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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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
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:
With one little addition great white sharks go from Jaws to jokesters, always ready to make 'em laugh with a one-liner about porpoises:
That old tooth addition trick works well with amphibians too:
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:
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!:
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!
|Teenage Mutant Modern Masters||My Little C-3POny||The Wookman||Iron Skull|
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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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
Can anyone identify the music being performed? I've heard it before, but I can't find the title.
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
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
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.
(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.
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!
|Peanut Butter Minion Time||I Ain't 'Fraid Of No Xeno||Maneki Nekobasu||White Christmas|
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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)
You have to hand it to this cat. He's devised the perfect plan for a sneak attack on his dog housemate. Sure, the dog couldn't care less, but that's no reflection on your smooth moves, kitty. Keep trying. -Via Tastefully Offensive
A horsehair worm leaves its home, the body of a mantis. It's an astonishingly long creature. How did it all fit up inside its host?
It's entirely possible that you have a horsehair worm in you, too. Do you feel a slight itching sensation? That could be the worm twisting and churning inside of you.
-via Gizmodo, which also provided the .gif
Look at the detail on this model USS Enterprise made of gingerbread! It’s mounted on a tractor beam made of candy canes hovering over a rocky terrain of cookies and mints. The starship was made by, and on display at, Blackmarket Bakery in California. See it from all angles in an imgur gallery of enlargeable pictures. Set phasers to yum! -via Boing Boing
If this meets up with the gingerbread Borg cube, things could get interesting.
I want to leave my mark on the world--to do something significant that will leave an impact on others for generations to come. And, to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever made cupcakes flavored with pickled pigs' feet.
Last year, I told you about 10 wonderful ways to eat pigs' feet. Among them are pickled pigs' feet. These are a Southern delicacy. To my great fortune, my parents are from the Deep South, so I was raised on this marvel of pork flesh and vinegar.
When I grew up, we ate them straight out of the jar with a knife and fork. They are fine this way, but they can also be a dessert. These cupcakes have pickled pigs' feet inside, both in the cake and the frosting. They're my latest contribution to our Don't Eat That, John! gourmet dining series.
This year a stunning breakthrough in reproductive health occurred: a woman was able to give birth with a transplanted uterus. The 36-year-old Swedish woman was born without a uterus, a condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome. She was one of nine Swedish women who had uterine transplants from 2012-2013. The uterus was donated by a 61-year-old family friend of the patient. The birth gives hope to mothers without uteruses or those with damaged uteruses who desire to carry children.
Image: The Lancet
We hear plenty about the remaining radioactivity near the failed Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine, but what about other places? Dereck Muller of Veritasium takes us on a tour of other historically radioactive sites such as Fukushima, Hiroshima, Marie Curie’s office, the Trinity test site, a uranium mine, and the basement of Pripyat’s hospital. The amount of radiation is presented in bananas as a visualization device to keep track of which place is more dangerous. -via Viral Viral Videos
A "hobo nickel" is a nickel that has been inscribed with appealing images. During the Great Depression, poor people sometimes made them to sell, which is how the folk art form got its name.
Shaun Hughes is an artist who makes hobo nickels professionally. We've previously featured some of his pop culture nickels, which include Spider-Man and stormtroopers. For this nickel, Hughes changed the Indian head on a Buffalo nickel to Batman.
This is a silly yet strangely charming Christmas ad for cookies, which are called biscuits in the UK. It features cute and somewhat uncanny baby animals singing a song I like but can’t place my finger on. There’s a surprise baby animal you would never expect to see… you’ll have to watch for that one yourself. -via Metafilter