Please take a moment to extend your wishes of wellness to the chairman today.
- Chairman of the FUKN board, 1971 (Future U.S. president)
- John Amos, 1939 (Actor)
- Marlene Dietrich, 1901 (Actress)
- Louis Pasteur, 1822 (Scientist)
Please take a moment to extend your wishes of wellness to the chairman today.
Mink Hippie and I are getting ready to do some travelling. I was checking out the TSA regs before we go and was surprised to see that among the items prohibited are Snowglobes. Also prohibited is pudding in excess of 3 ozs. Sorry Bill Cosby. So in any event, I’ll probably get a chance to check in, but if I don’t and things here are slow, it is temporary. Expect things to resume after January 4th. In the meantime…have a Happy New Year and revel in the fact that in just a few days I will officially be old enough to become President of the United States. Look out Obama….
TSA: Permitted and Prohibited Items
Snow globes and like decorations regardless of size or amount of liquid inside, even with documentation.
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – A mysterious teenaged boy believed by some to be a reincarnation of Lord Buddha has reappeared in eastern Nepal after vanishing for nine months, a witness and a television channel said on Monday.
Sixteen-year-old Ram Bahadur Bamjon was spotted on Sunday by villagers in the remote and dense forests near Piluwa village in Bara district, 150 km (95 miles) east of Kathmandu, local journalist Raju Shrestha, who visited the boy, told Reuters.
Bamjon disappeared in March from the forests in nearby Ratanpuri village where he had reportedly been meditating without food or water for almost 10 months.
“I have been wandering in the forests since then,” Shrestha quoted Bamjon as telling him.
“I am engaged in devotion which will continue for six years,” the boy told Shrestha.
Hundreds of curious onlookers, including many Buddhists, thronged the site to see the boy, sitting in a meditating position.
A local TV station showed people pressing their palms together and lowering their heads in devotion in front of him.
“I don’t think he is a Buddha. But he has some sort of extra strength to meditate. He eats herbs,” Shrestha said.
Before his disappearance, an estimated 100,000 people from Hindu-majority Nepal and neighbouring India flocked to see him meditate. They were not allowed to get closer than 50 metres (165 feet).
Shrestha, who met the boy up close, said he had shoulder-length hair and sat cross-legged under a small tree.
“He has an ash-colour shawl wrapped across his chest,” he said, adding the boy had a “flat-ended scimitar” next to him.
Buddha was born a prince in Lumbini, a dusty village in Nepal’s rice-growing plains about 350 km (220 miles) west of the capital Kathmandu more than 2,600 years ago.
He is believed to have attained enlightenment at Bodh Gaya in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, which borders Nepal
Wait til you see the apple in your stocking!
NEW YORK – There’s nobody nice on this Christmas list: snowman stabbers, Grinch snatchers, wreath-robbing weasels.
‘Tis the season for strange crimes by even stranger people, with police blotters expanding faster than a 6-year-old’s wish list of gifts.
David Allen Rodgers, 42, was arrested Dec. 3 for driving while intoxicated — at the wheel of a float during the annual Christmas parade in Anderson, S.C. According to witnesses, Rodgers sped down Main Street in the Steppin’ Out Dance Studio float with 19 people aboard, ran a red light and led police on a 3-mile chase.
Police said that when Rodgers finally stopped, they found an open container of alcohol in his truck. “I made a very bad judgment on my part,” Rodgers said at a court hearing.
In Chicago, 32 plastic baby Jesus dolls were stolen from nativity scenes set up in people’s front yards. The kidnappers then lined up all the dolls along the fence outside a Chicago woman’s home; she rounded them up and turned them over to her parish priest.
Similar creche crimes occurred in 35 cities from Fayateville, N.C., to Mission Viejo, Calif., according to The Catholic League, which tracks nativity vandalism.
In Houghton, Mich., somebody stole an inflatable Grinch from outside an apartment complex. That was just one instance in the area’s rash of seasonal thievery: Two brown plastic reindeer, a baby Jesus statue and several wreaths were also stolen.
In Ohio’s Hamilton County, a pair of 18-year-olds were arrested for using screwdrivers to stab an inflatable 12-foot-tall Frosty the Snowman. “Why me?” asked Frosty’s owner, Matt Williquette. “And why Frosty?”
The snowman had survived two previous stabbing attacks.
Two other local teens were arrested in an unrelated incident where they allegedly smashed a car with a large decorative candy cane, causing $1,000 worth of damage.
An Oklahoma woman was arrested after she visited the Delaware County Jail with a Christmas card for her incarcerated boyfriend. Police said the card held marijuana, leading to Dawn Smith’s arrest.
A real-life Grinch in Yonkers, N.Y., made off with $14,000 in staff bonuses and money from the office safe during a Christmas party, police said. Daniel Rios, 38, spent $7,500 in cash but returned about $6,500 in checks, authorities said.
And then there’s the case of the Santa Claus kidnapping.
