Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tris McCall reviews all the Christmas Carols in his Christmas Abstract. Here's his review of "Linus And Lucy,"

"Speaking of Peanuts, I consider A Charlie Brown Christmas the high point of Western civilization. Okay, I'm kidding. A little. No, really, since Christian theology has been the font for monumental artistic expression from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to Of The Heart, Of The Soul, and Of The Cross, it's possible to see the Peanuts special as a sort of crown -- a succinct and poetic articulation of ancient principles. If you can understand why Charlie Brown chooses the tiniest and most unhealthy-looking tree in the lot, you're at least halfway to the proper spirit in which to approach the Gospels. Incidentally, the famous Linus speech I alluded to in the last entry is Luke 2.8-14, straight from the King James Version. I don't think that is made clear during the program. CBS certainly knew, and they were shitting bricks that audiences would find the special too preachy. This was 1965; in 2003, a project like this one doesn't even get out of the gate. Thank God it's been grandfathered in as an annual event -- by now it's too much of an institution for the seculars to gripe about St. Schulz, and really, how much Heatmiser can a person take?"

Click here to read all the reviews.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bound for Glory: America in Color is an exhibition of little known color images taken by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information between 1936 and 1942, a time period we usually see only in black and white. You can view the exhibition here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Once again Fimoculous presents his compilation of "Best of the Year Lists" in several categories including film, books, and music.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Photographer Arnaud Friche took this amazing panorama of Paris at Night. This version of the panorama helpfully identifies the landmarks. More of Friche's panoramas can be found here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Foreign Policy magazine presents the Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2005.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

For centuries, scientists have wondered, "why does the narwhal, or "unicorn," whale have an 8-foot-long tooth emerging from its head, and what is its function?" Harvard School of Dental Medicine researcher Martin Nweeia has discovered the answer:

"Nweeia has discovered that the narwhal's tooth has hydrodynamic sensor capabilities. Ten million tiny nerve connections tunnel their way from the central nerve of the narwhal tusk to its outer surface. Though seemingly rigid and hard, the tusk is like a membrane with an extremely sensitive surface, capable of detecting changes in water temperature, pressure, and particle gradients. Because these whales can detect particle gradients in water, they are capable of discerning the salinity of the water, which could help them survive in their Arctic ice environment. It also allows the whales to detect water particles characteristic of the fish that constitute their diet. There is no comparison in nature and certainly none more unique in tooth form, expression, and functional adaptation."

Monday, December 12, 2005

Good Experience Games is a long list of games that are "free, online, and available right now."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

"The Christmas Story" in 30 Seconds (Re-enacted by Bunnies)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hmm, are these photos of an unusual rock, a hiker in a fur coat, or Bigfoot!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Geomythologists combine legends and science to discover the geologic history of the Earth. As this Observer article explains, they believe that a massive earthquake struck what is now Seattle in January 1700.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Rick Goldschmidt tells the story of the creation and restoration of the TV special Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer in this TV Party article:

"Then came, what I consider the most significant deleted scene, which we called "The Peppermint scene." After Santa's sleigh takes off for the Island of Misfit toys being guided by Rudolph, we see several characters for the very last time in the special. Donner, Mrs. Donner and Clarice are all proud of RUDOLPH. As Rudolph flies away, Donner says "That's my Buck!" This confirms that he is no longer ashamed of his Red-nosed son.

Yukon comes running out of the castle and yells at his sled dogs (who wouldn't pull his sled throughout the special) "See! That's how it's done!" as he looks up at Rudolph. Then Yukon throws his pick up in the air and picks it up and licks it (As he did throughout the entire special).

His pick licking never made any sense. He thought he was looking for silver and gold, but he was really looking for Peppermint. After licking his pick, he says, "Peppermint! What I've been searching for! I've found me a peppermint mine....yahoooo!"

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Military historian Martin Van Creveld examines the Iraq War and explains in this Forward article why he believes a "Costly Withdrawal is the Price to Be Paid for a Foolish War." Van Creveld writes:

"A withdrawal probably will require several months and incur a sizable number of casualties. As the pullout proceeds, Iraq almost certainly will sink into an all-out civil war from which it will take the country a long time to emerge — if, indeed, it can do so at all. All this is inevitable and will take place whether George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice like it or not."

Van Creveld concludes his article with:

"For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men."