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Christmas Special?

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69280.  Thu May 11, 2006 5:47 am Reply with quote

Two days before the santa fun-run, Newtown attempted to beat the world record for "largest pillow fight".

It seems like some competitors may have taken place in both:

69461.  Fri May 12, 2006 5:10 am Reply with quote

Sorry about this, but in the interests of QI, I suppose I should post this; it's a transcript from an NBC show:

Agence France Presse, a well respected international news agency, had reported this British man had celebrated Christmas every single day for the past 12 and a half years. And that he did the whole thing., turkey dinner, Christmas presents and watching the traditional Queen‘s speech on DVD.

But, then, certain things didn‘t seem to add up. How could he afford all this? How come he wasn‘t morbidly obese from all those Mince pies? How come we only heard about him during the holiday season? This demanded a “Countdown” investigation.

Our suspicions began when the German TV network ZA DA F (ph) went to visit him celebrating Christmas.... First off, the man asked for 200 pounds for the interview. That‘d be about $350. Then he asked for more money. Then he screwed up his own shtick about his supposedly endless Christmas. When asked about the amount of food he‘s eaten over the last 12 and half years of continuous celebration, he first said...

I‘ve eaten at least 9,800 turkeys over the last 12 and a half years. At least 313,000 sprouts.

But when asked the same question three minutes later.

I‘ve been celebrating Christmas now for 12 and a half years. That means I‘ve eaten 9,800 turkey, 250,000 Brussels sprouts.

Pick one of the above. It is either 313,000 Brussels sprouts, or 250,000. By the way, he told another news outlet, it is 109,500 hundred sprouts. And turkey? That‘s not turkey on your plate, pal. That would be chicken.

And apparently it is not the first time he‘s supplanted poultry. The British “Daily Mail” went to visit him earlier this month, and he was eating chicken then, too, claiming the turkey was still frozen.

Eating turkey every day for 12 years, and he doesn‘t have it thawed out yet? His local newspaper, “The Wiltshire Times” tell us it has given up trying to do any stories on this man. Apparently, their photographer has shown up at his house several times, unannounced, in hopes of catching him celebrating. Yet, Mr. Christmas has not even let him in the door.

Not exactly the most thorough debunking, but could be an idea to exercise caution. Alternatively we could take his word for it, as it is a great story.

...anyone else feeling Christmassey with all this festive research?

69469.  Fri May 12, 2006 5:28 am Reply with quote

That's absolutely wonderful. Another classic bit of Bunter intuitition for a story with absolutely no grounds for truth - even though it's been reported several times in a newspaper.

I think I prefer the man as a fraud.

69472.  Fri May 12, 2006 5:41 am Reply with quote

Further to the deaths over christmas, Snopes says that there are no more suicides than normal over the holiday period.

A study of all reported suicides in Olmsted County during a 35-year period did not find an excess number of suicides just before, during or after Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's or the Fourth of July holidays.

Nor did researchers find a higher suicide rate on birthdays, or three days before or after birthdays.

However, their work, concluded in 1985, did affirm other studies showing that suicides are most numerous early in the week and least common on weekends. The authors speculate: "Fewer suicides than expected may occur on weekends and major holidays because it may be easier to repress troublesome thoughts during these times of greater social interaction."


One of the largest studies examined seasonal trends in more than 3,670 suicides and about 3,300 psychiatric admissions to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham, N.C. It found no increase in suicides or psychiatric admissions around the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

Other studies verified that national suicide rates in December and January were either average or below average.

Is this a well-known myth? I doubt it.

I've also read a literature review about "putting off death" sent to me from a source at the Australian Skeptics, which finds little evidence for the idea. A couple of studies from the mid-seventies gave slight evidence, but they don't stand up to modern scientific scruteny.

There is evidence however (Shultz and Bazzerman, 1980) that for certain limiting conditions, such as older unmarried people or those who died of indeterminate cause, there is a very slight death-rise after Christmas.

