Monday, December 22, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 3 ...

     Three days to go! I've touched on many aspects of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol over the years (for example, my December 21st, 2011 entry) and still more trivia continues to come to light!

     It turns out the character of Ebenezer Scrooge was based on a real person, who was actually a bit of a rogue and not at all like the character Dickens wrote. He became the man we know and love due to a mild case of dyslexia and poor eyesight. Read the whole amazing tale here!

      I would be remiss if I didn't mention the passing of Norman Bridwell on December 12th. He was known the world over for his series of Clifford, The Big Red Dog books. Less known, however, is his own take on the season called The Witch's Christmas. It's a charming children's book about how different it is when you're a witch and how you approach the holiday season. She even saves Santa and the reindeer at the end! To learn more about a part of your childhood woefully ignored, go see The Paperback Pirate's writeup:


      Christmas Witches not weird enough for you? Want to stand out and be noticed at the Holiday Party? Say no more! Just slip into this Reindeer Superhero costume and you're ready to take on the world (or a furry convention). There's also Basic Santa Man (that just sounds so sad), Goldmember Santa and Santa's Big Head Suit! Come on, how can you have not figured out these are all Japanese Christmas costumes by now? Stare in shock and awe at the link below!

     Only two more entries to go!      

Sunday, December 21, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 4 ...

     Before we get going on today's entry, I wanted to wish the Ideals Company congratulations on their 70th Anniversary Christmas Edition this year! I wrote about my long-standing relationship with this annual magazine and the teacher who started me on it - see my blog entry of December 20th, 2010 for the full story.

     The magazine began in 1944, during the height of World War II. I have many of the early issues and was struck particularly by the war-year issues, which I wrote about in my December 24th, 2011 entry. Anyways, I'm glad the magazine is still going strong all these years later - it marks my personal beginning of the holiday season each year, buying the new edition in late November. Here's to many more!


      Here's a nice surprise - Marvel's 2014 Holiday card featuring everybody's favorite sentinent Christmas tree, Groot! Sadly, everyone involved dropped the ball on what could have been the 'must have' toy of the season - a dancing Baby Groot (as seen at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy). The popularity of the film caught the studio off-guard and the rush to come up with tie-in products was delayed as a result. There IS a Dancing Groot Bobblehead out, but it's not the same ... the ACTUAL Dancing Groot is coming, BTW ... it just won't be here before 2015. 


      We're almost done here for the year and we've barely mentioned our K.A.C. mascot, Krampus! Turns out he's been getting a bad rep this whole time - but don't take it from us! When an Oscar-winning actor takes up the Krampus mantle, you've GOT to listen! Take it away, Christoph Waltz!


     Last but not least, we're two days away from the Image of the Year. How can we top the shaved reindeer, you ask? By embracing the spirit of the season and nominating TWO photos ... one naughty and one nice! Check back with us for their unveiling - more tomorrow!   

Saturday, December 20, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 5 ...

     Five days left and my wife sends me this pic ... excellent! It reminded me of a book my cousin Jane had given me a number of years ago when she worked in the publishing business, an art book called On Tender Hooks featuring the off-the-wall works of Isabel Samaras. She has a unique take on all the old pop culture icons, unlike anyone I've ever seen - just a warning that some of her paintings are NSFW. Take a look at her website below: 



      Here's the original illustration from her book that I was reminded of by the photo above - it also answers the question posed by my friend Mark when he asked, "Who would be the Three Wise Men in this scenario?" Here's your answer, Big Guy! 

     For more of her truly bizarre (and kinky) art, you can get a copy of her book here - makes a perfect last-minute gift for Grandma!

     Let's jump now from Monster Nativities to Monster Trees. Proving if you look long and hard enough, you can find a film about anything, we present the infamous 2008 short film TREEVENGE. It's exactly what it sounds like and - fair warning - if you're squeamish, this film is not for you! Here's the official description: " (The film) details the experiences and horrifying reality of the lives of Christmas trees. Clearly, for trees, Christmas isn’t the exciting “peace on earth” that is experienced by most. After being hacked down, and shipped away from their homes, they quickly become strung up, screwed into an upright position for all to see, exposed in a humiliation of garish decorations. But this Christmas will be different, this Christmas the trees have had enough, this Christmas the trees will fight back. ‘Treevenge’ could be a short film about the end of days for Christmas trees, or perhaps, the end of humanity?” It's films like this that bolster my case why we should get an artificial tree each year! 


     I don't think I can top that today, so we'll end it here! Come back tomorrow after we clean up the mess! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 6 ...

     Breaking news! It has just come to our attention here at the K.A.C. that the original inspiration for a Charlie Brown Christmas and the 'Charlie Brown Tree' came from none other than ... Vincent Price and his daughter Victoria! :)  OK, we may be stretching things a wee bit, but isn't this a great picture? Thanks to Mark R. for the find!

     We're going to ramp it up for our final six days, and what better way to start than with a look at the ten most bizarre Christmas gifts. This is an older list (from 2010), but it contains a number of items I haven't seen before, including this stunning children's doll. So if you've ever wanted to shave the baby (even typing that sounds creepy!), here you go! The list also includes the Smile Trainer, the Kaba Kick and the Maternity Radiation Shield ... they're all to found at the link below!

