Gamers Hold Massive In-Game Vigil for Dying Player

There are those who say that the online life is an empty one--that relationships that are mediated by an internet connection aren't real. A recent event on Final Fantasy XIV, an online role-playing game, evidences otherwise.

The player behind Codex Vahlda, a 50th level bard, was dying. He was 29 and going through renal failure. He was so well known and respected within that game that as he faced his final hours in a hospital bed, huge numbers of players assembled in the game to conduct a vigil. Mike Fahey writes for Kotaku:

Imgur user Aenemius, a member of Codex's Free Company on the Gilgamesh server, documented the steady stream of players arriving at the Free Company house to pay their respects. […]

According to Pattmyn, a real-life friend of Codex, the stream of the event made it into the fallen player's hospital room, so at the very least his family was aware of the massive outpouring of support. Pattmyn also reports his friend did not make it through the night. May he rest in peace.

I did not know Codex Vahlda. I couldn't tell name a single person in any of these images, character or real life. But I know the MMORPG community, having been playing the damn things for 15 years, and I know that whoever Codex Vahlda was, every single person in these images — in his final moments — cared for him like they were his dear friends. When a group of people is deeply invested in a virtual world, be it Eorzea or Azeroth or Norrath or wherever, there's a bond there that crosses any and all real-world lines.


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Rhino Calf's Big Bottles Bringing the Brawn

And now, for something ridiculously cute. This three-week-old greater one-horned rhino calf (the largest of the rhino species) is already a big boy. He requires a lot of nourishment. When the calf was not gaining as much weight as expected while living with his mother, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park staff began to hand-feed him the large bottle shown here every two hours. The as-yet unnamed calf, who gulps his bottles down, has gained weight ever since. Adding 30 pounds since birth, the rhino now weighs in at 190. Adult rhinos weigh between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds. The calf is watched around-the-clock by staff in the meantime, and is taken outdoors for exercise daily.

Once plentiful in Southeast Asia, the greater one-horned rhinoceros is now found only in India and Nepal. The species is listed as endangered due to poaching. There are an estimated 3,250 greater one-horned rhinos remaining in the wild. This calf is the 68th of the species born at the park since 1975, making the facility the leader in the world for breeding of this species. 

Images: Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park


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Star Wars Landspeeder Cat Bed

Roxy's Dream is a maker of custom pet furniture--especially geeky pet custom furniture. The company is named for the owner's late cat, Roxy. It produced this cat bed that looks like a high mileage landspeeder. You can see process photos here. Roxy's Dream notes that it took Padmé the cat only 10 minutes to settle into her new den.

-via Nerd Bastards


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Orangutans are “Persons” in Argentina

A court case involving Sandra, a 29-year-old orangutan in Argentina may have ramifications for other apes, or even other non-primates. An animal rights group filed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Sandra, alleging that her rights were being violated by her confinement at the Buenos Aires Zoo.

In a landmark ruling that could pave the way for more lawsuits, the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights (Afada) argued the ape had sufficient cognitive functions and should not be treated as an object.

The court agreed Sandra, born into captivity in Germany before being transferred to Argentina two decades ago, deserved the basic rights of a “non-human person”.

The zoo has ten days to file an appeal. Otherwise, Sandra will be transferred to a primate sanctuary in Brazil. Sandra has been at the Buenos Aires Zoo for twenty years, and usually tries to avoid contact with the public. A similar case in New York involving a chimpanzee ended with a ruling that chimpanzees are not “persons” with human rights. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters)


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20 Facts You Might Not Know about Patton, Both the Man and the Movie

General George S. Patton (1885-1945) was a great American general who led armies to victory in north Africa, Sicily, France, and Germany during World War II. He had a larger than life personality and was, at times, as controversial as he was successful. In 1970, actor George C. Scott depicted him in the blockbuster movie Patton.

In 2012, Nicholas Evan Sarantakes, a professor at the US Naval War College, wrote a book about the creation and influence of this film: Making Patton: A Classic War Film's Epic Journey to the Silver Screen. It contains fascinating bits of information about the real Patton and the film Patton. Here are some that I've gleaned from Sarantakes's book:

1. Gen. Patton believed that he had been reincarnated from many previous military lives. Specifically he believed that he had been a Greek soldier who resisted the Persian invasion of Ionia, a Roman soldier in the Tenth Legion under Julius Caesar, a Viking warrior, a Scottish Highlander fighting for the House of Stuart, a French soldier who escorted Napoleon Bonaparte on his retreat from Russia, and a member of a New York regiment during the American Civil War (8-9).