A motorcycle-riding Santa Claus with a stuffed Rudolph in his sidecar was arrested after allegedly grabbing an 8-year-old girl from outside a South Carolina convenience store. John Michael Barton, 55, was in his Claus outfit filling his bike with gas when the girl’s family stopped by the store.
The girl’s father then saw Barton speeding off with her. After a chase at speeds of up to 80 mph, Barton pulled over his motorcycle and turned over the girl, police said.
Barton was arrested later, hiding inside a bar.
By Matt Crenson
The Associated Press
Published: Friday, December 22, 2006NEW YORK – Once upon a time the holiday season was a quiet time spent with family and friends – simpler, less commercial, more spiritual, nothing like today’s frenzied orgy of consumption.
“There are worlds of money wasted, at this time of year, in getting things that nobody wants, and nobody cares for after they are got,” one observer noted recently.
Well, not so recently.
Author Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote those words in 1850. By then, the holiday was already well on its way to becoming the retail binge it is today.
“Every generation for the last 250 years tends to think it was only in the last generation that it got commercialized,” said Stephen Nissenbaum, an emeritus professor of history at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
In his book “The Battle for Christmas,” Nissenbaum puts that myth to rest by tracing the history of the holiday from Colonial New England to the turn of the 20th century.
Nissenbaum shows that powerful social interests have always advanced their agendas through Christmas, and describes how the holiday celebrated today had its origins in the New York City of the 1820s. Christmas, it seems, has always been a holiday of excess.
For most of its history Christmas was a free-for-all, more New Year’s Eve or Mardi Gras than the domestic idyll described in Clement Clarke Moore’s 1823 poem, “A Visit From Saint Nicholas” (better known today as “The Night Before Christmas”). The holiday has its origins in the Roman festival of Saturnalia, a weeklong winter solstice celebration that featured feasting, drinking, gambling and sex. Men dressed like women, women dressed like men, and masters waited on their slaves in a raucous reversal of the social hierarchy.
Such behavior was almost inevitable during the weeks surrounding the winter solstice in the preindustrial societies of northern Europe, thanks to what Nissenbaum refers to as a “combustible mix” of leisure time, abundance and alcohol.
The work of the harvest done, young men had plenty of time on their hands, much of it in the form of long, dark nights tailor-made for mischief.
In a world without refrigeration, the arrival of cold weather made fresh meat available for the first time in months. But most importantly, December meant beer. By mid-month, whatever grain surplus their hard summer’s labor had produced would have been fully fermented and ready to drink.
In the northern Europe of the late Middle Ages, gangs of young men would engage in “wassailing,” a cross between Christmas caroling and home invasion. The gangs would visit wealthy homes, often in disguise, and sing songs that threatened violence if they were not invited in for food and drink.
In agrarian societies, practices such as wassailing served as a critical safety valve, giving people at the bottom of the social ladder a release that would keep them in line during the rest of the year.
But with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, factory owners didn’t want their employees wandering off for weeks of drunken merriment. During the 1820s, after a series of particularly raucous holiday seasons in New York, the city’s elite began campaigning for a more restrained, domestic Christmas. Central to that campaign was the tradition of purchasing gifts, especially for children.
Christmas and our consumer culture have fed off each other ever since, said Russell Belk, a professor of business at the University of Utah. His research has shown that the more materialistic people are about Christmas, the less satisfaction they derive from the holiday.
And there’s no doubt Americans are materialistic about Christmas. Almost half of all Americans crammed stores on the day after Thanksgiving this year, the traditional beginning of the holiday shopping season. By the time the Christmas shopping season is over, the country will have spent around $150 billion, most of it on gifts. That’s an average of $500 for every man, woman and child.
The retail industry so relies on holiday spending that business news outlets report the progress of the annual shopping spree almost on a daily basis, beginning with that fateful Friday after Thanksgiving.
There are still some opportunities for carnality during the holiday season, such as New Year’s Eve and the office Christmas party. But by and large we’ve substituted unrestrained spending for uninhibited behavior, a swollen credit-card balance for a throbbing head.
“There’s a socio-cultural expectation that we ought to get caught up in it,” said Cele Otnes, a professor of business administration at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
And the commitment is not a slight one. Christmas trees and other decorations have to be put up. Baking needs to be done. Children need to be driven through heavy traffic to rehearsals for holiday pageants. Presents have to be purchased, wrapped and occasionally mailed. Relatives must be visited – about one in five people travels during the holiday season. And then when it’s over, there are the gift returns.
Perhaps that’s the biggest difference between Christmas present and Christmas past. A holiday that began in ancient times as a debauched escape from everyday chores has become exactly the opposite: a frenzied season full of expectations, obligations and stress.
Now do you see why I love this guy? It’s not just me…look at how happy those Generals are….those are a bunch of happy guys out for a walk with a dear leader they all obviously love…
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is reported to have found a rousing way of boosting morale among his troops – by giving them karaoke machines.He said karaoke sessions eased tensions in the ranks, but also encouraged competitiveness, state media reported.