All in all, I think the evidence I've found would probably make a nice essay, but not a great question. Ho hum.

69473.  Fri May 12, 2006 5:44 am Reply with quote

That's absolutely wonderful. Another classic bit of Bunter intuitition for a story with absolutely no grounds for truth - even though it's been reported several times in a newspaper.

I think I prefer the man as a fraud.

I agree. And it is such a great story. May not have enough evidence to call him a fraud on national television though. Maybe we could go with the story, it's bound to get some laughs, and add a note of caution at the end?

69476.  Fri May 12, 2006 6:09 am Reply with quote

To be fair to the bloke - how could he possibly accurately count all of his mince pies etc...he was bound to exaggerate, and get it wrong. I think we should get him on the show and ask the panel what's special about him....

69483.  Fri May 12, 2006 6:32 am Reply with quote


'The turkey is synonymous with the festive season', writes one journalist. 'But the short life of the modern factory-farmed version is a distressing catalogue of disease, violence and sexual abuse.'

Yes, you read it right - sexual abuse. 'Grown men spend their days tweaking turkey's penises for a living, sucking the semen into tubes (it tastes lightly salty, in case you were wondering), and then squirting it into females.'
Quite a well sourced article, this quote claims to be from The Independent 14 December 2001.

69510.  Fri May 12, 2006 8:14 am Reply with quote

My US history is sketchy to say the least. Is the fact that Bostonians threw snowballs at the British to cause the Boston Massacre which then lead to the War of Independence well known?

And for that matter, is it interesting?

69514.  Fri May 12, 2006 8:23 am Reply with quote

What musn't a goose do out of water?

A: Shag.

Anatidae are remarkable for being one of the few families of birds that possess a penis; they are adapted for copulation on the water only and care must be taken when breeding ducks or geese that a pool is provided for this purpose as attempts to copulate on dry land will often lead to injury of the drake's penis

The penis in a two year-old male will extend two to three inches and will have a corkscrew
appearance. The penis in a six-month-old gander will look
like the end of an earth worm, and is about three-eighths
of an inch long.

69536.  Fri May 12, 2006 9:08 am Reply with quote

the fact that Bostonians threw snowballs at the British to cause the Boston Massacre

I didn't know that, and there would seem to be scope for a question inviting the forfeit "tea" if you're looking for a Gen Ig question.

69540.  Fri May 12, 2006 9:10 am Reply with quote

Hmmm, good point.

I shall try that out with some of my friends tonight, and if it works will write it up tomorrow.

69542.  Fri May 12, 2006 9:19 am Reply with quote

We had a couple of geese, and before we got around to building a pond for them, they took to the water bucket to satisfy each others' carnal pleasures.

It led to three goslings and a slew of risqué limericks.

69556.  Fri May 12, 2006 10:03 am Reply with quote

I wonder if perhaps every regional TV newsroom has an “everyday xmas” man or woman on its files; I’ve seen the story several times over the years, and I feel that it wasn’t always the same person. That in itself might be quinteresting, if provable.

Also, there must, I presume, be an official psychiatric name for the condition or habit of celebrating xmas every day?

69569.  Fri May 12, 2006 10:58 am Reply with quote

Further to the Boston Tea Party, there are a number of sites (such as which point out that the idea that the Tea Party was a protest against taxes is a myth; apparently, it was really an anti-monopoly protest.

69596.  Fri May 12, 2006 2:36 pm Reply with quote

Further to the seasonal suicides, I think I’ve already posted (somewhere) my Mythcon on the subject; some time later, I added the following update:

<<In FT144 (p.27) we dealt with the myth that Christmas is peak-time for suicides. An article about Battersea Dogs Home in _The Independent_ (9 October 2004) sinks another Scroogian factoid: summertime, rather than just after Christmastime, is when most dogs are dumped at the home, presumably due to summer holidays. Remember, “A puppy is for life, not just for Spring.”>>


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