2. The opening speech in the film is a compilation of several that Gen. Patton gave (2).


(Images: Burt Lancaster in Run Silent, Run Deep and John Wayne in Flying Leathernecks)

3. Burt Lancaster and John Wayne were both considered for the role of Patton. Burt Lancaster was very interested and immediately agreed to the role before the first attempt at the film in the early 60s fell apart (38-42).


(Image: Ronald Reagan, Department of Defense)

4. Ronald Reagan wanted the lead role, but producers never offered it to him. He wouldn’t have had the time anyway, as he had entered politics by that point (66). By the time that the film was produced and released, Reagan was the Governor of California. He loved the movie and admitted that Scott did a better job in the role than he could have (148).

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Creative Tip Jar Incentive Signs



Those who work for tips are at the mercy of their customers. Sometimes, particularly during slumps in the economy, it pays to do whatever you possibly can to put the public in the mood to part with their hard-earned money. The people who made these signs for their tip jars are attempting to use humor to inspire generosity; it's probably the best approach. 

See an amusing collection of these tip jar signs here. 



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What Do You Want To Do Tonight? - A Mousy Mastermind


What Do You Want To Do Tonight? by Wirdou

Doctor Horrible Brain is cursed, which doesn't seem surprising considering he chose to become a supervillain rather than finding honest work as a lab rat or trash picker, but his curse doesn't stem from his career choice. No, Doc Brain is cursed because of his choice in friends, and now he's stuck with his henchman Pinky for the rest of his little rodent life. Every night that dimwitted Pinky slinks in to his operating chamber and asks him the same stupid question- "What do you want to do tonight, Doctor Horrible Brain sir?", to which the Doc inevitably answers "Try to take over the world, and find a new girlfriend, in that order!"

Share your love of classic cartoons, and cult classic indie flicks, with this What Do You Want To Do Tonight? t-shirt by Wirdou, and you'll never have to worry about anyone accusing you of having horrible taste!

Visit Wirdou's Facebook fan page and official website, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more geek-tastic designs:

Krypton Man The Right To Remain Silence Of The Lambs The Ocarina Of Time Travel Burglary Services

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Arcangelo's Lord of the Rings Pipes

Arcangelo, a woodworker from Italy, does amazing fantasy-inspired work. We've previously featured his pipe that looks like that of Thorin Oakenshield, a character in The Hobbit movies. He's made more Lord of the Rings pipes, such as this one called Shire's Blossom. It's made of olive wood and finished with shellac wax.

Continue reading to look at his other Lord of the Rings pipes.

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Hearing Impaired Girl Delighted That Santa Knows Sign Language

YouTube Link

Six-year-old Sadie Adam has been hearing impaired since birth. In previous years, when Sadia visited Santa, any communication she had with him required a sign language interpreter. This year, however, Westminster, Massachusetts Police Chief Salvatore Albert, who has played Santa for 15 years, learned sign language just so he could communicate with Sadie. The fact that Santa knew how to speak with her was an early Christmas gift to the little girl, who was thrilled. What a sweet story.

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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16 Very Strange Christmas Ornaments You Can Buy

What in the world is this? It’s a watermelon, terrified because he is falling, no doubt thinking about the big mess his splat will leave on the floor. It’s a glass Christmas tree ornament available at eBay, and just one of a collection of 16 inexplicable, obscure, or just plain bizarre Christmas ornaments you can still purchase over the internet. See the rest of them in a list at mental_floss.


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The Repentance of Ebenezer Scrooge

(Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal/Zach Weinersmith)

O Ghost of Christmas Future! I shall heed your kind counsel. Please continue to instruct me in the ways of generosity. May I suggest sending me a year's worth of issues of The Times from 1845? I could search for information therein about the needs of the poor in London.


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How Adopting a Pig Changed One Couple's Lives



Canadian couple Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter adopted what they thought was a pygmy piglet and brought her to live with them. They named their pet Esther. Within two years, Esther grew to be a whopping 667 pounds! It was obvious that Esther wasn't a pygmy, but by the time they realized their mistake, the couple had grown to love her as a member of their family. They found her to be highly intelligent and good natured.

Steve and Derek's love for Esther changed their lives in more ways than one. It made them reconsider eating meat. They went from carnivores to vegans. The couple began to consider animals such a central part of their lives that they decided to start their own animal shelter. After raising over $400,000 on Indiegogo, they launched their operation. That Esther must be Some Pig! 

