Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

In honor of the occassion, here are a few interesting Christmas-related posts:

Holiday Cheer 1: My friend Joe Germuska turned me on to the "Santacon" phenomenon, which is spreading across the land!

According to Wikipedia,
SantaCon, short for "Santa Convention," is a mass gathering of people dressed in their various interpretations of Santa Claus costumes (most, however, are traditional), and performing publicly on streets and in bars in cities around the world. The focus is on spontaneity, creativity, and the improvisational nature of human interaction while having a good time. Variously known in the U.S. as Naughty Santas, Cheapsuit Santas, Santarchy, Santa Rampage, the Red Menace and Santapalooza, SantaCon events are noted for cheerfully bawdy and harmless behavior, including the singing of naughty Christmas carols, and the giving of small gifts and free hugs to random strangers. Some participants see SantaCon as a postmodern revival of Saturnalia, while others see the event as a precursor of the flash mob.

In 1994, the Cacophony Society staged the first SantaCon in San Francisco. Influenced by the surrealist movement, Discordianism, and other subversive art currents, the Cacophonists decided to celebrate the Yule season in a distinctly anti-commercial manner, by mixing guerrilla street theatre, pranksterism, and public intoxication. In subsequent years, SantaCon evolved, spawning many different versions of the event throughout the world.
Here are some other links:
Wikipedia on Santacon
Chicago Santacon photos

Holiday Cheer 2: James Brown "Soulful Christmas"

Footage from a 1968 Boston live show spices up this holiday favorite...

Holiday Cheer 3: "Anarchists in the Aisles? Stores Provide a Stage"

The NYTimes has an interesting article about "shop-dropping" this holiday season. The author writes,
This is the season of frenetic shopping, but for a devious few people it’s also the season of spirited shopdropping.

Otherwise known as reverse shoplifting, shopdropping involves surreptitiously putting things in stores, rather than illegally taking them out, and the motivations vary.

Anti-consumerist artists slip replica products packaged with political messages onto shelves while religious proselytizers insert pamphlets between the pages of gay-and-lesbian readings at book stores.

Self-published authors sneak their works into the “new releases” section, while personal trainers put their business cards into weight-loss books, and aspiring professional photographers make homemade cards — their Web site address included, of course — and covertly plant them into stationery-store racks.

Holiday Cheer 4: Norad Tracks Santa Clause!

This one is an old favorite. NORAD, the North American Aerospace Command, has a great website that "tracks" Santa Clause's progress on Christmas as he flies through the skies delivering presents.

According to the website,
Santa maintains a huge list of children who have been good throughout the year. The list even includes addresses, ZIP codes and postal codes. The list, of course, gets bigger each year by virtue of the world's increasing population. This year's population right now is 6,634,570,959!

Santa has had to adapt over the years to having less and less time to deliver his toys. If one were to assume he works in the realm of standard time, as we know it, clearly he would have perhaps two to three ten-thousandths of a second to deliver his toys to each child's home he visits!

The fact that Santa Claus is more than 15 centuries old and does not appear to age is our biggest clue that he does not work within time, as we know it. His Christmas Eve trip may seem to take around 24 hours, but to Santa it could be that it lasts days, weeks or months in standard time. Santa would not want to rush the important job of bringing Christmas happiness to a child, so the only logical conclusion is that Santa somehow functions on a different time and space continuum.
If you have kids, this is a great thing to check out with them!

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