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Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday links

December 21 is the winter solstice, the first day of winter, and the shortest day of the year. Here are science, history, and short video explanations of the celestial mechanics involved, plus descriptions of the concurrent celebrations of Saturnalia and Halcyon Days.

The 1914 Christmas truce.

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

That Christmas when Parisians Ate the Zoo.

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

ICYMI, most recent links are here, and include the pre-Seinfeld origins of Festivus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer's origin story, and that time Santa Claus took the Union's side in the Civil War.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Japan is Obsessed with Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas

Read the whole thing: In Japan, apparently fried chicken and Christmas have become synonymous.

Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan—only one percent of the Japanese population is estimated to be Christian—yet a bucket of “Christmas Chicken” (the next best thing to turkey—a meat you can’t find anywhere in Japan) is the go-to meal on the big day. And it’s all thanks to the insanely successful “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing campaign in 1974.

When a group of foreigners couldn’t find turkey on Christmas day and opted for fried chicken instead, the company saw this as a prime commercial opportunity and launched its first Christmas meal that year: Chicken and wine for 834 yen($10)—pretty pricey for the mid-seventies. Today the Christmas chicken dinner (which now boasts cake and champagne) goes for about 3,336 yen ($40).

And the people come in droves. Many order their boxes of ”finger lickin’” holiday cheer months in advance to avoid the lines—some as long as two hours.