Follow the adventures of Esther and her humans on their website, and via social media on Facebook and Twitter. -Via Bored Panda
 


  
 

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10 of the United States' Most Intriguing Archaeological Mysteries

There are quite a few places where early Americans left their marks, but did not leave us any explanations. European explorers had never seen anything like them, and local people said they’d always been there for reasons lost to time. Many of these mysteries are symbols or possibly language carved in rocks. One huge design in California wasn’t even discovered until a plane flew over in the 1930s! And then there’s the Miami Circle.

A recent discovery, the Miami Circle was only unearthed in 1998 when a Florida developer knocked down a 1950s apartment complex, revealing a circular pattern of holes in the limestone bedrock. Further excavation turned up tools similar to those used by the once-local Tequesta people, and radio-carbon testing suggests the site is nearly 3,000 years old.

The State of Florida now owns the plot, which still sits at the water's edge beside a series of high-rises, to protect it from developers. Archaeologists believe the holes are actually signs of a bit of prehistoric development: post-holes for some kind of permanent shelter.

Read about nine more of these America mysteries at Atlas Obscura. 

(Image credit: EduardoValle)


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Venus Flytrap Wearing a Santa Costume

This is Charlie, the star of a YouTube channel maintained by Kluna Tik. His owner feeds him and dresses him on camera. Charlie lives a wild, adventurous life. In this video, he dons a Santa Claus costume.

In another video, Charlie smokes a cigarette.

Perhaps in future videos, Charlie will get even more ambitious and do other human tasks, like landing a job or changing the oil in a car.

-via Tastefully Offensive


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Kangaroo Puts Quick End to Drone

YouTube Link

We've seen Rambro the angry ram smash a noisy quadcopter drone that got too close up in his biz. Here's new footage of what looks to be a mama kangaroo with her joey who wasn't going to take any chances with some annoying buzzy thing getting too close to her offspring. She picked the drone out of the air and smashed it. Why do I find footage of animals quickly destroying drones so satisfying? Should I seek therapy to work through my resentment of drone technology? Or should I simply make it a point to travel with Rambro and a 'roo whenever I'm in outdoor, open spaces? -Via Uproxx

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The Year in Media Errors and Corrections

In Poynter’s annual roundup of the funniest, weirdest, and most egregious errors and corrections, the top prize went to an incident in which a satirical website was quoted as real. That happens more often than you’d think. That’s just one type of error, and 2014 was full of them. One of the runners-up was from The Washington Post:

An earlier version of this story erroneously said that Joaquín Guzmán was found in bed with his secretary. He was found with his wife. This version has been corrected.

Oops. The tragedy is that corrections are tiny sentences in a box on an inner page, while the original article was probably front and center. Here's another, less tragic, correction:

This post originally quoted photographer Tom Sanders as saying it takes him five years to get on the dance floor. It takes him five beers.

There are also test pages that were published, stories that turned out to be completely untrue, and plenty of small but embarrassing errors that snuck into newspapers, news sites, and blogs. Oh yeah, and some serious journalism goofs, too. Read them all at Poynter. -via Metafilter


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How One Little Addition Can Change The Entire Meaning Of A Photo

Ever since Photoshop came to town photos have become much less believable overall, because anybody can now erase, shape, edit, airbrush, color correct, clone stamp, warp, filter, soften via blur and add to any and all photos whenever they want.

Addition via Photoshop can be a powerful tool, and one little addition is all it takes to entirely change the meaning of a photograph. 

1. Make 'Em Smile!-

Sharks already have a pretty toothy grin, but whether they're happy or not their smile looks like the stuff of nightmares. Thankfully Photoshop can help soften their image:

(Image Link)

With one little addition great white sharks go from Jaws to jokesters, always ready to make 'em laugh with a one-liner about porpoises:

(Image Link)

That old tooth addition trick works well with amphibians too:

(Image Link)

2. Add A Hand, Change The Movie-

According to the movie, Rocky had no love for the trash talkin' Clubber Lang, but imagine how different that trilogy could have been if Rocky fought opponents in the ring, then had to fight for their hearts after the bout.

All it takes is one hand to change Rocky III from a sports flick to a tender romance:

(Image Link)

3. There Will Be Blood-

When kids play in the mud it looks like a total disaster, but not the type of disaster where young lives are in danger. Enter your friendly neighborhood Photoshops and this messy, muddy playtime turns into a total bloodbath!:

(Image Link)

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Merry Cthulhumas! - Have You Been Naughty Or Nice?


