Amazon Deals

New at Amazon

Friday, December 25, 2015

Santa Claus enters the fray on the side of the Union

The History Blog:

The great 29th century political cartoonist Thomas Nast (wiki) is widely credited with having created the look of Santa Claus as we know him today. Inspired by Clement Moore’s* description of the “jolly old elf” in his 1823 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, aka The Night Before Christmas, Nast first depicted Santa in the January 3, 1863, issue of Harper’s Weekly

Zoomable image here
On the cover was a scene captioned “Santa Claus in Camp” in which Saint Nick brings toys and good cheer to Union soldiers. It seems that Santa, much like Nast himself who was a staunch Republican and abolitionist, had picked a side in the Civil War, and he wasn’t at all subtle about it.

Santa’s blue (of course) coat has white stars on it and his pants have red and white stripes, similar to garb donned by other patriotic icons drawn by Nast like Columbia and Uncle Sam. He has delivered parcels to the soldiers. One finds a sock inside, doubtless a welcome gift in the bleak midwinter after the devastating loss at Fredericksburg which saw more than 12,000 of his comrades killed, wounded or taken captive. A drummer boy in the foreground stares with wide-eyed surprise at the jack-in-the-box that leapt out of his present.

But it’s the toy Santa is holding that is most remarkable. Here’s Harper’s explanation of it:
Santa Claus is entertaining the soldiers by showing them Jeff Davis’ future. He is tying a cord pretty tightly round his neck, and Jeff seems to be kicking very much at such a fate.
Read the whole rather fascinating post at The History Blog, including this:
After the war, Nast continued to draw Santa Claus for seasonal issues of the magazine. It was Thomas Nast who introduced the idea that Santa Claus has a toy workshop in the North Pole, although in his vision Santa did all his own labour.
From 1865, a less bloodthirsty version of Santa appeared:

Zoomable image here

By Christmas of 1865, Santa’s wartime support of the Union had softened from stringing up effigy Jefferson Davis with his own hands to presiding over a Christmas pageant starring Ulysses S. Grant as the giant killer from Jack and the Beanstalk. Sure, the decapitated heads of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee, John Bell Hood and Richard Ewell are at Grant’s feet, but it’s just metaphoric playacting and anyway Santa’s involvement is restricted to a wink and an avuncular smile, possibly a touch on the gloating side.
* There have been some questions raised about Clement Moore's authorship of this poem - this article sums up the controversy.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve links

Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2016, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

Infographic: The logistics of Santa Claus.

ICYMI, Monday's and Tuesday's links include lots more obscure Christmas links (and a few other things).

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Supercut of movie Santas

Film list below the video.

Film List (In Order Of Appearance):

Elf (2003)
Christmas Evil (1980)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Santa’s Slay (2005)
Arthur Christmas (2011)
Fred Claus (2007)
Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984)
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Trading Places (1983)
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964)
Black Christmas (1974)
Bad Santa (2003)
A Christmas Story (1983)
Scrooged (1988)
A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
Rise Of The Guardians (2012)
Santa With Muscles (1996)
Miracle On 34th Street (1947)
Fred Claus (2007)
Elf (2003)
Jingle All The Way (1996)
Fred Claus (2007)
The Santa Clause (1994)
Miracle On 34th Street (1947)
Trading Places (1983)
Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
Miracle On 34th Street (1994)
The Santa Clause (1994)
A Muppets Christmas: Letters To Santa (2009)
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (1964)
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011)
Elf (2003)
The Polar Express (2004)
The Santa Clause (1994)

h/t Tastefully Offensive

Last Minute Gifts at Amazon for Free 1-day shipping

Today only, Amazon offers a selection of last-minute gifts, with prices starting from $5, all of which qualify for free 1-day shipping. (Select 1-day shipping at checkout.) 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

REMINDER: Today is the last day for two-day shipping before Christmas at Amazon

Last day for 2 day shipping, plus you can get a 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime, which makes the shipping choices easier.

Tuesday links

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

Ralphie teamed up with Flash Gordon in a deleted scene from A Christmas Story. Related: 10 Important Facts About A Christmas Story's Leg Lamp.

These Are The Star Wars Christmas Cards You’ve Been Looking For.

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include downloadable Star Wars snowflakes, all about the winter equinox, Roman maps of how the world looked when Jesus was born, the classic drunken fruitcake recipe (Check the whiskey. Pour 1 level cup and drink. Repeat.), the 1914 Christmas truce, and a flamethrower doing battle with a fire-hose.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Roasting a turkey with a drone mounted flamethrower

One of the many potential uses for drones - this is excellent, although I can see that there's a lot of potential for collateral fire damage:

via Ace.

Monday links

All the Stuff British Soldiers Have Carried in Battle, From the 11th Century to Today.

How The World Looked When Jesus Was Born, According to Roman Geographers.

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

A collection of downloadable templates for Star Wars snowflakes.

The 1914 Christmas truce.

Here’s what happens when a flamethrower does battle with a firehose.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include lots of ugly Christmas sweaters (plus instructions for making your own), a Klingon Christmas Carol, why Japan is obsessed with Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas, poinsettia and mistletoe (which literally means "dung twig") science, and my personal favorite Christmas story: 'Twas the Overnight Before Christmas: The Merry Tale of How Air Cargo Deregulation Led To Amazon.