North Korea has one of the world’s largest manned armies, but levels of training, discipline and equipment are reported to be low.
The secretive state alarmed the world with a nuclear test in October.
“I plan to send more song-accompanying machines to the People’s Armed Forces,” Kim Jong-il was quoted as saying by the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Workers Party of Korea, according to Japan’s Kyodo news agency.
He told a meeting of military commanders that “the atmosphere changed completely” among troops when they started to sing along to the tunes on the machine.
And he also noted that soldiers and officers competed with each other to get the highest scores, the newspaper reported.
Kim keeps track of the number of karaoke machines sent out to each troop division by writing it down in a notebook, according to the Rodong Sinmun.
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | ‘Karaoke boost’ for N Korea troops
Okay…this is a Christmas tradition I can get behind. I love this. Below is a link to a site that sells every type of pooping person you can think of from the Pope to Osama. Below that is an explanation for this strange Spanish Christmas custom from Wikipedia. -cd
25. Caganer Papa Benet XVI Artesanía Caganer, Terra i Mar
[kə.γə.’ne]) is a little statue unique to Catalonia, and neighbouring areas with Catalan culture such as Andorra.
In Catalonia, as in most of Italy, South France and Spain, the traditional Christmas decoration is a large model of the city of Bethlehem, similar to American Nativity scenes that encompasses the entire city rather than just the typical manger scene. The Catalans have added an extra character that is not found in the manger scenes of any other culture. In addition to Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the Shepherds and company, Catalans have the character known as the Caganer. This extra little character is often tucked away in some corner of the model, typically nowhere near the manger scene, where he is not easily noticed. There is a good reason for his obscure position in the display, for “caganer” translates from Catalan to English as “defecator”, and that is exactly what this little statue is doing — defecating.
The reasons for placing a man who is in the act of excreting solid waste from his posterior in a scene which is widely considered holy are as follows:
- Just tradition.
- Scatological humor.
- Finding the Caganer is a fun game, especially for children.
- The Caganer, by creating feces, is fertilizing the Earth. However, this is probably an a posteriori explanation, and nobody would say they put the Caganer on the Nativity scene for this reason.
- The Caganer represents the equality of all people e.g. regardless of status, race, gender everyone defecates.
The exact origin of the Caganer is lost, but the tradition has existed since the 18th century. Originally, the Caganer was portrayed as a Catalan peasant wearing a traditional hat called a barretina — a red stocking hat with a black band.
The Catalans have modified this tradition somewhat since the 1940s. In addition to the traditional caganer design, you can easily find other characters assuming the caganer position, such as nuns, devils, Santa Claus, celebrities, athletes, historical figures, politicians, Spanish royalty, and other famous people past and present, including Pope John Paul II, Salvador Dalí, prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Princess Letizia and even Osama bin Laden.
The practice is tolerated by the local Catholic church. Caganers are easiest to find before Christmas in holiday markets, like the one in front of the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, which has tables and tables of caganers. Caganers have even been featured in art exhibits.
The caganer is not the only defecating character in the Catalan Christmas tradition—another is the Tió de Nadal, which also makes extensive use of the image of human waste production. Other mentions of feces and defecation are common in Catalan folklore. One popular Catalan phrase before eating says “menja bé, caga fort!” (Eat well, shit strong!).
TOKYO – A man who went missing in western Japan survived in near-freezing weather without food and water for over three weeks by falling into a state similar to hibernation, doctors said.
Mitsutaka Uchikoshi had almost no pulse, his organs had all but shut down and his body temperature was 71 degrees Fahrenheit when he was discovered on Rokko mountain in late October, said doctors who treated him at the nearby Kobe City General Hospital. He had been missing for 24 days.
“On the second day, the sun was out, I was in a field, and I felt very comfortable. That’s my last memory,” Uchikoshi, 35, told reporters Tuesday before returning home from hospital. “I must have fallen asleep after that.”
Doctors believe Uchikoshi, a city official from neighboring Nishinomiya who was visiting the mountain for a barbecue party, tripped and later lost consciousness in a remote mountainous area.
His body temperature soon plunged as he lay in 50-degree weather, greatly slowing down his metabolism.
“(Uchikoshi) fell into a state similar to hibernation and many of his organs slowed, but his brain was protected,” said Dr. Shinichi Sato, head of the hospital’s emergency unit. “I believe his brain capacity has recovered 100 percent.”
Uchikoshi was treated for severe hypothermia, multiple organ failure and blood loss from his fall, but was unlikely to experience any lasting ill effects, Sato said.
Doctors were still uncertain how exactly Uchikoshi survived for weeks with his metabolism almost at a standstill.
In animals like squirrels or bears, hibernation reduces the amount of oxygen that cells need to survive, protecting them from damage to the brain and other organs.