Merry Cthulhumas! by Captain RibMan

That Great Old One with the squid for a face used to be a real sourpuss, hell bent on subjugating and eliminating mankind, but then he met a man named Santa who changed his entire outlook on human life. Now Cthulhu is the biggest Christmas fan of them all, and when he arises from his slumber he's not coming to eat you, or drive you insane, he just wants to sing you Christmas carols and give you a present. But be aware that Cthulhu is pretty new to the whole giving a gift without taking the mortal's soul thing, so his presents might be a tad on the gory side...

Bring some wickedly fun style to your Christmas with this Merry Cthulhumas! t-shirt by Captain RibMan, and you'll end up on the Naughty list right where you belong!

Visit Captain RibMan's Facebook fan page, official website and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more festively geeky designs:

Teenage Mutant Modern Masters My Little C-3POny The Wookman Iron Skull

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Best Films of 2014

YouTube Link

Flavorwire has assembled their end-of-year selections for the best films of 2014. They list 25 titles, one of which is the fascinating documentary Finding Vivian Meier, about a nanny who secretly was a prolific photographer. Her staggering body of work was found by a stranger, only by chance, after her death.  For those like me who love documentaries, this is certainly a compelling one that I recommend.

See the other 24 titles selected as best films of 2014, with descriptions and trailers for each, in this article.


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Husky and Puppies

(YouTube link)

Parenting can be a lot of fun when you’re not stressed out about daycare and bills and what Timmy just ate. Here, a husky mom discovers that when herpuppies learn to get around, she suddenly has a whole slew of playmates! “Look, kids, I can jump on the couch and you can’t!” She’ll be surprised in a few more days when they do it themselves. -via reddit

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College Offers a Minor in Comedy


(Photo: Matt)

Are you funny? Your jokes on open mike night at the local comedy club may not make the audience laugh, but an official college degree in comedy probably will. Emerson College, a private college in Boston and Jay Leno's alma mater, now offers a minor program of study in the field of comedy.

Specifically, it's called "Comedy: Writing and Performance." To complete the program, students take 5 classes in performance and writing. Two of the classes are called "Writing for Television" and "The Evolution of Comedy." Andrew Desiderio writes for The College Fix:

“There are no guarantees that someone will be funny,” Martie Cook, associate chair of Emerson’s visual and media arts department, told The College Fix. “But that’s true of most programs in the arts.”

Cook added that students can study film and television writing, but that does not mean they will go on to write Emmy- or Oscar-winning scripts.

“What we can guarantee is that students who take the minor will come out better versed in the comedic arts,” Cook said.

Emerson College argues that a versatility in comedy can help people in all career fields:

“Whether on a stage, in a board room, a writers’ room, or simply talking one-on-one, being empowered with the grace and confidence to artfully apply humor in your daily life gives you an invaluable edge,” said Adam Greenfield, also a member of the committee that helped shape and develop the comedy minor.

-via College Insurrection


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18 Animals Whose Lives Were Improved by Prosthetics

Chris P. Bacon 


When injuries cause the loss of a functioning body part, the results are the same in animals as well as people. There is a sense of profound loss and a period of grief and depression as a result of such a loss. Then comes a time of adjustment, in which the being strives to live as normal a life as is possible in their new circumstances. At that time, a prosthetic can make all the difference. The importance of being mobile and autonomous can never fully be comprehended until such time as it is lost. 

Two cases of animals who have benefited from prosthetics are pictured here. The adorable Chris P. Bacon, above, never suffered a loss of his limbs, as he was born without rear legs. His owner, a veterinarian named Len Lucero, outfitted the pig with a set of rear wheels. Ever since, Chris has been inspiring children in hospitals who are confined to wheelchairs, showing them that it's not a condition that can keep them from leading fulfilling lives. 

In a terrible accident, Motala the elephant stepped on a landmine, necessitating an amputation in her front left leg. Motala was fitted with a prosthetic leg, which changed the fifty-year-old elephant's outlook and her life. 

Read about sixteen more cases of prosthetics improving the lives of animals in this article. 


Motala 

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A Pictorial History of Santa Claus

We often think that the image of Santa Claus as we know him came from Thomas Nast’s illustrations or the description in Clement Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Some people will tell you that Santa achieved his modern form thanks to the Coca Cola ads of the 1930s. Those theories are all partially right, but the vision we have of Santa started long before that. A book illustration had Father Christmas wearing a coat and hat trimmed with white fur as far back as 1686! Of course, he’s gone through many incarnations on the way to his modern look. Public Domain Review has a slew of pictures of Kris Kringle through his history, along with explanations of the evolution of the jolly old elf’s look. The magazine cover above is from 1902. -via Digg


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Busking at NYC Subway Turns into an Impromptu Ballet Performance

A string quartet plays inside a subway station in New York City. That's awesome. But then, at the 2:07 mark in the video below, it gets awesomer. A group of ballet dancers pass by. They join in the fun, adding to the beautiful music with beautiful dancing.


