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Christmas Special

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124572.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 5:10 am Reply with quote

Might as well start logging bits and pieces. This isn't from The Onion - it's from the Rock Hill Herald, in South Carolina:

Penalty for unwrapping gifts early: Arrest

A mother convinced Rock Hill police to arrest her 12-year-old son after he unwrapped a Christmas present early.

The boy's great-grandmother had specifically told him not to open his Nintendo Game Boy Advance, which she had wrapped and placed beneath the Christmas tree, according to a police report.

But on Sunday morning, she found the box of the popular handheld game console unwrapped and opened. When the boy's 27-year-old mother heard about the opened gift, she called police.

"He took it without permission. He wanted it. He just took it," said the 63-year-old great-grandmother.

Both the great-grandmother and the mother asked the boy on Sunday where the present was. The boy replied he didn't know.

When the mother threatened to call the police, the boy went into his room and got the Game Boy, the report stated. She called the police anyway.

Two Rock Hill police officers responded to the home and charged the boy with petty larceny. He was charged as a juvenile and released the same day, said police spokesman Lt. Jerry Waldrop, who added the boy was never held at the jail.

... The boy "showed no remorse" when the police came, the mother said.

The names of the people involved were withheld.

The reporter who wrote the story is Monica Chen ( so if we want to use it we can check with her what happened next.

124577.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 5:27 am Reply with quote

On Christmas Day 1125, Henry II ordered the removal of the right hands and testicles of the owners of the English mints.

According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, as a punishment for low-quality coinage, Henry “bade them all that they should come to Winchester at Christmas. When they came thither, then were they taken one by one, and deprived each of the right hand and the testicles beneath.”

full text

124580.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 5:29 am Reply with quote

What's the best thing to do with mistletoe?

The liquid extract from European mistletoe — which is different from American mistletoe — has long been used as an alternative cancer treatment in Europe. Proponents believe that certain substances in mistletoe may help boost the immune system and slow or stop cancer growth. However, published studies have had conflicting results.

In Europe, mistletoe extracts are prescription drugs that are given by injection. Mistletoe injections have not yet received approval in the United States. However, this may change. The National Institutes of Health is currently conducting a study to examine the safety and effectiveness of mistletoe injections, given in combination with the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine, as a cancer treatment.

It is important to note that you should never eat any part of a mistletoe plant or drink mistletoe extract because mistletoe is a poisonous plant. Ingesting mistletoe may cause vomiting, convulsions, seizures and even death. Keep mistletoe plants out of reach of children and pets.

Googling "mistletoe cancer cure" give lots of results, of which this is the first. I haven't looked at any of the others.

124583.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 5:32 am Reply with quote

Ref eggshaped's post:

Q: What did the coiners of England give Henry II for Christmas in 1125?

124584.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 5:32 am Reply with quote

Connected to christmas number ones:

According to wiki, the “Mull of Kintyre test” is an informal guideline used in television censorship to decide whether a man’s penis can be shown. The peninsula’s phallic shape is measured against the angle of tumescence to decide whether or not an image is acceptable.

124596.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 6:08 am Reply with quote

Further to Flash's arrest story, these kids (and residents) in Canada have been banned from having Xmas lights due to insufficient power. I wonder how long it will be that we'll all have to turn off the lights due to environmental damage?

Pikangikum First Nation -- Children in this northwestern Ontario first nation won't enjoy the twinkle of Christmas lights this year due to concerns about the community's diesel power generator.

"Our children will be disappointed," former chief Dean Owen, a father of four, said yesterday.

Mr. Owen said increasing energy demand on the community's obsolete 1,150-kilowatt generator has made it impossible for residents to turn on their Christmas lights this holiday season. He blames the federal government for not properly addressing the energy needs of Pikangikum.

124598.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 6:13 am Reply with quote

More sensational kill-joying, this time in America, where there is heated debated over whether the U.S.Capitol's christmas tree should be referred to as 'a christmas tree' or a 'holiday' tree.

Bah, humbug.

When Democrats won control of Congress in November's election, the victory may have reignited a controversy that many thought had been settled a year ago – and that is what to call the national tree in front of the U.S. Capitol.

In 2005, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., instructed federal officials to refer to it as the "Capitol Christmas Tree," after having been called the "Capitol Holiday Tree" since the 1990s.

But at last night's lighting ceremony for the 65-foot Pacific Silver Fir, the Democrat senator from the tree's home state of Washington never used the word "Christmas" in her speech to the assembled crowd, opting instead for the term "holiday tree" twice.

"It is so wonderful and such an honor to be here tonight in the nation's capital as we light what we all believe from the other end of the country is the best holiday tree ever," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

"I am very proud of everyone in my home state who helped make this happen – all of our staffs who worked so hard; everyone who helped bring this tree out here; everyone who has worked incredibly hard, especially the young children who helped decorate this tree. So, tonight, we share with the nation what makes our state so spectacular: a bit of our spirit, a holiday tree."