     At this point in the game, if you're still looking for last-minute holiday gifts, you're pretty much out of luck, unless you pay extravagantly fast shipping expenses. Just get a gift card and call it a day. BUT - if you want to rock out a New Year's Party and need something to bring, look no further! What you need is the five pound life size Gummi Skull! Celebrate the death of the Old Year with this shockingly sweet reminder that the clock's a-tickin'! 

     More tomorrow!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 7 ...

     One week to go ... YIKES! That and more is what you're going to be saying (or shrieking) when you see this year's collection of Creepy Santas! A BIG thank you to Jackie for the link! Prepare to be horrified! 

     And speaking of horrifying, what better way to following up that photogenic nightmare than with these wildly inappropriate Christmas ornaments for your tree - thanks to Jen for the link! .

     Taking a break from all the horror, it's time for our annual visit with Santa's three special helpers, Hardrock, Coco and Joe! They premiered on December 18th, 1956 (see my entry of December 18th, 2010, for their full story) and have been going strong ever since. Of course, Santa looks like a madman in this version, so hey - he fits right in with the other crazed Kringles on display! Sing along, everybody!

     More tomorrow!



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 8 ...

     OK, I think we can all agree no matter what you put on top of your tree (angel, star, etc.), it's not going to be more awesome than THIS! Thanks to Monica and others for forwarding this along! 

     We continue with another Christmas short from the animation studio Blue-Zoo. Based out of London, this was their 2013 video Christmas card sent out to their clients. It's short and sweet, so take a look! 

     Want to skip the whole 'having to decorate a Christmas tree' thing this year, but still impress the neighborhood? Want to make everyone who visits you have their hair stand on end? No, I'm not speaking metaphorically - I mean really stand on end! How? By having your own one-of-a-kind Tesla Coil Christmas Tree! Check out the site with some other fine photos! 

     Before we leave for the day, remember to clean your chimneys before the Big Day! Don't let this happen to you!  See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 9 ...

     Our second Christmas short of the season is this wonderful extended trailer for a proposed film called CHRISTMAS KNIGHT. Made in 2012 by Mike Hill and his partner Jessica Capasso, it's an inspiring tale of the one person the world can depend on to protect the planet when aliens attack. Take a look at it and see how many superhero homages you can spot! I would have loved to have seen this as a full feature, but it will (sadly) have to remain an unfulfilled Christmas wish.! 


     Let's wrap up the holiday gift guide with the third and final part of Quint's List, Part 3! This edition is chock-full of games, both the board and computer variety, of every shape, size and description. It's also got every sort of toy and bizarro gift for the impossible to buy for, starting with this:

     Remember Colorforms? No? You would if you grew up during the 1960s or '70s - they consisted of a laminated background set and various plastic pieces you could put down on it, then peel off and replace them somewhere else on the set. Hey, don't look at me like that! This is what passed for FUN back in the day! Yes, I had them (and actually still have one today) - if YOU want to find out what the fun and excitement was about, here's your chance! The toy has been updated and re-named (for pesky legal reasons), but WE know what it really is! And who better to star in such a cheesefest than the one and only Nicolas Cage! Titled the 'Nicolas Cage Adventure Set', YOU can have hours of fun with NC on the moon OR in a thrilling jungle adventure setting, battling to find a lost city. How much is this going to set you back, you ask? Can you believe only $12.00? How can you pass up on THAT bargain? Answer - you can't! Here's how to get yours!

     Next up: Avengers Nesting Dolls! I shouldn't even need to say any more about this, except to point out that neither Hawkeye nor Black Widow made the grade here ... perhaps that's just as well, as that might be weird ... yeah, even I can't believe I just typed that! You know you want a set, so here you go! 

     If you're TRULY stuck trying to find the perfect gift for the fanboy or fangirl on your list, we have you covered there, as well. Why get them ONE gift when you can give them a WHOLE BOX of surprise gifts each month? There are two companies that offer this service - they're called Loot Crate and Dinosaur Dracula. You never know what you'll get each month (that's why they're called SURPRISES), but it will be interesting! Here's the link to both companies:

Loot Crate: 

Dinosaur Dracula:

     There's all sorts of Legos of licensed figures, as well as action figures, collectible statues, etc., for every budget. I was particularly taken with this H.P. Lovecraft bust, showing a number of his more memorable literary creations encircling him. He comes from Black Heart Enterprises and is going to set you back a cool $200, but ... say, what's that whispering voice? Ah, I see, the Great Cthulhu demands you get this! Think long and hard on your reply - it's not nice to piss off the Old Ones! 

     If you want the bragging rights of being the Ultimate Star Wars Fan (and if you've struck it rich in your smuggling runs in the Millennium Falcon), you're going to want to display this Life-Size Boba Fett! I have absolutely NO idea what you're going to DO with this thing once you have it, except dust it, talk to it when you're alone and wonder where your $7,500.00 went ... no, that is NOT a typo. Even without moving a muscle, Boba Fett has already made a nice commission on this bounty!

     There's a ton more stuff to explore at the link below, so get crackin!


     That closes out our gift giving guide for this year - come back tomorrow as we wind down our final eight days!