(Video Link)

Can anyone identify the music being performed? I've heard it before, but I can't find the title.

-via Jalopnik


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Easy Chocolate "Star Bread" Recipe

YouTube Link

Here's a recipe that is so easy it's a perfect activity to do with the kids. If you count bread mix as one ingredient, it's a three-ingredient recipe, made with egg whites, Nutella and bread dough. It not only looks tasty, but its star shape is festive as well. -Via 22 Words

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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A Fresh Look at Princess Leia’s Slave Outfit

(YouTube link)

British television personality Adam Buxton had a conversation with his 5-year-old daughter about Leia Organa’s slave costume in the movie Return of the Jedi. It’s both refreshing and enlightening to hear the fashion opinion of a child who has no understanding of sexism, or even sexiness, much less objectification and bondage. But this little girl is not quite a blank slate. She’s very well spoken and open to learning new things. It was animated is by The Brothers McLeod for the TV special Adam Buxton's Shed Of Christmas. -via reddit

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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200 Calories of Christmas Food and Drink, In Pictures







The ol' visualizing 200 calories treatment is applied to typical Christmas food and drink here. To those familiar with counting calories, this shouldn't be much of a surprise. It does do well to illustrate how many calories can be ingested by partaking in alcoholic drinks, particularly rich drinks like eggnog. But with all that extended family interaction, I wouldn't dream of suggesting people stick to water. We all tend to cut back once January hits, anyway. 

See more of these 200-calorie Christmas fare photos at The Atlantic.  

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Light Show Projects a Ghost Ship onto Water

(Photos: Janus Van Den Eijnden)

This spectral image was a display at the Amsterdam Light Show by VisualSKIN, a Romanian art collective. Hoses sprayed water at angles, creating planes that that could be used as projection screens. Lights created the mysterious image of a Seventeenth Century sailing vessel. You can see more photos at Design Boom.

-via Colossal


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Mr. Night Owl - One Heroic Hooter


Mr. Night Owl by Dann Matthews

How many licks does it take to get to the bottom of a superheroic murder case? That depends on whether anybody is watching you eat that sweet mystery layer by layer, or if you can get tough and chomp down on the clues all at once, getting straight to the bubblegum center of the problem in one bite. Mr. Night Owl knows you can't just watch the action- real men, and male owls, go in and take their lickings with a smiley face, like a roadhouse comedian. What does the murder of a superhero taste like? It's soft like silk, blue like the sky over Manhattan, and as mysterious as a Rorschach test, but much like a spectre it has no taste...

Who will watch you when you wear this Mr. Night Owl t-shirt by Dann Matthews? Only the coolest folks on the planet, namely those who enjoy amazing graphic novels and animated owls, that's who!

Visit Dann Matthews's Facebook fan page, official website, Twitter and Tumblr, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more ridiculously cool designs:

Peanut Butter Minion Time I Ain't 'Fraid Of No Xeno Maneki Nekobasu White Christmas

View more designs by Dann Matthews | More Funny T-shirts | New T-Shirts

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How NORAD Began Tracking Santa

Remember when you were growing up, on Christmas Eve you could hear radio reports of how U.S. military radar picked up a mysterious object flying away from the North Pole? Those reports, called NORAD Tracks Santa, began in 1955, when a Sears store in Colorado Springs invited kids to call Santa Claus, and a typo in the phone number led children to a high-security line at the Continental Air Defense Command. Colonel Harry Shoup was the man who answered the hotline. StoryCorps recently talked to Shoup’s three children about how that first phone call.

His children remember Shoup as straight-laced and disciplined, and he was annoyed and upset by the call and thought it was a joke — but then, Terri says, the little voice started crying.

"And Dad realized that it wasn't a joke," her sister says. "So he talked to him, ho-ho-ho'd and asked if he had been a good boy and, 'May I talk to your mother?' And the mother got on and said, 'You haven't seen the paper yet? There's a phone number to call Santa. It's in the Sears ad.' Dad looked it up, and there it was, his red phone number. And they had children calling one after another, so he put a couple of airmen on the phones to act like Santa Claus."

The phone calls were only the beginning. Read (or listen) to the story of what Shoup did on Christmas Eve that same year that started the tradition and led him to be called “Santa Colonel” for the rest of his life, at NPR. -Thanks, Daniel Kim!

(Images credit: NORAD)


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