Murray was in the minority in her use of "holiday tree," as the event's master of ceremonies, Alan Hantman, the architect of the Capitol, called it "the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree."

Additionally, Murray was immediately followed by a performance by the National Presbyterian School Chorus, which sang "O Christmas Tree."

When it finally came to the actual lighting of the decorations, House Speaker Hastert used the word "Christmas" at least a dozen times, and referred to the tree itself exclusively as a "Christmas tree."

Some of Hastert's remarks included:

"Well, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you tonight. It's one of the most wonderful nights of the year when we can come together and light our National Christmas Tree."
"This year, I'm honored to be here yet again to light the Capitol Christmas Tree."

"As we go into this Christmas season and begin the celebration with our family and friends, I would hope that this year we spend time reflecting on the true reason for the season of Christmas."
"The Christmas season really is about children. So we thought we'd bring some children along to help light the Christmas tree."
In November of last year, WND broke the news that the national home-improvement chain Lowe's was using the term "holiday trees" in English, but "Christmas trees" when translated from Spanish on the same banners.

And at last year's tree-lighting ceremony, President Bush sparked controversy when some thought he casually compared Jesus Christ to Santa Claus.

As WND reported, flanked by the first lady, as well as members of Congress and the Cabinet, Bush told the public at the 2005 event: "The lighting of the National Christmas Tree is one of the great traditions in our nation's capital. Each year, we gather here to celebrate the season of hope and joy – and to remember the story of one humble life that lifted the sights of humanity. Santa, thanks for coming. Glad you made it."

The remark received a few chuckles from those in attendance, as Bush continued to speak to a Santa Claus figure, stating, "I know you've got a lot of commitments this time of year. By the way, we have a lot of chimneys at the White House if you're looking for something to do."

Then-presidential Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters Bush "meant exactly what he said," but later clarified his remarks to note that Bush was not comparing Jesus with Santa Claus, but was merely changing topics.

Last edited by Bunter on Thu Dec 07, 2006 6:42 am; edited 1 time in total

124599.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 6:14 am Reply with quote

The Pikangikum story also has the merit of featuring a Welsh Eskimo.

147376.  Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:36 am Reply with quote

I think the "Winter Vomiting Bug" should make an entrance at some point. It's what the Tottenham Hotspur players had when they went down to West Ham last season and missed out on Champions League football. They blamed their problems on 'dodgy lasagna'.

147796.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:11 am Reply with quote

Very good Ali. The first is quite interesting. In fact, the Wenceslas (or 'Vaclav' in Czech) of the English carol was not a King at all, but rather a Duke.

This from a post in the outer boards. Quite good if true.

147836.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:19 am Reply with quote

Some very revealing stuff about the “War on Christmas”:

147842.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:33 am Reply with quote

It seems to be true. St Václav was styled Duke of Bohemia, although Wiki reckons that his brother Boleslav I Ukrutný - who murdered Václav to get the throne - styled himself King.

Plenty of citations for his title having been Duke rather than King, for instance:

(Although the actual title was Kníže, and online Czech dictionaries translate that to "prince" - so it's not totally pedant proof yet.)

147845.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:38 am Reply with quote

I know we’ve touched on it before, but I think the subject of Christians opposing Christmas is always quinteresting.

“In 1849, the headmaster of the Quaker-run Bootham School postponed breaking up until after December 25 and declared that he would rather have no holidays at all than call the period Christmas holidays.”

“Dickens's view of Christmas came under attack from the free marketeers of the day. In 1844, the Westminster Review condemned A Christmas Carol for its ignorance of political economy and the ‘laws’ of supply and demand. It argued that, if Bob Crathcit got a turkey, then, unless there was a surplus, someone else must have gone without..”

“By the end of the 1840s Dickens was said to be disillusioned that, each December a flood of pseudo-Dickens-type material flooded the pre-Christmas market.”

“Henry Mayhew, in his lengthy series of investigations of the labour market, published as London Labour and the London Poor, identified ‘Christmasing’ as an occupation of costermongers and others looking for work in December. This consisted of gathering and selling holly and mistletoe. Even here, there was a class divide, the latter being more expensive and preferred by the well off.”

- all from an article by Keith Flett in Morning Star, 23 Dec 06.

Flett also points out that when the “traditional” Christmas was invented in Victorian times, “It was styled as a Christian festival, but this was not overplayed,” not least because Boxing Day was established by law as a public holiday from 1871, and is explicitly a secular holiday. Of course, they don’t have Boxing Day in the USA, do they?

147846.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:38 am Reply with quote

How xmas turkeys are produced: bootiful!

149003.  Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:06 pm Reply with quote

No we don't have Boxing Day in the USA - nobody's ever heard of such a thing unless they happen to have British relatives or friends. People just go back to work the day after Christmas.

Strange country.

It is also true that people on the broadcast media are getting more wary of saying 'Merry Christmas' - it's invariably 'Happy Holidays' these days.


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