas night with his new toy, there are hundreds, no thousands, who huddle in ragged bed clothing sobbing in the night at a fate at best cruel.
More at Weird Universe.

Here she is on the Perry Como show in 1960:

Friday links

Lots of ugly Christmas sweaters and instructions for making your own.

In the Christmas In Other Cultures category, here's a Klingon Christmas Carol. Also, how to have a British ChristmasSweden's bizarre tradition of watching Donald Duck (Kalle Anka) cartoons on Christmas Eve, Strange Christmas Traditions Around the World, and why Japan is Obsessed with Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas.

Some Excellent Animated Christmas Lights Displays, but the best display this year is this Santa Claus urinating on ISIS sign.

My personal favorite Christmas story: 'Twas the Overnight Before Christmas: The Merry Tale of How Air Cargo Deregulation Led To Amazon.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include some extremely awkward Christmas photos, epic movie/TV-inspired gingerbread houses the pre-Seinfeld origins of Festivus, and strange hybrid animals.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday links

These awkward Christmas photos are really a hoot.

Cemeteries in Moscow to offer free Wi-Fi in 2016.

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include a bunch of weird nativity sets, comparing Spider-Man and Santa Claus, the real history of ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ (it started with a 1939 Montgomery Ward marketing campaign), how cats use their whiskers to catch their prey, and the 1981 proposal to: keep the nuclear launch codes in an innocent volunteer's chest-cavity.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday links

The Difference between Spider-Man and Santa Claus Is Very Small.

The real history of ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ - it all started with a Montgomery Ward marketing campaign in 1939.

Inside the Operating Theater: Early Surgery as Spectacle.

ICYMI, last Monday's links are here, and include the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor (and Monty Python's reenactment), what Christmas meant to the Nazis, the politics of beards, most popular dog names of 2015, and the feast day of St. Nicholas of Myra (aka Santa Claus).