(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Santa

“Dear Santa, before I submit my life to your scrutiny, I demand to know who made YOU the master of my fate?!*…

 

Father Christmas as pictured in Josiah King’s The Examination and Tryal of Father Christmas (1686)

Contrary to what many believe, Santa Claus as we know him today – sleigh riding, gift-giving, rotund and white bearded with his distinctive red suit trimmed with white fur – was not the creation of the Coca Cola Company. Although their Christmas advertising campaigns of the 1930s and 40s were key to popularising the image, Santa can be seen in his modern form decades before Coca Cola’s illustrator Haddon Sundblom got to work. Prior to settling on his famed red garb and jolly bearded countenance, throughout the latter half of the 19th century, Santa morphed through a variety of different looks. From the description given in Clement Moore’s A Visit from St Nicholas in 1822, through the vision of artist Thomas Nast, and later Norman Rockwell, Mr Claus gradually shed his various guises and became the jolly red-suited Santa we know today…

The illustrated story of St. Nick at “A Pictorial History of Santa Claus.”

* Calvin (Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes)

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As we finish our letters, we might recall that it was on this date in 1913 that Arthur Wynne’s “word-cross,” the first crossword puzzle, was published in the New York World:

2-3.    What bargain hunters enjoy.        6-22.    What we all should be.
4-5.    A written acknowledgment.         4-26.    A day dream.
6-7.    Such and nothing more.                2-11.    A talon.
10-11.    A bird.                                            19-28.    A pigeon.
14-15.    Opposed to less.                           F-7.    Part of your head.
18-19.    What this puzzle is.                     23-30.    A river in Russia.
22-23.    An animal of prey.                      1-32.    To govern.
26-27.    The close of a day.                      33-34.    An aromatic plant.
28-29.    To elude.                                      N-8.    A fist.
30-31.    The plural of is.                           24-31.    To agree with.
8-9.    To cultivate.                                     3-12.    Part of a ship.
12-13.    A bar of wood or iron.                20-29.    One.
16-17.    What artists learn to do.            5-27.    Exchanging.
20-21.    Fastened.                                      9-25.    To sink in mud.
24-25.    Found on the seashore.             13-21.    A boy.
10-18.    The fibre of the gomuti palm.

solution (source)

 

Written by LW

December 21, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”*…

 

 

It seems that in northern Siberia, the reindeer developed a taste for those colorful red and white mushrooms, fly agaric (amanita muscaria), and will eat them till they’re higher than a kite.  Anyone eating the meat of such reindeer will get equally high. The village shamen soon figured out how to reduce the toxicity of the mushrooms, while increasing the potency and claiming it helped them fly.  Folks in the far north had not yet discovered the art of fermentation, so the fly-in visits from the shaman with his mushroom treats were much anticipated.  A further point…many shamanistic arctic tribes such as the Koryaks of Siberia lived in semi underground yurt like structures, whose only entrance was a ladder through the smoke hole, or chimney, in the roof, down which the shamen would climb with his gifts, carried in a sack.

Then, in 1931, a young Swedish artist named Haddon Sundblom, obviously familiar with the tales, created a jolly round Santa Claus as a Christmas icon for his client, Coca-Cola,  using the company’s familiar red and white colors.  Coke notes with pride that until that time, St. Nick appeared in any number of guises, from a somber man in priestly garb to a green-clad elf, and it was only after Haddon had developed the character over several years that the jolly fat Santa became our Christmas standard-bearer, shown drinking his first Coke in 1934…

Read more in John Hulls’ terrific blog Somewhat Logically: “Reindeer Really Know How to Fly.”

* the famous reply contained in “Is There a Santa Claus?”, an editorial appearing in the September 21, 1897, edition of The (New York) Sun.

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As we bake cookies to leave out on Christmas Eve, we might recall that on this date in 1732 Benjamin Franklin published the first edition of “Poor Richard’s Almanack,”  a pamphlet series that he continued, to great success, annually through 1757.  (Indeed, with print runs typically numbering 10,000, the series made Franklin’s fortune, allowing him to spend the bulk of his time on scientific experiments, diplomacy…  and in his own consciousness-altering experiments in The Hellfire Club.)

The first edition (published in 1732 for 1733)

 With the hope that your celebrations will be warm and peaceful, and with thanks for your kind attention over the last twelve months, (Roughly) Daily is going on it’s annual Holiday hiatus…  See you in the New Year!

Written by LW

December 19, 2014 at 1:01 am

Take two aspirin, hop down the chimney, and call me in the morning…

From the British Medical Journal, Christmas Edition:

Guidance from the General Medical Council recommends that doctors should not disclose confidential patient information, even to rectify false assertions made by the patient or others in the press. There may be occasions, however, when disclosure “in the public interest” is appropriate. On this basis, with the informed consent of the patient, and after discussion with respected colleagues and my defence union, I would like to set the record straight.

Father Christmas (FC) registered as a patient with Stirchley Medical Practice in 1991, using the name Nicholas S Claus. His relationship with GPs and staff has been, for much of the past 20 years, somewhat tense, but despite his repeated threats to leave our list, we have managed to maintain engagement with him.

He has not been the easiest of patients to deal with…

Read the delightful details in “Primary Care: Reflections of Father Christmas’s GP,” and check out the other articles in this special issue.

As we’re grateful that April Fool’s Day doesn’t come only on April Fool’s Day, we might recall that it was on this date in 1843 that Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol— a novella he’d written over the prior six weeks– was formally published; it was released to book stores and the public two days later.  The first run of 6,000 copies sold out by Christmas Eve, and the book continued to sell well through twenty-four editions in its original form.

Cover of the first edition

 

Ho, ho… Got ya!…

The most widely recognized and embraced folklore by young children is Santa Claus – a plump, white-bearded and red-suited gentlemen who delivers presents to ‘good’ children at Christmas time. To young children, the arrival of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve is an event filled with joy. Indeed, it is the culmination of days filled with great anticipation and expectation.

The Santa Claus Detector is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a children’s device capable of providing selective illumination to signal the arrival of Santa Claus. This is particularly important to young children, providing reassurance that the child’s good behavior has in fact been rewarded by Santa Claus.

 

U.S. Patent Number 5523741:  The Santa Claus Detector, issued in 1996 to Thomas Cane in San Rafael, California.

Via Gerard Vlemmings, The Presurfer.

As we remember that letters to the North Pole take an extra 19 cents in postage, we might also recall that it was on this date in 1928, in Clinton, Iowa, that the clip-on tie was invented.

source

 

Written by LW

December 13, 2010 at 1:01 am

Bad Santa…

For more merriment, see Sketchy Santas.  (And for another real treat see the masterful Terry Zwigoff film memorialized in the title of this missive.)

As we make a list and check it twice, we might celebrate Virginia’s (the state’s, not the doubting young girl’s) ratification of the Bill of Rights. As the tenth consenting state (of 14 at the time), Virginia pushed the first ten amendments to the Constitution past the two-thirds necessary to take effect; and on this date in 1791, they became law.

(Congress had actually passed 12 amendments in 1789, and sent them to the states for ratification.  As to the two amendments not adopted, the first concerned the mechanics of the population system of representation, while the second prohibited laws varying the payment of congressional members from taking effect until an election intervened. The first was never ratified, while the second was finally ratified more than 200 years later, in 1992.)

The Bill of Rights (source: National Archives)

Written by LW

December 15, 2009 at 1:01 am

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